Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set Review

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.

Review

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set Review

October 19, 2021

By: Adam Potts

 
 

Deadzone, from Mantic Games, is a skirmish wargame, set in their larger Warpath universe. Deadzone is a sci-fi/cyberpunk setting, featuring factions of human marines, space rats, dwarves, zombies, and aliens. Deadzone launches its third edition of the rules with a brand new two-player starter set, featuring the forces of the Galactic Co-Prosperity Sphere, human marines, fighting against the Veer-Myn, a race of giant space rats. In this article, we'll have a look at the two-player starter set contents, along with seeing how the third edition of Deadzone plays.

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.

Deadzone Third Edition

Deadzone's third edition is more of a refinement of the second edition Deadzone rules, rather than a rewrite. Mantic Games have tided up some rules, packed all the previous supplements into two rulebooks (one for the rules and one for the army lists), and streamlined the points values for each unit.

For players new to Deadzone, it's a skirmish wargame that uses the factions and units from Mantic's larger Warpath wargame. Rather than controlling huge forces and units of troops, Deadzone features small numbers of elite troops, conducting smaller battles and special operations.

Battles take place on squared maps, which are used for working out movement and weapons range. It also helps to handle vertical movement, as well as horizontal as sections are considered cubes, and units can move into adjacent cubes, including those up and down from their starting location.

 
 
Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
Deadzone 3E features a cube system for movement to keep games fast.

Tests are very easy to work out, and players roll three eight-sided dice (D8) and compare them to the stat being checked against for that unit. As long as one of the dice scores higher, the test is a success. There are also opposed tests, where both players roll three dice against their stat, with the winner being the player to score the most successes. Any modifiers are applied to the number of dice rolled, not to the stat, which keeps games fast and simple.

The third edition Deadzone rulebook is very well presented, featuring a very punchy core rules section, sixteen scenarios, some background lore, and a full campaign section for running ongoing games of Deadzone.

Deadzone features ten available factions for players to choose from, which can all be taken from, or expanded into full Warpath armies. All ten factions, and all their units and special characters, along with a short lore section for each, is present in the Force List Book. This book shows all the stats and armament options for each faction, so as well as planning your own, you can have a look at what your opponent might bring to the battle as well.

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
The Deadzone 3E two-player starter set has a huge amount of content.

Deadzone Third Edition Two-Player Starter Set

The Deadzone Third Edition two-player starter set contains:

  • Core Rulebook
  • Force List Book
  • Starter leaflet
  • Ten GCPS Troopers
  • One GCPS Hero
  • Ten Veer-Myn Nightcrawlers
  • Two Veer-Myn Nightmares
  • One Veer-Myn Hero
  • Twelve bags of Battlezones scenery, including the all-new Battlezones Street Accessories
  • Paper Gaming Mat
  • Counter sheet
  • Eight Command Dice
  • Eight D8

The two-player starter set contains everything two players need to play, but you will need some hobby accessories to build the miniatures and scenery, at the minimum, super glue, and a hobby knife, but a file for cleaning up mold-lines and plastic glue (which works better for the hard-plastic miniatures), will also help you along. The miniatures come in two different materials. The GCPS and Veer-Myn heroes are resin, and simply need removing from the resin sprues, cleaning up, and gluing together, for which it's obvious where the pieces go.

The rest of the miniatures are hard plastic sprues, you get two identical GCPS sprues, two Veer-Myn nightcrawler sprues, and one Veer-Myn nightmare sprue to build from. All the sprues contain a large number of options, so taking some time to look at the different troop types and armaments to plan your build is essential prior to actually putting the miniatures together. The Starter Leaflet shows you three of each of the two forces to build to play the introductory game on the back of the gaming mat, which is a great introductory game and if this is your first time playing Deadzone. We highly recommend building those options first before any others, and we discuss the different options for each force in their individual sections below

 
 

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
The GCPS set in the Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set has a lot of build options.

Deadzone Third Edition Two Player Starter Set GCPS Force

The Deadzone Third Edition Two Player Starter Set comes with a GCPS Hero, Therese Washington, and two identical hard plastic sprues that can be used to build GCPS Marines, Veterans, or Rangers.

The two sprues have enough that you can build ten rangers, ten veterans or ten marines, or any combination you wish. You can also arm two with flamethrowers, grenade launchers, comms equipment, and pistols if you want medic or engineer marine. There are seven marine heads to add some variety if you want to build all ten as marines.

  • Therese Washington - Therese is one of the GCPS' living legends. They can deploy nearly anywhere on the battlefield, move easily around with their jump pack and dual-wield weapons including the powerful Peacemaker.
  • Rangers - Rangers are an elite specialist unit, able to deploy nearly anywhere on the battlefield and lay down fire more accurately than the marines. They're also supported by their armor, giving them some protection when deployed aggressively.
  • Veterans - Marines with better training, more accurate thanks to their weight of fire reroll.
  • Marines - A very cheap way of getting special weapons onto the battlefield. Great for filling out ranks.
Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
Therese Washington from the GCPS, a Ranger, Veteran Marine, and Marine with Flamethrower.

We built our GCPS Strike Team as follows:

  • Therese Washington
  • Corporation Marine Lieutenant (Built as a veteran marine)
  • Ranger (Laser Carbine)
  • Ranger (Laser Carbine)
  • Ranger (Laser Carbine)
  • Ranger (Laser Carbine)
  • Ranger (Flamethrower)
  • Veteran Marine (Laser Carbine)
  • Veteran Marine (Grenade Launcher)
  • Veteran Marine (Grenade Launcher)
  • Marine (Flamethrower)

This uses all the special weapons and comes in at 160 points.

 
Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
You can choose your type of Veer-Myn swarm in the Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.

Deadzone Third Edition Two Player Starter Set Veer-Myn Force

The Deadzone Third Edition Two Player Starter Set comes with a Pack Leader, a sprue to build two Nightmares, and two sprues that can be built as Crawlers, Stalkers, or Malignus'.

The two sprues have enough that you can build ten stalkers, ten crawlers, or split the combination. You can also build two Malignus' and arm them with either ray guns, chem throwers, heavy ray guns, or chem spitters. it also includes nine heads, including the Malignus head for different looks. The Nightmare sprue lets you arm them with one heavy chem thrower, one heavy combat drill, or you can arm both with twin combat drills, or combat drills and chem throwers. It also includes six heads to add some variety.

  • Pack Leader - The Pack Leader is fast, stealthy, and vicious in a fight. Get it in fast to deal damage with the razor claws.
  • Nightmare - The nightmares are large and great in a fight. They can be armed with drills, chemical weapons, or a mixture of both.
  • Crawler - Crawlers are fast, cheap, and armed with a range four weapons.
  • Stalker - Stalkers, like Crawlers, are fast, cheap, and come armed with the shorter ray pistol. but are better in close combat.
  • Malignus - Are more expensive, but have a better range stat than the Crawlers and Stalker, and also get access to heavier weapons.
Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
The Veer-Myn Pack Leader, Nightmare with Twin Drills, Malignus with Heavy Ray Gun, Stalker, and Crawler.

We build our Veer-Myn Strike Force as follows:

  • Pack Leader
  • Nightmare Heavy Chem Thrower
  • Nightmare Twin Drills
  • Crawler (Ray Gun)
  • Crawler (Ray Gun)
  • Crawler (Ray Gun)
  • Crawler (Ray Gun)
  • Stalker (Ray Pistol)
  • Stalker (Ray Pistol)
  • Stalker (Ray Pistol)
  • Stalker (Ray Pistol)
  • Malignus (Heavy Ray Gun)
  • Malignus (Chem Thrower)

This gives you a good mix of Stalkers and Crawlers, but if you prefer a particular playstyle, then you can change up the ratio of each. The list comes in at 163 points.

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
The two Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set forces face-off.

The Deadzone Third Edition starter set includes a solid, easy entry ruleset, with a fantastic amount of content. The rules are extremely beginner-friendly and games are fast, but the hobby side of the box has some issues for beginners. Veteran wargames will have no issue, but the unit assembly can be overwhelming for beginner hobbyists. The getting started leaflet shows all the miniature parts on the sprues and advises on the first three units to build for both forces to use in the beginner game, but there aren't any detailed step-by-step instructions or guidance beyond those three units.

Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set.
The introductory scenario has rules and stats printed on the map for a great first game.

There's a lot of scope for unit construction and force makeup, which veteran hobbyists will love, and the scenery you get is modular and gives an awesome variety game to game if not glued together. The great initial first tutorial game, which is printed on the reverse side of the gaming mat, with rules and unit profiles is an incredible design choice, but the gap from that to the entire open world of Deadzone feels large. It wouldn't even be mentioned if Deadzone wasn't such a great entry-level game for beginners. The tight rules, quick test mechanics, and fast games make this a great first wargame and all it needs is a longer onboarding piece with some clearance assembly instructions, introductory force constitution guidance, and a couple more tutorial games building up forces size.

The fact that my only issue out of the box is that new players might need some more guidance should speak volumes for the quality of the Deadzone 3E two-player starter set.

The Bottom Line

Deadzone 3E has a tight, very beginner-friendly ruleset. Games are fast and you get every supplement you need for every faction straight out of the starter set. The scenery is fantastic and provides a solid base to build up your battlefield collection from, for any matching scale system. The two provided forces are varied and interesting, with a great number of unit construction options. The initial tutorial game is extremely well designed and presented, but we'd like to see a little more guidance for beginner hobbyists beyond that. The two-player starter set is great value and if you want a system that has options for quick one-off games, or longer campaign play, then Deadzone 3E is for you.

Get This Game If:

  • You want a tight and light rules system.
  • You want a system that offers fast one-off games or a great ongoing campaign.
  • You want a starter set filled with content and scope for expansion.

Avoid This Game If:

  • You want a fantasy game.
  • You want a lot of rules complexity in your wargaming system.

The copy of the Deadzone 3E Two-Player Starter Set used to produce this review was provided by Mantic Games.

 

Review Summary

Review Summary

Deadzone 3E has a tight, very beginner-friendly ruleset. Games are fast and you get every supplement you need for every faction straight out of the starter set. The scenery is fantastic and provides a solid base to build up your battlefield collection from, for any matching scale system. The two provided forces are varied and interesting, with a great number of unit construction options. The initial tutorial game is extremely well designed and presented, but we'd like to see a little more guidance for beginner hobbyists beyond that. The two-player starter set is great value and if you want a system that has options for quick one-off games, or longer campaign play, then Deadzone 3E is for you.
A Potts TechRaptor
Tabletop Specialist

Adam is a tabletop specialist for TechRaptor. He's been involved in the video game and tabletop industry since 1997, including managing communities, flavor text writing for CCGs, game development, and design, and has played physical and digital card games at a high competitive level.

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