This is a review of WarLands miniature game produced by Aberrant. www.aberrantgames.com
Find more reviews at EpicRPGBlog.blogspot.com
What is it: WarLands is a 20mm scale miniature war game set in a post-apocalyptic world. Mad Max in 20mm scale. Note: this is also equivalent to 1:72 scaled plastic models
Rules: If you’ve always liked vehicular combat games, but hated how long they took to play, this may be the solution, Movement is simplified into Slow/Cruising/Fast, the exact numbers based upon the type of vehicle, fast for a truck is only cruising for a bike. The system uses 2d6, with modifiers, such as RC or CC (ranged or close combat). Damage is based upon the rolled damage, each die calculated separately, using exploding dice is always fun. Double sixes on the attack roll automatically cause a critical. Criticals can be brutal, and one can turn the tide of a combat in seconds, everything from a lucky escape, to a ruptured fuel, to a vehicular explosion. Balance is maintained using point buy for vehicles and pedestrians. On aberrantgames.com there are free ezines called Data Dump which covers all of Aberrant’s games (Though there aren't currently new zines). With the release of the full rulebook, Mac's Bodyshop is where it's at, while the addition of more background is nice, the real meat of this product is the ability to field unique models, a la Car Wars. I scavenged parts off my old Epic minis to get lots more turrets and large bore guns to put on the vehicles, so whether I'm running a Rattler or a more beefy truck, this just plain rocks.
There are full "army" lists, with 4 levels of play based upon points. 0-150 points is patrol level, 150-250 Skirmish, 250-750 Battle, and 750+ full-on War. The play-test game we played was about 300 points. I had a champion kicking it on the watch tower with a 50cal rifle with a laser sight, that was fun, I also fielded 3 scrap mechs. At 20 points each these are under-priced. Wielding a mini-gun but having the ability to aim is a bit unbalanced. I want to see the ability for scrap-mechs to have interchangeable weaponry, but at our house, that's an easy fix. Twin 50Cals? Oh, that sounds FUN! The main force you can choose from is the Warriors of the Wastelands force. The second list is Nomads. The last is Lotek. Nomads and Lotek have specific special rules which apply to the forces, the Lotek forces have poor tech weaponry, but are brutal in hand to hand. Noamds don't fight for control of the force, so no power struggles mid-game between leaders and champions, making it a more stable force, but as they barter more, they have to roll on a special table for loners.
Loners are individuals that join for pay, aka Mercs, or The Stranger and his Dog...I think he might be named Max the Mad or something like that....If you want a sniper for your Lotek force, a loner might be what you're seeking, since he won't be subject to the Lotek rules. It's an interesting way to make your force more varied.
There are some errors in the book, but many of them have been addressed in the FAQ on the Aberrant Forums. No big deal, that's first print for you, at least they're addressed quickly, unlike some companies.
Miniatures: Decent, the vehicles are resin cast, with white metal accessories and figures. Being 20mm scale it’s easy to pull in WW2 or modern miniatures for additional pedestrians, even axis and allies figures work pretty well scale-wise. (Though I wish there were some good post-apoc 20 mm mini lines out there, until Aberrant can get pedestrian figs made. Though using paper minis for the pedestrian minis is an option as well, there are already some of those out there, even if there are only 25mm ones, just printing them at 80% size makes them 20mm.)
Comprehension Level: Excellent, The rules are simple, the action furious. It’s one of the fastest miniatures games I’ve played. You can get lucky penetrating shots that change the course of the game very quickly. When you roll doubles, you automatically get to roll on the devastating table, if you roll a 1, Kaboom, vehicle destroyed. Makes for a pretty fun game.