Photo courtesy of Rusted Heroes website
"So Scott, next Thursday how about we try out some Rusted Heroes?"
"What the hell is that?"
"It's this miniature game I got off of a trade from barter town."
"Hu, sure why not.
"Let's bring some star wars minis just in case we decide to give up on it"
"Sounds good, we'll play some Rusted Heroes [said sarcastically] on Thursday."
So I went home and waited for our next gaming session to roll around. In the meantime I decided to assemble the miniatures. I figured, since I am going to review it on my blog I might as well assemble the damn things even if, I figured, I was never going to use them again.
Captain badass of the Order of the Rose
This is the first place I was surprised. I had previously only glanced at the miniatures, but, as most of you know, the intimate and often frustrating experience of assembling miniatures forces one to take a closer look at a model. These were surprisingly dynamic, yet simple in their design. And Angry Bear wasn't angry because there was almost no flash. Wasn't always a fan of some of the detailing of the faces but that is just a stylistic qualm, the sculpting was certainly not poor. I would place these miniatures well above the average reaper sculpt.
Photo courtesy of Rusted Heroes website
That Hydra is in their miniature line too, quite awesome!
Well then I read the rules. Surprise number two! Upon reading the one page rules pamphlet I found myself thinking, "This game is everything I thought Anima Tactics should be." Ya that was a shocker. Here is this little unknown game that has been hanging out since 2006 and it seemed to have solid rules with interesting sculpts. I mean sure, in the face of Studio Mcvey, Kingdom Death and Dark Horse Miniatures they may not be the best models ever; but if you compare them to Reaper, Games Workshop, or Kings of War they are way up near the top. In the words of Lewis Black, "And then I was confused."
My world view shifted a little bit right then and there. At this point you might say, "How do you know I haven't heard of this game?" Well I know because there are only, including me and Scott, 18 people on their forums.
When you think of Scott just picture this.
So on to Thursday. Time to throw down and see if the metal matches up to my theory. Scott and I had a fierce battle. I the Dragon Knights and Scott the Order of the Rose. The battle raged, first I had the upper hand, then Scott, then back to me. We hooted as we made initiative rolls while classic rock played in the background. Eventually the dust cleared, no really that is how the end of the game felt. The body of the game like a giant explosion and when the dust cleared you waited to see who, if any one, would walk out of the cloud. Well unfortunately for me it was Scott.
Sir Lessen held out for a good long time against this force and even did some damage!
Scott's reply to the game was "Wow, I didn't expect that". Then Scott decided to buy the Norse Invaders. Then we got to thinking and talking about the game. In the end we did not say, this game is good, or this game is bad like we usually did. No, this is a nice little game. In the end we decided to run a 5 week campaign with special scenarios, and each week we would be required to paint up a new mini in our force or count an unpainted model as a casualty at the beginning of the round.
So I guess I should tell you how the game is played.
It is based on a D10 system (ten sided die, DUH!). When you get in base base contact you can roll a D10 and see if it matches the enemies modified AR (Armor Value, not so Duh). If it does you hit and the opponent can choose to defend or take the hit. If they defend they roll a die and succeed in evading the attack if the number matches the modified attack roll.
My boy Rathar's card
If you did hit you roll another D10 and compare it to the base AR of your victim. For every point you exceed the AR you do one point of damage. Most guys have between 6 and 10 wounds they can take. A lot like Anima Tactics right?
You are so wrong you just got kicked by this cat.
Wrong. And here is why. In Tactics you generally needed to get a 10 on the die if your opponent dodged. So it takes a long boring time to hit your opponent and do anything. Imagine in Heroclix or D&D if you needed a crit to hit anything at all on any side, pretty frickin boring! In Rusted Heroes the numbers of pretty well balanced. The max armor I have seen is a 6, and since that is with a shield, you only get a 5 when avoiding damage. Some guys have lower so it doesn't take an hour to hit your opponent, but it is also not easy since there are few modifiers to the attack roll (damage is another story). Defending is also well balanced since you have to meet the attackers roll instead of adding to your own armor. Cool Cool.
Each character gets two activation points when they activate. These points can be used to move or attack, ect, ect. You can also use the points to defend ( so obviously there is resource management involved). If your guy has a shield he has an extra die that can be used once to defend, this is cool because you do not have to use up AP when defending. Pretty cool mechanic. Initiative is rolled each turn like in most good games and then they ol' alternate activation of untits kick in.
Those are the basics but here is how the creator plays it (thank you YouTube).
This is a game where each character gets a card. This seems to be an ongoing trend in skirmish games. Get a character get a card with them. Not too bad, and this game utilizes this idea very well. The rules for the character are all on the card, and nothing too extraneous.
The MVP of the game, he was definitely promoted.
The special "powers" characters have are simple and well balanced. Nothing more than, "Hey I have a big ass sword and when I hit you with it I will probably cause internal bleeding!" So the equipment just grants bonuses to, primarily, damage rolls. Nothing felt crazy, super human, or off balance. Just knights hitting each other. Best part was, the bonuses still felt fun.
Ok but how many figures do I need to play?
Uhhhhhhhh, less than 7. There isn't much you need outside the starter sets, or if your like Scott and me, you need nothing more! As far as I can tell you can only buy these minis off of Ebay or the Rusted Heroes website unless you are super local to the games creator. No worries though this means you get to support indy games!
What would I fix?
Hmmmmm, not much. I think the only things i would really fix would be to include some counters with the characters to keep track of actions and expand the rule book. I would also clear up some of the language on the cards, sometimes it is confusing.... Oh. My. Gosh. A miniature game with poorly proofed rules/ final product? That NEVER happens! Ya, sure. I won't blame them much for that because my grammar not good is. (In fact I will dangle a preposition right off a frickin' building if I want to and ain't no one gonna stop me.)
So I rate this game as fun with a capital FUN. Get some friends together and get a group going. Low entrance cost, lots of living playability. Do it. Cause i said so. You know, unless you don't want to.
Sorry for the lack of eye candy!
As I end this post I want to apologize for the lack of eye candy. I have not been able to paint as much as I would like to lately. I promise I will post a little more when I get the chance. I of course am going to be working on the Rusted Heroes stuff but also have some Reaper mouslings and MERCs minis in the works.
Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, this is Antizombie ( now with buisness cards) signing off.
-Steve (coming to a theater near you!)