This week a bit more of my crowd-funding swag has turned up. Obviously just over a month back now my Tentacle Bento stuff turned up, which was the first of the projects I'd supported and backed on my Blog to deliver the goods. But, on Wednesday I had the first major bunch of swag turn up from the Bushido Ito Indiegogo campaign, and then a day later the first batch of stuff from my DreadBall pledge turned up. So stuff has begun to roll in. It's actually quite bizarre to see packages turn up and not really know what they are, so it's like a lot of mini Christmas's. Although I totally knew that the DreadBall package was DreadBall. So it's pleasant to get these little presents you've brought yourself months and months ago suddenly turn up. Obviously I'm still waiting on any of my Gruntz and Sedition Wars stuff... plus Relic Knights, Freebooter's Fate and some other stuff I'm sure I've long since forgotten about! Hopefully though I will remember what the hell they are and make sure people do actually deliver my swag.
|Crowd-funding swag. Result!!!|
So what do I think of the Ito first of all? I'm honestly quite impressed with them. I've always liked the design brief that much of the Bushido stuff has been sculpted to so far, but there are a number of 'issues' with the range. Some of the earlier stuff is sculpted to very different scales from each other, in some cases it seems like none of the miniatures match up to any of the other... OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration for dramatic effect. But, the guys at GCT Studio's themselves have really worked hard over subsequent waves to ensure that each miniature now conforms far more to rigid set of scales and design briefs. In short the range has gotten better and better with each wave in my humble opinion. So they've worked really hard at it and the results are starting the bear fruit. So when I received the Ito on Wednesday I was keen to see what I thought of them as a collection as a whole. In the main I think it's fair to say I'm quietly impressed, and the fact that the Indiegogo campaign helped GCT Studios do the entire faction in one go has clearly helped with not only the high standard, but also that all important consistency.
|My Bushido Ito still residing in their packaging... but not for long.|
Genuinely I'd class the Ito faction as the best all-round faction for looks and consistency no question. I only really have some slight scale concerns with Satoshi, who seems to be slightly larger scale than the rest of the miniatures and perhaps Akimoto who seems slightly smaller... although in Akimoto's case the fact that his entire upper body appears to be that of a cobra's means I'm not entirely sure what 'scale' he is. Of the two it's certainly Satoshi who is the more noticeably wonky scale, but even then it's not as huge a difference as some of the other scale shifts in the Bushido range. Nope I'm exceedingly pleased with my Ito, and if you weren't one of the sensible and shrewd individuals who backed GCT's Indiegogo campaign then you might be interested to know that throughout the month of December every item brought on the GCT Studio's webstore will enter you into a raffle to win an Ito starter set and extra's, and yes more products purchased does increase your likelihood of winning said prize. So that's cool. Honestly though if you've been on the fence about getting into Bushido and you've been waiting for a good excuse I think the launch of the Ito might be enough to push a few of you over the edge.
|The contents of the DreadBall boxed set without Kickstart extras.|
So that's that for the Ito, so what do I think of DreadBall? Well as a game I was quite heavily involved with play-testing things, and although Jake zigged when I might have personally zagged on a few things, I have to say that on the whole I thought DreadBall was an eminently playable, enjoyable and balanced game. I know there has been some discussion on Jacks, fixed starting teams and the odd other tidbit since Mantic released the rulebook as a PDF a few months back now, but I have to say that the more you actually get used to playing the game the more you realise that actually on the whole Jake got it about right. Given how dynamic and quick the game was there was always likely to be issues with making the game perfect for both league play and one off play. However, I have played a pretty good chunk of games both as one offs and as league games, and if there were to be any tweaks to the game I'd say they should be miniscule in their impact because the game is pretty darn tight as it is.
|The ever-so shiny DreadBall rulebook.|
Given this is a first edition of the game though I have no doubt we'll see people playing things very differently to how the play-testers played it and maybe some issues will be exposed. However, as I say I'm pretty confident that once people settle down with the game and get their feet under the table properly, many of the things they're concerned about now will mostly evaporate. So that's gameplay out of the way... so what about quality of product? I have to say I've got a bit fed up of defending Mantic's quality levels to people who hadn't actually brought or closely inspected Mantic products. Subtle hint, if you haven't owned any of their product, or seen any of it in the flesh you don't know whether it's cheap crap or not. However, I have had concerns about the quality of card components in the Dwarf Kings Hold and Project Pandora games, they're not as splendid as they should be, and I said so in my reviews. So I know there are a few of you out there who are justifiably concerned over the potential quality of DreadBall.
|It's all colourful and shiny inside too.|
You really need not worry. I've had a flick through the rulebook that comes in the boxed set and I have to say that it is a very high quality rulebook for a boxed game, actually it wouldn't be too bad as a standalone product in its own right. It is full-colour and the page and print quality is as good as that of most other companies you could care to mention. The pitch, which is obviously the component that is most likely to get ground into the dirt is actually a really good quality board, and I'd say it stands up very well to comparisons from other board game manufacturers. The whole product genuinely feels like a massive step forward in terms of quality for Mantic, and anyone who grumbles about it being another 'cheap' Mantic product will end up looking a tad foolish when people actually see the boxed set itself. It gets a thumbs up from me and I would hope most other people will be more than happy with it when they finally get it in their hands. Of course you should expect a pretty comprehensive review from my good-self at some point next week, given my already extensive experience with it as a product. So a few weeks out from Christmas, and given my real life trials and tribulations of late I've actually had some decent pick me ups. Peace out!