Published on 23/05/2016
I had reservations about Battle for Zycanthus. I wrote about them in a previous blog, and I still had reservations right up until I played my first game. Do we really need another sci-fi miniature wargame? Is there room in an already saturated market for another? And then it dawned on me - this is good, this is a very good game, and the answer is yes, we do need another sci-fi wargame, and it's here.
It looks good, it feels good, and it plays good. The background is coherent and plausible, the production values are first class, and the models themselves are worthy of any contemporary rival you care to name.
As always, it's a trait of mine to start talking about value for money, and it's here that Maelstrom's Edge also shines. You have two complete armies in a box, split the box 50/50 with a friend, and the value for money gets even better. It's almost up there with the Judge Dredd starter box, and the X-Wing core set, so it's keeping good company, and it's more than a match for what Games Workshop's Dark Vengeance offers, all for a competitive price.
On reflection, for me anyway, even the downsides of Battle for Zycanthus aren't really downsides for the more experienced gamer. The lack of a quick reference sheet, and assembly guide is not ideal for somebody who is getting into miniature wargaming for the first time, but these are easily rectified by a visit to the Spiral Arm Studio website for printable copies.
Gaming wise, there is an element of rock, paper, scissors, about both factions. The Epirians shoot well, and are ok in close combat, whilst the Karist Enclave fights well, and is ok in the shooting phase.
As much as I enjoyed gaming with and against both factions, a third faction, which is no doubt in the pipeline, will provide an excellent counter-balance, and alter the game dynamics for the better. Plus, it'll be interesting to see what design aesthetics go into this. I'm very much looking forward to seeing a third faction in the near future.
That being said, some of the design concepts at work, made sense. The welcome return of suppression tokens, and simplified dice rolls are massive plus points in my book and the common sense approach to movement and line of sight, is also to be welcomed. Once you've learned the ropes, there is very little reference to the rulebook. This is a company that enages with customers and takes feedback, so the future bodes well for this game.
Great miniatures, a rules system that plays well, and first class production values, means I have no hesitation in saluting this first time effort from Spiral Arm.
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