I'll keep this short as it's getting late and I have work tomorrow, but I'd like to talk a little bit about the alpha rule set that Mantic have just released. These are of course bare-bones but provide us with a solid idea about what we can expect from the gameplay itself.
First of all, it's area based, meaning movement and ranges are handled by squares marked out on the gameboard, similar to Dust Tactics. However, in contrast to Dust Tactics, which I found too abstract and boardgamey, Deadzone uses true line of sight and positioning within a square is very important. Jake has basically tried to remove the fiddlyness of measuring ranges while keeping the freedom that makes it exciting. Has he succeeded? Well, I need to test it to really know but I think that this sounds like a pretty damned good compromise! One thing's for certain, no need for measuring makes for a quicker game.
The Plague. Love the 1st generation (big guy) and the 2nd generations (not shown), but the 3rd generations are a bit meh. Not bad.... but not as good as the rest. Might replace them with undead legionnaires from Warzone.
The game is based on a dice pool mechanic using D8s (normally three of them) and you often roll against your opponent in versus rolls and counts successes based on a basic stat, like Fighting 5+. In some ways it reminded me of Infinity, but thinking more about it I wonder if it's not actually closer to Heavy Gear Blitz. Anyway, depending on how well you roll (failed, beat your opponent or rolled twice as well as your opponent) you get different results, and since you can also often choose which stat to use when defending (Fighting or Surival for breaking off a melee for example) these results can be quite different.
For example, trying to break out of melee using your Survival skill and rolling twice as many successes as your opponent means you get to make a free move out of the square and then take a free suppression fire action against the enemy you left behind. Pretty cool I thought!
Enforcers. Great looking! The elite jackbooted corporate thugs who are sent in to "contain" a plague outbreak. Of course, by now the stretchgoals have added twice as many models.
The difference in rolls also correlate to damage, so if I roll three successes against my opponent's one success I have a potential damage of two. Subtract the opponent's armour and you get the final damage. Models can take one damage and remain in play, while injured, but die after a second damage. Of course stuff like armour piercing weapons and headshots come into this. However, there are really no weapon stats as such. A basic rifle simply has long range, and a pistol short. An assault blade has AP1 but that's it - it's more about the stats on the models and what you roll than the stats of the weapons. At this point in time at least, I think people like weapon stats and wouldn't be surprised to see them expanded before release.
There's a simple but effective suppression/morale mechanic with models being (in ascending order) Pinned, Alert, Enraged or Berserk. Instead of shooting to kill you can use Blaze Away (suppression fire) to lower an enemies morale level. Being Pinned gives you a penalty to most rolls and you must use your first action to raise your morale to Alert when it's your turn.
There's equipment strewn around the battlefield that you can pick up, mostly grenades and ammo (which gives a bonus to suppression fire). Grenades are pretty cool and could be really devastating! Since models actually get knocked away from the blast they can be used for clearing enemies out of cover or off rooftops. Neat!
The system is of the I-GO-U-GO model, but with a twist. Besides being able to put models in overwatch
Finally there will be rules for accumulating experience and getting better as a team, so it seems like the great void left by Necromunda and Mordheim might finally be filled.
I'm thinking the rules for sniper rifles will be armour piercing and perhaps bonus to overwatch.
Hmm... yeah, I think that covers most of the important stuff. While the individual mechanics are perhaps not innovative in and of themselves, I think the way they fit together make for a fairly unique gaming experience. I will report back after trying these rules out (next week hopefully) but right now I think they seem very cool! It seems like these rules will excell at telling little stories within the game, very much like Infinity, but at an average game clocking in around an hour it's a lot quicker.
Alright... those are my thoughts. Now why don't you go and jump aboard the Deadzone kickstarter?! Just look at this guy!