Krampus Shipping Update

By Mantic Games

Ronnie here with a quick update about Krampus shipping. Our intention was to start shipping Krampus in December and then into the New Year (similar to Holiday Hellboy earlier this year).

We have to do these limited edition items as one print, and usually we can guess the final number – then we print a few more than that, get it printed and start sending, even though the cut-off date for orders hasn’t passed.

However, due to the sheer number of orders so far we have had to put the print order on hold. We have already gone past the forecast, and often there is a final rush as the deadline approaches too. So in this case we just don’t know where we are going to end up, and we don’t want to disappoint people and risk them not being able to get Krampus!

This means we are going to have to wait until late December to place the print order – which means that all orders (including trade orders, so we are fair to the hobby shops too) will start shipping in January.

The good news is the print takes just a few days (and we will be busy casting throughout December – which is another time consuming bit) so we will be able to start shipping early January. Plus because January is traditionally a quiet time, we will get them out to you very quickly.

Apologies to those of you that were hoping to receive Krampus before Christmas. If you have a web order that features other items (excluding Nimue) and you require those before Christmas, please email support@manticgames.com and we’ll get those shipped out separately and Mantic will cover the shipping. Likewise, if you needed it before the holidays and want a refund for your Krampus, please contact support, and we can sort that, no questions asked.

Anyway, we just wanted to give you an update so you weren’t
shaking down the postman every day, and can manage excitement levels
accordingly.

If you still haven’t ordered your Krampus, you can do so until December 31st. Check out the video below to whet your appetite… or just be totally freaked out.

The post Krampus Shipping Update appeared first on Mantic Games.

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T&G Walking Dead Campaign

By Mantic Games

For today’s blog post we’re dipping into the media community to have a chat with Tom from T&G Productions about their new content for The Walking Dead: All Out War in the form of an exciting four-player campaign!

Q) A campaign? Sounds exciting! What can you tell us?

A) Well after marking TWD battle reports for a couple of
years, we’ve really developed an affinity for certain factions and characters,
as well as ongoing narrative in-jokes and acts of heroism. Whether it’s Carl’s
lucky hat, Shiva hitting like a damp sponge or the impeding sense of dread when
someone draws There’s a Storm Comin’, we have plenty of fond moments to look
back on. We wanted a way to create further opportunities for these great gaming
moments as well as adding some weight to each battle and decision. So, we have
four players, each with their favoured teams (Grimes Family, Greene Family,
Saviours and Prisoners), battling it out in a five round (10 game) campaign for
supremacy!

Q) Great! Will you be using the Fear the Hunters
expansion?

A) We’ve created a slightly updated campaign document
specifically for the channel, though it is certainly based heavily on the FtH
expansion from Wave 5. Ideas such as the ‘campaign cards’, which add a variety
of complications to battles, as well as the grid-based system and places of
interest are all present. However, we have made some significant changes to add
unique flavour to each crew and battle.

Q) So what has changed then?

A) Quite a bit! Firstly, we have allocated survivors and
weapons to particular areas of interest, meaning players will have to gain
control of these regions in order to expand their options. However, these areas
are hidden by a ‘fog of war’, meaning players must roll on a table whenever
they encounter a new location. One of my favourite examples is the ‘Hunting
Ground’, which not only houses Chris and his vicious Hunters, but also gives
players access to silenced weapons such as the crossbow and tranquiliser gun!
Each area also gives an ongoing buff for your battles, with the previous
example allowing you upgrade your defensive cover rolls once per game! All this
feeds in nicely to the fact that any scavenged supplies picked up in battles
are kept by survivors, meaning you really have to think about when you use
those bandages and ammo reloads!

Q) This is all sounding incredibly thematic! Are there
any other aspects that transfer between battles?

A) Survivor injuries are a big one, and something we did
a lot of playtesting with. We want everyone’s favourite characters to shine but
at the same time need to add a level of consequence to each loss. In order to
do this, we’ve added in a few rules concerning the lasting damage of ‘kills’
and bites. Permanent death is possible during the campaign, but in general
you’ll find players ‘resting’ those that have seen too much action. There are
also some lasting impacts of your faction markers on the map, with walker
infested zones adding to the Threat Tracker while attacks in your ‘base’ hex can
trigger a specific game type called ‘Assault’ – all of which add to the ongoing
struggles for control shown by the factions.

Q) So who are you taking and who are you gunning for?

A) Well I think it will come as no surprise to anyone
that I’ve gone with the Prisoners – and while Dexter and his buddies might be a
little less powerful than their opponents one on one, they have some excellent
synergy and options for cool equipment to power them up. As we have a
gentlemen’s agreement to try and equip our survivors in as much of a WYSIWYG
(what you see is what you get) manner, the prisoners also benefit from being
modelled with a variety of weapon types. As for who I’m gunning for…well,
actually I might need to play avoidance in the early rounds as there are some
BIG hitters in the starting crews, Negan, Shane, Rick – all with high nerve and
damage potential. So my plan is to try and limit my casualties early until I
can recruit a superstar leader like the Governor or Andrea from one of the
points of interest.

Q) Is the campaign something that viewers can use for
their own games?

A) Certainly. We have compiled the information into a primer document here for viewers to make use of. We are hoping that those who enjoy the battle reports might be spurred into running their own ongoing narratives and are welcome to make use of the format that we have produced, digging out some of those lesser-used minis (looking at you Eugene) for a run out. Additionally, after the success of this year’s Conflict event, there is definite scope for us to run a ‘campaign weekend’ with players joining forces in teams to represent factions on a larger variant of the map!

Q) Fantastic! When and where can people tune in?

A) The campaign goes live TODAY! We have an intro video
and the first game uploaded with forthcoming matches uploaded into early 2020.
Viewers will be able to see each map update at the end of every second video (eg.
Round 1, Game 2) to see how the factions are expanding their influence and
we’ll be sneaking teasers into our social media as each game is recorded.

Channel Link: https://www.youtube.com/c/TGProductionsOfficial

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Kings of War – New Titans!

By Mantic Games

Uncharted Empires isn’t the only big release for Kings of War this December – because we’re also preparing to unleash three new Titans upon Pannithor. First off though, if you missed our Uncharted Empires preview from Matt Gilbert, you can check it out here.

We’ve got three new Titans on the horizon, including the Phoenix, Kraken and Goblin Slasher. You can read a quick preview of each below. However, before our main feature, we have a quick trailer.

PHOENIX

The Phoenix was already an entry for the courageous Basileans but is now also a part of the updated Salamanders list. The Phoenix is the symbol of Basilea: an emblem of rebirth, holy fire and blazing fury. These semi-magical birds are summoned by the mages of Basilea to fight with the armies of the Hegemon.

Phoenixes are vast birds of prey, part fire and part feather; it is unknown exactly how they came into being. They are the favoured creature of the Shining One Fulgria, the goddess of fire, and legend states how they were created from her own sacred flames.

Stats-wise the Phoenix is the same in the Salamanders and Basilean list. The stat that catches the eye is the tasty Fireball (10) spell, which is likely to see your foes turning to ash. Meanwhile, the Heal (5) spell might come in handy for healing your troops.

KRAKEN

Similar to the Phoenix, the Kraken had been a staple in the Trident Realm list since Second Edition… but we’ve finally been able to produce a model! In times of great need, Naiad Centurions, or even one of the Trident Kings themselves, may summon one of these terrible and mighty monsters.

These titans from the deepest ocean have surprised many an enemy of the Neritican army – their immense size and gait belies the speed and ferocity of an enraged Kraken.

In the Trident Realm list, you’ve got the option of two Titans: the Coral Giant and the Kraken. Both are pretty speedy (coming in at Sp 7) but the Kraken arguably has the combat advantage, thanks to a guaranteed 12 attacks in melee. It also has Ensnare, so attackers suffer a -1 modifier to their melee attacks. Well, guess those tentacles would put you off a bit!

GOBLIN SLASHER

Obviously, we’re saving the best until last! The Goblin Slasher is a slight modification to our existing Orc Krudger on Winged Slasher kit… but this is loads better because it has wonderful goblins riding it.

One of the great coups for a goblin king is the taming of a Slasher. A king’s most trusted, skilled and experienced Snaggits are sent into a Slasher cave to tame these powerful reptiles. When they don’t come back out, the king sends in any old goblin to try and subdue it. Eventually the Slasher will be dragged from its den, blinking and confused about the Sharpstick Thrower now clumsily strapped to its back.

The Goblin Slasher can used by either a goblin force or an ogre army. Once again, the stats are the same for both. For the goblins, the Slasher is one of the few units that hits on a 3+ in melee – so it’s potentially pretty deadly. What’s more, before you actually get stuck into the enemy in close combat, you can be firing away with the Sharpstick Thrower, which has a range of 36″. So, weaken them down and then head in for the kill.

THESE NEW TITANS AND THE UNCHARTED EMPIRES SUPPLEMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER FROM FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND – ALONGSIDE CRAZY BOBBY’S LATEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS.

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Matt Gilbert talks Uncharted Empires

By Mantic Games

Hello! I’m Matt Gilbert, the studio manager here at Mantic and head of everything Kings of War. I’m here today to talk about the hotly anticipated follow-up to the Kings of War version 3 rulebook – Uncharted Empires!

The new supplement will be available to pre-order from the Mantic website this Friday… alongside the start of Crazy Bobby’s Black Friday deals. I’ll tackle this in a Q&A style interview with myself (yes, I’m sitting alone in an office right now with no other company) so that it hopefully deals with all the questions and comments I’ve seen (or am anticipating!) in the various groups online.

Q: Wait… I thought
the book was called Armies of Pannithor? That’s what everyone’s been calling
it.

A: Yes – that was the working title but we decided that because people knew what Uncharted Empires was from Second Edition, it made sense to stick to the same format for Third 🙂

Q: So what does the
book contain and how many pages is it?

A: The book is
112 pages and contains both background and army lists for the following:

  • Brotherhood (these now have two lists: The Order of the Brothermark and The Order of the Green Lady)
  • Free Dwarfs
  • Salamanders
  • Sylvan Kin
  • The Herd
  • Kingdoms of Men
  • League of Rhordia
  • Ratkin
  • Ratkin Slaves
  • Twilight Kin
  • Varangur

There’s a background section from pages four through to 31 and just like the rulebook, each army list gets a few pages of background leading into it too.

Q: Are all the lists
in the book full army lists?

A: Some of them
are Master Lists and others are Themes. Themes are presented and discussed in
the main rulebook but Uncharted Empires is the first time players will have
access to them. Themes are a great way for us to include lists with similar
roots but then add a new flavour so they play in a different way. Theme lists
have a parent Master list which they take some of their units from. They then
have a variety of their own units that are also available for selection.

The Salamanders, Kingdoms of Men and Ratkin are all Master
lists. The rest are all Theme lists. For example, the Varangur is a Theme list
where the parent Master list is the Northern Alliance (but with an Evil
alignment!). Varangur theme units include things like Draugr, The Fallen and
Mounted Sons of Korgaan, alongside units from the Northern Alliance, like
Clansmen, Huscarls and Snow Trolls.

Q: Why didn’t you
just include all these armies in the main rulebook?

A: I had a very
specific format for how I wanted the armies in the main rulebook to be
presented via art and photography. That meant sticking to armies that we
produce a significant range of models for, and ones we didn’t have to ask for
permission to use pictures of! This means the main rulebook really shows off
just how far Mantic and Kings of War has come over the last 10 years – but it
also gave more time for the extra armies to get some testing in, and gave our
layout team a break before doing more pages and pictures. Between the two
books, version 3 has launched with more than 500 pages of material… and that
would be a hefty tome to carry around in your bag. We would have to start
selling official Mantic wheelbarrows to carry everything in.

Q: So does that mean
there are no pretty pictures or art in the Uncharted Empires book?

A: The layout and presentation follows on from the main rulebook – this is the design for this edition of the game. We do have new art in the book some of the new armies, and we have taken some new pictures – but there’s just not as much as in the main rulebook. It’s all still really nice though!

Q: Are there any more
of those great new maps in the book?

A: Not this time
– the locations of the armies in Uncharted Empires are all covered in the maps
in the main rulebook.

Q: If this book helps
represent many of the models that Mantic doesn’t currently make, are there any
plans to start producing models yourselves for these armies in the future?

A: Yes! Obviously there’s still a lot to fill in as part of our existing ranges. But we have plans to attack both. With the original Uncharted Empires book for the previous edition, we tried to be accommodating to many models people might already have, while ensuring that the background we wrote started to put a Mantic spin on each army – cementing them into the world of Pannithor. We continue that here and will do so again in the future, slowly adapting armies and bringing them in line with our own models, ranges and IP as build the world and the game. We will always welcome new players and provide a means for them to play, but of course as we expand our own ranges, there will be many new units that new players will not have and should be excited to try, integrating with their existing collections. Who knows, perhaps one day we might do things like Ratkin, for example…

Q: Have some units
been dropped from the previous edition?

A: Just like with
the lists in the main rulebook, we’ve taken the opportunity to look at how we
wanted each army to behave, as well as how the game played overall. Some of
this involved consolidating similar units into one, some units were removed,
but others have also been added. Not all units removed will have gone forever –
they may come back in a future Clash of Kings book, on their own, or as part of
a formation, for example. Some units were moved out of what is now a Master
list and into a Theme – and so some units currently not available may do
likewise in some of the Themes we introduce in the future.

Q: Where have all the
halflings gone!?

A: There are
still some halflings in the League of Rhordia list! However, the halflings are
pulling back from the League of Rhordia, and while they continue to fulfil
their basic and mandatory military obligations, there is a growing migration
back to the shires. Have no fear though, the armies of the shires are swelling as
a consequence so you can probably read between the lines (and refer to a
previous answer above!) if you are a fan of the little people.

Hopefully that gives a little insight into the new book and answers some of your questions in advance, and might just create some new ones!

Armies of Pannithor – sorry, UNCHARTED EMPIRES, will be available to pre-order from the Mantic website this Friday (the same day our Black Friday offers go live too). It is due to start shipping from December 2nd.

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Brush with Death Autumn 2019 Painting Competition – WINNERS!

By Mantic Games

Hi Martin here, sorry for the short delay in announcing the winners for the Autumn Brush with Death but you’ll see why in a moment… this was an extremely hard competition to judge! Thank you to everyone that entered. The standard was the best we’ve seen.

Once again, our head judge was the mighty Paul Welsh, so here we go!

Best Army – Stefan Donovan

Best Under 16 – Torsten Wilkinson

Best Squad – Rafal Maj

Notice – due to a technical issue Alvaro’s entry got missed off the shortlist. Through internal discussions and with the head judge Paul, we have decided to award Alvaro with a special prize for his entry as it was so good!! Congratulations Alvaro! – Martin

Special Prize – Alvaro Lareo

Best Single – Tom Ambrose

Best Diorama – Rafal Maj

Paul stated that this was the toughest Brush with Death to judge so far and was very impressed with all the entries.

Congratulations to all the winners – we will be in touch shortly to get the details for the prizes to be sent out to you.

Thanks again to our amazing sponsors Artis Opus and Redgrass Games who have been so generous with their support once again!

The next Brush with Death competition will take place in May 2020. Stay tuned for details.

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How to create custom Walking Dead scenarios

By Mantic Games

Today we’ve got a fascinating blog from guest contributor Daniel Meadows. Daniel is one of the members of The Walking Dead RC and is currently busy working on all the cool stuff we’ve got coming up for TWD. Anyway, in this blog he gives you a guide for creating custom scenarios in All Out War. Over to you Daniel…

Having been involved in some great TWD events over the last year such as Conflict, and designed the scenarios used in the two largest AOW events so far (Winter’s End & Trial By Fire), this guest blog is going to focus on some of the considerations you might have if you want to devise your own scenarios too.

An AOW Organised Play kit is currently in the works that
will include a variety of new custom scenarios to play, new ways to play
competitively and new ideas for solo games too.

Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite and get your
creative juices flowing!

Some key variables that can alter the feel of the game
include:

  • Mat Size
    Mantic’s TWD 20” x 20” mats are perfect for encouraging a claustrophobic
    feel where walkers are more likely to be able to gang up and outnumber
    Survivors. As a consequence, a smaller mat tends to make the Event cards more
    impactful as there are fewer places to hide from a shambling Walker. 20” mats
    can also mean that Survivors get into melee sooner, but it can make Ranged
    weapons very powerful as some weapons can shoot from deployment zone to
    deployment zone on Turn 1.

There are some suitable 24” mats that fit the TWD theme nicely. While the mats are only 4” longer in both dimensions, this does translate to a big difference in terms of playing surface. A 24” mat actually has 44% more playing surface than a 20” mat. If you were using the same number of walkers on both mats then the level of ‘walker concentration’ would be greater on the smaller mat. You would have to work harder to get past them. So as a consequence games may be faster on a 24” mat, which can be important for events / tournaments.

  • Walkers: 
    If in doubt, then the standard rule of thumb ‘1 Walker for every
    15pts of a Survivor group used’ works well. So you would use 20 Walkers for a
    game with 300pt Survivor Groups. If you want to speed up play then you can
    reduce the number of Walkers slightly. Using 15 Walkers works well for 250pt
    games on a 24” mat for events.

If you want more of a challenge then you
might want to increase the number of walkers further, you could add some
Armoured Walkers from the ‘Safety Behind Bars’ Expansion or you could add a
rule where any Walkers that are killed immediately return to the game. The Organised
Play kit will include a whole selection of similar rules to modify many areas
of the game.

  • Scenery: Mixing it up and including
    plenty of additional terrain can help to tailor a scenario to your needs. The
    standard Scenery Pack includes 4x Cars and 6x Barriers which equates to 14
    Scenery Points. If you want to reduce the threat of shooting a bit more then
    you might up this to 18-20 Scenery Points on a 20” mat (try 24-26 Points on a
    24” mat), and include some blocking terrain like a small building or a wooded
    area. The right scenery can really help to set the scene for your custom
    scenario.

Other variables that you can change up include the Survivor
Group selection rules, having equipment restrictions, changing how the event
deck works, and altering the Threat Tracker rules. All of these will be covered
in the Organised Play kit. Now on to the Scenario themes themselves…

It is important to select some variety in your scenarios so
that where possible there is a different focus each time. This focus could be
things like collecting supplies, killing the opposition, moving to a certain
location or achieving a special objective.

For an event or tournament, scenario variety can promote a
more balanced approach to building Survivor groups where different qualities
will be tested each time. These qualities could be regarded as things like:

Supply Scavenging

Scavenging supplies is a fundamental part of AOW and
rewarding this as a secondary objective is recommended for all scenarios. In
order to promote a team approach, a rule can be added that limits the number of
Supplies that can be carried by any one Survivor so that is equal to their pack
size. Characters with one pack space may only carry one Supply counter. This
makes it essential to plan the supply scavenging with a team approach. Other
variations could be where the Supplies have to be collected and deposited in a
certain location.

Threat Management

This aspect can be tested by having the Threat Tracker start
at a higher point, by preventing the Threat Tracker being reduced below a
certain point, by using more Event Cards that increase the Threat level and by
not stopping the game when the Threat reaches the maximum.

All these conditions can mean that the Threat Level is
higher throughout the Scenario which leads to more dangerous Events occurring
on the Event Cards, and that Survivors with Low or Medium threat are more
likely to panic.

Walker Clearance

This can be tested by clumping walkers around an objective,
as players with strong Survivors who can kill Walkers will have an advantage
and be able to get to the objectives. Adding in ‘Endless Horde’ rules can also
reward this aspect and this rule is where any Walkers killed can immediately be
placed by the player whose Survivor made the kill. This allows a Survivor to
kill a walker and immediately place it behind the enemy lines.

Survivor Slaying

This aspect is tested in a straight up PvP death match style
scenario. It is recommended that the primary scoring system for the other scenarios
encourages players to engage in the main objective and does not reward survivor
kills too much.

Co-ordinated Movement

This aspect can be tested with a dynamic element in the
scenario such as moving the whole team across the board to exit a far edge, or
to collect an object and return it to their deployment zone.

Ideas for Scenarios can come from many places. Some of mine
have come from iconic scenes from the TV Series or Comics, inspired by classic
computer games, or by thinking of a situation that you may face in the
apocalypse! What inspires you and what scenario could you turn it into?

Example scenarios will be included in the Organised Play kit but why wait… why not see what you can do and share it in the Walking Dead Fanatics Facebook group?

REMEMBER, THE SAVIORS ARE COMING TO ALL OUT WAR AND CALL TO ARMS THIS WEEK! THEY’LL BE AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM THE MANTIC SITE THIS FRIDAY.

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Ronnie Talks The Walking Dead

By Mantic Games

Hello those that have not been bitten yet, it’s Ronnie here,

Let’s get the apology
out of the way – it has been mad, crazy busy, and we haven’t spoken, shown or
teased cool things about the Walking Dead nearly enough! I’m sorry, and it’ll
never happen again.

However, we are back this week with lots of cool stuff covering all of the above. Let’s start with the eye candy. Ok, you have seen him before in the ‘Here’s Negan’ board game, but now Negan and his Saviors are coming to the ‘All Out War’ and ‘Call to Arms’ gaming tables near you.

The box set has Negan and five of his Lieutenants (Dwight is shown before his date with the hot iron!), all lovingly painted by Angel Giraldez himself! It also has all the cards you need to play for both Call to Arms (CTA) AND All Out War (AOW)! Because that’s how we roll. Going forward that will be the template for all the releases, with cards for both.

Oh, and if you’re one
of the people that’s bought the excellent Here’s Negan, so you’ve already got
the miniatures, we’ll be offering a web exclusive pack of the Saviors cards for
All Out War and Call to Arms later this week.

Looking forward to 2020 and following on with the minis theme, in March we have models coming out for Hilltop and Alexandria. So, feast your eyes on Jesus, Rick and Maggie….and keep watching for more reveals soon!

All these models will be in hand cast resin, with two Survivors per pack (except Jesus who is fully armed up and comes with one of the coolest Walkers EVER)! All these sets will come at the usual price – but with cards to play BOTH versions of the game – CTA and AOW.

What else do you have
I hear you cry? Well I don’t, but I’m gonna answer anyway.

In April next year we will also have a Walking Dead book release, focusing mainly on new All Out War content to go alongside the Hilltop and Alexandria story lines, but also bringing together all the scenarios from the Expansions. Plus a full Q&A and errata section, so all of that is in one place. There will, of course, be some new rules and ideas from the RC. However, because the book will cover CTA, there is going to be some new scenarios for the skirmish game – and some fun stuff too. Like who wants to play the time Tyrese got locked in the gymnasium – and came out smiling? Using a few minis from your collection and a few tiles from Here’s Negan you can do just that!

This week we also have some give-away free to download scenarios, created by super fan Paul Preston from T&G Productions. These were used for their weekend events – which have nothing but rave reviews – so feel free to download.

Finally, we are really
pleased to announce that next year’s show special will be a special version of
Ezekiel. This will be available at Salute and Adepticon, and then at the shows
through the year, and online during Mantic Open day weekends. We are aware
there is still some stored up demand for Chris the Hunter – so as soon as we
can get the moulds into the resin room (because Kings of War!) we will have
those back up.

Keep watching all week
– and make sure you check in during our Black Friday event, there might be some
offers you don’t want to miss *cough* lots of Walkers for an insane price
*cough*

Best wishes

Ronnie

THE SAVIORS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM THE MANTIC WEBSITE LATER THIS WEEK!

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The Mantic Podcast

By Mantic Games

The League of sshhhh……

In this episode Chopper is joined by Pathfinder John Jack and former members of the band Deadzone the Podcast, Jack and Rob.  Listen as they discuss the current kickstarter for League of Infamy and chat about the game play and some disorder…..cards.

 

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LEAGUE OF INFAMY LIVE ON KICKSTARTER

By Mantic Games

The
occasionally co-operative dungeon crawler where you play the villains!

From Mantic and Needy Cat Games, the team behind hit games Hellboy: The Board Game and Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf’s Kings Quest, League of Infamy is an occasionally co-operative dungeon crawler for up to 5 players, where it pays to commit dastardly deeds and partake in foul thievery – often against your own party.

Join a rogue’s
gallery of misfits, ne’er-do-wells and miscreants on a disgraceful mission to
kidnap cute little baby Drakons, steal their eggs and viciously wipe out any
irritating, goody-goody Elves that try to stop your nefarious schemes.

But it’s not just
the Elves you’ll need to keep a wary eye on. Your fellow (mis)adventurers are
just as likely to betray you and steal your loot, shove you into harm’s way or
just leave you in a dungeon full of unbeatable foes. As they like to say in the
League of Infamy – ‘keep your enemies close but keep your friends at
knifepoint’. 

Designed by Sophie
Williams and James M. Hewitt from Needy Cat Games and featuring stunning,
pre-assembled plastic miniatures, League of Infamy is a dungeon crawler like no
other.

“We wanted to create
a dungeon crawler that plays very differently,” said Mantic Games CEO, Ronnie
Renton. “League of Infamy is a hilarious experience that quickly descends into
complete chaos as the players begin stitching each other up to complete their
own nefarious plots. Sophie and James have taken the best elements from
Hellboy: The Board Game and Dungeon Saga to make an extremely fun, in-depth
dungeon crawler.”

The League of Infamy campaign funded in an hour and is now almost triple its original target. The campaign finishes on November 13th. You can check it out here.

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League of Infamy: What is the Unseen Keep Master?

By Mantic Games

We’ve got a special guest blog from James M. Hewitt today, co-designer of League of Infamy, alongside lead designer Sophie Williams. James is here to explain a little more about the Unseen Keep Master and how it works. And don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter here.

“…but what if everyone wants to be on the same side?”

We were having one of our regular design meetings with the
lovely Mantic folks, talking about League of Infamy, and the question of fully
co-operative play had come up again.

We’d been having a bit of an ideological battle around this one, and I absolutely saw their point. Sophie and I have both been playing dungeon-crawling games for years, and it’s always nice to play a game where you’re working together against the game, rather than against a single antagonistic player. It’s all too often the case that this single player has less fun; they’re usually relegated to running the game for their friends, rather than having fun themselves. We could absolutely see the appeal of a set of AI rules!

Thing is, from the earliest days of working on League of
Infamy, we’d had three key design goals:

  • Give every player (including the Keep Master) interesting
    decisions.
  • Make interaction between players the focus of
    the game.
  • Make the game modular and replayable.

All of this had led us to put a lot of work into the
Keep Master role, and in our minds it was utterly vital to the flow and feel of
the game. In this game, the Keep Master has a lot of power. They get to choose
how to defend their Keep before each Raid, spending a Defence Budget however
they wish – meaning that the same scenario can play out very differently
depending on their choices. During the Raid itself they control the Defenders,
but they also sow discord amongst the Villains, both mechanically and in
person. Throughout playtesting, shrewd Keep Masters realised early on that the
Villains had a fragile alliance at best, and were usually only a couple of
well-placed remarks away from slinging Disorder Cards at each other. In other
words, the Keep Master role wasn’t solely mechanical – it was based around player
interaction, just like what we said in our design goals. Victory!

So although we saw the appeal of AI rules, we were really
worried that without the presence of the Keep Master, the game would fall flat.

Well, thankfully Mantic persisted, and we settled on a
comfortable middle ground. The core game is designed as we’d originally
planned, but we’ve put a load of work into an expansion set – the Unseen Master
– which lets you team up with your friends to work against the game (and then,
because this is still League of Infamy, stab them all in the back and run off
with their coin purses). We were ever so keen to make sure that this doesn’t
feel tacked-on, and retains the atmosphere of the core game while sticking to
those three design goals.

“Oi, James!” I can imagine Rob screaming, as he proofreads
this. “Stop rambling and tell them what it does!” Imaginary Rob is much
scarier than real Rob – especially with today being Halloween and all – so I’ll
oblige.

The Unseen Master consists of a rulebook and a bunch of new
cards. Although it might not seem like much, there’s a whole engine hidden
within which does an admirable job of simulating the devious, conniving
do-gooder who normally runs the show. Only two of the cards in the expansion
will be recognisable – a pair of Disorder cards which let you toy with some of
the new mechanics. The rest are all-new, and add some interesting challenges to
keep the players on their toes! Let’s talk about them.

The Keep Setup Deck

As I said above, the Keep Master normally has a fair bit of
control when setting up the defence for a scenario, gathering a Defence Budget
based on the number and expertise of the Villain party and spending it on
various upgrades and tricks. To replicate this, we’ve introduced the Keep Setup
deck. After laying out the basics – the board, the Keep Deck, the Defender
Cards – start drawing Keep Setup cards. These might add more Defenders
patrolling the corridors or guarding important Chamber, or place barricades and
obstacles to stymie the Villains’ progress, or throw some nasty surprises into
the Exploration Bag. The cards will work with the Defence Budget as normal,
ensuring that initial Defence is balanced against the Villain party.

Defence Strategy

The real meat of the expansion is the “AI” which controls the Defenders in the Keep Phase, and the new Defence Strategy deck is the beating heart at its centre. One of these cards is drawn at the start of the phase, picking a particular Villain to be the Priority Target – this might be the Villain with the most Infamy, or the one who’s furthest from the Villain Entry Point, or the one who’s suffered the most Damage. It also introduces a special rule – maybe the Defenders get a chance to heal, or get a buff to their attacks, or get additional reinforcements.

Once the card’s been drawn the Defenders are activated,
following a strict set of instructions in the form of a flow chart. During
testing, we found that players barely even needed to look at it after a couple
of rounds, but it does a great job of covering edge cases and making sure the
Defenders act sensibly.

Alarm Triggers

The last new set of cards is the Alarm Triggers – cards with
a special effect on the front, and a number of Alarm Token slots on the back.
During the Keep phase, the Unseen Master will spend Alarm tokens on extra
Defender activations and Reinforcements, just like a normal Keep Master would.
In the End Phase, any tokens that are still in the pool will be transferred to
the slots on the current Alarm Trigger. When the card fills up it is flipped,
and the defenders get some kind of benefit – this might be more Reinforcements,
bonus activations or extra Alarm tokens for the following round.

The Alarm Trigger cards ensure that the Unseen Master has
some tricks up their sleeve that the players don’t know about, while also
punishing Villains for generating too many Alarm Tokens during a round.
Mentioning no names, Karzel Runesbane…

Keeping It (Un)Friendly

One of the things we were really keen to carry over from the
core gameplay was the sense of backstabbing and one-upmanship between the
Villain players. The whole game is written around this idea, and we didn’t want
to lose it. (To you folks in the Kickstarter comment saying “well, we’ll just
play fully co-operatively”… I just hope your fellow players are as noble as you
are!)

Because the Keep Master isn’t drawing a hand of cards (the Unseen Master doesn’t even have hands, after all) the players will have the chance to pick up Keep Cards, and play them in exchange for Infamy just like Disorder cards.  We’ve woven in loads of little extra mechanics to make this an attractive option, and to drive wedges between the Villains wherever possible without going so far as to cause the game to devolve into literally nothing but backstabbing. There’s still a mission to complete, after all!

One of my favourite elements is the Turncoat. Each round,
one player becomes the Unseen Master’s proxy – they have to move all the
Defender models, roll all their dice, and so on. This is literally nothing more
than an administrative role, but we called it the Turncoat because words have
power, and it’s amazing how much it affects the other players. “Oh, you’re the
Turncoat now, are you? Gonna stab us in the back?” “I’m literally still on your
side, and I’ve done nothing wrong.” “Yeah, whatever, traitor…”

I sometimes worry that designing this game has turned us
actually evil.

But hey… as long as we’re all having fun, right?

In Summary

The Unseen Master deck is completely compatible with
everything else in League of Infamy. You can throw in expansions, play campaign
or standalone games, remix it however you like. Despite my early reservations,
I think it’s actually just as much fun as playing with a real Keep Master –
it’s just a variant style of play. It feels quite different while also feeling
similar enough to be recognisable.

So thank you, Mantic, for convincing us to push through and do this. I can’t wait to see what the response is like!

Thanks James for that in-depth blog. Remember, you get the awesome Unseen Keep Master upgrade for FREE in the League of Infamy Kickstarter. Back here.

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League of Infamy: What are Disorder Cards?

By Mantic Games

Welcome back villains! First up, have you been checking our previous blogs about League of Infamy? If not, shame on you. But look, we’re forgiving folk here, so make sure you read our introductory blog, plus the analysis of a villain card and our quick chat about the role of the Keep Master. Today’s article is a big one because we’re talking Disorder!

As we’ve mentioned before, playing as a group of villains doesn’t
always mean you have to play nice. After all, the assembled rapscallions have a
history of arson, theft, murder, treason and anything else nasty you can think
of. Although they’re working together on behalf of the League, ultimately they’ve
all got their own agendas.

Each Villain is trying to earn ‘infamy’ – basically bragging
rights when they’re down the tavern afterwards and want to show off about what
a total bad ass they are. What’s more, they’re all trying to gather the most
gold or the best equipment. As a result, there’s nothing wrong with being a
little selfish when it comes to completing the mission.

DISORDER CARDS

As part of their drive to prove themselves the greatest, the
Villains will not hesitate to undermine each other. This is represented by the
Disorder deck, which the Villains will draw from at the end of each round.

Each Disorder card grants the Villain the ability to use a
special Action – usually one which lets them act against their so-called
compatriots for their own good. Disorder cards are one-use, and once they have
been played they are discarded to a face-up discard pile next to the deck. If
the deck runs out, shuffle the discard pile to create a new one.

To sweeten the deal, and encourage some healthy
backstabbing, playing a Disorder card also gives the Villain an amount of
Infamy, shown in the Infamy icon at the bottom of the card. This means you’ll
always be looking for opportunities to stich up your ‘colleagues’ and gain that
all-important infamy. The more you act against the interests of the group, the
more Infamy you will earn.

What’s more, you can also use the Disorder cards to help you
out in sticky situations. About to get attacked by some angry elves? Why not
switch positions with a neighbouring Villain. Urgently need a health potion? Pinch
one from another Villain. Even better, you’ll also earn infamy when you do
this.

ESCALATION

Buried throughout the Disorder deck are a number of
Escalation cards. As soon as one of these is drawn it is placed face-up next to
the Disorder deck, and the player who drew it draws another card to replace it.

Escalation cards either give the Keep Master an extra Alarm
token every round, increase the number of Disorder cards that each Villain
draws to at the end of a round, or both. As Escalation cards are drawn the
Villains have more opportunities to score Infamy for their own personal gain,
but this always comes at their team-mates’ expense. Also, the more Disorder
cards are drawn, the more quickly the remaining Escalation cards will be
revealed. Will the Villains push for personal glory, or resist their evil
impulses for the good of the team? That’s for them to decide.

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League of Infamy: What is the Keep Master?

By Mantic Games

After yesterday’s blog looking through the Villain Card, today we thought we should probably look at the ‘courageous’ Keep Master and their pesky elves *spits in disgust*

A little like Star Saga and Dungeon Saga, League of Infamy pits one player against everyone else. Although unlike those games, this time the antagonist is actually the hero! It’s all about perspective. The Keep Master is in charge of the elf defenders that will try and stop the ‘evil’ villains carrying out their nefarious schemes.

“But wait a minute! I hate being the player that has to beat everyone else and ruin their evening – mainly because I also laugh and point at them. I wish this was entirely co-operative.”

Ah, it’s our old friend imaginary blog reader. Don’t worry! There will also be an AI deck that pits you against an imaginary Keep Master, so you can have four players all on the same side. Hooray!

Although their bastion is being assaulted by a team of highly skilled Villains, the Keep Master has a few tricks up their sleeve – after all, they have the home field advantage. This is represented by the Keep deck, from which they will draw a hand of cards at the start of the game and replenish each round.

The Keep Master’s hand size depends on the number of Villains in the Raid, so the more Villains involved, the more Keep Cards the master will be able to draw from the deck.

There are a number of different sets of Keep cards, each with its own theme designated by an icon. At the start of each raid the Keep Master is instructed to construct the deck for this Raid, usually from the “common” set plus one or more themed sets.

Keep cards each tell you which phase of the game they can be played in.

THE KEEP PHASE

In the Keep phase, the Keep Master rallies the defenders to repel the Villains. The Keep Phase has three steps, which must be completed in order.

STEP 1: STRATEGY

In the Strategy step, the Keep Master is able to play a number of their Keep cards, giving them bonus activations, allowing them to heal their Defenders and so on. These cards clearly state how to resolve their respective rules.

STEP 2: DEFEND

In the Defend step, the Keep Master activates their Defenders. They can always activate a number of Defenders equal to the number of Villain Players and can spend Alarm tokens to activate more.

The first additional activation of a phase costs one Alarm token. The second one costs two Alarm tokens, the third costs three, and so on.

Activating Defenders

When a Defender is activated they can make up to two Actions, and cannot make the same Action twice. Each Defender can only be activated once per Keep phase. If a Defender was activated earlier in the round (because of a special rule, Keep Card etc) they can still be activated in the Keep phase.

STEP 3: REINFORCE

In the Reinforce step, the Keep Master can spend Alarm tokens to summon additional Defenders as reinforcements. They can only summon Defender types that are in one of their Defender Slots, and for each Defender summoned they must spend a number of Alarm tokens as shown by the Alarm Cost / Infamy Reward icon on the Defender’s card.

When a Defender is summoned, the Keep Master places it off the board, next to a Reinforcement point, ready to move onto in the next Keep round.

So, there you have a quick preview of how the Keep Master works. Next week we’ll be having more sneak peeks, including a look at the infamous Disorder cards.

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