Monday, June 30, 2014

Relic Knights: First Impressions

First of all let me apologize for not putting anything up here in awhile.  I've distracted the last few weeks, whether that be illness or new shiny things.  One of those shiny new things is Relic Knights, which arrived (for me) back on June 20th.  It's been almost two years since the Kickstarter ended and I know a lot of people are very upset it's taken this long. My own enthusiasm waned over time.

Strangely when I got the shipping notice, I found myself checking the status of delivery every morning.  Clearly I was more excited about it than I'd thought I would be.  I'm still assembling everything and will be for some time since I had put in for five out of the six factions plus a lot of extras.  Granted, one of those factions was the one my brother wanted, but I'm still left with four out of six.  Anyway, I thought I would share my thoughts so far.


Rules

I don't think I've come across another miniature game that does things quite the same way as Relic Knights.  The randomization is done with cards which pay for the abilities of the models, which is one of the two big differences from most miniature games I've played.  The other big difference is how models/units get activated and how the turn is structured.  Relic Knights doesn't have 'rounds of play' where each player ends up activating all their models on the table and then the round's over.  Instead the game has an activation queue that shows both players which models are activating next.  After a model is done, it gets put into the 'idle pile', where all the models not in the queue go, and you can then put another model from the idle pile into the queue.  Very different.

I've yet to play a game; I was the first person in our local area to actually get his Kickstarter package so everybody else is still trying to make heads and tails of the rules (except for my brother, since his stuff came with my stuff, but neither of us have had time to sit down and hammer out a game).  But I will say that the game looks like it will play very quickly.

Miniatures

The miniatures for any game that uses them are a grab-bag and should really be judged by an individual miniature.  That said, I can definitely tell there's a quality difference in the miniatures that were completed prior to the Kickstarter and official incorporation of them into a game  The older metal/resin models were on smaller bases and it shows; Calico Kate, even on her swashbuckling mecha, swims on her larger 80mm base because the model was originally designed for use with a 60mm base.  Now, all the Kickstarter backers got these base inserts that are handy for basing the models and putting the base insert on Calico Kate's base really takes away the sense of too much space from the huge base.  Harbonath and Kasaro To don't have this problem and pretty much dominate their bases with their size (Kasaro To barely fits on his 80mm base).

The material of the miniatures is the same material used by Privateer Press for their plastic.  It's apparently a resin/plastic hybrid.  Which means it can be a pain in the butt to clean up.  You'll need files, sandpaper, a sharp hobby knife, and brush-on plastic cement to get good results.  Liquid Green Stuff by Games Workshop is also extremely useful for smoothing out problem areas.

Now let's talk about the base inserts.  The ones that came with my Kickstarter package really are nifty and really speed up the whole basing side of the models.  The problem is that the base inserts are polystyrene (like Games Workshop's plastics or most of the hobby model kits you would find at a traditional hobby store) and plastic cement doesn't do anything to the plastic-resin of the models, so you may have to bust out the epoxy to make sure the models aren't going anywhere (my Moffett model has popped off the base twice now).  There's also a real lack of variety in the base inserts at the moment, which means that I'm pretty much just building one faction using the base inserts and looking elsewhere for basing on the other three.

Conclusion

I'm cautiously optimistic, despite the extremely long delays in fulfillment.  It looks like a game that will be very fun to play and be very easy to learn.  I'm cautious however because Soda Pop Miniatures has parted ways with Cool Mini Or Not, their publisher.  So while the initial release is strong and spread out over the next five or six months, I'm a little worried about Soda Pop's ability to follow through without CMON.  I certainly hope the game is able to take off and survive, however.