Kevin Outlaw
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This is something I posted to my blog at AlwaysBoardNeverBoring. I was just going to post the link, but decided I might as well paste the whole text. It's a little long, and a little pointless; but I thought I would draw together my thoughts on this game, and want made me back it. Some of this stuff is just rehashing things I said in other posts. I sound like a used car salesman throughout. Sorry about that.



Okay, I don't normally do this sort of thing, but it's Saturday evening, my wife is about to head off to work, and I am bored, so screw it... I'm going to talk about a game I'm backing on Kickstarter. This is not a review, it's just some directionless ramblings about a game I liked the look of and threw some money at. Hell, the game isn't even out yet, and won't be for some time.

(Oh, and fair warning: Everything that follows is my opinion based only on what I have seen on the Kickstarter campaign. I am not privy to any "behind the scenes" stuff. I may be wrong about everything. Caveat emptor. And so on.)

The game in question is Fireteam Zero, which is based on a series of books. The premise is simple: In World War II, an undercover team of badass soldiers takes on supernatural entities in a series of gruelling close-combat scenarios. The soldiers co-operate to achieve a mission, while grotesque, nightmarish monsters swarm towards them in never-ending waves. It's like being in a pressure cooker.

With teeth.

That right there is a hook to swing on.

So, the theme initially sold me on the game. Alternative history stuff is always interesting, and this game does some interesting things with it. I mean, the box art depicts the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, except the soldiers are driving that flag into a squirming mass of barely identifiable tentacled things.

However, there are two things I really like about the theme. I'm going to list them. Course I am...

1. It's not Lovecraft. At least, not as far as I am concerned.

I absolutely love the work of H. P. Lovecraft, but I feel his work has been used too often as a source for board games. While some people are comparing Fireteam Zero to Lovecraft, the themes are quite different. Fireteam's theme is a fusion of body horror and the supernatural. Having a few creatures with tentacles does not mean the theme is Lovecraftian. Or, at least, I don't think it does.

2. It's schlocky.

I am a big fan of horror movies, and when I look at the creatures in Fireteam, I see many things that remind me of cool, schlock-horror films I love. I see references to The Thing, Slither, The Devil's Chair, Blood Beach, Night of the Scarecrow, Infestation, Blood Glacier, and many other films. And that's just cool.

So, I was already hooked on the theme, and then I saw the gameplay. One of my favourite board games is Gears of War, which is a co-operative game in which a small group of marines work together against a horde of aliens. It is a superb game that allows you to act on an ally's turn by playing cards from your hand that have different "support" benefits. Unfortunately, Fantasy Flight Games never really ran with it, and apart from a small expansion, the game was pretty much neglected. Furthermore, the game is not without its problems: Namely, an ungodly setup time.

I always felt that someone could take the bare mechanisms from Gears of War and turn the dial up to 11, and I really feel that is was the designers of Fireteam have done.

The game also feels incredibly customisable, offering a wealth of replayability. As an example, consider the first mission:

The mission requires the team to search 12 spots for parts to fix a ferry. All the time, they will be harried by eight corrupted animal minions. Minions respawn every time they die, so the horde is endless. The twist is, over time, the enemies mutate. New abilities are drawn randomly from a deck of cards, and the mutations stack. So, you play the mission once, and you might be facing corrupted animals that spit poison, and swarm together in packs. You play the same mission again, but this time, you are facing corrupted animals that sprout extra legs, bleed acid, and swim. (Note: I just made all those abilities up. I have no idea what the real abilities are.)

Same creatures, different rules, different tactics.

But then you can mix things up, by playing the same mission, but swapping out minions for different types of minions.

And did I mention the non-player characters? You get to take two with you, and anyone who kickstarts the project gets a total of four to choose from. These NPCs provide special abilities, but you have to keep them safe from the enemy.

Basically, the combination of the scenario, choice of heroes, choice of hero special abilities, choice of NPCs, choice of minions, and the random allocation of mutations throughout the mission means each game should be quite different.

The last thing to mention is the pledge amount. For $85, you get the base game, an exclusive NPC character (a cute doggy), and all the stretch goals. Sure, there are not as many stretch goals as there are with campaigns from bigger companies, but there are still some nice extra plastic miniatures, and some new twist and hero power cards. Enough to make that $85 pledge look like a very nice deal as far as I am concerned.

In fact, people who care about miniatures should be quite pleased with the plastic loadout for this game. There are 52 plastic figures in total, including five heroes, four NPCs, three "families" of monsters, and some bonus beasties. There are 21 unique sculpts, including three massive boss monsters that tower over everything else. I believe they are all sculpted by someone who used to make miniatures for Heroscape, but don't quote me on that.

The company is actually so proud of the miniatures, they are offering a pledge level that just gets the miniatures.

Frankly, I don't care about that. I want the game.

And that's an important point to stress: I want the game. I am very excited about the game. And that's why this whole post sounds like an infomercial. My enthusiasm is going to have crept into every word, so take those words with a good pinch of salt. Go on. Salt makes everything taste better anyway. Stick some bacon on there too.

But, in the sake of being fair and even-handed, I'm going to mention a list of things that concern me about the project:

First of all, one of the stretch goals is a CD. I couldn't be less thrilled with the prospect of a CD to listen to while I play a board game if I tried. If they swapped that CD out for a copy of the first book in the series, I'd do a little Snoopy dance.

It seems like you only get four dice in the box. There should be six, because it is possible for some attacks to involve rolling six dice. I am not opposed to rerolling sometimes, but with four dice, it seems like rerolling will be required for most attacks. Seriously, put six dice in the box, and six dice in a paid add-on. Hell, put six in as stretch goal. Instead of that damned CD.

And then there is delivery time. The Kickstarter claims the game will be available in October. That's a pretty close deadline. I would like to know if that is at all feasible. Most Kickstarters slide a bit, but this is a smaller project than some others. I would at least like to know if it is realistic to expect the game before Christmas.

And there you have it. That's why I'm backing Fireteam Zero.

Thank you for indulging me. I promise I'll review something soon. Probably Dark Darker Darkest, which is another game I got through Kickstarter...
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Tristan Hall
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Thanks for your thoughts on this.
I'm very intrigued by it, despite my attempt to not purchase new games this year, and will certainly throw in a buck or two even if I don't get the game.
What mainly holds me back is simply that I have Myth, Kingdom Death, and Shadows of Brimstone all on their way at some point, and this is yet another coop minis bash, albeit with another very compelling theme.
Either way, I don't imagine there are any great surprises in store with the KS but I'll be keeping an eye on it until it ends to see how it pans out, and may yet jump in before it's over...



EDIT - it looks way more interesting than MERCs Recon to me too.
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Man this is a really good post and I agree with pretty much everything you're saying. Good post!
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ninjadorg wrote:


EDIT - it looks way more interesting than MERCs Recon to me too.


Thanks.

I was so excited about Recon, I was ready to chuck a stack of cash at it. I very quickly went off the whole thing, and now wouldn't touch it with someone else's money, for a lot of reasons that I won't go into (after all, if you start trashing a Kickstarter from a popular company, sooner or later you're going to end up on the wrong end of a pitchfork).

Good luck with your resolution not to buy any games this year.

But you should totally back Fireteam Zero. It's probably better than a nice cup of tea.

Go on.

Go on go on go on go on go on.
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I like your post, I think it makes sense and agree with it although initially I dropped my pledge thinking that my other games covered this one... However, shipping and customs charges is what keeps me out.


Edit: on an unrelated side note, Dark Darker Darkest needs more love!
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Logus Vile wrote:
I like your post, I think it makes sense and agree with it although initially I dropped my pledge thinking that my other games covered this one... However, shipping and customs charges is what keeps me out.


Edit: on an unrelated side note, Dark Darker Darkest needs more love!


I guarantee DDD is getting more love. The new rulebook has been proofed and is back with Queen. They just need to approve and upload it.
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
ninjadorg wrote:


EDIT - it looks way more interesting than MERCs Recon to me too.


Thanks.

I was so excited about Recon, I was ready to chuck a stack of cash at it. I very quickly went off the whole thing, and now wouldn't touch it with someone else's money, for a lot of reasons that I won't go into (after all, if you start trashing a Kickstarter from a popular company, sooner or later you're going to end up on the wrong end of a pitchfork).

Good luck with your resolution not to buy any games this year.

But you should totally back Fireteam Zero. It's probably better than a nice cup of tea.

Go on.

Go on go on go on go on go on.



I can see why you'd be hesitant to post in the Myth forums. Even as a backer I'm reluctant to dip my toe in just the shallow end of that pool of discussion. Way too frothy. But that's one of the main reasons I'm dubious about Recon: having not actually received my copy of Myth yet.
FT0 is certainly looking like the better proposition of the two right now, thematically too.
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This is really fantastic and well written. Much appreciated!

We bumped the dice in the game (and in the extra dice set) to 5 attack dice, 1 monster die, and 1 standard D12. But I hear you about the 6 die attacks that are tied to the Tactics cards.

We'll take a look at the dice costs and see if we can swing 6 attack. No promises, but I will get a cost for it and see


Mike
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I was reluctant to back this game.
I had just samurai'd the Tokaido KS, and I have been meaning to get into Mercs for a while. However this game has just pulled me in! I dont know if its the gritty warcomics artwork, the well authored storyline, or just the heroic badassery, but it just kept tugging at me.
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Great post! I share your enthusiasm for the game (after I got over my sulk about female characters being an afterthought) but for me the sweet spot includes the expansions, not for yet more variety but for the two new mechanics i.e. specialist decks and gear cards. I'm pretty sure they will be rather more expensive by the time they make it over to us in the UK, if they make it here at all.

I love playing these 'experience' games but I'm rubbish at them, so I reckon I'll need all the extra gear I can get!
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I know what it is now... its the spats!

There is simply not enough spats in boardgames these days.
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I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.
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cbazler wrote:
I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.


Have you checked back in? They've added some really good pledge values at lower tiers (Recruit+ for $85, Heavy Assault+ etc). EG has stressed quite often (and the independent reviews and playtesters back up) that the core game is complete and offers a lot of game and replayability for your money. This isn't a game that requires the $300 to be "complete".
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cbazler wrote:
I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.


I would never pay $300 for a game in one shot. That's some serious money. (Although, compared to what some people have spent on Arkham Horror it probably isn't so bad.)

But the $85 pledge is really good value. All stretch goals and an exclusive character, for less than this game would retail for in the UK.
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
cbazler wrote:
I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.


I would never pay $300 for a game in one shot. That's some serious money. (Although, compared to what some people have spent on Arkham Horror it probably isn't so bad.)

But the $85 pledge is really good value. All stretch goals and an exclusive character, for less than this game would retail for in the UK.


But, but... then I wouldn't have all the exclusive content. How could I ever live with myself?

Does not register. Does not register.

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cbazler wrote:
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
cbazler wrote:
I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.


I would never pay $300 for a game in one shot. That's some serious money. (Although, compared to what some people have spent on Arkham Horror it probably isn't so bad.)

But the $85 pledge is really good value. All stretch goals and an exclusive character, for less than this game would retail for in the UK.


But, but... then I wouldn't have all the exclusive content. How could I ever live with myself?

Does not register. Does not register.



Hahaha yes, I totally understand that. I'm uh...in at WC myself

You can get all the KS exclusive stuff for less than $300 but I know where you're coming from. Somehow KS campaigns feel different than retail. I can walk into a store and see Descent on the wall and not feel compelled to buy all the expansions and add-ons and then a KS campaign comes out and I think "Wait, how could I NOT get the wormy thing with all the tentacles or the GermanMechRobotMonsterMan".
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cbazler wrote:
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
cbazler wrote:
I backed at an early bird when it first launched, then chickened out within a day or so.

No game, no matter how awesome-looking, is worth $300+.


I would never pay $300 for a game in one shot. That's some serious money. (Although, compared to what some people have spent on Arkham Horror it probably isn't so bad.)

But the $85 pledge is really good value. All stretch goals and an exclusive character, for less than this game would retail for in the UK.


But, but... then I wouldn't have all the exclusive content. How could I ever live with myself?

Does not register. Does not register.



Just in case you were interested:

You can get all of the exclusive content for $76.

That's $40 for alternative sculpts of heroes (I can live without those), and $36 for two sets of multi-squad maps you probably will not use unless you are planning on having BIG games (I can definitely live without that, as my game group is usually size three).

Add your $85 pledge (which includes the exclusive dog figure and exclusive stretch goals).

That's $161 total. Not so bad.
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After much thought... I'm also in.

My first KS experience. Let's see how it ends.
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perdut wrote:
After much thought... I'm also in.

My first KS experience. Let's see how it ends.


It's exciting, right?
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I'm in too, curse your compelling arguments.
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blunder1983 wrote:
I'm in too, curse your compelling arguments.


Hey hey.

Happy to hear it.

Maybe I should get a job as a used car salesman after all!

You basically seem to like most of the games I like, so I think we're either both going to be chuffed or really annoyed.

(My money is definitely on chuffed.)
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
perdut wrote:
After much thought... I'm also in.

My first KS experience. Let's see how it ends.


It's exciting, right?


A year ago I was looking hard for a good coop dungeon crawler. The first one in my collection. I almost backed Myth, but ultimately decided not to do it. I preferred to wait until the release and see the reaction of the players.

Last week I bought Gears of War and it was a very good surprise. Love at first sight (never played the videogame). I'm playing with my sons and we are enjoying every minute. We have discovered that we enjoy more playing cooperative than competitive. The bad thing about GoW is the lack of support from FFG.

Then I came to this forum, read the reviews ("it has the best of GoW, but goes farther"), your OP (of course), started to read one of the books from Langlois and... you know the rest of the story.
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perdut wrote:
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
perdut wrote:
After much thought... I'm also in.

My first KS experience. Let's see how it ends.


It's exciting, right?


A year ago I was looking hard for a good coop dungeon crawler. The first one in my collection. I almost backed Myth, but ultimately decided not to do it. I preferred to wait until the release and see the reaction of the players.

Last week I bought Gears of War and it was a very good surprise. Love at first sight (never played the videogame). I'm playing with my sons and we are enjoying every minute. We have discovered that we enjoy more playing cooperative than competitive. The bad thing about GoW is the lack of support from FFG.

Then I came to this forum, read the reviews ("it has the best of GoW, but goes farther"), your OP (of course), started to read one of the books from Langlois and... you know the rest of the story.


Gears of War is the bizness. There just isn't enough of it. Plus, like you, I have never played the games and have no real preference for the theme. I mean, I like space marines and aliens and stuff, but the specific Gears of War world means nothing to me. I see Fireteam Zero as the evolution of the game that FFG never made. A dramatic twist on an old favourite.

A mutation...

Somehow fitting.
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