Sunday, December 28, 2014

Unboxing the "Robotech RPG Tactics" minatures game

    Christmas was very good to me in several ways, one of which is geeky enough to be worth mentioning here.  My friends got me the Robotech RPG Tactics game this year.  Now, Robotech is going a ways back, to the 80s in fact, so some of you whipper-snappers out there might not recognize it.  Robotech was an American cartoon created by splicing together 3 different Japanese anime and dubbing new dialogue.  It was the first anime I ever saw as a kid, and I loved it.  Even though it was animated, it was not a "kiddy" cartoon.  One of the main characters dies, on-screen, in the first season (ah Roy, we'll miss you).  It had some pretty mature writing for its time.  Over the years I have gotten the RPG books published by Palladium Books (though I'm the only one who knows the series, so I've never really played it - but we have played Rifts which is mechanically the same) and the DVDs of the show.  When I saw the Tactics game, and realized I had a chance to get some miniatures of the mecha, I was ecstatic.
    So here is a look at it, I haven't set it up or played it yet (for reasons that will become obvious soon).

    First, the box itself, front and back-
    Now, I took these pictures with my cell phone, and cropped them down a bit, so they are not fantastic.  They should be good enough to give you an idea of the game though.
    Upon opening the box something jumps out at you - all the tiny little plastic figures you get to assemble-
    This is old school miniatures.  None of that easy, one-piece stuff - these bad boys come in lots and lots of tiny, even teeny-tiny, pieces you get to painstakingly paint and glue by hand.  Here's the directions for some of the RDF mecha-
     And here are the pieces for the Veritech in Jet Mode-
    And the Zentradi Officer's Battle Pod-
    In all there are a lot of little plastic pieces, in fact a terrifying number of little plastic pieces.  This is the one thing that I am not so happy about thus far - I shudder thinking about just how many hours it's going to take me to assemble all this stuff.  Why, oh why, couldn't they have made the models either one piece or body and limbs?-
    And while the models are bad enough, the stickers to put on the RDF logos and such are incredibly tiny-

    You do get more than just the models of course, there are cards, dice and counters to go along with the rulebook-
    The extras are divided into the RDF and Zentradi stuff, here's a bit closer look at the RDF cards and such-
    Now, this game (from the little I've read so far) is a table-top miniatures battle game like Warhammer 40k or Battletech.  So there is something rather lacking in the box - a map or any kind of terrain.  I was wondering if I could perhaps use some old Battletech hex maps, but the bases for the Tactics miniatures is huge - here's shot of the round Tactics base with a Pathfinder lizard man on top of it-
    It looks way bigger then the Battletech hexes, so I guess if I want some terrain to play on I'll have to make it myself (which is going to add even more hours to the assembly process).

    In all I'm delighted to have the game, but it is not for the faint of heart.  "Some assembly required" is an understatement.  Now, all the work you put into it makes having it that much sweeter, but it's going to take a lot of weekends to get these guys together.  Another problem is that you have to make your own terrain, if you want any, and you also have to make your own padding.  The box looks big enough to hold the completed figures, but it has no foam padding of any kind - so you'll need to cut your own padding to protect your time investment, or put the competed figures in something else.
    This is really a game for the Robotech nut/fanatic.  I have a hard time seeing someone casually picking up this game.  Even a Warhammer or Battletech player might have a hard time getting used to it (though there are some very detailed and intricate Warhammer 40k models I've seen, so they might take to it easiest).  The time investment even before you play will be a turn-off to a lot of people.  I haven't yet read all of the rules, well enough to comment on them at least, since you can't really play until you finish assembling the pieces.  When (or if) I play I'll write a review of it.

    Really though, playing is somewhat secondary.  The joy of owning the models, of being able to (someday) display them on a shelf, is the biggest attraction.  According to an insert, they are going to come out with more figures, some of which have never been available as models or toys before - like the Zentradi Female Power Armor.  That's the coolest thing about this game, having them actually make the figures, new toys for a series that has been "out of print" for decades now.
    It is an expensive trip down memory lane though - the box cost $100 (I have really good friends) and the few expansion boxes, each containing only 4-6 models, cost around $40.  that's quite the price tag when added to all the work you have put into assembling the darn thing.

    Still, to revisit the childhood love of Robotech, I'll no doubt be buying more as they come out.

No comments:

Post a Comment