Monday, 21 March 2016

Deathwatch: Underwhelming or Overkill?

So Wee Bill and Wee Andy had a play at Overkill, and found it so so.  Then they played it some more and mostly enjoyed it, certainly felt it had a place and is a back on form product from the Ancient powerhouse that is Games Workshop.

Laid bare and discussed, with an example of gameplay the lads felt it warranted a Wee Gamers show and tell, seemingly getting thumbs up from the two hardest to please Wee Gamers.

Wee Andy
In first play I was left feeling very indifferent to Overkill - it's got surprisingly little game for such a high end product. I felt a little cheated that once again we had stunning - back to form - miniatures , height end components and a fresh game style approach. But the game left me unfulfilled. That, however, was as we said on our Facebook page on our first play feel. 

Now gurn all you like about 'haters' no one has to like everything and just because it's GW doesn't earn it special 'extra hate' - no, in fact I went into the game not expecting much and got what I expected, not much. But proof is in replaying.  So, a replay had to happen and it did. 

Post playing my head got around this game in a couple of ways - It's not a great game - it's an okay game - it's a filler IF you are an avid and serious miniatures board game player. 

Bonus points that it's self contained  the figures are excellent it's easy to pick up and play

Minus points you have to assemble the figures. Gameplay is quite flat and in some areas makes no logical sense.

Now, what I mean by "making no logical sense", for clarity sake, is everything is open terrain yet some tiles,to my thinking suggest walls or support posts that would offer cover - certainly corners and the like should? 

The 'ambush' aspect would for me at least make more sense if the Cult player got to at least shoot first. (and isn't this the perfect game to bring back overwatch?) 

With  its easy to pick up and play aspect, I could easily see non-gaming parents able to grasp this and play with kids which, frankly, would be lovely to see happen . Now all that's a bit up and down I guess - but in fairness in GW land this is a Good Game. 

It's plus points outweigh its negatives. 

Fan boys will easily be pleased with the above average figure quality and the figure count. The games rules not so complex or outlandish to take away or confuse them with 40k and the models can be use in 40k - as an intro game to Games Workshop hobby this is an ideal winner in many respects. 

On a wider gaming platform however I don't feel it stands up to close scrutiny. Compared to games like Zombicide or Imperial Assault for comparison's sake, the game is not as demanding or engaging and the price tag then begins to push it off side. 

I'd still take games like Dreadfleet, Necromunda & Mordhiem over Deathwatch or indeed many of the much older games back from the before time but I'd play this happily enough and heck I might even paint the minis. The tiles on an aside are very nice and one could easily see them employed in other games and settings so I'd advise anyone of a mind to watch eBay for the inevitable component sell off that always follows such releases.

Wee Bill 
I bought it for the minis, and that says it all. 

That was my only reason to buy Deathwatch:Overkill, my first Games Workshop purchase in quite a while, over a year anyway. 

My time has been taken up with a myriad of various game systems such as Xwing, Bolt Action, and a few others. I’ve drifted away from GW over the while, mainly because 40K had become a chore to keep up with of late; codex releases every other month, varying levels of balance, and in-game abilities causing this gamer to shout obscenities at full volume. 

After seeing the images of the Deathwatch minis, I was sold. 

I’ve always liked the fluff with regards to Grey Knights and such, and this small faction from the Ordos Xenos even more so. I remember the Deathwatch Space Marine from Inquisitor all those years ago – Artemis – and his ornate shoulder guard. I remember getting the 40k scale Deathwatch shoulder guards they released years ago, complete with multi-ammo bolters. A must have. I fell in love with the Deathwatch minis from the boxset, so I bought it. 

I was pleasantly surprised about the Genestealer cult minis too, so I set about building the complete set, all 50 of them, within a week, so that I could actually give the game a try. 

After a few games of Deathwatch:Overkill, I thought it was a decent little gateway game, a pick-up and play every so often for that little Space marine cinematic action kick. There are no complexities here – this is a simple game with simple mechanics. There is a level of strategy for the Marines though, as the spaces in the board tiles can only hold a certain number of bases as they cannot overlap from the section’s boundary, allowing blocking of minis and restricting spawn zones. The Genestealer cult can either spawn minis or perform a “bluff” action, which more often than not, allows the cult to gain buffs to help ruin the Marines day. 

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the products. The minis are spectacular; the boards are good cardboard stock with embossed bits. The game is very lacklustre, a very cut down set of rules, but could be replaced with Necromunda or Space Hulk easily enough. 

 All in all I can see the Deathwatch minis themselves being part of my collection for years to come.

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