17 June 2011

Incursion SNAFU book and models review!

The first expansion for the weird war 2 boardgame Incursion is bigger, the models are bigger and the aim is set higher.

The name "SNAFU", or "situation normal all fucked up", is just that. The Allies are in over their heads - many missions in the core game looks like boot camp in comparison to what they have to go through in the expansion. No less than 19 missions are included in the SNAFU book!
What is mindblowing is just how Peter Bogdasarian managed to milk the board and the setting to such extent to give use 19 unique and fresh missions so filled with theme and really make you forget the limitation of a static board layout.

Let's start from the beginning what this mission book includes:

12 Two player missions
1  Three player mission
6  Single player

Among these missions you will find missions from the point of view of the SWD, MI-13 and Lucky 7th. Some missions require the use of two boards either side by side or on top of each other allowing you to climb between two floors.

All the rules for MI-13 old and new, additional rules and profiles for Drohne, Bazooka Ape and Panzeraffe.

An updated FAQ document.

A step by step painting tutorial on a bunch of miniatures from the Incursion range by painter Tom Schadle.

Bits and pieces of the Incursion story scattered throughout the pages telling about the operation from various point of views.

Speaking of the book itself, it is softback but bound differently from the Incursion rulebook (mainly because this book is 64 pages thick). But the cover has a nice matt feel to it and the quality of the paper of the pages is also better. It is clear that Grindhouse upped their game when they swapped location for the production of these books back to the US. But it's not only that, the layout is also improved and includes new features such as markers at the top of the page to quickly give you insight of what is needed to play each missions (be it faction or new/old components)

The missions are divided into two segments "Multiplayer" (2-3 players) and "Cinematic" (single player). The multiplayer missions range from trying to Hunt down Hans von X in the bomber zombie pens, missions where you have isolated groups of allied soldiers in different rooms trying to fight of endless hordes or play as the MI-13 commandos as they try to haul their mecha "Gracie" through elevator shafts and narror tunnels to blow up a door that is shut and too heavy to move for human hands.

There is humor involved in the game, both stories and sometimes in the rules as well. In the mission with the MI-13 mecha the allied player has to find the right button to bring up the elevator - the labels being in German there is a chance to activate German marching music by accident. What does that mean? Well the German player is allowed to hum some familiar Wagner tune endlessly (if he wants to drive his opponent mad) until the Allied player spends a Command Point to shut him up!

The 3 player scenario is perfect for large demo games where you want to allow as many players to rotate as possible. Each player controls one of the 3 factions, the allies play vs the German player but each player controls his units only and they have a special hidden turn bidding that is combined  vs the German turn bidding. There is some meta gaming involved here as well - written into the rules - that the allies have to talk openly allowing the German to hear their plans, but should Slugger Murphy and Paddy Mayne find themselves in square contact they may talk without the German player listening (allows for some scheming).

There is also a mission that takes place towards the end of the "campaign" where both MI-13 and Lucky 7th troopers learn about hidden gold somewhere in the tunnels and try to find it and claim if for their own - leading to showdown between both allies (though the leaders of these factions don't take part in this petty squabble).

The Panzeraffe plays the role of a "boss monster" in one of the missions featuring a double board. The allies have to go through a "Dark sector" where the light is broken and constant darkness limits their line of sight effectively limiting their weapon ranges and defense possibilities. Somewhere in those dark tunnels there is a huge and pissed of king size monkey sporting a heavy machinegun and the objective is to try to hunt it down so that the passage can be used by the allies as more troops move further into Gibraltar.

That is the cool thing about these scenarios as well, the mission briefing is often quite short but really brings you up to speed on the tactical situation and why the mission is important.

The "Cinematic" missions are single player missions, each features special rules and game mechanics of their own to make one side auto play in some clever fashion while the human player tries to achieve an objective. These are actually ridiculously and surprisingly fun. One mission have you playing the MI-13 commandos moving through a zombie filled floor like ninjas stabbing zombies to death with their knifes not to attract the attention of the undead (who move towards the smell of juicy living targets) - another have you play the insane von X sisters as they hunt APE troopers in the tunnels.

One especially claustrophobic mission have the tunnels be filled with deadly gas that melts gasmasks right off the faces of the allied troops and have you race towards a safe location as a wall of gas pushes you forwards and hordes of enemies block your way. That is one of my personal favorites alongside another mission where there is a invincible Blitzhund that terrorizes your squad. No matter how many times you kill it - it will reanimate and attack you again. Only way to stop it is to do what Arnold did in Predator - lure it into a trap and blow it up!

The book contents are superb value for money, and if you already own the Incursion box this book will really enhance your gaming experience. It's a must have addition.

Now, the models for the expansion, you've all probably already seen them painted up in all their glory on the Grindhouse Games store page - so I'm going to review the raw pieces instead. Focusing on the two models I think people will go after first - Panzeraffe and Gracie.
I have one of each new blister and the quality of the castings is superb, no flash and almost no mould lines. What is even better is how well the large models like Gracie and Panzeraffe are able to be put together.

The Panzeraffe is f****ng huge! I remember when Hans von X was the "big guy" of the range. It comes in three pieces with an optional cap as well. The arms don't require pinning or anything since the torso has large and deep holes where you will fit the arm pieces - efficiently locking them in place with superglue. I used (too much) greenstuff to mask the joint on the arms. The model is both of epic proportions and look so pissed off that it is easily one of the coolest and most intimidating miniatures out there. I suspect people who don't play Inursion will buy this model anyway to use for alternate games or simply to paint it up like they did with the von X sisters.

Gracie is a multi part build, thankfully this is not your Games Workshop style metal building kit (which always ended with too heavy pieces refusing to stick together, falling off, giving me super glued fingers and nerd rage). Just like the Panzeraffe the Gracie has perfect joints and fittings and keeps itself together very well as you build it. Nothing fell apart as I built this mecha in a matter of minutes. If you aren't sure on how to fit the pieces together just look at the pictures I've provided here or check the Grindhouse Games page.

Both models stand tall, just look at the crazy proportions of the Panzeraffe! While being absolutely badass - I do see the problem of fitting if you made a 3D version of the board. You might have a hard time turning these two around in narrow tunnel sections.

So not much more to say, book and models are both 10/10. There is enough variation in the missions to make the game last a very long time and all the new models are crazy cool. Can't wait until I start to paint mine (expect some painted Incursion stuff in the weeks to come).

........................

One last thing - or two actually.

Don't forget about Grindhouse Games attending the Texas ComicCon next week 24-26 June! Jim Bailey will be there with a crew (location 163 on the floorplan), running demo games and most likely selling Incursion merchandise. More information about the event can be found here: http://www.texascomicon.com/

Second, you can get all the counters and new stands (and additional unit cards) in PDF format on the Grindhouse forum following this link (might require you registering on the forum to reach the Download section) : http://forums.grindhousegames.com/index.php?topic=1125.0



You can get Incursion: SNAFU and all the models directly from Grindhouse Games Incursion store if you live in the US. Get there by clicking the banner.




Check West Wind if you like in the UK or Europe.
Get there by clicking the banner.







And Kulturkommissariatet if you live in Sweden.
Get there by clicking the banner.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. My first lot of Incursion figs are stiull on the painting table but it's great to know I've still got loads of cool stuff to look forward to. The scenarios sound very exciting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good read! Already have Zippy and a pair of Gracies on preorder... Want them NOW dammit!

    ReplyDelete
  3. They also have put the counters&figures on the Incursion homepage so no need for forum registration.
    Quick question tough, how many of the scenarios need a second map (wich i guess aint included)
    Feel a bit cheap that you need two copies of Incursion or to make your own second map just to enyoy the expansion fully

    ReplyDelete
  4. 4 scenarios are double board.

    Not a cheap trick since there was demand for a release of a separate board by gamers who bought the original game. So Grindhouse released a separate board in a limited run. I would only assume that these missions were written with those customers in mind first and foremost (and people who made 3D boards). You still get 15 scenarios that you can play on a single board. There are also people who bought 2 sets of Incursion to get double amount of everything.

    It is simply to please as many people as possible.

    ReplyDelete

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