It's been almost two months since I opened the Vanguard pre-released for Relicblade. Gamers from around the world have picked up copies of the game. I'm really pleased with the response so far! The folks on www.Lead-Adventure.de have been quick to adopt Relicblade into their collections! The digital rulebook and cards has made the game easy for my international audience to get involved. Affun on the forum wrote up a great little review of the rulebook too!
"First off: The game looks solid! Production values are amazing, and the 'feel' of the rulebook hits the mark (or actually, way above and beyond what I expected.). The aesthetics are somewhere between Heroquest, D&D and those small illustrations from 3rd edition warhammer fantasy, which I very much am a sucker for. There's some great art-skills at display here.
Mechanically, I can't say that much because I obviously haven't played it yet. On my read through, I will say that the rules seem solid. Crunchy enough to make sense a for very small scale skirmish, while still being intuitive and easy to understand. There's multiple decision-points during each characters activation, which should engage the player in a nice way. I've been looking for ruleset to do exactly this kind of Heroic Fantasy/Adventure combat for a while now. Suffice to say: The mechanics seem robust and fun, and the writing is easy to read.
Also a huge bonus for the rules being explicitly written to work with terrain.
The illustrations and pictures are really making me want to produce some cool 2'x2' battlefields to duke it out over!
The focus on the cards does mean that there isn't a generic profile building tool, which is understandable: That's a big undertaking, and not necessarily within the rulesets' design-goals. Force-building is then done with the specific profiles, with the option to add on upgrades: Reminiscent of the way Malifaux does its Crewe building. Within these 'pre'-made profiles, there's a lot of scope for variation, so it really shouldn't be a problem fitting in the miniatures you want to - The archetypes provided in wave 1 should allow for most types: There's a knight, cleric and druid, as well as various 'Pigs' - Pigs being easily substituted for Orcs, for example. And when more cards get released, these possibilities will only expand. I am in particular looking forward to seeing a wizard of some sort. Wizards being one of my two 'bigs', the other being knights which are sufficiently catered for already
Another minor quibble is that the .pdf seemed to not load properly on a mac's Image Viewer, so I had to download acrobat reader. That might be due to my software being outdated, and its no big thing, but I thought I'd mention it.
Overall - Very Exciting stuff! I look forward to following this game, and where it goes. And at a mere 4 dollars for the basic rules .pdf, that's a steal. It's great when something comes along that you didn't realise you really wanted. This is very much one of those things.
Not sure when I'll have a chance to actually play it, but I'll pipe in when I do.
And the follow-up post from DR. Zombie
"Tried the game today with affun. And I loved it! We managed two games in about two hours. I can see a lot of potential in this."
We ran some demo games locally, and the response was very positive. There were some great battles with some really memorable moments. In one game a Berserker Pig got ahold of the Crown of Madness as the battle raged below him. The Knight in the castle courtyard below stood over the crumbled bodies of his enemies. In the final moments of the showdown the Berserker was overcome with Madness and flung himself from the castle walls into the lava below!!
Alas, the vanguard sets are almost sold out. Now it's time to head to Kickstarter so I can afford to restock! 2016 should be a pretty good year for Metal King Studio and the expansion of Relicblade!