Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crappy Game Review - Mutant Chronicles CMG

Here's a hypothetical:

You're in a bar. You're talking with a very hot woman, who you're pretty sure is about to invite you back to her place, where you can meet her extremely open-minded female roommate. So far, so good, right? You're thinking the worst that could happen is, she could be saving herself for marriage. Well, you're wrong. You're in for a disappointment much bigger than that - she's a dude.

In the past, I've compared games I didn't like to boogers, poop and prison sex. Now I can add surprise transvestites to the mix, because the Mutant Chronicles CMG could only have been more disappointing if the miniatures all wore short skirts that let you see their hanging johnsons.

When the word first hit that we were going to get a pre-painted Mutant Chronicles game, I was giddy. The game could suck, and I would still buy it by the bucketload, because the minis almost had to be awesome. Even if I didn't want to play, I could use them in other stuff. I could use them in sci-fi RPGs, or other minis games, or put new bases on them and turn them into Heroscape customs. Boy, I couldn't wait to see these minis.

For those who don't know, Mutant Chronicles is one of the coolest science fantasy/alternate future franchises in gaming. I don't even know the whole background, but I know there are cool demons and cybernetic heroes and four-legged horsey monsters with giant weapons. The awesome factor is off the chart. The old classic, Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel, is a decent game, but the miniatures are outstanding. Then there was Warzone, the Mutant Chronicles miniatures game, with tons of great figures. But now we were going to get new figures, and we wouldn't even have to paint them! I almost wet my pants when I first heard that Fantasy Flight was going to give us this awesome game.

And then the news came - the game was a lesbian. No, even worse, the miniatures were supposed to be 54mm. That's insane, kids - I have action figures smaller than that. Sure, miniatures games are basically toys with rules, but these would be the only 54mm figures in my collection (assuming I bothered to get any), so they wouldn't work with all my other miniatures. The idea of buying huge lots of the figures even if the game sucked - that's out. Now the only way I'm interested is if the game is fun. And even then, I'll buy the base game and play it with Warzone figures.

So then I played the game. Turns out, the game is gay, but not because it has a thing for girls. The game is gay because it has a thing for men. Sure, the game looks great in a tight skirt and halter top, but drop that thong, and you're about to have yourself a Crying Game moment. Not only are the figures humongous, but the game is total ass.

It seems like it has promise, at first. The starter includes all the cards for all the figures, so it should be easy to sub in other minis (of course, the ones you bought are useless for that, because they're FREAKING GIGANTIC). And the dice mechanics are similar to Descent or Doom, with numbers and explosions on the dice, and different colored dice, so that you can get range and damage in one roll. That's handy - but it's implemented horribly.

First off, the game is incredibly unbalanced. The demons are overpowered, big-time. They have more life, more dice, better dice, and more deadly abilities. The humans suck, but they cost just as much.

And even if you can figure out how to build a human army that's more than cannon fodder, the game itself is boring. These ludicrously large figures don't allow me to use my miniature terrain (all built to accommodate 25-30mm figures), and besides, you have to play on a flat hex map. So you can't build a fire base on a hill, or a blasted factory, or anything else. You have to use their crappy, ugly map, because the figures all have to stay on their hexes. At least with Heroscape (which also plays out on a hex map), you can make just about anything you want.

Finally, the rules blow. They're not interesting at all. There's promise, but there are weird order marker rules and goofy initiative (for instance, if you win initiative at the beginning of the game, you've got it the whole game). You can put a guy on guard - but then he either quits guarding at the end of the turn (stupid if you're the last guy to move) or he doesn't get a turn next time, making guarding any time a pretty lame proposition.

And don't get me started on the pricing. The base game goes for thirty bucks, and you get six figures. That's five bucks each, not counting the game (and there's no reason to count the game, because it sucks). Then the boosters are twenty smackers, and they each have four figures. Five clams per miniature is insane.

And finally, allow me to address the entire reason FFG gave us for making these figures the size of my old Star Wars action figures - detail. These are supposed to be wicked detailed and beautifully painted. Well, they're not. I've got 28mm figures with more detail, and the paint jobs are awful. In some places, the dry brush is so bad, it looks like it was applied by slapping it with the unwanted part you found on that not-exactly-a-girl.

The end result is a game that at first had all the appeal of one of those drunk chicks from Girls Gone Wild, and then wound up with an Adam's apple and hair on her chest (not to mention the bait and tackle in her pants).

I wish I could have been in the strategy session when they decided to make stupid big figures. It seems like the idea had to come from someone who has never played a miniatures game. Some marketing goofball, probably, said, 'hey! Let's make 'em as big as those old-school GI Joes my neighbor used to have (but not me, I only had educational toys)!'

Fantasy Flight couldn't have done a better job of making me not want anything to do with the Mutant Chronicles CMG, and my wallet is better off for it, so I suppose I should thank them for saving me hundreds of dollars. My psyche, on the other hand, may never recover from finding a sausage where I was expecting a pie.


The entire game is included in the base box, including all the cards
Interesting dice mechanic

Odd, nonsensical rules
No ability to customize the map
Obvious and confusing errors in the rulebook
Horrid paint jobs are only made more evident by the elephantine figures
Way too expensive
Has a penis

If you really love this game, you might also get a kick out of this guy:


Anonymous said...

-has a penis

Well, that right there pretty much does it for me...

Anonymous said...

You forgot that the first release wave is blind purchase! :-P

I'm already a pretty hesitant game buyer, they did just about everything they could to ensure failure. Did they do it on purpose?

I think I'll punt the dude and get my virginal rear away from this thing.

Anonymous said...

I've been spouting the "anti-54mm mantra" ever since they announced this game. It's a shame the game turned out a stinker since the Warzone storyline is extremely awesome! I've seen some of the figures and the line about wanting to make them extra detailed is a marketing ruse. They are okay figures and paint jobs but nothing spectacular. 28mm AT-43/Confrontation figures are more detailed and sometimes better painted than the MC CMG figures I've seen.

Thanks for the honest review, Matt!

Matt Drake said...

Newb, you're exactly right about the AT-43 figs. They are more attractive by far than the Mutant Chronicles figures, with better paint jobs. If the MC figures had been 28mm, I could have easily overlooked any detail or paint flaws. For one thing, they would have been less obvious. I was just so completely underwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

The actual older Warzone rules are better than these new rules.

But I'll disagree and say that the miniatures are nicely painted with good color choice. If they were 28mm I would be buying the crap out of em.

Anonymous said...

You owe me a new keyboard since I saw that picture and spit soda all over mine!
Good job on the reviews, they are hilarious!

Pete Miller said...

Recent press releases say FFG is scrapping the blind purchase completely on this. They must be in full panic as the game is horribly overdue - remember they previewed all the wave 1 figures at GenCon LAST YEAR. This could be one of FFG's few massive failures. If they just would have made the figures normal size I would have bought some...

Anonymous said...

Played it at Gen Con. Humans don't suck. Just need to know how to play the game. They are getting a new company to paint the figs. I've seen some examples and they look great. The game plays well. I like AT-43, 40K, Horde and others but what makes this nice is "its not more of same." I enjoy the larger figs...I've got boxes of smaller ones and not once have I used them together to play Therians VS Dark Angles, so who cares. Expand your horizons and your miniature size...and while your at it-your penis size.

Ignatius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It's very clever, congratulations! I mean, it must be since you're perfect — you're tall, handsome, athletic and I bet you make no less than 500K a year and is admired by all. You aren't this perfect? So what gives you the right to say this vile shit about transgendered people? Maybe you're just a fat, greasy, stinky, transphobic nerd. So what makes you think you're so good? Your crappy "reviews" of toys? Aren't you a little too grown-up to play with those by now? Inquiring minds whant to know.