Saturday, March 23, 2013

Anima Tactics Arrival

I said in my last blog post that I had ordered a few things for Anima Tactics, and yesterday everything finally appeared by UPS fairly early on in the day, which is rather shocking in and of itself. The box that MiniatureMarket shipped in was about the size I was expecting when it did show up on my door step, however, what I wasn't expecting was all the filler in the box. What you don't see in the pic is XII who I took out of his blister and put him with the rest of Wissenschaft.

A part of my thought the starter sets were going to be larger, as they were supposed to be holding six minis inside each box. Well, they certainly did cram all those minis into those boxes to make them fit. Well go into more details about the start set in a moment however.

The book itself was in good condition as I nearly always get from MiniatureMarket. Still filled with the beautiful artwork I was originally drawn to Anima for, and nearly half the book dedicated to the Saga 1 and Saga 2 characters. More or less a good book to get the basics of the world you are to be expecting to fight in. As I have used the Anima Tactics ruleset before, there wasn't anything out of the ordinary in that section either. The rules are still very easy to understand, and yet incredibly deep. It will only take a new person to the game a few fights to realize that blowing all your Action Points every round leaves you nearly defenseless.

The biggest problem with new people getting the rulebook now is that while it goes over the majority of the current line of organizations and characters, the game has moved onto Saga 3 and added new characters and groups that you will not know anything about unless you look on the Cipher Studios site or find an updated team builder. Granted, this is a problem for any tabletop game that wants to keep expanding after the book releases, but it is still a con none-the-less.

So on to the starter sets, which has a lot more commentary I can do as I have purchased previous starters and characters from Cipher Studios before. These new starter sets, like the old ones, are filled with the plastic chits to use to track Action Points, all the required bases, and all the minis floating 'loose' in the box. All that in the same size box as the Dark/Light starters used (as well as various characters).

What neither starter set included, that the Dark/Light ones did, was a quickstart rulebook and the token sheet. The quickstart rulebook of course being far more important, as now a person either needs to download it or get the hardcover book. I bought the hardcover book, but I am not a new person coming into the game. I would like to see both of those missing items placed back into all the starters, and not just the Dark/Light starters. Not everyone will want to print out or use a tablet/smartphone when trying to learn a new game. Not having the tokens readily available is something I think all sets should have, since you have a LOT of effects going on in the game normally, and the minis have a lot of wounds which need to be tracked.

By floating loose, I mean they are not packed up individually and all the bits are rather jumbled. I had to go through and figure out which bits went to which character. Some of the figures I had to Google and figure out which characters got which bits. Momiji had a ton of floating bits in the Samael box set, and took me a while to make sure all were accounted for. Once again, these sets are labeled as starter sets, players will go in with the assumption it is for new players to the game, and having a ton of bits they have to dig through may turn off a few folks. There is a big difference between two mini starter sets having loose bits like the Dark/Light sets, and having 6 minis worth of loose bits. I will say though that I didn't see any damaged bits, and everything was accounted for while I did inventory.

For $37.49 you do get a good number of pewter minis, and a nice selection of some decent characters that, for me anyhow, will actually be used further down the road once I work out my own list. This minimizes future purchases since I only need XII for a leader and Cordelia for my long range sniper. Of course this will vary between players and chosen forces. If I decided to do a mecha themed Wissenschaft force, the starter set would be nearly worthless to me.

The last thing in the package was XII, and I was rather shocked when I found him in a blister and not in a box with his own artwork. It didn't take me long for me to remove him from his blister and put all his contents in with the starter set. Figured it was safer than having to try and keep track of both items until I get them put together.

So at the end of the day what do I think of the new starter sets and my order in general?

  • Filled with beautiful artwork and lore.
  • Every Sage 1 and Saga 2 character has a dedicated 1-2 pages of background.
  • Rules are created in such a way that it won't take long for people to learn how to play.

  • Rulebook ONLY includes the Saga 1 and Saga 2 characters, and there are Saga three characters and entire organizations not listed in the book.

  • Good deal for the money IF you intend to use majority of the minis included in the box set.
  • Although all bits are loose, everything is packaged well and nothing really moves.

  • Good deal for the money IF you intend to use majority of the minis included in the box set.
  • No quickstart rulebook or token sheet.
  • Loose bits require player to run an inventory and figure out which bits go to which character, which can be daunting.

Effectively I can get two completely playable 300 point forces and rulebook for less than $100 with the new 'starter' sets which is fairly cheap once everything is said and done. If someone already has a friend with the main book, and already settled in to use 4+ of the minis from the starter sets, then the deal can't really be beat. If that isn't the case however, I would suggest to a new person to get either the Dark/Light starters or the main rulebook and just proxy for a while.
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