Warzone: Resurrection- The Long Road

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The name ‘Warzone’ may be rather familiar to some readers out there. Indeed, it has a pedigree stretching back to the early 1990s and a fully-realised setting that supports an RPG and has numerous other games to its name.

Since the arrival of Warzone: Resurrection, scores of new players across the world have discovered the world of Mutant Chronicles. New commanders for the five Megacorporations, the Brotherhood and the Dark Legion have taken up paintbrushes, dice and rulebooks to prepare and lead their forces into the Warzones of the Solar System.

However, they’re not breaking new ground, even if the world seems new to them. In fact, a significant proportion of the new players of Warzone: Resurrection has been there before, playing one of the RPGs, a previous version of Warzone, or any of the range of ancillary systems.

1sted RPG books

First Beginnings

The Mutant Chronicles setting started as a Role-Playing Game (RPG). The first edition, published in 1993, took the game Mutant and evolved it into the setting we’re familiar with today. This is where the Corporate Wars, the Breaking of the Seal, the Dark Symmetry, the Dark Legion and the Cardinal’s crusades all took form.

However, as an RPG, something else took form as well: a complete universe came to life, down to the details of the societies of the Megacorporations, the Brotherhood, the Cartel, the Freelancers and of course, the Dark Legion. Players could step into this world and walk around as anything from a stockbroker to a celebrity to a soldier to an agent. They could attend Imperial’s schools, bargain with Mishiman lords, enter Brotherhood cathedrals, walk the ordered streets of Bauhaus’ Homebuilders, run for office in Capitol, try to retain their humanity in Cybertronic, scrape a living on Luna or fall to the Darkness and worship the apostles.

Later, the setting of Dark Eden was developed, following those who were left behind on Earth and the factions they split into. The setting is almost exactly the same as it is today, with varying shades of grey and competing interests leaving the solar system as a hotbed of intrigue, struggle and combat.

This RPG and the fictional setting were so popular that it spawned a range of other products: a Collectible Card Game, a handful of board games, a video game, novels and comics, a movie and a collectible miniatures game. While some of these spin-off products have had some issues (notably, the novels and especially the movie departed from the established canon), they have all had their impact on the development of the Mutant Chronicles universe and the game we love today, Warzone.

1st ed game

Warzone: Tabletop wargame

The first edition of Warzone was built for fans of the RPG as well as new players, coming out in 1995. At this time, tabletop sci-fi games were becoming quite popular, with a handful of games selling very well. The two largest in many countries were Warhammer: 40,000 and Warzone (respectively).

Most of the units that we see now with Warzone: Resurrection were present in 1st edition, and many of the game elements in the rulebook now were true then- the army lists, the ability to customise heroes (back then it was billed as a way to bring RPG characters onto the battlefield), the short fiction pieces amongst the rules. The game system was based around actions and D20s as it is now, although there were a few significant differences- all models had a stat line for action points (usually three or four) which they could use in any combination of actions (move-shoot-move or move-aim-shoot or move-move-move, for example), and there were no cards or resources present. After the initial game was released, a series of later expansions added more rules and units to all the factions.

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New Editions, New Owners

In 1998, a second edition of the game was released, this time diverging somewhat from the established background to portray more of the ‘original vision’ for the Mutant Chronicles universe. Two supplements were produced, focussing on Capitol forces on Mars and Bauhaus forces on Venus. Target Games were working on the third supplement, based on Mishima and Mercury, when the company was restructured. The Warzone (and Mutant Chronicles) Intellectual Property was sold to a newly-established independent subsidiary company, Paradox Entertainment.

Warzone was later licensed to Excelsior Entertainment, who produced Ultimate Warzone (intended to be called Warzone: Universe Under Siege) in 2004. However, Excelsior went out of business before this was released. The original moulds were destroyed and the existing copies of the boxed game and miniatures were sold to a company in Ireland called Prince August.

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In February 2013, Prodos Games launched Warzone: Resurrection via Kickstarter. After a wildly successful Kickstarter Campaign, the miniatures were released and later the game was sold to retail stores, becoming what you know it as today. It was intended to include four factions on release- Cybertronic, Bauhaus, Dark Legion (Algeroth) and the Brotherhood. However, the success of the campaign led to Capitol and Mishima also being included and the range of miniatures exploding to several times the intended size. There has also been a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch the latest edition of the Role-Playing Game by Modiphious Entertainment.

This article is a short version of an article in Cartel Tactical Centre (CTC) Magazine, a free fan-made e-zine available at their Facebook page.

**Note: this article originally said that the Kickstarter for Warzone: Resurrection launched in February 2003. The author blames sleep deprivation for the error- he has two kids under two years of age!**

Did you play a previous edition of Warzone? What about the RPG and/or the spin-off games? Have you still got some of the old miniatures lying around somewhere?

 

  • Awesome 🙂

  • MarcoT

    Surely it was february 2013, not 2003 🙂
    Nice article, and I actually recall that dinorider! I wanted to include those guys in my ultramarne army. Ah, the innocence of youth…

  • A good overview of a game that deserves more attention, given how long it’s been around in some form or another.

    Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a community for it near me, and I’m not willing at this point to be the first one to dive into yet another game.

    • Ira Clements

      A long time gamer associate of mine bought the book and it is lavish. Worth every penny just to look at it. Being a fan of the original game in the 90s it really took me back. I have ordered a copy and a couple of starters. However the minis will be the selling point for me. I believe they are resin so it they suffer from warpage or brittle parts I probably wont persue the game any further but man the book is really nice.

      • Timberwolf

        Well, I got a Mishima Starter and a box of Crimson Devils, and all I got in terms of warpage or breakage were some minor issues with the (really thin, due to scale) swords of the Samurai. Nothing a quick dip in hot water won’t fix, though.

        One breakage occured that was totally my fault – applying too much pressure close to a rather delicate part with the tweezers when cutting from the sprue (beginner’s mistake, really)

        The miniatures itself are gorgeous – they rank up with Infinity for me, in terms of sculpt quality. The resin quality is pretty outstanding, some minor clean-up is required (as with most resin miniatures), but it’s mostly flash, requiring nothing more than a quick rub-down with a soft toothbrush. Haven’t had any other issues like bubbles, misalignments, etc.

        I’m thoroughly enjoying these minis and can’t wait to paint them.

  • I believe there was another miniature game released between 2004 and 2013. Had prepainted miniatures.

  • JPMcMillen

    That funny, back in 1995 most people I knew played either 40k or Battletech. Nobody I knew played Warzone. I don’t even remember seeing it in stores.

  • Chris Reynolds

    Hi guys, thanks for all the comments here and on Facebook that the dates for the Kickstarter were wrong- now fixed!

    Yes, there was more to the story of Mutant Chronicles in terms of products, but this article focusses on Warzone, the tabletop miniatures game. The full article in CTC Magazine goes into more detail about some of the other products, like the Doomtrooper card game, the collectible miniatures game, the movies, books and board games.

  • Alex Hood

    It’s a great game with awesome models the newer sculpts are more practical than the original ones but they still maintain the true scale basis which a lot of games avoid. A lot of people avoid the game because of the tactical deck but having played with and without it the game becomes so much more tactical with them.

  • Damistar

    I played Warzone back in the 90s (Imperial and Brotherhood). The rules were quite solid but tended to drag things out in larger games. The main problem it had were that the minis were no where near the quality of Citadels. After Target Games released 2nd ed and started the resculpts it had a lot of potential. Then the company overextended itself and crashed and burned. The new Warzone minis from Prodos are very nice to look at, but I can’t figure out if they’re trying to do a skirmish game or a larger brigade kind of thing. Also Prodos took a very long time filling it’s Kickstarter pledges, so I’ve held off getting back into the game until I’m sure they’re serious.

  • Alex

    Two comments on a nice summary of Warzone’s history. First, Ultimate Warzone was released by Excelsior before they disappeared. You can still find copies of it on eBay. Second, I’d question whether the changes to the background in 2nd edition were done to “portray more of the ‘original vision.'” 1st edition was in fact much more clearly developed from the background presented in the MC RPG books and 2nd edition was a significant retcon, effectively eliminating all digital technology in the universe and simplifying each of the planets to be of a single environment type and home to one corp (Mars was the desert home to Capitol, Venus the jungle home to Bauhaus, etc.).

    • Alex

      But, regardless of my nitpicks, I’m glad to see this universe back out there. Thanks for doing the write-up!

    • Thanks Alex. I’d moved away from Warzone during the period that UWZ came out, and had to rely on internet sources that said they wound up before the game came out. It would be interesting to think of what might have happened if Kickstarter was around then- maybe UWZ would have been easier for them to launch.

      The statement that they had released 2nd edition to cater for the original vision was a statement by Target at the time. 2nd ed was supposedly to take things back to before the RPG was brought out, in the direction that Warzone was supposed to take (i.e. not the same direction as the RPG!)

  • Rémy

    Actually i have abox of those ! Like still on grids ! Bought them au à discount Shop like 10 years ago