Dark Age: Unboxing the Dragyri Ice Caste Starter

I have another great set of Dark Age minis for you guys to check out.

 

This set was actually a pre-release at Gencon, which is where I picked it up. It was made available to everyone last November.

Here are some more of the bubble wrap bags we’ve been seeing. Inside the wrap are eight models: a mighty Spirit Lord, two imposing Blizzards, a somewhat sneakier Soul Searcher, three pitiful Slaves, and a Slave Taskmaster to keep them in line.

 

Soul Searcher

Our first Dragyri is the Soul Searcher with his mighty Frost Glaive.

Here he is assembled and primed. Like most Dragyri his hobbies include grimacing and collecting human skulls.

The reverse.

Here he is next to the plastic version from Path to Glory. I thought the plastics were some pretty good looking models, but the extra sharpness in the resin version is clear. Also the new one is bigger. We’ll have to see how they look side by side once I have them painted.

Here are two more plastic Dragyri from the Path to Glory starter. They don’t come in the Ice Caste starter but I thought some people might still like to compare. I think they’re nice and I look forward to painting them, but they just don’t reach the level of quality of the resins.

Blizzards

This big guy is a Blizzard. I’m always impressed by the trouble they take to make sure each Dragyri unit type gets its own look. It would be so easy to just slap a pair of axes onto the Soul Searcher and call it done, but this guy gets his own distinct armor and helmet.

Look at that screaming face.

And here he is assembled.

The reverse.

Here is the second Blizzard of the set.

I wonder what they keep in the little vials?

And here he is assembled.

The reverse.

The last Dragyri of the set is this Spirit Lord.

To give you a sense of scale, each cloth square is an inch by an inch. These Dragyri are big boys.

And here he is assembled.

And of course the reverse.

Slaves

Next we have the Spear Slaves.

They don’t look like much on their own.

It’s hard to figure out what’s going on without their arms and legs attached.

This one doesn’t even have a head.

Nonetheless I like taking pictures of everything.

This poor fool wants someone to bring it.

This is clearly why they have such short lifespans.

Now that they’re all assembled it should be much easier to see what’s going on with them.

Reverse shot.

Taskmaster

Here’s the big slave that bosses the others around.

He’s an older sculpt as you might be able to tell. He still holds up pretty well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a new one with the spikier mouth and leg spurs.

All put together.

Wait a minute, I just realized this guy isn’t wearing a loin cloth. Being the boss means you don’t have to wear pants?

Using the Starter

Like the Skarrd Starter this box contains enough models to give you a 500 point force and get you right into the game.  It has good potential for both fun and strategy.

The Soul Searcher gets to deploy ahead of the rest of the force. He has Survivalist which can help him get the jump on your opponent or, if you’re lucky, maybe make them waste a ranged attack or two on him.

The Spirit Lord gets to choose two Psychogenics from the Ice Caste’s excellent Psychogenic list. It’s tempting to give him Chilling Aura and Witness Me! just so he never has to waste an AP casting anything. On the other hand you might want to take Glacial Spear so he can have a ranged attack if he needs it. It could prove very useful if you find yourself facing an Air or Shadow Caste force with lots of Sidestep.

The slaves can Squadlink with the Spirit Lord, and will bring his offensive power up to insane levels if he can get the Gang Up bonus from three or four of them. The slaves’ primary purpose is to provide that Gang-Up bonus, but they can perform decently on their own if they work together.

The Blizzards are pretty self reliant, and two of them Squadlinking can bring down very tough targets. They also have a great Psychogenic with Chilling Grasp. Use it to drag enemies off of Objectives and line up other models for the kill.

This article first appeared on my own blog toomini. Follow it to get a look at these articles before they show up on BoLS. There are also a lot of great painting articles there that haven’t made it here yet!

~Hope you enjoyed the article! What do you think of the Ice Caste?

  • EnTyme

    These would actually make decent Fimir models for AoS. If we had rules for Fimir in AoS.

  • DrunkCorgi

    Wow, those are some sharp looking minis. How does the game play? Are there any reviews on this site?

    • ZeeLobby

      Nah. There are a bunch of YouTube vids tho. The game sounds like a lot of fun. Sadly it died before it started locally.

      • marxlives

        True, at this point in the game it is best if you have another friend or friends to play with at home while drinking some beers and maybe a couple of times at the game store. It is still very niche.

    • euansmith

      Guerilla Miniature Games has done a fair amount of battle reports for this game, as has Games With The Cooler.

      Here is a Let’s Play explaining the rules of Dark Age.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfxMeAEprSk

      • DrunkCorgi

        Thanks, I’ll check that out.

    • marxlives

      This starter box is way better than the one I bought way back. That one only came with three dudes. This game is hands down my favorite sci-fi game and probably my favorite game out of Warmachine/Malifaux/Infinity/Deadzone.

      For a basic run down:

      It is like Warmachine in that the unit cards, ALL the rules, themes and scenarios are free and updated every year.

      What I like about the game is it is as granular as WMH by using a dice off and target number mechanic but the game is very small, so low model count (I still need to play more Company of Iron to compare Dark Age to that one).

      Malifaux uses a poker/black jack mechanic with black and red jokers to make the game very brutal rather than d6. Dark Age accomplishes the same with critical hits and misses (think DnD) and uses a d20. And like Malifaux/Company of Iron/Infinity it is alternating activation. I move a model you move a model.

      Just like Malifuax you have a main scenario for the map and then a secondary one for the faction. What I like about Dark Age is the secondary scenarios are not hard to remember and when you are done completeing a scenario you score it and pull the next one from you scenario deck. So they are simple but constant through out the game and are a balancing mechanic. Also the game is more free form. There are character models but you don’t build around them like you do in Malifaux where you build your army around the Master.

      It is a lot like Infinity in that you spend AP but not from a collective pool. Each model has their own action points. You can still go prone (in some cases you do if you are getting shot at), jump over hazardous terrain, climb, charge, move, aim, and attack with action points. You can also hold action points to dodge into cover when being shot at or to shoot/attack back or shoot an enemy who moves into line of sight. So just like Infinity it is very cinematic.

      Unlike Infinity, you don’t have to look up or remember specialized rules for the units/weapons, because they are on the card. Even the how many of those models you field in 500 point game increments (to prevent spam) and its squad link type and amount (some models can activate as a group instead of individually) are on the card.

      Basically, the game takes a lot of the best mechanics from many different games that I love but leaves stuff off either because it is too much baggage or the mechanics work against the theme of the game, which is “everything dies”, but adds enough substance to make the game stand on its own. The game doesn’t play like a copy of another game.

      As much as I like Deadzone, stepping away from being 40k 2.0 has been hard for Mantic mechanically. Deadzone still uses true line of sight (in Dark Age models control or do not control terrain), command dice, and an exploding d8 system that seems more gimmicky than something that adds to the feel of the game.

      Hope this has been helpful.
      https://geekandsundry.com/why-dark-age-is-the-best-minis-game-youve-probably-never-heard-of/

      • DrunkCorgi

        Hey, thanks for such a thorough response!

        Infinity’s my go-to game, and I love Malifaux’s setting but hate the card flipping, so those were helpful comparisons. I haven’t seen any gaming nights for Dark Age in my city, so I probably won’t be doing much but admiring pics of the amazing models.

        Cheers!

        • marxlives

          I only like the card flipping because I have 5 Red Jokers up my sleeve…at all times! The card flipping is give or take. Took my sometime for my brain to wrap around it but I like it. It seems to give the setting its Weird West appeal, rather than a gimmick. It definitely is not the industry norm and does not appeal to everybody for sure.

      • euansmith

        That’s a great review, particularity the way you’ve contrasted it with other games people may well be more familiar with.

        • marxlives

          Thank you, ya it is a consequence of playing different games. You begin to see the design decisions. The appeal for Infinity over Dark Age would being able to customize your force. Some players really like the concept of wargear and some do not.

          What I like about Infinity/Dark Age/Malifaux, is whether a player likes or dislikes them, their design decisions are solid and they make sense. Nothing seems holistically arbitrary.

          All the games I mentioned are really excellent and each offers its own thing, but you can see that each design choice is supposed to project a particular atmosphere and attitude for the game.

          The only one I can’t wrap my head around is Deadzone. It is a lot of fun and the command dice mechanic is really great. I don’t understand the exploding dice system. Would be better to just say that each roll of an 8 just causes an additional wound or save. Also true line of sight needs to go. In an abstract system it is a hard rule that doesn’t belong because it treats models as being in a static pose. Those two elements are the only holistically arbitrary design decisions that I see in the game.

          • euansmith

            I like the way that Deadzone handles TLoS, by saying that everything is in cover unless you can see the entire model. If you can see the entire model, it is a Clear Shot and confers a bonus. The assumption being that your are attacking the entire cube your target enhabits.

            I also like the idea in the new Necromunda, where you use the clear plastic rules to determine TLoS.

            Of course, Infinity and Warmachine have their standard silhouettes for determining TLoS.

            I must say, I’m actually rather a fan of using grids to handle movement and attack zones, so I’m rather a fan of Deadzone in that respect.

          • marxlives

            That is true the grid movement is my favorite aspect of Deadzone as well. It just works because they game happens in a tight space with ALOT of terrain. I also like the way it handles climbing. So the grid movement really captures the idea of moving and diving behind cover. It just gets tough with tlos when there is so much terrain.
            You either have to use eye level or a laser leveller. All in all if there was a Deadzone v3, tlos would not be an issue. The game handles it well enough were it is more preference. I would hope that they get rid of exploding 8’s and just say any 8’s count as an addition wound/save.
            I love the lore of the game. I like how the Asterians are not a “dying race” they just use a lot of automation or drone tech. The dwarves are supertech driven and isolated. And the Enforcers as corporate tools and GCPS as the ground forces for a planet. I like the idea of the Plague. After having replayed through all the Dead Spaces, I think they should continue doubling down on their story since they are lore’s most apparent big bad.

          • euansmith

            With the Plague acting as a faction in Warpath/Firefight, I think we’ll be seeing more of them. Hopefully some more Plague Aliens too for extra colour. I just wish that they’d not blown the scale of the plastic 3rd Gen Troopers. I don’t mind them being larger than humans, but having their weapons grow with them just looks daft to me.

          • marxlives

            That is true, it would be cool too see them as human in size with maybe a couple of pieces off to make them seem off, and then you get into some really crazy morphs.

          • euansmith

            I wasn’t the physical size of the Stage IIIs that irked me; it was the fact that their human equipment, the same stuff being used by the Rebs and the Corps, has somehow grown; so that a rifle that, in a human’s hands, is rifle sized, in a Stage IIIs hands is as big as a human. I think that Mantic just screwed up the files when sending their renders off to be machined. 😉

  • Agent OfBolas

    the details are INSANE! I love the minis.