Project Pandora is Mantic’s latest board game and their second to tie in to their existing miniatures line. Lets take a closer look.
Following the highly successful Dwarf King’s hold, Mantic has set this new game in their futuristic Warpath universe. One player controls the Corporation marines guarding a mysterious and valuable cargo onboard an aging interstellar transport vessel. The other player commands the mysterious Veer-myn that have snuck aboard to steal it.
The rules for this game were written by Jake Thornton, whose name you might remember from Bloodbowl, Mordheim, and others.
The box comes packed with twenty miniatures, dice, a counter sheet, and 5 sheets of tiles.
I’ll explain the rules somewhat as we go over the pieces. But before we go any further I’m going to explain the fun part: combat. Every model has an attack and defense value which represents the number of dice they’ll roll when they attack or defend. The same attack numbers are used for melee and ranged combat. All attack and defense dice are rolled simultaneously by both players. The attackers and defenders compare their rolls starting with each players highest result, then their next highest, and so on. Each attack roll that is higher than a defense roll scores a hit. If that roll is also higher than the armor value of the defender, a point of damage is inflicted. Is that clear? How about a quick example just to make sure. The Corporation player rolls 5 attack dice against a Veer-Myn. His results are 6, 5, 5, 3, and 2. The Veer-Myn player rolls for defense and gets 5, 5, 4, 1, and 1. The Corporation player’s highest roll of 6 beats the Veer-Myn player’s highest roll of 5. Since the Veer-Myn player’s armor is 3 this scores one damage. The two player’s next rolls of 5 bounce, but the corporation player’s second roll of 5 beats his opponent’s roll of 4 causing another point of damage. The Veer-Myn is slain. While the other rolls of 3 and 2 are higher than the Veer-Myn’s defense rolls, they would not have beaten his armor score and therefore done nothing. I’ve never seen a combat system quite like this before and I must say its rather intriguing.
Now lets move on to the other game components.
These are the cardboard tiles and counters you’ll find inside.
Some of the corridors get pretty narrow. But these choke points are essential to one of the core game mechanics. All one square wide tiles are by default “Dark.” Any Veer-Myn killed in a Dark area slithers off to lick its wounds, or maybe tag team a hidden buddy. You may re-spawn it later in one of the locations pre-determined by the scenario. If it’s killed in a non-Dark square it’s out of the game. This means the Veer-Myn player must advance towards their objectives carefully or quickly lose their force for good. But if they play their cards right the corporation player will be continuously harassed by a never ending tide of rat things. Just to keep thing interesting, any tile can be made Dark by the Veer-Myn or not Dark by the Corporation player by spending a special action token while occupying it (flipping the light switch).
In the rulebook are different scenarios that give different tile arrangements and objectives. Here’s setup number 3 out of 6. In this particular scenario the marines have gotten split up and must make their way back to the middle tile. Only about 60% of the game pieces are used here. Some of the other scenarios are significantly more complicated.
The rulebook is small but it crams a lot of information into its 21 pages.
There are plenty of diagrams to help you make sense of things. I’ll explain some more of the mechanics of the game as we move on to the minis.
Here are the 9 basic marines for the corporation player. There is a sergeant as well. We’ll get to him in a moment. These guys are better armored than their Veer-Myn adversaries, but a bit slower. A marine can survive being wounded twice. The first damage he takes puts him into a wounded state and the second removes him. They’ve also got a few different rules that make them a lot better with those guns of theirs than their opponents.
Here’s a close-up of one of the marine bodies. You can see he’s got some pretty cool detail. Lots of straps, kit, and rivets.
One of the guns.
Some more specialized weaponry is included which was pretty nice since it doesn’t actually serve any purpose in Project Pandora. That means you can use these guys in Warpath, or whatever system you prefer.
Here’s the sergeant.
His close combat weapon is an especially cool bit with a lot of detail. It will also help him fight any Veer-Myn that try to mob him.
As far as I’m concerned, these guys are the real stars of the show. These ten warriors will be representing for the side of the space rats. They are a bit easier to wound than their corporation counterparts, but must be dealt 2 damage at once to be taken out of the fight. Less than that and they count as having dodged the attack with no ill effects. They are also faster than their corporation counterparts. This is reflected in their stats and also with the “Scurry” rule that allows any Veer-Myn that did not take an action to move a single space after all actions have been resolved. And of course they are also capable of re-spawning if killed in Dark tiles as discussed above.
Their miniatures have a cool hunched posture and generally ragged appearance. As to be expected.
They’re covered in characterful detail like rivets, valves, and other assorted widgets.
This is the torso for the Veer-Myn leader. The same piece is used for their special weapon attachment.
Here are the rest of the bits for the leader. Well… almost. The single tank below is actually supposed to go on his back.
The rest of the bits are for the Chem thrower. Its another cool looking weapon. I’m pretty much a sucker for this kind of aesthetic. Its kind of Steampunk actually. Unlike the corporation player and his special weapons, the Veer-myn will get to use this thing in the game. It hits like a regular Ray-Gun, but it reduces its target’s armor and will always contaminate a tile.
Overall I was pretty pleased with this product. It seems like a pretty good deal for its $60 price tag. Most games with this many plastic components will set you back a bit more. Of course its easier for Mantic since plastic miniatures are really what they do. In fact if you already like the Veer-Myn and corporation minis this product is only $10 more than the corresponding miniature kits would be sold separately. There’s a lot of game in here for just the extra $10.
The minis are all pretty high quality with lots of detail. Yes there are some mold lines but its nothing excessive. But I know standards are different so I took lots of pictures so you folks could make up your own minds. I really love these Veer-Myn sculpts as well. They’re nice and ragged looking and I really think the designers went for the right look for their tech. Definitely my favorite thing from Mantic so far.
My only real complaint with this product is the box. Unlike the tiles and counters, its quite flimsy. If you’re going to put it in a closet with your other games, make sure its on top. I don’t think it will take too much weight to crush it. Honestly you’d probably do best to put it in a larger sturdier box.
~ Alrighty… Sound off with your own comments and questions below.