And it’s the Return of Tabletop Guy! I’ve got something special here for you today, Mantic Games’ new battleset Mhorgoth’s Revenge, part of their Kings of War line. Mantic are something of a suprise success amongst the new miniatures companies from the UK – their declared goal of producing high quality, multipart miniatures in 28mm scale for fantasy games at affordable prices has naturally made then something of a competetor for a certain manufacturer from Nottingham. While their elven miniatures were viewed with a kind of mild skeptisism, their undead have become a roaring success and their dwarves seem to be set on continuing this success story. And after recuriting Alessio Cavatore – known for his long years of working on Warhammer Fantasy Battles to write a rules set for their miniatures it’s become very obvious that we have a new contester for Games Workshop’s thone. Mantic has just released a boxed set with two core armies of undead and dwarves, including the german translation of the rules if one wasn’t planning on just using the figures with one’s Warhammer army.
As you can tell by looking at the photos there’s a lot of platic in the box: all in all we’re talking about 110 figures together with two warmachines and their crew. Also included are some dice, some stickers and the rules booklet. Before we talk about the miniatures I’d like to remark on the stickers: most of the stickers are shield decorations and banners for the undead, but we also get 8 “Mantic points”. These points can be exchanged on the website to gain exclusive figures, more units or other gimmicks. This is of cause an easy way of tying customers to the company, however, it IS a nice way of rewarding customer loyalty. Now, on to the miniatures.
The boxes set gives us 20 skeleton warriors, 20 revenants, 10 ghouls, 15 zombies and a Balefire catapult. The skeletons are made up of two sprues, one of which includes parts for a command unit, while the other only contans standard warriors. Every skeleton is made of at least three parts: torso with arms and head, legs and weapon, however, each sprue contains countless optional parts to modify and customize the warriors. Options include a musician, and standardbearer, a champion, the choice of swords or spears as weapons, an undead rat (or is that a dog?), the head of a dead dwarf (Yay!), special parts to make a skeleton crawling from the grave, and many more. The revenants are more or less the same a their skeleton collegues, apart from heavier armor, lack of spear options and a few different optional party (By the way, I loved the raven picking the flesh of the undead head). The skeletons are superbly detailed, easily constructed, and are more than a match for the competition from Nottingham.
The zombies are made up of five identical sprues with three zombies each, and are just as easy to build as the skeletons. These models also offer a few options, like the zombie digging himself out of the ground, or the zombie who from the waist up just isn’t there. Much. The detail on these figures is just as striking as on the skeletons, however they can be slightly… off-putting (Which is probably why they’re just a blacked out silouette on the box), but that’s a matter of taste I suppose. The ghouls come in sprues of two, with few options. Anyone who bought issue 3 of Tabletop Insider has already seen these guys.
The catapult includes two skeletal crew members, but – sadly – without a base for the catapult itself. While the crew members are idential to the skeletal warriors when it comes to building them, I miss instructions for the catapult. These can be downloaded from the website, but it would have been preferable to have them in the box. However, this is the only quibble I have with the dead, and it’s a minor one at that.
We also get quite a few dwarves in this set: 25 Ironclads, 20 Ironwatch, and a cannon. The Ironclads give us 5 miniatures per sprue… well, actually we get six – the sixth is a dead dwarf (Yay!) lying on the ground, who could be used as a wound counter or for terrain building. While they have beards, the Mantic dwarves are not the typical miniature Vikings. However, the dwarves are nowhere nearly as well detailed or as variable as the undead, leaving a slightly monotonous look. However, one option from the sprue did amuse me, the throwing pitbull…
The Ironwatch are the ranged combat unit of the dwarves, who can be built with muskets or crossbows. There are two dwarves per sprue, with a few options, however, they feel just as monotonous as the other warriors.
Finally, we have the cannon. This cannon comes without its own base, just like the catapult, and with two crew members, and can be built as a normal cannon or as an organ gun. The cannon is the only piece in the whole boxed set that feels cheap and loveless, with a distinct lack of detail and not very well cast. The crew is of similar quality as the rest of the dwarves, although a certain part of the sprue makes me thing the cannon recently had three crew members. At least, that’s what the pair of boots implies…
Buried under all this plastic, the rules become nothing more than a nice gimmick, especially as the 26 pages including army lists for the dwarves, undead and elves can be downloaded for free at the website. These rules – the internet sometimes refers to them as “Simplehammer” – are short, easy to learn and simple without being TOO simple. We recommend downloading them HERE and just giving them a go.
Gah. A summery? Of three different components? Oh well, here we go…
The undead are wonderful miniatures and definately an alternative to the Warhammer undead. Game Masters who enjoy using miniatures in their games will also be well served with these figures. The dwarves are competently done, but unless one is planning on playing Kings of War they can at best be used to fill existing units. Taken for themselves they fail to convince. The rules are quick, elegant and easy to learn, a good alternative to WFB. However, the german translation contains a few errors, so we’d recommend downloading the original version
All in all it needs to be said that this boxed set offers a LOT for little money. We highly recommend picking up this set if you either need a lot of cheap figures or are planning to get started with Kings of War. In any case Matic is a company you should keep your eyes on.