Last night we played a trial game of Mantic's new science fiction game Warpath. We have played a few games of their new fantasy rules set 'Kings of War', and found that we really like them, so we were keen to try their science fiction equivalent.
The big appeal for us is the simplicity of the rules. We have tried the Games Workshop Fantasy and 40K rules (and have certainly played quite abit of 40K), and the thing we most struggle with is what for us is unnecessary complexity. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an attack on GW rules. I know thousands play and enjoy them, and good on them. The issue for us is that we are peripatetic in our wargaming tastes, so we might play one rules system for half a dozen games, and then move on to something else that appeals to our interests. The rules book/army book structure of the GW rules systems means that to play the game you must be familiar with the rules book, your own army book, and other army books too, if the game is to play well. This works well if this is your game of choice and you play it regularly, but frankly we just can't remember enough of them from one series of games to the next to make playing the games enjoyable. We found that with Kings of War, after three games, we were playing the games quickly and confidently, and they were good games. So because Warpath is based on similar principles to KoW, it was inevitable that we would try Warpath too.
The game played reasonably easily, although busy work lives for us all meant that we hadn't really read them thoroughly enough before we played. Consequently we made several mistakes in turn sequence. However despite this it was very easy to make our way around the rules. The fact that there are only two 'races' or army lists available at the moment meant that we used GW figures as 'proxies', so my GW orcs were Marauders and Adrian's Eldar were Forgefathers (odd, I know).
We felt that there was a potential balance issue with one of the Forgefathers fire based units in particular, but we also fell into the trap of trying to play the game as if it were 40K, and it's not. This meant that units lasted differently, with a Marauder unit disappearing after one turn of fire, having taken heavy casualties and then failing its nerve test, while other units lasted the whole game. We also noted that vehicles last differently on the table - personally I liked this aspect of the game, although we felt that there was plenty of potential for unlikely vehicle play with vehicles chasing each other to get flank and rear shots.
Finally as we dissected the game afterwards, we definitely felt that, because the game is unit based, it would play very well with Epic scale figures, not that that it helpful because we all like the Epic rules. But the basing system used in Epic certainly lends itself to the rules.
Anyway, there are some initial thoughts. here are a few photos of the game.. it looked pretty much like any 40K game because of the figures we used, so I haven't overdone it.