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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Planetfall & DZC side-by-side


So 2015 is with us, and I want to increase the amount I'm posting on the blog to give shorter, more frequent posts, so keep a close eye out!

First up, Oscar and I got some Planetfall stuff before Christmas, so I'll be putting a load of that up soon, but first I wanted to give a quick side-by-side of Planetfall & DZC for all of you 10mm fans out there!

So, here it is, based on the two 2-player starter sets for the rival systems - Spartan's Battle for Proteus Prime and DZCs set. Both come boxed with scenery, rules, dice etc, but at the end of the day it's all about rules & models, right? As the rules are subject for another post and require some delving, lets have a look at models.

Now both these sets are "10mm" and set in a far future SF universe where humans battle each other and aliens. Planetfall already has a space-based game, whereas DZC is going the other way, having started in 10mm and going to space - we're expecting to see that in 2015 sometime.

So after opening the boxes, there is one major difference between the two - Spartan have crammed their box with resin, whereas Hawk have gone to injection moulded plastic (presumably to keep their costs down). This means a bit more assembly for the Hawk models than Spartan's, but not too much more. We've done all of that, so we can do the comparisons more easily.

So here we have the contents of the two sets (not including scenario objective pieces);

So the immediate impact is that you seem to get more stuff in the Spartan set, but then it is a little more expensive than the Hawk set (£80 vs £60). So, let's do some comparisons;

This is a Directorate Cyberwarfare tank compared to a UCM Rapier AA Tank. Now, the fluff in DZC explains that the tanks only carry a single person, but the size difference is marked nonetheless. Here is a Sabre compared to a Directorate Medium tank and light buggy;

So you can see that the Hawk main tank is much more comparable to the light unit of the Spartan set.

Now DZC uses dropships whereas Planetfall doesn't (at least not so far), so the comparison here really is between the aerial units and the Heavy units in the PF set.

Once again, although comparable length wise, the Spartan heavy unit dwarfs the Condor in terms of bulk. Now you do get three of these in their set, so there is kind of equivalence here.

Now, onto APCs. You get 3 in the DZC set, and just one for the Directorate in the PF set. That, however, doesn't really tell the story;

If we also show the infantry they're supposed to carry, we get another view;

Even with DZCs fluff, I'm not sure all those guys are getting into that APC! The PF unit is big, but I can believe those dudes getting into the unit with all their gear. That, of course, brings us to the comparison of the infantry, which is where the PF set really steps up;

To me, the DZC infantry are wooden and simplistic - they have no features and unrealistic poses - my son remarked that they look like the symbol for a guy on a toilet door...Just to highlight this, let's show you a comparison with the Pewter individual infantryman that SG give you for the inserts on the bases;

now the resin infantry have the same detail, but you can see it much more clearly here in the metal. Now, it's not just the detail which I find compelling about the PF infantry, but their poses - they're dynamic...they look like guys fighting, not a bunch of drones lining up to be shot. This changes how they "feel" to play - I care more about them if they look like they're fighting for their lives, rather than sticks to be lined up and shot down. Now, there IS a size difference - the SG infantry are supposed to be in power armour, which adds to their bulk, but they do stand about 12mm tall to Hawks 10mm high guys, SG do quote 10mm as foot-to-eye, whereas Hawks seem to be 10mm head-to-toe. So, there's about a 10-15% difference in scale, I'd say.

To me, however, this difference does not differentiate the level of detail and quality between the two sets. I was substantially disappointed in the size of the models in the DZC set, and the other items in the box and a £20 lower price point don't fill the void between it and  the SG Planetfall set. The resin items in the box are beautifully cast, substantial and extremely good value compared to the small, flimsy-feeling and simplistic Hawk offerings. Given the material differences between the PF set and Hawk set, I'd have expected a much lower price point for the Hawk 2-player set or there to be substantially more in there. If I put it side by side other 2-player sets, for example Mantic's Deadzone, or GWs Shield of Baal, it feels light and expensive. When put side-by-side with the more expensive PF set, I'd shell out the extra £20 every time.

Of course, there are many Hawk fans out there, and I know I'm a traditional Spartan convert, but I got DZC long before Planetfall, and I approached it with an open mind. Now, however, I think it will be a case of sticking it of ebay, as I just can't see a good reason to carry on with it in the light of Spartan's entry to this relatively new market.