Flying a Tattered Flag for Eden
With the proliferation of new skirmish minis games coming out in recent times, largely thanks to the Kickstarter crowdfunding model, it seems odd that our local club has become so monogomous of late. They’ve always had a WarmaHordes bias down at the ‘Cross but lately things have become almost exclusive. It’s a little sad for the diversity of the local scene but that’s probably a deeper discussion for another time.
Well anyway, last night Marton and I were in defiance – flying the flag for Eden.
Eden is a small scale skirmish game by Taban Miniatures, which to be fair to them isn’t just a new Kickstarter shiny and has been around for a few years. I even marvelled at their impressive demo table at Salute a few years back. The quirky minis and post apocalyptic setting have always been a draw for me and so I opted in to their hardback rulebook Kickstarter last year and accompanied it with some minis and terrain.
In something of a panic over the weekend I assembled and undercoated a Matriarchy starter group of six minis and read through the rules a few times so we could muddle our way through a first game last night.
And very enjoyable it was too.
Marton fielded his Resistance starter and this turned out to be a pretty bad matchup for a first game as the Matriarchy specialise as anti-technology luddites – my fighters gaining all sorts of bonuses against his vault tech toting survivors.
So the game turned out to be somewhat one-sided but I think it’s fair to say we enjoyed it nonetheless.
I won’t go into a full review but I’ll highlight some things I liked about the game from a first play perspective:
1. It plays on a 2’x2′ table. I like the smaller games as it’s easier to put together an aesthetically pleasing table of terrain. It also means I can play it at home in our cosy flat.
2. It’s post apocalyptic. Always a favourite genre/setting of mine.
3. It’s small scale skirmish game. As a painter I can focus more attention on the individual sculpts and it’s less daunting to get a playworthy set of minis together. 5-7 seems to be the number of minis per side.
4. The rules are simple and straightforward. We had some questions as we were playing but were able to resolve them all with a quick peruse of the rulebook. This was a breath of fresh air compared to the over-complexity and ambiguity found in Infinity.
5. Strategic points. At the start of the game each side accrues a dozen or so strategic points (SPs) that you spend over the course of the game to do things like bid for turn order, play cards, etc. It adds a level of resource management to the game but without bogging things down at all.
6. Tactic cards. I mentioned that you could spend SPs to play cards and these are from a fixed hand you build at the start of the game. It’s a simple bit of extra strategy and tactics to shape your play style, as well as more resource management – when the card is played it is gone. They’re not game changers though. A card might give a couple of your fighters a one shot stat bonus in a specific situation you’ve engineered. They also help to give a narrative theme to your group.
7. Objective missions. I always prefer a game where you’re trying to achieve something other than just beating up on your opponent and Eden features self-selected mission cards at the start of the game. Like Malifaux, they might be hidden or declared.
8. Non-player fighters. An option of play is to add NPC monsters to the table and there are simple AI rules for how they react during the game. I love this idea, that the post apocalyptic wilderness itself is dangerous to both players with roving mutant critters, etc, looking for a meal. I guess this was something that was in the original Rogue Trader 40K 1st Ed. Anyway, I think it’s great.
9. Interruptable activation order. Players take turns activating their models but the order can be challenged by a model with a high SPD stat. I like the way this worked and there was some tactical thinking about the order sequence. Also the hit location system meant that you could target an opponents legs to slow them (all stats have a full and diminished/wounded value)
Were there things I didn’t like?
Nothing’s really springing to mind.
Perhaps a couple more plays will highlight imbalances or quirks but for what it is – ie a light and fun skirmish game – I’d say that Eden is very satisfying and a game I’ll be certainly coming back to.