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     " I do not want a miniatures game I have to go out and buy in vast, random quantities just to assemble a reasonable force. "

      Title: Mechwarrior: Dark Age miniatures by Wizkids

      Format: Minis for Mechwarrior: Dark Age

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: Man has always been fascinated with robots (they do appear as some of the earliest cave drawings) and nothing can be cooler than marching a 100-ton robot-like tank across the field and stomping on some little ninny infantryman. Jumping from fantasy to reality, Mechwarrior: Dark Age miniatures let you live out those same dreams complete with tiny-scaled foot soldiers to destroy.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Sculpting and Paintability: Like the other games Wizkids makes, Mechwarrior: Dark Age figs are made from a soft plastic resin and come pre-assembled, pre-painted, and ready to play with. That, without question, kicks ass. Contrast that with the ridiculous assembling and painting other companies ask you to do and you'll be thrilled to have these ready to use figs slide out of the box. Plus, the sculpting is solid enough that you can definitely repaint them or customize the paint job if it suits your fancy. I have to deduct a point, though, for the incredibly flimsy joints some of the figures have. Just taking them out of the box we broke 2 of the mechs and had to glue them back together. Not good, but easily fixable. 4 out of 5

      Usefulness: Battletech was dominated by Mechs- the giant walking tanks that wreaked havoc and were unstoppable by virtually any other force in existence. Mechwarrior: Dark Age, by contrast, is mostly affected by infantry and tanks- having only one or two mechs per side on a typically sized force. Now, while that in and of itself isn't bad (actually, I think it's a pretty damned cool way to increase the potency of all of the aspects of an army), what stinks is the ridiculous amount of importance that one mech can have. The "right mech", hands down, will dominate the battlefield and lacking that "right mech" will pretty much doom you to failure. To put this in stark example, we got one "hero character" mech in the 2 starters and 2 boosters we reviewed and it is so ridiculously controlling that we finally had to rebalance her ourselves (increase the point cost for that side) or ban her from play. Now, add this to the fact that the packs are all random and only give you one mech per pack anyway, and you may well find yourself buying pack after pack to get that uber character just to make yourself competitive. Sure enough, when we went to our local game store to check out how other gamers were playing it, they were all constructing armies that cost a real life fortune because they had dropped huge change to find a bad ass hero mech…and that, hands down, sucks donkey. I do not want a miniatures game I have to go out and buy in vast, random quantities just to assemble a reasonable force. It also begs the question that, with 116 odd minis in the series and no way to compare until one of us has it, will I have to keep buying if someone else turns up an even more uber character? Hell, if that's what I was after I'd still be playing Warhammer. 3 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: All in all, the cost per fig itself doesn't end up too bad. I can't actually calculate it- because the packs are split up with 1 mech, a couple of infantry, and a couple of vehicles, but at 20 bucks a pop it seems reasonable enough. We have about $60 worth here in the office and we've got plenty of figures to keep us playing for quite a while. That, of course, doesn't include the uber character pursuit expenditures…but if you're like us, you'll just ban the heroes and set a nice reasonable spending limit. 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       In writing this review I was reminded of all the reason I hate "collectable" games. Here we have some very cool minis, in a pretty damned cool game, but it's all uprooted because they had to include the must-have characters that are only available randomly and thus will probably cost you a fortune to get.

      The Good: Very cool looking minis that come pre-assembled and painted.

      The Bad: Hero characters completely unbalance the game.

      The Overall Ugly: : If it were me, I'd buy a couple packs, sell the high muckety muck characters on Ebay, and enjoy playing some nice generic battles with your friends.

      What it's Worth: Market

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