You recognize Mars Attacks! from its 1996 film by Tim Burton but it is actually much older than that. Mars Attacks! started life in the early 60s as a trading card game and featured the iconic Martians. Well it's latest incarnation comes from Mantic Games in the form of Mars Attacks: The Miniatures Game. Set in the small town of Greenville, the game allows for 2 or more players to take control of the Humans or the Martians in a fight for Earth. I've had the chance to play a few games
and take a look at the contents of the box so let me give you an idea of what to expect.

Contents

The Mars Attacks: The Miniatures Game boxed set contains everything you need to get you playing. The contents are as follows:
  • 1 Martian General Tor
  • 20 Martian Grunts
  • 9 Human Heroes
  • 10 US Army Troopers
  • Quick-assemble Ruined Buildings
  • Urban Accessory Sprue
  • T-Junction Battle Mat
  • Rulebook
  • 54 Game Cards
  • Gaming accessories (Dice, counters e.t.c)


All of the miniatures within the game are pre-assembled and come in a variety of different poses which means you can get to gaming straight away. They are roughly 28mm 'true scale' and are quite nicely detailed. Obviously they are not quite on par with some of Mantics other ranges, such as Deadzone, but they are some good looking miniatures. What's an added bonus is that you can paint them up, but they come pre-colored to easily differentiate them on the board.

To accompany your miniatures you also get some Snap-Fit scenery to represent the shattered town of Greenville. The scenery consists of several ruined brick wall sections that can be arranged in numerous. The Snap fit quality not only allows you to construct an entirely different part of town for each game but it can be easily stored away after use. We will be taking a more in depth look at this scenery in a later article.




Gameplay

Mars Attacks employs an alternating play sequence in which players take it in turns to performs actions with 2 of their miniatures. Once activated the miniature cannot perform any more actions until the end of the round. The end of round occurs when both players have activated all of their miniatures, at this point they all be come deactivated and a new round begins. This mechanic makes for a more engaging style of game-play where not getting priority makes little difference. It is much more interesting for both players when they only have to wait for 2 miniatures to move/shoot before they get their go. It can get a little frustrating, however, when your opponent purposefully targets your yet to be activated miniatures (I'm not bitter at all!) but that is all part of the tactics.

Mars Attacks make use of a grid system rather than a tape measure when determine distances. This grid is marked out in 3x3" squares on the gaming mat provided. These squares are used to determine movement, range, deployment zones e.t.c which takes away a lot of the hassle involved with tape measures making the game much simpler to play.

The rules for Mars Attacks were extremely easy to pick up especially if you are familiar with Dead Zone. You can be quite feasibly be playing your first with 30 mins of first opening the box. The rules are nicely laid out and take little effort to memorize. There were a few areas where the rules weren't very specific which did confuse things a little. With a little bit of common sense I was able to figure out what was going on however. This was pretty rare though and overall the rules were very straightforward to follow and quick to learn.

Another game mechanic featured in Mars Attacks is the card system. These cards allow the player to perform special actions, ranging from modifying dice rolls to launching artillery strikes against your opponent. Each card has two sections, with one half detailing an action for the Human player and the other half for the Martian player. These cards can have to interesting effects on the game play and
really add a layer of depth to the games mechanics. There are also special Event cards which represent the bigger battle going on around Greenville, so expect to see flaming cattle running through your board.

What is especially nice about Mars Attacks is the artwork that is featured throughout the cards and the rulebook. It's tongue in cheek and slightly corny style screams 50's B-Movie and harks back to the original card series of the 1960's. It's the little details such as these that fans of Mars Attacks will appreciate.

Summary

So what do I think of Mars Attacks, well it is definitely getting a place in my Board Games cupboard. If you are looking for a fun game that can be played in under an hour you can't really go wrong. The miniatures are excellent considering that they are single cast minis and the ruins allow you play in a different environment every time. 

What's great is that if you already know how to play Dead Zone (another of Mantics products) you will find it incredibly easy to get in to this game. Even if you are not, you should have no problems in picking up the mechanics pretty quickly. With more streamlined rules Mars Attacks makes an excellent alternative if you're looking for something a little more relaxing to play. While there were a few teething problems with some of the rules it wasn't game breaking and I was able to figure it out in the end.

I would highly recommend picking up Mars Attacks, especially if you're a fan of games such as Zombicide. Its equally appealing whether  you're into board games or tabletop wargames, so you probably won't have too much trouble finding an opponent.



If you enjoyed our Mars Attacks review be sure to check back as we will be posting a Grunt Painting tutorial in the near future!
 
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