Okay, let’s talk for a minute about where Relic Knights is going.
In its early development, Soda Pop produced some sweet metal and resin models while it figured out the ruleset. While a bunch of them were a tad cheesecakey for my personal preferences, there was a lot of character in the sculpts, the variances between the factions were solid, and the looked like a lot of fun.
Then came the kickstarter. It was very popular, in no small part due to the borderline absurd amount of freebies you got with your pledge. The sheer volume of product needed to meet the pledges was a source of significant delay in delivery (and a heck of a learning experience for future kickstarters), and the decision to go with plastic components meant that there were production quality issues that left many feeling bitter and disappointed, to the point where many never even gave the game a fair shake, they just looked to offload, and some of the stories from CMON’s customer service dept regarding delivery issues were, frankly, disheartening.
I picked up the game at GenCon 2014, played some games with the Black Diamonds, and found a game that I quite enjoyed, that put a nice emphasis on scenario objectives rather than just beating the snot out of each other (which, granted, was still a viable option). There was some talk of balance issues, but given that many of the factions were being played without the full complement of releases around which the game was likely balanced (he said, having no insight into the playtesting undertaken), it’s easy to make a knee-jerk statement before all the pieces are in play.
Roll it forward to GenCon 2015 and you get a glimpse of a change of mindset for the powers that be at Soda Pop Miniatures, and their new publishers at Ninja Division. We have new Questing Knight incarnations of some of the earlier-released Relic Knights (ie, the bigwigs before they got their bigrigs) and some of the previously unreleased Questing Knights, but plastic is gone and these are cast in resin.
The new models were crisp, they were clean, detail was sharp, and frankly, as someone who enjoys the game I was left feeling very excited about painting Codebreaker (pictured above) once my painting schedule cleared, and looking forward to seeing new releases cast in a frankly superior material.
A few months back we had the announcement of a new expansion, Void Break. Set for release Early 2016, the promise of 40 new units spread across the 6 factions (8 if you include Void and Radiant, but pfft) was ambitious but welcome, especially with the announcement of the Questing Knights (such as the resin ones mentioned earlier). Things then went quiet for awhile, until last week…
Behold, the Rustbucket, bruiserbot for the Star Nebula Corsairs, cast in resin. Similarly, the Shattered Sword Paladins are finally getting their Castellan – another enormous bruiserbot, though that one gets a jump pack so you can totally cry “Death from above!” before attacking.
Point is, we’re finally seeing the balance of the releases from the Darkspace Calamity rulebook, but more importantly, they’ve announced Relic Knights: Ascension.
- Relic Knights is returning to resin across the line. Not sure if this means we’ll see the older sculpts redone in resin down the line or not, but it bodes very well for future releases.
- April will see a new wave of releases, including the Har Ancient for the Noh Empire. Behold his Evilanterns!!!
- New releases are planned for all six factions, including expanding the options for Void and Radiants.
- In Spring 2016 we’ll see a downloadable PDF for Relic Knights 1.5, including updates from errata and player feedback to help rebalance the game.
- Void Break will be a two player starter set, releasing later this year.
- Ascension will be a whole new expansion, also releasing this year.
- Both Void Break and Ascension will include print versions of the version 1.5 rules.
So what does all of this mean for you?
If you thumbed your nose at Relic Knights because of the model quality or the kickstarter followup, resin models and a publishing group that are dedicated to doing a good job mean that you past concerns are either already dealt with, or will be soon.
If you stuck with it and discovered Relic Knights as a fun game with a new and challenging gameplay style, you’re going to get some new toys to play with, with better models and cleaned up rules to make the overall gaming experience that much better.
I’m going to need to finish painting my little anime space mercenaries…