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Mutant Chronicles: Movie and CMG Reviews July 30, 2009

Posted by webofwebhead in CMG, Movies, Reviews.
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Besides sharing a setting, the Mutant Chronicles movie and cmg both suffered some serious setbacks in regards to production and release.  As I’ve found, the end results for each weren’t that bad. Fantasy_Flight_Logo

I’ll talk about the game first, as that was my first exposure to the universe (besides a handful of Doomtrooper ccg cards I ended up with back in the day).  Last year, there was a lot of industry hype for the game.  Fantasy Flight Games was putting it out, and they seemed intent on doing it right.  It was originally slated to be packed in blind boosters, a la HeroClix.  Then came the delays.  And more delays.  And then they changed the whole thing over to fixed purchases…army packs a little more like say HeroScape.  These were ready to go finally by GenCon last year, and the game was finally in the players hands.  (ICv2 details the history of the delays and the format change HERE.  A post over on BoardGameGeek posits a slightly different take HERE.)

Some thoughts about the game…I like the scale.  The figures are somewhere between action figure and heroclix/scape.  I like the hex bases…they fit well enough on HeroScape maps.  I like some of the armies, Bauhaus and Brotherhood, and could do without some, like the Algeroth.  But that’s great, because the army packs allowed me to buy what I wanted, and ignore (most) of the rest.  I DON’T like that the army cards came only in the starter, I would have avoided the starter if I could have, just for lack of interest in the figs, added to the fact that I was using 3d terrain instead of the official maps.  (Like most minis, I took this game my own way a little bit, your mileage may vary.)  I like the concept of the team building a lot…

…using Gold Silver and Bronze bases to differentiate rank, and building teams with equal numbers of each.  (In a way, this is a little like the “stoplight” deckbuilding that Young Jedi featured.)  I like the custom dice fine.  The game is very serviceable, and it’s fairly adaptable to house rules.

It is/was pricey…that’s a fact I can’t ignore.  $20 msrp for a booster is a lot…that’s 2 – 4 figures.  This puts it up over World of Warcraft minis that go $15 for 3.  But here’s the thing…the game is cancelled…everything that is coming out, is out, and it’s on sale at a lot of places, because that’s what happens to dc’ed games.  And I’m betting someone at GenCon will have them dirt cheap this year.  And I’m saying, I’d pick them up if you can get them for a song.

The most important take away from this game I got from Fantasy Flight themselves.  When they were staring down the cancellation of this game, they gave the fans and collector’s a huge boon…they put together a product that had all 14 figures that had yet to be released, and sold them all for $10 plus shipping.  The Lost Legions pack is the best “Thank Yous” I’ve ever seen a game company give its fan base.  It made me a fan of the company behind the game.

Ok, so what about the movie?

Despite some decent star power…Thomas “Punisher” Jane, Ron “Hellboy” Perlman, and even a cameo by “Being” John Malkovich, the film remained independent, and seemed to struggle to find a proper release.  From what I understand, it was released in Europe (?) last year in an unfinished form…which I’m guessing means some of the cgi wasn’t finished?  It did find essentially an art house style release this spring stateside.  Now lucky for me it found it’s way onto SyFy the other night for a premiere, and thanks to the magic of DVR, I was able to see it for myself last night in the comfort of my own home.

And have no doubt…this is how I would have seen the movie all along.  I struggle to get out to movies anymore…maybe 3 – 5 a year in the theatres.  (Having young kids does that to you.)  I know I wouldn’t have gotten my wife to go see a sci-fi zombie movie, even a good one.  And that’s what the film is…a good sci-fi zombie film.  The special effects were great throughout.  The color palette was a nich touch, all sepia tones with the occasional neon reddish blood splurt.  A fine representation of the universe it is drawn from…certainly as close to the source material as most blockbusters these days (I mean, compare X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the comics.)  I liked the movie a lot.  I’ll likely watch it again.  And it’s coming out on DVD next week, so I recommend it.  And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the novelization was written by a friend of mine, Matt Forbeck.  He has a great story on his blog about attending the movie premiere in L.A. – the epitome of coolness for a game designer and fantasy novelist.

Verdict:

Mutant Chronicles CMG: Thumbs Up

Mutant Chronicles Film: Thumbs Up

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