Eden – The Review

It’s review time again and this time it’s the turn of Eden by Taban Miniatures.

Eden is a skirmish game set in a post apocalyptic world where rival factions war amongst themselves for resources and the simple act of survival. That’s all I can say about the background because that’s all it really says in the rulebook. And I couldn’t tell you the deal with the factions because there’s no info about that either. However, the faction models way cool. Check out the Grey Daimyo below and tell me he’s not awesome?

If I’m honest, when I first discovered Eden and downloaded the rules I was slightly apprehensive about another card based skirmish game after MERCS. But, whereas MERCS was clumsy and complicated Eden is logical and quick. Essentially, each card works thus: each location represents mental ability, combat skill, resistance to damage and speed. These values also double as their respective body parts – head, arms, torso and legs. The small discs on the card above represent not only the number of times that part of the body can sustain damage before it is rendered useless as well as the number of dice to roll to perform actions. the number within the large circle denotes the required roll on a D6 to achieve actions and the dice denote the required roll when attacking the model to hit the desired location. Simple? Trust me, it is, it just takes a couple of read throughs to full understand it.

What Taban has done here is cut the shit. All the rules you need for your dudes is on the card. Important stuff on the front, cool special rules on the back.
There are also mission cards and tactical cards, both of which have an impact on how the game is fought.

Basically, Eden is as stripped out as the proverbial super car to allow fast rate of play, although, if I’m honest, it feels like the rulebook has equally been stripped out and there are times when a rule could do with a further explanation, or a diagram.

One of the things that I really like about Eden is that it’s a post apocalyptic world, yes, and would otherwise be indistinguishable from all the other post apocalyptic wargames out there were it not for two things. The first being the mad as bat shit and totally contrasting factions:

The ISC – awesome mechanical Samurai types.

The Jokers – anarchists with a flare for the theatrical

The Matriarchs – warrior women types with a penchant for bondage gear and blame men for every thing.

The Bamakas – mutants and super soldiers gone wrong

The Resistance – cool techy dudes – a tad 40kish

The Convoy – fairly typical cyber-punk gang types. Complete with mean lookin’ dog.

The second thing is that you don’t have to create your force based on faction. Each character in the game also posses a stigma. In the case of Yuri, below, his stigma is Chaos as denoted by the skull in the bottom right corner. The Grey Daimyo, above, is Protection. What this means is that you can create a force entirely based around matching stigmas. So an entire force of Chaos or an entire force of Protection etc. This allows a rare opportunity in wargaming to go a bit bonkers and by from across the ranges, rather than settling for the one.

Aside from being bonkers cool from a hobby point of view – because how many times have we felt the urge to buy a model from a range ‘just because’ – it suddenly gives players a tactical dilemma. Does one opt for a faction force, confident in the knowledge that it is balanced, albeit with certain tactical weaknesses, or go for an all out stigma force that’ll be utterly awesome at one very specific thing?

The one thing that does concern me about giving gamers the choice is that if your opponent has opted for a stigma force I can see it being very difficult to counter with a faction force. But, I suppose, therein lies the challenge. But perhaps I’m missing the point slightly. Eden is a hellish wasteland where might makes right. Maybe the point is that the games reflective of the world that Taban created. So some games should be no holes barred madness with stigma forces laying into faction forces.

Ultimately, as long as it’s fun that’s all that really matters. And I think that’s what you’ll find in Eden. The game mechanic seems to work, although the rules could do with a little filling out in places – just for clarity – and the diverse factions and models within those factions mean that the games should be varied and offer some genuine strategic challenges.

Eden is currently free to download so snap it up whilst you can as it really is well worth a try. As I said, the mechanics at the heart of Eden are simple but take some getting use to, especially for people like me who spend all their time reading rule sets… , but also because chance plays a slightly greater roll than normal thanks to the random location mechanic. This could, in theory, mean you could hit a different location every time you attack a character, making his/her demise a painfully drawn out process but I suppose it’s also a level of realism that does no harm and at least make sure you get your moneys worth of an evening.

I’ve not seen the models up close, yet, but based on the website and the gaming cards, they’re very cool. Bags of character and, again from what I can see, sculpted to a good standard.

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