I love Judge Dredd. There, I’ve said it.
I fell in love when I was a young punk kid in the ’80s, and though my tastes have changed over the years I have never lost my love of Dredd. The characters, the world, and the writing are at once charming, hard-boiled, ridiculous, violent, prescient and loaded with black humour. Imagine my excitement when I learned of a new Judge Dredd Miniatures Game coming from Warlord Games, the folks who recently provided the world with the amazing Strontium Dog Miniatures Game (read my series of reviews here…LINKY). My hopes are high as I dig into the Judge Dredd: I Am the Law, Starter Set.
As a superfan from boyhood, I obviously played the excellent (and long OOP…) Gangs of Mega-City One, by Mongoose Games and have a vast collection of those figures, as well as quite a few of the old, old Citadel and Foundry Dredd figures of yesteryear and some Heroclix as well…all places the Dredd miniature license has been over time, and all ready for comparison to the new stuff. But let’s waste no time and get into what exactly is in this big box!
Inside are the same proprietary 2000AD markers and dice from the Strontium Dog game although these markers are coloured gold and blue, suitably Dreddy (and also, great for players of both games…now there are four different colours, allowing for multi-player games!). A deck of game cards, themed for the mean streets of the Big Meg and some stat cards for the models in the box…these are smaller than the SD ones but that seems fine as I would guess bigger games of Judge Dredd will be the eventual goal of most players, so table space will be in demand.
A very large play mat, double-sided and detailed as environs of the Big Meg is a nice addition to the box…if a bit generically space city-ish… It is a shame that the ‘scenery’ provided is nothing more than a page of punch-out card stuff: two cars, some jersey barricades, and two very small (and flat…) shops along with a few assorted scatter items. Compared to the excellent scenery from the Strontium Dog game this was a big let down. Warlord could have done so much more with this component. Now begins a vague worry that the game designers have totally missed all the humour of the setting and decided to ‘dark it up a bit…like Batman!’…hopefully I will be wrong. Checking through time, it was done better in the ’80s…
My favourite part of this release, strangely, is the decal sheet of Mega-City One graffiti. This is a fan dream come true! All futuristic scenery looks better with graffiti and this page is so full you can hardly get a knife blade between scrawls. Your gaming table will look amazing and who doesn’t love Judge Dredd ‘in-jokes’ plastered all over the playing area? If, like me, you need another sheet of these, pick up the November 2019 issue of Wargames Illustrated, which comes with a free sheet.
The rule book and quick play handout will get a proper going over in the next part of this review, once I’ve had a chance to read through them…I always like to get at the models first, and this time is no exception.
The figures are cast in Warlord’s new resin/plastic/stuff. Let me just say that I don’t like it, at all. The material is quite hard to work with; it has a softness that makes trimming difficult, yet is brittle enough to break at low temperature. I paint in my shop, in Canadian winter, huddled over a space heater. My first Judge, while pliable out of the box, quickly became hard and shattered when dropped…just before this photo. Also, the detail seems soft, although I’m not sure if that is the material the models are cast in, or the sculpt. The box contains two Judges: this guy below and a Rookie as well as eight Block Gangers.
The models are very two dimensional and some are in quite strange poses. The Block Gangers do supply the player with some diverse weapons options and are dressed generically enough to be useful in all you science fiction gaming, so that’s kinda nice, I guess… Not going to say these are great but they are passable, and you do get eight of them, so there’s that.
Bases are provided as the figures come on an integral lozenge-shaped base, which needs bulking out so the thugs aren’t so tippy. I hate to be ‘that guy’ but I dislike this fiddly detail. The low profile bases that require trimming and putty work are a bit high maintenance for what, on the first impression, seems like an entry-level miniature game for teenagers.
Well, time to get reading this rulebook…spoiler alert: already not a fan. Another review soonish…hopefully with some nice things to say about all the Thrill Power that I’m just not noticing yet…