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Other Side Starter Set. Contents/Review


TimH
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So, the starter set has finally made it to the UK in the last week or so and having managed to snag a copy before they all went out of stock I have some thoughts about the cntents. Some good, some bad, some happy surprises I hadn't expected to find.

 

The Models

This is probably what most people are interested in when it comes to the box so is the logical starting point. All are preassembled and as a general rule of thumb do not need much work to clean up. One of the Enslaved Spirit sculpts has a visible join line that I decided to greenstuff over and Ikiryo had some mold lining on the hem of the skirt. Other than that no clean up needed (but other issues present)

From best to worst I would say the number one model(s) in the box are the guild mages. Good facial detailing, clean sculpts and generally just faithul to their art. Old man guild mage's left hand is kinda bad, molded directly to is robes and kind of hard to see but other than that these guys look great.

Next we have Ikiryo. Again very faithful to the art, she's a big lady and is the obvious centre piece model of the set. Can't wait to have her painted up and on the table. My only real gripe is that the claws feel like they could snap at some point down the line but otherwise I'm very happy with this model.

After Ikiryo I'd rate the Enslaved Spirits as next best model. 5 Sculpts, 9 guys. All of the sculpts are pretty good the masks and robes look great and the only real problem any of them have is that one of the sculpts has some legs that sort of blend in with his robes.

The remaining models all have some bigger issues unfortunately.

The Gwishin are fine. The sculpts are accurate enough to the artwork (though one of them the arm stumps are too close to the rest of the body and don't stand out). My big problem with them is how tiny they are. I get that they are half a body but they feel really small and it makes them feel underwhelming visually. When wyrd gets round to selling them individually I hope they are either packaged with something else or are in a small relatively cheap box because there is very little too them. Maybe the price of an adjunct box.

The guild gunners ( 6 models, 3 sculpts) are for the most part more interesting models than the gwishin but are massively let down by wyrd's ongoing problem of scale. One of the gunner teams is fine but as soon as you place him side by side with the remaining two you notice that the remaining ones are little baby men. The rest of the model is correctly scaled with all 3 guns being near identical size, but 2/3 gunners are just out of proportion to the rest of the box. On top of this one of the undersized gunners has an incredibly wooden pose and the entire unit is going to be difficult to paint as it is hard to reach the front of the man due to it being preassembled standing at the gun (not as bad as the Brits machine gun buggy or any of the cool mechanized stuff in abyssinia but a similar problem).

Finally the two worst models in the set are unfortunately the two models you'd hope were the best. Sonnia has a very rigid pose (much the same as the gunner) and her cloak looks much to angular compared to how most other cloaks billow in malifaux/other side. Her fire effects are very underwhelming and make her hands look kinda goofy. Other than that though her facial detail and clothing are fine, she has all the insignia on her book and leg plates, belt and dagger details are all there... she just doesn't look like a master quality sculpt, side by side with the Guild mages the mages are much cooler models. When you then compare her to either other OS commanders or title2 masters she just hasn't really got much going on.

Kirai has a lot of the same problems with not looking like a master. Her pose is cooler and her kimono is sculpted much better than Sonnias cloak, but there is very little going on with the sculpt to make it stand out as a cool commander/master other than some cool billowy hair and a mask in one hand. On top of this she has some of the biggest problems in the set. As seen in another thread her facial detail is almost nonexistant. Her eyes seem fine and she justabout has a nose but I can barely make out anything resembling a mouth on my copy. Her neck is much too long and offputting (again, discussed elsewhere and compared to that of the Huckster). Finally her left hand is a relatively flat detailing on a large flat sleeve end, not visible from the front but very disappointing to see when viewing the model from behind.

I'm actually happy with the Ikiryo, Gwishin, Enslaved Spirits and Guild mages. All of those models I can overlook the small problems with. Gunners I could forgive the size discrepancies if it wasnt for the fact that the two commanders of the box seem so underwhelming.

 

Tokens, Bases and Tapes

Included in the set are two tape measures, two sheets of tokens and all the bases for playing the set in other side. This does mean however that if you wish to play the models in Malifaux you will need to source your own bases for certain models as Ikiryo, the guild mages and both masters use different base sizes in the two systems. There are enough 30mm bases for the mages and masters to steal from the Enslaved spirits and make them all Malifaux compatible but there is no 50mm base to stick Ikiryo on.

On the subject of bases there is actually 3 movement trays more than what you need for all of the models. This is because included in the tokens set are 9 Enslaved Spirit tokens to proxy the models when Kirai summons additional. It would be nice to have seen a set of Gwishin tokens as well but the extra bases and spirit tokens are more than I had been expecting so I'm actually quite happy to see them in the set.

The remaining tokens are 6 objective markers, 2 flamestrike markers for Sonnia, 20 double sided status tokens (10 of each for Reinforcement/Pinned and Inspired/Shaken) and 10 tactics token. Nothing much to say about these, they are the same card stock as in the other side faction boxes, plenty sturdy enough for use in play.

The two tape measures are identical to the OS tape measure from the Kickstarter but are white instead of yellow. Better quality than the ones from the 2E Half BloodsvAsylum starter set but was disappointed they were both the same colour as opposed to being in faction colours.

 

Cards

The malifaux cards don't need any real mention, they are exactly the same tarot sized cards wyrd has been making for 3E.

The Other Side cards are a bit more numerous as in addition to all the unit cards there are also asset cards and strategm cards for guild and court. For some reason all my cards came mixed together in a mostly random order. Everything was there but it was weird that they weren't organised by faction or even card type. All of the cards are the same style and quality as in the other factions on regular sized playing cards. The new Strategm cards are cool but unfortunately are currently only playable in single commander games due to the factions only having a single commander and not being able to recruit additional commanders from out of faction (due to alliance/envoy rules).

The fate decks were problematic. For some reason the lid flaps on both fate deck boxes are incredibly tight and I found it impossible to open either of them without first making a minor rip in the top of the box. I've never had this problem with other fate decks, not sure what was going on here. The backs of each deck are the faction logo and colour, which i like for the guild deck but dislike for the court one (not a fan of the weird trollface logo). Decent quality card stock for the cards with a  glossy finish that means you will have to to go through the deck at least once to seperate the cards on purchase. 1-10 in all fur suits is what you expect (faction colour, symbol, numbers in corners) with no indication for weak/moderate/severe for if you use them in Malifaux. The face cards are a letdown, more so in court than in guild.

For court the four jacks and the BJ are the different Enslaved Spirit sculpts. The Queens are the 3 gwishin sculpts and a Yaksha sculpt with the Red Joker being a different Yaksha. The Kings are then Kirai, Ikiryo and both Binh Nguyen sculpts. Having the same units crop up across multiple cards is not what I like to see but I guess outside of including non Court Urami this was all they had for court art assets. The big disappointment for me is that there's nothing special with the jokers, I like these to stand out when I play due to their impact in the game.

In guild we have three jacks being Hexbows and one being a taskmaster looking chap with a moustache who reminds me of Queeg but in full uniform. Queens are the three guild mages and a lady with a rifle and a bandanna. Kings are Sonnia, Thrace, a Russian looking guild officer with a pocket watch and an eyepatch wearing officer who looks like thrace and is standing over a chess set. Black Joker is a Guild Gunner, Red Joker is Miss Guided but in a red guild uniform with a guild arm tattoo. This deck initially had me excited as I wasn't familiar with the art assets for the various non unit guild characters in it and I considered that these might be indicative of future characters or unit releases for the faction.Once I saw Miss guided though I realised that what is more likely is that the art assets are taken from Above the Law (the Guild TTB book). It's better than the Court deck as there are much more unique cards but I once again feel like something more interesting could have been done with the Jokers.

 

Rules Pamphlet

Finally the set also contains a mini rules pamphlet/starter tutorial. It doesn't go into the full rules but does include a very nice visual that explains the difference between a unit a fireteam and a squad (a point of confusion we had when we started playing). After a brief introduction to core game mechanics the leaflet launches into a series of 5 enconunters, the first one being a simple one fireteam v one fireteam melee slugfest to teach the absolute basics of the game and the 5th encounter being a 'proper' game with players picking their own deployments and playing out a scenario with the mini companies included in the box (but still not using stratagems or coordinated strikes). The final two pages include a description of stratagems, envoys and allegiances plus a list of the 6 current factions with a lore description of each.

One final little tidbit of info the pamphlet gives us is a small segment with options for expanding the companies to 18 scrip games. In addition to Samantha and Binh it also lists Hex bows as having a cost of 3 scrip and Yaksha as having a cost of 2 which strongly implies that both with be hired as either single models or perhaps as 3 model single fireteam squads.

 

Conclusions

While it does include everything needed to get you started in Other Side the starter set is ultimately left down by the quality of the sculpts for the commanders. From a cost perspective the box is cheaper than purchasing two allegiance boxes for seperate factions but for anyone looking to get into the game I would still recommend one of the allegiance boxes over the starter set as a first purchase just off of the fact that you get 'more' in most regards when it comes to the plastic you are purchasing (an allegiance box is only one faction but has more models for that faction than the more expensive starter set has for two factions). More scrip of models, more units for your preferred faction and more models within those units. With the exception of the Burning Man Allegiance box every other set contains one commander (of higher quality than Kirai and Sonnia) plus three squads of 9 models, bringing the total to 4 units and 28 models each (burning man being 4 units 25 models) compared to the starter set which has 3 units per faction with 10 models for guild and 14 for Court.

I don't hate the starter set. I like that it comes with the tokens for a 2nd enslaved spirits unit, I like that it has 2 fate decks and 2 tape measures. I like that it shows that wyrd is still putting out models for Other Side and that we are getting new toys to expand the envoy factions for use with our existing companies. Ultimately though for what you are getting in the box the pricepoint either needed to be lower or the models needed to be better quality. As it is this is a product for those who really want everything for their chosen faction, or for the people who will be getting maximum usage out of everything in it (for example people who play guild in faux and a Malifaux allegiance in other Side).

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/25/2022 at 12:19 AM, TimH said:

 . . . . .

 

The Models

This is probably what most people are interested in when it comes to the box so is the logical starting point. All are preassembled and as a general rule of thumb do not need much work to clean up. One of the Enslaved Spirit sculpts has a visible join line that I decided to greenstuff over and Ikiryo had some mold lining on the hem of the skirt. Other than that no clean up needed (but other issues present)

From best to worst I would say the number one model(s) in the box are the guild mages. Good facial detailing, clean sculpts and generally just faithul to their art. Old man guild mage's left hand is kinda bad, molded directly to is robes and kind of hard to see but other than that these guys look great.

Next we have Ikiryo. Again very faithful to the art, she's a big lady and is the obvious centre piece model of the set. Can't wait to have her painted up and on the table. My only real gripe is that the claws feel like they could snap at some point down the line but otherwise I'm very happy with this model.

. . . . . .

Kirai has a lot of the same problems with not looking like a master. Her pose is cooler and her kimono is sculpted much better than Sonnias cloak, but there is very little going on with the sculpt to make it stand out as a cool commander/master other than some cool billowy hair and a mask in one hand. On top of this she has some of the biggest problems in the set. As seen in another thread her facial detail is almost nonexistant. Her eyes seem fine and she justabout has a nose but I can barely make out anything resembling a mouth on my copy. Her neck is much too long and offputting (again, discussed elsewhere and compared to that of the Huckster). Finally her left hand is a relatively flat detailing on a large flat sleeve end, not visible from the front but very disappointing to see when viewing the model from behind.

I'm actually happy with the Ikiryo, Gwishin, Enslaved Spirits and Guild mages. All of those models I can overlook the small problems with. Gunners I could forgive the size discrepancies if it wasnt for the fact that the two commanders of the box seem so underwhelming.

Upfront disclaimer: I am a Malifaux player, not TOS, but have used TOS models for other game systems. I also commented on the facial detail for the preview pics we saw of Kirai last year on AWP and got told not to be negative based on those pics, that she definitely had fine facial detail and to wait till I saw her in person.

You've done a fantastic review so just adding some thoughts:

Just got my set, and would totally agree on the Guild Mages and Ikiryo being the best models - and the assembly is good throughout my box, which I have had issues with in the past. I don't think Ikiryo's claws will be that much of a problem - certainly less fragile than something like Iron Skeeters - but fitting her on a 50mm base will be interesting given that the bottom of her skirt is around 65 mm across. I think the key will be preventing the claws being caught on your case in transport - I can't see her being damaged from normal handling. Gunners, yes scale is a bit of a problem, but nothing out of the ordinary from Wyrd. Again these seem to have been designed for TOS basing and squeezing two of the sculpts onto a 40 mm will require a little creativity. Don't expect them to fit within the recessed area of a base given that the base of the model (sandbags plus feet) is almost exactly 40 mm - again nothing new here, Santiago Ortega, Brass Arachnid et al. have similar issues.

The guild mages have very nice depth on the facial detail which makes the issues with Kirai stand out even further - on my Kirai, there is clearly no mouth even under some pretty good magnification - she genuinely looks covid themed, with everything smoothed out from the eyes down. Then there is the design of the neck. I am considering whether I can get a mask onto her face and remove the one she is carrying which is very in theme with the rest of her crew . . . Sonnia's mask comes off and Kirai gains one would also have been some nice symmetry. I guess from a TOS perspective, the lack of detail may be less of a concern due to the larger scale, but for Malifaux those details (or lack of) do stand out. As a guild player this is less of a problem but if I was playing ressers I'd be glad Kirai has not had a base size change so you can continue to use the old model as the new title and if a TO gave me grief, I'd just play another master, which I understand may be of no comfort for newer players given this is a starter set. Sonnia's pose is a bit stiff - I'm wondering if a hot water bath and some subtle reposing might be the easiest approach?

 

Quote

 

Tokens, Bases and Tapes

 . . . . . .

The two tape measures are identical to the OS tape measure from the Kickstarter but are white instead of yellow. Better quality than the ones from the 2E Half BloodsvAsylum starter set but was disappointed they were both the same colour as opposed to being in faction colours.

 

Agreed, they are better than the M2E ones, but having said that, they are still not very good. I'll probably never use one - I guess maybe I'll chuck one in my gaming bag as a backup. I get that they are providing stuff for new gamers - but maybe themed measuring widgets would have been a better choice, at least those would be more useful for new and established gamers. It makes the genericness of them even more baffling - at least if they were faction themed collectors might want them. 

 

Quote

 

Cards

 . . . . .

The fate decks were problematic. For some reason the lid flaps on both fate deck boxes are incredibly tight and I found it impossible to open either of them without first making a minor rip in the top of the box. I've never had this problem with other fate decks, not sure what was going on here. The backs of each deck are the faction logo and colour, which i like for the guild deck but dislike for the court one (not a fan of the weird trollface logo). Decent quality card stock for the cards with a  glossy finish that means you will have to to go through the deck at least once to seperate the cards on purchase. 1-10 in all fur suits is what you expect (faction colour, symbol, numbers in corners) with no indication for weak/moderate/severe for if you use them in Malifaux. The face cards are a letdown, more so in court than in guild.

 

I've had the same problem opening other fate decks from the new starter boxes - the flaps from the "lid" get caught behind the smaller box flaps. I found that if you use a blunt knife or similar to work the flaps forward you can get them open (not easily) without damage. Once opened I didn't have much of a problem getting it open again. Quality seems similar to the decks from the other starter sets, decent quality but wont last without sleeving - and once you've sleeved them you don't have to worry about the box again. Probably not as nice as the decks from the M2E starter.

 

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Conclusions

While it does include everything needed to get you started in Other Side the starter set is ultimately left down by the quality of the sculpts for the commanders. From a cost perspective the box is cheaper than purchasing two allegiance boxes for seperate factions but for anyone looking to get into the game I would still recommend one of the allegiance boxes over the starter set as a first purchase just off of the fact that you get 'more' in most regards when it comes to the plastic you are purchasing (an allegiance box is only one faction but has more models for that faction than the more expensive starter set has for two factions). More scrip of models, more units for your preferred faction and more models within those units. With the exception of the Burning Man Allegiance box every other set contains one commander (of higher quality than Kirai and Sonnia) plus three squads of 9 models, bringing the total to 4 units and 28 models each (burning man being 4 units 25 models) compared to the starter set which has 3 units per faction with 10 models for guild and 14 for Court.

I don't hate the starter set. I like that it comes with the tokens for a 2nd enslaved spirits unit, I like that it has 2 fate decks and 2 tape measures. I like that it shows that wyrd is still putting out models for Other Side and that we are getting new toys to expand the envoy factions for use with our existing companies. Ultimately though for what you are getting in the box the pricepoint either needed to be lower or the models needed to be better quality. As it is this is a product for those who really want everything for their chosen faction, or for the people who will be getting maximum usage out of everything in it (for example people who play guild in faux and a Malifaux allegiance in other Side).

 

Pretty much agree with your conclusions, value seems fine for Malifaux players (even with the surplus models) - works out to be a bit less than two faction specific starter boxes and they only come with 4 models each. Having aid that - that is as long as you can use both halves or split the box with someone. Slightly disappointed with the Master models, but the guild mages and Ikiryo are wonderful and I can live with the Gatling gunners.

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1 hour ago, Maladroit said:

yes scale is a bit of a problem, but nothing out of the ordinary from Wyrd

Gosh golly is that not a good look for Wyrd.

Between that, no-face models, and sub-optimal Master sculpt/production (though I'm a big fan of the simple-elegant Kirai render), this sounds like yet another ToS box I was interested in until customer reviews started hitting the street. For the love of sense, get the QC in check or the starter sets will have people assuming the main line models are low-quality too.

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