This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Heritage Models Books - John Carter, Warlord of Mars

I've been working on the latest installment of the Lead Market Report, and it's almost done, but I need to sit down and grind out the last couple of sections. It's tedious work, which is why it usually takes me several days to hammer one out. So as a diversion, I decided to scan a few items and post them for your viewing pleasure.

Heritage released two publications to support their John Carter, Warlord of Mars line. First up is the Barsoomian Battle Manual, subtitled as Wargame Rules For Edgar Rice Burroughs' Classic Science-Fiction Series. It is 52 pages (not including covers), written by Scott Bizar, and bears a stock number of 1596 on the front cover. There appears to be two variants, this one with the monochromatic green cover, and this one with a photo of terrain and miniatures on the cover.

The Battle Manual is a straightforward affair, covering rules for conducting mass combat on Barsoom, and includes a section on flyer combat from fleet to squadron actions. There are four illustrations of Barsoom, 2D drawings of the planet in globe form. One for each side of the planet, and one for each of the poles. The book contains no photos, only charts and illustrations necessary to conduct battles.

There is a product list on page 29 that lists the entire proposed lineup of miniatures. I'm sure most John Carter collectors would loved to have seen the various flyers and airships released by Heritage, along with the handful of human/creature blisters that did not make it to production.

Next up is the Adventure Gaming Handbook, subtitled Painting Guide, Fictional Ethnic Descriptions, and Man-To-Man Action Rules. It is 64 pages (not including covers), written by Michael S. Matheny, and bears a stock number of 1595 on the back cover. My version features the monochromatic red cover, and there is also this version with a full-color picture.

I have to be honest, I was more than a little let down by the Adventure Gaming Handbook. Not from a content standpoint, but from an artistic one. I mean, come on, the first half of the guide covers all the wonderful races, creatures, weapons, environments, and cities of Barsoom, and I can't get one stinking lousy illustration? Miniatures are such a visual component in gaming, and I think that some artwork would have greatly enhanced the guide. I'm guessing they were constrained by their budget and the fact that artwork would have increased page count.

The rules seem geared toward resolving individual combat or for skirmish/small group adventures. Characters have six attributes: Swordsmanship, Strength, Finesse, Accuracy, Quickness, and Constitution. Movement and attacks are resolved, wounds determined (ranging from minor flesh wounds to instant death), and Princess Points are accumulated. WTF? Princess Points???

Yes, Princess Points! When you meet, rescue, or otherwise interact with a princess of Barsoom, the ultimate goal is to make a great first impression, right? Your looks, your bling, and rank all help determine your PP. There are also some random outcomes that can add or subtract PP, such as "Belch Loudly" (-100 pts.) or "Princess joins you in a sad, beautiful song of ancient splendors and glories. Entire room falls hushed." (+300 pts.) You get the idea. Once you have your total PP, you still have to determine the Princess Response, ranging from "Who are you, have we met before?" (sorry, pal) to "MY PRINCE, FIREWORKS, THE BIG TIME, HUBBA HUBBA!!" (he shoots, he scores).

Overall, both books are just what you need to conduct mass combat on Barsoom, have a small scale adventure, or just paint your miniatures as they might appear in the eye of ERB himself. My total investment was less than $60, and both books have been selling in the $20-$30 dollar range lately, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick up a copy of one or the other without breaking the bank.

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