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Home ¦ Reviews ¦ Gangs of Mega-City One

2000AD Review extra 23rd January 05

Judge Dredd - Gangs of Mega City 1
Gangs of Mega-City One
Mongoose Games

What you get:

  • Rulebook
  • 12 plastic miniatures
  • six dice
  • battle map
  • card terrain

Review by Richmond Clements

After releasing the Judge Dredd RPG, Mongoose have spread their wings to try out a tabletop battle game based around the Dredd universe.
I, for one, have fond memories of the old Games Workshop Block Mania and Judge Dredd board games, so does this one live up to those ones? Let’s find out, shall we?

First off, there’s what you get for your money. We’ll start with the figures. Anyone hoping to open the box, and just lift the gangers out straight onto the table and begin a battle will be mistaken. The figures need to be assembled and, if you so desire, painted before you begin playing. There are a number of different heads, bodies, legs and arms included, so you can mix it up a bit, and try to make your figure individual. I wasn’t convinced that this was working to begin with. Yeah, I had men (but no female gangers, even though one of the ready made gangs in the rule book is female) built of a variety of different parts, but the still looked samey to me.

But the real fun with the figures came with arming them. You are also given an arsenal of different weapons; guns, knifes and clubs, as well as shoulder pads, bags and things of that nature. When these are added to the figures, then their individuality begins to come out, and if you’re as sad as me, at this point, you’ll find yourself giving them their personalities and names at this point...

So, onto the rule book next.

Judge Dredd - Gangs of Mega City 1

First impressions are that it is a beautifully produced piece of merchandise, nicely bound on high quality paper and filled with illustrations from the strips by all your favourite Dredd artists.

Until this game arrived, I hadn’t played a tabletop battle game for quite a few years, and things haven’t changed much where the rules of play are concerned. You still need a ruler, a handful of dice and a load of sheets of paper. The rules themselves are pretty straightforward to begin with, with the basic version of the game outlined in the initial chapters of the book simple enough to have you playing almost immediately. Indeed, they were simple enough that my seven year old son was able to pick it up quickly.

The rest of the rule book opens the game up further with a more detailed rule system. We get rules for various injuries, and how they effect your gang members, not only in the current skirmish, but in future games in your campaign.

It’s this campaign element that I found the coolest element of the whole thing. If you manage to get a couple of other players together, and get yourself a gang war going, then this game will be great fun. To me, the whole element of taking territory from another gang, ambushing their weapons shipments or whatever you decide to do, has a real GTA feel to it, and that’s a good thing.

What else do you get..?

Well, there’s what they call the ‘Battle Map’, which is a fancy name for a fold out sheet marked out with a few roads and park areas for you to play on. There are also a few card sheets of cut-out buildings, cards and scenery. These are simple enough to assemble, and the buildings in particular look surprisingly good when on the board. Trouble is, there’s not a lot of them, but the kind of people who play these games are not averse to making their own models anyway.

Judge Dredd - Gangs of Mega City 1
That’s the good stuff. There are minor niggles with some of the rules, but again, most gamers know how to work round these or ignore/change then to suit their own style. I’ve said above that the figures are of a high standard, and they are, but apart from the omission of female gangers there’s also the absence of any Judge figures. Now I’m not naïve, I know this is a marketing decision, and Mongoose are here to make money out of this game, so the Judges are available separately. It’s just that one of the rules of the games allows you to call in the Judges if you find your gang is getting into trouble, at which point you cease to play our gang and take control of the Judge squad that’s sent to sort out the gang battle. Maybe a few Judges could have been included is all I’m saying.

But if the Judge figures are anything like the figures you get with the game, then they’ll be of fine quality, and well worth your time.

All in all, this is a fine package. For the hardcore gamer, there’ll probably be initial impatience with the simplicity of the rule book, but the flipside of this is that the newcomer to this world will not feel intimidated by the rules, as every rule is illustrated with clear examples.

Judge Dredd - Gangs of Mega City 1

As I have said, as a skirmish game this would be a fine few hours of fun, but it’s the campaign side of the game that will provide the long term fun for most players.
I can’t with to see the future releases for this game, as we’re promised fatties, robodogs and Lawmasters in the future.

Rebellion must be commended for their commitment to the Dredd brand, and Mongoose for the obvious work that has go into creating what is an excellent product in this game.

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Original content (c) 2002 Gavin Hanly (contact 2000AD Review).