Recently I was lucky enough to get sent some samples of miniatures from our good friends at Warlord Games to review. The miniatures were from the Doctor Who range and can be used in their Doctor Who miniatures game. I was so blown away by the detail on the models that I went out and grabbed a copy of the game, here is my unboxing and review!
Doctor Who is no stranger to the world of miniatures, FASA and Games Workshop both released models based on characters and aliens from the long running science fiction show way back in the 1980s, and Harlequin Miniatures had the license to produce miniatures in the early to mid 1990s and made some pretty awesome models too.
Harlequin also produced a miniatures game based on the popular show, though that sadly vanished many years ago. When Warlord Games announced in late 2016 that they where going to be releasing a game and a collection of miniatures based on the franchise, I was extremely excited, but for one reason or another I failed to pick up a copy of the game on its release.
Originally released in mid 2017 Doctor Who Miniatures Game: Exterminate is a skirmish combat game that allows two or more factions to clash against each other in the Doctor Who universe. The game comes complete with two starter forces, the emotionless cyborg race The Cybermen, hellbent on upgrading all of humanity to create the perfect race of beings, and the most iconic monsters in television history The Daleks, a race of xenophobic despots who just want to destroy everything in the galaxy!
The game play is quite fast and simplistic enough to allow younger players the chance to learn the rules quickly, but has enough scope and tactics that makes it a challenge for more experienced gamers. Inside the thick illustrated box you will find.
- 12 plastic Time War Daleks
- 12 plastic Cyber Legion Cybermen
- 14 plastic Cybermats
- Double-sided 36″ x 36″ battlemat
- Card scenery
- 34 Recruitment Cards
- 56 Adventure Cards
- 36 Battle Cards
- 16-page Rules booklet
- 12-page Adventures booklet
- 24-page Guide to the Time Vortex booklet
- 10 Combat Dice
- 2 Quick Reference Sheets
- Card Ruler
- 59 card tokens
You can check out my video unboxing of the game below!
The first impression one gets when opening this box is quality and quantity. There is a lot to take in as you first dive in, and there are a lot of components, cards and tokens for use with the miniatures in the game.
The game comes with three booklets and cover various aspects of the game, its background and assembly of the miniatures, etc and I will take a look at each of these below.
Presented in an A5 format, the rules for playing the game are clear and concise and guide new players through the game step by step. The rules go over in detail how to use the cards which have all the statistics afor your miniatures on them, and how to move, shoot, melee and the other actions you would expect from a miniatures game from Warlord Games, one of the worlds leading makers of quality game products.
The rules also give an overview of how the Adventure and Battle Cards work in the game and when you can or can’t play them, and you are also given a brief introductory adventure to play out.
This is again an A5 full colour booklet gives you more ways to play the game, including a solo scenario and a full on adventure. More importantly this book gives you and your players rules for playing as The Doctor and his Companions in the game, and introduces more advanced elements that are touched on in the rules book to add extra scope. For many players this will be the book that they want to digest as it gives the information on the titular character.
Guide to the Time Vortex
This final A5 book is more or less an expansion of core rules and offers detailed descriptions of all the special abilities and traits that the cards detail and how to use them in the game. It also has your guide to assembling the models, and a very brief, but informative painting guide for getting the most out of the models in the box. The book also details how to build your faction and a load of scenarios for you to use in the game, each has its own victory conditions and details on how to deploy your models. This brings me nicely to the miniatures.
The Cybermen miniatures consist of two spures of plastic models, each featuring six Cybermen with two of each of the models in identical poses. The only choice of customisation is allowing the player one of three arms for each of the models, which will give some limited difference depending on how you place the arms. Each sprue also contains several Cybermats, small slug like creatures that often accompany Cybermen into battle. These are the Cybermen from the new era of the game and though they have no markings could very easily pass as Cybus Industries or even Mondasion as seen in the 12th Doctor episodes Dark Water and Death in Heaven
The poses as mentioned are quite static with one model in a sentry stance and the other two walking or striding, but if you mix up the arm options you could make them all look pretty dynamic.
The Daleks also come on two sprues of six plastic models and each is made up from a left and right body piece and a front section that slots over the eyestalk and hopefully clicks into place. This can be a little temperamental to be honest and if you don’t put enough pressure on the model it won’t stay together, to much and you could easily snap off one of the tiny gun arms as I did twice!
There is not much you can really do with the Daleks other than paint them, as each is in the same pose and they have no moving parts. Previous models have had the entire head assembly as a separate piece, but this is not the case here. The Daleks in the game are the Time War Daleks as seen in the 10th Doctor episodes
That said the models look fantastic and both the Daleks and Cybermen are very simple to paint up.
Tokens, Cards and More
The tokens used in the game are made from high quality cardstock and are very robust and double sided. Also featured are some cardstock terrain, which mostly consists of pipes, barriers and rocks, etc and they are double sided which fit in perfectly with the double sided battlemat (more on which in a moment). One of the terrain pieces is that of a double sided Tardis, the Doctors famous ship that could once shape shift, but is now stuck in the guise of a 1950s police telephone box! A neat touch.
The cards are broken down into three different sets, Adventure, Recruitment and Battle.
Adventure cards add drama to your games and some of them can be replenished to allow them to be used in subsequent turns. Most of the adventure cards will give your faction a buff such as moving the vortex tokens after the game has started, or allow you to bring on reinforcements once you have taken casualties, that kind of thing. The amount of cards you can take is dictated by the scenario you are playing with between three and five being the usual amount. Some cards can’t be reused or are only usable in the deployment phase of the game, while others will be really beneficial in play.
Combat cards allow you to add extra buffs to your combat, such as re-rolling saving throws when an attack has failed, or adding extra damage to an opponent. You can play these at anytime and they can be replenished at the upkeep phase of the game.
Many games use a points system to build up your chosen forces, Exterminate uses recruitment cards to build your factions up, with each card detailing everything that is needed to use that character, creature, etc in the game. The cards are broken down as follows
- Stats: Details the Movement, Resilience, Melee and Ranged characteristics of the character.
- Description: The title of the character model and a pictorial image that details it.
- Fate Tokes: If the character has any Fate Tokens they will feature alongside its image.
- Allocation: The number of models that are in the unit, often ranging from one to three.
- Special Traits: This details all of the units special attributes that make it special. Unique models will feature this trait and only one of that model can be used in play.
- Special Character Icon: Only used when applicable.
- Traits Description: On the reverse of the card, this details all of the models traits
The odd thing about the games faction building is you are only limited by the scenarios, with each giving you the number of units you can take. As each card has a number on it showing how many you can take of that particular model, this is pretty simple on the one hand to take a card that will let you field say two Daleks at a cost of two points, but could field a Cyberman and three Cybermats for two points, allowing more models than the Dalek choice. This can be odd when choosing a none starter box faction as in a six point battle you could choose to play with The Doctor and his companions giving you say six models in total, but your opponent could be fielding double that depending on the factions cards.
This can make the game appear to be unbalanced but when you get down to it and start playing it all seems to work quite well. If there are any flaws in the game this and the fact that the rules are split over three books and you will often find yourself having to search through the booklets to look for a specific rule. Hopefully this will be resolved at some point in the future if a second edition comes out and although the small size of the books makes them handy to use and play with, it would have been better if they had been collated into one book.
Each game follows a specific set of phases that allow both players to move, shoot, etc. After set up players will each roll five of the games dice and the player who gets the most hit icons will have the initiative for that turn, there are adventure cards that will allow you to steal the initiative from your opponent however which can mix up game play.
So after initiative has been determined, the controlling player may move all his models, in the Movement sub-phase, then the second player may move all his models. Some units have special weapons traits that only come into play if they don’t move, allowing them to make an extra damaging attack.
The second sub-phase is Shooting and any character that is eligible to shoot may do so after they nominate their target and if the target is in range. Any characters that don’t shoot during this phase may make a further move up to their full movement characteristic, so a Dalek who can’t shoot due to nothing being in range may move an extra four inches. This is ideal for planning out tactical strategies, and after capturing the Vortex tokens, denying them from your opponent which is the best way to win the game.
The final sub-phase is the Melee phase which allows characters to move up and go toe to toe with the enemy! Some units are built for ranged combat, while others are ideal at taking the fight to the enemy, Cybermen for instance are deadly in close combat and due to their slow movement of four inches they can often get picked off until they get into melee and then they really find their own.
Finally is the Up-Keep phase during which you get to tidy up the battlefield, revive any troops that may have Shocked tokens on them so that they can act in the next turn. You can also attempt to draw a new adventure card or reuse a previously played card, to do this you need to roll a lighting bolt on one of the dice that the game uses if successful you can draw it again. Finally you can replenish or redraw your Battle Cards.
The key to winning the game is not just killing all of the other players models, but thinking ahead and capturing the vortex tokens. At the start of the game each player will take turns in placing a set number of these tokens on the tabletop face down, each will have a number of victory points it awards and also will feature a different coloured background.
- Black Vortexes: Black vortex counters do nothing other than provide that number of victory points. Some special cards allow the Black Vortex counters to act as a gateway for the dreaded Vashta Nerada if both players agree which brings in a third faction which is pretty much deadly and will attack both players!
- Red Vortexes: Red vortex counters are a temporal anomaly that allows the player to make an immediate Shoot action if possible, as well as get the victory points.
- Blue Vortexes: Blue vortex counters allow your character to make an immediate Move action up to its full Move value as well as provide the victory points.
This is of course a very brief overview of the game itself, and while it is simplistic compared to many games out there, it has a great deal of scope and the simplicity of the rules allows players to think of new ways to play. Doctor Who is never really about shooting or killing your enemies, it is often about using your wits to outsmart them, and scenarios featuring The Doctor could be tailored to allow him to disable say computer terminals or hack a series of doors rather than get involved in shooting. This keeps in with the shows ethos and the nature of the well loved character.
The miniatures in the game are fantastic and look the part and the production values are outstanding with lots of great images to act as inspiration. The card stock for the terrain and the cards is perfect and the battlemat is great value as it is double sided, though you will need a large surface to play with it as its 36″ by 36″!
With the range of models from Warlord Games expanding all the time, Doctor Who: Exterminate is an ideal addition to any science fiction fans collection.
We will be taking a look at some of the expansions very shortly here on Gamers Web and would love to hear what you would like to see? Let us know in the comments section below.