Monday, March 26, 2018

One: You Lock the Target / Two: You Bait the Line... - Kingdom Death Manhunter Expansion Review

The Manhunter is I believe Kingdom Death's smallest expansion (not counting ones without monsters). Appropriately, this will be one of my shortest reviews.


Materials
Paper and plastic!

Miniatures
The Manhunter is a bit static looking. He's got that now-standard "standing is stoic is threatening" Kingdom Death look, that I've gotten a little tired of.

He actually has very little that connects him with the Kingdom Death setting, other than his pistol (of all things) which has the distinct lion head on its handle that seems to reference some civilization in the setting.

The kit comes with some extra heads (representing his hat your survivors can steal) and his gun (ditto). There's no armor kit, and the lantern feels kind of tacked on conceptually, since there's neither a part for it nor does the model have one.


Paper Components and Storage
The rule book is pretty short, and, unlike some of the expansions, feels very cohesive. Other than a couple low-resolution images, I think there's nothing I'd change.

(Copy-pasted from here on, since it's the same)

The rule book is of only okay print quality, worse than the core, the same as the other expansions. The cards, etc. are of the same standard as the core. As with all the expansions I've run across, the content is generally not as well edited as the core.

Not to assume anything of my readers, in case you haven't gotten any expansions, all major expansions come in basic brown cardboard boxes with KD stickers on the front and no storage method. While aesthetically nice enough, these probably wouldn't last very long, even if they can store whatever came in them. Even sleeved, the card content from the entire game and all 1st KS expansions just barely fits in the core box (removing terrain, rules, and of course minis), so this isn't much of an issue, but worth noting.

Mechanics + Rules
This will have some light spoilers.

Combat
The Manhunter is a Special Showdown Nemesis. This means it will appear on a schedule, and these fights are added to your campaign, not replacing any fights or available options. This purely adds to the campaign.

I think this is one of the more balanced and more conventional nemeses. He's got a gun and some (not card type) trap-related abilities, which adds some fun mechanics, but you shouldn't be worried about this one if you haven't played a ton. He might be more difficult than you're used to, but he's not especially complex.

I really like the fight, but that's probably because my favorite fights in the game are position-based, and this is no exception to that preference.

My heavily modified Manhunter (since I like action poses)
Gear
The Manhunter follows the same general shift seen in all of the expansion nemeses: You more reliably acquire his rewards, which is something I prefer. Rather than simply being a punishing test, there are far better incentives to win and there are more notable penalties for losing. Which is good, because I don't see why you'd want to add a fight, just to throw the fight like some people do with nemeses.

He has five gear pieces (each unique), which you'll have multiple chances to acquire. All of them are pretty cool items, that are pretty versatile (and not pigeonholed to one build).

A note on the Manhunter Hat: It has been officially stated that this gear is intended to have the Outfit keyword, but has not yet seen errata.

Settlement Impact
The Manhunter harasses your settlement a lot.

What you get for dealing with him is a lot of things that interact with the Hunt Phase (innovations, fighting arts, gear, etc.). The expansion in many ways improves your options and chances on the hunt, and seems intended to make extended hunts (ex: against level 3) more reliable.

He also gives you one of the most valuable fighting arts in the game, which gives you 1 insanity and 1 survival off of an attack that wounds, and allows you to ignore some disorders, and is as obviously powerful as it sounds.

Conclusion
I really like this guy. He's very far from essential, since he doesn't give you a new armor set and doesn't give you a fantastic weapon, or anything crazy like a campaign. So, he probably won't be a first choice, just because he isn't a huge impact and is a little pricey compared to some of the quarries (which are probably a better deal based on how much you play their content) and of course a better deal than the pricey promos on the other end of the KD price spectrum. But, he's totally worth it, and if you want a nicely balanced small expansion to spice up your campaigns, I highly recommend him.

He adds several fights to your campaign, and gives you a ton of valuable utility options. He ultimately acts somewhere between a nemesis and quarry, in that you don't have a choice to fight him and he tends to be a more flavorful and harder fight, but you're usually looking forward to what you can get from him.