Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Department

Mail call!

As I was leaving the house today, I found a little brown paper packet in my mailbox. As you can see, it was my 15mm figures for "The Department" hand packed by the splendid Joe Dragovitch himself!

I bought the PDF for this game a few months ago when I moved back to Australia and it was a fascinating read.
I'm not a background story kind of guy, as I prefer to make up my own. The Department however has a genuinely interesting premise and is tightly focused around the idea of "Fabricants" and their role in society. The book is not choked with fiction, but what is there is thoughtfully placed and well written... I really enjoyed it.

The system is basically Goalsystem, which I think reads very well but have not played. Additionally, the game is designed to be co-op or solo without a GM. This is very rare and exactly what I look for in a rulebook! The solo element is handled by a set of AI charts that govern the actions of the non player forces. It's quite simple at first glance, but pretty ingenious.

The short version is you create some characters and then run your police unit (complete with Internal Affairs interference and evidence points) as you track down a master criminal. It is a unique and very well conceived game. The important word here is "focus". This is a game that does a great job of making you feel like you are conducting an investigation (I was reminded more of "The Wire" than Blade Runner) and dealing with encounters than full-on battles. This is not a game of pitched battles.

In theory you only require a handful of figures to play, so the accompanying minis line is a good start. I would imagine a variety of civilians in suits etc. would be useful as well. I think a pack or two from The Scene and Rebel would sort you out for most games.

Why haven't I played it? Two reasons. The first is time.. I just don't have enough to myself lately, and when I do it's been spent desperately painting. The second is fuss. Huh?

Central to the game is the character sheet, and the one in the book makes me want to design my own. Which of course I don't have time for. Also, I don't have any city terrain, which I feel is important to use.
I know they aren't especially good reasons, but at this stage in my life it doesn't take much to derail my hobby time :(

To close, the minis are fantastic! great sculpting, clean casting, oozing with character. And at three pound fifty SHIPPED TO MY DOOR, represent incredible value.
Thank you Joe!


  1. Goalsystem is one of my favorite systems. It is fun, simple and easy to play.

    1. It was the chargen that tripped me up, the system looks very sweet :)

  2. I really like the minis too... they were a great deal and they have a lot of character.

    My friend and I got a couple of games in of The Department, we really enjoyed it. Still fuzzy on a couple of the rules, but otherwise really cool.

    1. I'm itching to get some paint on the minis, and I'm thinking of making some nice QRS cards to help me play the game one day...

  3. I am really intrigued by this game, the rules sound fun and unique. I've just started dabbling in 15mm as an avenue to introduce my son into gaming and this game sounds great. The mini's look awesome, and the cost is, frankly, ridiculously cheap. I don't know what the internet etiquette is but I've started a blog about my gaming and if anyone wants to comment or offer advice it'd be greatly appreciated. Keep up the sterling work, Rob


    1. They certainly aren't any tougher to learn than AE Bounty... But the Department is definitely leaning more toward RPG campaign than straight battles.

      Then again, I've been thinking of ways to mod it into "Lethal Weapon" buddy movies, so it's a very interesting read!

  4. Looking forward to see what you've got cooked up, or at least seeing these guys painted up. Have played a good deal of Goalsystem int he past, just nothing recent, it is very good stuff.

  5. Sounds very interesting, the rpg element particularly. I feel another purchase coming.

  6. Nice. "Lófaszt! Nehogy már! Te vagy a Blade, Blade Runner!"

    I probably won't pick up a set of these, but only because I'd never get around to painting them...