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!