Playing With Plastic

Posted by Jeff Cope (January 11, 2007, 9:51PM)

I love playing with little plastic people.

That should come as no surprise given that I'm a lifelong toy collector and have spent the better part of a decade actually writing about toys. And while I do love collecting action figures I don't really play with them anymore. But, I do play with little plastic people on a pretty regular basis.

Yup, I'm a gamer.

I started gaming back in High School. I was part of my High School Dungeons and Dragons club back in the early '80s. Even back then my favorite aspect of the game was the miniatures. I loved those little lead (back then, pewter now) representations of characters, beasts and monsters. I even enjoyed painting them even though I was never very good at it.

Eventually, for a variety of reasons I found myself not gaming any more. It wasn't really a conscious decision. I just sort of fell out of it.

A couple years back I decided I missed it and got back into it. I'm not really an RPG guy anymore. They're too time consuming. But I enjoyed the miniatures-based skirmish games. I especially enjoyed Wizkids' Heroclix.

One thing that's held me back in most games is having the time (or not having the time) to paint the miniatures. So, I'd get all interested in a game, read the rules, buy some miniatures and....never play the game.

But there were games like Heroclix or D&D Miniatures and Star Wars Miniatures (the latter two from Wizards of the Coast) that already came pre-painted. They're a lot of fun, don't take a lot of time and I enjoy playing them. The downside (for me) of each of those gaming systems is that they are collectible. They minis are sold blind-boxed, with some pieces being more rare than others. That part I really don't like. I don't have the cash to burn on that. So, I usually buy a booster when a set is released and then pick up what else I want on the aftermarket.

However, I still wanted more from my gaming experiencing. I wanted the complexity of games such as Privateer Press' Warmachine, Games Workshop's Warhammer or Battlefront's excellent Flames of War. But, I still didn't, and don't, have time to pait. I get precious little gaming time these days and I'd much rather spend said time gaming instead of prepping to game!

Enter Rackham. Rackham is a French gaming company that's gained quite a following with their very cool and very stylish Confrontation miniatures game (and related systems). In December Rackham released AT-43, a new sci-fi miniatures game. This is a full-fledged tabletop miniatures wargame...but the miniatures come pre-painted! No prepping, no painting...just playing! The two pictures on this page show two of the factions in AT-43: the human White Stars and the alien Therians. The first product released was a boxed set called Operation: Damoclese with comes with the basic rules, miniatures from each of those two factions, some terrain pieces (a nice touch, that), dice and a tape measure (for measuring distances for movement and combat), plus a double-sided battlemap. Everything you need to get started and playing right out of the box. The rulebook contains a series of missions that teach you the rules as you work your way through them. It's great stuff, and Rackham's got a slew of releases coming throughout the year, including a beautiful hardcover Advanced Rulebook coming in March.

So, if you're interested in playing with some plastic, but don't have the time nor inclination for the painting side of the gaming hobby...do yourself a favor and check out AT-43. Just contact your local gaming store and see if they've got any demonstrations scheduled in your area. Game on!

Here's some links for more AT-43 Information.

Official AT-43 Website

Official AT-43 Forums

Review of AT-43 from Tabletop Gaming News