It was inevitable that Mantic follow up their awesome banana Dwarf King's Hold with a Dwarf King's Hold IN SPAAAACE. But I was actually quite suprised by the two races you get in the box - Corporation and Veer-myn. I had just assumed it would be their Space Dwarves.
I was further perplexed when I saw the numbers of miniatures - 10 Corporation and 10 Veer-myn. Equal numbers speaks of evenly-matched forces. Where was the contrast? Space Hulk is a game of contrasts - small numbers of Blood Angels versus endless hordes of Genestealers. Elite versus numerous. Ranged combat specialists versus close combat specialists. Project Pandora had none of this. 10 of each race, each with guns. I was scared the two sides would be interchangeable. So, when Golem superstar Tommie and I visited Mantic last Christmas to play the I was eager to see how gaming guru Jake Thornton had designed his game.
And I was blown away to find Jake had created two incredibly different styles of play for Corporation and Veer-myn. It was a thrilling game Tommie and I romped through several times, switching sides so I could try losing both ways.
Some of the basic mechanics are from Dwarf King's Hold, but rather than just recreate it with lasers Jake's redesigned the core games engine (meaning you can't crazily mash the two games together like Games Workshop's 1991 Mighty Warriors and counterpart Ultra Marines). The board (by Tears of Envy) is interactive - with corridors and rooms being either lit or unlit. A clever Veer-myn player will skulk in the shadows and chew through wires to darken sections ahead of their advance. The Corporation player has a hand of different order counters they need to choose between cleverly so they can bring their fire to bear at the appropriate moment. You can never be sure if a space rat killed in a dark section is dead or not, and they can get recycled - so manipulating the darkness and timing is everything. It's a very tense game with a lot of depth.
Advance copies of Project Pandora: Grim Cargo will be available to buy at Salute on the 21st, and is released worldwide on 23rd April. You can place preorders here, which have a chance of winning a metal Corporation General (complete with cigar) or Veer-myn Night Lord.