Sunday, 18 January 2015

What's In The Box?: Un-boxing Dark Future

This post will give us the opportunity to take a closer look at the Big Box game of Dark Future. As I am sure many of your will know, Dark Future was an early release during the 'Big Box Era' when GW produced a wide range of games that could be played straight out of the box and supported them with further miniature releases and rules supplements in White Dwarf. 

As seen previously on this blog, my copy of the game arrived promptly from eBay and I was very pleased with its condition. The box was practically mint with all the bits and pieces still stored within the cardboard. 

Nothing like a big box! This one had been safely stored in my garage to ensure that wife/son/daughter did nothing to damage it. 
I don't know about you, but the first thing I always go for in any big box game is the rulebook - I like to have a good flick through before delving further into the reams of plastic and card that no doubt reside within. With a quick flick through the hole punched pages, I could see that despite have a few loose sheafs, all the pages were where they should be. As you would expect from a game from this period, the rules are well illustrated by Peter Knifeton and others, particularly the legendary Carl 'Thrud' Crithlow and are interspersed with coloured images of background paintings and photographed models and miniatures. The rulebook has a very similar feel to the 2nd edition Bloodbowl rulebook, which is not really surprising considering that they were released around the same time. 

Rulebook and Tournament Rules. Yes, the cover image was later used on Freeway Fighter in the Fighting Fantasy series.
Next came the card sections, namely the road - and there's loads of it! Straight sections, bends and curves will ensure that the game will have plenty of surface to race across. The boards are well printed and detailed enough to look different to one another. My examples are mint and look to be unused. The grids are used to place and move the cars and are un-intrusive and well designed. 

Road sections a-plenty. So mint the even smell new!
True to form, GW packed a shed load of counters and additional resources into the box. Additional passive weapon types, crashed vehicles, rocks and debris, you name it! The majority of my counters were still unpunched ensuring that everything is there and in good condition. I was rather taken in by the artwork and was surprised to discover that the counters and road sections were designed and painted by Gary Chalk, who also wrote Lone Wolf and worked on a number of 2nd edition Warhammer supplements. 

There is a stack full of counters. These brought back happy memories of un-punching the card from Heroquest on Christmas Day. 
The ruler made me smile. Compared to those nasty, plastic cocktail sticks that GW include in their 'boxed games' today, this is exquisite! Again I was reminded of the flexirulers in Bloodbowl, this measure was well designed and covered in characterful 'dakka-dakkas'.

One rule to rule them all! I love 80s flexi-rulers.
I have a curious ritual of leaving the miniatures until last. So once everything had been cleared out of the box I began to rifle through the bags of bits the previous owner had carefully sorted out. Everything had been cut from the sprues apart from the weapons and wheels. One of the renegade bodies had an appalling undercoat of what looked like Humbrol black but I was sure that dettoll would help solve that problem with an overnight soak. The rest of the models had that 'just cut from the sprue' look and would require the minimum of cleaning and undercoating..

Miniatures galore - unlike many other GW games, there aren't actually that many models to paint.
The bikes came in two colours. All four models are identical but they look decent enough, if a little chunky, by 80s standards. Sharing the same bag as the bikes were the three dice (that is correct, as far as I can tell, you only need three d6 to play), one of which is a different colour and is used to 'call the phases'. 

Chunky 80s bikes in red and blue.
Hideous Humbrol Undercoat? No problem for dettol (I hope!)
Having sorted through the box and certain that I had all the pieces I carefully packed the cardboard counters and road sections and removed the bagged models. These I will be cleaning up in the near future when I have decided on the colour schemes I am going to use. I have decided to paint up the two 'interceptors' and independent Sanctioned Ops and do the remaining models as a gang. I'll work on the gang models first before moving on to the Ops. Unlike in the 80s, I don't have to lug around hole punched folders full of rules thanks to the pdf reader app on my tablet. A quick flick of the wrist saw the rules downloaded to my Kindle for easy reading. While I paint up my gang I'm going to give the rules and the background a good once over. 

Old school and new school join forces! Tablet and table-top game!
Hope to be able to share my first Dark Future gang with you soon enough! 



  1. What amazing condition the game is in. Just like you'd brought it from the store. A real piece of time travel back to the 80s! Fantastic!

  2. Yeah, it was unused and cost me £50 delivered a couple of years ago. A real scoop, but it took years of looking to snap one up. I haven't done it justice really, and it just sits there along with Bloodbowl and Advanced Heroquest not getting any love. Too many miniatures - not enough time!

  3. where did you find a pdf of the rules?

  4. where did you find a pdf of the rules?