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Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Hi Dakka -- first post here. I'm going to put out a few paragraphs on my background, as I feel it's necessary to allow for better feedback. I appreciate the help.

I've been on BGG for a few years now, have picked up around 1000 board games, gotten rid of most (particularly low-interaction Euros), and currently have around 100 board games that are increasingly dominated by Kickstarter-style dudes-on-a-map skirmish. Think Cthulhu Wars, Mythic Battles Pantheon, Rivet Wars, Rum and Bones, Battlelore, X-Wing, and Arcadia Quest.

Around a month ago, it hit me that measurement-style wargames were calling my name. I am confident that I want to focus on skirmish, smaller army systems. I'm playing mostly w/ my kids on a 3.5x6.5 table, and smaller-scale individualized teams fit my personality better than anonymous armies.

There was a sale on RuneWars Miniatures a month ago, put the models together and liked what I saw. I then had a local seller (former game shop owner) drop around $5K of Warhammer on me at a great price, mostly 40K material and a bunch of terrain.

Don't hate me Dakka, but I hate Warhammer components. Most of the minis and much of the assembled terrain is so light and fragile, I hate picking pieces up because they feel like they're going to fall apart in my hand. Some did. I've sold around 20% of what I was given, mostly the largest and most fragile pieces. Ork vehicles and 12-inch Daemons don't do it for me, I want small-ish humanoid units running and jumping around bridges, barricades, and platforms. Fantasy and Sci-Fi preferably. I've kept the Warcry and Kill Team starter sets, and Kill Team Arena. Also keeping boxes of terrain that will work great for WH fantasy, 40k sci-fi, and Infinity multi-level games.

I mentioned jumping in hard, and that's what I've done in recent weeks. My current focus is acquiring the best skirmish rule sets, then trying them all. I have a ton of minis already, so I've been looking for systems that appear to work well with any miniatures and/or are reasonably easy to proxy. Systems that have PDFs of unit card stats are included in this pool, as I can swap out pics and have a good time.

I've been acquiring systems (mostly rulebooks) via Amazon and online PDFs. Wargame Vault blew my mind when I first started digging through it, there's so much out there (but much appears to be gak). I picked up around 10 skirmish books from Osprey Publishing (notably Frostgrave), also Song of Blades and ASBH, and plenty of other material that I've found online (Mantic, Privateer, and others have many free rulebooks out there). I've found plenty of fan-made army cards for Heroscape and Knight Models (Batman, DC, Marvel) and their associated rulebooks as well.

That's where I'm at right now. If I was offering myself guidance, it would be to stop acquiring more systems, play with what you have, and go from there. But since this is the Internet, I'd love to hear potentially more interesting guidance than that. In particular, if there are any favorite systems to recommend for someone like me that would be great. Perhaps the conversation can expand beyond that for folks who have gone through a similar transition from board games to tabletop miniatures.

Into the great wide open, under a sky so blue.

Cheers.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/06/22 03:50:19


 
   
Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord





Deleted.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/22 03:56:55


 
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Hi Elbows -- everything you wrote aligns with where my head is at.

The concept of using the thousands of minis I own in a variety of use-what-you-own rulesets is highly appealing. And your point that rules that free themselves from selling more stuff providing a superior experience is well taken.

Sounds like I'm on the right track for the experience I'm looking for.



   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut




I play a lot of Malifaux by Wyrd Miniatures which is a skirmish level game and is as far away from GW in terms of game play and core mechanics as it is possible to go. The models are lovely and there is a big scene in the US and UK for sure (not sure where you are).

https://www.wyrd-games.net/

Rather than using dice you use a deck of cards for the duels between character and for skill or ability checks. The whole game is scenario bases so you can win without killing anything and win even if all your models have been taken off the board before the end of the game.

Highly recommend. Its my other game to WM/H which is also a good game but NOT a skirmish game!!
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Thank you, Sunno. I wasn't aware Malifaux played so distinctly, will definitely take a look. I've seen big sales on the series in the past, will pick up a rulebook and perhaps a few clearance sets next round.
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

I have a ton of reviews of various games on my blog in my sig. <PLUG>

That said, here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

Dragon Rampant- Fantasy
Tomorrow's War- Sci-Fi
Dracula's America- Old West
Rogue Planet (I really need to get a review up of this one)- Sci-Fi
Ronin- Samurai
Dux Bellorum- Dark Ages

Of course, I am also partial to a particular style of game, so read some of my reviews to get a feel for what I like to play. I have no idea what is "popular" or what other people like to play at all.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/22 14:55:05


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Hi Easy E -- your website was one of the places I did my initial research, and I really appreciate the work you do.

Several of those titles were not on my list, they are now.
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

Cheers!

I forgot to mention Pulp Alley as well.... but get the rules AND the cards in one purchase.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

Howdy, I think between Rivet Wars, X-Wing, and Mythic Battles Pantheon, you've been a skirmish wargamer for longer than you've realized. While they are marketed more as board games, mechanically they share a lot with (often crunchier) skirmish wargames, so it should be an easy transition for you.

I think between Infinity, Kill Team, and Warcry you're probably in a good place. You can also look at Warmachine/Hordes, though Warcaster Neo-Mechanika might be a bit better as it aims for smaller skirmish games (over the years Warmachine/Hordes has scope crept into a bit of a larger game than was originally intended/envisioned). Another game you can look to, that skews more historical, is Saga which is a simple but excellent system (the Age of Magic supplement allows you to play fantasy battles). Marvel Crisis Protocol might also be up your alley, and if you're really adventurous Malifaux is a ton of fun (but if you found 40k minis to be too fragile then maybe dont).

If you're willing to "push the envelope" a bit, I can also recommend the A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game. In many ways it plays like a skirmish game despite the large number of minis that you might see on the table - effectively you're playing a block of troops as a model, with the individual minis in that block basically just being wound counters. Its cheap, the minis are fairly robust, the gameplay is excellent, etc.

Necromunda is another GW skirmish game which you might enjoy, and if you desire to get more into the miniature modeling hobby and don't find the themes of gang warfare in the underhive appealing, its become one of the leading rulesets amongst the "Inq28" subcommunity (google it) to field wildly converted warbands typically featuring a hero character and their retinues of retainers and henchmen pulled from all sorts of bizarre sources of inspiration within the grim darkness of the 40k setting.

While they aren't traditionally thought of as skirmish games, Aeronautica Imperialis and Adeptus Titanicus have low model count and skimish level crunch and can be played on smaller boards as well.

Easy E also mentioned Rogue Planet - EXCELLENT game, but its a bit out there in design and may not be what you're looking for (for one thing, theres no measurement involved).

I'm not familiar with them but Frostgrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep, Shadespire (GW), Draculas America, Wild West Exodus, Perilous Tales (free), and Gaslands are skirmish/skirmish adjacent type games that might be worth looking into and seem to be pretty popular locally and online.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




Lincoln, UK

For a bit of a palate cleanser, a couple of small forces of horrors and aliens will go with anything. Yes, I mean some Lovecraftian horrors, ghouls and zombies, xenomorph-style hordes and predators.

When you start a new game or period, bingo - you have a fun scenario to play even if you only have a single force! Always good for Halloween games too.

Ditto for near-future troopers and lightly armed civilians, adventurers and scientists (Victorian, 1920s-1930s or modern clothing). They fit in so many genres and games that it's always worth having a handful around.
   
Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

If you want something a bit different, and you have a lot of criminal types, I recommend Urban Manhunt, off of Wargames Vault. It’s basically the Running Man, where you and the other players all play Hunters, trying to bag the most points for killing Crims with extra points awarded for style.

   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Elbows wrote:
Disclaimer: Potentially long rant coming in!

If you're interested in starting skirmish tabletop wargames, one thing I can recommend as HARD as possible: miniature agnostic games. Or, in short, games which are not linked to the manufacture of miniatures. The best game you'll ever get/read is the one that isn't tied to selling you models. This is the failing with companies like Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games, etc. They produce mediocre games, but the rules/cost are interwoven so hard into the game...that they suffer for it.


This is 100% nonsense and pure bias. There are many great games that want to sell you models, what makes a good game is 100% up to the person playing and no one likes the same thing. On top of that I can't think of a single wargame, outside of FFG stuff, at the moment that requires you to buy the minis to play outside of tournaments (ie rules only included with the minis). Pretty much all of them you can get everything you need digitally. Many even have their rules 100% free on their websites (like Infinity).

I'm sure it's the same in the larger Boardgame community but there's a lot of bias. Clearly everything listed in this thread someone enjoys and hopes you will too but don't let the negative prevent you from exploring other games as well.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/22 20:03:30


 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Personally, I prefer my miniatures tailor made for a particular game. I can understand the desire to save time and money, and to maximize use of models - but when I play Necromunda, I want Necromunda models. When I play Warcry, I want Warcry models. Heck, I exclusively use Frostgrave models for Frostgrave. Part of it is the thematic consistency, but really, I just like buying, assembling, and painting models and starting a new game system gives me an excuse to do exactly that.

As far as skirmish games go, I really prefer the spatially rewarding ones: Monsterpocalypse, Infinity, Warcry, Walkind Dead: All Out War, Deadzone, RuneWars. I'm also partial to campaign games, like Necromunda, Frostgrave, Fallout - they create more narratively rewarding games that hold my interest across multiple games (Jack was injured last game and he lost a leg, but he got a new robot leg and upgraded to a shotgun, and now he's looking for vengeance). I tend to dislike or not like very much the games that have heavy list building or order-of-operation combos.
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

Miniature agnostic games are great because they give you the most utility for your dollar in terms of being able to reuse your miniatures, but that being said I find that (with the exception of GW games for the most part) games designed around their own miniatures lines tend to be mechanically superior, as they can design the miniatures to function within the mechanics of the game more effectively (which isn't necessarily a thing that comes up a lot, but does make a difference in some cases).

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut



NE Ohio, USA

 Sqorgar wrote:
Personally, I prefer my miniatures tailor made for a particular game. I can understand the desire to save time and money, and to maximize use of models - but when I play Necromunda, I want Necromunda models. When I play Warcry, I want Warcry models. Heck, I exclusively use Frostgrave models for Frostgrave. Part of it is the thematic consistency, but really, I just like buying, assembling, and painting models and starting a new game system gives me an excuse to do exactly that.

As far as skirmish games go, I really prefer the spatially rewarding ones: Monsterpocalypse, Infinity, Warcry, Walkind Dead: All Out War, Deadzone, RuneWars. I'm also partial to campaign games, like Necromunda, Frostgrave, Fallout - they create more narratively rewarding games that hold my interest across multiple games (Jack was injured last game and he lost a leg, but he got a new robot leg and upgraded to a shotgun, and now he's looking for vengeance). I tend to dislike or not like very much the games that have heavy list building or order-of-operation combos.


They make Frostgrave minis? I thought that the whole point of FG was that it'd work with any fantasy models.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





ccs wrote:
 Sqorgar wrote:
Personally, I prefer my miniatures tailor made for a particular game. I can understand the desire to save time and money, and to maximize use of models - but when I play Necromunda, I want Necromunda models. When I play Warcry, I want Warcry models. Heck, I exclusively use Frostgrave models for Frostgrave. Part of it is the thematic consistency, but really, I just like buying, assembling, and painting models and starting a new game system gives me an excuse to do exactly that.

As far as skirmish games go, I really prefer the spatially rewarding ones: Monsterpocalypse, Infinity, Warcry, Walkind Dead: All Out War, Deadzone, RuneWars. I'm also partial to campaign games, like Necromunda, Frostgrave, Fallout - they create more narratively rewarding games that hold my interest across multiple games (Jack was injured last game and he lost a leg, but he got a new robot leg and upgraded to a shotgun, and now he's looking for vengeance). I tend to dislike or not like very much the games that have heavy list building or order-of-operation combos.


They make Frostgrave minis? I thought that the whole point of FG was that it'd work with any fantasy models.


They have a very large line and are branching out to official terrain too. http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=195&page=1

Any game that gets popular enough will produce it's own line eventually as that's just money left on the floor.
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

I would also add in This Is Not A Test, by Worlds End Publishing. It's absolutely Fallout, but without the IP. Also totally minis agnostic. I have Infinity minis as one warband, and am working on a Reclaimers warband (their version of renegade Brotherhood of Steel) all in power armor made from Primaris Marines.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/23 11:20:31




"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

 AegisGrimm wrote:
I would also add in This Is Not A Test, by Worlds End Publishing. It's absolutely Fallout, but without the IP. Also totally minis agnostic. I have Infinity minis as one warband, and am working on a Reclaimers warband (their version of renegade Brotherhood of Steel) all in power armor made from Primaris Marines.


This is Not a Test does have an excellent campaign system, but for some reason the delayed damage system bothers me when I am playing. I think it is a solid runner-up for a campaign game.

Other Runners Up that did not make my list are:
- Strange Aeons- Too Simple of mechanics, but fun Mythos theme and campaign. Players rotate being agents or Lurkers.
- Outremer: Faith and Blood- Too Simple of mechanics, but one of the best post-game sequences for model advancement I have ever seen. Crusades specific
-Gaslands- Car combat using modded hot wheels/matchbox cars. Lots of decision making and crashing. Not much of a campaign and benefits from custom dice and templates.

I have also seen good things about Star Breach and Zone Raiders but I have not personally played them so I am refraining from comment. A lot of people also love games from Nordic Weasel on the Wargame Vault. Again, i have not really played so I will refrain from commenting.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/23 17:49:38


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




Hello, sh4Mike.

I agree about Warhammer models being fragile and believe that the focus on making them look like mantlepiece masterpieces has given new meaning to "the pile of shame". As a youngster those old kits would have been opened, assembled and painting underway within 30 minutes, but now even simplier kits leave one wondering if they are doing the right thing, using the right options, and at worst will sit there for months untouched! I recently purchased a box of "finecast" Eldar Warlocks and if it werent for the resin artifacts being a sod to clean up, I would have been happy with them.

Personally, Osprey were responsible for my getting back into the hobby with Frostgrave, Fighting Sail and Horizon Wars. It actually started with a glance at Ronin in waterstones, but ended up with those instead. I like Kill Team and casual-open-play AoS/Skirmish, but starting to lean back towards the Osprey range now as the models and rules are more flexible and accomodating.

It maybe better to hold off on more game systems until you've become more aquainted with the games you already have. A core rule of good design is iteration by trial and error. You may not know what it is you are really looking for in a game until you push the ones you currently play and by identifying what you don't like about them. You may even own that very game, right now, but it resides in a past or future edition.

Also be true to what kind of player you really are. I returned initially to just have some games to play in the evening, and as a break from long durations of computer programming. I lost my way with the Games Workshop stuff and while Dakka and it community is one of the better forums I've taken part in, I feel the emphasis on competitive("matched") play has not been in alinement with my casual style, and I have forgotten that***.

*** Certainly not in anyway knocking the forum community, but merely acknowledging my own fault.

Casual gamer, casual fun! 
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Hi Samus -- agree that I have enough for now, and should focus on playing all these top-tier recommendations before diving deeper into systems with more mixed reviews.

I am similarly a big fan of what Osprey is doing for the hobby, and am excited for what the future holds.
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Great skirmish games to try are

Malifaux- cards instead of dice, small model count, deep gameplay, 3d edition launched recently.

Infinity- Haven't played yet, but great minis, looks fun.

Zone Raiders-model agnostic, simple yet deep

Deep Wars- underwater game

Shadow Sea- 100% compatible with Deep Wars

Test of Honor- Japan Warring States period.

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game is usually low model count as well

Gaslands!

Maelstrom's Edge- "squad based skirmish" so think 30-ish minis per side. Cannot recommend enough. Just play it. Made by Dakka-ites.


This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2020/06/23 23:38:11


 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







It's probably more important to think about skirmish war-games in terms of what sort of game you're looking for.

Are you looking for a game where each individual model has special rules (unique abilities and/or unique actions)? That's generally what people mean when they say a game is 'character driven'.

To be honest, my first suggestion for easing from board games to skirmish games would be something like Guild Ball.
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




I play Guild Ball, lots of fun. I suppose that counts as a skirmish game.
   
Made in pl
Fresh-Faced New User




You will probably notice with time, how the wargaming scene is similar to the board gaming one in a certain aspect.

There's this Monopoly board game and it is badly outdated, with little player agency or decision making, is randomness-driven and incredibly long and boring due to most time spent on tedious upkeep and just "doing what the game tells you you have to do".

Yet, with its market penetration and recognisability it is extremely popular and in fact many people associate board games with Monopoly and believe all board games have to be like this. "You are into board games? You mean, like, Monopoly?"

And it's totaly in spite of the fact that there's a lot of modern, well designed products with state-of-the-art engaging mechanics, streamlined upkeep and decision making put on the pedestal. They are played by people who know the market and know what products are available so they can tailor the games they play to their needs.

So, yeah, the wargaming scene is practically identical.

If you like excellent Guild Ball my advice would be to at least taka a look at Warmachine (which is no more a small skirmish game, I know, but still has this skirmish vibe and you can always play small points battles which are still very interesting) or maybe try Judgement, possibly with free print-to-play accessories and rules and a nice set of alternative models from various companies (originals have unreasonable prices). Or even try them out on War Table https://wartable.online/ which doesn't even require you installing anything - although I know learning both the game and War Table itself at the same time can be daunting.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/06/26 09:20:26


 
   
Made in gb
Wicked Warp Spider





sh4mike wrote:
I play Guild Ball, lots of fun. I suppose that counts as a skirmish game.


of course it does, many Butchers, Brewers and Union lads and lasses have never touched the ball, why would you when thumping gets the job done

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED." 
   
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User




Cyel wrote:
You will probably notice with time, how the wargaming scene is similar to the board gaming one in a certain aspect.

Great post. Specific to Warmachine, I believe Company of Iron is its skirmish format. On my list to try.
   
Made in pl
Fresh-Faced New User




sh4mike wrote:
Cyel wrote:
You will probably notice with time, how the wargaming scene is similar to the board gaming one in a certain aspect.

Great post. Specific to Warmachine, I believe Company of Iron is its skirmish format. On my list to try.


I am afraid CoI didn't really catch on (not that WM itself is in its best place popularity-wise...). Instead of it being a streamlined gateway experience it was just Warmachine with extra rules bolted on so that it can function in a small skirmish form.

I really suggest trying out smaller battles of regular WM or maybe taking a look at PP's newest child - Warcaster.
   
Made in gb
Brainy Zoanthrope






Lancashire, UK

sh4mike wrote:
Thank you, Sunno. I wasn't aware Malifaux played so distinctly, will definitely take a look. I've seen big sales on the series in the past, will pick up a rulebook and perhaps a few clearance sets next round.


I'd just warn you that the models are incredibly fiddly and delicate - so much more so than Games Workshops, though I can't think of any system I've played with more delicate models (and I've played a few!).

Looking for fun articles on painting, tactics and wargaming? Are you after a new regular blog to follow? Are you a bit bored with nothing better to do?

If the answer to any of the above is 'well, I guess' you could probably do worse than read my blog! Regular wargaming posts, painting and discussions

forgotmytea.wordpress.com
 
   
Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord





Deleted.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/26 17:47:44


 
   
Made in us
VF-1S Valkyrie Squadron Commander





Mississippi

I'd like to mention a hybrid game - Heroes of Black Reach.

It's a board game miniatures game, using the Heroes of Normandy engine. In its basic form, it's cardboard chits, but you can easily replace/upgrade the cardboard with miniatures if you want. You'd have to upscale the board to use GW's minis, but if you can get your hands on some epic scale/10mm minis, that's the scale the game is set in.

Even if you don't specifically use Black Reach, the game system (Heroes of...) as a whole is very good, and if you go the WW2 way, there's tons of minis you can use to upgrade or replace the cardboard tokens.

It never ends well 
   
 
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