Miniature Wargames: My Never-ending Search for the Ultimate Army Men Ruleset

Doesn’t ground zero games do 10mm for dirstide (no those are 6mm probably close enough)

What??? 15mm plastic armies? My holy grail…

Oh wait, it’s all quite late. Do they plan to release Bronze and Early Iron armies? I’ve been thinking about building a 15mm successors army for a while.

No idea, but I think the second supplement they plan on releasing is based on Greek warfare, so i bet we’ll see some hoplites eventually.

The models don’t seem to be super detailed, which isn’t a huge problem for 15mm. It is really weird that Plastic Soldier Company doesn’t seem to have uploaded any pictures of the models to their web store. They also don’t seem to sell bases for the models, which is strange since units sizes in MeG are determined by bases.

I might pick up a couple starter armies and the rules and try it out.

The Too Fat Lardies have just realised a turn of the BC/AD large skirmish set of rules called Infamy, Infamy! which looks pretty fun on a first read through of the rules- if you’ve played their games before, you’ll recognise the DNA (variable turns, big emphasis on surprise deployments to get an impression of the fog of war, and buckets of dice for combat resolution) but they’re very good at using mechanics to get controlled chaos.

Also, the Economist covers the industry this week…

I played Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies, and found it to be a very difficult game to teach (though admittedly, I was teaching it in my non-native language). It was very thematic, but has a lot of little rules to remember. Also, the “roll and move” mechanism can be off-putting for Warhammer players.

Want to try it again, but I think I may need to find a better rules reference sheet.

yes - the mechanics do have that prob, and someone willing to be a rules lawyer can use them to be a dick, but I suppose it’s finding the right balance in adapting to the flow…

If you get the chance, I highly recommend it. A lot of people hated it- changed too much, streamlined too much, etc., but I really liked all of that, and things like Blast markers- since all units only had one Hit Point, suppressing and disrupting them became an important factor.

There’s a great review on BGG here, if anyone wants a good overview of what I’m talking about:

Rich doesn’t really design games for rules lawyer types. He expects folks to play nicely with each other and in the spirit of the rules and period. I have most of their rules and have been a fan since the 1st edition of I Ain’t Been Shot Mum came out. Some of the most memorable games I’ve had have come from Lardie rules. But very literal minded folks tend to not “get” TFL rules and will hate them. They can go play Challenger II ;)

(full disclosure: I played a LOT of Challenger II back in college.)

It looks like GW has released the latest core rules for Warhammer 40k (link). I skimmed over them earlier and it looks like they are for the most part the same as 8th edition (though written much more clearly), with the biggest changes in the morale phase and removing overwatch for charges.

The new edition has revived a lot of interest in 40k in our wargaming club lately. I even took out some of my unpainted models from the 8th edition starter box and have been (finally) painting them up. That said, there are many other miniatures wargames I would rather play than 40k currently (including 2nd edition AoS, which I still haven’t played yet).

Anyone else looking forward to the new 40k?

Edit: Price of the box set has been released: US$200. I have to admit, its a hell of a bargain for whats included.

I got excited when 8th came out, started throwing some stuff together, and then realized I’d never have time to play after my daughter was born.

That being said, I’m excited for 9th, and I’m going to buy the stupid box set and trade the Necron half for the Marine half if I can find someone to do that.

I’ve been painting Marines as a way to not think about COVID, and I’m almost out of stuff, so I’m looking forward to adding more to the pile.

I’ve still never actually played 40k, other than a couple of in store demos over the last 15 years or so, so I can’t speak to the rules changes.

So I played my first match of 9th edition 40k today. A couple weeks ago I played a game of 8th edition, so the rules were pretty fresh in my head. Brought a 1500 Death Guard army against a (mainly Primaris) Ultramarine army. After playing it, I have some mixed feelings about 9th edition and the current state of 40k (especially Space Marines):

  • The core rules of 9th edition are undoubtedly better than 8th. They are written much clearer and are probably easier to learn the game from. That said, they are 90% the same as 8th and still have some of its problems.

  • The new matched play rules are more interesting than 8th edition (and probably more fun overall), but they are also more complicated. Minor objectives are much better than the old objective cards (you can actually choose which ones to use). However, it is likely that the minor objectives are not well balanced and you will be a handful being used every game.

  • The rule in matched play about gaining 10 victory points for having a fully painted army is bullshit and could easily decide the victor. Easy enough to ignore at least.

  • I really don’t like how Overwatch has been converted into a stratagem instead of being a default charge reaction. Mechanically, it helps melee-focused units, but it takes away a lot of the flavor from the charges.

  • Still don’t like how cover gives a +1 to armor save instead of reducing the hit chance ballistic skill. 40k is the only game I can think of that does it this way and I always get it mixed up. Also, it makes no sense thematically.

  • Lots more command points to use, which makes stratagem even more important. If you like stratagems, then great! If you don’t care for them (like me), then be warned.

  • Space Marines already had too many re-rolling special rules in 8th edition, but with the increase in CPs, the amount of re-rolls in our game was ridiculous.

  • Whoever decided that the new Space Marine Eradicator unit should be valued at only 120 points was legally insane. Easily the most cost effective unit in the game now, especially with re-roll buffs (which the SMs have in spades).

  • At this point, Space Marines have so many extra rules that it is hard to keep track of everything if you’re not an SM player. Even the guy I played against (and the guys watching us) couldn’t remember everything and had to constantly be referencing their rules.

  • I understand that Space Marines are supposed to be elite, high tech super soldiers, but they are not fun at all to play against.Unfortunately, 3/4 of 40k players play mainly SM armies, which means you’re be playing against them a lot. Of course this has long been a problem with 40k, but GW has continued to make this situation worse with each editions inevitable SM power creep.

So I’ve been thinking the past couple of months about trying to convert the Nordic Weasel Five Leagues to the Borderlands I was talking about upthread to some sort of hex system. I like the idea of a campaign warband thing, but I found while playing that the movement and measuring was just too fiddly for me- I guess I’ve lost my patience for that sort of thing in my old age (as well as painting, heh). So I started looking around the web to see if someone has done the conversion work already.

What I found was Frostgrave. And specifically, that someone had converted it to use HeroScape tiles., which I have an absolute ton of (well, I do again since I rescued them today from a friend’s garage where they’ve been for the past several years). So I went looking into it, and found out the game has had a steady stream of supplements and spinoffs for the last 5 years, including co-op/solo books- both freeform and fully-fledged campaigns. Hot damn. And the 2nd Ed. came out last week. And the ePub versions of the books are cheap via the Google Play Store. Ok, fine, you’ve talked me into it. I grabbed the 2e Rules, the Frostgrave Folio and the Perilous Dark (aforementioned co-op/solo rules) for cheap, and have spent the last few hours going through them. I’m most of the way through the basic rules, and it seems perfect for me- no excessive dice rolling, but lots of interesting options. I took some time out to use inDesign to recreate the 2e quick reference on their site to reference hexes instead of inches. I haven’t cracked into how the solo rules actually work, but I imagine it’ll be fine. Hopefully.

If you do go looking, be aware they are still selling the 1e for cheaper than he 2e. I don’t know if that matters to you- 2e is fully compatible with all 1e stuff, but apparently updates and streamlines some things.

I picked up Frostgrave 1st ed when it was free from Osprey last spring, and read through the rules. Tried to get some guys to try it out, but couldn’t manage to interest anyone. Looks fun (though I’m not a fan of d20 combat resolution).

Been getting into Mortem et Gloriam, the 15mm ancients game recently published by Plastic Soldier Company. The best thing about it for someone relatively new to ancients wargaming is that it has a miniaturized version of the rules that lets you play the full rules with 1/3 of the models. That makes it much easier to get to the table than many other historical wargames (like Black Powder). It also is basically designed for tournament play, with a balanced point system (it uses a multiplicative point system unlike most games which use an additive one).

The icing on the cake is that plastic starter armies from PSC are very cheap (£35), so the buy-in for curious new players is low (though you still need to buy the book, custom dice, and cards/tokens).

Here are some of my Late Romans:

Yeah, I saw that they did that, but didn’t hear about it at the time. Ah, well. Like I said, it’s on sale right now, anyway, so I’m not too bothered.

I bought the Mortem et Gloriam tule book, but found it quite a mess organizationally and put it aside for a while. The card system looks interesting, but I’m unsure how this replaces Art de la Guerre for competitive play or Hail Caesar or Tactica II for large battle scenario play.

Speaking of Tactica II. I recently got this rule set and found the rules to be fantastic. Individual unit basing (although it’s mostly aesthetic) and a bucket of dice combat system, but with a lot of clever rule design that makes it feel like an ancient battle indeed.

After I finish painting a Blood Bowl team In my bench I will do a Seleucid Successors army (I think). Main question now is whether to go to 15mm (my preferred size for aesthetics) or 28mm (so I can do plastic instead of metal).

Hopefully PSC will expand their 15mm plastic range into successors and Early Iron/Bronze Age stuff which is what I’m more into. I think the have the rights to the Xyston range, which has everything.

Yeah, I agree that the rule book for MeG is organized very poorly. Had to read it a couple times and watch a battle report on YouTube before I really understood how to play. Thankfully, the designer responds to rules questions very quickly on Facebook.

I haven’t played Art de la Guerre or Tactica II, but I think the rules are bit deeper than Hail Caesar. It’s less of a beer and pretzels game and more competitive.

It also has a cool pre-game mini game to decide how much terrain to place and how to place it. This is almost like a random scenario generator. My only complaint is that there are no variable objectives to use.

Yeah, I liked the idea of the pre-battle game. And I love the card system for C&C (at least in a first cursory reading). I’m less keen on the dice and how damage is modelled, but it might feel better in play.

I might like the game a lot once I read the rules. It will just take time.

I own DBMM and Warrior at the high complexity end of the spectrum. MeG seems to fall in the low complexity range, which is good, since those more complex systems are not easy finding people to play with. In my experience I seem to enjoy either really complex systems or light but well designed ones, specially for ancient battles.

Right now I need to play more Tactica II, but it feels like a simple system that generates realistic looking and behaving battles with little rule overhead. It’s very light on army lists, right now, though, and it feels big battles will have a LOT of minis. But I highly recommend it. Things I like:

-Skirmishers can’t melee with non-skirmishers. They automatically break when entering contact with a massed unit.
-Units can have varied size and disposition (decided at setup). You can trade frontage for depth, losing fighting capacity but gaining mobility, since it’s easier to wheel.
-Units have different to kill numbers. Low quality/equipment troops die in a 3-6, while the best troops might require 6s (This is different to MeG, where good units kill more often. Here good units die less instead)
-Different quality level of troops give different unit breakpoints. Levy units break at 25% loss, while legendary (super rare) units fight to the last man. With the above, it allows for different feeling armies and for small unit counts armies fight bigger armies of much lesser quality.
-Units accumulating hits do not change too much the performance of the unit (you lose depth advantage, at most).
-There’s a disorganized/automatic break system for flank attacks and sustained melee. So swift, decisive strikes are also possible.
-Missile fire can stop massed units from moving, and it’s perhaps it’s main battle winning role.

Had a crack at Infamy, Infamy last night in a Roman v German battle where a small detachment of auxiliaries were taking a cart of vital supplies through a narrow path in the woods. Happily ended in complete disaster

We had to take it from the bottom to the top; the little markers you can see scattered in the woods are deployment/ ambush points from which Germans can pop out at any time

OK - right to left, given the way it’s decided to arbitrarily rotate the photo. We got about half way across before we got trapped in the woods and destroyed to the last man…

You can see above the German horde pouring out of the woods to set on the detachment we’d sent out to clear some archers, while just out of shot on right, some treacherous German auxiliaries now fighting for their own people, menace our rear.

It’s a tricky, but really enjoyable game; it’s definitely not linear classical battles; think more Vietnam in a bog somewhere in Northern Britannia or in the deep trackless woods of Germania; well-drilled Romans outnumbered and overstretched against fervent barbarians.