Home Forums The Gaming Room For a non-wargamer. What's make makes each one special / unique? Reply To: For a non-wargamer. What's make makes each one special / unique?

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Keymaster

Miniatures tabletop games are definitely a commitment in many ways, there’s no denying it, but there really is nothing like the satisfaction you can get from seeing well painted armies clash on a proper field of terrain. The hobby aspect of it is intimately connected with the games themselves. You don’t get into this aspect of the gaming hobby if you don’t have an interest in painting miniatures and creating terrain, though of course there are a lot more things these days you can buy to reduce the effort involved. In any case, it takes a lot of time and usually a lot of money. But as you can see by my battle reports, I think it’s worth the effort.

Let’s look at some of the games you mention.

Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K: It’s been a long, long time since I played these games and I never got very involved in either, for two reasons: the clunky rules and the ridiculously expensive miniatures. Both games have, for some bizarre reason, held on to an old fashioned style of rules where one player takes his entire turn with all his miniatures, followed by his opponent. As you can imagine this means a lot of watching your buddy move and attack with his minis. The rich detail of the game background and the quality of the plastic miniatures is probably the biggest drawcard for some people.

War Machine: really shook things up in its early days, thougn it seems to be waning in popularity these days. It (and all the games that follow in this list) use a more modern system where players alternate moving units. You tend to field smaller armies, and both this game and its sister game Hordes feature leader figures that channel power (either towards their units or from their units, depending on the game) and if those leaders are killed, you lose the game. This leads to some interesting strategies. The steampunk fantasy style is attractive too.

Hell Dorado has smaller armies again; they’re called companies and usually consist of just a handful of models per side. You could call this a ‘skirmish’ game rather than a wargame. All the miniatures have strong individual personalities and special rules, so the game is relatively complex, but the interactions between the different units can be very interesting. The minis are metal and quite stunning.

Dust is actually a bunch of games: Dust Tactics, which is a wargame based on a square grid, Dust Battlefield; which is almost the same game but played more ‘traditionally ’on a tabletop using tape measures for measuring; and Dust Warfare, which is like the latter but uses a different, more complicated system (and seems to be fading away). The games are pretty straightforward, but the alt-WWII theme is fun.

Confrontation was a rather stylish European competitor to Warhammer Fantasy and went through several different versions, changing from a skirmish-level game with beautiful metal miniatures to an army-level game with pre-painted plastic miniatures. The pre-paints were was great for players who didn’t want to go to all the trouble of painting their armies, but the publisher Rackham really misread the market, as most wargamers like this aspect of the hobby and the game (and the company) went bust. There was also a similar sci-fi version called AT-43.

Wrath of Kings is a nice streamlined system, and has a nice mechanic where you can activate individual figures or use leaders to activate groups of figures at a time. I like the personality of the factions and the fast, easy rules.

There are many other games I haven’t played: eg, Dark Age, Flames of War (historical WWII), Malifaux (which uses a card-based system), Dystopian Wars – well, I could go on and on. No matter the genre you like there’s probably a game system for it.

They all tend to be simialr in that you have a bunch of figures facing off on a terrain table, often with various objectives to gain to score victory points, and you measure things with tape measures; but beyond that the differences in miniatures, abilities of the figures, genre, scale, and various quirks of rules keep them all feeling quite different.

Hope this gives you an idea. Any questions let me know!