Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alternative Systems: Summary

Yet again on my sojourn from GW I have taken another step away from GW this week.  Given my post on comtemplating different manufactureres, (located here) I went looking for other manufactureres this week.  In addition to finding a few notable manufactureres that do interesting fantasy models, I also saw one manufacturer that has their own rules.  Now I know about Reaper so this was no specific suprise, but it got me thinking what else is out there that is an alternative to Games Workshop's rules. 

I took a trip to The Miniature Pages, and found a few posts of people asking the same question as I was.  Apparently, I am not the only one contemplating this.  The four posts that I found are the following:

After going through all of them I found the following systems as the answers to what is the alternative to GW's Warhammer Fantasy Battle:

List of Fantasy Game Systems:
1: Warhammer Fantasy Battle (Games Workshop)
2: Kings of War (Mantic)*
3: Fantasy Warriors (Miltron)*
4: Armies of Arcana
5: Mighty Armies (Rebel Miniatures)
6: Hostile Realms(Piquet Master Rules)
7: Songs of Blades and Heroes
8: Hordes of the Things*
9: 100 Kingdoms*
10: For the Masses (Majestic 12)
11: No Quarter
12: War Engine/Shockforce
13: Pride of Lions
14: Impetus*
15: Battle Systems 2 ed.
16: Rally Around the King
17: Reaper Warlord

* Free online rules

I may have missed one or two, but I think that I got them all.  Now I fully do admit that I am biased toward the 6th edition so much that a perfect world would be the combination of WFB-6 and WAB.  Given that, if I am impressed enough with a new system, then it is something notable for me.  From what I have been reading on the posts, some of these very much may not be what I am looking for based on the descriptions that some people have put up.

To me I would equate it to buying a car when you have brand loyality prevalent in your decision.  It is not that much of a suprise to me given that we invest a lot into this hobby.  Think of all of the time spend on reading through rules, painting miniatures, let alone the cost of the models.  So I am sure that I will be doing quite a few posts after I go through some of the rule sets.  Of course I am going to try out the free online ones first, and preferably get a game or two in to see how it feels as you play it along with the core rules review.  Even though the free ones are first in line, I have noticed that almost all of these rules are insanely cheaper than Games Workshop.  When I say cheap, I mean the most expensive ruleset so far including most armylists is cheaper than what the going rate is for the old paperback books after the price hikes of late.  Yet another example of GW's hubris. 

What is it you are looking for?

I believe that I should provide some attributes on what exactly that I am looking for.  Some of this may change and perhaps added as I go through the systems.  There may be a deal breaker that I dont know of just yet.  For right now, here is the following attributes that I am looking for:

1: 28mm model based game single bases.  I really don't want to rebase my dwarf army into large group bases. 

2: Same variety of units as what I am currently used to .  I want everything from monsters and warmachines to lowly infantry. 

3:  Robust magic, but not overpowering magic.  Odd from a dwarf player, but I have no problem with magic as long as it is not game-winning as it can be now in the 8th. 

4:  Close combat is incremental, and not all or nothing.  I like how I can take a few models off of my unit and not specifically loose the whole unit when I loose a combat.  It is anticlimatic to me when I just take a unit away.  Even when I loose that unit eventually I get the 300 feel of the combat. 

5:  Dice only and preferably only D6 dice.  If I really wanted a card game I would play texas hold-em.  and if I want a DXX dice game, I would proabably play DnD. 

6:  Main line company level game.  I am not looking to play games where a unit is a batallion, nor am I looking for my faction to have 20 models.  Skirmish games is a different analysis and deserves different parameters.  Note, I have no problems with skirmish units. 

7:  Must have atleast the standard fantasy factions that we all know and love.  I dont want to see fishmen with no elves in sight. 

8:  None of the annoyances of the current version of WFB.  I dont see how I can elaborate further. 

As stated before, the list will most likely grow as I go through a few of these and determine what I like and dont like.  I will try to have a running ranking to see what I like given what I have already gone through.  I have already downloaded a few of these rules, and I can tell some differences.  Some are over 20 years old, and will not ever change.  Some are just coming out and will be subject to change.  Having clunky rules is not a problem with me, which should not be suprised given my penchant for the 6th edition.  Truth be told I am interested in seeing what is out there exactly.


  1. I couldn't agree more, a mix of WAB And WFB 6th would suit me down tot he ground. I've looked at Mantics Kings of War and the big hold up for me is the that each unit has attributes and not the individuals. You don't remove models you just add a kind of wound multiplier to the unit for each point of damage until it fails morale. then its gone.

    I've played hordes and found it fund but too simplistic with just single d6 rolls and attributes.

    I'll watch with interest how things turn out (whilst building my Roman WAB army).

    Keep up the good work.

  2. If you want something a little, though still very much a work in progress, you can convert the Hail Caesar rules to a Fantasy format:
    See Hail Sauron Yahoo group.

  3. Well Scott, I will take a look at what you are talking about after I take a look at "Hail Caesae." If I can't stand "Hail Caesar," then there is no way that I will tolerate a fantasy derivitive.

  4. I could not agree with you more S.B. I have read through KOW, but I do want to get a game in before I want to write up my review.