Help me choose my new gaming obsession!
August 1, 2008 7:39 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for opinions on which miniature wargame I should start to become obsessed with. Help me make the best decision on what to make my new hobby. Geeky requirements within!

I currently play Heroscape, and enjoy it quite immensely.
I don't really have a gaming group locally, so I can't get their opinion on what to play. But if I pick out a game and get things around, I have some friends I can convince to play whatever game I choose. The nearest game store is about a hour away, and is primarly warhammer focused. My FLGS is non-existent.

Here are the features I would like, in descending order of importance:
- Semi-low cost of ownership. I have maybe 100 bucks to start off with, and about 50 a month I can sink into expanding it , I would like to be able to spend less than 400 total and have plenty of stuff for myself and my friends to all play. Warhammer is an example of a game I consider too costly to properly enjoy. 30 bucks for a 8 Ork squad is crazy talk! I already have plenty of painting and basic terrain supplies so exclude that cost.
- Good "system". I would like a game that plays semi-quickly (maybe a couple games in a 4-6 hour session). Turns should not take so long that people get bored waiting for it to come around.
- SciFi or Fantasy setting. I like things that mix them both too.
- Not collectible. I played Heroclix and poured WAYY too much money into it when it first came out trying to get the rare figures. I like being able to see what I'm getting on the box.
- Cool game mechanics! Powers abilities and stuff like that.
- Fun and nice to look at minis! I'm ok with painting and stuff.
- Accessible to kids. I love to game with my kids. My 5 year old son has a pretty decent grasp of the Heroscape system. I'm cool with a more complex system that he can pick up later, or house ruling a simple system myself.

Yes, I've trolled boardgamegeek for months now anguishing over this decision, but I would like some input from the hive.

Bonus. If you're within a hour or so of NW Ohio, and want to game, hit me up!
posted by Jonsnews to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried either Memoir '44 or Battlelore? I own Battlelore, and it's a great game, my friend who played it went and bought Memoir. My only frustration with BL is that there are so many pieces included it's tough to get out and back in the box after playing, Memoir has a more limited set of units, so it doesn't quite have the same problem. There are quite a few expansions for both of them, and folks have painted the mini's and they look excellent!
posted by TuxHeDoh at 8:00 AM on August 1, 2008

This may sound crazy, but -- since this CCM is dead and will never be expanded again -- sinking $100 into four cases of Dreamblade figurines will give you loads of bang for your gaming buck.

Dreamblade is awesome -- like Crazy Chess on Steroids -- with profound strategic depth and a more-than-healthy dose of luck. Point by point...

- Low cost of ownership.
- Great system. Tons of fun.
- No longer collectible (but I often play with friends by sorting by rarity and doing simulated drafts)
- WICKED cool game mechanics, powers, etc.
- Gorgeous minis
- Accessible to kids; some of the pieces are bit horror-movie, but nothing too terribly outré.

Second option: Blood Bowl. It looks like a football game, but it's really a deep strategy game. I love Blood Bowl, but the sole caveat is that the game really comes into its own when you have 6+ players in a league and can schedule regular games. The fun is in player development and changing rosters, and unless you have good league play, one-off games are kinda flat.
posted by Shepherd at 8:10 AM on August 1, 2008

What size armies do you want to play with? Warhammer is really prohibitively expensive (that's why my friends and I got out of it), but some of Games Workshop's smaller-scale games are a lot of fun and, since army sizes are pretty limited, they're a bit cheaper. The rules for Necromunda and Gorkamorka (and campaign stuff) are online for free, and it looks like you can pick up figures for them off ebay for not too much, since both games have been ignored by GW for a while.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 8:18 AM on August 1, 2008

Try 4th-edition D&D. It's a tactical wargame with a thin layer of RPG spread over it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:25 AM on August 1, 2008

Right before I stopped wargaming ten (my god, ten!) years ago, I had started to get into Warzone. It was everything I liked about Warhammer 40,000 at about a third of the cost. But, damnit, it looks like that Wikipedia article says it's out of print.

On the other hand, there's a movie coming, so maybe the wargame will be revived.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: I would like big-ish armies, multiple squads, even vehicles would be good.
I love the scale of warhammer.

aeschenkarnos: I've been thinking of checking out 4th ed. My group that I play dnd with is vehomently against it, but I thought of bucking the trend since I haven't spent tons of money on any dnd product since TSR days of yore.
posted by Jonsnews at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: Warzone is discontinued, but they are coming out with a Mutant Chronicles game that started out as a Collectible Mini Game, but I guess they recently pulled the entire stock and are repackaging it as a WYSIWYG mini game.
Mutant Chronicles is one of the ones I have been looking at hard. That and the Rackham games (Confrontation or AT-43).
Others I have considered recently are Starship Troopers and Hordes
posted by Jonsnews at 8:38 AM on August 1, 2008

Warmachine is a miniature game based around squad-level combat. Of course, said squad usually includes several hulking, fantastic battle machines that pound the everloving crap out of most anything in their way. I picked up a started set when the game first came out (2002?) and it cost me around 40 bucks.

Warhammer is always an option. It's pricey, yes, but as the 500 lb carnifex of the miniature gaming world, it is a lot easier to find other enthusiastic people to play with. If you are slow and selective, you can build an army on the cheap off of eBay, the War Store, and so on.

I'm not sure, but I think the days of Hero Quest have long passed. D&D 4E and the associated miniatures game may also be a good option.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:46 AM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: Heroscape is different then heroquest. Its more wargamey, with the point system of drafting armies and fighting.
posted by Jonsnews at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2008

Whoops. I meant HeroClix.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:53 AM on August 1, 2008

40K can be reasonable if you aren't too competitive and don't mind shopping online (TheWarStore offers 20-25% discount over retail). The new starter set (Space marines Vs. space Orks) is only $60 list and comes with a good start (around a 1000 pts each, regular game varies between 1500 to 2000) to either army plus mini rule book and all the dice and templates you need. Then bulk it out with a battle force each ($90+$90). That leaves you $160 for characters, vehicles and elites as you figure you need them. $160 will buy you a lot on eBay, especially for SM.

However straight up 40K takes 3-4 hours at 1500pts, longer if you have new players. You can however play variations on combat patrols or 40K in 40 minutes. Combat Patrol uses just 400 points. Battle forces for assorted races will get you that easy. Start with the Starter set yielding rules, templates and Space Marines and Ork armies. And then you can add Battleforce+codexes {($90+$22)-20%)= ~$90 each} for other races. Necrons (terminator like robots) are simple in CP, Tau (invented to pull in the Mecha crowd), Chaos Space Marine and Tyranids (Stereotypical Bugs from space) would be my choices for pick up, low point games.

So for $50+2*90=$230 you could have 4 low point armies to choose from leaving lots of room in the $400 for a few special characters, HQ, or vehicles each. Plus you'll need a few dozen six sided dice.
posted by Mitheral at 2:36 PM on August 1, 2008

I've been thinking of checking out 4th ed. My group that I play dnd with is vehomently against it, but I thought of bucking the trend since I haven't spent tons of money on any dnd product since TSR days of yore.

IMO, 4th is a different game, and I'd use 4th or 3.5th or run near-systemless for different purposes. It's called D&D purely for marketing purposes, it no more resembles D&D 3.5 than, say, Runequest or MERP or Warhammer resembles D&D 3.5. Judging it on the merits of "being D&D", it's always going to come out badly because it really isn't D&D. But that's unfair to it. Judging it on the merits of "being a new FRP", it comes out quite well.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2008

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