Other Fantasy wargames systems - what do you think of them?

Sooo happy that KoW has a forum now, great job to whoever was involved with setting this up :smiley:

I’ve been out of mini wargaming for a long time, but KoW was one of the systems I discovered in the last few months of getting interested again, and one that’s in my top list of systems I want to try out (although I’m going to wait for 3rd ed now).

I wrote this blog post where I’ve attempted to collate all the different fantasy rules systems out there though (including various thoughts on them) so that maybe of interest to folks here:

Also, if you know of any other systems I’m missing from my list (including many comment updates of new ones I’ve come across after writing that!) then I’d be really interested to hear about them. I’d also love to hear KoW players’ thoughts about any and all of these different systems (either here or feel free to comment on my blog). Cheers! :smiley:


I liked the article. I had many of the same feelings about WHFB back in the day. Even as a teen I hated the rules and saw that GW was not interested in ever fixing the rules since they wanted to sell miniatures and not a balanced rule set. In fact I felt that balance would ruin GW’s business strategy because they relies on people constantly buying the newest and therefore most broken units to play with. So, before I even played 8th edition I was moving away from GW. Which back then meant that I moved away from miniature games in general.

Not until KoW 2nd Edition came out did I get back in the hobby. I’m quite happy about how things turned out in the end :slight_smile:



Good article, I can agree with most of it. I had forgotten about Armies of Arcane, I tried it out for awhile, it was pretty fun, but only a few local players were willing to try it.

I wanted to point out a few more games that you didn’t list. Runewars, by Fantasy Flight Games, which as of earlier this year is no longer supported. It was a great game, lots of fun. I was sad to see it go, but FF really just botched the release of that game, which killed any momentum it might have had.

The newest R&F game I’ve seen just came out about a month ago, and my group is about 5 games into trying it out. Conquest by Parabellum. So far pretty good, although there are a bunch of mistakes or missing info in the rulebook that came with the starter, so hopefully there will be an FAQ out soon. They say they have 6 factions already completed and ready for release so hopefully they don’t lag on that like FF did.

And my favorite (other than KoW) is Wargods. Known mostly for Wargods of Aegyptus, and have just finished all their models for Wargods of Olympus, and have one faction out for Hyperboria (Wendigo). It is a small company run by Chris Fitzpatrick, and the base rules for the game have not changed in over 10 years, and they really don’t need to. Such a good game, usually plays with smaller warbands than the army size you would get from WFB or KoW. The mechanic of giving hidden orders to your units at the start of each turn plays similar to the dial system used for Runewars, which is probably why I liked Runewars so much.

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Thank you!

Yeah I never understand why wargames writers (well, mainly GW tbh) don’t realise that well balanced rules and armies could actually benefit them more in the long run in keeping people’s interest. But then I guess it’s a “proven” business model, and if you want to sell your new Dragon Space Demon Marine model or whatever quickly then making it overpowered is one way to do it…
But I guess they didn’t see all the guys like us that were driven away from the game due to that kind of stuff on their “bottom line” so quickly.
Basically, short-term thinking really.

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Thank you too :smiley:

Yeah I actually played quite a few games of AoA at the time. I felt it could’ve really gone somewhere if they’d aimed for a more competitively balanced system, but they seemed to prefer to keep it very “fluffy & flexible” as a ruleset. I actually collated and kept up to date a huge FAQ for that system back in the day… before they banned me from their forums for being too critical of the balance too much or something! :astonished:

I discovered Runewars and Conquest later after writing that, but added it to the comments there for my own keeping tabs on things :slight_smile: Yeah it seems very sad that Runewars is already basically “dead” though.

I did come across Wargods, but I was a bit confused what it was about. As the majority of my existing minis are Orcs & Goblins, I wasn’t sure it was very suitable for me for now. Are the different Wargods games all the same rules set, just with different factions or something? I can’t find a decent summary of what it’s all about anywhere on their site as of yet.
I do really like “hidden orders” systems though, so that intrigues me. I feel like stuff like that makes it feel more like a wargame and less like ‘chess’ - which as much as I like the look of KoW and will definitely be giving it a try & a buy later, I suspect I will sometimes want something less chess-like too at times for my taste.

It looks like you’re primarily interested in RNF style fantasy games? And not so much larger scale fantasy skirmish? As such, I’d say War of the Rings (GW’s LOTR game but with regiment trays that the round-based minis slot into) and CMON’s A Song of Ice & Fire (again with unit trays with round holes) both deserve a look. I know relatively little about either, but have heard years of praise for WOTR, and ASOIAF is picking up some speed, having recently pushed into the North and the more fantastical Wildling stuff. I actually like how both systems handle heroes, though they’re entirely opposite - WOTR heroes have dice pools that allow them to do epic things, while in ASOIAF I think heroes are largely upgrades to units, as they slot in ala WHFB. Could be dead wrong on that last one, trying to remember what I’ve heard.

I’ve loved Wargods’ minis since they were first released, and hope to have at least one KOW army made from Croc Games’ minis. Spoiler: I already own dozens of Sebeki dudes, waiting for KOW 3 to make Ogres a little more worth playing :wink:

If you are interested in fantasy skirmish, there are tons of contenders, whether OOP (Rackham’s Confrontation) or headscratchingly popular (GW’s Age of Stuff). When it comes to AOS, I’ve actually played it since it dropped, and tend to give it a try every time they readdress the rules. It’s come a long, long way from the ‘Just Four Pages Of Rules!’ days, but ultimately it’s still pretty under-designed and imbalanced for me to care too much. It doesn’t have as many NPE (Negative Play Experiences) as it used to, however there are still some really galling rules in there that GeeDub apologizers continue to defend (double turns are bad). All that said, I have a couple WHFB armies that I’m not interested in porting over to KOW - Tzeentch Daemons, for example - and still rollout for AOS if friends want to have a dumb time and roll some dice. If nothing else, the level of carnage in AOS is extreme, which sometimes is what the doctor ordered.

This is already a long reply, so I guess I’ll say that I have thoughts on WHFB too if we’re doing a postmortem on that game. I played from the end of 4E to the End Times, with a break for 6E when I went to college and mostly played 40k, and you know what? I don’t need to go back. WHFB had some deeply obnoxious things in it, and bless Mantic for creating a game that captured and refined the strategic mechanics of the World That Was without the piles of nonsense that went with it.

EDIT: Here I’ll acknowledge that both WOTR and ASOIAF are pretty well tied to major properties that may or may not be interesting to you. LOTR, for example, leaves me entirely cold, thus I have never wanted to invest in WOTR.


To answer a few of Remy’s questions:

The rules sets for Wargods are essentially the same. You can play the Wendigo faction against Aegyptus factions. You can play Olympus factions against either. Of course, I’m just going off what I got electronically from the Kickstarter, since the Olympus rules and factions is not out yet to the public. That is the biggest issue with the game IMO. Chris does great minis, and the rules are solid, but there is no planned release schedule, no real plan to expand, so its really hard to keep any momentum with a player group. Those I’ve played with really love it, and we’ve done many short term campaigns and events at Cons. But younger players seem to just want the new shiny thing, which Wargods isn’t.

As for a summary of the idea behind the game, it is about the various gods influencing the world, with their Harbingers or Demigods, who have followers that have powers and abilities based on which god they follow. You can take allies of certain other gods in your warband, but there are limitations (Followers of Set will not ally with followers of Horus, for example) For Aegyptus, there are humans who can worship any of the gods, and the children of the gods that are only followers of a particular god, thus the different headed models they make (the Jackel headed models are followers of Anubis, for example) . The Wendigo are kind of a separate entity with unrelated fluff, but are set in the same world, and the rules work the same. Basically someone sculpted models and they wanted rules for them so they could sell them. The models are awesome.

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In general, I have too many systems already so I’m not looking to get into more. Here’s why not for the systems I know enough about to comment on:

AoS: fun enough for a casual game with your friends.
I’ve had enough of GW’s business practice and rules writing though. Getting stommped because of army choice is not fun.

The 9th Age: People trying to keep the parts that put me off WHFB alive.

Runewars: Doesn’t offer much that I can’t get from KoW. I’m not fond of FFG’s design style, you can tell they make boardgames. Also don’t trust the company, I knew too many X-Wing players. The mini’s are not on the level that the prices are either.

The Other Side: I love Malifaux for the theme and style; how that’s felt in game is great fun. Don’t see it scaling thoufh.
Also already have a fantasy game that I can play with miniatures I own and nothing I heard or read made me interested enough to buy in.

A Song of Ice and Fire: I’ve had enough of Game of Thrones, thanks. It was good, but didn’t exactly leave me wanting more.
Again not really looking for another game, so haven’t checked if there is anything else to draw me in. If it gets popular enough that someone offers me to an intro I’ll check it out.
Might get the mini’s for KoM and give it a go while I have them.

Conquest: looks cool and has unique concepts from what I hear. If I was looking to branch out it would be a strong contender.
I’m quite happy with simples rules and a generic old school fantasy world though.
If the scale wasn’t different I would be sorely tempted by the dwarfs and possibly make army I could use in KoW too. As it stands I would have to buy in properly and get a new army just for conquest.
Again, something might grab my attention if it gets popular enough that someone promotes it to me.

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I’ve heard good things about Warlords of Erewon and Lion Rampant too, but haven’t played them myself.


Good article, and I agree with a lot of it. Personally I am not a fan of 9th age. I never liked the direction that the ETC took the game, and they seemed to double down on that, not to mention that you have to remove models in a R&F game shudders.

When GW killed the Old World they ensured that I would never be a AoS customer, and frankly, looking at some of the new models, the fluff and the game itself, I am glad that I jumped ship.

As for games you didn’t mention, I can really recommend Warlords of Erehwon. It plays fast, is fun, and my impression is that it is pretty balanced after the Errata. It is not R&F though, but rather a warband level skirmish game (units from 3-10 models with some lone heroes and monsters, and around 40-60 models per side in normal sized battles).

Do note that Rick Priestly never intended to make a tournament game with WoE though, he basically made the fantasy game he wanted to play with his friends while using old miniatures.


Wow thank you all for the fascinating responses.

Yeah, I’m mostly after ranks & flanks fantasy games. ASOIAF does sound like interesting rules, but the setting (and lack of Orcs!) really put me off personally. And it sounds like it would be fairly hard to adapt. I’ve never heard of War of the Rings before now actually. I shall have to check that out, thank you.

Wargods sounds like a similar situation to ASOIAF for me sadly then too. Good rules but I’d have to totally dive into a new setting and buy & paint all new minis. Maybe one day, but right now I mostly want to paint and use the mini collection I’ve already got.

Anyway, this thread is gold for me and this forum is already GREAT for me. I would never have found this level of discussion over on failbook groups!!..

So score big bonus points towards Kings of War now for me.
(One thing that attracted me to T9A was the fact it has a really good & active forum, so that was something I felt was sorely missing for KoW - until now :smiley: )


Finding it hard to track down any info on this “War of the Ring” game tbh!

This wiki page mentions it:

“In early 2009, Games Workshop also released an expansion to the original game called War of the Ring

But on GW’s pages currently there’s just a “Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game”. So I’m guessing it’s all out of print now?

Hmmm, I assumed the MESBG thing was the return of it, but it looks like they went Age of Sauron on it and ditched the trays. So I guess if you’re interested in another OOP mass battle system, you can pick up WOTR rules pretty easily through google / wherever. Here’s a throwback batrep for it:


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I wrote a kind of followup article here on this with my predictions for Warhammer: The Old World :slight_smile:

(you heard these predictions here first :wink: )

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I relatively new to KoW too, but for me there’s no going back! The rules, the balance, multibasing, the lore and (for most parts) the models are much better in my opinion. I really like the toned down, classical fantasy style much more than ‘GW-skulls-everywhere- visuals’. It’s better late than never, but too late for me.


My favorite fantasy skirmish game is MORDHEIM. Balanced? Probably not. Fun? Hell yes.
I still have the book and some optional rules for Dwarf & Orc warbands.

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Have you tried Vanguard? It’s more balanced, but less chaotic mayhem. I like it a lot. The different scenarios are really cool and the campaign rules are as unforgiving as in Mortheim.


No i haven’t. Ill watch some battle reports. It doesn’t seem to have the same gritty feel as MORDHEIM.

I agree with Bloodaxe. Vanguard is fine, but the Mordheim setting was just so gritty and awesome. I never tried Frostgrave, but always wanted to.

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Frostgrave is coming out with a new edition soon. I’m planning to pick it up then and give it a try.

Dave Graffam has great paper buildings on Drive thru for a demo game.


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