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"15mm fantasy mass battle games" Topic

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Shadowdragon Inactive Member16 Mar 2009 8:30 p.m. PST

I've tried Fantasy Rules!, Hordes of the Things, and Armies of Arcana, but they all have serious problems and I keep finding myself writing out pages of house rules. What other 15mm scale fantasy mass battle games are out there? I'd like to find something generic, or something with a stat generator, so that I can use models from my own collection and from multiple different manufacturers to build my armies out of. Apart from the three I mentioned are there any more games like that out there?

doc mcb16 Mar 2009 8:38 p.m. PST

PRIDE OF LIONS exists but is not yet published. Send an e-mail to me via Splintered Light Miniatures and we can discuss it, if you're interested in doing some playtesting.

Rodrick Campbell Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian16 Mar 2009 8:40 p.m. PST

I highly recommend the Pride of Lions game that Splintered Light is developing. It's quick, fluid and a lot of fun.


Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Mar 2009 8:48 p.m. PST

What are you looking for in a game? Heroes? Wizards? Monsters? Battlesystem (TSR) might be one avenue. Want "Big Battalions" or "Standard Units"? Iron Winds of War (or Chaos Wars from Ral Partha) might be worth a look.

Simple or "multi-faceted"?

If you can define what you want to see, we might help your aim.

Shadowdragon Inactive Member16 Mar 2009 9:13 p.m. PST

It's not easy defining exactly what I want in a game, but I'll give it a try.

I'd like the game to focus on the units and tactics. Heroes and wizards should help augment an army, not completely overpower it. My biggest problem with games like WHFB is that the heroes and wizards are so powerful the rest of the army really doesn't matter. However, I don't want heroes and wizards to be next to nothing.

Although it'd probably cut out nearly every game system I'd like to find a game with fantasy races that haven't been done to death in other games. I'm getting a little sick of seeing dwarves, elves, orcs, etc. However, if the game takes an interesting new spin on traditional fantasy races that would be good.

I'd prefer a game that's simple and fast, but not oversimplified to the point of being completely ridiculous. The rules should have enough crunch to them, but I don't really have time for games that take 4+ hours to play.

Since I'm mostly interested in 15mm I'd like a game that uses large armies with rank-and-file units, skirmisher units, big monsters, warmachines, etc. I'm looking for the kinds of armies you can get in games like Armies of Arcana and Fantasy rules.

I don't know if there are any games that fit what I'm looking for, but I'm interested in seeing what's out there.

doc mcb16 Mar 2009 9:17 p.m. PST

TMP link

Here's a two year old discussion of PRIDE OF LIONS. And yes, I was promising then to have it out in a few weeks.

For those interested, the delay is primarily getting the world worked out and written up -- the "fluff" -- and also playtesting. And just now I am more concerned with getting out a supplement to the SONG OF BLADES AND HEROES to go with Bob Olley's woodlands creatures ("the Druid's Children") from Splintered Light.

And I also have a fulltime job, and a life.

doc mcb16 Mar 2009 9:18 p.m. PST

Shadowdragon, I think PRIDE will please you, from your description of what you are after.

doc mcb16 Mar 2009 9:31 p.m. PST

And, last note before bed, if you want non-traditional fantasy armies in 15mm, be sure to check the Splintered Light website. Undead dwarves and goblins and centaurs; goblin clans (bat, wolf, and weasel); hyenas, including cavalry on terror birds; leonines; halflings including cavalry on giant wolfhounds; dark dwarves; and more.

MikeKT Inactive Member16 Mar 2009 11:06 p.m. PST

The recent and latest edition of Armies of Arcana has been well recommended as a set that, like HOTT, allows people to design their own fantasy armies within the system, so may be what you are looking for.

You can probably find some threads from people with extensive experience with the rules. I recently got and read the rules with a favorable impression but have not yet played them.


Personal logo Vis Bellica Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2009 2:07 a.m. PST

Try looking at Vis Magica.


Personal logo mrwigglesworth Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2009 3:40 a.m. PST

Iron Winds of War or maybe Budget Battlefield at RPGNOW.COM

charliemike17 Mar 2009 4:31 a.m. PST

I have tried Armies of Arcana in 15mm and Fantasy Rules, Vis Magica and Age of Might and Steel in 6mm and I like all of them.
I make my own fluff (when/if I need it) so for me it's more important having a way to design my own troops and armies.

Of course I will try also Pride of Lions, but I'm writing my own rules. When ready they will be the best ever published, you need only to wait 20 or 30 years (I'm not only slow, I change my mind every two minutes).


David Gray Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 5:08 a.m. PST

If you can talk Ed, at THW, into selling you a copy of the old Warrior Heroes it is easily the best mass battle fantasy game I've seen.

runs with scissors Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 5:13 a.m. PST

Here's a link for Age of Might and Steel: link

I believe there is a Yahoo Group too. I was thinking of giving them a go I love HoTT but don't think it works as well for larger battles.

ScottBrooks Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 6:24 a.m. PST

For something out of left field, you might consider Battlelore, with the Clash of Arms expansion. It has a random army generation system using cards.

David Pickelsimer Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 6:31 a.m. PST

If you want something really out of left field, have you looked at warmaster? It is intended for 10mm but can be easily used for 15. Heroes are more about thier command value and wizards are limited. Plus you can download it free off the Games Workshop website.

Personal logo D6 Junkie Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2009 6:45 a.m. PST

I second Warmaster,
a great balance of magic, heros, monsters and rank and file.
For 15mm I just use 40mmx30mm bases instead of 40mmx20mm.

doc mcb17 Mar 2009 7:25 a.m. PST

Luciano, you and I think a lot alike.

RudyNelson17 Mar 2009 7:27 a.m. PST

We released Supreme Warlord: Bloodlust tactical rules for 15mm Fantasy in Time Portal Passages. It can be found for download on the Magweb.

The basing was DBx size but with different troop types. It uses a weapons vs Armor combat system. Fantasy Army lists were part of the special issue.

charliemike17 Mar 2009 8:55 a.m. PST

Hi doc, maybe we think alike but you did write your rules while I have only some notebooks full or random thoughts :-(

I'm heavily influenced by rules as AoA (from the third edition), WHFB 3, Fantasy Warlords, Fantasy Warriors and Battlesystem, all rules that I enjoyed playing when I was much younger (IIRC dinosaurs were still roaming around :-P).


Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2009 9:06 a.m. PST

I second Warmaster,
a great balance of magic, heros, monsters and rank and file.
For 15mm I just use 40mmx30mm bases instead of 40mmx20mm.

50x25mm, with four by two 15mm minis. Looks good, satisfies Warmaster's 2:1 basing ratios, and also works with Mighty Armies.

thatotherguy Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 9:24 a.m. PST

You might check out For the Masses from MJ12

John Leahy17 Mar 2009 9:52 a.m. PST

Battlesystem 2nd Edition and Ral Partha's Chaos Wars should work.



Personal logo Toy Soldier Green Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2009 9:54 a.m. PST

AD&D Battlesystem

Shadowdragon Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 4:59 p.m. PST

Well, I check out the For the Masses demo rules. It looks interesting, although I don't like the command points thing. Usually games that use something like command points end up with players focusing on particular units, leaving the rest of their army to just sit there doing nothing. It also creates ridiculous situations like having two units engaged in melee with each other and doing nothing but standing there staring at each other because no one is using command points on them. I'm also not a big fan of hex-based games. Movement becomes too rigid and it's almost impossible not to premeasure distances.

My biggest problem with Warmaster is that you have to use the Warmaster armies. There's nothing that allows for players to create custom units or armies. This, unfortunately, is a problem with all GW games, which is why I tend to avoid them.

Are there demo rules for Vis Magica, Budget Battlefield, and Age of Might and Steel? Or maybe some examples of play or battle reports that show off how the rules work? I'd prefer to get some idea of what the games are like before I decide if I want to buy them.

SgtPain Inactive Member17 Mar 2009 8:14 p.m. PST

I played AD&D Battlesystem, Fantasy Rules, HOTT and Age of Might and Steel. Of the 4 I prefer and Age of Might and Steel.

Elvenblade Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 2:43 a.m. PST

Shadow, as a matter of interest, what are your gripes with AoA? In general I think Thane did a great job with them. I have my own views on where they are less than perfect now but would be interested in knowing yours.

cooey2ph Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 5:39 a.m. PST

Another vote for AD&D Battlesystem 2nd Ed.

Shadowdragon Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 11:45 a.m. PST

Well, without going into too much detail my main gripes with AoA are:

Model-based units instead of element-based units. For larger games working with individual models gets very fiddly, especially for 15mm scale. For mass combat games I prefer it when units are made up of elements, like in HotT, For the Masses, etc.

I don't really like how long weapons work with skirmishers and cavalry.

The Shield/Missile Armour/Missile Immune special abilities add unnecessary complication to the game. Missile Immune also screws up undead armies.

I don't like how Ramming works.

Artillery is so expensive no one takes any.

Not being able to rally when an enemy is within 6" of the fleeing unit creates some ridiculous situations.

I think there are one or two other things but I can't remember them right now.

Andy ONeill18 Mar 2009 12:27 p.m. PST

I'm adaptating Impetus.
Excellent set of historical rules which I would recommend.
My stuff will be free.

Fantasy Imp is some way off being completed but of course you could use your figures for more than one rulesystem and play something else for a while.

Elvenblade Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 1:05 p.m. PST

AoA is definitley in the WH camp of figures as opposed to stands. This does give flexibility but can also lead to issues regarding unit sizes and the like.

Long weapons and ramming are perenial discussion points with numerous views on how they should operate. For me, the latest unofficial rules used by most players work ok.

Cavalry for me lacks flavour. Its not really any different from infantry.

Missile Immune is a marmite question – you either love it or hate it and its been discussed for as long as I have known the game (and before no doubt)

Artillery, due to its costs only tend to make an appearance in larger games. Its effectiveness is a debatable point.

The 6" rule for rallying is a bit pants.

I would say that AoA, similar to WH, tries to be a mass battle game with skirmish detail in it (the long weapons, shields etc) whereas stand based games are aimed more at large scale battles. Horses for courses though.

Your points are interesting and not entirely unique for most players I think.

Shadowdragon Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 2:52 p.m. PST

Well, I just checked out Budget Battlefield and Battlesystem. Unfortunately both use individual models rather than elements. So that just leaves Vis Magica and Age of Might and Steel, neither of which are available as pdfs, so it may be a while before I get either of them. I'm also very interested in checking out Pride of Lions when it becomes available. I don't really have any time for playtesting at the moment, but I'd love to check it out. I'll also give Impetus a look. Will the fantasy version be very different or will the core rules be pretty much the same?

I think you described AoA and similar games perfectly when you said they are mass battle games with skirmish detail. I'm looking for a mass battle game that isn't bogged down with fiddly skirmish details.

chuck05 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Mar 2009 5:47 p.m. PST

I thoought Battlesystem had two figures per base?

Shadowdragon Inactive Member18 Mar 2009 6:04 p.m. PST

From what I was able to find, in Battlesystem you can put up to 3 models onto a single base. When a unit takes casualties you replace the 3 model bases with ones that have 2 or 1 models. So, even though you can have bases with up to three models on them, the models still operate individually. At least that's what I got from my quick skim of the rules.

Elvenblade Inactive Member19 Mar 2009 2:54 a.m. PST

Have you thought about War of the Ring (when its released). Obviously tied to middle earth but creating new stats for units shouldn't be an issue. Its not PDF and the book is £30.00 GBP unfortunatley. Some free quick start rules are downloadable from GW but they are very lite.

Having played a couple of demo games its does play well (never thought I'd say thay about GW!) but you may be throwing buckets of dice (~20).

Its individual figures but they are organised into stand of 8 for inf and 2 for cav.

ElGrego19 Mar 2009 12:59 p.m. PST

I'm adaptating Impetus.
Excellent set of historical rules which I would recommend.
My stuff will be free.

I would like to see more about this!

Andy ONeill19 Mar 2009 1:52 p.m. PST

Fantasy Imp is in the very early stages of development.
You should get something of a flavour though:


Shortly after starting the project I began a new contract – so development will be very slow for a while. It's only a matter of time though before the project completes and I will be "resting".

Impetus uses a units approach. The designers have produced a very elegant system. Aspects that other rules ignore or make unwieldy are so neat and simple that you can sometimes overlook how something works or wonder how everyeon else made it so hard.
Consider "marching".
A unit can move straight forward or wheel ( and some other fancy stuff maybe ) during it's move. How about forwards then wheel you might say? Well that's another move action and you can try it at the risk of becoming disorganised. You can move repeatedly at increasing penalties on your roll against disorganisation. Start of your turn you get a free go at re-organising. So this rather neatly makes fancy maneuvres in the face of the enemy risky whilst allowing you to try them further away in fair safety. Plus it means if you push several units then the chances they arrive together will be slim. And last but perhaps more importantly, better disciplined troops gain significant benefit from all that parade ground drilling they do whilst orcs sit around whittling and boozing.

You can download Impetus Lite off the Dadi & Piombo site ( Italian if you were wondering ). The rule books is spiral bound and each page is sort of laminated in a thin protective coating. The rules are also very clearly written which comes as quite a change to someone used to reading the likes of DBM. The rules also manage to avoid the loopholes which many reader-friendly rulesets manage to contain.

I must admit some curiousity on the LoTR system.
I've tried a number of GW games and I would assume that any new set they produce is also not going to be very good.
You might say I'm biased but my imp project is non profit and I'm only doing it because I think I'd have to be so something very weird to make an excellent ruleset worse than the fantasy ones I've seen.

Shadowdragon Inactive Member19 Mar 2009 5:45 p.m. PST

I had a quick look through Basic Impetus. It looks pretty good. Is the full version much different? I noticed the armies shown on the web site are kind of small. Does Impetus work with larger armies?

MikeKT Inactive Member19 Mar 2009 9:37 p.m. PST

The key question for mass combat is do you want military combat rules with some magic or magic combat rules with some troops. Sounds like it's the former.

Basic Impetus is under a dozen units in a single overall command. The big game provides for double or triple or more units in several commands, and has a substantial number of additional rules. The lists are also more extensive and detailed, and provide the points system that players requested.

Impetus does not have skirmish elements – it's pure unit-based with units having combat values, movement, charge (impetus!), and other special attributes. Flexible in basing as well. Suitable for a layer of magic modifications, as AONeill appears to already be doing.

Andy ONeill20 Mar 2009 6:05 a.m. PST

There are anumber of differences in full impetus.
I considered basing a rulest on basic impetus but decided I would want the full rules.

I also think they're a better system than Field of Glory, BTW.

And if I liked any of the fantasy systems others have suggested then I'd just be using them. All I want is a good fantasy rule system. I spent a long time looking and found none. I spent a while playing WFB but it was barely acceptable originally and recent race books have taken a turn for the worse IMO.

trooper153 Inactive Member20 Mar 2009 11:28 a.m. PST

I played a game of Pride of Lions at Historicon in 2007 and enjoyed it quite a bit. That might have something to do with me winning the game.
I've also been looking for a 15mm fantasy game. I'm leaning towards Pride of Lions as I have a copy of the playtest rules that I received after playing the game.


Shadowdragon Inactive Member20 Mar 2009 12:20 p.m. PST

Well, from what little I've been able to find out I don't think I'm going to be getting Vis Magica or Age or Might and Steel. Impetus is looking better and better, so I may get the full version to use until the fantasy mods are complete (I wouldn't mind trying some purely historic gaming). I'm also hoping to be able to check out Pride of Lions. So far it's sounding like the best 15mm mass combat fantasy game available. Thanks everyone for the help and advice. If any other games pop up I'd really like to hear about them. I'm new to the whole 15mm mass combat game thing, so the more games I can check out the better.

trooper153 Inactive Member20 Mar 2009 3:11 p.m. PST

Impetus is a very nice looking game with, if I remember correctly from a single read, some interesting mechanics. The production value is extremely nice, thus the slightly high price for a non-hardbound game book.


Andy ONeill21 Mar 2009 8:36 a.m. PST

Perhaps I didn't mention the production values of Impetus.
Absolutely brilliant.
I thought FoG looked good.
Then I saw Impetus and I thought "why aren't all rulesets like this?".
Impetus is spiral bound.
You can push the pages all the way round and hold it one handed or lay it flat without risk of damaging anything.
The pages are laminated in some sort of thin clear plastic so they're tough and you could wipe coffee/beer/jam off.
Plus everything is written clearly.
You read them and you understand immediately what they say.
At the risk of gushing….
The mechanics are the simplest way I've seen of covering all historical aspects of battles that you'd want. Or I'd want anyhow. Plus all of them work well – which is more than I would say for many alternatives.
You can use any scale of figures since they're element orientated.
So if you wanted to do historicals ( or fantasy ) as a side interest then you could get 6mil or 10mil or use whatever you already have. Individual bases? No problem – use movement trays.
The smaller scales also allow smaller tables and the possibility of playing in small bedsit room or whatever when other games are impractical.

Can you tell I really like them?

The only link I have with the publishers is that I know one of the guys proof read them. When I mentioned I was getting FoG he suggested I look at Impetus as well.

Time to do some painting.

00 JET 00 Inactive Member21 Mar 2009 3:00 p.m. PST

It's a historical match-up, but if you're interested, I recently posted some shots of a recent Impetus game:


I have around 1000 points of GW warmaster high elves poked away (unpainted), and I'm saving them for Fantasy Impetus when its developed (patiently, no pressure)


Shadowdragon Inactive Member24 Mar 2009 1:00 p.m. PST

Man, finding a 15mm mass combat fantasy game I like is proving to be very difficult. So far the best game I've found is Impetus, but it (currently) doesn't have a fantasy version. I don't mind playing historical games, but I prefer fantasy (or, at least historical with fantasy elements). All I need to do now is find a fantasy game that works like Impetus. No command points or issuing orders at the start of each turn. 15mm scale that uses units/elements instead of individual models. Generic army lists or the ability to build your own units and armies. A ruleset that's simple and allows for quick games but isn't oversimplified. So far none of the fantasy games I've found meet these criteria. Maybe in a couple weeks when I have some free time I can help with the fantasy mod for Impetus. Of course, I should probably get the full version of Impetus first (although $50+CAD is very steep for a single rule book).

Tim in Saskatoon24 Mar 2009 1:21 p.m. PST

Sounds like it's time to write your own!

losart Inactive Member27 Mar 2009 3:40 a.m. PST

My 2 cents, being the author of Impetus.
There are several persons that are working on fantasy variants for Impetus. What I can see is that there are several similarities, and I think is good.

A team of players, that lives close to me, have invited me to try BIF (Basic Impetus Fantasticus) last night and I had fun.
Battle rules are those of BI, so that everybody can dowload for free, but they can work also for Impetus without problems.
They have elaborated an army generator that allows great flexibility and is based on a point system (probably to be better tuned). At the same time "standard lists" will be available, so that you can use ready lists (still with minima and maxima and points system) and use the army generator to evolve and customize your list.

As said before many other gamers are developping special rules and in the future the idea is to collect all these rules and make them compatible.
So the gamer can choose the "base/engine" (Basic Impetus or Impetus) and add those "toppings" he prefers. Well like a pizza ;-)

Shadowdragon Inactive Member30 Mar 2009 9:57 p.m. PST

Is BIF available for download somewhere, or is it still being worked on? Out of all the games I've checked out I like Basic Impetus the most. I have a bit of an issue with how units activate, but the rest of the game is fantastic and it's not really that big of a problem. I don't mind playing a purely historic game every now and then but I prefer fantasy and fantasy-historic. I'd love to be able to check out a fantasy version of BI.

Warbeads Inactive Member31 Mar 2009 2:29 a.m. PST

Is this post #50?

So, Shadowdragon, have you played any of the BIF versions? Anyy AARs? I'd like to know how it worked out if you have.



who likes unit based fantasy in concept a lot.

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