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"Fantasy mass combat alternatives to Warhammer " Topic

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2,381 hits since 26 Apr 2010
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Sir Samuel Vimes Inactive Member26 Apr 2010 10:06 p.m. PST

My regular opponent and I are not really feeling the desire to play WHFB anymore. The 8th edition of WHFB looms in our minds as a good time for us to move on to another rules set.

What other systems do folks recommend? We want to be able to use the figures we have; not having to re-base everything would be a big plus. My opponent's other sticking points are that there must be "Magic"(spells and/or items) and that "Warhammer style movement" (not free or "loosey goosey") is still a big part of the game.

Hordes of The Things would be too vanilla for my opponents taste. I like it, but, I can see his point.

The Fantasy version of impetus looks good, as does the old Grenadier Fantasy rules set (both are free).

Armies of Arcana seems like it may be what we are looking for but, I thought I'd see what else is out there.

Any other former WHFB players having luck with new rules for old armies?

Thanks for your help.

the trojan bunny26 Apr 2010 10:09 p.m. PST

I'm throwing my vote in for Grenadier's Fantasy Warriors. Great set of rules. I much prefer them to Warhammer, and as you said, they are free!

napthyme Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2010 10:27 p.m. PST

Lots of disillusioned WHF players have switched to Armies of Arcana, large size units and fairly compatible with your existing figs.

Sven Lugar Inactive Member26 Apr 2010 10:49 p.m. PST

If you can be a bit patient Polemos Mythic Armies is written, tested and wending its way to be published. The expected release date is within a year. It handles fantasy, historical mythology, & fictional settings. Some of the playtesters used the Warhammer fantasy & Warhammer Ancients armies for testing. It is not locked into a manufacturers particular line or even scale. There will be a presentation game at Enfilade! at the end of May. If you can make it be sure to sit in. Extra armies are being brought for pickup games as well.

CeruLucifus26 Apr 2010 11:16 p.m. PST

D&D Miniatures?

Not so much the game as written with specific figures and their stat cards, but if you take D&D and use it to stat up your WFB figures, then use D&D Miniatures to estimate point values and play the game.

You're getting essentially a D20 System version of Warhammer but with familiar D&D magic etc … assuming D&D is familiar to you of course. There are some differences but if you know both WFB and D&D you'll know exactly where the differences are.

PapaSync Inactive Member26 Apr 2010 11:27 p.m. PST

Have you looked at "No Quarter"? It supposed to be WHFB like and its free. Haven't played it myself though.


Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member26 Apr 2010 11:33 p.m. PST

TSR's old Battlesystem rules, or WOTC's Chainmail rules (both OOP, but you can find them on eBay I'm sure) might do the trick.


Matheo27 Apr 2010 1:54 a.m. PST

I was just wondering…

I got fed up with "waaaagh" nonsense fed by GW to it's customers some time ago, around the moment 6th edition came out. However, not being tied to tournament scene, it took me some time to realize very simple truth out there I'm not obliged to play the current edition, to follow all official addons, updates etc.

By what OP is saying, I believe he and his opponent enjoyed WHFB for a time. More than that they would actually still enjoy it ("We want to be able to use the figures we have; not having to re-base everything would be a big plus. My opponent's other sticking points are that there must be "Magic"(spells and/or items) and that "Warhammer style movement" (not free or "loosey goosey") is still a big part of the game." ).

I say stick to WHFB edition you enjoy the most and are comfortable with. Really, there is no reason to play warhammer-esque systems that copy the original with few tweaks, if you can just play the "real thing". If you feel the need to change this or that rule go ahead and do it!

After some hassle, tweaking, lots of beer talk with my group and such I use my Warhammer army to play Warhammer. We stick to 5th edition (the "hero-hammer"), because it's the only edition that in our opinion makes all the Warhammer sillyness easy to swallow and fun. We like 3rd too, but it can be too cumbersome at some points.

Now, if you're fed up with Warhammer as such, I think you'd need to free your mind and try completely different approach Impetus, HoTT, THW rules or somesuch. They all use different mechanics, scope and design. I'm not saying you shouldn't try AoA, or Grenadier's Fantasy Warriors, or even No Quarter, it's just that those aren't that far from WHFB as to really feel the difference (Fantasy Warriors might be furthest away). You might find yourself comparing this and that to WHFB and still not being fully satisfied.

Just my opinion, take it easy and happy gaming.

Andy ONeill27 Apr 2010 2:21 a.m. PST

If I wasn't busy coding, I'd be statting up warhammer lists for WotR. It's got way better core mechanics and with a bit of tweaking I reckon you could build a way better game.

macbride95 Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 2:44 a.m. PST

There is a forgotten set of rules : Fantasy Warlords. A very clever system written by Ian Bailey. OOP now for sure but you may find it on Ebay and if you like our friend Gary Chalk's drawings it is a must.
If you can not get it, Warhammer 3rd edition is my favourite. ( yes it is a warhammer game but so different from the actual system)


hurcheon Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 3:14 a.m. PST

Crusader is very mod-able, I'm modding it myself for Dark Age fantasy and I had a chat with a Spanish bloke who was modding it toplay Warhammer battles.

The army version of Songs of Blades and Heroes is due out later this year

Warmaster is free, downloadable and already caters to your armies

John Leahy27 Apr 2010 4:38 a.m. PST

I agree with either Battlesystem or AoA. Both are good and you can design your own troops.

OldGrenadier at work27 Apr 2010 5:02 a.m. PST

No Quarter looks good to me as well. It's free and seems to adhere to the old Warhammer idea of making stats for any figure you happen to have.

Brandlin Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 5:20 a.m. PST

Seconded for Fantasy Warriors from grenadier (now mirliton). The basing is a little different bu everyone i know lays it with bases sizes from WHFB… does make my dwarfs a nightmare to shift though as they're tough little Bleeped texts on smaller base sizes! :-)

Although the mechanics will feel familiar the games are more brutal, and have a gritty feel, the idea of a lone hero remaining on the a battlefield valiantly hacking into your enemies toughest unit is just not going to happen.

The order system is far better than the omnipotent god-like control you have in WHFB and rewards thoughtful tactics rather than army list power gaming.

CPBelt27 Apr 2010 5:54 a.m. PST

Warmaster in 25mm. A 'stand' can be two individual figs deep by four wide. A unit of 3 stands would be two deep by 12 wide, or 24 figures. Use inches instead of centimeters or adjust to taste. There you go. A much better game, still GW, and free to download. Maybe tack on the warmaster ancients limit on commands if desired.

Honestly, I'd like to see Black Powder used for fantasy gaming.

evilgit Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 6:13 a.m. PST

Another vote for Fantasy Warriors. I love the flavor it adds. Boasts, omens, darkening the skies with arrow and actual C&C. Stuff that normally gets forgotten

Who asked this joker27 Apr 2010 6:24 a.m. PST

Chainmail by TSR. Still one of the all-time classics. Fantasy Warriors is worth a look. Also, check out freewargames rules. If I recall right, there are a couple of good free systems out there.

Sane Max Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 6:53 a.m. PST

3rd Ed WHFB is a jolly Romp. 6TH ed was my favourite, and the one I stopped playing after 7th came out.

Get copies of those and play yourself happy.


Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2010 7:44 a.m. PST

I'm going to try Black Powder myself when next I get the hankering to play fantasy stuff. With Ogres on one side and dwarfs on the other there will need to be some tinkering with stats but it should be a fun game.

Cog Comp Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 8:06 a.m. PST

I still don't get why FoG or other such sets are not used for Fantasy.

Cutting a man with a sword or stabbing a man with a spear remains the same regardless of whether the opponent is an Orc or a Troll. It is also the same whether there is a man in robe doing arcane things present at the battle.

The man in the robes is easier to find solutions for than poor melee mechanics (or mechanics that have flawed assumptions for their mechanics)

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2010 8:23 a.m. PST

Possibly because people run away far too often in real war than some might like in fantasy war. Fantasy war is full of heroic last stands, forces being killed to a man and so on. Not that doesn't take place in real war but the running away in fantasy is often due to the enemy actually being supernatural so effects like magical fear have to be taken into account.

Could probably be done in most things but I can see why people might try a system that is designed for fantasy vs. one that is not. It is like sci-fi, futuristic combat is not just modern combat with lasers.

At certain points in history armor has been touger than the implements designed to penetrate it, if this is the case in the future, at some point, then combat might have a very different flavour.

I mostly agree with you, in that these things seem like they could just be add ons to an ancients game but they could also have a dramatic effect on the way combat happens especially from a morale point of view.

pushingtin Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 8:28 a.m. PST

You should try HAVOC link

My gaming group has pretty much exclusively switched over to this ruleset. Most of us are former Warhammer players.

The formation system in the game is fantastic. It allows you to have mixed formations and shift formations with ease.

The magic system is fluid and intuitive- has a 'Tolkeinesque' feel. Not overpowered, but effective.

Coming from a Warhammer background, you should really enjoy the Challenge rules and Wrecking Havoc abilities. Epic battles between 'Named' models actually feel epic.

Also,(IMHO) the rules for giants are the best I have seen in a fantasy game.

kabrank27 Apr 2010 8:58 a.m. PST

Any UK Supplier of Havoc yet?

Personal logo Toy Soldier Green Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2010 10:02 a.m. PST

AD&D Battlesystem is the way to go! See the group at: link

asa1066 Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 11:35 a.m. PST

GW's War of the Ring is a big improvement over WHFB, at least in my opinion. The rules are prone to power gaming but as long as you keep things freindly, that shouldn't be a problem. The miniatures, for the most part, are quite nice too.

David S.

asa1066 Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 11:36 a.m. PST

Oh, and Sir Samuel, great user name by the way.

Personal logo Gungnir Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2010 12:28 p.m. PST

Another vote for Battlesystem, easy to use, easy to add different troop types.

Cats Eyes Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 1:43 p.m. PST

Chalk another one up for Battlesystem!


DrDman Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 2:59 p.m. PST

Personally I like Armies of Arcana. I say this because I played Warhammer and didn't like the mechanics and the rules lawyering. I also played FR II and enjpoyed them but I prefer single based miniatures opposed 5-6 minis per base. For that I much preferred Warmaster. With AoA you don't have to rebase any of your minis and you can use the unit generator to play a game that is simple, fun and logical.

Vosper Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 6:30 p.m. PST

AoA uses 25mm basing for all regular-sized figures, doesn't it? Can it be played with some based on 20mm vs 25mm based figures?

MiniMan Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 6:49 p.m. PST

Another vote for HAVOC. I am sure Amazon ships to the UK.

p.s. this is the shortest post I have ever made.

If you want proof, check this link…


Sir Samuel Vimes Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 6:50 p.m. PST


I recall seeing a provision in AoA for counting 20mm as a half base width. I think this is intended for Goblins Kobolds, Gnomes, Halfings and anything else short of stature and broad of violence.

DrDman Inactive Member27 Apr 2010 7:35 p.m. PST

Halflings and Kobodls used a smaller base. Goblins use the same size. Mixing base sizes is a minor issue. This is why it was set in 15mm.

Zinkala28 Apr 2010 7:35 a.m. PST

I'm a big advocate of AoA myself. It kept a playing style similar to what I liked about Warhammer while getting rid of pretty much everything I disliked. Plus like was already mentioned you can use your existing GW armies as is. I've done a bunch of work converting GW lists to AoA as have other people. I also really like the addition of more historical armies to the fantasy mix. I'm working on a Warlord games roman army and Gripping Beast russian army for AoA.

There's always discussion about what to do about the 20mm bases versus 25mm bases. My favourite fix for this is to use special movement trays from Terrain Warehouse that space the minis out. But then I'm biased as I make and sell them here for Terrain Warehouse. For the most part the difference isn't a big problem unless you have really wide units. What I did before having the movement trays was to just count the number of attacks allowed by the number of minis along the edge of contact and use that instead of worrying about how the bases actually touched. I don't actually use any of the 1/2 base minis(kobolds, sprites, halfings and amphibians(think skinks)) so I didn't need to worry about them.

hwarang Inactive Member28 Apr 2010 7:43 a.m. PST

Vosper: you *can* play AoA with any basing you like, but it will lead to problems and will not work with people who are likely to exploit such problems (mostly the question of how many models can attack how many models).

Vosper Inactive Member28 Apr 2010 11:55 a.m. PST

I'd just wondered, as I have interest in AoA but the only currently painted fantasy army I have is on 20mm bases. If it's gameable against 25mm bases, then it would be great.

Zinkala28 Apr 2010 3:23 p.m. PST

It's not really a big problem and most of us that play AoA never rebased our armies to the bigger size. I have 3 Warhammer armies and don't want to change their bases while I'm still collecting and painting new minis. Depending on how wide your unit's frontage is the difference may never even show. If that's all that's stopping you from trying AoA, don't worry about it, give it a try.

DrDman Inactive Member28 Apr 2010 5:00 p.m. PST

You can only be 10 bases wide/length anyway and the rank depth can never be deeper than the width.

hwarang Inactive Member29 Apr 2010 8:03 a.m. PST

as i said, it does make a difference and if your games tend to sometimes get a bit tight and if there is the slightest tendency to make use of rule gaps or unclear situatons in any of the players – stay away from doing that.

also: cavalry is supposed to be based the same width as infantry in AoA, warhammer is not.

at least: if you do that, make a house rule on how to handle situations where real width is in conflict with the "supposed" width in the rules.

Zinkala29 Apr 2010 3:36 p.m. PST

I'm not fond of rules lawyers and players that try to work every little detail into their favour but there are many of them out there. They could give you problems in those situations. I'm lucky that 99% of people I played with aren't that way.

There is a distinct advantage to the narrower unit if the frontages are wide enough to keep some of the wider based models from making contact. Make or buy a movement tray of the proper frontage in that case and it should solve things if you have players that can't handle simple house rules. I've had to do the math on the differences between the two types of bases but didn't feel like dragging this thread down with that. Some of my calculations can be found on the AoA forum.

BugStomper Inactive Member30 Apr 2010 7:55 a.m. PST

Fantasy Warlords is, to be kind, not great. I picked it up in mint condition on ebay for £3.00 GBP and that's about what it's worth.

Fantasy Warriors plays a pretty good game and is, obviously, free.

As another poster said, why not just stick with the version of WHFB you like best. :)

Thomas Thomas Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2010 11:28 a.m. PST

You should have your opponent try more games of Hordes of the Things. It is actually by far the most dynamic of the fantsy rules. The difference in troop types create a much more varied approach to tactics/strategy. (We use this house rule: some troops get a Defensive Bonus/Penalty which is either +1 on a loss (for armor etc) or -1 on a loss (penalty for low morale etc. Conversely some troops get a Offensive Bonus/Penalty (+1 on win or -1 on loss).

I've played lots of Warhammer and despite all the stats the troops/tactics are pretty generic. I've also played (backin the day) lots of D&D Battlesystems.

Of this type of game Fantasy Warrior was by far the most fun/dynamic – though some found missile overpowering.


Cog Comp Inactive Member02 May 2010 2:22 a.m. PST

And, what is different about HotT and DBx (or one of the other DBx derived systems)?

I agree that HotT is far more dynamic and makes a better game than the other games mentioned though.

Sir Samuel Vimes Inactive Member05 May 2010 4:11 p.m. PST

Thanks all.

I talked it over with my buddy and it looks like we are going for AoA. With the one inch basing I think we would be good to go for the grenadier "Fantasy Wariors" system as well.

There are a lot of things we did enjoy in Warhammer, just not enough to stick with it; regardless of the edition in question. The "we both take turns whacking each other with a bat till one of us falls over" turn sequence has lost its charm. AoA seems to have shared phases with simultaneous combat results. I am also ready to play tactics over getting blasted by an Empire army with four wizards and no cannon (cannon being big in the fluff as an "Empire" thang)It is annoying to me when something so fluff intensive creates situations where going against the "flavor/history" of the army gives you a winning army and a force designed to abide by the fluff makes a poor showing on the table.

I love War of the Ring, but I think for now it would be too radical a departure from the known. If Warhammer ever converts over to this engine I think that would be fantastic. For now, I am happy to dabble in middle earth when able.

I took some old Mageknight figs I had about the house and based up two armies for Hordes of the Things. I'll present the option to my buddy when the chance presents itself. I was able to put together a "Forest Force" with Wood Elf, Treeman and assorted woodland critters. Against them is an Orc "Hordette" with assorted foul monsters.

Anyway thanks for the responses.

Marbles Inactive Member13 May 2010 7:35 a.m. PST

Used to play 'Fantasy Warriors' but my group of chums now play 'Battleground Fantasy Warfare' with miniatures rather than the cards the game was originally designed for – works very smoothly.

Sir Samuel Vimes Inactive Member14 May 2010 3:23 p.m. PST

Interesting. Marbles, can you tell me more about Battleground Fantasy Warfare?

BunnyColeman Inactive Member18 May 2010 10:04 a.m. PST

Has any tried Hostile Realms or Impitvs Fantasy yet?

Union Jack Jackson Inactive Member18 May 2010 1:54 p.m. PST

Used to play Perilous Encounters from Chaosium. Long OOP though.

Cog Comp Inactive Member19 May 2010 2:41 a.m. PST

I remember Perilous Encounters, but I don't quite remember it as a mass combat miniatures game…

Marshal Mark19 May 2010 4:47 a.m. PST

I bought Hostile Realms recently. I haven't had a chance to play it yet, and I'll write a review when I have done.
It looks good though and I could see it becoming my rules of choice for fantasy battles.
I'm surprised the authors are not publicising it more, given the work that has gone into it and the obvious need in the wargames community for a decent set of mass battle fantasy rules.

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