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"The rise of historical startersets" Topic

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WNT Blog Inactive Member09 Nov 2012 12:00 p.m. PST

Some years ago I was wondering why no historical wargame company had though of releasing a historical starterset similar to the science fiction and fantasy ones by Games Workshop to attract new people into the hobby.

Now some years later we are suddenly witnessing a large number of these startersts which would be ideal to give as a christmas or birthday present to your children, relatives or friends!

Because I'm really pleased with the release of all these kits I decided to make a list with the most popular ones.

Warlord Games: Assault on Normandy price: £54.00 GBP

Assault on Normandy is the starter set for Bolt Action from Warlord Games. This Boxed Set contains everything you need to get started recreating the battles of World War Two on the tabletop.

Pit your wits and your tactical know-how against an opponent with an easy to learn rules system which allows you to recreate the action from any theatre of war from Winter in the depths of the Ardennes, to the shores of the Pacific, and the shattered ruins of Stalingrad.

With 40 plastic miniatures provided as well as terrain to fight over, 8 orders dice and of course the Bolt Action Rulebook, Assault on Normandy is a great starting point for anyone looking to try their hand at 28mm historical gaming.

This Boxed Set contains ;

- 216-page hardback Bolt Action Rulebook
- 20 US Army Infantry
- 20 German Heer Infantry
- 1 Hard Plastic Ruined Farmhouse
- 8 Bolt Action Orders Dice

Available at Wayland Games link for the price mentionned or directly from Warlord Games

Warlord Games & Empress Miniatures: Rorkes drift starterset price £135.00 GBP

To co-incide with their Zulu miniatures releases, Warlord Games in conjunction with Empress Miniatures have produced the ULTIMATE Rorkes Drift scenery set featuring all of the key buildings.

- Laser-cut wooden Hospital building with Teddy Bear Fur thatch.

- Laser-cut wooden Storehouse building with Teddy Bear Fur thatch.

- Resin Wagon Barricade

- Resin stone wall Kraal (4 x 6in sections)

- Resin biscuit box barricades (2 x 6in sections)

- Resin biscuit box/mealie-bag barricades (3 x 6in sections)

- Resin mealie-bag barricades (3 x 6in sections)

- 20 plastic multi-pose British Line Infantry

- 40 plastic multi-pose Married Zulus

- Metal mounted Zulu InDuna

- Metal Zulu in British jacket firing Martini-Henry rifle

- British characters: Lieutenant Chard (Royal Engineers), Lieutenant Bromhead, Colour Sergeant Bourne and Private Hook.

Available at Wayland Games link for the price mentionned or directly from Warlord Games and Empress Miniatures

Flames of War: Open fire! Price: £45.00 GBP

World War II is the most destructive conflict in living memory. The brave men of the Allies, fighting the World conquering German forces and their Italian and Japanese partners. This war was started when the German Army led by Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland in 1939 until the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. Millions of brave soldiers gave their lives to ensure a free world.

Flames of War allows some of the most famous battles to be re-created on your tabletop. From the D-Day landings and the recapture of Normandy, and Africa, to the Soviets in the north. Flames of War allows for a wide variety of unit types, fielding Tank Platoons and Infantry squads. This games scales from the smallest of skirmishes, to the greatest confrontations see for the past 60 plus years.

Open Fire is the perfect starter set to get into the world of 15mm WWII battles. Players can choose from historically accurate army lists, or create their own rag tag Band of Brothers for either the US or the Germans.

This boxed set contains the following:

- 52 Page Full Colour Quick Start Guide.

- 296 Full Colour Complete Rulebook.

- More than 118 Finely Detailed Miniatures.

- V1 Flying Bomb Terrain Feature.

- Cardboard Terrain.

- Tokens

- Objective Markers.

- Army Lists

- 20 Dice.

Available at Wayland Games link for the price mentionned or directly from Battlefront Miniatures

My personal favorite must be the Flames of War starterset which offers lots of miniatures and rules for only £45.00 GBP.

Do you now more historical startersets do not hesitate to share them here!

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2012 12:29 p.m. PST

Don't get me wrong, those are all great sets. But starter sets in historicals are nothing new. Zvezda, did several starter sets over a decade ago.



As for how popular those sets were, I can not say. But I know my local store had a couple as well as Those were pretty flashy at the time.

I also seem to remember being able to get two opposing armies of metal figures (25s) and rules from some manufactures in the 90s. But they were not as well marketed. I wish I could remember the manufactures, perhaps Essex was one.

Caesar Inactive Member09 Nov 2012 12:34 p.m. PST

Starter sets are new to historical gaming mostly because there wasn't an attempt to tie a line to a specific set of rules.
They can be nice, depending on what they offer you. If it's really a starter set that will get you playing with what's in the box, or a set that even those who are not interested in the game that the set is for, then it's a good set.

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2012 12:37 p.m. PST

The Zvezda sets from 2001 came with everything one needed:

Each box contains the Rules, Figures, 20 sided dice, plastic movement trays, playing aids & cut out paper terrain.


Frothers Did It And Ran Away09 Nov 2012 12:44 p.m. PST

Does anyone else remember about 5 years ago Mongoose said they were planning "Stalingrad in a box" with figures, cardboard buildings and rules based off their Starship Troopers game?

Hell but they missed a trick there.

DColtman09 Nov 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

Baccus has been doing starter box sets for 6mm matched armies to go with their Polemos rules ranges for some time.


Porthos09 Nov 2012 12:51 p.m. PST

Peter Pig, who for many, many years offers both figures and the rules to use them with !

freerangeegg09 Nov 2012 12:54 p.m. PST

Mini war games magazine did starter sets back in the early 90's.I seem to remember there was a WWII one a napoleonic one and definitely a pirate one- It's still in the waiting to paint pile!

wehrmacht09 Nov 2012 2:10 p.m. PST

This idea has been around for ages, even back when I was a lad:




Prices have gone up a bit since then, though…

Yesthatphil09 Nov 2012 2:49 p.m. PST

Historical wargaming has mostly consisted of separately sourcing figures, rules, terrain etc.

So generally enthusiasts have tried wherever possible to get components separately – and, indeed, moaned whenever a manufacturer tried to tie ranges, rules etc. together …

It is no surprise, of course, that the GW derived market also tries the same marketing tactics – and doubtless they will work for people who like everything in a bundle.

I recall Hinchliffe did something called 'system 12' back in the 70s … I wonder if there was a 'starter pack' for that?

I think the other 'counter cultural' aspect of the boxed set for historical wargamers is that the process of research and preparation is quite drawn out … and actually figuring out what you need to get and putting the mix together is one of the fascinations of it all.

Who would ever want someone to take that absorbing journey away from them by laying it all on a plate, pre-packaged?

So good luck to the folks that like this sort of thing. Easy Christmas presents for less knowledgeable members of the family to buy, maybe – but books and Amazon vouchers would excite me more.

Just another view …


DColtman09 Nov 2012 4:57 p.m. PST

Well, I like them and find them hard to resist. They are often good value for money and make it easy to assess whether you want to stop there or go further. I see it as a starting point to the journey Phil references.

Of course, I couldn't resist the comic book sets when I was a kid either.

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2012 9:48 p.m. PST

Atlantic figures used have have starter sets with opposing sides, color grid map and rudimentary rules. I had the Battle of the Bulge and a friend had the El Alamein set.

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Nov 2012 11:40 p.m. PST

We offer a number of Starter sets at a discount of over 30% in our Trident AWI 40mm range.
Check out our Web site for the details of what each set link

WNT Blog Inactive Member10 Nov 2012 3:30 a.m. PST

Hi, Thanks for the whole array of older sets I must admit I'm not wargaming long enough to see or recall these.


Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2012 11:38 a.m. PST

At GFI, We offered Johnny Reb sets that included rules, paints and decent brushes. You could get starter sets for one or both sides; with or without rules. We even included flags. Offered in 10 and 15mm scales.

Short story, they didn't sell.

Steve W Inactive Member10 Nov 2012 1:50 p.m. PST

Not to forget the old Airfix sets like Waterloo etc

I think Italeri did some as well and Imex

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Nov 2012 5:13 a.m. PST

I think plastic's the key here; starter sets with metal figures have happened in various guises before, but either the price is necessarily high, or the forces in the box are very small. The rise of plastic historical figures makes them much more viable.

Mike Target11 Nov 2012 2:21 p.m. PST

I recall a few years ago at Gamecon finding a stand with a load of starter sets for 15mm games…I forget what company was runnin the stand…werent as flashy as the current line up, a white box with a slightly fuzzy picture on the front!

A mate and I picked up the Naps ones, and swapped so I had all the Brits and he had all the frogs! Ended up with a couple of decent starter armies really.

Strangely his set came with a D6…mine came with a D8…the rules, which seemed to have been written specially for the set, made no sense whatsoever, didnt appear even to require the dice that was included! There were no rules for shooting, and two seperate systems of conducting melee…

so we binned the rules and bought blackpowder instead!

The painting guide and an intro to wargaming booklet were quite good though.

Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Nov 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

We've been offering a number of starter sets for years. Two full armies, (as opposed to mere skirmish forces/handful of units), rules, bases, flags, scenics, painting guides etc.

They are very popular indeed, but for some reason seem to be overlooked when this sort of discussion comes up.

There ARE scales other than 28mm out there chaps, often offering a far better deal… :-)

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