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"Where to start?" Topic

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1,066 hits since 6 Jan 2013
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PRsheriff Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 8:27 p.m. PST

I recently ordered a few miniatures in order to get back into RPG's, and while doing so have discovered this whole world of miniature wargames. Reading these forums and seeing all these pictures of armies has really captured my attention, however, it seems overwealming with all the gaming termanology and variations of games. I was wondering which system/ruleset might be the best to start off with? I have a copy of HotT 2nd edition and a copy of DBA 1st edition that I got of the internet and these seem to be two of the most talked about games. I am most interested in either fantasy based and historical based gaming.

Any tips for a total newb?

snodipous06 Jan 2013 8:39 p.m. PST

A few questions you need to answer for yourself before you can really begin:

1. What historical period or fantasy world are you most interested in? WW2? Horse-and-musket? Ancients? Ultra modern? If fantasy, do you like swords-and-sorcery, steampunk, dark gothic?

2. How big do you want your games to be? A handful of figures per side, or vast, epic battles with the armies of whole nations on the field? Something in between?

3. What do people around you play? A game is only good to the extent that you actually get to play it.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2013 8:58 p.m. PST

Are there any gaming groups in your area? If so, what periods are they playing? You might be able to join in their games w/o having to buy anything. This would be a good way to figure out what you like as far as the periods, armies and rules.

PRsheriff Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:00 p.m. PST

1. I'm more interested in ancients/medival for historicals and sword and sorcery for the fantasy genre.

2. Game size I'd like to see something in the middle.

3. I'm not even sure if there is many in my area who play, but it is something I'll have to look into.

Rassilon Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:19 p.m. PST

One suggestion, find a local club and/or regional convention and wait to attend it before you start collecting and painting. You'll get a better feel for different scales, systems and what is popular in your general area.

I'm personally not a fan of DBA/HotT (many are and aren't, it's a style of miniature wargaming unto its own).

BUT… the armies are easy to field, and there seems to be a good community out there, and you can always graduate up from DBA to DBM or Field of Glory if you get into bigger armies.

Here is a primary source of all things DBA:

There is a pretty good community of DBA gamers here in the Pacific Northwest (including your neighbor British Columbia).

It's not a bad place to start, you could do worse. :)

Jay Arnold Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:25 p.m. PST

If you're interested in DBA, check out

Also, post a notice here to suss out other gamers in your corner of Canuckistan.

There's also the Member Locator:
TMP link

dmclellan Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 9:41 p.m. PST

DBA and HotT are small enough (12 bases for DBM)to reasonably field two opposing armies. I recall the DBA book listing historical opponents.

I've also heard good things about Pride of Lions for fantasy, but I have not played it myself.

snodipous06 Jan 2013 9:46 p.m. PST

Saga might fit your bill. You don't need a ton of figures but it's still enough to feel like a proper battle, rather than a skirmish. It's quite popular around here.


If budget is an issue, you could put together a force with plastic miniatures for fairly cheap. Or you could do it in 15mm like I did:


Jay Arnold Inactive Member06 Jan 2013 10:29 p.m. PST

I should also mention Commands & Colors: Ancients. It allows you to play a game right out of the box with only putting stickers on wooden blocks, you can upgrade to miniatures later.

You get the feel of a full battle in about an hour's time. I and my main opponent often get in two games, including set up, tear down and chatting in about two hours.

BrotherSevej07 Jan 2013 1:04 a.m. PST

HOTT/DBA is amazing. You don't need much, but you'll have much! Terrain/scenery is minimal, so you can really make them good. Armies don't require a lot of models so you can have quite a collection.

Keraunos Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 5:05 a.m. PST

a man walks into a book shop and says, I'd like to start reading books, where should I start?

I'm interested in Fiction and Non-fiction, so what can you recommend …

Keraunos Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 5:18 a.m. PST

more seriously.

step 1 is opponents – if there is a club or a guy you can get in touch with near you, then start with what he is doing, and then head off from there.

that is always the best advice.

if you are still ofered a free hand…

then for historical, start with something that most interests you.

your first job will be painting figures or an army – so you need to find out whether you like or dislike any scale of figures for painting, for a start, as that determines which rules are the best available to you

(despite the guys with endless table space telling you it does not matter, it actually does. rules are written by guys with one scale in mind, and they invariable work best if you try them in that scale first.

You seem to be aiming for something between a skirmish and a big historical battle, so that sounds to me like most of the rules aimed at competition play – that is helpful for you as
1. they all come with comprehensive army lists, so you can just paint in the numbers from there without worrying whether you have brought the wrong stuff
2. there are loads of others who already do that who will help you.

so then its a question of rules

- again, ask the guys you are playing with first, as its them you want to join in with. No point in building a WAB army in 28mm if they are all playing DBMM in 15mm.

Having DBA is a good start here, partly as there is supposed to be a version 3 published this year, which will get a lot more people trying them out again, partly because its something almost everyone knows someone who plays
but mostly because you can knock out a pair of armies for it in a couple of weeks – and if you have a matched pair, then you can play solo, or find an opponent even if they are doign something different at the time.
Not may guys say no to an offer of a game where you just have to turn up.

For fantasy, it doesnt really matter as its all made up anyway (but really, its just the same advice only with green skin and lightning bolts)

BTW, picking all of ancients and medieval as one thing is quite a selection to choose from – a lifetimes worth of variety, in fact.

Belisarius07 Jan 2013 5:39 a.m. PST

Depending on where you live There are numerous game groups in Calgary and Edmonton. If you live near Calgary check out The Sentry Box my dealer of choice . If near Edmonton check out They will be able to get you in contact with local groups.

corporalpat Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 7:34 a.m. PST

In addition to all the great advice above, I would suggest trying something simple like Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games (Pride of Lions is theirs too).

The rules are easy to learn, fast play and you can use them to run campaigns or even RPGs. You can use whatever figures you already have, and you can find big battle rules and loads of help on their Yahoo Groups site. Also, they have a growing range of historical rule sets that use the same system and they are reasonably priced.

Keep checking these pages and keep asking questions.
Good luck and welcome!

Elenderil07 Jan 2013 9:08 a.m. PST

One thing to bear in mind is your need to transport your armies if your playing at stores or clubs and your space for gaming if your going to be playing games at home. This will have a direct impact on the size of figures you will find best to use (along with what are the local groups using as mentioned above).

I'm a 6mm and 2mm gamer as I like big armies but don't have a lot of storage or playing space. If your coming from an RPG background I would guess that 25mm – 28mm is likely to be on your radar. Even with limited space that can still work especially if you are interested in some of the dark age rule sets that pitch smaller forces against each other.

You also need to get a feel for the type of fight you enjoy having. If you favour a toe to toe slugfest then armies like Dark age Anglo-Saxons, Picts and Vikings might be your thing. If you want to try more complex combined arms tactics than Alexanderian or Late Roman forces could be for you.

However, as pointed out above the very best advice is to go with the flow. Find a local group and buld a small force in their preferred scale for their preferred rules. It doesn't have to be an entire army at first just a unit or two you can add as allies or additional troops for an existing player's army or enemy of choice.

Above all enjoy!

siggian Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:56 a.m. PST

For me, if there is one in your area, the best first step might be to attend a convention.

If you go, you can get into a couple of games (hint: avoid any games that say "homebrew" rules, just stick with the published ones to start) and that will give you an idea of what sort of rules might interest you.

vojvoda Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 10:22 a.m. PST

A quick check of TMP indicates there are many gamers in Alberta. Do not kown if any are near you or have same interest but it would be worth a look:

•Calgary and Area (16 members)
•Edmonton and Area (20 members)
•Northwestern Alberta (4 members)
•Southern Alberta (1 member)

96 Members from ALBERTA
2nd LegionAugustus
Al Leander
Becks Dark
Big Miller Bro
Bob in Edmonton
bubba the canadian
Chaos Lord Arioch
Craithar Dhu
Davyd A
Gordon Johansen
Grey Panda
Harwood Hobbies
Imaginary Wars
Iron Dog
Ivor Dangleberry
James A Moffat
John Buckmaster
Kraken Fan 69
Mage Knight Kevin
Maple Leaf
Matthew Bannerman
Michael Dorosh
Noble Donkey
Old Norman
Old Polack Again
Pattus Magnus
peoN 7
Ray in Calgary
RJ Andron
space chief
Teras Cassidy
The Minstrel in the gallery
Vic Fitzpatrick
X7 Knight

James Mattes

Weddier07 Jan 2013 10:50 a.m. PST

DBA v1 is a bit dated (v3 is sort of imminent currently) but it does have fans. However, you should be able to get people to play HotT. It doesn't require a daunting number of figures, it's fast and fun, and works for historicals in many circumstances; a good number of Dark Age Europe period fans use HotT in preference to DBA, since it includes heroic characters. Some of your extra RPG figures may be useable. The occasional mass battle may enliven you RPG campaigns as well.

PRsheriff Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:01 a.m. PST

I took a peek at the members list for Alberta last night, and there were a lot of members that have been inactive for years in my Area. Some of the closest members are in Edmonton(which is 500kms away), and I see they are having a convention in May. There is a games shop in Grande Prairie that I might have to call and check out what they have to offer.
I do have some friends that play Warhammer and they are willing to introduce me to that to get my feet wet, so to speak. I don't want to get stuck using only Warhammer armies/products though as I see tons of historical figures (mostly in 1/72 scale and 15mm) that I would prefer to have.

I am very interested in the Dark Age era (Picts/Vikings/ Gauls/ Scots-Irish- which is my heritage) game play, and the toe-to-toe slugfest would probably be best to get started and acclimate myself to a system before branching out into more complex gaming.

Huscarle07 Jan 2013 3:13 p.m. PST

If the Dark Ages is your scene, then I would suggest Dux Britanniarum, which use about 40 figures aside, and have a very nice campaign system link and a Raiders (Irish/Picts/Scots) supplement is due out soon

Cyclops Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 4:44 p.m. PST

I'm a fan of Hail Caesar myself but for a novice you can't go wrong with Basic Impetus. Fun and free with hundreds of army lists and a fantasy version as well.
Worry about spending money on figures for the minute.

PRsheriff Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 9:00 a.m. PST

I downloaded the Basic Impetus rules last night, and I think that is where I'm going to start. Thank you for all of the suggestions and directions.

Marshal Mark08 Jan 2013 3:57 p.m. PST

I second the suggestion to try Song of Blades and Heroes. Very cheap to get started and is an easy step up from RPG style combat. You can use it for fantasy and historical or a mix of the two.
Also for Dark ages I would look into Saga. I think it is excellent but I can see that it is not everybody's cup of tea. There are plenty of reviews to look at and get a feel for whether you would like it. The main downside for trying it out though is the price.
Dux Bellorum is another good choice for Dark Ages and would be compatible with Impetus basing.
The problem you might find with any of the "big battle" rulesets that cover the whole ancients & medieval period (Impetus, FOG, DBX, etc) is that Dark Ages battles can be a bit boring and samey.

snodipous09 Jan 2013 9:17 a.m. PST

I would recommend against Dux Britanniarum. I say this as a person who plays and enjoys it. Dux is a fun game, but there are a lot of really frustrating ambiguities in the rule book that could ruin a person's first foray into wargaming.

Saga is much more clear and an easy game to learn, with enough tactical depth that it will take a long time to master.

vojvoda Inactive Member09 Jan 2013 9:48 a.m. PST

Is Pig Wars still around? I seem to remember a lot of guys played that for the period.
James Mattes

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