Help support TMP

"HELP - Recommendations for medieval fantasy tabletop" Topic

27 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Remember that you can Stifle members so that you don't have to read their posts.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Fantasy Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Featured Ruleset

One Page Fantasy

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

15mm Goblin Spearmen

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian begins his assault on the Goblins in his lead pile.

Featured Workbench Article

Thunderbolt Mountain's New Wood Elf Champion - Part III

R Strickland Fezian goes to new lengths to appropriately base the Wood Elf Champion.

Featured Profile Article

Featured Book Review

1,077 hits since 16 Jan 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
randolph224316 Jan 2022 2:37 p.m. PST

Pardon my trespassing here (I'm a strictly historical gamer), but I have a friend who has recently developed an interest in medeival fantasy miniature gaming. I just took to a historical miniatures tabletop convention, to expose him to some of the fantasy games and vendors that are always there. However, he was pretty overwhelmed with all the choices. Obviously, tastes will vary. But he was hoping to try and narrow down what might be his best options for getting started, so he doesn't blow his budget on a system that he turns out not liking.

What would your recommendations be for a BEGINNER (age 22) on a modest budget for medieval fantasy games? Ideally, he is looking for something that isn't overly complex with rules (he wants to spend more time playing that flipping through rule books, numerous charts, etc.), is suitable for 2 players, and can be done on a reasonable budget. He is flexible as to scale.

Thanks for you suggestions. I'll pass them along to him so he can further research and watch online videos to help narrow his focus.

45thdiv16 Jan 2022 2:42 p.m. PST

I found these to be a good start. It scales pretty well.



Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Jan 2022 3:07 p.m. PST

Dragon Rampant

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 3:10 p.m. PST

I'm a fan of Warmaster for 10mm. It's out of print, but there are fan sites which continue the game with free rules, and the original rules aren't that hard to find on eBay. Plus 10mm figs are available from all sorts of sourcesó but if one wants to do a different scale, larger or smaller, the rules really aren't scale based. It's a grand tactical game, not the typical skirmish product.
The rule book is large, but most of it is just explanation of how things work. Once one has a few battles under the belt, the rulebooks are seldom needed in play; aside from army lists, there aren't any charts. Loosely based on GW's Warhammer setting (before AoS), but there are Ancients and Lord of the Rings variants.

I know that Hordes of the Things is popular and has a reputation for ease. It's based on DBA, so I take that with a grain of salt. I've never played it, so I can't really praise or condemn it either way.

The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game by GW is a good set of rules for skirmish and large skirmish games, though obviously it's setting specific. The official figures are great, but there's no reason one couldn't replace these with cheaper generic fantasy figs. Again, no charts aside from army lists.

I'm sure others with more extensive experience will come along to add to the list.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 3:12 p.m. PST

SAGA Age of Magic seems a good system as far as rules go.

For figures I can't say enough good things about Reaper for fantasy figures. Their Bones line are especially affordable and remarkably good quality.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 3:42 p.m. PST

I've been pleased with Dragon Rampant/Lion Rampant. I've also played HOTT and been satisfied. A lot will depend on his preferred scale. I find that 28mm hard plastic gaming pieces of orcs, dwarves and various medievals can often be had for next to nothing in flea markets, which seriously reduces starting costs.

A convenience, but convenience counts: take any Mersey rules to the local Office Depot and have them spiral bound. It costs peanuts, and having the pages lie flat makes a huge difference.

joeltks16 Jan 2022 3:54 p.m. PST

Dragon Rampant fills most of your boxes; it's reasonably priced, easy to digest for new players, and allows you to use whatever figures you want. It is also a lot of fun and easily customizable. I also like Lord of the Rings SBG; but buying into the 'current' stuff for it will be expensive. You can get earlier versions (I'd recommend The Return of the King version) and use proxies to make it affordable.

I also like Warmaster and HoTT. But I wouldn't recommend them for new players. You can get the rules for the former for free (google Warmaster Revolution) but it requires a considerable amount of up front work, is rules heavy, and, to me, doesn't feel medieval. HoTT (and DBA) can be amazingly frustrating for beginners.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 4:35 p.m. PST

Knights and Magic (Of Heritage fame) might bear a look – link to a pdf preview of the rules PDF link

Lazyworker16 Jan 2022 4:51 p.m. PST

I recommend Dragon Rampant when asked this question. It retails for $20 USD US and you can find it cheaper if you look around. If you already have 28mm historical, throw in some Reaper Bones figures (or anything really) and you're off to the races.

If big skirmish isn't your thing, Oathmark is a pretty decent simple rank and flank ruleset.

What figure scale are you looking at? I game predominantly with 28mm, but I really enjoyed painting up some 1/72 Caesar Goblins.

Dark Alliance has a whole range of 1/72 scale not Lord of the Rings figures that I still eyeball from time to time.

Just same ramblings.

Good luck.

Mister Tibbles16 Jan 2022 5:13 p.m. PST

Dragon Rampant. Oathmark good like Lazy said. I love Warmaster but it is not a total newbie set.

Newbies usually want 28mm-32mm miniatures because they look cool, but can get frustrated painting them. They want them to look like Golden Demon painters. Oh wait. That was me 40 years ago. LoL

I'd go 15mm from Splintered Light and others. He might like 18mm Battle Valor. They have a flash sale ending today. Base them on 20mm x 40mm bases. Useful historical ranges as well for humans.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 6:53 p.m. PST

+6 for Dragon Rampant.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 7:17 p.m. PST

+7 Dragon Rampant

There are similar games, such as Warlords of Erehwon

Armies are small and not tied to a specific manufacturer

Frostgrave is another option


wakenney16 Jan 2022 7:58 p.m. PST

Highly recommend 7TV Fantasy or Frostgrave. Both are great games and allow for easy entry with few minutes miniatures.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2022 1:05 a.m. PST

I use home brew rules, so can't recommend a rules set, (I like BIG battles). I would also recommend Battle Valor figures. You get good value from them.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2022 3:43 a.m. PST

Dragon Rampant or Lion Rampant (just use fantasy figs), HOTTS is great IMHO for quick games (which I like).

randolph224317 Jan 2022 7:54 a.m. PST

WOW. A lot of info to digest (which is what I wanted to pass on to my friend). Thanks to everyone for their input. It is greatly appreciated.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2022 12:04 p.m. PST

I will second the recommendation on 1/72 scale figures from Caesar and Red Box's Dark/Light Alliance. They are likely the most affordable figures apart from a select few toy figures.

They paint up easily, and quickly, especially the Caesar Goblins (loin cloths only, plus weapons) and their Lizardmen figures (scales, no clothes to paint, at all).

You can typically get a box of 32-48 figures delivered to your doorstep for $20 USD, from e-Bay sellers: < $0.70 USD per figure.

If he does simple block painting, followed by brushing on Minwax Polyshades Royal Walnut urethane stain (The Dip Technique), he can have them painted in short order. At arm's length, they will look quite good. Cheers!

JMcCarroll17 Jan 2022 3:34 p.m. PST

What scale will he paint up? Do not overwhelm him at first.
Is there a local club or store he can go to?

khanscom17 Jan 2022 4:50 p.m. PST

SAGA or even Chainmail. The nice thing about these skirmish- style games is that the single- based figures can be used for any similar rules if the first choice proves unsatisfactory.

ordinarybass19 Jan 2022 9:05 p.m. PST

My criteria for fantasy wargaming is about the same as the OP describes. Cheap, fast and easy to play, but above all FUN!

Warband size: Sing of Blades and Heroes

Platoon Size: Dragon Rampant

Battalion Size: Kings of War.

Blaubaer24 Jan 2022 7:41 a.m. PST


take a look at the "One Page Rules" for a start. They are free and they work fine. For figures 1/72 plastic boxes are a good start. At "plastic soldier review" you may see, what there is or was on the market.
Later "One-Hour Wargames" by Neil Thomas may be yours, a ruleset for units, not single miniatures.

IronMike24 Feb 2022 11:53 p.m. PST

I'm rather surprised that no one has mentioned 'Song of Blades and Heroes' from Ganesha games yet. Your average games requires only a handful of figures and each figure has maybe two stats, so it fulfills your 'budget friendly' and 'easy to play' needs quite nicely.

Der Krieg Geist01 Mar 2022 4:42 a.m. PST

I great start for new players is "Carnage!" by Holistic Designs. Game is simple, silly, fun and complete in one box. Includes a bucket load of plastic miniatures for two complete armies.

As for other options: Free to download from online, :
"Age of Fantasy" by One Page Rules
"Fantasy Warriors" By Nick Lund/ Grenadier Miniatures
Both of these have lots of free downloadable support and expansions/army construction lists

Also Free to download is :StrongSword" by Westfalia Games.
They hint at more support for the game beyond the Free rulebook, but I have yet to find any. Still, it is a fun game as written.

Good luck to your friend and you. Don't get overwhelmed, take your time and have fun. :D

YogiBearMinis07 Mar 2022 7:13 a.m. PST

If truly a beginner in this niche, and not a true hardcore fan, my big advice would be go with a ruleset that employs single-based figures. That way the figures can serve duty both as wargaming figures and for roleplaying. They would also be more easily sellable if you got out of the hobby. If you later decided "big battles" is the way to go, you can either (1) rebase the figures onto "unit" bases, or (2) just place the single-mounted figures on movement trays ("sabot trays" similarly), and play a bigger game.

QUATERMASS02 Apr 2022 4:47 a.m. PST

Yes dragon rampant
Oathhmark is more fall of Rome/dark ages feel in my opinion.
Red box's 1'721 dark alliance miniature's are cheap as chips but are a Ukrainian company so future out put may be a problem.

Shadowdragon08 Jun 2022 6:25 p.m. PST

Fantastic Battles is THE best fantasy mass combat game on the market right now. I've tried many others and Fantastic Battles is hands down better than all of them. Not saying it's perfect, there are a couple house rules I use, but it's the best of it's type.
For large skirmish it seems Dragon Rampant is popular. Personally I hate activation rolls so I have NO interest in this game whatsoever. I haven't really looked into this style of game much so it's not something I know a lot about.
For small skirmish I have tried many different games but have yet to find one I actually enjoy.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2022 6:03 a.m. PST

For the first step, I'd agree with something like Song of Blades & Heroes by Ganesha Games. It does a great job, simply, with few figures.

Dragon Rampant is a few more figures than that, so if they aren't trying for larger skirmish right off, could be a later step.

I like One Page Rules. Age of Fantasy is intended to be a large skirmish, but they do have a skirmish version for smaller battles. But for fun, simplicity, elegance, and flexibility, I'd start at Song of Blades & Heroes.

I keep wanting to try Dragon Rampant. It says it is large skirmish, but when I see battle reports, they seem to line up units like they are thinking it is bigger. The part about a unit's attack not reducing until they are at half strength makes it feel a bit less individual-focused to me.
I should try it anyway.


Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.