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"Alternatives to Warhammer for a 10 year old?" Topic

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Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 9:18 a.m. PST

Well, he's nearly 11.

Apologies in advance to GW fans.

My ten year old has a friend who has a little Warhammer stuff, and is starting to talk about playing. I'm concerned because A) I don't like the Warhammer rules anyway, B) there is no way he and his friends have the money to really play Warhammer, they'll probably just play *at* it, and C) I like the do-it-yourself angle of the hobby – do the research, make the choices, build your army and terrain, where as GW does all the work for you.

I'd like to get us playing HOTT, but that's a bit abstract and a little complicated, I think I could help my son through it, but it would go straight over his friends' heads.

I'd like to get them playing Awaken The Storm, but that leaves us with a time travel problem.

Any other thoughts?

What rules should we be using? I think the adjectives I'm thinking of are fun, simple, not stupid, rules that inspire you to try new things and fiddle with figures, armies, and variations.


Dan Beattie Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 9:25 a.m. PST

Try Fantasy Rules! from Chipco.

Farstar Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:25 a.m. PST

Shockforce, in either edition.

Battleshift, amusingly enough, strikes me as extremely adaptable to ground combat, and features design rules.

Farstar Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:27 a.m. PST

Gah. For some reason I thought you were thinking 40k.

Shockforce is still quite applicable for skirmish fantasy, oddly enough, but Battleshift is too range-oriented to adapt well, being in it's core a starships game.

Gattamalata Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:32 a.m. PST


jpattern220 Oct 2005 9:41 a.m. PST

I'd go with Fantasy Rules! too. Then again, if all the *cool* kids at school are playing Warhammer, you might be facing an uphill battle. Heh!

wehrmacht20 Oct 2005 9:42 a.m. PST

>> I'm concerned because A) I don't like the Warhammer rules anyway, B) there is no way he and his friends have the money to really play Warhammer, they'll probably just play *at* it, and C) I like the do-it-yourself angle of the hobby do the research, make the choices, build your army and terrain, where as GW does all the work for you.

Not to mention D) the universe it's set in is pretty creepy and might be a bit "dark" for the 11-year old mind.


Strider Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:42 a.m. PST

Armies of Arcana is simple and has a Warhammer feel and can be used with 15mm or 28mm and is very flexable
Link link

ARES is a good skirmish game

Fantasy Rules! is also good from CHipco

wehrmacht20 Oct 2005 9:43 a.m. PST

oops, I was thinking 40K too. Never mind…


brotherjason Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:49 a.m. PST

Mighty Armies from Mongoose Publishing is a inexpensive alternative. The Boxed army also comes with the rules needed to play.

Another great alternative is Starship Troopers from Mongoose Publishing. The nice thing about playing MI is you don't need but a couple of power suit squads and maybe one or two Mauraders to make a decent force. It's a little harder with Arachnids, but the models are still very well priced.

A skirmish level game would be a good idea. That is how I got into miniatures as you only need to purchase and paint about a dozen figures at the most. Some that come to mind are Mordhiem, Warmachine, Necromunda, Ledgends of the Old West, Warhammer Skirmish.

Warhammer Skirmish is great because it lets the kids play small games and slowly build their Warhammer armies.

Now I'm not a GW fan, but I play GW games. My recommendation is look at what other kids are playing. Most kids get into Warhammer or Warhammer 40K, some might get into Warmahcine or Starship Troopers, but in my experience most young kids get into GW.

I only bring this up because as they get older and start looking for other people their age to play, they might find most other kids their age playing a GW game.

Bottom line, get them into something they are interested in and want to play, otherwise they will quickly loose intrest with it.

Frothers Did It Anyway Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:50 a.m. PST

If it has to be fantasy I would suggest No Quarter which is both free and pretty similar to WFB except with alternate unit activation so your son's pal can still use his WFB figs. For a free product the quality and level of support is astonishing. They can be had from as can many other cool free sets.

For figs I just noticed EM4's fantasy plastics – £0.20 GBP ea. which is bargainous for unit building (as long as you like Orcs or Dwarves!)

Stevenmack65 Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 9:58 a.m. PST

"A) I don't like the Warhammer rules anyway,"

How dare he even think of playing when dad doesnt like the rules :P

lugal hdan20 Oct 2005 10:13 a.m. PST

GW's LoTR game is a lot of fun, and I've seen 10 year olds play it successfully. You can have a large battle with around $50 USD outset per side (less if you go for one of the boxed set games), and skirmishes of under 10 figures for much less. It doesn't play like Warhammer, fwiw.

Lentulus20 Oct 2005 10:14 a.m. PST

I say roll with it and have fun. Enjoy painting figures with your kid. Roll the dice, nail the orcs, build empire and enjoy.

The big deal will be dad doing it the son's way because the son wants it that way.

Trust me, my son is 12, the only game we both play is carcassonne, but painting figs with him is still fun.

Lentulus20 Oct 2005 10:15 a.m. PST

I'll add that my now 18-year-old and I never even came close on our interests; its worth moving yours a bit.

Frothers Did It Anyway Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:15 a.m. PST

It's a good point some others have made – if your son's friends start getting into GW then you won't really be doing him any favours by broadening his mind (ghastly as that sounds…)

Vanilla Gorilla Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:21 a.m. PST

WOTC's D&D minis might work, except that they are painted.

dsfrank20 Oct 2005 10:30 a.m. PST

I second LOTR – but if he wants to be able to find other kids to play with Warhammer is certainly/and/or unfortunately the best bet.

Only us grognards play most of the games listed above and good luck finding copies in most shops!

As for expense – nobody outside the GT says he has to use GW figs – although between ebay, convention flea markets and local guys selling off stuff you can get away without paying retail for GW stuff

Goldwyrm Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:30 a.m. PST

Heroscape is an option. It crosses many genres in the types of figures useed and has simple rules.

Shockforce as others have mentioned.

If they have 1/32 WWII or modern stuff there is a free download on the Forces of Valor website that is easy.

Or play Warhammer with proxies. Show them that it is their game to play the way they want, not a game that plays them.

Steve O Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:42 a.m. PST

What about our Celtos system, models, rules etc ready to go!


astronomican Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:59 a.m. PST

" I'm concerned because A) I don't like the Warhammer rules anyway"

Hmm, how about your son deciding what he wants to do? Or can he only partake in a safe and harmless hobby if you like it first? Sorry if I seem a bit harsh here, but IMHO your attitude is a bit negative to what he's wanting to do.

"B) there is no way he and his friends have the money to really play Warhammer,"

You dont need "GW money" to play "GW games". There are dozens of alternative companies who can provide figures for you to use. Alternatively, buy up 2nd-hand figures off the Net or from gaming conventions at a fraction of the normal RRP.

I know I often cite this (and I probably sound like a broken record to some) but why not buy up old boxes of Milton Bradley's "Battle Masters". Not only do you get a very simple game to play (probably ideal for him actually!) but it provides 100+ figures per box (humans, orcs, goblins, chaos, beastmen) and is an ideal stepping stone into Warhammer as it was made in co-operation with GW!

Guinny20 Oct 2005 11:02 a.m. PST

YOU don't like the Warhammer system; YOU like the do-it-yourself angle of the hobby.

Have you asked him what HE likes about wargaming?

You can lead a horse to water, and all that…

PJ Parent Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 11:18 a.m. PST

Mordhiem. Free rules less figures and a better game than Fantasy Battles. It can lead to historicals if you take out the points and magic or fantasy battles if they choose.

I also agree with the above statements on letting him do what he wants. Lots of games suck its the gamers that make them worth playing. Think back to all those damn kids games you had to play with him when he was young! (I'm stuck in UNO land right now and play 50-100 games every night – I'd be thankfull for ANYTHING else!)


Vanilla Gorilla Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 11:52 a.m. PST


-Best suggestion yet..

jtipp68 Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 11:53 a.m. PST

"Then again, if all the *cool* kids at school are playing Warhammer, you might be facing an uphill battle. Heh!"

This may be the single funniest line ever written on TMP. Thanks for brightening up my boring-ass office day.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 11:57 a.m. PST

If you're thinking fantasy, try ARES from MJ12 games. Pretty simple system.

For ultra-modern/near future, Combat Zone from EM4 (and available from Tin Dictator) is a good, fairly lightweight set of rules, and it comes with 30 minis, cardstock terrain, dice, rules, etc., for about $35. USD (I have a review on my website — )

For pulp, high adventure, sci-fi, or just about anything else, consider trying the Savage Worlds system from Great White Games. It's meant to double as both an RPG and minis system, and it easy to use. It may not be crunchy enough for experienced gamers, though. More info here:

lugal hdan20 Oct 2005 12:04 p.m. PST

Yeah, Mordheim is a good idea. Rules are free, figs are still available here and there, and still has a "Warhammer" feel to it so he can get his friends interested. Plus it's fun. :-)

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 12:26 p.m. PST

I second, actually 4th, Mordheim. It's basically Warhammer Lite. You can build your own "Warband" using whatever minis you have laying around. Not to complicated, not too easy….I might even suggest that while, yes, the rule are free online, if you can get the box set, it come with 18 Minis (you'll have to put them together though) and 5 or 6 building ruins (again, assembly required). Upside is though…good father-son time spent prepping and then you have minis and terrain to get you started.

I might also suggest Carnage. It comes with (I think) 72 minis. Humans vs. lizards. I played this game at Origins a couple of years ago. My team mate was a 10-12 year old…he had no trouble with the rules. And he was a HOOT to game with. Knew right when to hold back and when to attack….and when to go for the Juggler….man, I'm glad he was on my side…..

Anyway, neat thing about Carnage is part of the backgound…there is an "Orb of Power" on the battlefield and every turn, there is a random event. That really makes things interesting. The game uses D10 and comes with a ton of them. And it comes with "DYO" rules to use any minis you have.

Mordheim = Skirmish
Carnage = Mass Battles

I like both. Don't think you'll be unhappy with either.


Zagloba20 Oct 2005 12:39 p.m. PST

ALso, look up the 'Warhammer Warbands' rules- I believe they're available on the GW site. These are rules tailored for smaller battles- that way they can be 'playing' Warhammer instead of 'playing at'. Plus, the boxes of plastic troops give plenty of scope for conversions and such, satisfying your modelling itch.


Der Krieg Geist Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 12:39 p.m. PST

I second Carnage, also Ral Partha's Chaos Wars if you can find a copy.

Fechin Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 12:53 p.m. PST

Buy your kid a bunch of those cool pre-painted plastic knights by Schleich or Papo or other such companies. Then download some basic but fun rules from

That should put him off Warhammer until he's ready for them. Perhaps even forever :-p

Farstar Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 1:11 p.m. PST

The warband article PDFs vanished from the GW-UK site a month or so ago, and I don't recall ever seeing them on the GW-US site.

MaksimSmelchak Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 1:38 p.m. PST

Hi Andrew,

DBA and HOTT can work.

OGRE works!

Maybe the gladiator games we're testing?

And maybe Victor could playtest my new game, "Planetfall" with you?

Perhaps push board games?


tyrantsmith Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 1:41 p.m. PST

"The warband article PDFs vanished from the GW-UK site a month or so ago, and I don't recall ever seeing them on the GW-US site."

Actually Farstar, they are on the GW US site here:


CATenWolde Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 1:45 p.m. PST

Don't worry about the guys telling you to do whatever your son wants. Offer some alternatives, and see how it goes. For instance:

1. Schleich knights and Pig Wars rules.

2. Boxes of plastic colonial figures and TSATF.

Yes, that means playing historical games. You know what – odds are that he will love it if presented correctly. Kids play GW because it's the only alternative, not because it's the best alternative. They really do appreciate getting more for the buck, and the excitement of historical battles.

My evidence? A nine-years old son who loves all of the above, and more (okay, including my Star Wars figures for Stargrunt).

Farstar Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 2:08 p.m. PST

"Actually Farstar, they are on the GW US site…"

Cool. I was afraid GWs marketing folks had rethought the whole gateway approach to WFB and yanked those files.

astronomican Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 2:30 p.m. PST

"Kids play GW because it's the only alternative, not because it's the best alternative."

In my experience, kids play Warhammer because their friends play it and they want to play with their friends. Why would a kid get involved in historical gaming when his mates are all playing fantasy? There's plenty of time for the kid to migrate into historicals at a later date – might even get some of his mates to do it too.

Hillman Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 2:45 p.m. PST

Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape
Hero Scape

No contest.

gavandjosh02 Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 2:51 p.m. PST

It sounds like you want something simple and interesting that he will play without the intervention of someone older. Mordeheim is a good skirmish game but is still reasonably complex. I have found that kids like it because their teams develop as in an RPG. I agree that peer preasure might force him to WFB and if so I guess there will be many mates to help him learn the system. The old Battle Masters game from Milton Bradley (with GW style figs is a good intro). It pops up frequently on Australian e-bay. HOTT is simple enough. The old Fantasy Warriors game from Grenadier is also not a bad bet but about as complex as WFB. I used all of the above with my nephews and it worked.

Lukash Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 2:56 p.m. PST

Shockforce is the easiest set of rules I can think of, and they are very customizable. You can build a dragon or elf or whatever.

Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 3:09 p.m. PST

First, this was not a effort to censor what he gets involved in, but an attempt to guide him to something he'll enjoy. I guess A) should have mentioned not just that I don't care for Warhammer, but that I don't think he'll enjoy them the best, either.

As for the Sci Fi and colonial suggestions, we will have some of that going on around here, especially Ogre and Full Thrust, but if fantasy is what gets them to the table, there you go.

We do have Heroscape. BattleMasters and Carnage I'll have to look for.

Thanks for all replies.


Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 3:10 p.m. PST

Oh, and its not "all the cool kids," its one kid. And I don't think he's seen anything but Warhammer.


Splintered Light Miniatures Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Oct 2005 3:21 p.m. PST

I would echo two of the suggestions from Strider: Fantasy Rules! and Armies of Arcana. I would also recommend 15mm since that will help the budget. There is also an increasing pool of cool 15mm fantasy out there (I am biased, however, since I am coming out with some of the "cool" stuff).

CeruLucifus20 Oct 2005 4:25 p.m. PST

Well, if his friends are playing GW games, I agree that either Warhammer Skirmish or Mordheim are the ways to start him. Either have emphasis on building terrain; both are free and downloadable.

Mordheim has the cool buildings in the boxed set and has the campaign experience system but is based on 5th edition Warhammer (not a huge difference for this, just for migrating later).

Warhammer Skirmish scales bigger slightly better because all the figures don't have unique stats. You'll need Warhammer army books though to build the troop lists.

The Warhammer Warbands game someone mentioned is also free and downloadable and is designed for small-size Warhammer battle games, so it's a good seque to the larger game. It also has an experience system like Mordheim's. It does require the Warhammer rulebook and an army book for each different army.

Hillman Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 8:16 p.m. PST

Mmmm, no one has mentioned Reaper's new Warlord fantasy skirmish. Either the game is no good, or Reaper isn't doing their marketing properly because Warlord isn't on the radar!

Johnnie the Foreign Bugger Inactive Member20 Oct 2005 10:47 p.m. PST

Andrew Walters:
Heh, and my 5 year old son just told me on Wednesday evening that he want's an army of knights and orcs for Vis Magica…
Not a usual army composition but I'll buy him the army.

And you can check the VM web site and Yahoo Group link for VB & VM

And your son can do it with whatever miniatures catches his fancy..

And the to the others: Call me old fashioned but I don't think that 10 or 12 year old to be capable of doing rational decisions, after all they are still kids. 14 or 15 year old is already thinking differently and are more capable of "proper" thinking.


SheWolf Inactive Member21 Oct 2005 12:28 a.m. PST

I'll mention VOID. My 7 year old likes it, and has played it. As soon as my army gets done, I plan on testing my VASA against him (using Rattlehead's Syntha). I just hope he doesn't beat me as well as he beat his daddy. . ..

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member21 Oct 2005 1:15 a.m. PST

"And the to the others: Call me old fashioned but I don't think that 10 or 12 year old to be capable of doing rational decisions, after all they are still kids. 14 or 15 year old is already thinking differently and are more capable of "proper" thinking."

I don't know about that. My 5yo daughter insisted on watching "AvP" tonight, after swearing whe would not have bad dreams afterwards. (And she didn't: went straight to sleep with me sitting reading LRDG memoirs next to her.) She watched it straight through, only crawling onto my lap when the big momma alien got loose. When the movie ended, she announced that what she wanted for her birthday in January was a "really big machine gun".

Sounds like a rational decision to me!

And 14-15yos lose all semblance of rationality while their hormones are kicking up a storm, so I'm not inclined to grant them too much credit.


Deserter21 Oct 2005 2:54 a.m. PST

Between the free rules in there is a little set called "One Page Fantasy Skirmish" (actually it's 4 pages) that I think it's ideal for children; it has a point system, simple magic/heroic rules, and ideas for funny scenarios. Very nice, I tried it.

I think it is a very good idea to give to the children a game that they can develop by their own, using their creativity.

On e-bay you can find plastic fantasy GW for cheap or buy the orc and dwarves from EM4. Add the odd dinosaur as a dragon… and plastic toy knights as "giants", maybe? :-)

TwoGunBob Inactive Member21 Oct 2005 6:18 a.m. PST

If they are already grasping Warhammer Fantasy I'd just go with Armies of Arcana. Playable at 15mm to 28mm, build your own armies, and Thane is a pretty upstanding fellow and his game is pretty darned good if I do say so myself.

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