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"Looking to start medieval wargaming" Topic

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Incognito17 Jan 2023 12:58 p.m. PST

Hi all

So I'm looking to start medieval wargaming. Only thing is I have no idea of what period.

My knowledge of the era is very limited so I was wondering if anyone could point me in a direction to start. I'd like something that is interesting has a bit going on and has figures available in 15 or 28mm

I know this is fairly vague but I'm.honestly not sure what I want to game

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 1:36 p.m. PST

Dragon Rampant seems to have quite a few loyal followers.

The rules themselves (second edition recently came out) are fairly simple and make for a fast pace game.

Old Glory can supply all the figures.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 1:59 p.m. PST

You might consider "Bloody barons"?
BB is a battle game rather than a skirmish one.

Here is a very full breakdown of how it all works.
I am happy to answer any questions if that helps.


Good luck in your search.


Dervel Fezian17 Jan 2023 2:46 p.m. PST

My suggestion take a look at "Normans" and there adventures from Hastings to the Crusades.

I personally play Triumph! but regardless of which rules you use the Normans give you lots of exciting battles and opponents.

Here you can find Hastings done using Triumph!:
YouTube link

Perris070717 Jan 2023 3:04 p.m. PST

I really like the Crusades era. It has a lot of variety in both the groups involved and the time frame that it covers. Lots of good resources in figures, books, YouTube videos, and even entire YouTube channels dedicated to the Crusades.

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 3:11 p.m. PST

Do you want skirmish or battles? Do you want simple or more detailed? Lots of figures? A few figures? What type of game are you looking for?

FilsduPoitou17 Jan 2023 3:27 p.m. PST

28mm Review is a blog that has a good database of 28mm manufacturers, but it is by no means comprehensive.

For 15mm I'm not as familiar, but some that come to the top of my head are Old Glory 15s, Peter Pig, Khurasan Miniatures, Forged In Battle, Lancashire…

As for rules, you have plenty of options depending on how big you want to go per side. Outremer (5-20 miniatures) Saga (~40 miniatures), Lion Rampart (~60 miniatures), Nevermind the Billhooks Deluxe (~100 miniatures), Hail Caesar (possibly hundreds of miniatures), and several dozen more.

uglyfatbloke17 Jan 2023 3:41 p.m. PST

Depends on whether you want a historical game as well. There are plenty of rule sets that are good if you're not bothered about the history.

Grelber17 Jan 2023 4:07 p.m. PST

Do you like cavalry or infantry? Early on (say 476 to 800) infantry is dominant, and you may only need to paint one horse so your army leader can ride, and even he may walk. Then, until traditionally 1066 and the battle of Hastings, cavalry is becoming more important. From 1066 to about 1300, cavalry is the dominant arm, and you can count on painting lots of horsemen. After 1300, you see the rise of infantry like the English longbowmen and the Swiss pikemen. These dates are rough and varied from place to place.
Sources: There aren't good sources for considerable parts of the period. For several hundred years after the fall of Rome, monks are the only ones doing any writing, and they concentrate almost totally on other monks and on religious themes. Even later, there are long periods when nobody bothered to write anything. I ran into this trying to find out about the Peloponnese in the 1300s, where there seems to be a 50-year gap with no information. Historians are happy to help by glossing over these gaps. If this makes you pull your hair out, select a better documented part of the Middle Ages.
Heraldry comes along during the era when cavalry is dominant.
Depending on your tastes, there are people on the edges of Europe who can be very interesting. The Arabs to the south, Byzantines in the east, a succession of steppe peoples north of the Black Sea. The ship mobile Vikings to the north are also popular.
Just some things to consider.


cavcrazy17 Jan 2023 5:50 p.m. PST

Try playing SAGA. Small units, it's easy to learn and play, and if you find it suits you, move on to bigger more involved games and rules systems.

Irish Marine17 Jan 2023 5:56 p.m. PST

Buy Lion Rampant, the rules are simple and fun. You don't need lots of figures or terrain. Here is a link to a very decent author he does a few Dark Age Medieval era books.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 6:29 p.m. PST

I went with the era roughly from the late 800s to around 1066 myself and bought and painted full Norman, Viking and Saxon armies. I figure this gives me a ton of flexibility with two distinctly different infantry armies and one Cavalry dominant army. I can do Saxon on Viking, Saxon on Anglo Dane, Saxon on Saxon, Norman on Saxon, Norman on Norman and Norman on Viking battles.

My rules of choice are Lion Rampant, but bought Saga recently to try out.

That period also gives you the ability to add Italian, Sicilian and Central European armies if you want to add more down the road, and even Arab and Byzantine and early Russian forces for more people to fight with many battles to choose from.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 7:51 p.m. PST

I would start with saga. You don't need to invest as much into figures and fewer figures to paint. Plus, it covers a wide range of medieval periods. My favorite is the Crusades.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2023 8:59 p.m. PST

I have no further recommendations about rules.

I would add Condottieri-era Italy (14th-15th C.) as a period with a megaton of replay value. It's overflowing with feuds and squabbles and wars of all sizes, colorful pageantry and nice armor for endless painting joy, a wide variety of troop types and military innovations to keep the wargaming interesting, fascinating politics and terrain if you like to play campaigns, some of the best scenery and architecture of Medieval Europe, and even naval gaming opportunities. Some of the best-looking 15mm Medieval miniatures ever made are for this setting (e.g. Venexia), and a lot of more generic Medieval figures can be used in Italy too (Italians hired a lot of mercenaries).

It always looked to me like some eras of the Byzantine Empire should be fun for wargaming, for all the same reasons. There were a lot of nations with a lot of troop types and combat styles, the Middle East and Balkans have a lot of interesting terrain to fight over, plus literally Byzantine politics to build strategic games on. I've done zero research, so I can't recommend anything more than reading about it to see what you think.

I've found the HYW, WotR, Norman Invasion, Anglo-Saxons vs. Danes, various Anglo-Scottish Wars, and other standard Anglocentric Medieval periods to be slow and sluggish and a bit frustrating for wargaming. Shieldwalls don't maneuver, infantry-heavy battles are usually long slogs, longbows are treated as death machines, and there just wasn't much in the way of tactical nuance or innovation in any of those periods. I had some fun with sub-Roman Britain, but that's because it's largely fantasy. I have the miniatures collected for an Edward Bruce In Ireland campaign (1316-1318), but it's going to be some work to make that fun to play, so I've never painted a lot of them. Obviously, there are a lot of people who disagree with me (above), so take my pound of salt with a grain or two extra salt.

The Last Conformist18 Jan 2023 1:11 a.m. PST

For finding 15mm miniatures, this is a good starting point:


(And yes, despite saying "ancients" it covers medievals too.)

Arcane Steve18 Jan 2023 4:18 a.m. PST

I would thoroughly recommend 'Never Mind the Bill Hooks'. It is based on the Wars of the Roses, so there's plenty going on. the rules set is supported by it's own Facebook page, with the rules author happy to answer queries and a very supportive membership when it come to painting and modelling queries. You will need about 100 painted figures but start with a box of Perry miniature plastics, which will cost you £22.00 GBP for 40 figures. They are 28mm plastic but easy enough to paint and light enough to carry! the game also lends itself to solo play, so if you want to have a practice or dont have access to other gamers, its ideal. It's also fun!
I am of course biased as I was heavily involved in the development and play testing! You can see more on my blog by reading through the War of the Roses category. You may need to scroll back as I am now working on the Naval version 'Never Mind the Boat Hooks' with the author, Andy Callan, but my early entries will show you how I paint the figures and there are some battle reports for flavour:


I hope that helps, Regards, Steve

LPGallagher Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2023 10:16 a.m. PST

Absolutely, hands down, Barons' War by Footsore Miniatures, for skirmishes. A wonderful set of rules, beautiful miniatures (and very accepting of using other figure lines). Incredibly well supported on their website Warhost, and on the Facebook page. Lots of direct input from the authors Andy Hobday and George Aisling, both of whom have answered my questions on the rules personally.

You need only have 35-50 miniatures per side for a good game. Also adaptable to many periods. They have released rules for the Dark Ages, Crusades, the Welsh wars and Scots.

Really a terrific system.

Swampster19 Jan 2023 10:27 a.m. PST

"I would add Condottieri-era Italy (14th-15th C.)" "Some of the best-looking 15mm Medieval miniatures ever made are for this setting (e.g. Venexia)"

Venexia (now sold by Lancashire Games) are early 16th century – Italian Wars. Mirliton do 13th century, mid-15th century and later 15th century ranges in 15mm. Khurasan and Blue Moon do some of the best 14th century ranges, though I don't think either mix well with most other ranges due to their size.

Aspects to consider are both what you want from the game and what you want it to look like. I began painting 13th century stuff because of the heraldry. By the mid 15th century there is a lot less of this (thought there are exceptions), which may or may not be a good thing depending on what look you want and whether you want to paint the coats of arms. Broadly speaking, late 15th/early 16th gets more colourful again, though with more use of non-heraldic patterns.

My blog has some ideas for medieval wargaming in 15mm – mostly 13th century with the odd bit of 15th. There are also posts covering some 16th century and ancient periods.

Incognito19 Jan 2023 7:11 p.m. PST

Thankyou very much for all the replies. ive got a few things to look into

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