rulebook cover


Michael Thomas (
I must say from all the fantasy miniatures games I've seen and played, Chronopia is the best. It is quick to pick up, and you can play a game in about an hour. The rules are fair and clearly writen. The rules emphasize using better tactics, and not tooling out your characters to win. Each of the units has the ability to destroy enemy units. What I mean is that you can send in your goblin slaves against the opponent's general, and still have a chance to kill it. In most of the other systems, the general would simply destroy all the goblins without breaking a sweat. Lastly, each of the armies has a distinctive background, flavor and advantage over the other armies, yet remains balanced and fair.

This is, by far, my biggest pleasure in this system. This balance makes it so you won't see the same playing style, and same army over and over again. The excellent game design also means that you won't see abusive armies which are unstoppable because of a poorly writen rule or a special ability that the unit possesses which breaks a rule. The armies are diverse enough that each unit has its own bonuses and penalties for fielding it. Each army has the capability of defeating the other armies, which also states that the game design is balanced and fair.

I also like the fact that the magic system is completely different than the usual fireball-shooting mage. The Orcs have alchemists who act as healers; the humans (called the Firstborn) can manipulate the winds of time; while the elves obtain their magical powers from drug-enduced states.

The nations are also different - like twisted shadows of the norm. The Dwarves are still the best infantry and the most armored and clan-like in social structure, but they aren't given the normal noble sway. Instead they are beast worshipers who control their pagan gods through the use of totems. The orcs are still brutal and savage, but have a ruling caste and a social structure that is writen in blood and stone. The Orcs are also not brutish buffoons who spell everything with 'z's. Instead they have more of an Arabic/Islamic culture and flavor. The elves are also no longer noble, pointy-eared, know-it-alls. Rather, they are Macheiavellian - scheming, spiteful, vengeful people who rule out of fear and intimidation; they are so debased, in fact, that the various elven houses refuse to work together.

All this means that Chronopia is an excellent game. It took a used idea and made it new again. It took many of the rules problems and abuses that exist in other game systems, and eliminated them. If I had to give it a rating from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best), I'd give it a solid 9. It's fun to play, has a great background, and has some of the best suplements and figs out there.

Morpheus (
Chronopia is a fast and easy-to-learn skirmish-level game. Most beginners pick up on the rules in about three turns. Then they are more concerned with tactics.

Tactics play a very important part in Chronopia. Each player alternates activating squads, so the importance of which unit activates first is always shifting. It is not always the fastest unit that charges, or the strongest model that wins in combat. Quantity can overcome quality.

Case in point: A unit of elven milita men are opposing 1 Sister of Tiamat (a big five-headed lizard). One elven militiaman is cannon fodder by himself. But, couple him with ten or so of his mates, and they can use their superior numbers to overwhelm their foes - i.e., each additional member in CC add +1 to your damage and strength. So, piling on can be very effective for taking down models with high armor ratings. But, this in itself does not garantee success. If the same unit of militia decide to wait, or get charged by the Sister first, then you can best bet that unit will be short five men when it gets activated next. But, all is not lost, because there are still five militiamen left to even the score.

The background in Chronopia is a nice change of pace.

  • Of course you have the humans, the FirstBorn.
  • But, then you also have orc, ogres, and goblins. But, they are not the green-skinned buffons as often portryed. Instead, they follow a Moorish flavor.
  • The Elves are not "tree-loving, arrow-shoot'n lightweights." They are sneaky and scheming and outright brutal in close combat.
  • The Dwarves still dwell under the mountain and are the master builders and engineers, but are not potrayed as "beer-swilling, grudge-bearing drunkards." Instead they are divided into clans which follow particular animal gods (their totems). One dwarf, the Blood Totem Keeper, even has the ability to transform himself into one of the totem gods (for a brief period). The dwarves even have cavalry.

In Chronopia, magic is more supplemental than overpowering in combat. There are only a handful of magic items.

The thing I like most about Chronopia is that you can field the army you want to field, rather than the army you need to defeat the opposing troops.

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Last Updates
15 November 1999comments by Michael Thomas
13 October 1999comments by Morpheus
14 September 1999page first published
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