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Author Topic: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system  (Read 3950 times)

Offline spoony_bard

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Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« on: July 30, 2015, 09:20:10 PM »
Hello all, first a wee bit of context...

I got back into boardgames a couple of years ago and very recently started painting and modelling again after a 24(ish) year lay off. What got me started again was finding a nearly complete copy of The Hobbit: Escape from Goblin Town for a pound in a charity shop and a few weeks later buying Sedition Wars very cheaply in my FLGS.

I'll definitely have a crack at both games but what I'd really like is a less prescriptive skirmish level rule set which would allow me leeway to use what I have and whatever else I fancy buying. Something without a too strongly defined setting.

So, looking for suggestions for both fantasy and sci-fi rulests because having seen the vast array of what's available I'm very much confused!

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Offline Momotaro

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 10:12:12 PM »
Folks will be along with a whole list of options, so I'll just say that the rules for The Hobbit are actually a pretty good generic game for "heroic" gaming (heroes with or without troops; as a troops vs troops game it's a lot less interesting). Older rulebooks have more of the special abilities in them - you can find The Return of the King movie rulebook quite cheaply, or the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game post-movie rulebook (with the One Ring on the cover) which has slightly more stats. Both on eBay for a fiver right now.

As well as generic fantasy (well it is LotR...), Games Workshop used the rules for their Legends of The Old West and Legends of the High Seas games (both out of print).  The stats are pretty close to other Games Workshop games, and there's a Yahoo Group called LotRvariants which has mods for everything from Napoleonics to Star Wars.  There's also a set of rules for campaigns for small warbands called Battle Companies - hunt it down on the internet.

Songs of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games is a quick and simple game that has stats for hundreds of fantasy types and rules for costing your own creations.  The core rules are easy to play and there are expansions for campaigns, dungeons and the wilderness environment.  Ganesha also makes games for horror, modern firefights, post-apoc mutants, Napoleonics and Arthurian skirmishes, all based on the same ruleset.

Frostgrave is the latest "in thing".  Focused on magicians, the rules for their entourage are deliberately very generic - what makes an elf ranger different from a dwarf one is the model you use.

Games Workshop used to make two cracking skirmish games - Mordheim (fantasy) and Necromunda (sci-fi gangs).  Both have strong backgrounds, but both are good games in their own right and could be changed to other settings (Mordheim especially).  Both out of print, but the PDFs were free for a while and the internet will have them somewhere.  Rules are a cousin to the Hobbit rules.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015, 10:14:59 PM by Momotaro »

Offline Elk101

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 06:36:26 AM »
There are also a number of free downloadable rules sets on the Internet, so that might be worth a search?

You can also use rules like Pulp Alley and Fistful of Lead as cross genre systems with a little bit of tinkering.

Offline v_lazy_dragon

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 08:20:24 AM »
I'd ditto Momotaro in saying that the Hobbit set is actually really good for generic fantasy skirmish. The Yahoo group he recommends has a series of 'army lists' for ancients (Romans, Celts, Germans, Dacians, plus assorted Roman allies such as Numidians) which are great starting points for sorting out humans in any fantasy setting, there are army lists for most warhammer fantasy battle armies (and a stat converter to translate warhammer stats into LOTRSBG stats if you want to incorperate other units from the warhammer setting - say lizardmen). The 'One ring' rulebook has stats for some of the bigger LOTR critters like Fell beasts, Mumakill, Cave trolls, Ents, etc which should also give scope for incorporating  larger than human creatures into fantasy games.

Songs of Blades and Heroes is also good, as you can literally build your own stat lines or proxy one of the hundreds of existing options. Personally, I preferred LOTRSBG as I think it gives better definition between forces.

My personal favourite generic sci-fi/modern rules set is 'Warlords of the Wastelands 2085 (AKA 'Skank') http://www.skankgame.com/
Its free to download, will work for almost any figure/vehicle combination, is simple to learn and quick to play. 
Xander
Army painters thread: leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=56540.msg671536#new
WinterApoc thread: leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=50815.0

Offline Major_Gilbear

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 01:20:33 PM »
There are plenty of free/cheap rulesets out there that happily provide you with plenty of leeway in what you can use.

If you want some tight futuristic combat rules, Infinity is pretty good (and free). Whilst all the units have defined statlines in the game, there is nothing to stop you proxying those units with what you fancy. Even though the game is rewarding, the rules are reasonably dense; there are lots of videos and tutorials out there to help you though.

If you want much looser sci-fi style warband gaming, perhaps look at Bounty AE. It's pretty cheap to buy and is very streamlined. Most sci-fi models I've seen can be represented in the game simply enough, and the game allows for plenty of scenarios and a limited form of campaign play too. I've played a fair few games just using Star Wars pre-painted models, and it works quite well. I do think you need to build your gangs in advance and write them down though - I personally find the force-building stage a bit tricky to do on the fly.

You already have the Hobbit, and as others have pointed out, the LOTR rulesets are very cheap on ebay/second hand. The system is pretty simple, but works well for heroes vs lots of enemies. I don't think converting the ruleset into a sci-fi setting would be hard to do, but I think it could leave ranged weapons feeling a bit wet. I do think that it could work well for a Mass Effect or Star Wars style setting however.

Frostgrave is a new game that's been very popular recently. The rules are cheap, and you just need a couple of wizards and a handful of generic henchmen for each player. You could happily transpose this into any sort of fantasy setting you fancy without much trouble.

Mordheim and Necromunda are both old out-of-print GW games that are still pretty popular. They have quite a lot of scope for using models in your existing collection as they have so many different gangs you can play in each game. The games are reasonably balanced for one-off play, and for campaigns of a few linked games. After a few linked games though, it gets hard for the underdog to have much success. Both games were distributed for free by GW for a good long while, so it should be easy to find downloads of them around easily enough. I believe that there are community editions (on Yakromunda) of both games too, which tweak balance and add more stuff, etc.

Future War Commander was another ruleset I got on fairly well with, and whilst the game is designed for 6-10mm scale, it does work perfectly with 28mm scale too. There are lots of army lists for the game, and there are also a couple of different versions of the same ruleset for WW2 and Cold War gaming; they are all based on the old GW Warmaster ruleset which had pretty good mechanics.

Again more sci-fi (you can tell what I mostly play...!), but In The Emperor's Name is a free skirmish game for 40k-style games, and is pretty easy to adapt to various models in your collection.

For fantasy mass battles, you could try Kings of War by Mantic. It has lots of different army lists (with more coming out) to cover anything you might reasonably have in your collection, and the game is pretty light in terms of rules-learning despite having plenty of tactical scope. The game's units are based on footprint sizes, so you can put one or more models an a suitable rectangle of card or mdf and you're away - you don't even have model removal from units. The rules are cheap enough to buy, but are free for download and usually included for free in booklet form in most of their medium-to-large army bundles. They also used to be given out free at their events, and if you write to them (or one of their KoW volunteers) and ask for a copy. If you wanted to scale the game down in size or scale, you could try the same game in centimetres rather than inches, with base sizes shrunk to match - you could then play this on a coffee table!

Online Hobgoblin

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 09:30:43 PM »
Hello all, first a wee bit of context...

I got back into boardgames a couple of years ago and very recently started painting and modelling again after a 24(ish) year lay off. What got me started again was finding a nearly complete copy of The Hobbit: Escape from Goblin Town for a pound in a charity shop and a few weeks later buying Sedition Wars very cheaply in my FLGS.

I'll definitely have a crack at both games but what I'd really like is a less prescriptive skirmish level rule set which would allow me leeway to use what I have and whatever else I fancy buying. Something without a too strongly defined setting.

So, looking for suggestions for both fantasy and sci-fi rulests because having seen the vast array of what's available I'm very much confused!

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

I very similarly got back into gaming last year after a 24-year break. I was looking around for an interesting birthday present for my son, and Song of Blades and Heroes plus some newly painted (but generally very old) miniatures did the trick. Almost a year on, I'd certainly back up the recommendation for Song of Blades. It's a really well-designed and versatile system that gives you complete freedom to use any models you like - and to represent them however you like in a game. Also, it's extremely cheap (the PDF of the main game is only five or six quid, and the rulebook is about 8 if memory serves).

It might be worth having a look at the SBH warband calculator here. It allows you to stat up any miniature you fancy as you see fit. For reference, a human militiaman or a goblin might be Quality 4 (a lower number is better, with Q2 the best) and Combat 2 (higher is better). A well-trained and equipped human fighter might be Q3, C3, an elf could be Q2, C3, a lizardman Q3, C4, and an especially large and fierce orc might be Q4, C4. And so on.

The Quality stat is used for activations (you can aim for 0-3 for each model per turn, but 2 failures for one figure ends your turn and starts your opponent's) and for morale. The Combat stat is used for fighting, obviously.

But what makes the game work terrifically well, in my view, is the amount of "flavour" (and tactical options) that are added through the special rules (which you'll see in the builder). So your Q4, C2 goblin is nothing special. But if (for example) you give him and his kin the Gregarious special rule, and then give them a leader, you get a much more responsive and ferocious warband so long as their leader is alive and giving them orders. And while a lizardman and a dwarf veteran might both be Q3, C4 (fairly well disciplined/cold blooded and good in a scrap), their respective special rules (Amphibious and Tailslap on the one hand, and Short Move, Steadfast and Fearless on the other) will make them play very differently.  

The basic rulebook has loads of standard profiles, but you can use or disregard them as you see fit. They're certainly a great starting point.

Another point in the game's favour is the support. The Yahoo group is active, and the author (Andrea) is very quick about responding to questions. And the host of supplements and variants (including a couple of games published by Osprey as well as the Ganesha games) gives you a vast amount of options. We've played some brilliant cross-genre games using the firearms and sci-fi rules in Mutants and Death Ray Guns and Flying Lead in conjunction with the fantasy-themed game.

A final point: the game is really, really quick to set up. You can knock up a warband of whatever sort you fancy in a few minutes using the calculator, or even more quickly by using the profiles in the rulebook. I play either with my kids or with a few old school and rugby friends when they're in Edinburgh. There are six generic scenarios in the basic book (straight fight, ambush, treasure hunt, etc.) and many more in the supplements. When a gaming-inclined friend comes over, we can generally have a game underway within ten or twenty minutes of arrival.
 

Offline spoony_bard

  • Student
  • Posts: 18
Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 06:54:43 PM »
Thank you all, that's definitely given me plenty of food for thought! Really appreciate not only the suggestions but links too, very helpful!

Have downloaded the rules for Infinity, Warlords 2085, Kings of War and will look much more closely at The Hobbit rules seeing as I already have them. Would the LotR Strategy Battle Game and Return of the King Movie Rulebook supplement The Hobbit or supersede it?

Song of Blades and Heroes and (having found it on the same site) Mutants and Death Ray Guns both look perfect. The short playing time coupled with the ability to build everything from the ground up limited only by imagination will be a great draw for my GF who loves boardgames but isn't quite sold on mini wargaming yet. I'll definitely be buying them! Do any of you have the physical books and if so would you consider them worth purchasing over the PDFs?

Thanks again!

Offline Momotaro

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2015, 07:12:31 PM »
Quote
Would the LotR Strategy Battle Game and Return of the King Movie Rulebook supplement The Hobbit or supersede it?

LotR books are older but have more stats and points values for stuff from the films.  The Hobbit book has full stats for the first Hobbit film, but only basic stats with no special abilities or points for LotR troops.

The Hobbit has the newest version of the rules - tighter definitions and a page of special attacks for monsters are the highlights. The older rules are very similar and perfectly usable.

Have fun!

Offline nic-e

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2015, 07:16:27 PM »
I think i speak for everyone when i say age of sigmar is the way to go  ;)
seriously tho, deadzone and kings of war are both good games. I read a ruleset the other day for making kngs of war into a skirmish game, might be fun to track that down and see how you enjoy it instead of picking up a dead ystem like mordheim :)


I like it please don't kill me.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 07:18:15 PM by nic-e »
never trust a horse, they make a commitment to shoes that no animal should make.

http://mystarikum.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline shandy

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2015, 07:38:40 PM »
Song of Blades and Heroes and (having found it on the same site) Mutants and Death Ray Guns both look perfect. The short playing time coupled with the ability to build everything from the ground up limited only by imagination will be a great draw for my GF who loves boardgames but isn't quite sold on mini wargaming yet.

The Songs of Blades and Heroes system (to be precise, the pirate version Flashing Steel) was how I roped my GF into wargaming. And it worked perfectly, now she plays all kinds of historical and sci-fi games with me and friends! So another strong recommendation for SOBH - great rules, fast & fun games, lots of possibilities.

Online Hobgoblin

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2015, 10:07:28 AM »

Song of Blades and Heroes and (having found it on the same site) Mutants and Death Ray Guns both look perfect. The short playing time coupled with the ability to build everything from the ground up limited only by imagination will be a great draw for my GF who loves boardgames but isn't quite sold on mini wargaming yet. I'll definitely be buying them! Do any of you have the physical books and if so would you consider them worth purchasing over the PDFs?

I've got the physical books for Song of Blades and Heroes, Mutants and Death Ray Guns and Battlesworn (a very different Ganesha skirmish game), as well as Andrea's two Osprey books (Of Gods and Mortals and A Fistful of Kung Fu). I have the PDFs for most of the supplements and variants (SGD, SDG, SWW, SAM, SSL, Flying Lead, Fightin' Fungi and so on).

I think it really depends whether you plan to print out the PDFs. I'd recommend having one physical copy of the rules for reference, but it doesn't matter whether that's a stapled-together PDF print-out or a proper rulebook. I think the publisher gets more benefit from PDF sales. I haven't printed out any of the PDFs I have, but just refer to them on the laptop when need be. One of the great things about the SBH family is that you don't need to refer to the rulebooks much or at all during a game, once you've played through a few times.


Offline Major_Gilbear

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2015, 03:00:06 PM »
Do any of you have the physical books and if so would you consider them worth purchasing over the PDFs?

I usually buy physical rulebooks because I game at home or a friend's house, so I don't really need to carry them about much/at all (espcially as my friends usually have the rulebooks themselves anyway, so often they don't even leave the house). Having a physical book makes it really easy to look up anything quickly or read it at any time I like. I also find it more comfortable and relaxing to thumb trhough a physical copy, and thus it helps me to absorb what I'm reading.

PDFs have the advantages of being easier to store, and easy to search quickly with a "find X" search. I personally find them annoyoing to read or build forces from is they are more than a few pages long though. They can often be cheaper too, and you can still print them out if you want to. Some PDF books get free updates and revisions too, which may be of interest.

Offline Blofeld

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2015, 05:15:47 PM »
As already said Necromunda is a great skirmish level game.Another possibility could be In Her Majesty's Name its easy to adapt it to any setting you like and as a plus the mechanics are very enjoyable
Thanks
Blofeld

Offline spoony_bard

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 07:35:25 AM »
Thanks again for all the detailed replies! Having now read the rules I know my GF and I will get a lot of mileage from SoBaH (I went for the PDF) so really glad I picked it up. I wasn't going to bother with another system but after the recommendations here and then seeing the book in my FLGS I couldn't resist picking up Frostgrave. Can't wait to play them but first, lots of painting and building of terrain!  :D

Offline Mr Brown

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Re: Need help choosing a 25/28mm system
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2015, 08:16:50 AM »
I have had a lot of fun with the Songs of ... series but I would throw a caution in there as it falls down in certain situations. I found it works best with a 'GM' or umpire providing forces and scenarios. It looks like you can do anything you want with the rules and roster builder but it does have limitations. It must be stressed that these limitations do help with balance a little as the system, being so simple (again not a fault in this sense), does not handle certain situations well. It boils down to the age old problem - don't try to make stuff too powerful or it will ruin your fun. There is little enjoyment to be had getting your face pounded by armoured badgers...

To answer one of your other questions though - If you have access to a decent printer then the pdfs are good enough. You can print off the rules section to carry around or for quick access. The rest you only need to know if you have a figure with the rule etc.

 

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