Games Systems

As I said yesterday I have set my hobby sights on building an army during 2016, but not within one of Games Workshop’s systems.

I have had some experience in other systems, but this has tended to be restricted to skirmish level games, such as Malifaux, rather than serious pushes into army level gaming. Trying to find such a system set me off on a broad exploration of other games. Below I’ve tried to summarise what I’ve found. If you want to skip that and head right to the end you’ll find which system I’ve chosen to follow for 2016.

Rather than dig through Wikipedia’s List of Miniature Wargames I chose a far more pragmatic approach. Namely a deep trawl through the systems sold by the big independent stockists here in the UK. Many of the systems I found were firmly skirmish level games (I have a theory about the reasons why, and the ways Kickstarter is failing to change the playing field, but that’s for another blog post). For the sake of completeness I’ve listed everything I found, split into fairly rough categories. I’ll be returning to this post at some point to fill it out with a much wider range of games, that I missed for reasons of scale etc. Any suggestions are more than welcome in the comments.


There are some games that do not neatly fall into categories by force size, but deserve a mention here none the less. I’m also mentioning a couple of manufactures, like Mantic Games here, rather than list all their systems below.

Demigods Evolution
A battle arena game.

Guild Ball
This looks to be a worthy successor to Blood Bowl’s crown. Rumours swirl about Games Workshop resurrecting the sportsball favourite though.

Kingdom Death
I have the Monster set, and I’m currently planning some posts around it.

Super Dungeon Explorer
With its anime/video game sensibilities Super Dungeon Explorer has a unique look, and some great models, standing at the intersection between board and miniature game.

Avatars of War
While they are putting out amazing models and regiment sets they don’t have a big enough catalogue to build an army out of.

I have picked up Mantic products in the past, and I’m impressed by their explosive growth into Fantasy and SF, however I don’t feel drawn to any of their lines enough to build an army.

Mierce Miniatures
Mierce are putting out some truly impressive models but an army is a little out of my price range at the moment.

Raging Heroes
With their second Kickstarter finished Raging Heroes’ already impressive range is set to really grow over this year.

•Skirmish Level Games•

This is by far the most populous level of game system, and I have thrown the net quite wide here. Anything from single models to gangs to small forces is included below.

Great models, but I’m afraid other than that I must profess ignorance.

Arena Rex
Gladiator combat with some really nice models, but very little room for expansion. I have some models from their Kickstarter, and have been very impressed.

Batman game
I have a handful of models and the rulebook for this game, that I need to spend time on. Scenery may be an issue, but hopefully I’ll have reason to need contemporary urban terrain over the coming year. There is now a Catman but it’s not quite enough to draw me in fully.

Some lovely models,and a system I’ve dabbled in.

Great models, but a very specific setting, and far too few options available for my tastes.

Dark Age
The newer models are lovely, but there just aren’t enough of them. One to look at two years down the line.

Deep Wars
The unusual underwater setting is tempting, but the models don’t grab me.

Dystopian Legions
I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not drawn in.

Some really nice base gangs, but very little room for expansion.

Empire of The Dead
I’m impressed by the variety of models on offer.

Freebooter’s Fate
A system I’ve been aware of for a while, but not one for me.

Frostgrave is certainly a system I’ll be keeping an eye on-site but not one for right now.

I picked up two boxes for this game via Kickstarter (something of a theme in this list) and really like the feel of the background.

Gorgeous, gorgeous models, but the game is very terrain heavy. I have two forces, and need to return to the system with a will soon.

Judge Dredd
Yet another system I have models for via Kickstarter, and one that needs some time spent on it. I need to rematch the film.

The new plastics are great, and I like the rules system, but the world and some of the gangs are starting to cause the background to come apart for me.

I’m not a fan of the models.

Relic Knights
I think Infinity does the anime aesthetic better and with less cheesecake.

Warzone Resurrection
I am almost warming to this, but every other picture I see makes the models look iffy.

I like the models I’ve seen, but the range is too narrow.

Wreck Age
I might look to this with an eye to Mad Max…

·Army Level Games·

40K sets
As I said yesterday I’m not leaning towards a 40K army at the moment, but if I was I’d be taking a look at these.

Age of Sigmar sets
The boxes are weirdly varied in terms of composition. The Undead seem particularly strange.

Beyond the Gates of Antares
I need to do more research here.

I like the model, but being seriously picky I don’t like the bases.

I like the world that Tor are building, but want to watch it grow some more.

·Army/Skirmish Level Games·

These fall somewhere between the two levels of game, or are able to be played at variable sizes without issues.

Diesel punk WWII, which is a great concept, and I do like the walking tanks. Every set of troops seems to come with one poor model with an iffy pose however.

I’ve played a bit of Warmachine and while I like a lot of the rules, the background doesn’t really come together for me, and I’m too picky about models/theme to build the necessarily optimised lists.

Wild West Exodus
There are some great figures, but I’m not drawn in by the setting. Pricing and availability in the UK seems to be all over the place as well.

Wrath of Kings
I really like most of the models, and the background seems pretty solid.

·Narrowing It Down·

The above is a fairly broad selection, and while compiling it I had a fair idea of a shortlist as far as gut reaction to the models goes. After that it was a question of what models fulfilled my criteria for being able to build a good sized force over the year. A lot of the skirmish games were ruled out at this stage, as the model count are generally very low. There are exceptions, based on building a collection based upon what can potentially be fielded, but these weren’t what I was after. This left me with two possibilities, which I then examined further.

  • Wrath of Kings  
    • Nice models     
    • Free rules  
    • Unique feel to the factions - not standard fantasy  
    • Starter set at £60 for 24 models = £2.50/model   

  • Wild West Exodus  
    • Fairly new     
    • Free rules     
    • Large range of forces     
    • Western setting     
    • Starter set at £40 for 14 models = £2.80/model    

·The Decision·

Taking a look at the two options I have decided that…

 ·Wrath of Kings will be my game for 2016·

More on this tomorrow.


  1. I love the MERCS models! But to each his own. It's interesting to see your thought process on choosing a new game, as I am almost the complete opposite and much prefer smaller skirmish games over army games. I did almost the same thing you did and landed on Arena Rex being my new game for the year while keeping up with MERCS and Malifaux, with my biggest current game being Warmachine/Hordes.

    1. I do have a lot of love for skirmish sized games, and will doubtless be returning to them over 2016. It's just that I have a real itch to have a "proper" army on the shelf.

      I've been incredibly impressed by the quality of the Arena Rex models. I am a long, long, way off feeling like I have the skills to do them justice with a paint brush sadly. I ought to get a review of the figures up on here at least. I've yet to give the rules a go on the tabletop. Best of luck with it as your game of preference for the year.

      I do miss Malifaux, especially with its lovely plastics, but I'm wary of all the reading I'd need to do to catch up with the current state of the world.


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