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TOPIC: Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games

Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 12:39 #262371

I have yet to find the perfect Skirmish game. Finding such a thing is the itch I want most to scratch.
I have one other friend invested in this search with me, and part of finding the perfect game involves something that combines our interests as seamlessly as possible.

Me: I like painting miniatures, and then mushing my miniatures together, using rules. I like being encouraged to do a little modding and tinkering, both with the rules and with the models. I like the rules to be flavorful, meaningful, flexible, and relatively simple.

My friend: Doesn't care too much about the models, but wants something a bit crunchier, especially when it comes to modelling shooting mechanics. Recently revisited Necromunda by way of Shadow War and found out you Can't Go Home Again, meaning, the rules were a little TOO crunchy and exploitable. So, also looking for a bit more simplicity, and hoping he and I meet somewhere in the middle.

So far, our favorites could be ranked:

1) Infinity

Upsides: Great core rules, particularly in regards to the d20 mechanism, which is as simple as Frostgrave, but allows for some manipulation and finesse. The way figures activate in the game, using a seamless flow of action and reaction, is a big plus, too. We've put the most and investment time into this game.

Downsides: Expensive, second only to Warhammer. Listbuilding, frankly, requires the internet. It's barely feasible to build a list from scratch on a printed roster sheet, and you pretty much have to build them using their proprietary list builder.. The scores of abilities requires a wiki to hand to play: a dozen plays in, and we're still looking stuff up. By comparison, the rulebooks are atrocious: we've skipped using them entirely. Finally, to my mind, the models are a little samey (though my friend loves 'em). None of this tanks what's great about the game.

2) AOS Skirmish/Hinterlands

Upsides: Frankly, I just like the models a lot, and have invested a good deal in them. I can use them across an array of other, non-skirmish products I own. The rules are just slightly modified from regular AOS; as a result, we have them more or less mastered. Simple, and easy to house rule.

Downsides: Well, yeah, expensive. My friend uses my miniatures, and is not at all interested in dropping a chunk of change on a bunch of new stuff. Additionally, skirmish rules are at their best in tight corners with lots of terrain, and AOS just doesn't really do terrain in an interesting way. Finally, unburnished AOS damage rules means that fights are just a little too brutal in a skirmish setting. You hit it, it drops before it ever gets to act.

3) Frostgrave

Upside: Fast and simple, with an unobtrusive d20 deciding everything in the game. It's well-supported and has a flavorful setting.
Downside: A bit too simple. That raw, d20 roll drives me nuts.

What all these games are missing is a way to build characters from scratch, which I really long to do. Everything here is pregenerated, and requires a certain model behaving in a certain way, or else lots of counts-as exceptions. We've enjoyed Rogue Stars (and that author's older game, A Song of Blades and Heroes) for their flexibility in team building. The issue with Rogue Stars is with the thicket of modifiers required to perform any action. It "plus-one-minus-two" 's you to death. You figure three or more modifiers and then check the results on the chart. Not great. We haven't tried ASOBAH, yet, but I have high hopes for it.

I love Scott Pyle and David Lewis's Supersystem, but my friend hates Superheroes, so.

Finally, I've got to put in a word for Gaslands. It has everything: cheap buy in, fun rules, fun world, flexible, moddable, simple. It's more a race game than a fighting game in most cases, but it's great. The best thing I've played in years, really.

Half of the stuff mentioned above is by Osprey, and they have another half-dozen books I intend to read, or that are great but don't quite fit the skirmish definition above. They are my favorite company right now, and even if some of their stuff doesn't quite stick, so much of it has been so fun (and relatively cheap) to discover, I'll be watching them closely. They're my favorite company, right now.

Still, the search continues for the best non-automotive skirmish game on the market. What have you been playing?
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2018 12:41 by GorillaGrody.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 12:52 #262372

You should look at the new Necromunda- it is not Shadow War/Oldmunda. There are a lot of updates and refinements. I’m finding that I enjoy the Sector Mortalis game (using the boards and tiles) more than the full 3D game.

Lots of narrative, flavor, and ridiculousness. Probably my top skirmish game.

Shadespire shouldn’t be discounted in this discussion either even though it’s more card oriented.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 13:16 #262373

I really like Shadespire, though no-one in my group has quite the same enthusiasm for it. I’m buying all the stuff for it.

Just finished painting up my Necromunda set, but have yet to hook anyone in to playing it. I miss overwatch rules, and in my solo learning games, the Eschers got whipped without a contest. What am I doing wrong, I wonder?
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 14:06 #262376

I'm a strong fan of A Song of Blades and Heroes. I believe it should be the default skirmish wargame for anyone. You can even use Heroscape terrain to
play it. Huge bonus. The creativity allowed in this game has yet to be surpassed.

And while as much as I like it, progression is not as satisfying as you would find in other games like Mordheim or Frostgrave.

The upside of Frostgrave for me is the simplicity. This allows a bit more immersion to take place while seeing a story unfold before you. The background is more compelling than that of Mordheim as well, for me.
I'm a huge Wiz-War fan, so it's a natural progression to me. Spells spells spells.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 14:19 #262379

Escher really has to play smart- elusive, at range, making use of the map, etc. They can’t win a stand-up CQB fight with Goliath.

I may see if I can get my son to play Frostgrave with me this afternoon. Looks pretty easy to dig in.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 14:27 #262381

Michael Barnes wrote:
Escher really has to play smart- elusive, at range, making use of the map, etc. They can’t win a stand-up CQB fight with Goliath.

I may see if I can get my son to play Frostgrave with me this afternoon. Looks pretty easy to dig in.

I recommend it!

We've also been playing a fair amount Dragon Rampant, meant for large-scale fantasy battles. They allow for very quick team ups of anything you've got vs anything you've got. Not skirmish, but not ridiculously large either, and the game is grokable at a glance but still fun to play. With this system, I'm looking forward to fielding a Sylvaneth/Elf vs Casle Ravenloft Zombie Dragon battle soon. Another Osprey title.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 14:35 #262382

I've been playing a 2-player Necromunda campaign, Escher vs Delaque, on 3D terrain, it has been lots of fun. I was afraid that the administration part between skirmishes would be too taxing, but is is very manageable, and adds in terms of stakes & narrative. A few weeks ago, my gang suffered a crushing defeat, with 4 fighters out of action and permanent injuries, and a significant loss of reputation. For the next skirmish, I had only 7 fighters against Delaques 12. However, since I had less rep than my opponent, I was more likely to choose a mission (which is just a genius rule). The dice went my way, and I chose Ambush. So, his 12 fighters ended up in the center of the board with few small pieces of terrain for cover, while I put my dudettes mostly in sniping positions in adjacent buildings, trying to cover all the exit routes. The ensuing fire-fight started like something out of Black Hawk Down, and culminated with a brutal hand-to-hand combat between 5 Delaque juves and gangers who managed to break the blockade and my champion (she won). Bottom line: next time we play, it will be 11 of my gals against 6 of his dudes, although I'm still behind in turf and rep.

AoS Skirmish is way lighter than Necromunda, I played half of the campaign in one afternoon. It is also very straightforward progression-wise - you don't suffer penalties, and only buy new units, artifacts and abilities between fights. But there's still a very satisfying sense of progression, as your bands grow from a couple of fighters into formidable semi-armies.

Played A Song of Blades and Heroes once. I really liked the simplicity of rules and that you push your opponent's pieces when you hit them, which makes hand-to-hand more dynamic than usual.

Shadespire is a completely different beast from these. It is more about card play than miniature play, very cerebral, and as such the narrative is close to 0. It is not a bad game by any means, just not a miniature skirmish game as I understand the genre.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 14:51 #262386

Were you playing Oldmunda or Newmunda?
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 15:32 #262388

Wreck Age - Post Apoc.
Strange Aeons - Lovecraft.
.45 Adventure - Pulp
Pulp Alley - Pulp
Any Ganesha Games, but Mutants and Death Ray Guns is fucking rad.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 16:15 #262390

I forgot about strange aeons. It's been too long since I've played. Good game. Very underrated.

Another Mordheim-like clone with better progression and nice pulpy theme.

I'm not sure it's the best lovecraft game ever since investigation isn't satisfactorily realized in strange aeons, but it is fun.

[Edit]
Two other games I haven't played in awhile that I enjoyed, we're Legends of the Old West and Legends of the High Seas. Cowboys and pirate skirmish games respectively. Basically 'hollywood historical' type games.

Hard to recommend them though since they are out of print and command hefty price tags for the rulebooks. Shame GWs historical division went under as we may never see them reprinted again.
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Last Edit: 28 Jan 2018 16:29 by Colorcrayons.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 18:29 #262395

GorillaGrody wrote:
Were you playing Oldmunda or Newmunda?

The new one. Not very different from Shadow Wars, which in turn is almost identical to the Oldmunda. However, Alternate Activation is a huge game-changer, and a vast improvement. Hand-to-hand is also way more straightforward. And there's no overwatch (which I don't miss, but some people do). Stray shots are ridiculously more dangerous (but can be easily house ruled). There're some other streamlining rules, but none as significant.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 19:02 #262397

Pulp Alley has fully realized investigation and .45 Adventure has some really slick investigation/plot stuff in it.

Aeons can be what wish, though. The adventure you undertake is whatever you can imagine. I made a fun, multi/part campaign adventure for it:
superflycircus.com/2013/07/strange-aeons...tchers-in-the-woods/
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 19:21 #262398

I really think you should check out SAGA with the fan made A Fantastic SAGA if you want to play fantasy instead of historical. Man, it is a good interesting rule set, but might be just a little too big figure wise what you are looking for.

Osprey games are amazing value and have a ton of game for the price. While failing completely at your buddies desire to be crunchy, if you guys like action hero type movies no game does that better then A Fistful of Kung Fu.

Does Gaslands have rules for any models not in vehicles? What about fighting hand-to-hand between cars ala Fury Road?
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Last Edit: 28 Jan 2018 19:30 by Da Bid Dabid.
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 21:00 #262399

I am definitely buying Gaslands now. Interested in playing Da Bid?
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Let's talk Small-Team Skirmish Games 28 Jan 2018 22:22 #262402

Does anyone play Malifaux? That's more of a gang/skirmish game than a full on army builder, isn't it? I love the setting and background, but tend to avoid anything lifestyle/collectible these days, so have never gotten into it.
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