It’s been a while since I dropped any real money on hobbies. The Numidians I’m working on were from November , as was the copy of The Pathfinder Bestiary. So I was about due for something.
I thought long and hard about getting a new wargame. I’m pretty set on RPG’s, have plenty of molds I’m not using, and about three dozen miniatures on the painting table. I also decided to perhaps look at a new fantasy game. You see, I’m mostly a Warhammer Fantasy Battles player to the point where you can take the number of times I’ve played other games, add them together and multipliy by three, and you still wouldn’t have the number I’ve played WHFB. So I was thinking about something different.
The problem is, there’s not a lot in the way of fantasy wargames out there, which surprises me. There’s upteen Napoleonic games, but little in fantasy despite the wide range of miniatures available. Or rather there isn’t a lot that isn’t either a skirmish game (eg. Confrontation, Song of Blades and Heroes, or Malifaux) or a thinly-veiled Warhammer clone (e.g. No Quarter). I like skirmish games, but I was looking for something to scratch my big-battle itch. That got me down to two choices: Armies of Arcana or Hostile Realms.
Side note: I know about Hordes of the Things, the fantasy hack of the DBA rules. I own it. But my honest opinion is that HOTT isn’t that far removed from a skirmish game, given that you are usually battling with a dozen stands (40-60mm bases) with one to four miniatures on it. Nothing against the game–it looks like fun and I appreciate the inherent flexibility.
Armies of Arcana, from what I can tell, seems very tooled for 15mm, which isn’t that big a handicap. Hostile Realms is the fantasy hack of the Piquet system, which is (in)famous for its innovative ruleset. That innovation (loved or loathed) was what won me over. I wanted something really different from WHFB so that I’d have to start thinking differently about gameplay. That was my problem with No Quarter (which is a free download and should definitely be looked at). Yes, you get different monsters and the ability to tool up your own army list, but it plays very similarly to WHFB and wouldn’t really push me in terms of new gamesmanship.
I’m not familiar with Piquet, as I said, but I’ll post a review of Hostile Realms after it arrives. It should be here in about a week.