Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Pondering Skirmish Games

Hola fellow E.L.Fers,

Following the recent second coming of the ELF Necromunda day I've spent some time pondering what seems to be the current hotness in tabletop gaming, skirmish games.

Now, it does seem to be a trend that's passed us by somewhat so far for various reasons. But I've been considering the pros and cons and started really wondering if it's worth picking one to have a real go at.
Obviously we all have a word or two to say about our biggest common games system, 40k, and the direction that's taken of late. But even with that notwithstanding, I'm finding my available time for hobbying and playing doesn't seem to lend itself to a large army game quite as much. Not to say I don't still enjoy playing those types of games, but I keep intending to get even one of my current armies finished but always baulk at where to start and give up before I've even begun, deciding on pursuits that have a more immediate return.
So with that in mind, a game that plays out in under an hour on a smaller board with just a handful of models to paint per side does seem like something worth investigating.

The question is though, which one!?

I've earmarked a few with various pros and cons and would be interested in hearing all of your thoughts on the matter.

Well duh.
No need to explain this one.

The Pros:
We own it all already, models, rules, terrain.
The. Lot.

The Cons:
It's a 'dead' system and is slightly outdated rules wise.

Dark Age
This is one I've had my eye on for a while as some of the art was interesting and I'd heard good things about how it plays, but some of the models didn't quite live up to the fantastic concept work.
However the more recent re sculpts really blow the originals out of the water with some truly jaw dropping work.
Case in point, all of the new mounted Saints such as:
Saint Mary

The Pros:
Relatively simple rules system.
Nice models (of the more recent sculpts)
Not a lot of work needed with regards to terrain.

The Cons:
Not a huge selection of factions (although there are subfactions).
Some of the older models are a bit meh.
Some of the aesthetic is a bit...'niche' (if you give dark-age.com a cursory glance you'll see what i mean) some of you will probably appreciate that, some may not.


Yeah, i already tried this one and gave up. But its a biggie so it has to go on the list.
We're now on revision 3 of the rulebook which has definitely tidied up the translation issues. The big barrier for entry for me on this one is the complexity, though.
While the i go - you go & interrupts system is quite a fresh, unique selling point, the fact that both players need to be paying attention at all times and be aware of all the possible actions they can take (which is quite a large list indeed now, depending on what units you've chosen) makes it quite difficult to get started with, for me at least.

Its also another game with a fairly niche aesthetic, with it being quite heavily influenced by anime styling. I don't think anyone can deny the ever increasing quality, however. 
Also, the fact that they've recently released a 2 player starter with play mat and terrain included, and also have their first 1 player starter, again with play mat and terrain on the way is pretty cool.
Pros: Nice models, unique interactive turn sequence, good starter sets.
Cons: Quite complex.

The Rest
Theres a few others that crossed my mind that ill just do a quick hit on what i see as the pros and cons

Judge Dredd
Pros: The IP, the starters seem pretty cheap, considering.
Cons: Doesnt seem to have taken off massively as a game. The IP might not be for everyone. Wouldnt everyone just pick Judges? Judges v Judges...

Pros: The IP. Some nice models. Again, quite cheap as its really small scale in terms of model numbers.
Cons: Also doesnt seem to have taken off as a game all that much. Terrain that fits would be a bit awkward. Who would choose who gets to be the good guys!? And IP might not be to everyones taste.

I debated whether this deserves to be considered at all, it feels less like a skirmish game and more like its somewhere in between skirmish and an all out army battle game.
Pros: Large range, well supported, tight rules.
Cons: Not a huge fan of the aesthetic. Feels a little rock, paper, scissors.

Ive heard people claim its a very good game, but i cant say looking at it has ever grabbed my attention at all, as such i cant say i really know an awful lot about this one.
The 2 player starter is really cheap compared to some of the others, but the models looks pretty meh.

Are there any out there i've missed?


  1. Having published, it occurs to me i forgot Deadzone, which is of course an option. Oops!
    Definitely one i need to try

  2. Aliens vs predators. Saw it UK games con in Birmingham. Looks fantastic but sadly couldn't buy it. The miniatures are amazing, but again only 3 factions

  3. AVP does look good, going to try dipping my toe in the water with infinity though, big fan of late 90s anime so the style is right up my street, the newer models are lovely if a little fiddly.
    Got a few local guys to me who are looking to play so starting shouldn't be a problem if anyone wants to join us or more than happy to try and get a few games in when ever we can with elf.