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Ben
24-01-2016, 22:12
All the debate regarding AoS has got me thinking.

Personally I feel a skirmish game (and by that I mean an actual skimish game with less than 50 models per side) is a direction GW should have gone back to (having taken 40k to mass battle over the last few years and cancelled all the GW skirmish games ie Necromunda, Mordheim).

There is a lot of dislike for AoS as a rules set, with it seen as the biggest problem according to a survey on here. With no balancing mechanism except a debased version of The Prisoners Dilemma built into the rules, and now a series of competing comp systems of various levels of usefulness, it represents a version of wargaming that was common in the 70s but largely went away by the 90s, where you played a given scenario to recreate a historical battle and 'fair' games were not common.

There are a number of skirmish systems on the market at the moment that have had critical acclaim (Bolt Action, Gates of Antares, Lion Rampant, Warmaster Ancient Battles though sadly out of print, etc) and many of these are written by the people who created 40k and Fantasy after they have been purged or edged out by Kirby.

What do people actually want from a skirmish system?

What scratches your itch? What really good mechanics have you seen out there?

The point of this thread is not to discuss the flaws of Age of Sigmar, but to discuss what people actually want from a game. Keep it positive.

Kakapo42
24-01-2016, 23:26
What do people actually want from a skirmish system?

What scratches your itch? What really good mechanics have you seen out there?

In my case? Nothing. In all honesty skirmish systems in general don't really have that much appeal to me (unless you count capital-ship focused naval warfare games like Battlefleet Gothic, but I personally tend to consider them a different animal). The smallest points level I've ever written a Warhammer Fantasy army list for was 2,500, and pretty much any 40k army project I consider doing will have every single FOC slot filled in at the minimum. Even Battletech, which I've flirted with the idea of in the past, I look towards for big combined-arms games with infantry, vehicles and aerospace forces alongside the mechs themselves.

Really I just enjoy the idea of mass battles more. They appeal to my delusions of grandeur. :p

Spiney Norman
24-01-2016, 23:37
In all honesty, great models for me and the ability to field them without having to buy/paint a bunch of models I don't really want as a 'core requirement' or similar. AoS does what I want it to do and I'm fairly happy with it as a game, a friend also got me into BMG recently and the models for that are also really awesome.

Khaines Wrath
24-01-2016, 23:57
For me things I enjoy in a skirmish game...

- I prefer an army of characters as opposed to an army per se. Each model moving ibdependently.

- Exp points and the ability to carry items.

Really thats the key thongs I enjoy.

Lars Porsenna
25-01-2016, 00:59
I don't care for skirmish games for fantasy/ancients/medievals either, but if I had to say, I would want some level of customizability for the individuals/characters.

Damon.

Pojko
25-01-2016, 01:23
I would look for a smaller one with maybe 10 models max per side. A Mordheim or Frostgrave size one. Where each model has a name and story, and feats from the past matter to the current character.

Dosiere
25-01-2016, 01:43
I think of a skirmish game as filling a niche between a big tabletop battle game and RPGs. It can be a blurry line for sure. for me, games like space hulk, descent, frost grave, warmahordes, etc.. All scratch the same itch. I'd put games like 40k and AoS firmly in tabletop battle game territory. They're the type of games I would play instead of WFB or koW, rather than in addition to for a host reasons. loTR is a true oddball, not really sure where that would fit in for me if I were to pick it back up today.

Malagor
25-01-2016, 01:51
Personally, I look a tight ruleset like Warmahordes, easy to get into but a ton of depth to it.
I like how Warjacks/Warbeasts have their normal attacks but then you got things like headbutting, slamming, throwing models into building or into other units or just simply holding the opponents arms so they can't strike back. It makes it quite visual which I enjoy.
And then we got more of a RPG type game like Mordheim which I sadly never played but seen others play it and read the rules and it look like alot of fun.

Smooth Boy
25-01-2016, 02:02
I like RPG elements, I like them to be a warband on an adventure and less like a more abstract battle system where one knight represents a regiment rather than 8 knights in Warhammer.

NoobLord
25-01-2016, 06:09
What I look for in a skirmish game is everything that Frostgrave is: manageable size, importance of terrain, interesting gameplay with plenty of options, freedom to use any minis you like, nice flavour without the background being a straightjacket, etc.

The 3 games I currently play all scratch different itches for me: Frostgrave for the modelling side and casual play, ASL for hardcore wargaming and historical interest, and X-Wing for an easy pick up game with depth and expansions that don't break the bank.

Arrahed
25-01-2016, 07:17
'Realism': If I can think of something useful a model could do in a given situation, I want some kind of mechanism that lets me do that. For example if a piece of terrain is not high enough to provide cover I should be able to just go to the ground. Or if the situation changes and due to some enemy movement a previously covered model is now visible I want that model to be able to do the sensible thing and move a few centimeters to get back in cover.

Basically all these little things that are not viable in a large scale game because it gets tedious but is important for immersion.

Also deadliness: the one thing about Mordheim that always annoyed me that most of the rolls ended in nothing happening. Probably because the system was designed for whole units doing the same thing at the same time so the number of successful dice rolls were tuned for that. In Infinity, when two basic infantry guys shoot at each other at a somewhat reasonable range, changes are very high that one of them goes down or at least is driven back into cover.

Of course the models also need to be interesting. Both visually and fluff wise.

To be honest, I never really cared about skirmish games until I one day played Infinity and I realized how awesome it was. Since then, I recruited two more player who never had any interest in skirmish games. It is funny how narrow-minded one can be sometimes. :)

smaxx
25-01-2016, 07:46
Nice miniatures, simple rules, balanced gameplay, intersting game and short play time.

The following games have meat the requirements really well : Saga (Irish warband), Bolt Action (lots of armies), Beyond Gates of Antares (played a few demos, and games with my old 40k army) and Lord of the Rings. I've also started to look into Frostgrave.

Most important is the theme, but the playing will stop short if the game doesn't work. I like best the miniatures for Bolt Action and Saga, but Gates of Antares may be the most interesting as a game. Lord of the Rings is also something that has started to interest me a lot lately...

Allen
25-01-2016, 08:35
What scratches your itch? What really good mechanics have you seen out there?

Well, at least for me...listed in order of importance:

1) Good looking models. If we're talking of skirmish games I demand a certain style for any miniature on the table. If the skirmish game is developed by a company marketing proprietary miniatures for the wargame in question "good looking models" is an evaluation metric - if you try to sell a wargame AND the miniatures to play it I consider those to be two sides of the same products. Case in point: AoS (or Mordhiem, or Necromunda), Beyond the Gates of Antares...if you're instead selling only the game and someone else cover the modelling part then the failures/accomplishment shouldn't be piled on you. Case in point: Frostgrave, Tomorrow's War.

2) Good rules. Skirmish games should be quick, fun and easy to learn-->demo-->sell (both figuratively to friends and literally to customers). If your product fails even in a single one of those areas, it belongs to the dusty shelves of an anonymous Amazon wharehouse and not to my library.

3) Good post-release support. No-one is able to develop, playtest and publish a perfect game...even employing the best staff and with the support of an experienced publisher there are always errors, bad wordings in crucial areas, badly developed and overlooked mechanics and so on. Once your wargame hits the market and problems arise I fully expect to see errata and integrations on a regular basis: working on errata and integrations isn't as time consuming as creating a game, and a developer team in touch with their customers and willing to smooth any wrinkle in their work speaks volumes of their professionalism.

4) Good backstory (or good research mojo). If we're talking about historical skirmish games obviously "creating" a background isn't really a priority: but developing a deep knowledge of what are you depicting in your wargame should be a given. If we're talking about fantasy/sci-fi and similar games, instead, I'd like to see some kind of creative thinking. Mordheim or Necromunda were both games with interesting premises story-wise. Frostgrave less so.

5) Innovation. If you want to publish a wargame, your dilemma is very similar to anyone wanting to publish a novel: do I have something worthwhile to tell? Or, actually, do I have something worthwhile to develop? If the game mechanics or the background or the miniatures or whatever is just a repetition (or a slightly modified repetition) of what I've already developed elsewhere...why bother? For the mechanics I'm looking at you, AoS.

2DSick
25-01-2016, 09:30
All the debate regarding AoS has got me thinking.

Personally I feel a skirmish game (and by that I mean an actual skimish game with less than 50 models per side) is a direction GW should have gone back to (having taken 40k to mass battle over the last few years and cancelled all the GW skirmish games ie Necromunda, Mordheim).

There is a lot of dislike for AoS as a rules set, with it seen as the biggest problem according to a survey on here. With no balancing mechanism except a debased version of The Prisoners Dilemma built into the rules, and now a series of competing comp systems of various levels of usefulness, it represents a version of wargaming that was common in the 70s but largely went away by the 90s, where you played a given scenario to recreate a historical battle and 'fair' games were not common.

There are a number of skirmish systems on the market at the moment that have had critical acclaim (Bolt Action, Gates of Antares, Lion Rampant, Warmaster Ancient Battles though sadly out of print, etc) and many of these are written by the people who created 40k and Fantasy after they have been purged or edged out by Kirby.

What do people actually want from a skirmish system?

What scratches your itch? What really good mechanics have you seen out there?

The point of this thread is not to discuss the flaws of Age of Sigmar, but to discuss what people actually want from a game. Keep it positive.

Im not entirely sure what it is exactly that scratches my itch...

games wise, my most favoured atm are gates of antares, malifaux and guildball.

The formers d10, alternate activation, pin system give it a very modern twist and it's a very intuitive game.

Malifauxs card system it very satisfying. It really draws you into the wildwest, victorian, horror setting... And being able to cheat just tops it off... That and also guildball too are games where tabling the opposition won't get you s win.

The same can be said for certain BtGoA scenarios..


Looking at those games...

Act, react, alternate activation.

Deep settings. Faux and BtGoA especially with the integral exploration in the plot.

Real tactical objectives over killing mother-fethers.

Avian
25-01-2016, 10:49
I want good terrain rules that support playing in three dimensions.

2DSick
25-01-2016, 11:24
I want good terrain rules that support playing in three dimensions.

Have a look at the gates of antares terrain rules if you can... It may be up your street.

Every terrain type have specific effects and you can destroy terrain too ;-)

theJ
25-01-2016, 11:28
Well... I'm gonna go against the grain and say the first key to a good skirmish game is not the rules, but the setting you play your game in. As others have pointed out, skirmish stradles the line between wargame and RPG, and the RPG aspect DEMANDS a setting and characters inhabiting said setting with appeal beyond their tabletop performance.

Moving on to the rules... my first "rule" would be that if you make a skirmish game, you make a skirmish game; every model is their own individual unit, ideal MODEL-count is about 10, not 50.

Second rule: Customisation. Every character should be customisable, in terms of both rules, looks and fluff. This is necessary in order to make them actual characters, rather than "merely" gaming doodads.

Third rule: Remember your scale. Skirmish centres around warriors of roughly the same stature duking it out in small-scale battles. While some flexibility is allowed - you could bring the occasional Black Orc or even Ogre to the same table as a Zombie or Goblin, bringing BLOODY DRAGONS should not be a thing.

Herzlos
25-01-2016, 12:36
I don't want:
Models for the sake of it
Complexity for the sake of it
Having to refer to tables or charts mid game.

I do want:
Games that can be played in a couple of hours
Easy to learn but harder to master
Enough depth to replay
Models that have a meaningful impact to a crew (so I can change my game play by changing a mini or 2, rather than having to buy a new crew).
Campaign progression is nice too.

This is pretty well covered by Malifaux, Frostgrave, Empire Of The Dead.

warhammerscotlandplayer
25-01-2016, 12:42
I look for low model count 8 max, ideally a 3x3 or a 4x4 ft surface, terrain , quickish games. So for me, guild ball or xwing fit this, so i play them.

I dont want exer expanding models where i need to buy consistantly to keep up with the meta (x-wing has started to annoy me), games that can be won in to easy a fashon with excellent luck of the dice or broken rules (occasionally in guildball, this happens)

Geep
25-01-2016, 12:43
There are two sorts of skirmish game that appeal to me, and both need different things:

The larger one (50+ models per side) is things like Bolt Action or earlier editions of 40k. Rules need to be clear and contain enough possible variety to retain interest. Models act together as units/squads. The individual is generally unimportant, but a few vehicles and other interesting features can be added (so long as they don't dominate the focus).

Smaller skirmish games should be similar to Mordheim or Frostgrave. Terrain is important, and should be interactive. Each model should be important, and an advancement system is necessary (preferably one that makes some sense- Necromunda and, to a slightly lesser extent Mordheim, fail here). As someone pointed out before, Mordheim failed in that most dice rolls didn't count- typically buckets of dice were rolled until a crit was scored, finally causing a kill- but I don't think that increased lethality is needed. It's better to have some form of suppression system, so that you can win or lose a game without always having half your team wiped out. Frostgrave sort of achieves that with multiple hit points, but it's still not ideal to me.

MLP
25-01-2016, 12:56
Mordheim(a more streamlined version tbh) is exactly what I want from a skirmish game.

It should have individual models able to interact on their own, some form of experience between games with definite progression with a ruleset that allows games to be played smooth and quickly.

Although I do like the game, AoS doesn't really fit any definition of skirmish game to me except the fact that units are in a loose "skirmish" formation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

malisteen
25-01-2016, 14:40
Either a campaign system with customization and progression (both injuries and experience) between games a la mordheim, or reasonably tight balance and fast play for easy pick up or tournament games a la malifaux. Either way, small model count, supernatural urban setting, interesting narrative, and individual model movement rather than as units.

Moirdryd
25-01-2016, 16:50
Malifaux is an awesome skirmish set, few units that operate individually, a lot of depth in each of the characters both in terms of flavour and rules, lots of interaction on the board and promotes a variety of strategies and a big mix of win conditions.
X-Wing is another nice skirmish type game as in Armada with meaningful interactions between the models and while a straight up fight is standard there are lots of scenario options to change the style of game completely.
Just got into Warmachine and that runs very well as a Skirmish Wargame, plenty of detail in the game without being overwhelming in minutiae plays well with just a couple of models and handles good as a full wargame too.
Battletech, again depth to play and rules and rewards tactical play over a ruck. One on one mech battles handle fine as do company on company engagements, Plays slower in some cases but has been with me for the last 20 something years and is still solid.