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  1. #1
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    The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Having been away from wargaming for a while, I am curious where Warseer folks think the massed battle with minis scene is heading. Mantic's KoW seems to have stepped up with easy mechanics but odd to an old WFB player, and there are an abundance of miniature companies. I have several fantasy and 40K armies, but not sure what to do with them. Not really interested in rants on GW's bad behavior or long discussions of skirmish games. Trying to decide if GW and 40k are still for me right now, as this and Warmahorde seem to be what's played within 60 miles. The best advice I have seen so far is play what is being played locally, but play with people you like. But play what? Are there any massed battle fantasy or historical games being played in sufficient numbers that you can find an opponent? Or is there anything REALLY interesting on the horizon that is worth waiting for? I took a big flyer on CMON's Ice & Fire thinking that the minis might make a nice Kingdoms of Men army for KoW, but I am open to suggestions and appreciate any insight you folks might have. Thanks

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Postscript...I realize this has probably been discussed on and off the forum ad nauseum, but searching the forum didn't bring up anything too earth shaking, and I have been away for more than a decade (it's been busy, what can I say?). Thanks in advance for any input you mighthave.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    There is a fan-made mass battle system that seems to be popular- The 9th Age. Essentially an advancement of WFB 8th edition. At the Edmonton Onslaught tournament, 9th Age participants outnumbered AOS participants. so presumably people are playing it (in Edmonton anyway...).

    Osprey and Northastar Military Figures are teaming up to release a set called Oathmark but they still some way off.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonbreath View Post
    *snip*
    I have several fantasy and 40K armies
    *snip*
    The best advice I have seen so far is play what is being played locally, but play with people you like.
    *snip*
    Good advice, add to that to use what you have. Then see where it goes. If you are busy, simply ask store owners or look for a gaming club nearby. Just go have a chat first and find a friendly opponent.

    These days we are spoiled by many great choices. For Warhammer Codsticker already mentioned a continuity project called the 9th Age. This is your best choice for a pickup game besides KoW by Mantic.

    There are of course army books for many editions up to 8th available on the secondary market. Just use the rules you like best. Then there is the Warhammer Armies Project. If you go for friendly games locally, you can always agree on using what sparks your imagination.

    There are also new games that use blocks of troops by Fantasy Flight Games (Runewars) and Para Bellum (Conquest). So all in all the future is bright and full of choice for mass combat in blocks.

    EDIT: Maybe oldschool, but putting an add in a local paper can find you a local gaming group of friends.
    Last edited by Little Joe; 12-02-2018 at 21:21.
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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Thank you both for the input. Been reading over 9th age rules and will keep an eye on Oathmark and Conquest.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    There is no longer a monolithic monopoly game in the massed fantasy battle genre that is common to almost all players and collectors, i.e. Warhammer Fantasy. Some of the current contenders for hobbyist souls at the moment are: Old Warhammer editions, Kings of War, T9A, Oathmark, Dragon Rampant, Age of Sigmar, a Song of Ice and Fire, Conquest... We might see more pop up in the vaccuum left by GW's departure from classic fantasy. The rule of thumb is that the landscape is all split and fractured, with some games popular in some localities but not in others. In Sweden, T9A is very strong as an heir to Warhammer, but even so two or three of the important cities/towns for GW hobby has switched over to Age of Sigmar, and AoS seems to be doing well in general outside of these locations as well. Kings of War enjoy popularity in some friend circles in Gothenburg, though perhaps not on a wider level in this country since I've yet to see a KoW tournament/event.

    Use your miniatures in whatever game system/s reign supreme locally, and play with whatever setting you prefer in your head, no matter the rules. Historical wargaming thrives without one obvious center, and fantasy wargaming should be able to do reasonably well even though it is decidedly smaller than the historical scene and do not yet sport true successors to Games Workshop in independent brick and mortar stores.

    Note that T9A is a community driven effort, and is not driven by a need to sell miniatures. This will ensure surprising levels of balance in the wargame compared to older Warhammer editions, but T9A as the true inheritor of the WHFB mantle (and a Warhammer clone). Mantic truly tries to fill the shoes Games Workshop left behind, and seem to be doing a decent job so far. Overall it's a brave new world we've entered upon, for good and ill. Many hobbyists quit, at least temporarily, at the official axing of Warhammer (false alarm, I'd tell them!), and learning multiple rule sets when necessary is hard for a rules idiot like me.

    One thing I often wish we'd abandon, is the strict mm base requirements inherited from Warhammer Fantasy. In this era of models based on everything from 20-25mm squares to 25mm rounds and various game systems in various locations, it seem a bloody hassle to rebase if you move to a new locality where something different holds sway. I'm particularly thinking of T9A, which for tournament reasons hold on to standard base sizes and do it more stringently than GW ever cared to do.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    Thanks for the reply. You can always count on the dwarven folk.

    [/I]There is no longer a monolithic monopoly game in the massed fantasy battle genre that is common to almost all players and collectors, i.e. Warhammer Fantasy.

    Boy howdy, you can say that again.

    [/I]
    Some of the current contenders for hobbyist souls at the moment are: Old Warhammer editions, Kings of War, T9A, Oathmark, Dragon Rampant, Age of Sigmar, a Song of Ice and Fire, Conquest...

    Currently trying to find Oldhammer or historical players within 60 miles or so but its tough sledding. I have been very busy but the only fantasy mass battle within 250 miles are 2 small KoW groups (mixed feelings about the game and distance but KoW can be fun). Have the Dragon Rampant rulebook and its not too bad except for the activation rolls. Watching Oathmark and Conquest, and I took a big flyer on the Ice&Fire kickstarter so my son and I can play when he comes to visit. After a year of looking the most promising thing I've found is a local gaming group about 60 miles away.

    [/I] We might see more pop up in the vaccuum left by GW's departure from classic fantasy. The rule of thumb is that the landscape is all split and fractured, with some games popular in some localities but not in others. In Sweden, T9A is very strong as an heir to Warhammer, but even so two or three of the important cities/towns for GW hobby has switched over to Age of Sigmar, and AoS seems to be doing well in general outside of these locations as well. Kings of War enjoy popularity in some friend circles in Gothenburg, though perhaps not on a wider level in this country since I've yet to see a KoW tournament/event.

    Use your miniatures in whatever game system/s reign supreme locally, and play with whatever setting you prefer in your head, no matter the rules. Historical wargaming thrives without one obvious center, and fantasy wargaming should be able to do reasonably well even though it is decidedly smaller than the historical scene and do not yet sport true successors to Games Workshop in independent brick and mortar stores.

    Note that T9A is a community driven effort, and is not driven by a need to sell miniatures. This will ensure surprising levels of balance in the wargame compared to older Warhammer editions, but T9A as the true inheritor of the WHFB mantle (and a Warhammer clone). Mantic truly tries to fill the shoes Games Workshop left behind, and seem to be doing a decent job so far. Overall it's a brave new world we've entered upon, for good and ill. Many hobbyists quit, at least temporarily, at the official axing of Warhammer (false alarm, I'd tell them!), and learning multiple rule sets when necessary is hard for a rules idiot like me.

    Me, too, but you dwarves tend to be a conservative lot.

    One thing I often wish we'd abandon, is the strict mm base requirements inherited from Warhammer Fantasy. In this era of models based on everything from 20-25mm squares to 25mm rounds and various game systems in various locations, it seem a bloody hassle to rebase if you move to a new locality where something different holds sway. I'm particularly thinking of T9A, which for tournament reasons hold on to standard base sizes and do it more stringently than GW ever cared to do.
    Thanks again. A good summary of what I've seen so far as well.
    Last edited by dragonbreath; 17-02-2018 at 21:16.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    *snip*
    I'm particularly thinking of T9A, which for tournament reasons hold on to standard base sizes and do it more stringently than GW ever cared to do.
    T9A even has some weird base sizes that did not exist before (Great Green Idol on a 100x100mm base). For a friendly fight, just ignore it, all friendly players will understand.

    Round bases for AoS do cause problems as there never were 20mm round bases and size compared to base size was a mess in WHFB. Hard to blame the T9A team for cleaning up the mess GW made just to sell more (Skaven warplightning cannons that all of a sudden had LOS as if on a hill).
    Bigger bases often is a disadvantage, KoW has an elegant solution with unit bases.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Joe View Post
    T9A even has some weird base sizes that did not exist before (Great Green Idol on a 100x100mm base). For a friendly fight, just ignore it, all friendly players will understand.

    Honestly, Little Joe, (Are you a Bonanza fan?), I think I am just getting old. I've played in tournaments in the old days, even won a few, but I never enjoyed it as much as playing with friends or local campaigns. Regardless of all this, after following some of the T9A threads, it just looks like a hot mess to me. I don't like gaming enough to put up with folks who think pushing plastic miniatures across a table is important enough to cheat over or get angry over...The sheer fiddliness (is that a word?) of T9A and the volume of rules, plus the fact that the nearest T9A players are even further away than the nearest KoW people. (250 miles, but nice enough folks)

    Round bases for AoS do cause problems as there never were 20mm round bases and size compared to base size was a mess in WHFB. Hard to blame the T9A team for cleaning up the mess GW made just to sell more (Skaven warplightning cannons that all of a sudden had LOS as if on a hill).

    If not for my son and some friends, I would never have replaced chess with GW games, which I find far more amusing. It was GW empire and chaos armies that caught my interest, so I don't want to spend much time bashing GW for the way they treat their customers or the death of the Old World. I will say some of the T9A spent a lot of time trying to fix 8th edition, but they also seem to have done their own hobby a disservice by driving away players. Not good. Still, I appreciate the effort some of them put in and it's not really for me to judge.

    Bigger bases often is a disadvantage, KoW has an elegant solution with unit bases.

    The KoW ruleset definitely speeds up the game. Unit bases and counters are so much faster than fiddling with models and I like armies with large numbers of units and models. Still not sure the design by tournament gamers hasn't hampered some of the character of the game. The fluff is almost nonexistent and often ignored by players because, well, models are expensive, and reading is hard, or something. The unit base size, minimum model number lends itself to some wonderful efforts by modelers. The game is somewhat dominated by speed, large infantry hordes of 6 models, and flying. Magic, shooting and characters are somewhat muted, but I think infantry is overpriced and some what undervalued because movement is everything and terrain has a huge impact (even a little weird...the scenarios add a lot of dimension to the game, and it is fantasy, but setting up armies to fight across water features is a little odd...hence nimble pathfinding small hordes of large infantry weirdly fast and nimble. At least the new 2018 Clash of Kings has somewhat addressed the flying circus armies. Still in all, Kings of War seems the best somewhat widely supported option out there.

    Just have fun, that is all that matters in the end.
    The absolute best advice,but time and distance and sparse population seem against me, sadly.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    As for KoW fluff being ignored, it might be that some players are like me: They'll want something with a depth, quality, humour and detail level that can compete with Warhammer Fantasy, and isn't too interested in settings that haven't been fleshed out much as of yet. If the fluff is still shallow, they might play KoW with Warhammer or their favourite fantasy universe in their head.

    This will probably change as the setting grows, if the slowly increasing interest in T9A fluff (in the face of growing and seemingly improving fluff) is any indicator. Give it time. GW left big shoes to fill in this particular department, and ex-Warhammer players will use WHFB as the benchmark.

    KoW unit bases are so very handy! I'm growing somewhat tired of picking away individual fully converted and painted metal Dwarfs. They're so closely crammed together on their 20mm bases, that they inevitably will nudge against each other at some point, and eventually this wear will eat through the varnish layers and scratch away paint at exposed points. Plus unit bases allow dioramas, and different ranking systems for the adventurous.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    As for KoW fluff being ignored, it might be that some players are like me: They'll want something with a depth, quality, humour and detail level that can compete with Warhammer Fantasy, and isn't too interested in settings that haven't been fleshed out much as of yet. If the fluff is still shallow, they might play KoW with Warhammer or their favourite fantasy universe in their head.

    I don't think fluff is so much ignored, but players are allowed almost infinite flexibility in laying out their armies, and the fluff is so thin, or so reminiscent of WHFB that the units have sometimes either too much character or you look across the "field" at (literally) an army of smurfs. Really a minor complaint and people can play what and how they want as long as they have fun and are polite.

    This will probably change as the setting grows, if the slowly increasing interest in T9A fluff (in the face of growing and seemingly improving fluff) is any indicator. Give it time. GW left big shoes to fill in this particular department, and ex-Warhammer players will use WHFB as the benchmark.

    Very true, and while I still hold a grudge against GW for killing the Old World, and I miss the quirkiness of goblins, orcs, skaven, etc. and the books on Felix and Gotrek, etc., I don't embrace the enmity for AoS or 40k players. That seems pointless. Let people play what they want. Honestly, when you spend as much time alone as I do, you appreciate the times with friends and family, especially my son, who are all now a thousand miles or more away. Playing wargames was away to connect with folks I liked, and that seems the most important thing.

    KoW unit bases are so very handy! I'm growing somewhat tired of picking away individual fully converted and painted metal Dwarfs. They're so closely crammed together on their 20mm bases, that they inevitably will nudge against each other at some point, and eventually this wear will eat through the varnish layers and scratch away paint at exposed points. Plus unit bases allow dioramas, and different ranking systems for the adventurous.
    While the flying circuses, corkscrew charges, terrain and objective heavy scenarios and the small skirmish-like armies make me long for the days of core units and herohammer, the abilty to make dioramas, use minimum model counts for valid units, and the consistent unit base size are great strengths to the game. By designing a tournament game, Cavatore (sp?) has made a game where speed kills and you don't have to spend all your time picking off and replacing individual models. The pointy bits on my Chaos warriors are murderous when handled too much, so it is hard not to like casualty counters. It will be interesting to see how KoW develops, whether all the folks trying to keep Warhammer alive succeed and what form that takes, and whether the Game of Thrones kickstarter or Oathmark and Conquest. or some other game, get any traction.

    Enjoyed talking with you. Thanks

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    In these parts Warhammers seven-league boots seem to have been filled by KOW and Dragon Rampant, with DR perhaps being smidge more popular. I like both, but prefer DR. In fact anything by Dan Mersey is wargaming gold! Age of Sigmar had one vocal proponent for a while but recently he told after a few games he'd fallen out of love with it. I'm keeping an eye out for this Oathmark- Its from the same guy as Frostgrave and we all love that, so hoping for something tasty. Plus on balance I prefer my fantasy to be more tolkien/dark ages in feel rather than the warhammer/kow steam punk medieval crossover and I believe that is where Oathmark is going. And the models look nice.

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    Re: Thw Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    @dragonbreath: Thank you, as well! Cheers.

    Agreed, enmity shouldn't be a part of this hobby. Never saw the point of it, so was slightly taken aback by surprise at the sheer levels unleashed by Warhammer's official axing. Ah, well, human nature. I never followed the company whip closely, but followed the many parts of the Warhammer world I liked, and ignored the warts that didn't suit my tastes or was just not good, like the End Times' result. If anyone asks me, Warhammer is alive and well, too good to die. And judging by the success and polish of Total Warhammer, Creative Assembly and its customers would appear to agree. Expecting the Warhammer Fantasy world to return in some miniature game form or another in due time, because if there is money to milk from it, it can never truly be dead.

    @Commissar Vaughn: Oathmark is indeed true to Dark Ages and Tolkien style. A refreshing breath of air amid the lots of fantasy worlds that have all increased their tech level through the recent decades. Both Warcraft and in an odd way also Warhammer has entered magitech territory, akin to Treasure Planet. Seems a pretty charming niche, though not one I'm much appealed by. Still, many AoS models do look tasty, not least the Steampunk Dwarves (perfect Squat material!).

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    I like to think that there's a place for Conqueror in that future.

    It's a quick, streamlined system that allows you do import whatever setting you want. When I first began work on it here many years ago, it got a very positive response (which is why I kept working on it).

    Right now I'm working on a revised edition that addresses some of the shortcomings. The biggest one is a lack of example army lists and a confusing point system. Actually, the point system is pretty straightforward, but the explanation of it is lacking. Oh, and the cover art sucks.

    I'm also revising the special rules and magic item/spell lists based on expanded playtesting.

    Those deficiencies aside, it's easy to adapt to whatever models you have on hand. You can also make up an army list, decide that it's cool, and start collecting it! I'm doing that right now.
    Want a better way to fight fantasy battles? Try Conqueror: Fields of Victory!

    Do you like Star Wars but hate the prequels? Ever wish someone came up with a decent story about how a decadent galactic commonwealth descended into chaos and civil war? Look no further.

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    In these parts Warhammers seven-league boots seem to have been filled by KOW and Dragon Rampant

    In my country, I have to travel 4 hours to get in a game of Kings of War and am hoping to only travel 60 miles to get in a game of Dragon Rampant. Otherwise I am going to have play skirmish games with wolves and bears... Both DR and KoW play well and quickly, but I'm not too fond of DR activation rules and I can't quite get excited enough about KoW to travel 500 miles round trip for a game more than once a year.

    I'm keeping an eye out for this Oathmark- Its from the same guy as Frostgrave and we all love that, so hoping for something tasty. Plus on balance I prefer my fantasy to be more tolkien/dark ages in feel rather than the warhammer/kow steam punk medieval crossover and I believe that is where Oathmark is going. And the models look nice.


    Me, too. It might be fun to put a dwarven host and goblin host together on magnetized bases for flexibility and do some hosting at one of the four local game shops within 100 miles. Age of Sigmar, Frostgrave and especially Darklands by Mierce have decent rule sets and pretty great minis (although the Khornate warriors in AoS look like giant drag queens in tin cans to me...if you like steam punk you have your War Machine. For now, I will have to settle for Dragon Rampant and wait on Oathmark. I am not sure if the mourning and maladjustment of so many ardent Warhammer players will ever let a unified fantasy massed battle ruleset come to the forefront, but time will tell. If I could find historical players, I might just switch completely, but they are rare beasts in my country.

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar von Toussaint View Post
    I like to think that there's a place for Conqueror in that future.
    I am sure there is.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonbreath View Post
    In these parts Warhammers seven-league boots seem to have been filled by KOW and Dragon Rampant

    In my country, I have to travel 4 hours to get in a game of Kings of War and am hoping to only travel 60 miles to get in a game of Dragon Rampant. Otherwise I am going to have play skirmish games with wolves and bears... Both DR and KoW play well and quickly, but I'm not too fond of DR activation rules and I can't quite get excited enough about KoW to travel 500 miles round trip for a game more than once a year.

    I'm keeping an eye out for this Oathmark- Its from the same guy as Frostgrave and we all love that, so hoping for something tasty. Plus on balance I prefer my fantasy to be more tolkien/dark ages in feel rather than the warhammer/kow steam punk medieval crossover and I believe that is where Oathmark is going. And the models look nice.


    Me, too. It might be fun to put a dwarven host and goblin host together on magnetized bases for flexibility and do some hosting at one of the four local game shops within 100 miles. Age of Sigmar, Frostgrave and especially Darklands by Mierce have decent rule sets and pretty great minis (although the Khornate warriors in AoS look like giant drag queens in tin cans to me...if you like steam punk you have your War Machine. For now, I will have to settle for Dragon Rampant and wait on Oathmark. I am not sure if the mourning and maladjustment of so many ardent Warhammer players will ever let a unified fantasy massed battle ruleset come to the forefront, but time will tell. If I could find historical players, I might just switch completely, but they are rare beasts in my country.
    Looks like you need to set up your own play group. Ask friends over for a game and a drink. The huge advantage is that you can decide what to play.
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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    I prefer my fantasy to be more tolkien/dark ages in feel rather than the warhammer/kow steam punk

    This, for sure. Luckily for me, the folks nearest me (60 miles) who game are interested in mass fantasy battle. Not sure what form that will take, but if time and circumstance permit, I can be flexible.


    Agreed, enmity shouldn't be a part of this hobby.


    This, in spades. I liked 40k and fantasy tournaments at the start, but gamers, IMHO can be an immature lot sometimes. Maybe none of us ever really grow up, ?quien sabe? Finding a good group of folks who enjoy the social aspects of gaming has become my goal. Just getting too old for juvenile nonsense.


    I like to think that there's a place for Conqueror in that future.


    Well, I bought a copy and will buy a few more and let my (hopefully) future gaming group take a look at it. They seem a very reasonable bunch and, some like me, like fantasy massed battle. But lacking a crystal ball, i will go off the evidence of my eyes. How many different versions of Warhammer are being pushed on this forum? How many games with miniatures are being pushed on kickstarter (at least until the next be economic upheaval)? How many different companies are pushing miniatures and rulesets? The sheer volume of fragmentation in JUST the fantasy battle market, not to mention all the other genres, does not bode well for you. But I wish you well, and take it from one who is returned after a long absence to find his favorite game gone and an amazing profusion of games in its place, I am no war seer (pun intended)

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Looks like you need to set up your own play group.

    In the once and future Free Republic of Montana, there are only 5 urban centers (sort of) and we like it that way, since most of our problems come from there. Still, there is one nice group of folks about an hour away, which is around the corner in Montana terms, and they have invited me to play. Hopefully, that will work out. My best to all who took the time to reply and offer suggestions. Thanks

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonbreath View Post
    Looks like you need to set up your own play group.

    In the once and future Free Republic of Montana, there are only 5 urban centers (sort of) and we like it that way, since most of our problems come from there. Still, there is one nice group of folks about an hour away, which is around the corner in Montana terms, and they have invited me to play. Hopefully, that will work out. My best to all who took the time to reply and offer suggestions. Thanks
    I feel ya dragonbreath. Although I am smack dab in the middle of two small towns there isn't much of a gaming scene here. 1 other guy that plays historicals and 2 other guys that used to play WFB. I don't even think anyone is playng 40K within an hour of me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty
    What the Modsticker said.

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    Re: The Future of Fantasy Massed Battle

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonbreath View Post
    Looks like you need to set up your own play group.

    In the once and future Free Republic of Montana, there are only 5 urban centers (sort of) and we like it that way, since most of our problems come from there. Still, there is one nice group of folks about an hour away, which is around the corner in Montana terms, and they have invited me to play. Hopefully, that will work out. My best to all who took the time to reply and offer suggestions. Thanks
    Im trying to empathise, I really am. Or even Sympathise. But I have at least three other gamers within a 5 minute walk (plus I believe there are some schoolkids who have a little 40k group within that radius). With a 30 minute drive I could attend any of at least a dozen clubs and gaming groups. In practice I only actually regularly attend one- its got at least 200 regular members, an entire aircraft factory to play in (they used to make ww2 bombers there) and its own bar. My total potential gaming group could easily consist of many thousands of individuals, playing any type of game you can think of and probably many more you can't.

    Its possible that I live in some kind of paradise, though you probably wouldnt like it much; you might find it a bit crowded, and there aren't any bears.
    Last edited by Commissar Vaughn; 02-03-2018 at 22:47.

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