Interlude: Games I Play Part II: Fantasy

It took me kind of a surprisingly long while to get into fantasy wargaming – I mean, I started with D&D in like 4th grade and the old Erol Otus-cover box set, I re-read the Lord of the Rings every couple years, all that jazz. But all the same it took me a while. In high school my buddy Jon and I, in our quest to play Every Game GW Made, got deeply into Man O’ War, but that was actually about as far as we went into fantasy. When I played in Fukuoka (between about, oh, 1999 and 2005) the guys there played a bit of fantasy, and I started up an Undead army, but just never got very far into painting it. I also played a lot of Confrontation when I was in the States for grad school after that, which was a lot of fun (and fun to paint) but when Rackham went kablooie I sold off my armies. Then I was into Hordes for a bit, but had trouble keeping up with the power creep on a grad student’s budget and gradually lost interest, and sold those off a couple years back too.

Here in Nagoya, though, when people were playing a lot of Warhammer Fantasy it just happened to be a time when it was very easy to get a whole lot of plastic goblins very cheaply indeed (since the Goblin-versus-Dwarf starter set had just come out), and I’d been interested in trying out this “dip” everyone had been talking about, so before I knew it I put together these bad boys:


Yes, friends and neighbors, that is my very cheeky indeed Smurf-themed Night Goblin army, including actual Smurfs to use as Mangler Squigs. As a Night Goblin army, they were terrible but a lot of fun to play, and I did until GW decided to blow up the Old World and Warhammer Fantasy, and if you think I’m going to play a move-models-individually skirmish game with 200 night goblins, you have another think coming. There’s talk of using Osprey’s Dragon Rampant to get our fantasy armies out of the box, and I wouldn’t object to trying out Kings of War, but really there’s just not too much interest in mass-battles fantasy locally these days. So these guys sit in a box and wait for their time.

What we do play a relative lot of, though, is Malifaux, and at the beginning of this year I made a push back into 28mm gaming (which I’d been avoiding for a bit) and got a crew together, partly since Malifaux is so popular here. Not being a huge fan of Wyrd’s particular brand of cheesecake, I picked a crew that would have that only minimally, so went with Zoraida, who is an ancient witch who likes hanging around in a swamp with tree-dudes and frog-dudes and weird depressed skull-faced obese fairies.

OK, I did get a Doppelganger, who is nominally sexy, but in an icky body horror kind of way, so she gets a pass. I’ve only got a half dozen or so games in, but I like the system and love (most of) the models, so I’m hoping to stick with it a bit.

Aside from that, though, there isn’t too much in the fantasy wargaming world that tickles my fancy. Frostgrave is pretty big here, but leaves me a bit cold with its D20-based (and therefore pretty swingy) system, and while I’d take up Fantasy Flight’s new Runewars game in a heartbeat – cool models and specialty dice, count me in! – nobody else locally is interested so I’m resisting the urge to get a starter (ridonkulous shipping charges to Japan help there, to be honest).

Author: chubugamer

I'm an American who has been living (and gaming) in Japan since the mid-90s.

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