Thursday, August 13, 2015

What am I playing Part 2: Miniature Board Games and Miniature Games

Yesterday we spent some time reviewing the game play history in relation to this blog progressing to some of what I have been playing recently. I talked about the board games I had been playing most, at least those that were "typical" board games. I also touched on at least one card game (Xenoshyft) which I've been playing around with. I didn't mention it partly because I don't own it, but I did spend a fair bit of time playing Sentinels of the Multiverse with my local gaming group.

Continuing in the thread of what I have been playing lately we move into miniature board games. I recently discussed a topic related to this on Gamers Lounge Ep. 107 - Boards and Miniatures. There is a subset of games recently gaining popularity which combine tabletop war gaming quality miniatures with the components of a traditional board game to deliver a hybrid experience. One of the first times I ran into this style of game was with Wyrd Miniatures Puppetwars and Soda Pop Miniatures Super Dungeon Explore. At the time I found the hybrid style game to be unique, interesting, and a little odd.  Over the past couple years these types of games have really come into their own and I find a significant portion of my recent gaming time is spent on these games. Five specific games rise to the forefront when looking at what I've been playing:


Created by Guillotine games and produced by Cool Mini or Not, Zombicide has swept the board gaming scene. Starting with a highly successful kickstarter three years ago, Zombicide has since turned out 2 additional kickstarters for producing expansions for the original game and a third kickstarter to launch a new fantasy version of the game. Zombicide is a favorite game in my house, with my wife and daughters regularly clamoring to play. It's become a go-to family game for us.

Super Dungeon Explore

Super Dungeon Explore (SDE) has been around for several years, but recently received an update to allow for both cooperative and 1 vs party play. Originally SDE was set up with a single player filling the role of Console, with the responsibility to playing the monsters in the dungeon and killing off the intrepid party of heroes. The other players (1-5 other players) took on the roles of heroes in a dungeon delving party and were trying to defeat the dungeon Boss. SDE was recently (January 2015) updated to a second edition, which include the Classic version of the game (with cleaned up rules) along with a cooperative version of the game known as Arcade style. This cooperative version raised interest for the game in my family and has opened opportunities for us to play together against the board. Added in the cute Chibi style models and my family is becoming fond of the game. I'll have a review of the Arcade version coming in the near future.


Aetherium is one of the best games I've played in years, across all genres of games I play. It is incredibly well built, has very clear rules, and does a fantastic job of combining both the tactical and strategic portions of a miniature war game with the ease of play and rules from a board game. This game is simply amazing, with the one drawback of being created and produced by a small game company (funded via kickstater) lacking in distribution. I am looking forward to the day this game gains wider distribution and more people begin to discover it.

Star Wars X-Wing

Fantasy Flight Games was traditionally known for creating and producing card games and board games. They decided to dip their toes into miniature gaming with a couple games, one of which was X-Wing. This is a dog-fighting ship combat game based in the Star Wars universe and incorporating all the excitement of the small ship battles from the movies. My daughter is becoming a big Star Wars fan, and upon learning there was a game where she could pilot an X-Wing or the Millennium Falcon, she had to have it. I primarily get games of X-Wing in with my daughter, and she regularly beats me at the game.

Star Wars Armada

Following the success (smashing success) of X-Wing, Fantasy Flight games expanded their footprint within the Star Wars galaxy by releasing Armada. This takes the ship battles of X-Wing and escalates them to Capital Ship size. They reduce the interaction of "pant on fire" dog-fighting and built an excellent fleet style engagement game. Armada incorporates a command system which really gives you the experience of needing to plan out the moves of massive battleships clashing across a stellar battlefield. I've only gotten a couple games in with my daughter and one of my gaming groups, but the game is fantastic and I've been slowly expanding our fleets.

Tabletop Miniature Wargames

Although this post is quickly gaining length I feel we can get through this last section pretty quickly. At heart I am a miniature wargamer and thoroughly enjoy playing tabletop mini wargames. I have an article coming talking about the hobby side of gaming and how I recently became reenergized for painting my models. There are a couple mini games I'm playing and two which are becoming primary games for me.

Wild West Exodus (WWX)

I still have 3 WWX armies packed nicely in my bag and mostly painted. I have my Enlightened army, which was beautifully commission painted by Mini's by Zach. I also have kept my Union and Warrior Nation armies which I painted myself. Overall I'm not playing this game much at all anymore, although I'm open to the occasional game here and there. It's certainly not a primary, but the occasional game is fun at a skirmish no-vehicle level.

Warmachine & Hordes (WM/H)

I have a fairly extensive Legion of Everblight army for WM/H and will occasionally pull out the models and play a game. Over the 2+ years I've owned the army I've gotten some of it commission painted and have played maybe 15 games in total. WM/H can be a fun game, but I do not enjoy it enough to jump in at the level that is required for it to be a primary game for me. This can be frustrating as the local WM/H scene is incredibly strong in my area, regularly finding 16+ players on my typical gaming night.

Wrath of Kings (WOK)

WOK is currently filling my Squad/Army scale game niche. I enjoy this game more that WM/H and have 2 armies for it. I've been playing around with both the Goritsi (Vampires and Werewolves) and the Shael Han (Human Monks) in my games. There is a small scene locally which is very slowly growing. This is one of the two primary games I've been playing lately, and we're starting to see a smaller competitive scene building within an hour of where I regularly play.

Guild Ball

Guild Ball is an open field combination of a skirmish and a sports game. I have not previously been excited to play sports games on the market but Guildball's inclusion of an open field and skirmish game mechanics grabbed my interest. A friend and I jointly backed the kickstarter campaign for Guild Ball, with him grabbing 2 of the 8 teams and me grabbing 5 teams. I've been slowly building and painting my teams, grabbing games where I can. The more I play this game the more I enjoy it, and it's quickly becoming my primary mini-wargaming game.

Now your up to date on what I've been playing lately. You can see that although the blog had gone quiet for a while I did not stop gaming. Those game's I've written about in this and the previous post are the bulk of the games which are most popular for me, but only a slice of all the games I've tried. I have been starting to keep track of the games I own on Board Game Geek and should really start tracking my game plays as well. I also have more games coming via Kickstarters I've backed and plan to review those as I receive them and get to play.

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