Econimical Table-top miniature battles: The quest begins...
David Ausloos
Belgium
Ranst
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Ok, I've been browsing the wonderful world of tabletop battlesystems for some time now, checking wich games might please me, but thanks to countless choices it's been a hard ride already, finding the ultimate gem.
Here's what I'm looking for in the game I want to invest in:

- Easy-to-learn rules are essential: I want to have the basic game-mechanics explained in 15 minutes tops to a new group of volunteers. Constantly looking up details in the manual is absolutely a no-no. For me, the game has to be streamlined, elegant, logical and above all, simple without losing strategic possibilities. In short: compact.

- The basic starter-set should contain enough material to start a few wel balanced battles without the need to buy endless streams of extra figures. I mean...these things most of the time cost an arm and a leg...and given the fact I don't want to spend 150 dollars upwards on a game it is essential that the basic set should offer me perfect value for money.

Here are some possibilities that appeal to me.
Please add your own suggestions...
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26. Board Game: BrikWars [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:5253]
A Morris
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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Cheap might not be the word here, but I just bet you won't have problems getting the others in your group to go and pick up some Lego...

I haven't tried this one, but I can't see it as being too difficult.
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27. Board Game: The Sword and the Flame [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:3302]
Noel
United States
Unspecified
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Now THIS is a great choice, although I doubt many people here have heard of it (being a boardgame place, and all). The rules are cheap (in the $20 range, if I recall correctly), can be bought through Amazon.com Zshops (from the publisher And That's The Way It Was), are designed to be used by beginners (but once you start playing, you'll probably stick with it), have been played for 30 years (with only a few new editions, unlike so many other of these games) and the figures available are incredibly inexpesive if you go with Airfix 1/72 or similar plastic models (low dollars will get you loads of unpainted plastic goodness). If you think that you would like the Victorian period of colonialism, then you simply can't go wrong with this one.
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28. Board Game: BrickMech [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
A Morris
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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Another option if you are looking for larger vehicle on vehicle battles. The rules for this will take less than 15 minutes to read...
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29. Board Game: Hybrid [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1803]
Randall Thomas
United States
Lancaster
Pennsylvania
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I've recently started playing this. It's a skirmish board game with miniatures compatible with the tabletop skirmish game Confrontation, which is in turn compatible with Rag Narok, for larger army playing.

Rules are pretty straight forward, but you can add complexities as you like with Confrontation.

Hybrid is affordable. Additional minis can be pricey, but their quality is unmatched and you know what you're getting. No "blind" collectible boxes!.
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30. Board Game: BattleTech [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:644]
フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
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What about a boxed set of Classic Battletech? Around 5 figures per side (cardboard supplied, but you can upgrade to plastic or metal easily), not too complex, and no scenery to worry about cramming into the box? (Though you could use scenery if you wanted). Don't let the hexmap put you off, it's a minis game at heart.

Easily obtainable at any gaming store, and an order of magnitude cheaper than Warhammer etc.
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31. Board Game: Monster Island [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:5118]
j b Goodwin

Lynchburg
Virginia
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This is currently my favorite cheap miniatures game. It comes with fold-up paper miniatures, but is made to play with Everything's-a-dollar dinosaurs or action figures. Easy-to-use character creation, fast combat, and pregenerated monsters make this a great daikaiju (Giant Monster)fest!
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32. Board Game: Diceland: Deep White Sea [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2798]
Zachary Woolever
United States
Unspecified
Illinois
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Here is a table top miniatures game with easy to learn rules and it will definetely not cost you an arm and a leg. Its made by a company called cheapass games this may not be a very heavy game but it does have some dexterity elements as you must throw your dice onto the board from a distance then you move them by pushing down on their sides. and hey if you buy another game this one is still cheap enough to get on the side.
 
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33. Board Game: Hordes of the Things [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:2109]
Johan Pettersson
Sweden
Smygehamn
Skåne
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But wait a minute, I think we have missed this one: Hordes of the thing, HOTT.

And yes, it is hot.

It's a sistergame with DBA with the same mechanism, but with possibilites for fantasy and SF armies also. Don't forget to check the HOTT:s inofficial homepage, "the Stronghold"
http://www.btinternet.com/~alan.catherine/wargames/strong.ht...
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34. Board Game: Cromwell 2026 [Average Rating:6.22 Unranked]
Stuart Hill
United Kingdom
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This may not be quite what your after, but it seems to tick a lot of your boxes as it’s a battle game, with miniatures, balanced forces (they’re identical), relatively cheap game and very compact rules. 2 double sided A4 pages (one side is an example of the game in action). A simple player aid sheet gives a breakdown of unit movement, dice and any special rules.
I haven’t played this yet as I only received it yesterday, but it looks like the different abilities of each unit should give a reasonable level of strategy. For those of you with an interest in Irish history don’t let the name put you off.
 
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35. Board Game: Urban War [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:5703]
Steven Heinrich
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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This game is the "Urban" variation of Void, which had to be set aside by its parent company, and ended up hurting sales in the gaming stores. However, they aren't making the same mistakes as Warzone 2ed or Vor and are approaching the issue with a new look and attitude. I think this will probably FAR surpass it's parent base game and the minis can move up into the VOID game for full warfare from what I understand. It is also economical, since you are only playing a few minis at a time, skirmish style, and need not spend your life savings. The Warstore has set up preordering recently for the Base set boxes for all of the factions at $70. If you go to the website, you can look at the minis and art....just incredible stuff. After being burned by so many mini companies, it takes ALOT to get me excited, but this game has managed to do that.

Here is the website:

http://www.urbanmammoth.com/um/html/home.htm
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36. Board Game: Chronopia: War in the Eternal Realm [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:5055]
 
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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I wanted to write an in-depth description and overview of the tactical table-top game Chronopia. I know that a lot of the people on this site are jaded, and many of the members have collections of 100+ different games. However, Chronopia is a true gem that stands out as the ultimate fantasy table top wargame.

When I played Chronopia for the first time, it was like learning to play D&D for the first time all over again. The system is simply amazing. A typical game involves a conflict of two opposing forces in a dark-fantasy setting. The races are not your generic; Human - Elf - Dwarf - Orc. The Elves are heavily armored, and their Wizards get power from a mystical Lotus plant. The Dwarves worship their ancestors as huge beast totems they take into battle, and the Orc's are civilized and elegant in an Arabic theme. The story and atmosphere of the game is outstanding.

Now you might be thinking, "a miniatures game, I don't play miniatures games" - well my friend, I would beg you to consider trying Chronopia.

Chronopia is inexpensive to get into. A typical army has about 20 figures per side. You can buy a nice army for about $75.00. The figures are unique and extremely cool. The rulebook is amazing at over 350 pages. It is the only book you need, as it has all of the army lists and all of the options within its pages.

Painting Chronopia figures is a breeze -and doesn't take a lot of time. I can paint an entire Chronopia army in an evening, and the army looks good when together on the tabletop. The secret is two prime the models black, then pick a base color to drybrush the army in. After this, go back and drybrush key areas of the model with one or two other colors.

Now to the meet of the game; The Rules. This is the part about Chronopia that makes it always a delight to play. I tell you, after you play Chronopia other games just won’t give you the "same fix".

The Chronopia engine uses an alternate turn activation system. This really boils down to 1 player moving 1 unit in his army, and than his opponent moves 1 unit in his army. This continues back and fourth until the turn is over.

This creates such of a balance and elegance in the game, that it is a delight to play. Initiative does not hold major importance in the game. You can loose initiative every turn, and still easily win.

Each figure within a unit has a certain amount of actions. A typical figure has two actions, although some powerful or specialized figures get more than two. A figure expends an action to move, attack, shoot, use a special ability, cast a spell, etc. One the figure has expended all of it's actions, the next figure in the unit expends it's actions. This continues until each figure in the unit has gone, at which point your opponent than activates one of his units and continues the process.

There are many "special" moves a figure can do (i.e. aim, concentrate, run, hide, etc) but they are beyond the scope of this article.

The combat system is simply the best I have ever seen anywhere. Chronopia is the closest "re-creation" I have ever seen to true combat in a real battle situation. At least as "real" as a game with little figures can get. ;-)

Chronopia uses a twenty-sided die (D20) for everything; including combat. A figure typically has a close combat and ranged combat rating. A figure expends an action and needs to roll its combat rating OR LESS on a twenty-sided die to hit. If it is successful the attack causes a certain amount of damage. The figure taking the damage must subtract it from it's armor rating. The figure taking the damage must then roll a twenty-sided die and reach the adjusted number OR LESS to prevent the damage. IF the roll fails, the figure takes a wound. Most figures only have a single wound, so combat can be fast and very, very bloody.
It is worth mentioning that a roll of "1" on an attack roll, is an automatic wound with no chance for an armor roll. This makes it possible for the smallest goblin to fell a noble Knight or put a wound on a raging demon.

Heroes and powerful monsters are strong in Chronopia, but woe to them that are surrounded by a standard unit of grunts. The hero or monster is likely to be over-run and taken down in a shower of blood. Chronopia has several modifiers for combat, and let's just say there is strength in numbers.

Magic in Chronopia can be powerful. But it is not guaranteed. A spellcaster has a power rating, and like everything in the game he has two roll using his power rating as a baseline (modified by the power of the spell). A failure on the power roll indicates that spell has failed.

I could really keep going on and on about this wonderful game. Just to set the record straight, I am in no way affiliated or in any contact with the manufacturer. I am just a die hard gamer that is truly "lucky" to have found Chronopia in all of it's elegance, grace, and beauty. I hope that you may be able to experience this wonderful game as well.

May you serve the Oneking Well!!
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37. Board Game: Panzer Squadron [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Thomas Kurz
Austria
Unspecified
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If you are looking for a cheap tabletop, it cant get mucht cheaper than that.

All you need is two tanks a side and off you go. The rulepack has everything you need.

Rules are very simple and can be learned in a few minutes.
The stats of the tanks are realistic and it gives a good feeling. Try taking on a kingtiger from the front and you know how the allies must have felt when they met one of these beasts.

The minis are of very high quality and well painted. Since they are resin minis you dont get the bent barrels like in the clix figures. The scale of the minis is 1:144.
 
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38. Board Game: Warhammer [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:959]
Peter Marchlewitz
Canada
Unspecified
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Yes, Warhammer can be economical too. I own many minis games. Warmachine and Confrontation are fine, as they are both skirmish oriented. I have however, spent $200 CA on a 500 point army for Warmachine, and about the same for Confrontation, not including the rulebooks. I probably could have spend a little less had I known exactly what I wanted for each, although I'm sure I would've paid in the high 100s no matter how I configured it. Fewer figs, generally mean fewer bucks. Warhammer Fantasy can be played like this as well. You don't even need the rulebook. Skirmish uses the same rules as Mordheim ( its smaller cousin ) and these rules are freely downloadable. The skirmish rules are also available on Games Workshop's site.
Great thing about skirmish? No unit formations, no restrictions on numbers of units and who can fight along side whom etc.
You can easily buy a boxed core set of troops ( $40.00 CA ) and perhaps a hero as a leader ( $ 12.99) and have a fun game by choosing and outfitting anywhere from 100-250 points for example. Getting the army book might be a good idea, although the reference sheets for each faction are also downloadable.
Warhammer Warbands is also an interesting idea. You can have larger points warbands, although they could start low like in the skirmish points range and go as high as perhaps 400 or a little more. Warbands have unit formation movement however. It is essentially Warhammer in small scale. even the units can have a smaller legal amount of figs in them. But...you'd definately need to get the rule book.
I think skirmish is a better bet. It is a good game to play in clubs at school.
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39. Board Game: Dirtside II [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:3183]
Andreas Udby
United States
Spokane
Washington
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Dirtside II is a free download now from www.gzg.com, and is intended to be a generic rule set allowing you to use any minis you want. I have six different Dirtside armies and none of them cost me more than $40. A couple only cost me $15, in fact, which is pretty darn good.
 
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40. Board Game: Full Thrust [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1479]
Andreas Udby
United States
Spokane
Washington
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Full Thrust is another great rule set from Ground Zero Games, and, like Dirtside, the rules (plus the three expansions) are available as free PDF downloads from www.gzg.com. This game also allows you to use any minis you want -- I've seen fleets built using Micro Machines, ships made from balsa and plastic bitz, and all sorts of innovative and inexpensive solutions.
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41. Board Game: Starmada [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:5293]
Andreas Udby
United States
Spokane
Washington
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Starmada is another generic ruleset. Available as a $10 PDF download, with excellent online support and a very versatile ship-building spreadsheet, Starmada allows use of any minis whatsoever. www.mj12games.com
 
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42. Board Game: Battlefield Evolution [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:5059]
Aaron Gelb
United States
El Segundo
California
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This game is slated to come out early '07...a long time since this list started!!! But this game is fairly priced, detailed, and you know it has a good chance of playability as its the same system as Starship Troopers...and best part about it...the minis come prepainted! You can have a small skirmish game, or an all out warzone! 4 factions to start, chinese, USA, britain(part of the euronations) and the middle east. Different platoon types, tanks, fast attack vehicles, commanders, anti air guns, different weapon types, aircraft! this game will have it all, and you'll save money on painting. more factions to be released(Germany and France)
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43. Board Game: Trinity: Battleground [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:7621]
Robert Creasman
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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If you want cheap, this would be a good one. A highly versatile and expandable sci-fi skirmish system that relies on D10 rolls for everything, and uses a hidden command system for initiative. The rules are fairly easy, but allow for a lot of customization. Matches are scalable based off of points, and the game comes with about 2 dozen miniatures. You can use either the pre-generated characters straight out of the box, or you can create / customize your own. The pre-generated characters match 6 on 6 (5 single figures and a squad).

Unfortunately, the game went out of print shortly after release, which was a real shame. The boxed set can usually be had on Ebay for around $20, and is definitely worth the price. If you've ever played any other White Wolf RPG's you'll feel right at home with the system.
 
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44. Board Game: AT-43 Initiation Set: Operation Damocles [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1551]
Heng Wang
United States
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From the makers of Hybrid and Confrontation, comes this prepainted game. The starter set is $80 (enough miniatures for two players to start out with), and is structured so you learn the rules through six training scenarios, which is a nice touch.
The cool thing about this game is that the factory paint can be painted over, allowing both paint-haters and paint-hobbyists to enjoy the game.
Rules are pretty simple, but some of the translation is kinda goofy sounding (thankfully, none of it is totally wrong). Movement is simple, and so is shooting (basically accuracy decreases over range, so you have to roll higher).

The Initiation Set is $80, good for splitting with a friend, or you can just buy the rulebook for $25 and start buying unit boxes for the side you want to play (there are 2 right now, with a total of 4 in the game by the end of this year). The unit boxes are $25-35 where I am and usually consist of either a squad of troopers or a vehicle.
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45. Board Game: Zombie Plague [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2094]
 
Mike Bourgeois
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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I'm biased but hardly care... Zombie Plague isn't exactly a tabletop minis game but you can certainly have fun playing the game on various maps available for download from the Geek or get some Hero/Horror/Whatever Clix maps and use them as well. Rules are dead simple... 15 minutes would have you rolling. You need 5 minis to play a two player game... 1 survivor and 4 zombies... zombies go up by 4 for every new survivor you intro. This will play as well solo as it will with a bunch of friends on a night out.

Buy a bag of 100 zombies from the Zombies board game for about $10 and Mega Miniatures offers 20 civilians for about $20. Download the map for free along with rules and have it printed at... well whatever printers you have locally or do it yourself at home... color printing is best cause it just looks better. So say altogether about $50 (that's US funds so your mileage may vary).

With the minis you've bought you can also try other great horror based games like Dead Walk Again and Dead of Night.

there are four maps i believe on the geek... so that should let you run and gun the zombies for a good while.
 
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46. Board Game Accessory: Wings of War: Miniatures
 
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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OK, the thread's been dead for a while, but thread necromancy isn't a crime. (Right?) Wings of War may not have a unified starter set (in the US, anyway), but it is trivial to explain, and the minis are quite nice. Get a copy of Famous Aces for the rules, then buy planes until you have one for each player. If someone shows up late, they can play with the 2-D cards as a penalty .
 
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47. Board Game: Mighty Armies [Average Rating:6.73 Unranked]
Snot King

Illinois
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Am I the only one around here who likes this game? Very similar to DBA, but the rules are: a) easier to read, b) cheaper, c) more available. Or am I missing something?
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48. Board Game: Mighty Armies: Ancients [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Snot King

Illinois
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Same as above, only much more similar to DBA.
 
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49. Board Game: USX Modern Day Heroes [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Jacob Stauttener
Canada
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RAFM has a fantastic game with USX. Unit boxes are just $30 each and all you need to play is two unit boxes (of 10 minis each) or the starter set for $40. It's a great deal.
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50. Board Game: England Invaded [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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Rules are 24 pages. Starter set is £12 and has 10 figures.
Setting is a weird WWI infantry invasion of England.
OTW 01 & OTW 03 optionally
Additional figures are 80p each.
individual figs

 
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