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Subject: What's the competition for best miniatures in a board game rss

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Drew Olds
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Some distracting thoughts from another thread got me thinking about this topic. What are all of the top miniatures in board games?

Also, can we do some side by side comparisons to examine the details?

Here's the top tier list as I see it (I am leaving out tabletop wargames like Arena Rex or Malifaux as they muddy the waters).

Kingdom Death: Monster
Journey: Wrath of Demons
The Others: 7 Deadly Sins
Blood Rage
Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower
Cthulhu Wars

Are there any other contenders for the top spot?

Does anyone have some of these games and want to post side by side photographs?
 
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Henry Akeley
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Re: Competition for best miniatures in a board game
Well if we are talking strictly board games (which Kingdom Death is only sort of a board game, more of an RPG, but I digress) then no, Kingdom Death blows everything else out of the water no contest.

However if you open up the field to miniatures games then it has competition. For instance I would argue Arena Rex gives Kingdom Death minis a run for their money. Some AR minis I like more than KD ones (not there are any analogues).
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Drew Olds
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Arena Rex minis are on par with the Kingdom Death resin lineup, and are superior to kdm plastics.

There are a few lines that are that good, but Arena Rex might be the only one with a game attached to it (I need to see more Infamy minis in person, as the ones I've seen have been quite good).
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Caleb Kester
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I wish there was more buzz about Arena Rex. It looks like a great game and what i've heard is good. I just have trouble pulling the trigger on the game (though I could see myself using those mini's as proxies in KDM).
 
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Drew Olds
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ObsoleteThree wrote:
I wish there was more buzz about Arena Rex. It looks like a great game and what i've heard is good. I just have trouble pulling the trigger on the game (though I could see myself using those mini's as proxies in KDM).


You want me to sell you on Arena Rex? Well the rules are free, the game plays fast, and the minis look like this:



Plus, the forces are so small that you can really spend the time making them look like the deserve.
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Caleb Kester
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odinsgrandson wrote:
ObsoleteThree wrote:
I wish there was more buzz about Arena Rex. It looks like a great game and what i've heard is good. I just have trouble pulling the trigger on the game (though I could see myself using those mini's as proxies in KDM).


You want me to sell you on Arena Rex? Well the rules are free, the game plays fast, and the minis look like this:

Plus, the forces are so small that you can really spend the time making them look like the deserve.


Ha, I know i know I keep meaning to download the rules and find someone to play them with.
 
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Krzysztof RabidBlackDog
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But wasn't the topic about miniatures in a board game?
There are a lot of skirmish games and - on average - they tend to have better minis than most of the board games
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Drew Olds
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True. I did want to talk about board game minis.

Although, I'm not sure if that is staying true. Obviously KD:M has minis on par (better than most) tabletop wargames, but the others on my list also all have minis that can compete with tabletop wargames.

I've even painted up some Super Dungeon Explore stuff and had comments about the quality of the "board game pieces."

I think the combined efforts of Kickstarter companies (CMON included) have really gone a ways to narrow that gap between board game minis and tabletop wargame minis.

An example -GW releases a game with minis on par with its wargames, and they're not immediately the best minis in a board game out there (very different from when they released 3rd ed Space Hulk).


*edit- replaced an off topic rant with on topic rant
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Henry Akeley
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odinsgrandson wrote:
ObsoleteThree wrote:
I wish there was more buzz about Arena Rex. It looks like a great game and what i've heard is good. I just have trouble pulling the trigger on the game (though I could see myself using those mini's as proxies in KDM).


You want me to sell you on Arena Rex? Well the rules are free, the game plays fast, and the minis look like this:



Plus, the forces are so small that you can really spend the time making them look like the deserve.


I'm very close to buying into Arena Rex.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Not sure how you can exclude Arena Rex... While it is a skirmish game it does have a story and system behind it, albeit no where near as deep as KD:M

The minis AR has available would rival anything the Poots'ster could knock out. Unfortunately the AR gameplay is lacking to me with no ranged weaponry.

Journey is another great selection (game and miniatures) and if the designers ever get off their asses and complete the KS fulfillment it will get higher marks.
 
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Zen Man
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Epidemius wrote:
Some AR minis I like more than KD ones (not there are any analogues).




In all seriousness though I have to look at the miniatures of Arena Rex then. I agree that I don't know if I can call KD:M a board game. I agree it's more like a RPG.
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Jim Patching
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I think the design of the monsters from Kingdom Death is great and very unique. I don't think the quality of the casting is gobsmacking though, particularly on the survivor figures. Some of the details on those seem a bit muddy to me. The GW miniatures from Silver Tower have much cleaner, crisper detailing.
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Nick Wirtz
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Arena rex is one of those games that straddles the board game/minis game line, but, if we're counting it, those minis are gorgeous. I think the standard is much higher than KD (though the price is, too-- a straight comparison would be resin-to-resin, which is much closer). Regardless of detail, I love AR's dynamic posing.

I would put Journey up there, except they managed to thoroughly screw up raking models up with each other, on a predictable grid.

I still think 3rd edition space hulk is just great snap fit. (This guy is probably my favorite snap fit or single piece ever made)


I think the detail on WHQ:ST is great, but, as a painter, they're a real pain. It's somewhat remarkable how much of a chore it is to paint those models. They're about the only line I'd say has a lot of technical merit, but which doesn't create models that are good to paint. It's weird.
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Thomas Patrick
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spiralingcadaver wrote:
Arena rex is one of those games that straddles the board game/minis game line, but, if we're counting it, those minis are gorgeous. I think the standard is much higher than KD (though the price is, too-- a straight comparison would be resin-to-resin, which is much closer). Regardless of detail, I love AR's dynamic posing.

I would put Journey up there, except they managed to thoroughly screw up raking models up with each other, on a predictable grid.

I still think 3rd edition space hulk is just great snap fit. (This guy is probably my favorite snap fit or single piece ever made)


I think the detail on WHQ:ST is great, but, as a painter, they're a real pain. It's somewhat remarkable how much of a chore it is to paint those models. They're about the only line I'd say has a lot of technical merit, but which doesn't create models that are good to paint. It's weird.


I LOVE that model! I put it out on all missions regardless of whether it should be or not.
 
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Henry Akeley
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spiralingcadaver wrote:

I still think 3rd edition space hulk is just great snap fit. (This guy is probably my favorite snap fit or single piece ever made)


.....is he dead or just sleeping? Or emulating the Big E?
 
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Drew Olds
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I've painted up the 3rd ed Space Hulk set quite a few times. I truly enjoyed them, however they do have some serious flaws which prevent me from ranking them so high:


- In order to get these minis dynamic and in so few parts, there is a crazy loss of detail around the mold lines. This means that a lot of details turn into smooth areas where there ought to be texture (markings on the pauldrons is warped, and skulls are often stretched out and mutated). The example dead terminator has this issue on his paldrons (the front and back of the cross has texture detailing that is missing from the top and bottom).


- The same issue comes from the poses- with important details getting lost due to mold lines and hard plastics. Worst example, one of the terminators is kneeling on one leg- and his toes are the same length as his lower leg.


- A few of the minis were constructed to look good from a front and back angle, but don't work if you consider both. Four of the genestealers are missing an arm. From the front, it appears to be tucked behind them, while from the back, it appears to be in front of them. Similarly, the stealer climbing the doorframe has skulls with faces on the back and front of their heads.


- A lot of it looks obviously sculpted with cut and paste. Piles of skulls shouldn't be symmetrical.


I'm not saying they aren't great minis- but these are some pretty big flaws to overlook (expecially when other parts of the minis look awesome.


The thing Ii'd contrast that against is the fact that none of those flaws are present in Kingdom Death minis, Journey minis, or any of CMON or Ninja Division's games. Even GW's range is free of these flaws (except they sometimes have lazy symmetry where it shouldn't be).
 
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Greg
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So I'm right in the middle of painting a set of Kingdom Death minis for a client, and a set of WHQ: Silver Tower for myself. I think the Silver Tower minis are better, but the style is so different it's hard to compare. Also the customization in KDM is pretty great; I've built a lot of different poses and they all look nice. So they get points for versatility.

I'm really looking forward to Rum & Bones and Massive Darkness. The renders are gorgeous; hope the actual minis live up to that promise.
 
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IMO, the board games (released so far) with the best miniatures are:

Myth
Arcadia Quest
Super Dungeon Explore
Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower
Kingdom Death
Cthulhu Wars
Journey: Wrath of Demons
Fireteam Zero
B-Sieged
Blood Rage
Zombicide: Black Plague
 
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Nick Wirtz
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odin's, those are some fair points- hadn't noticed the proportions thing, but there are definitely some issues with the line that could have been done more elegantly without sacrificing anything (unlike simplifying the mold line areas, which I think were handled well considering the low part count that was obviously a high priority in the design). Working with what limitations they had, I think they did a fantastic job- way better than silver tower's over-detailed models, despite the copy-pasting there being far subtler.

But, as someone who puts interesting poses as a pretty high priority in model design, KD's multipose (since we're talking about flaws some models of a line have) are really plain, out of the box--

-they don't have neck definition
-they have weird joins where they try to account for sockets (especially true on the unarmored torsos, and armpit lumps)
-there's a ton of copy-paste (often excusable, assuming they produce rather than hand-make the armor, but one in particular that stands out to me is the spidicules- 6 identical (not 1/2 mirrored) models, and the humans have the same faces (beards are apparently part of wearing the hood)
-they have their own proportion problems when not the straight, neutral poses
-a ton of the monsters (esp. nemeses) have really static poses, which has nothing to do with multipose constraints


And, regarding those other lines, CMON is hard to respond to since they produce a ton of lines, but Journey has some thoroughly spammed poses with minor variation (again, biggest complaint is they didn't bother to try to rank up a repeated pose that would go shoulder to shoulder a lot of the time); I was bored out of my mind painting basically the same chibi goblins or w/e over and over again for SDE: 2-3 poses in a really simple style isn't very exciting to work with.



...And none of this is to say that any of those lines are bad. Just, it's not too hard to find flaws. Even Arena Rex, which has some fantastic anatomy (I think the best average/standard in the industry, for a line of more than a few models), has some issues with that- one gladiator I painted is missing about 1/3 of his arm length, presumably because someone was sculpting based off of a given sketch/angle.
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Drew Olds
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@Nick- You aren't talking about the guy with the amaciated arm, are you? A friend of mine got that one and thought he got a mis-cast because he hadn't read the fluff.

You do make some good points, though.

You know, I honestly prefer single pose minis over multipose minis most of the time. When making all of the options available is the priority, usually the minis tend to look more samey than they ought to.

I've seen some people get some really good poses out of the KD:M minis, but I've seen a lot more where they're just sort of standing there (ala Space Hulk 1st ed).

In great contrast, the non-poseable survivors all look great. The four starting survivors are beautiful minis, the promo minis from the kickstarter and Gencon are all fabulous and dynamic (some expressive like Messenger of the Spiral Path or Alison, some dynamic like the Messenger of Humanity).

The resins get even better at this- Warriors of the Sun are some of my favorite minis ever.


So that is a flaw of the Kingdom Death Monster line. Not as bad as the "we made the same mini, but this time his weapon is an axe" thing that even Journey is guilty of. It's 2016, we should be past that.

I do agree that Super Dungeon varies their poses just enough, and it does well to keep me interested in painting the next one.


@Viper -You missed Ninja All Stars. Those minis are just as good as the Super Dungeon lineup (some people consider it a simple SDE expansion).

I left out the chibi games on purpose. While they have minis that give me great joy, they are hard to compare with other minis because their goals are so different. Chibi minis really need to have their own painting competitions because of this.

But as Greg pointed out, it is hard to compare a lot of miniatures lines because the styles are so vastly different.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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Was talking about Hermes, I think? Dude with tiny feathers on his helmet and a smallish sword and IIRC square shield, pointing. His pointing arm was short about a bicep. Looks fine from some angles, but from profile, it looked pretty funky.

On KD's monopose guys, agreed, they're much more equal with arena rex- AR has a better handle on anatomy, but KD has quite a bit of nice detail.
 
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Drew Olds
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Here are some thoughts on sculpting and the way the industry is going. I talked to Bobby Jackson a little while ago- he's sculpting everything digitally now. He told me of how he avoids making minis "look digitally sculpted" which it seems is a real pitfall.


- Recent GW minis often look digitally sculpted to me. Both in an overall impression and in details like how uniform the damage in the Bloodthirster's wings, or their new 'style' for doing wolf texture.

-Kingdom Death has done a very good job of using 3d printing without losing the charm of traditional sculpting. I look at them and do not find that I can tell whether any individual sculpt was sculpted digitally or traditionally (they don't have the tell-tale signs).

-Arena Rex does not use 3d printing at all. They're very insistent on this, at least at the moment. They're been using only very top tier sculptors, but they told me at Gencon that it is tricky to keep top sculptors like Sebastian Archer, even when you pay them a lot.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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odinsgrandson wrote:

-Arena Rex does not use 3d printing at all. They're very insistent on this, at least at the moment. They're been using only very top tier sculptors, but they told me at Gencon that it is tricky to keep top sculptors like Sebastian Archer, even when you pay them a lot.


Apparently... the Arena Rex KS was much delayed because Mikh was not motivated to finish his commissions/obligations (if this was not true someone please correct me). While I love Mikh's work I doubt I will back another project he is involved in... I'll still buy his work but only after it has been sent off for manufacturing.
The Arena Rex minis are definitely top tier for resins.
 
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Norman L.
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surprised no one has mentioned Conan.
 
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Drew Olds
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Conan isn't out yet, is it? I wanted to keep it to things we actually have in hand.

The scultps for Conan looked great, and I expect the quality to be quite high on the finished product, but the truth is, we don't really know until we've got the final mini in hand.

StevenE wrote:

The Arena Rex minis are definitely top tier for minis.


Hand poured resin is the best material as far as casting detail is concerned.

By the way, the folks at Red Republic have changed a few of the smaller parts to metal. They do this because said parts become too fragile in resin.

Also, this may be of interest- Privateer Press have "Miniatures Engineers" working for them. The job of these engineers is to take the sculpts from the artists and make sure they are not fragile, that they cast well and can be assembled.

It definitely influences some of their aesthetic, but when I think about it, I've never found one of their minis to be fragile.
 
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