D&D General Why Isn't There a D&D Table Top Miniatures War Game?

teitan

Legend
I would love a D&D themed war game, I think it could be really cool, especially if it were 40k in scale and handled things like the recent boarding actions (very dungeon like) expansions or Kill Team up to Battle of Emridy Meadows kind of stuff.

The problem would be prices... with Wizkids having a lock on D&D branded miniatures now and seeing how overpriced the Framewerks were for what you got, it would make GW flinch at the cost. Plus the cost on Onslaught being an indicator of where they would go on such a project money wise? I could handle if it were GW prices, I don't mind those but Wizkids is getting downright ridiculous. Plus competing with Sigmar/TOW they would have to go to the same style models or it's a moot product.

Using the CC-BY I wonder if someone could make a minis agnostic war game for D&D and it be feasible.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

MGibster

Legend
The problem would be prices... with Wizkids having a lock on D&D branded miniatures now and seeing how overpriced the Framewerks were for what you got, it would make GW flinch at the cost.
I've still never seen any of the framework models in the wild. The kobolds and orcs were especially pricey, but I wanted to buy an individual hero just to see if they were any good.
 

TheSword

Legend
I'm a big fan of painting miniatures and using them not just for role playing games but also for table top miniatures war games. Over the years, I've bought and played a lot of them including Clan War (for Legend of the Five Rings), Warzone, Battletech, and some lesser known games you haven't heard of like Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k. But it suddenly struck me today, why isn't there a D&D table top war game?

I am vaguely aware that D&D has made some attempts at producing some miniatures games.

Chainmail: This was kind of the precursor to D&D itself, but I was surprised to learn that TSR continued publishing it until 1985.

Battlesystem: This was produced for both 1st and 2nd edition AD&D. I remember seeing this on the shelf of my local game store, but I had zero interest in this type of game back then. I don't have any direct knowledge of it, but I hear good things about the 2nd edition version.

Chainmail: Back in 2001, WotC released another version of Chainmail. I remember buying a few miniatures, but never playing this one. At the time, I wasn't really in the market for miniatures games. Other than sharing a name, I don't think this has anything to do with the original game.

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game: This came out in 2003 after they stopped producing Chainmail. Unlike most miniatures war games, you bought pre-painted miniatures and used those. I never played this game because I don't but pre-painted miniatures, but it was popular enough to last until 2011.

Despite being present in one form or another for decades, D&D doesn't seem to have a lot of luck on the fantasy war game front. And I'm wondering why? The recipe for a successful game is there. You've got years of intellectual property and a wide variety of factions which means plenty of options for interesting individual models and units. If you had a game from the Forgotten Realms you've got armies from Thay, the Sword Coast, and other regions and it could be just as compelling as Warhammer from Games Workshop. I'm a little surprised TSR/WotC hasn't done better in this area.
I think there are a few things you need for a tabletop wargame and D&D lacks all of them.

1. Consistent and varied miniatures. There have to be a enough variation in the same miniatures so that they look good on the table but similar enough that they share a style and look good on the table. That requires a huge stock of miniatures designed by the same people. Sure I can find a hundred different gnoll minis but if I lined them up on the table every one would be a different person’s idea of a gnoll.

2. You need factions. D&D doesn’t really have many wide ranging factions of NPCs/Creatures that would have enough variety to make a good ‘army’. Any grouping would be arbitrary. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done only that D&D doesn’t really fall that way.

3. You need balance and complexity. There needs to be a balanced enough ruleset which is simultaneously complex enough to allow someone to replay. That is a tough needle to thread and I’m not sure WotC has the skill or even desire to make those kinds of rules.

4. You need to keep it interesting. More releases, more models, more editions, more updates. Any wargame that expects to stay current once released needs these. It’s an inherently repetitive game which costs a lot of money relatively speaking - that’s not a great combination. Getting folks hooked on plastic crack isn’t easy.

Just my thoughts. As much as I’ve grown tired of GW after ploughing 10s of thousands into the hobby, I do think they are masters of those four points.
 

I think there are a few things you need for a tabletop wargame and D&D lacks all of them.

1. Consistent and varied miniatures. There have to be a enough variation in the same miniatures so that they look good on the table but similar enough that they share a style and look good on the table. That requires a huge stock of miniatures designed by the same people. Sure I can find a hundred different gnoll minis but if I lined them up on the table every one would be a different person’s idea of a gnoll.

2. You need factions. D&D doesn’t really have many wide ranging factions of NPCs/Creatures that would have enough variety to make a good ‘army’. Any grouping would be arbitrary. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done only that D&D doesn’t really fall that way.

3. You need balance and complexity. There needs to be a balanced enough ruleset which is simultaneously complex enough to allow someone to replay. That is a tough needle to thread and I’m not sure WotC has the skill or even desire to make those kinds of rules.

4. You need to keep it interesting. More releases, more models, more editions, more updates. Any wargame that expects to stay current once released needs these. It’s an inherently repetitive game which costs a lot of money relatively speaking - that’s not a great combination. Getting folks hooked on plastic crack isn’t easy.

Just my thoughts. As much as I’ve grown tired of GW after ploughing 10s of thousands into the hobby, I do think they are masters of those four points.
These are good points, and help to explain why Warhammer was successful. Establishing the minis requires a substantial capital investment. But Games Workshop started out selling the minis, and built the game off them. And they created a setting were "everyone is a bad guy", thus avoiding the "good guys win" prejudice of a typical fantasy setting.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I would love a D&D themed war game, I think it could be really cool, especially if it were 40k in scale and handled things like the recent boarding actions (very dungeon like) expansions or Kill Team up to Battle of Emridy Meadows kind of stuff.

The problem would be prices... with Wizkids having a lock on D&D branded miniatures now and seeing how overpriced the Framewerks were for what you got, it would make GW flinch at the cost. Plus the cost on Onslaught being an indicator of where they would go on such a project money wise? I could handle if it were GW prices, I don't mind those but Wizkids is getting downright ridiculous. Plus competing with Sigmar/TOW they would have to go to the same style models or it's a moot product.

Using the CC-BY I wonder if someone could make a minis agnostic war game for D&D and it be feasible.
As we've been discussing, there's no reason to be beholden to Wizkids minis, you could use Reaper minis instead if you wanted to, or the likes of Pathfinder Pawns or a dozen other options.

For that matter, the old Chainmail/3E/4E game covers the D&D range pretty well, it would just be a matter of getting a hold of the cards and using those - or possibly using them as a base. No need to reinvent the wheel. Heck, Frostgrave might cover what you're talking about right now.

I certainly understand the desire folks have for the company brand to produce something - it standardizes the rules, the motif and supply chain, but if a company can't or won't do it at a reasonable price, then in my opinion the customer has the right to come up with their own solution for themselves (within what is legal).
 

MGibster

Legend
Consistent and varied miniatures. There have to be a enough variation in the same miniatures so that they look good on the table but similar enough that they share a style and look good on the table. That requires a huge stock of miniatures designed by the same people.
WotC/Hasbro would need to take direct control of producing miniatures.

You need factions. D&D doesn’t really have many wide ranging factions of NPCs/Creatures that would have enough variety to make a good ‘army’.
D&D has plenty of factions. The Sword Coast itself has multiple nations including Calimshan and Amn, Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter and Baldur's Gate could be their own factions. And if you branch out you've got Cormyr, Thar, Thay, and tons of tiny little factions either already created or can be created. And given that you could make a good army entirely of just orcs and goblins, I think D&D has plenty of variety.
You need balance and complexity. There needs to be a balanced enough ruleset which is simultaneously complex enough to allow someone to replay. That is a tough needle to thread and I’m not sure WotC has the skill or even desire to make those kinds of rules.
You're right, they do need a decent set of rules. But even with a decent set of rules they might not be successful.

Just my thoughts. As much as I’ve grown tired of GW after ploughing 10s of thousands into the hobby, I do think they are masters of those four points.
You might be one of few people on Earth who thinks GW are masters of "balance."
 

Clint_L

Hero
I don't see 3d printing at home really catching on until the print resolution is there. It's getting close on the industrial machines using resin, and Reaper's new 3d printed plastics look promising, so it's probably only a matter of a few years until that quality is available at home.

I get most of my miniatures from Kickstarters and sales, and they are still pretty affordable if you are patient.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I don't see 3d printing at home really catching on until the print resolution is there. It's getting close on the industrial machines using resin, and Reaper's new 3d printed plastics look promising, so it's probably only a matter of a few years until that quality is available at home.

I get most of my miniatures from Kickstarters and sales, and they are still pretty affordable if you are patient.
Its already there. Its just that the most affordable 3D printers are still lagging behind. Eventually the Cadillac pricing will come down on the top machines.
 

Stormonu

Legend
D&D has plenty of factions. The Sword Coast itself has multiple nations including Calimshan and Amn, Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter and Baldur's Gate could be their own factions. And if you branch out you've got Cormyr, Thar, Thay, and tons of tiny little factions either already created or can be created. And given that you could make a good army entirely of just orcs and goblins, I think D&D has plenty of variety.
On top of that, you have groups like the Lord's Alliance, Harpers, Zhentarim, various Pirates of the Fallen Sea, The Red Hand of Doom, Cult of the Dragon, and the like - and that's just for FR. Get into Dragonlance, and there'd be Knights of Solamnia, Wizardly Orders, Dragonarmy, Silvanesti and other various groups and countries you could organize forces around.

Chainmail made its own factions for the game as well - Ahmut's Legion (undead), Drazen's Horde (orcs & goblins), Kilsek (drow), Mordengard (dwarves & gnomes), Naresh (gnolls & demons), Ravilla (elves & drakes) and Thalos (human clerics & paladins).
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top