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Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)

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Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009

Hello everyone! So I have got the bulk of my new wargame ready, but before creating more game-pieces and layouting the whole thing - I would love to hear some of your comments. Somehow I am still not comfortable with the thing at whole, maybe something is missing or other parts seem to tacked on. I appreciate all kinds of critique, information and input. Foremost I have to say that i put a whole s***load of work into this project, so I am not going to post all of the details here, just a rough outline to give a the idea (well, actually i dont think anyone would like to "copycat" this "beast of a game").

(I will use common terms like deck, creature, power etc. to explain the various game objects, although my game uses a unique terminology).


* Create a wargame WITHOUT ANY luckfactor.
* COMBINE a wargame with a boardgame and (to some degree) collectible factor.
* Build your army and the board WHILE playing - not before
* Try NOT to reinvent the wheel

Its a fantasy wargame, to be played like a mixture of both boardgames and
collectible trading card games. The game was inspired by typical wargames as
well as typical CCGS like Magination and Magic: The Gathering. Although the basic idea seems similar to WOTC's new Dreamblade, the actual ancestor is the old computer game called ARCHON. The game is designed for 2 to 6 players.

To play both players need a kind of deck that contains different cards. Dont
misunderstand the term "deck", its just a small collection of cards (18-30) the player uses during the game, you dont draw cards - no random factor involved. In
addition to that a special gameboard is needed with hexagonal tiles on it. last but not least the players need to bring some chits or counters to represent their units on the gameboard, and some tokens to put on their cards to keep track of stats.

each player builds a deck before the game starts, this deck is his "army" and contains (mostly) creatures as well as terrain, magic items and spells. the deck is not shuffled and the player may at any time look at all cards in his deck. the decks are quite small - so you basicly could hold them in your hand during the game. in addition that every player has a "leader" card, that represents a very powerful being. You place the cards before you to keep track of the creatures stats, but you use chits or counter to represent the creatures on the gameboard.

the gameboard is divided into hexagonal tiles, on each tile one single creature and a single terrain can be placed. the board is quite small, more like a hexagonal chessboard than a real wargames playground. all the hex-tiles are blank from the beginning and have no special effects. but, some of the hexes are
marked as special "places of power", those grant the player who has creatures located at them more "income".

there are two ways to win the game:
A. defeat the opponent "leader"
B. control a certain amount of "places of power" hexes by placing your creatures on them.

you start the game just with your "leader" in play. place the leader card before you and its matching chit on the gameboard, at your starting location (fixed).

the game uses a single resource, called "power". a player gains power at the beginning of his turn equal to the number of "places of power" (short: POP) under his control, PLUS one for his leader (so you have at least one power available no matter how many POP's you control. you loose unspent power at the end of your turn.

Alternating turns. during your turn you first gain power, then you may activate every single of your creatures in play and perform a specific amount of actions (like moving, attacking or using special abilities). your "leader" is the only unit in play that is able to summon new creatures to the gameboard, adjacent to him. you have to pay the units cost in "power" to do so. in addition to that every creature may place a terrain at the hex it is located, if there is none already - again, you have to pay the cost of the terrain, as it grants advantages. some creatures are able to use magic items and spells, again you have to pay in power to bring those into play (by placing the item or spell near the creatures card). once you finished your actions, your turn is over and after checking the victory conditions - its your opponents turn (or not).

the most common actions are movement, summon and attack. when moving your creature may move hexes up to its Movement Stat. as already mentioned, summoning
costs you valuable power points and only your leader can summon new creatures, there is no summoning sickness like in magic or other games. attacks work similar to the Magination CCG: you deal your creatures remaining hitpoints in damage to the target, lowering its hitpoints (and effectively reducing its capability to deal damage in the future). creatures with 0 hitpoints are removed from play and there is no "stricking back" (without the appropiate special ability). So your creatures can only deal damage during your turn.

so, all in all the creatures feature following stats:
* A power point cost
* Hitpoints
* The amount of actions they may perform per turn
* Movement Rate
* Special Rules
Thats it.

placing terrain on the board increases your tactical abilities. some terrain grants you terrain bonus (all "elves" gain +1 hitpoint while on a "forest" terrain, or whatever). Other terrain grants special abilities to the creature local to it (the "you may heal your creature here" style).

similar to terrain those items increase the creatures stats or grant additional abiliites. simple stuff, like weapons (bow: grants the wielder a ranged attack). not all creatures can use theese.

You attach spells to creatures with the spellcasting ability (most of the leaders can cast spells). once attached you can use the spell without paying its power cost (it just costs your creature an action, or two, or three...) and the spell can be used until the end of the game (its not discarded after you cast it, so the system is more like L5R if I remember that right and not like the one-time-spells in magic the gathering).

Just to wet your tastebuds...(they are quite big)

(Please keep in mind that the pictures are sample mockups of an older version of this game. too many things changed until today, there are even whole stats missing! Let me repeat this: MOCKUPS! those pictures and the design are nothing more than MOCKUPS!)

I know, I should not call this game a wargame - because there is no moreale involved, no command hierarchy and - well everything a wargame needs. its more a fantasy conflict simulation or "magic with a board". but - wargame just sounds better :)

okay, the basics are working - i have to admit that there is a "medium-weighted"
runaway leader design-flaw in may game: the more POPs one player controls the more power he gains AND the close he is to victory. but practice showed that most games are won by defeating the opponent leader. Besides that I am too much into redesigning the cards, updating the rules and preparing a base-set of creatures and terrains (right now i am saving magic items and spells for later, its already so much work!)

so - any comments?

But please don't tell me that you dislike games without dice ;)

(depending on the feedback i will expand this thread, explaining more of the details).

Ska_baron's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008
Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)

Let me be the first to say that this game/idea seem very intriguing to me. My first comments would be that it seems pretty simple overall, and yet with a depth of theme and enough cool abilities to keep it spiced up!

Some questions:
1- Ive been working with it in an old game I had, but how are you approaching representing cards with chips on board?

2-The board seems small for this game (for 5 or 6), but I'm guessing that it does force heated conflict quickly. Maybe expand the board with more hexes for more players?

3- The art is awesome, and I'm guessing it doesnt fit with this theme, but Im curious about the UK dragon. =)

Great looking stuff and I'll be back with more questions comments. Sounds exciting!

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)


Well, I seem to be lost in the maze of design decisions and balancing issues :)

Yes, it is planned to be simple in itself - but with enough "meat" to keep it expandable.

1 - One of my (practical) main problems. Right now I am just using chits of different colors (one for each player) and numbers (each number corresponds to one of the players creature cards). at every players edge of the board is enough space to place 6-7 creature cards and there are numbers from 1 to 7. so each card placed at such a "slot" corresponds to the number on one of the chits of of a certain color on the board. so blue-1 is creature number one of player "blue". green-3 is creature number 3 of player "green". Fine, but not fine enough.

2 - I tested the game with 2 players only right now. So - yes - the board may be way too small for more players. It seems like my game is getting out-of-balance the more players there are too. The small board is a result of a previous version, where every creature could only move one hex per action spend. This was awfully slow, now per action spend a creature can move up to its movement rate in hexes. but yes, a larger board is needed *sigh* (i wanted to keep things small).

3 - well the art is not mine. I copied it from various artist all over the web. I felt it was necessary to give my playtesters (and me) some kind of eye-candy to continue testing :)
(Some of the cards like the "Imperial Hotshot" and the "Readymade Hero" where created with some thoughts to Magic's Unhinged Expansions in Mind. Kind of playable fun cards. The real game will feature a more "realistic" theme).

All in all - I still have a goddamn amount of work to do!

Inventing a "new" game is kind of easy - but the realization process, completing a complex game - is a enormous task.

Yogurt's picture
Joined: 01/09/2009
Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)

You may want to try Tom Jolly's game Maelstrom (also called Vortex). It's a hex-based fighting game with deckbuilding that has a lot in common with Magic. It's only for two players, but otherwise your game has much the same feel.


Yogurt's picture
Joined: 01/09/2009
Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)

Oh and you really need to test the game with more players early on if you want it to work with that number. How will you handle downtime with 6 players? For example, Duel of Ages lets you take shots on other people's turns, so you're always involved.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
Pimp my fantasy wargame (long)


I know maelstrom and my game is similar to "Sack Armies" too. But this does not disturb me. Instead of focusing around a single strategic point like in maelstrom my game features a few important places of power. all in all its very similar, but still different.

Still it seems I have reached a point where:
A. I have to update (finalize) all the rules to build cards around them.
B. my poor soul is lost deep within the "Maze of Balancing Issues"
C. I have to add something to make the game more unique. In a earlier version I thought about a way to "fortify" your places of power, but instead you could play a powerful terrain there. maybe I have to search for something else.

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