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Following my article last week on five alternatives to Age of Sigmar, I thought I would do some research and find out what the 50 greatest Fantasy games (skirmish & Massed Battles) of all time are.
This will come with some caveats; the ratings are taken from BoardGameGeek.com and I have only included games which have more than 50 votes against their name. This may mean that some of the more recent rules are missed off the list (Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings, being one).
The listed is sorted by the highest rated to the lowest, with games of equal ratings being split by the number of votes (the more votes, the higher their placing).
Some of the popular games you know and loved also didn’t quite make it into the top 50. These include Warhammer Fantasy Battles (1st Edition) 1983 (Ranked 52nd), Battle Masters 1992 (Ranked 61st) and Cadwallon: City of Thieves 2010 (Ranked 62nd).
So without further ado, let’s jump into numbers 50-46:
50. Warhammer Age of Sigmar (1st Edition) (2015) – Games Workshop
This was Games Workshops’ attempt to reignite the passion for Fantasy in their fan base. However the initial release saw a lot of backlash from the loyal Fantasy fans who had been playing Warhammer Fantasy since the 80’s. This included videos of some fans burning their Warhammer Fantasy army. A lot of outrage was due to the change in base sizes and the “squatting” of many factions such as Tomb Kings and Bretonnia.
The move to Age of sigmar, also saw many rules pop up for “Rank and Flank” games as a result. Games such as Kings of War and the Ninth Age came about mainly because of the removal of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
49. Rise of the Kage (2015) – GCT Studios
Rise of the Kage started life as a Kickstarter on 6th September 2014 and was funded only five days later. It also met all of its stretch goals by the 5th of October after raising £105,000.
The boxed set is all you need to play and all the miniatures are included with no further purchases necessary.
“Rise of the Kage is a fast paced, tense and thrilling board game for two to four players. The game is set in the world of the Jwar Isles, and requires one or more players to control the stealthy ninja, and one player to control the stalwart guards.“GCT Studios
48. Elder Scrolls: A Call to Arms (2019) – Modiphius
The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is a skirmish level wargame that has two modes, either solo utilising the rules for ‘Delve Mode’, or you can go head to head with other players in ‘Battle Mode’. Both play styles can quickly be picked up from the scenarios listed within the quest book, although you are able to easily create your own.
“It is the time of the Dragonborn. Battle rages across the forests, plains and mountains of Skyrim as Imperials and Stormcloaks fight for supremacy. In ancient barrows, the restless dead rise from their sleep. Skeletons and fearsome Draugr jealously guard their treasures from bands of delving adventures. The Elder Scrolls: A Call to Arms is an adventure wargame set in the world of Tamriel. Gather your heroes and venture into Draugr haunted tombs and ruins, searching for treasure and glory. Or, fight the Civil War as the Stormcloaks and Imperials battle for the future of Skyrim.”Modiphius
47. Battle of Five Armies (2005) – Games Workshop
In 2005 Games Workshop released a boxed game called Great Battles of Middle Earth: The Battle of Five Armies based on the battle from the book “The Hobbit”. The rules are heavily based on the Warmaster ruleset, and it uses the same miniature scale. The boxed set contains rules, 10 mm plastic miniatures, and scenery (plastic hills, ruins and a cardboard river).
Additional miniatures for this game were cast in white metal. While detailed in the box set rule book, these extra miniatures were sold separately. They were discontinued shortly after being released. The box set remained in print for a long while before being removed shortly before the launch of the 28 mm line based on the movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.
46. Battleground (2005) – Your Move Games
Battleground is advertised as a miniatures game without the miniatures. Players are given cards representing the bases of the various units with the artwork on top. However, there is nothing stopping you substituting these for actual miniatures from your favourite manufacturer.
Battleground is still for sale today through Your Move Games‘ website.
“Armies of stalwart Men defend their homelands against the Undead tide. Battle tested strike forces of High Elves ambush the Orc horde. Regiments of indomitable Dwarves fend off Dark Elven raids. Marshal your forces and command them to victory, but take caution: you cannot be everywhere on the battlefield at once. Your troops will follow your orders completely, and the general who triumphs is the one not just with the best strategy but who can also adapt to changing circumstances.”Your Move Games