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Wargaming includes a very fun family of games. It ranges from simple toy soldier knock down games played by children to more sophisticated game play with complex rules which strive to recreate how "real" combat works.
Genres range from true historical to hypothetical to fantasy to science fiction. Of these, there is a big historical wargaming following where games are based on historical events where representation of unit capabilities, terrain and other factors are approximated.
Hypothetical wargaming allows for use of "real" units in possible scenarios, such NATO vs Warsaw Pact forces battling in out in West Germany should World War III take place in the mid 1980s. This allows for much more flexibility in gaming, allowing for easier play and less geeky attention to historic detail.
Fantasy and Sci-Fi wargames are often based on popular books and movies, while some for these games have created their own fantasy world backgrounds to support game play. Games such as Warhammer and Star Wars based games allow players to combat in wonderful fantasy worlds where super weapons, super warriors and event magic exist and play a part in the outcome of battle.
This page lists some of the games out there with a focus more so on younger players than those serious historical gamers.
Brikwars - plastic-brick wargaming system that throws the peaceful worlds of your favorite construction toys [Legos] into wanton chaos and destruction!
Brickquest - a Lego combat system based on HeroQuest
Junior General - Large catalog of simple printable soldiers and items of war (tanks, helicopter, etc) from many time periods and many examples of battles with rules.
Freewargamesrules.co.uk - there is no shortage of wargames available in the modern world.
grognard.com board.html free war games
WebArchive runestoneit.com wargames free war games
See our Paper Miniatures Section for more information regarding Paper Miniatures.
War and Battle Games
War gaming can be anything from shooting toy soldiers with rubber bands to sophisticated game play with large scale battles incorporating complex rules which strive to replicate real or fantasy world environments. Either way, this can be a LOT of fun.
Little Wars Suggested Age 12 and up
Little Wars By H. G. Wells (1913) - "A Game for Boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books"
Introduced in 1913 (Prior to WWI), Little Wars includes a fairly extensive history of the game, socio-political discussion of wargaming and fairly simple rules of play for wargaming. These simple rules can be used today for crude, but still fun, wargame for adults and young ones alike.
See our Litte Wars and Floor Games Page for more on these early works.
BGG floor-games predates Little Wars
Wiki Little Wars
Wiki Floor Games
Small Soldiers Big Battle Game Suggested Age 4-7
This board game is inspired by the PG-13 movie Small Soldiers which did poorly in the theaters. The movie was targeted more of an older boy audience whereas this game is more suitable for younger players (age 4-7 boys). This creates an age discrepancy between those who might enjoy the game and those who would really enjoy the movie. That said, this "capture the flag" game is in an excellent intro into strategy wargaming. And for a "wargame", it's only borderline violent. First off, attacking is optional for those wishing to avoid violent games. Second, figures don't die in battle; they just get sent back to the toy store. Plus - if you get a lucky spin, game pieces can return to the board for play. It's very similar to the "Capture the Flag" a primary school student may play at school but with figures and dice rolls.
This game has 4 random result generators.
Spinner - movement vs draw a card vs recruit
Battle dice - skull always defeats opponents
Cards - cards to improve figure defense, attack and movement. There is also a catapult card and a toy recall card where an enemy figure is sent back to the toy store
Catapult - Super cute and creative catapult. Shape of ball prevents it from rolling too far away from board.
Strategy and catapult aim play a role in this game, but it is a highly luck based game so young ones can fare reasonably well with older kids or with adults.
A DIY version of this game can be simple enough to make and has the potential of being very satisfying.
Figures - toy soldiers or LEGO minifigs on bases
Board - grid drawn or glued to board (you can make playing field larger) incompetech.com hexagonal
Cards - make your own - these add a dimension to the game which allows for faster and more powerful play pieces. Although the draw of the card is random, who you play them can change the course of the game.
Dice - regular 6D or fancier printouts stuck on blank dice
Catapult - see our Catapult Games Page
Spinner - a spinner allows for more variability than custom dice and mixes things up a bit when using dice for a different purpose in the same game. Note how small the "Recruit" slices are on the spinner shown above. If you are using a bigger board and/or more game pieces, you can change the number of spaces figures can move.
boardgamegeek Small Soldiers
DIY Small Soldiers Dice Stickers
LEGO Capture the Flag
Suggested Age 4+
This is a homemade version of the Small Soldiers Big Battle Game. Instead of the figures used in the Small Soldiers game, LEGO minifigs are used on bases made from coins. The advantage of using LEGO is that you can add accessories to your figures, such as "tag sticks", shields, "rockets", etc. This allows for better visual representation of upgrades and allows multiple upgrades per figure. Allowing for multiple upgrades and potentially more upgrade options allows for more choices during game play and allows for advanced game play if desired.
See our LEGO Capture the Flag Page for more on this wonderful game.
Starquest aka Space Crusade
See our StarQuest Page for more on StarQuest and Space Crusade - a great action packed game for younger kids and adults like. Different scenarios can be played, but all involve Space Marine squads taking on enemy in large spaceships. Rules are simple and things can get really bad really quickly for your squad with a few bad dice rolls which keeps things interesting and exciting. If you are crafty or have several sets, you can set up larger scale missions in larger ships, with more enemy and more supporting troops.
Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 Suggested Ages: 12 and up
These Games Workshop classics are still popular among many. The game is based in either a fantasy world of elves, orcs, humans and such in or a bastardized science fiction world with the same creatures with a mix of gunfire and some magic. The storyline background of Warhammer 40K is really ridiculous, but if you like the miniatures and paint schemes used to paint these over priced pieced of plastic and lead, game play can be very fun.
See our Warhammer 40,000 Page for more on Warhammer 40K.
There are actually several gaming systems based on the Star Wars world. See our Star Wars Gaming Page for more on Star Wars War Gaming.
Blood Bowl is the most popular of the battle-ballgame board/tabletop game of its kind. It simulates a gruesome version of football with lots of violence. This is a fun and sophisticated game with a cult following. This game can be played as is, but is also highly customizable.
New and used games sets are available online and from Games Workshop, but are priced for single, adult gamers and not for cheapskate, family boardgamers. Better, and often less expensive, sets can be made from scratch by enthusiasts. And, very economical sets can be made by using paper or cardboard for the board (pitch) and paper minis to represent your players.
See our Blood Bowl and all things Fantasy Football Page for more on Blood Bowl.
Kid "Friendly" Combat Games
Games Workshop came out with a series of games targeted at younger players (8 years+) around 1990. They incorporated simplified rules where dice are rolled in the box top ("Combat Tray") with a 3x3 grid. The Grid contained 5 boxes with "HIT" and 4 boxes with "MISS". These games are long out of print, buy you can still find copies in thrift stores and Ebay. You can also find the rules online and it would be easy enough to reconstruct you own version.
This is a simplified version of StarQuest (aka Space Crusade) and Space Hulk. Each play gets a small squad of Marine Scouts who search for alien artifacts in a space hulk filled with traps.
Wiki Ultra Marines
This is a simplified version of of HeroQuest where players choose from either a band of Heroes or Skaven Ratmen. The Heroes are led by a Noble Knight, a Fearless Dwarf, and a Heroic Elf while the Skaven Ratmen are led by a Chaos Wizard and four Skaven Champions. The Elf and Chaos Wizard can cast spells. The other characters have differing combat abilities. The game rules are compatible with Ultramarines.
Wiki Mighty Warriors
usagi3.free.fr article49 Scan of entire game
bg.ohobby.ru 104 Russian Rules
This is a simplified version of the fantasy ball game Blood Bowl. You can find more information on it in our Kerrunch Page.
This is the spaceship battle predecessor to Battlefleet Gothic.
Wiki Space Fleet
Catapult and Cannon Games
There have been several commercial games which used catapults and cannons to knock down opponent soldiers and fortifications. These games can be played with "shoot as fast as you can" rules, or with more sophisticated skirmish rules like those used by HG Wells. And with the proper application of rules, many of these games can be adapted for a wide range of ages.
These games are covered in much greater detail on our Catapult Games Page.
Crossbows and Catapults aka Barbarernas sista kamp and Battlegrounds
One of the most exciting games ever made is Crossbows and Catapults. It was exciting in the 1980s and exciting when re-released in 2007. The game dynamics are simple - fire your weapons at the enemy and knock them over before they knock you over. If you actually read the rules, there are some other options, like capturing enemy ammo, castles and treasure.
Complete game sets are becoming scarce again and are generally cost prohibitive for what you get in the set. That said, you can make your own Crossbows and Catapults game. Instead of plastic knights and orcs, you can use Playmobil Klickies, Lego Minifigs, toy soldiers, etc. For cannons and catapults, Playmobil ones work just fine and can be found at garage sales and the like for not very much.
If you are very crafty, you can build your own catapults/trebuchet/ballista. You just need some simple items such as rubber bands, popsicle sticks, clothespins, and/or spoons and some ingenuity. See our Catapult Games Page for more on this.
Wiki Crossbows and Catapults
boardgamegeek Family: crossbows-and-catapults
boardgamegeek Family: weapons-warriors
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