Family and career matters have kept things fairly quiet on this front, but my passion for the hobby hasn't diminished. In fact, the past few months have renewed my desire for creative wargaming.
Last October, I posted about the Forge of War alternate rules set. This discovery allowed me to venture further into the general wargaming community than I had before, rather than just the Games Workshop community. In the process, I came to realize something about this "hobby." GW spends a lot of time and effort convincing us this is the "GW Hobby." Which means it's okay to play new armies and even new games... as long as you stay within the GW product fold. Most of us have said "the hobby" so many times that we don't even think about other companies. Sure, we all see Warmachine or Flames of War or click-base games sitting on the shelves, but rarely will that make us do anything but remember why we like 40k.
But there really are so many other options. Cruising through the TacCom Epic forums, I started reading about games like Future War Commander, and manufacturers like Baccus and DRM. I started to realize that GW really does have competition, just not necessarily in 28mm plastics. More time reading these forums led me to The Miniatures Page and Tabletop Gaming News. These two websites had always covered GW news, but I never looked beyond that.
Then I discovered 15mm sci-fi.
Okay, it's actually nothing new. GW themselves produced minis for the old Traveller system back in the 80's. A few manufacturers continued to produce from that time (15mm.co.uk, formerly known as Alternative Armies for the Laserburn range). Ground Zero Games, whose 6mm stuff I had noticed years ago, is now the leading manufacturer of 15mm troops and vehicles, and has a fantastic assortment of product. But their web-store pics are terrible, and they didn't really grab my eye.
Two other companies did: Rebel Minis and Critical Mass Games. I looked very carefully at their websites, and spent time learning about what kind of games could be played with these minis. After a few months' browsing, I've come to some conclusions.
- Price of models. A playable 15mm army is inexpensive, usually under $50. If you already have a basic table, hills, paints and brushes, you're ready to go.
- Price of games. This ranges anywhere from inexpensive to free (Forge of War).
- Variety of games. These "generic" sci-fi rulesets never appealed to me before. I hated their lack of fluff, race development, etc. Those are the things I still love about 40k... the fluff and background. On the other hand... 15mm models can be used for almost any universe you want - some armies are good for multiple universes.
With the additional funds and space in the bunker, I will be adding a variety of 15mm Sci-Fi armies and terrain to my collection. Over the next few posts, I will highlight some of my purchases and plans, as well as posting reviews of models and different rule sets. Stay tuned!