December 16, 2014 by brennon
The Beasts of War Awards for 2014 are powering up and we’re now looking at getting you voting on some of the favourites games and companies from the survey we sent out earlier in the year…
Dropzone Commander: Dropzone Commander has come on leaps and bounds throughout this year with the addition of a whole new faction to the game and a mass of new artwork and such on the way for their upcoming campaign setting. The level of quality is second to none at this level when it comes to the miniatures too.
Infinity: Corvus Belli have been working really hard to update and tweak the way in which Infinity looks and plays this year and with 3nd Edition just around the corner it’s going to be hard to ignore this game. Stunning miniatures and a very passionate team make this one of our favourites.
Star Wars - X-Wing: Even Fantasy Flight Games didn’t think that they’d have such a hit on their hands when they started Star Wars: X-Wing. It absolutely clobbered Netrunner in terms of sales and took the world by storm. With some great looking pre-painted miniatures putting other games to shame it became known for it’s quality and ease of play. A great game in a box!
Warhammer 40,000: Warhammer 40,000 got a surprise new edition of the rules this year and with the change to the way in which White Dwarf and releases work we’ve seen armies getting updated at a rate of knots too. Whether you love or hate it Warhammer 40,000 is a force to be reckoned with.
Deadzone: Deadzone keeps to the theme of skirmish gaming this year and did so in a massive way. With a very successful Kickstarter behind it there was no stopping Mantic when it came to more factions, more ways to play, and more background. Keeping to their mantra of easy to learn and hard to master it’s quite the experience.
Relic Knights: Relic Knights is another game born of Kickstarter and the work of Soda Pop Miniatures. It combines a quirky anime style with the high Sci-Fi that people love. It’s somewhat of an underdog but sometimes they are the real gems worth looking for!
Warzone – Resurrection: Prodos Games decided they would really push the boat out when it came to resurrecting this game. Over the past year it’s gone beyond the starter sets and we’re now seeing loads of new miniatures for this Sci-Fi game that can be played at either the skirmish level or as a mass battle game. It’s loads of fun and the factions are awesome!
Space Hulk: Space Hulk has popped up on many a gamers shelf over the years and this time it came back with a vengeance. Admittedly it was a vengeance that was marred by very little new in terms of its update but it gave people a chance to get a copy if they missed out last time. With a solid set of game mechanics and a lot of hardcore fans it’s no wonder it gets a vote.
Firestorm Armada: A lot of us may have played Battlefleet Gothic but with that now a long dead game from Games Workshop people have been looking for another epic space combat game. While X-Wing and Star Trek deal with combat on a skirmish scale Firestorm Armada takes huge hulking battle cruisers and lets you fire banks of highly explosive missiles across the stars.
Star Trek – Attack Wing: Picked up by WizKids and with the movement system from X-Wing (Flight Path) Star Trek was their take on these well loved tabletop rules. When I head down to my local store there are dozens of people playing the game and WizKids have wasted no time in offering a mass of different miniatures to gamers who love this other galaxy spanning game.
Warhammer Fantasy Battles: Warhammer might be the first of the games from Games Workshop but it always seems to sit second to 40k with many wargamers. With the coming of The End Times towards the end of this year and the prospect of a new edition next year I think many people are however starting to take notice! With some stunning armies to collect, a rich background and more besides next year could well be the rebirth of this game.
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition: Dungeons & Dragons had a rocky time of it with 4th Edition and when they announced D&D Next it almost felt as if Wizards of the Coast had lost the plot with this titan of role-playing games. Thankfully the naysayers could not have been more wrong. 5th Edition has bought many role-players back into the fold and it’s now considered a massive success! Fighters, Clerics, Wizards and Rogues are all heading back to the Forgotten Realms to fight Tiamat!
Pathfinder: Pathfinder carried on where D&D 3.5 left off and it’s grown a massive fan base since its inception. The level of quality and dedication from Paizo is amazing and you’ll find that while many people have headed back to 5th Edition D&D there are still many, many stalwart followers of Pathfinder. It’s no wonder people have taken notice and started work on a video game based on their world!
Hordes/Warmachine: Both Hordes & Warmachine have been doing great guns this year with new books, updated sculpts, and plenty of love for new factions like the Cephalyx. Its competitive edge and incredibly tactical gameplay set it above many other games of it’s type and the new miniatures they’ve been working on for the likes of Hordes and it’s next expansion will have you drooling over your keyboard!
Myth: Myth from Megacon Games is their take on the dungeon crawling adventure game. With a cartoon edge akin to the video game Fable, a revamped and constantly reworked rulebook and some very nice miniatures we could finally be seeing this game take off big time.
Darklands: Mierce Miniatures have made no secret of the fact that the journey of Darklands has been a bumpy one. However with a whole host of Kickstarters under their belt, a great array of miniatures, and the rules being worked on tirelessly we could see this rather bespoke range becoming a firm favourite on the tabletop.
Bushido: The oriental style and incredible artwork of Bushido make it something quite different and stunning to behold. These guys from GCT Studios don’t seem to stop either. Every month there is a new wave of miniatures for the various factions giving you new ways to play and exciting opportunities to paint. It’s a small scale skirmish game worth every penny.
Kings of War: Mantic’s 2nd Edition Kickstarter is nearly done and with that a new age for Kings of War. This simple but deep game from Alessio Cavatore has won the hearts of a lot of the fantasy wargaming community. The miniature quality has jumped up over the last year or so and the new armies on offer have been a welcome addition.
Game of Thrones LCG: Game of Thrones enjoys a place of high esteem with many gamers, and not just due to the TV show. Fantasy Flight Games have been masterfully taking the LCG (Living Card Game) forward for a while now and they’ve got to the point where it’s time for a 2nd Edition of the game. Going back to the drawing board they’re stripping out the useless mechanics and hopefully will be delivering another reason to spend your hard earned cash on one of their card games.
The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game: The Hobbit might not have grabbed the attention of the wargaming world like Lord of the Rings did but the line has its stalwart followers. Many people are starting to return to the game as the final film approaches a release in cinemas and hopefully this rather sublime system will get its moment in the sun once again.
Bolt Action: Warlord Games have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to Bolt Action. Stripping away most of the overly technical side of wargaming they managed to deliver a raw, visceral and historically accurate feeling World War II game that uses a stunning Order Dice mechanic perfect for pretty much any game. With some great looking starter sets and a move to big plastic kits compared to metal and resin it’s become incredibly hard to ignore the game.
Flames of War: Loads of tanks, massed infantry and some amazing looking tabletops. It’s easy to see why Warren and Dave have enjoyed playing Flames of War from Battlefront. The quality of materials and the continual update of sourcebooks for various theatres of war makes this a winner on many levels. The future is bright.
SAGA + SAGA Crescent And The Cross: SAGA was a hit thanks to the combined efforts of Gripping Beast and Studio Tomahawk and the newest take on the game, Crescent and the Cross does much the same. The SAGA Dice, changing up play and making you think on the fly, alongside the great ranges available in terms of miniatures make this a perfect trip back into the Dark Ages or the era of the Crusades.
Chain of Command: Too Fat Lardies aren’t to be outdone when it comes to World War II gaming on the tabletop. This rules set might not be flashy but it’s a damn fine addition to any wargamer’s collection. With some interesting mechanics and a very dynamic way of playing you’ll certainly see the benefits in using this one.
Black Powder: Stuffy Napoleonics? Far from it! Black Powder covers an interesting period of history but its flare for the Napoleonic with a bunch of ace plastic kits, new starter armies and that amazing Le Haye Sainte set make this something you might want to investigate more. The rules are typically Warlord and you could well find yourself enjoying the game and casting off that stuffy image of old gamers grumbling over buttons and uniforms.
Battlegroup Kursk: Battlegroup Kursk focuses in on 15mm and 20mm wargaming around the Eastern Front in 1943. The fighting was fierce and that comes across in their rules and while it’s not extensive they do go into some great detail when it comes to both the German and Russian forces of the time. Check it out!
Heroes of Normandie: Board games are getting a resurgence of late and sometimes the mix of a board game and wargame can produce some great results. Memoir ’44 does it extremely well and so does Heroes of Normandie. It might look complicated at first but this is one of those rather awesome games where everything fits into place and you’ll be fighting out some great skirmishes.
By Fire and Sword: This is another one of those games that covers an era and area of the world you maybe wouldn’t think of exploring but with some very well written sourcebooks, plenty of exquisite miniatures and a loyal fan base this one is creeping up to be quite the sleeper hit. It’s always fun seeing hussars rampaging across the tabletop.
Ronin: Skirmish level samurai wargaming with a neat rules set and plenty of room for customisation and character building over subsequent games? What’s not to like? This is another of the rules sets from Osprey Publishing that draws on some great source material and adapts it in a great way. With the wealth of Samurai miniatures out there nowadays this could be worth a punt.
Sails of Glory: The glorious Age of Sail is one I love seeing played out in computer games like Empire: Total War and so it’s wonderful to see Ares Games continue to keep Sails of Glory going. There are loads of ships out there for it now and the game is great fun to watch and play. I got a few games of it at my local store and it really does get that spirit of ocean faring combat down well.
Pulp, Punk, Horror & Weird
Malifaux: It’s hard to say anything bad about Malifaux 2nd Edition. Maybe the miniatures are just too gorgeous? I know I give them a hard time for their renders on the back of boxes but the game really is utterly stunning. It plays well, it looks good, and if you have a mind for darkness and the weird it’s the game for you. It helps that you pretty much only need one box of miniatures to play too!
Wolsung SSG: We love Micro Art Studios’ take on Steampunk as they managed to mix in some awesome mechanics like the way you bid for turns alongside some lovely miniatures with a fantasy spin. The Kickstarter went incredibly well and it helped pave the way for new miniatures, a new faction and an expansion too!
Shadows over Brimstone: So weird and yet so incredibly fun looking! Coming from Flying Frog Productions who also make other awesome board games have taken the delving style and applied it to some rather creepy mines in the middle of America. If you like the idea of cowboys, crazy cultists and strange surroundings this is for you.
Dystopian Wars: Chugging dreadnought battleships, flying robots, the rumbling drone of aircraft powered by a mystical energy source, that’s Dystopian Wars. Probably the most successful of Spartan Games’ games you’re going to enjoy a very well put together and dynamic miniatures game set on the high seas and even on land with Armoured Clash. Everybody loves exploding sixes!
DUST (Tactics & Battlefield): DUST had somewhat dropped off the radar from Fantasy Flight Games in many peoples’ minds but when it was picked up by Battlefront suddenly you’re looking at Paolo Parente’s game taking over once more. Lloyd and Warren love the game for it’s simplicity when playing Tactics and its seamless switch into strategic wargame with Battlefield. Neither is better than the other, it’s simply down to what suits your play style. Two ways to play one game; spoilt for choice.
Mars Attacks: Mantic Games manages to distill the feeling of the old card game and its rather eccentric art into a simple and fun board game/miniatures skirmish game. The way the game is set up also means it’s easy to pick up and play with single part miniatures and pre-coloured plastics. There’s loads more coming soon too!
Wild West Exodus: Combine the thrill of the Wild West with the awesome weird technology and you get Wild West Exodus. Outlaw Miniatures have done some sterling work on bringing this to life and as the miniature range expands so does the literature too. Superb background and some miniatures that are getting better and better make this a one to watch.
Zombicide: Hordes of zombies, plenty of expansions and loads of weapons to kill the hordes with, not a bad combination right? Guillotine Games have done really well bringing this game to life (or un-life) and the continued support for it keeps players coming back for more and more. It might not be one of the most refined zombie games out there but it has captured (and eaten) the hearts of many.
Achtung! Cthulhu: Role-playing games are certainly becoming a firm favourite once again with gamers and Achtung! Cthulhu from Modiphius is a lesson in doing it right. Pulling on some amazing mythos and mixing it with World War II era conspiracy makes for a role-playing game that’s not only horrifying but exciting too. Need any more of a reason to pretend your B.J Blazkowicz?
Carnevale: Carnevale is one of our favourite games in this genre because of the way it accurately simulates all the acrobatics and combat of the period. The miniatures are also great and with a resurrection of the game coming soon thanks to a successful Kickstarter you need to keep an eye on this one.
In Her Majesty’s Name: Another blindingly good skirmish game from Osprey Publishing that really draws on the Steampunk Victoriana we all love. Imagine League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and you’re pretty sorted when it comes to the feel of this game.
Bloodstone by Mat DiPietro
Kraken’s Mistress by Marike Reimer
Enchantress by Jérémie Bonamant Teboul
Flower Knight by Tommie Soule
Kum Riders by Angel Giraldez
World Eaters Contemptor Dreadnought by Bohun (Filbot)
Harvester of Souls by Jen Haley
The Last Light by Roman Lappat
Magneto by Meg Maples
Gurka the Red by David Waeselynck
Infinity: Antipodes (Corvus Belli)
Warhammer Fantasy Battles: Nagash (Games Workshop)
Infinity: Yojimbo Sword For Hire (Corvus Belli)
Hordes: Bradigus Thorle (Privateer Press)
Hordes: Una the Falconer (Privateer Press)
Creature Casters: Emperor Dragon (Creature Casters)
Darklands: Bagseg (Mierce Miniatures)
Dark Lands: Malacant (Mierce Miniatures)
Forge World: Warmaster Horus (Games Workshop)
Warhammer 40,000: Imperial Knight (Games Workshop)
Warzone – Resurrection: Guardiani Oblati (Prodos Games)
Hordes: Dozer & Smigg (Privateer Press)
Infinity: Haqqislam Kum Motorized Troops (Corvus Belli)
Perry Miniatures: Foot Knights 1450-1500 (Perry Miniatures)
4Ground Fantasy Buildings: 4Ground have been making stunning terrain for a while now but their recent foray into the world of semi-medieval and fantasy buildings has been a triumph. The buildings are amazingly well put together as kits and go together like a dream. With detailed interiors and plenty of options for the tabletop (never mind being pre-coloured!) these are great for the tabletop.
Frontline Megamat/Fatmat: Everybody needs a gaming surface and so when Frontline hit Kickstarter with these ace looking roll out mats that make your gamescape look all the more impressive it’s no wonder that people took notice. With some amazing designs and a robust material it’s hard not to think of these as perfect for clubs and wargamers who travel a lot.
PlastCraft Haqqislam Terrain: Much like 4Ground Plastcraft have been in the business of terrain making for a while but recently they’ve take on the role of making terrain dedicated specifically for the likes of games such as Infinity. One of their products from this year, the Haqqislam terrain, is one such wonder and comes with all manner of awesome components to make an exotic tabletop.
Mantic Games’ “Battlezones” Scenery: Mantic Games have always aimed to make miniatures that are affordable and designed for the hobbyist. That means it’s easy. The Battlezones scenery from Mantic Games is just that, easy and filled with possibilities. You can make a plethora of different settings with these buildings and that’s why we made it part of our own challenge that’s still running until after Christmas.
Battle Foam Pack Molle: Battle Foam is arguably the best of the best when it comes to transporting your miniatures. Their Molle system however is one of the impressive additions to the line as it allows you to start customising your bags in whatever way you see fit on the exterior as well as the interior. A great addition for those of you wanting to get the most out of your bags.
Games Workshop Technical Paints: Citadel Paints have been the mainstay of many a hobbyists collection for a while now and the Technical Paints this year demonstrated some really interesting ways to add finishing touches to miniatures and aid in the creation of awesome effects. From their pot of blood all the way to their cracked mud finish for bases these are some top notch hobby products.
Vallejo Game Air: We’ve only just been getting into airbrushing but Vallejo have quite the range to help you when it comes to the right paints for the job. Their Game Air range is made to work with your tools of the trade so you won’t find yourself screwing up quite so often with your quantities when thinning!
Warpainter Flock Box: We demonstrated the use of the Flock Box back on Hobby Lab not long ago and it’s still a tool we’re using now. If you need to base a lot of different things with natural looking materials then this is a neat little way of doing just that. It certainly keeps your hands a lot cleaner too instead of you having to plunge them into a pot of flock!
Army Painter Laser Line: Unsure of line of sight? Can’t quite get your head down onto the table and/or just spiked yourself in the eye with that bloomin’ elven pinnacle again? The Laser Line range from Army Painter certainly helped in that regard and made sure that all those rules disputes started to go the way of the dodo. It’s by no means the first time we’ve seen lasers on the tabletop (and not for charging up dice Warren!) but the laser line was a neat way of checking that line of sight easily!
Battle Systems Sci-Fi Terrain: Battle Systems are one of those home grown UK companies that we love seeing pop up. The guys behind it are ambitious and creative and so it’s no wonder we saw them popping up with a great number of the votes during our survey. The Sci-Fi terrain that they launched via Kickstarter has gone down a storm and I can see it featuring on many gaming tables in the future.
Ichiban Studio Pro Line Brushes: Everyone needs a good brush and Ichiban Studios provided quite the range via their Kickstarter. They also look stylish and handle very nicely with tips made perfectly for whatever task you might require of them. A very neat project that I’m sure our own Romain would appreciate!
…and that concludes our snapshot of all of the different nominations for the various categories! Take a look at each of them in detail and then help us narrow down the list even smaller to find our winners!
Are some of your favourites here?