Gasland’s Creator Brings Us Brutal Fantasy Wargame, Hobgoblin!

May 16, 2023 by brennon

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Mike Hutchinson, the designer of the incredibly fun Gaslands miniatures game, is now on Kickstarter with his new rank n' flank Fantasy mass battle game called Hobgoblin! If you're looking for a game that allows you a good degree of freedom, is quick to play and is decidedly brutal, make sure to give this one a look.

Hobgoblin - Mike Hutchinson

Hobgoblin // Mike Hutchinson

Hobgoblin has been designed to mirror some of the old-school Fantasy wargames that people adore where ranks of soldiers and monsters clash on huge battlefields whilst heroes turn the tide and sorcerers unleash terrifying spells. In Hutchinson's own words, the game has been designed to be fast and exciting and playable with HUGE armies without anything to slow it down.

There is also incredible flexibility in the armies that you choose. YOU make your units using a neat table of points costs and can build any kind of army you like using whatever miniatures you have in your collection.

If you're interested in gameplay, Hutchinson has put together a series of videos which run through the basics of gameplay, some of the advanced rules, army building and more. They are short and sweet and you should have an idea of how Hobgoblin plays in no time.

Hobgoblin: Basic Rules (How To Play)

Hobgoblin: Advanced Rules (How To Play)

Hobgoblin: Building An Army

Hobgoblin: The Chaos Of War!

It was interesting seeing how the flow of shooting and combat worked. The reference table seems easy to use and I like that there is no model removal as Doom just stacks up and eventually a unit panics and flees the battlefield. The different qualities/skills/keywords then help to make your armies feel unique. If you're interested in having a play around with the Quick Start rules then you can snag those as a PDF HERE.

The Quick Start Rules come with some basic guidelines for building armies but there are also tools in there for doing a lot more. Magic spells and Fortune Cards aren't included as of yet but you can learn more about those in the videos above.

Another element of Hobgoblin that I like is that the game focuses very much on you making thematic and interesting armies with both boons and banes. Sure, you could make a mega-elite army of warriors but the points will rocket upwards as you do. Why would you make a unit Cursed or Fragile for instance? Well, because it helps build a theme and you get some points back for use with the rest of your army. I really like the way that feels as a game/army-building mechanic. It's nothing new as other games have done similar things but I think it's fun to see here.

If you want to play around with army building, there is also a free Army Builder that you can go and play around with thanks to Hutchinson.

The World Of Hobgoblin

As well as the game, there is also a world to dive into.

The World - Hobgoblin

World Map // Hobgoblin

Here's some more background on the game world...

"The world of Hobgoblin is an endless maze of interwoven tunnels, caverns and catacombs forever growing downwards beneath the dead, frozen surface of the world. Vast subterranean fantasy kingdoms are thrown into chaos when the Cursed Artefacts are discovered: each granting the bearer the power to manifest vast magical armies, at the cost of draining their life force and allowing the long-dead creator of the artefact to slowly possess them. The bearers of these cursed items of power become known as The Haunted."

...and more

"The Rotvärlden is an endlessly expanding underground world, created by the survivors of a frozen and hostile surface world. This subterranean realm is a maze of interconnected tunnels, caverns, and catacombs, filled with massive cities, underground oceans, and other strange sights. The Rotvärlden is split into four major regions, each with its own unique dangers and inhabitants. From the frozen catacombs of Isvärlden to the infernal buffer of the Eldvärlden, the Rotvärlden is a place of constant war, with all manner of creatures vying for power and survival. The ancient tunnels that make up the Rotvärlden are a mystery, their origins lost to time and could be the remnants of a previous civilization, or even evidence of an elder race that predates any known ancestors of elves or men."

I really like the sound of what they are creating here and it should be an interesting place for you to set campaigns. Heading underground makes for quite a unique setting.

Hobgoblin On Kickstarter

As well as the Quick Start Rules, you can also head over to Kickstarter and get your hands on different versions of the Rulebook and also a set of cards to use when the game lands. There are digital offerings but I think I'd want that book on my shelf, especially with that cover.

Physical Book Pledge - Hobgoblin

Physical Book Pledge // Hobgoblin

Inside the final book will be...

  • Army & Unit Creation: Build any army you can imagine, using any miniatures you want.
  • Cursed Artefacts: Arcane items that bestow great power, but at a terrible cost.
  • MovementIntuitive rules for wheeling and advancing with blocks of “rank and flank” troops.
  • Combat: Brutal combat ensures plenty of death, but also ensures that the units you bring into battle get a chance to fight, and fight as heroically or as devilishly as you wish.
  • Abyssal SorceryAllows players to invoke and channel the power of abyssal gods, using Mana Tokens to cast spells and gain special abilities, represented by the selection of a school of magic.
  • Fortune Cards: One-shot cards that can be played to change the odds in battle, they can be drawn at the start of each round Whenever a unit is removed as a casualty, they can be used to re-roll dice, change the target of a spell, grant bonuses to units, and other effects.
  • Procedural Scenario Generation System: Hobgoblin provides a set of “Chaos of War” tables that allows you to rapidly generate a unique scenario for your battle. You can also create custom battle rules by visiting our website.
  • Narrative ScenariosThe rulebook provides ways to play cinematic and asymmetrical battles, such as a fortress siege or the defence of a chasm.
  • Multiplayer RulesPlay with 3 or more players, broken into teams, forcing unlikely allies to work together to achieve victory.

From the initial videos, I like the way that Hobgoblin generates scenarios and the fact that the game comes with multiplayer rules should mean this finds its way into a bunch of people's collections. Because of the speed at which combat is dealt with, I can see this being a lot of fun for big event games too.

There is also a typical frontage for both Wide and Narrow units in Hobgoblin meaning that it could also be played in a variety of scales. You don't need to just play this as a 28/32mm game if you don't want to.

You can also get more for Hobgoblin thanks to the Add-Ons that have been secured as part of the Kickstarter.

Add-Ons - Hobgoblin

Add-Ons // Hobgoblin

I do like that miniature for Guruk The Corrupted. I get the sense that that is going to end up being the miniature to launch a fleet of army-building projects. I am very enamoured by Hobgoblin and what Hutchinson has been working on. A lot of folks are eager for more Fantasy games and because this deals with seriously HUGE armies and plays quickly, it fills a gap in the market too.

Also, the art by CROM is just gorgeous and I hope we get more and more of it. Make sure to go and check out more from CROM over on their website.

Could you be tempted to dive into the world of Hobgoblin?

"The Quick Start Rules come with some basic guidelines for building armies but there are also tools in there for doing a lot more..."

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