With the site’s facelift I thought I’d kick off with my top 5 list of games that you should be playing right now… like, stop what you’re doing, pick one and let it be the best thing ever!
5.) Warhammer 40,000 (40k)
Games Workshop has long been the table-top gaming juggernaut, and Warhammer 40,000 has been their flagship to make that happen. 40K combines amazing models and a rich fictional world to deliver an engaging gaming experience that few other games can compare to. Where 40k can fall short is its rule system; when you make your rules specifically to fit a story or thematic concept, things can get unbalanced really quickly. This game can be played competitively, but personally, I’d suggest it if you love the aesthetic and love to play out some amazing cinematic moments.
40k is by far the most expensive game on the list, earning it last place. The barrier to entry is fairly steep and frankly, can scare of new players. Don’t fall for the lie that you must own a massive and expensive army to play, but it will require a substantial investment to make it happen.
Corvus Belli, the up and coming game developers over in Spain took all the things that made 40k wrong and turned it upside down. Infinity is a skirmish level game, requiring between 13-18 models for intense squad based tactical assaults. While 40k is great for representing a grand warzone, Infinity represents the small tactical strikes that happen behind the scenes in war. Think D-Day Vs. Saving Private Ryan; one is grand scale, the other is micro scale. Another very important note is that Infinity is designed for competitive play from the get-go, this allows those more tactical thinkers to really explore the mechanics and game space. Oh and another thing, all the rules are free; as in they don’t cost a thing. With so few models and free rules, the cost to play is really low, something you can pick up and try without major investment.
3.) Warmachine and Hordes
The partner games of Warmachine and Hordes (Aesthetically different but built to play one another), are the brainchild of Privateer Press located in Washington, near Seattle. In terms of comparing this game to the others, it’s a cross between infinity and 40k. Battles are skirmish level, but can run between 25-50 models, has a rock solid rule set and like 40k, has a rich back story. The game system is less focused on cinematic moments and on organized play. Costs are reasonable (and few), while model quality is constantly improving at PP. Those looking for a more competitive (read: less rules debates) alternative to 40k will be very happy with WM/H
2). Age of Sigmar
The newest brainchild of (and second game on the list from) Games Workshop. This last year Warhammer Fantasy Battles imploded in several book/month-long story called the End Times; In its wake, Age of Sigmar was born, and with it GW showed that it’s trying to keep up with the current trend in gaming. Free rules, all old models are useable and a desperately needed facelift. All of that comes at a price: this is by far the least competitive (but not boring) game on the list. Why is it here? Where Infinity is purely focused on hardcore rules, AoS is purely focused on thematic moments. It’s fluff gaming at it’s best! Read a book and want to re-enact it? No problem. Want to play out the events of 300? Sweet. Age of Sigmar swings the pendulum far in the favor cinematic gaming, and if that’s your cup of tea, you wont find anything better.
1.) Star Wars X-Wing
Fantasy Flight games has exploded in popularity over the last few years, part of that success is due to X-Wing, one of FF most popular games. X-Wing is a small dog-fight style game where squads of star-fighters battle off for the fate of the galaxy. So why is it in my number one spot? A few reasons: X-Wing is easy to learn, hard to master. The core set is extremely simple to teach/learn, while buying up expansion adds immense amounts of tactical depth. Another extremely important part of X-Wing is the cost of entry. the equivalent of an “Army” can be bought for $80, (meaning, a playable force). That low-cost does 2 important things: it makes the game more accessible to a younger/ more frugal crowd; secondly, its makes the risk of investing in a game you don’t like nearly insignificant. Gamers can pick up a force for X-Wing without worrying about wasting their money, because frankly, it doesn’t cost much. Any game that can function as a relaxed game-night experience and also have a national tournament built around it is worthy of special mention.