I want a Fantasy Wargame

For a while now I’ve been thinking on and off how fun it would be to play a fantasy game where the players are going on a campaign with whole armies under their command.

Each player playing as one of the captains of each company that make up the army (and one general), with several hundred or even a few thousand soldiers under their command. Played on a big country-sized hexmap where the players have to send out scouts to find enemy forces and maneuver their troops to engage them in favorable terrain. With sieges and managing supplies to feed the troops. And of course hero units like sorcerers, priests, and champions, and special enemies like giants and dragons.

Do such games exist? I am sure they have to.

Anyone heard of one of those? And any that could be recommended?

11 thoughts on “I want a Fantasy Wargame”

  1. Cool idea. The concept reminds me a bit of „Band of Blades“ (I still too intimidated by the game to run it myself…one day!). I wonder how much fun (I think a lot) it would be to run a game along the lines you laid out with two groups of players who are pitched against each other and one referee.

    1. Band of Blades is actually on the completely opposite end military campaigns from what I’m aiming for. I think.
      BoB is still a game about small groups of specialists going on special missions to support an army that is on campaign, rather than commanding troops in battle.

      I am thinking much more along the lines of the Total War games.

  2. I’ve long thought that, had SPI stayed around longer, they would have developed a system that merged their PRESTAGS historical combat system together with their DragonQuest RPG (and specifically using the Military Scientist skill for player characters to act as leaders in the skirmish combat game). That might not be as strategic level as what you’re looking for, but it’s a connection between wargame and RPG that is available and could be made, and possibly built out with more of those features.

  3. Isn’t this just the domain phase of OD&D, AD&D and Basic? How does what you want differ from Battlesystem or ACKS?

    1. I want to specifically not bother with the domain aspect and keep it entirely on the armies.

      I don’t know about Battlesystem.

      And we don’t talk about ACKS.

      1. Battlesystem is a tactical minis wargame compatible with AD&D. I have never run it, and I read it a long time ago, so I don’t remember everything it incorporates, although there may be training and recruitment aspects. The “H” series of Bloodstone adventures were designed to showcase Battlesystem.

        You may be on your own for scouting, although traditional hexcraw procedures could probably be used/adapted.

  4. Two thoughts:
    + Another commenter mentioned Band of Blades. A much less well-known indie FitD game, Renegade Crown, could offer a better fit with what you’re after; although the scope is a bit lower than what you may envision, and there’s plenty of room for individual antics, recruiting, commanding, and fighting military units is also a key part of the game. It is, however, tightly embedded in a (provided) setting, and I found that it would have been hard to grok the game if I hadn’t already developed some FitD familiarity. Anyway: https://narrativedynamics.itch.io/rebel-crown

    + As it happens, I’m currently scratching away at a sandbox setting that puts faction and warband play front and center, without worrying so much about the nitty-gritty of domain beancounting, as you suggest above. So I’ve been thinking about related issues a lot lately. I think that Into the Odd/Cairn-type games can make running this sort of campaign fairly painless, because their dirt-simple warband (“detachment”) rules are very well integrated into the game’s very light core rules. I’ve also developed some related mass combat/warband-leading rules for Dungeon World-based games, which I’ve detailed before on the Gundobad Games blog. Either of those could offer a fit.


    1. I am currently favoring De Bellis Antiquitatis.

      DBA seems to be a classic game among wargamers for more casual ancient and medieval battles. Very simple rules where any clash between two units is made with an opposing d6 roll, and the unit that rolls lower suffers a consequence based on whether it rolled more or less than half the other’s result.
      The only stats that units have is their maximum speed and the bonus to the combat roll that they get against different enemy unit types.

      It seems to be very much the scope that I was looking for and the complexity as well. Kind of reminds of how B/X is still popular for probably very similar reasons.

  5. Have you looked up War Law, an expansion for Rolemaster from 1993? I never delved into it but it should mix individual characters from RM into tactical military unit-combat – how successfully, not sure.

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