Live at GenCon SoCal ’05: Best non-miniatures minis wargame

Your Move Games has one of the more interesting games at the show: Battleground: Fantasy Warfare (which was sold at Indy, but is officially releasing this month). This card-based wargame is an idea whose time should’ve come years ago, but for some reason hadn’t materialized until now. Each card represents one unit of a fantasy army, displaying an overhead view of the warriors, trolls, undead, or the like, and moves around the battlefield in card lengths, similar to WizKids’ Pirates. Players aren’t encumbered with tables and charts, but are instead able to mark lost health, current orders, and other status changes directly on the cards, which are dry erase marker friendly. One 48-card starter from any of the three armies (Undead, Orcs, or Men) of this non-collectible game provides enough combatants for two players to let slip the dogs of point-based beat-down. If that ain’t enough, each faction has a 50-card reinforcement deck with plenty more units, and at that point you own every card for the faction. At under $20 for either starter decks or reinforcement decks, any gamer who enjoys a good multi-unit fantasy rumble should look into Battleground.


  1. Fantasy Flight Games released a card based wargame caled Diskwars in 1999. It proved initially popular to expand to other licenses including, StarTrej, Legend of Five Rings, Deadlands,Twilight Imperium and a planned Heavy Gear that was never released. Eventually though Mageknight burried it. Movement was done by fliping the card x number of times. range weapons was done by dropping missle counters from above and seeing what cards they landed on. The Deadlands version impoved on this though. Good quick system, but was mostly collectable with a few fixed race starters.

    Also to mention Diceland by Cheapass games, using paper dice in a wargame and is non collectable. The new Clout game seems to borrow from both diskwars and diceland but doesn’t do it as well as either.

    So the idea of card based wargames has been done before, but minatures won out due to cheap plastic.


  2. 2 of our guys tried Battleground too, and really enjoyed it. One of them so much so he bought one of each faction they were selling. Looks like game play might be in the 45 min range, which is very appealing. Def. one to keep an eye out on….

  3. I find it amusing that I was the among the first to clue you guys into the card-based wargames coming out, you guys ranted against them, saying they were missing their target audience, and now you are giving a thumbs up to YMG’s card-based wargame. No harm, no foul. Just amusing.

  4. Lee,

    I think they are an an amusing aside, but most hard core minis players would only ever buy them as an addition to their tool box, not a replacement…but you do win 🙂

  5. Also, Lee, do take note that there is more than one name appearing above the headlines of these posts. This may mean that more than one person posts to OC and those people may have different opinions.

    Thank you, please pull ahead to the pay window.

  6. I’d call it a tie, Chris. Lee, the games you pointed out before did very little for me, but Battleground hits the sweet spot. So I guess it’s possible to make a card-based minis game I enjoy. 🙂

  7. Jason: While Diskwars is made of paper, yes, the disks themselves present the game in a format unlike traditional cards, so I didn’t consider Diskwars. Victory in both Diceland and Clout depend largely on where a thrown object lands, which is like combining a strategy game with lawn darts: not appealing to wargame fans (and a good way to lose an eye :-).

    But the other main difference between these games is each card in Battleground represents an entire unit, from siege engine all the way down to a whole squad of archers.

  8. Allan, you said the games I pointed out before did very little for you. Which ones? Have you tried Infinite Armies? The revised rules are out now, and I played my first game the other day. I thought it was a good thinking game. Not a whimsical beer and pretzels game, but a really good thinking exercise.

    And I tried my first game of Final Twilight the other day (another CCG via PDF). I liked it.

    A Cold Day in Hell (one of the other games I may have mentioned), hits or misses with people. If you memorize all the location cards, it plays like a game of super concentration. If you don’t bother with that, and don’t memorize every card that gets discarded, then the game feels completely bewildering and random.

    Did I mention other games, in particular, that you’ve tried and didn’t like?

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