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Well my dear friendly gamers, we’ve embarked upon a bold new era of well-balances, well-supported Fantasy wargaming that we haven’t seen in quite some time. Now I’m not here to argue the merits of some of the corporate alternatives to the 9th Age; I’m aware the Kings of War is a balanced game and that Warmachine is a well-supported game. They’re just not my cup of tea. I loved Warhammer, and now that 9th Age is a viable option my lot is thrown in with it, lock, stock and barrel.

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing 9th and love its balance (truly incredible considering the amount of character, customizability and diversity amongst 16 very different armies -no various flavors of Space Marines here) I am left feeling that most games I’ve played have been pretty squarely set to meet a tournament play-style. We set up our armies, roll to see what sort of deployment we get, roll off for objective, and then deploy and play accordingly.

That’s all fine and well, but as a hobbyist much of what has grown my love of miniature wargaming is the confluence of being able to occasionally run more complex, fascinating and interesting games. For instance, I love building castles and playing siege games; hopefully 9th Age comes out with a siege rules appendix in the near future that allows for that. I have always wanted to play a seaborne invasion game, which could be done with the current rules plus a few made-up in house rules for ships.

Some of the old rules that GW put out are still perfectly relevant for campaigns. The Triumph and Treachery supplement for 8th edition, which was a bit overpriced but still a lot of fun, was an excellent way for 3 or more players to play in a single game, betray each other, and have a grand old time that made the hurt feelings and fights you got into over late-night drunken games of Risk seem like hugging fests. The campaign rules still work for the most part, as well, as do most of the siege rules, though I was never wild about those and I’d like to see 9th come out with better ones to replace them.

Nothing is preventing any of these grand hobby aspirations, of course, other than maybe some time and money and finding the right people to participate. There are even companies out there that specialize in building these ridiculously cool, big, outlandish tables for these sorts of games to be played on. Terrainmasters, a small start-up in North Carolina, builds custom tables for both fantasy and sci-fi wargames to pretty much any size and, last I stopped in on them, were constructing a multi-tiered table complete with subterranean caverns, a boneyard, a lava flow and a fortress of darkness (one of their more tournament-minded tables is pictured above). So you’ve got that. I encourage everyone to continue investing their imaginations into the hobby and creating games and scenarios that astonish us and inspire us to keep doing more, greater, more interesting things.

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