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Sci-fi skirmish games

Gentleman Highwayman

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I know there's Infinity, but I'll be honest - full lead Infinity scares me. It really looks intimidating.

I'm really not sure if I want to throw in with Kill Team. I had one player tell me its based off of last edition's 40K rules, is fiddly, and isn't really good for casual games like I want.

What else is there in sci-fi?
Infinity has a small buy in for models. The newer minis are less "awkward" than earlier minis that sometimes felt like to were having to glue on each finger on a model. There is a boardgames coming this fall.

Kill Team is based on the current edition of 40K. It have everything you need (save models and terrain) in a single 208 page book. That's rules to play, scenarios, army lists for most 40K armies, specialist rules and is about as complex as basic D&D without spells. This probably is the game you want. The only reservation I have is that it has had 2.5 expansions and I feel like they might revise it soonish like they did...

Necromunda is GW's other skirmish game. While set in 40K, it is not like 40K and has its own rather rich and distinct setting. It is also based on the current edition on 40K, but adds lots of details--for each character. In Necro each character basically is it's own D&D character with unique (from other characters) skills and equipment. It's meant to be played long term as a campaign so your gang evolves over time. People can get very attached to their models as they start to see them as characters rather than replacable fodder. Necromunda was released in 2017, but has had all its rules combined and refined into two books (rules and gangs). A third book has no been released, which is getting good reviews even by people sceptical on the new game.
 

Gentleman Highwayman

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I've never played 40K at all, so similarities won't help.

I guess only the first book is "must have"?
8th edition rules can easily be stated in a single sided piece of paper. It uses bespoke unit "cards" and a lot of units don't have a lot of options. Two easy built primaries boxes (~$40) has you will a viable team and the same (lack of) complexity as Shadespire.

The First book is the basic rules, army list and everything needed to play. Not only is everything else optional, in many places it's ignored or forbidden. Commanders in particular was a bit head scratching. Arena meant to treat Kill Team more like Shadespire and Elites adds some more units to the armies, but might unbalance some stuff.
 

Chikahiro

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HERO can be stated on two sheets of paper, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of stuff in the game or complexity :/
 

Gentleman Highwayman

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HERO can be stated on two sheets of paper, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of stuff in the game or complexity :/
Getting Started with Warhammer 40K is a 103 page book with a "free" Primaris Marine. The Core rules are pages 86-103 (17 pages with every other page art or illustration) and that includes a mission. The First Strike Core Rules are 24 pages of half letter for the same rules with lots of side bars. The learn to play manual which gradually teaches the rules mission by mission is 54 half-pages with copious art and illustration. Kill Team's rules are pp 14-45 and summarized on page 208 with lots of 'white' space and a piece of art. It can be summarized as move your movement value, roll your attack skill or higher, roll you wounding score which is either 3/4/5 based on your strength vs their toughness and then they roll their armor save. Pretty much everything else is on you data sheet or cards. Warhammer has never been a complex system and this is by far the lightest version of it.

But just in case you're not sure download the Battle Primer and see the 8th edition rules for yourself. And if you don't want to read then GW made a 12 minute video for how to play Kill Team.
 

OMAC 247

Tired of your nonsense
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Yeah, you only need the core rulebook and figures to play the game. The cards for stratagems are nice game aids to have, though 'most' are listed in the core book itself.
The real pain is the extra cards that were made available in the Killteam and Killzone sets are not available anywhere else and are now OP.
In fairness, you don't have to have them and only really matter if your going to play competitively, but it does irritate if you are a completist like me !
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
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So, recommended thus far (in no particular order):
  1. Rogue Stars from Andrea Sfiligoi / Osprey Games
  2. Beyond the Gates of Antares from Rick Priestly / Warlord
  3. Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes from Jaye Wiley
  4. Starport Scum from Nordic Weasal (plus, allegedly, many of their other games)
  5. Killteam
  6. Deadzone
Can I get a little more detail/description on the first four games? Like, how they are to play and all that? Please? I'm not an experienced wargamer!
 

ruckusmanager

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I can tell you a little about the first two.

Rogue Stars is based on the same system as A Song of Blades and Heroes, although it pushes it to the max. It uses a D20 for figure activation (Blades uses a D6). Like Blades, you can select between 1 and 3 activations for the figure, and that roll is modified depending on the characteristics of the figure. Succeed and take an action, fail and your opponent gets a free reaction, or could try to steal the initiative from you. As long as your opponent doesn't steal the initiative, you can keep taking actions with your figures, but every action generates fatigue, which makes action failures (and initiative stealing) more and more likely.

The thing I like about the system is that you can create virtually any figure you have. There are even psionic rules for those Jedi out there. The downside is you have to track fatigue and a lot of other numbers. Plus, there's no rules for multi-sided battles. Also, it seems very easy to roll poorly in this game:) (I feel like 20 siders just hate me.)

Beyond the Gates of Antares is based on the Bolt Action system, which I have played. I'm not sure this completely qualifies as a "skirmish" game, as most games I've seen have had 20 to 30 figures per side. I can say it uses a random unit activation system (drawing different dice colors out of a bag). If it's anything like Bolt Action, vehicles are integrated into the system in a visually pleasing way (generally no "parking lots" of tanks).

I'd like to mention another one. Void Pirates uses the same system as Supersystem. It allows you to purchase figures based on their equipment and function. The base game is even slightly smaller than Kill Team (you could have 2 well-equipped Space Marines as a group, for example).
 

Hammel

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Tomorrow's War by Ambush Alley Games might be an interesting choice. Your miniatures are grouped together, and there is no downtime for one player to wait for the other. It's very interactive, as you have to be on the lookout for opportunity fire. I think it's meant to be somewhat realistic.

I'm not sure if it's a skirmish game or if I used terminology right. But I really liked it!
 
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