Wargaming and the NSR - system recommendations please

New-ish to NSR and FKR games, but way more new to wargaming.

I had heard of Warhammer 40k but it never caught my interest. Now, I have jumped into terrain crafting for in person TTRPGs when I run them.

This further led me into wanting to try wargames. I am curious as to what systems or even blogs would be helpful to read and check out.

I have read: NARFO and Freeform Skirmish, but had trouble finding other games.

Further, keeping more with the theory part, what would some of you want out of a skirmish / wargame system?

I am not that interested in detailed breakdown of a unit’s gear or items or skills.

I think I would rather it be like Chess where both sides are equal and the player makes the victory or defeat through their skill. Except with an added story element so that I am not just playing Chess.

There are lots of good simple skirmish war games that are easier to get into than Warhammer 40K. Space Weirdos and the Doomed are made by OSR creators Casey Garske and Chris McDowall respectively, and are focused more on narrative play than perfectly balanced battles. A Song of Blades and Heroes is likely one of the best skirmish games ever made. Has an interesting activation mechanic. Finally One Page Rules makes several games, each an analogue to something put out by Games Workshop, but with vastly simpler rules. All these games are miniature agnostic. All these games have fairly unobtrusive rules, so they get out of the way when it comes to playing fun narrative games.


Also, Casey Garske’s new game, Sword Weirdos!


A further suggestion: Plastic Bastards by Rowan Rook Decard

Blog-wise, Chris McDowall has some interesting commentary on the design of his skirmish game on the Bastionland blog. I’d also add the Coins & Scrolls for Skerples’ ongoing Warhammer hacking.


I’ve been thinking a lot about these kinds of questions myself lately.

I want to second A Song of Blades and Heroes and OPR; if you already have models, they are excellent choices (and it’s easier than ever to 3D print or kitbash from much less expensive companies than GW)! I’ve recently picked up some boxes of metal Relicblade minis from Metal King Studios, the sculpts are really excellent, and that fact is inspiring me to get them painted and get game to the table.

I think there’s a whole host of reasons of picking one game over another, but another big one is “what games are people playing nearby?” if you wanted to get to play in person. Find your local wargame evangelist and they’ll teach you whatever game they like best.

What do I want from a game system these days? Small model counts (4-16 models), lightweight rules, a small amount of customization of models in terms of items and skills (skills extend variety without forcing you to magnetize, re-model, or model only for certain situations), a decent balance of randomness and strategy (subjective, of course), and a multi-game narrative campaign. Based on that, I’m interested most in Mordheim (GW, but abandonned to its fans, I used to play the hell out of it) and Relicblade (MKS, in active development).

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Personally a “rules lite” narrative focused Rangers of Shadowdeep clone would do wonders for me. It would need a GM, though.

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