As some of you may know, I started as a miniatures wargamer fist back in 1984 when a family friends introduced me to the hobby. I soon got into role-playing a year or so later, mainly because RPGs were available in the same stores. As a kid I always assumed that the same people who played wargames also played RPGs, and just considered it an extension of the hobby.
This view of mine actually continued through High School and part of college mainly because all of my friends played both. After a while I ran into quite a few of Role-Players who had disdain for wargaming, not so much on the other side of the aisle but I'm sure there are probably equal amount of wargamers who feel the same way.
I've always thought this divide was ridiculous but I don't care enough to argue with anybody over it. After all it's just for fun and outside of that it's not important enough to argue over.
I do like cross-over games that have the best of both worlds however and there are a couple of games that look like they fit that perfectly.
The first one that was announce recently was Daring Dwarf Games "Mazes & Miniatures". I haven't purchased it yet, mainly because I want to wait and see if they do an in-print version ($14.99 is a bit too steep for a PDF as far as I'm concerned). It does look promising and I love the "Old School" looking artwork on the cover. It's available at Wargames Vault. Here's a description of the game from Daring Dwarf Games:
For the pleasure of the Overlords (you the players), two parties were selected. Each combatant was plucked from his home planet and brought to Maze World to battle to the death. Before being chosen, the participant was carefully observed in its daily life by agents of the Overlords. Once deemed suitable, the unwitting gladiator was brought by unknown means to one of many villages on Maze World. Each captive fighter, though an unwilling pawn, was given the opportunity to return to its home world. In a telepathic greeting and language calibration, each party member is told that all he need do is survive, and defeat the opposing party.
Maze World Games are observed on various worlds by many races of cruel and amoral beings. While the parties are outdoors, the observers watch the game from invisible sky monitors. While in-maze, the audience watches the action, via their crystal view-globes, through strategically-placed gems and other observation points.
The overlords generally choose creatures (your miniatures) from worlds where technological levels are low, life is often short and hardships are great. Such creatures may or may not be capable of wielding magic on their home worlds. Given the number of worlds the overlords can choose from, nearly any race of being is possible, though they tend to choose humanoids. The more feral creature selections are placed into the mazes as denizens.
Mazes & Miniatures is a 61 page set of rules only. You will have to provide the miniatures and maze terrain. Use nearly any type of humanoid or non-humanoid creature, and nearly any scale (15mm to 25mm-28mm is probably best). The game includes simple arms and armor rules. Each figure is armed as it appears. If your fighter is wearing plate armor, it has plate armor. Optional rules provide more equipment including expanded low tech and high tech gear (which is much more expensive). There is very little measurement involved in the game. Movement and ranges are based on maze areas. Where a figure is placed within an area is important though. Make use of your dungeon terrain. Each piece is important. It might contain treasure or a fiendish trap. The Overlords applaud either.
Each side creates a party of four characters, with attributes based on a 3d6 roll. Actions are handled with percentile dice. Each party starts out with 100 gold with which to hire mercenaries and buy useful items such as healing potions. From there they travel (or perhaps are compelled to travel) to the maze. Then the games begin. The overlords have prepared a wonderful labyrinth, filled with colorful denizens (who attack both parties), traps and treasure, and the opposing party. The first character to flee from the maze forfeits some of his party's fortune points. If both sides survive the maze, they must travel back to civilization for Recuperation, to spend their hard-earned gold, increase in level, hire mercenaries, and buy new gear. Then they are sent back out to the next maze. The party that loses all of its fortune points first loses the game. The winning party is freed and can return home, if they wish...
The second game is by Two Hour Wargames, called Warrior Heroes - Legends. It looks to be an extension of Warrior Heroes - Armies And Adventures which is a skirmish to larger battles game. Warrior Heroes - Legends from the description looks to be closer to an RPG crossed with a wargame. And from my experience with other THW games and using their Chain Reaction system, it should be a really good game to add to my library. Here's a description of the game:
LEGENDS AREN’T BORN, THEY’RE MADE.
And in Warrior Heroes – Legends here’s your chance to become one. You start life as an independent sell sword or perhaps an inexperienced caster of magic. But whichever you choose there’s nothing special about you as you start your story. But as the saying goes…
IT’S NOT HOW YOU START BUT HOW YOU FINISH!
In Warrior Heroes – Legends the goal is simple. Gain Fame through your exploits and Fortune through your deeds. Start as a Warrior but finish as a King? It can happen and it’s all up to you. But before you can be King let’s start a little smaller. Like leading a small band of adventurers.
Warrior Heroes - Legends includes:
And much, much more!
Warrior Heroes - Legends, play the game!
If you want a taste of THW basic system, I suggest trying out Swordplay just to get a feel for the system. It's free!
Either way it looks like both games are promising and I'll probably end up getting both eventually!