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Fantastic Battles

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Fantastic Battles is a fast-play, mass-battle, wargaming system for any fantasy setting. The rules emphasise the tactical concerns of command friction and the fog of war through randomised initiative, tabletop mishap rolls and the impetuous decisions of unsupervised unit commanders.

An all-in-one volume, this book contains the rules for stand-alone pitched battles as well as campaigns.

Twenty-four example army lists are provided; however, army building is designed to be flexible. A toolkit of base profiles and unit traits allow players to build customised armies to suit their own vision of their fantasy faction.

Scale agnostic, with multi-based figures and no individual figure removal, the game can be played using any fantasy figures, or historical armies from the ancient to the early modern period.

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Richard S February 18, 2021 10:07 pm UTC
Just purchased this set of rules, and it looks very good!

A couple of quick questions:

1. Are characters allowed to have traits?

2. How does shieldwall interact with things like heavy melee weapon? I'd think that the heavy weapon trait would override the shieldwall bonus.

Lastly, two comments. I love the customization options - I will admit, I was a bit hesitant with the limited base profiles, but having made a couple of army lists (not tested them out, just going through the exercise of making units) there are a couple of options I would like to see - some sort of light cavalry trait (the movement bonus from mounted without the resolve and melee bonuses would be fine), a light/heavy armor trait (adjust the defense of a unit - to account for either exceptionally well-armored troops or perhaps formed troops which are not as well armored), and some sort of traits interacting with terror. All things which would be easy enough to houserule, most likely.
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Customer avatar
Nicholas W February 19, 2021 3:13 pm UTC
Thanks Richard.

To answer your questions:
1) No, characters do not get traits, but they can use relics of course.

2) Shieldwall increases Def of the unit by +1 when attacked from the front, but heavy and powerful weapons reset the target unit's Def to 4+ or 3+ respectively. As you say, heavy weapons override the shieldwall bonus.

We did play around with some traits (including terror and fearless etc) that didn't make it into the final book, but felt that 40 traits were more than enough to have to keep track of.

At the end of the day, the rules provide a toolkit, but it is your game, so if you wish to houserule some additional traits, that is your perogative. As a rule of thumb, a trait giving +2 movement with no other buffs would cost 2 points.

Playing around with the defence number should be treated with caution as it has the ability to unbalance the game. Shiledwall is imensly powerful, but it is moderated by being frontal only, and the...See more
Customer avatar
Richard S February 19, 2021 6:22 pm UTC
Yep, I had thought about using those traits to reflect armor as well. Thanks for the answers and the feedback!
Customer avatar
Andrew S February 13, 2021 4:51 pm UTC
Is there a way of buying the book and PDF together?
Customer avatar
Nicholas W February 17, 2021 11:36 am UTC
Hi Andrew,

I'm afraid at this point the hardcopy and the digital versions are sold through different portals (i.e. Amazon and here on WGV). This may change in the future, but for now there is no facility to do a bundle deal.

Customer avatar
Jonathan S November 20, 2020 2:54 am UTC
Quick question. If you choose a base width of, say, 50mm does that mean everything needs to fit on that size such as a chariot, monster, dragon etc. Just wondering how my troops would fit for this as they are on a mix of base sizes.

I am guessing that a base size of 100mm would probably mean you need a very large table?
Customer avatar
Nicholas W November 22, 2020 3:02 pm UTC
Hi Jonathan,

All units (including monsters and artillery, but not individual charachters) need to be on the same width bases; the depth of the base is less important. If you have a mix of larger and smaller bases, you could always use a sabot base to bring them all up to the same width.

To give an idea of table size, an 'average' sized game is between armies of 1,000 points. The recomended table size for this size of battle is 30x20 base widths. So using 40mm bases, the table should measure 120x80cm; if using 60mm bases, the table would be 180x120cm (6'x4').
Customer avatar
Charles A November 04, 2020 6:25 pm UTC
Does the Goblin Army List include Orcs? Do you have any idea when Amazon will carry the physical copy of these rules?

I believe that the rules are somewhat based on Second Edition of "Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End," and I have always enjoyed playing the somewhat obscure battles provided by that treatment. Since "Irregular Wars" allowed competitive battles between outnumbered, but generally higher quality 15th, 16th and 17th Century European Armies and Eastern and Native Forces, I always thought that those rules would nicely cover fantasy battles. Unlike 19th Century Colonial battles, however, the Europeans cannot general expect a victory by sitting back and relying on firepower. For example, the Conquistador horse had better route lots of Aztec units, or those Spanish foot units will likely be overwhelmed after a while. Consequently. combined arms tactics work in those rules, and should allow stalwart Empires of Men to hold off Goblin Tribes hordes if played...See more
Customer avatar
Ms S November 04, 2020 7:12 pm UTC
The Goblin list doesn't include Orcs. However, all the lists are examples built using the system, and part of it is the traits. Units can have up to three traits (at various costs) plus a racial trait (which is mechanically a normal trait). Elves, for instance, are Fast. Goblins are Unreliable. Just pick a trait you think epitomises Orcishness, pick some units you think are appropriate from the various examples and swap out their racial trait for it. Adjust points, etc. ,
Customer avatar
Charles A November 04, 2020 9:09 pm UTC
Thanks for the information!
Customer avatar
Ms S November 04, 2020 9:15 pm UTC
For a very quick and no-effort Orc list, the Free Men one (covering your barbarian types who run around in the ice and snow only wearing a loincloth and their nipples don't even get hard) covers a lot of the same thematic ground?

Maybe bring in a goblin unit or two but swap out unreliable for expendable, 'cos they've got a big orc standing behind them yelling at them to get stuck in and the other orcs won't worry too much if they run off.
Customer avatar
Charles A November 05, 2020 12:58 pm UTC
Those suggestions for defining an Orc Army list seem very practical. Have you actually played these rules, yet? I am wondering how the inclusion of Characters and Groups will affect the underlying “Irregular Wars” framework.
Customer avatar
Ms S November 05, 2020 1:27 pm UTC
Afraid not - just saw an opportunity to answer a basic factual question by looking it up for you, and then saw an opportunity to promote my philosophy of being lazy and using refluffed existing examples wherever possible.

I've read a few battle reports and am hoping to give it a shot in a fortnight.
Customer avatar
Charles A November 05, 2020 2:46 pm UTC
Love the honesty!
Customer avatar
Nicholas W November 05, 2020 7:41 pm UTC
Hi Charles,

Thanks for the kind words about Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End. You'll find many similarities between that set and Fantastic Battles, but many differences as well.

Ms S has answered your question pretty accurately. We did not include orcs in the goblin lists, but the lists are only intended to be examples of how armies can be put together using the army building mechanisms. The suggestion the use the Free Men list as a foundation is a good one, perhaps taking Berserk as a racial trope?

Play around, have some fun, and let us know how you get on!

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File Last Updated:
February 12, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on November 03, 2020.
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