Hi there! Today’s article is all about one of my favourite types of game, miniature board games. And, as with almost every article on this blog, it all starts with a little story:
After few months of just crazy hours at work, I finally had a bunch of days off and therefore I took the chance to fly back to my home with my girlfriend.
Living abroad means that most of the time I have some holidays, I end up spending those days with my family and friends in my hometown, and this gives me the opportunity to try new board games with my old fellow gamers!
This time around we tried Villainous, in which I played the flamy Hades, When I Dream, a very fun party game that it’ll be covered soon(ish) with a review and finally the game that got me thinking about writing this article, Scythe.
But before jumping into the actual article let me briefly explain which characteristics these miniature board games had to have in order to make it in the list:
- Beautiful looking miniatures; nobody likes playing with awful minis.
- Miniatures are actually an important component of the game and not just an ornament.
- A great number of miniatures; I didn’t consider those games where the majority of heroes or monsters aren’t represented by minis, such as Gloomhaven.
And with this premise, you are now set. Enjoy the reading!
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Set in the 1920s period, Scythe is an engine-building board game flavoured with high-quality miniatures.
In a time of war, farming, and innovation, Eastern Europe is divided into five factions that each player gets to represent a character from, to attempt to earn their fortune and defend their faction’s part in the land around the mysterious conquer territory named “Factory”.
Conquering territories, gaining villagers, and enlisting recruits are just some of the tasks players will have to complete during this game, along with activating unbelievable mechs and building structures.
Due to the asymmetric nature of the game, each player starts in a different part of the map and with different resources such as power, coins, combat acumen, and popularity.
Their strategic ability and skills will determine the fate of their factions!
Worth mentioning that Jakub Rozalski’s artwork is absolutely stunning.
1 – 5 players | 90 – 115 min | 14+
Mech vs. Minions
When you think of miniature board games, this one can’t be left outside. The game is literally a huge box full of miniatures.
Mech vs. Minions is a cooperative tabletop board game set in the world of Runeterra and brought to us by the creators of League of Legends, Riot Games.
Players must join forces and, by driving their mechs, defeat waves of minions.
This game features modular boards, a story-driven campaign, and a unique programmatic command gameplay mechanic.
With ten scenarios in total, with an estimated individual mission of about 60-90 minutes, this game will bring tons of fun to your game nights.
(Keep in mind that you can actually save a chunk of money if you buy the game from the Riot Games’ official store).
MECH VS. MINIONS
2 – 4 players | 60 – 120 min | 14+
Star Wars: X-Wing
If you always get amazed by the epic spaceship fights in the universe created by George Lucas, Star Wars: X-Wing is designed for you.
In this game, two players have to manoeuvre their squadron of starfighters to confront each other in tactical space combat, in a small dogfight arena.
The game is played over a series of rounds, in which each player have to shoot the opponent’s army by secretly choosing a manoeuvre for their ship and later on shooting the enemy if they are within firing range and in your sight.
Each ship has its own manoeuvres dial, and some of them also have unique abilities, so it’s important to evaluate all of these when building an army.
Now, this is just the starter set that contains everything you need to play and 3 fully painted ships: one X-Wing and two Imperial TIE fighters.
This is just the foundation and can be expanded with your favourite ships from the Star Wars universe.
The only downside? Building a full spaceships army will be quite expensive!
STAR WARS: X-WING
2 players | 30 – 45 min | 14+
War of the Ring: Second Edition
Being a player who loves miniature board games and The Lord of the Ring, I couldn’t include this game in the list.
War of the Ring is a two-player strategic war game in which each player controls the Free Peoples and Shadow Armies, respectively.
The Free Peoples’ goal is to capture enough enemy strongholds to gain 5 points or to give the Fellowship enough time to destroy the Ring by luring the Ring-bearers to Mount Doom.
On the other hand, capturing enough Free Peoples strongholds to reach 10 points or chasing down the Ring until the Ring-bearers are corrupted by the Darkness is the winning condition.
The miniatures recreate all of the major characters from the movie saga and it’s now your turn to decide their fate!
WAR OF THE RING: SECOND EDITION
2 – 4 players | 150 – 180 mins | Age 13+
When you think about the best miniature board games on the market, CMON is the first publisher that comes to mind. Arcadia Quest is their first board game to be featured on this personal list, but it won’t be the last.
Designed by the talented Eric M. Lang, this is a campaign-based game in which each player is in charge of a guild formed by three unique heroes, where each contestant needs to achieve several quests to win every scenario and choose the path to the next campaign.
Only one guild can lead in the end, so a battle between players will take place while fighting the occupying forces, in order to dethrone the vampire lord and reclaim the mighty Arcadia for their own.
As the campaign progresses, heroes are allowed to acquire new abilities, weapons, and equipment, making the guild even more powerful!
2 – 4 players | 60 min | 13+
In this miniature board game published by CMON, players take on the role of survivors of a zombie apocalypse.
Cooperation is key to find gear and guns to fight the bloodthirsty undead through 25 different scenarios with the aim to find your way through an infected city.
This second edition features outstanding updates that focus on ranged attacks, vehicle mechanisms, and interaction with doors, making the game even greater compared to the first edition.
Overall it’s a very simple and straightforward board game with high-quality minis and great replayability, that will give you plenty of hours of absolute fun.
Just be aware to not become some zombie’s lunch!
1 – 6 players | 60 min | 14+
Warhammer 40k: Indomitus
Warhammer is a miniature wargame in which two players have to strategically lead their army to defeat the opponent.
The game is played on a board that represents a battlefield and contains models of trees, ruins, buildings and other terrain features.
Games Workshop released the 9th edition of the game in July 2020 and if you are new to this universe and want to give it a try, this is by far the best starter set.
It seems expensive at first glance, but this new updated Warhammer box is packed with 61 detailed minis, an assembly guide, a heavy rulebook and more.
Looking from just a money point of view, this is an absolute must buy if you are serious about entering the Warhammer 40k universe.
Worth mentioning that this is a limited edition so it might be difficult to get your hands on it.
WARHAMMER 40K: INDOMITUS
2 players | 120 – 240 min | 12+
Each player controls a Viking clan with its own soldiers, commander, and ship in this Viking-themed strategy game.
As Ragnarök progressively destroys the earth, the game proceeds through three Ages. The winner is the one who has the most glory at the end of the game.
You may conquer and loot the country for its riches, destroy your opponents in epic battles, complete missions, boost your clan’s attributes, or even die gloriously in combat.
The gameplay is quite easy, and everything appears to be well balanced.
Speaking about miniatures, their quality is exceptional! Hands down among the greatest I’ve ever seen in a board game.
2 – 4 players | 60 – 90 mins | Age 14+
Star Wars: Legion
Star Wars: Legion is one of the thrilling miniature board games set in the Star Wars universe.
It takes you on a journey through some of the most iconic fantry battles, such as the Rebel Alliance’s defeat in the Battle of Hoth or some Rebel strike teams taking on a legion of stormtroopers in the Forest Moon of Endor.
This game puts you in a command of an army comprised of famous troopers, powerful ground vehicles and iconic characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
Innovative mechanics for a command to simulate the fog and chaos of war, as well as the option to control it, the game offers an unpainted and easily assembled minis that allow players to create their dream Star Wars army.
STAR WARS: LEGION
2 players | 120 – 180 min | 14+
Planet Apocalypse is a cooperative miniature board game where players have to kill demons in order to destroy the Hellgate and save the world.
Players take on the role of heroes protecting the planet from a horde of horrific monsters. Over time, you improve your hero’s powers by equipping him with valuable weapons and equipment.
The game is played over three phases, which continue in sequence until you finally destroy the Lord of the demons: Baphomet.
If you want to increase the game replayability, I’d suggest taking a look at some of its expansions, which add more Heroes and Demons.
1 – 5 players | 60 – 90 min | 14+
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Imperial Assault immerses you in the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire following the destruction of the Death Star.
The Galactic Empire’s infinite soldiers and resources are pitted against a crack squad of expert Rebel agents in the campaign game, as they attempt to undermine the Empire’s grasp on the galaxy.
In this game, one player commands the massive Galactic Empire’s armies, controlling anything from Stormtrooper squadrons to legendary villains like Darth Vader.
The remaining players operate as a team, each controlling a Rebel Alliance hero.
STAR WARS: IMPERIAL ASSAULT
1 – 5 players | 60 – 120 mins | Age 14+
Cthulhu: Death May Die
Cthulhu: Death May Die puts players in command of a team of investigators tasked with bringing down an Elder God who has been called to Earth.
As they are behind schedule and without possibilities to block the summoning process that has already begun, the aim of the players will be shooting at the Elder God when he will be vulnerable for a moment after being summoned.
To be able to do so, players have to gather enough information to identify a vulnerability or change the ritual just enough to produce one.
Players will team together to battle cultists, look for answers, and try to keep their already fractured minds from deteriorating worse.
CTHULHU: DEATH MAY DIE
1 – 5 players | 90 – 120 min | 14+
The Others: 7 Sins
The Others: 7 Sins is a horror-themed board game, designed by Eric M. Lang, in which players must work together to beat an opponent who impersonates one of the seven deadly sins.
The battle between good and evil sees on a side one of the players who select a Sin to play, and the other players will have to team up and collaborate in order to fight it and win the game.
Each hero has a different and unique skill set so be sure to mix them up while building a team.
The first two Sins, Pride and Sloth, are included in this game box, with the other five Sins available as separate expansions.
THE OTHERS: 7 SINS
2 – 5 players | 90 min | 14+
Descent: Journey in the Dark
Descent is always the first game that comes to my mind when I think about two beloved types of tabletop games, miniature board games and dungeon-crawl board games.
It’s a traditional dungeon crawl game with simple controls and fantastic miniatures, in which one player takes on the role of the Overlord and the other players play as heroic heroes.
The heroes go on quests in each game, exploring deadly caverns, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and haunted woodlands.
They’ll fight monsters, gain riches, and try to stop the Overlord from carrying out his wicked plan along the way.
The heroes will either win or lose as a team – by completing specific objectives – while the overlord wins or loses individually.
DESCENT: JOURNEYS IN THE DARK
2 – 5 players | 120 mins | Age 14+
Mice & Mystics
Mice & Mystics is a cooperative adventure game in which players take on the role of intrepid mice.
As their narrative progresses, the mice will need collaboration, courage, and a little luck to navigate through a succession of interactive chapters.
Each chapter has its own set of victory criteria to give it unique storytelling opportunities, be sure to read them before starting the chapter to avoid interrupting or slowing down the pace of the game.
This game is a perfect example of storytelling. Playing through each chapter up until the tale ends is a unique experience that can be shared even with your youngest kids.
Plus, killing those damn cockroaches will be very amusing!
MICE AND MYSTICS
1 – 4 players | 60 – 90 mins | Age 7+
The Kami have assembled their holy clans at the beginning of the Great New Year with one mission: to recover the lands of Nippon and return them to their dignified, spiritual heritage.
Alliances must be forged, betrayal is inevitable, honorable standing rises and falls.
At the end of the year, only one person will be triumphant!
Rising Sun is a board game set in mythical mediaeval Japan, in which players fight to lead their Clans to victory by earning Victory Points over the three seasons of spring, summer, and autumn.
You may earn these points in a variety of methods, including winning battles, harvesting the appropriate provinces, and playing to your Clan’s Virtues.
By the time winter arrives, the player with the most points will rule the Land of the Rising Sun!
If you love miniature board games with a Japan theme, this game must be on your shelf.
3 – 5 players | 60 – 120 min | 14+
Ankh: Gods of Egypt
Ankh: Gods of Egypt is the latest game released by the amazing publisher CMON, absolutely top-notch when speaking about miniature board games (I’m not getting paid to say it!).
Players take on the role of Egyptian Gods that fight against each other as history is advancing towards monotheism.
Each god must gather followers, have monuments constructed in their honour, and motivate soldiers to battle for their ideals by using unique powers and mythological guardians.
Developed by the same creators of Blood Rage and Rising Sun, this game was pledged on Kickstarter in the first half of 2020 and they are currently delivering the last orders according to the official Kickstarter page.
It’s actually not yet released in the stores (The release date is around the end of October 2021) but from what I can see the theme and miniatures of the game are outstanding!
I will tell you more about the gameplay when I’ll get my hands on it!
ANKH: GODS OF EGYPT
2 – 5 players | 90 min | 14+
Sword & Sorcery
Sword & Sorcery is an epic-fantasy cooperative board game in which players control Heroes brought back to life in order to defeat evil foes and save the kingdom.
During the story-driven campaign, players will have to slay monsters and collect Soul points to regenerate their Hero’s soul and unlock their full powers and unique abilities.
If you like dungeon-crawl board games, this is one of those to pick up. A high degree of character customization, good tactical options during the fights, amazing miniatures and it also has a 50+ pages rulebook to read!
But don’t worry too much because after a couple of quests everything will become smoother.
SWORD & SORCERY
1 – 5 players | 60 – 90 min | 12+
Star Wars: Armada
Here it comes another Star Wars themed board game, and this time is huge!
Star Wars: Armada is a competitive board game of space warfare, in which two players take on the role of Imperial and Rebel Admirals, that manoeuvre their fleet to confront the opponent in an epic scale battle.
Players harm and destroy each other’s fleets by coordinating, assaulting, and manoeuvring their ships and squadrons.
By the conclusion of the sixth round, the aim is to destroy as much of the enemy fleet’s force as possible. If all of one player’s ships are destroyed, the game ends instantly.
If you like a war game that is epic in scale and that requires a lot of strategies and planning ahead moves, this is the one for you!
As I already said for Star Wars: X-Wing, this game will require quite a lot of money to be able to build a decent size army.
STAR WARS: ARMADA
2 players | 120 min | 14+
Are you looking for a dungeon-crawl with exceptional plastic minis? You’ve come to the right place!
Massive Darkness is a fantasy dungeon-crawl game in which each player picks a hero of their choices (there are 6 Heroes with different classes) and descends into underground lairs and tunnels.
The heroes prowl the darkness, fighting guards and monstrosities, claiming legendary weapons and gaining experience until they acquire the title of Lightbringers.
There are dozens of enemies to slay, and with the official Massive Darkness expansions, this number increases enormously making the game even more various and fun!
You may opt to play each quest as a stand-alone adventure or play in Story Mode to witness your characters grow over the course of the campaign.
1 – 6 players | 120 min | 14+
Kingdom Death: Monster
This game is tough and to be perfectly honest, I was unsure if adding this title to this list was the best choice. The reason was fundamentally one: the price.
On this website, I try to suggest board games that bring fun and adventure to the table at the right price.
Most of the miniature board games featured in this article have a slightly higher price than the average board game, but that price is almost always justified by the number and quality of miniatures and components that the game box contain.
Kingdom Death: Monster, on the other hand, costs 3 times more than every other game listed here. So why is it here?
Let me start by saying that the game box doesn’t just contain a game. It contains multiple experiences; the sumptuous and insane idea of its creator Adam Poots, excellently represented with dozens of miniatures, cards, tiles and sided die.
Players are catapulted into a nightmarish world in which they take on the role of survivors busy to build and develop their settlement while fighting evil creatures.
The campaign is played over the course of several sessions, each one with the typical phases rotation Hunt-Showdown-Settlement, that will keep you glued to the table for many many hours.
And the quality of the miniatures? Don’t let me start on that… absolutely outstanding! Even more when painted. Possibly with steady hands.
So why is it here? Well… there isn’t a game that belongs here more than KD:M.
P.S. Even though I shared the Amazon link to the game, I’d suggest you buy the game from the official KDM store, as it has the most updated version of the game.
KINGDOM DEATH: MONSTER
1 – 4 players | 60 – 180 min | 17+
The next two miniature board games on the list come from a publisher that I absolutely love: Awaken Realms.
Their products are outstanding from the point of view of the game theme and the quality of components!
The first game I want to speak about is their famous sci-fi survival horror: Nemesis.
In this semi-cooperative board game, players are members of a crew on a ship infested with evolving hostile creatures. The goal of the game is to complete a secret objective given to you at the beginning of the game and at the same time find a way to leave the ship alive.
Being a semi-cooperative game means that players could work together to some degree, but ultimately they have to fulfil their personal objectives in order to win.
Each player controls a character with a unique set of skills, and these vary from soldier, mechanic, scientist, captain, pilot and scout.
Being an asymmetric kind of game means that each character has different skills that are or aren’t useful in certain situations.
Nemesis is a highly thematic, difficult (with a strong degree of randomness), scary and intense board game; and if you like all of these things, together with the Alien theme, then you are served!
1 – 5 players | 90 – 180 min | 12+
Etherfields is the second board game on this list published by Awaken Realms.
It’s a narrative cooperative game in which players take on the role of Dreamers that have to face a dreamlike journey into the world of the subconscious, in order to recover their memory and identity.
This game is a difficult one to judge and suggest to other players. It’s a “love it or hate it” situation, and you could only get an idea of the game by playing it yourself.
From a narrative and thematic point of view, the game is outstanding. From whichever angle you want to look at the game, you can feel its theme up until the point that you can almost touch it. You actually can, as every single component of the game oozes its dreamlike ambience.
From a gameplay point of view, however, the game tends to divide the audience.
There are tons of mechanics to learn and the rulebook is not always clear. You could feel confused at first, but if you have the patience to learn and master some of its basic mechanics, the game will start to flow a little easier.
Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients
Shadows of Brimstone is a cooperative dungeon-crawl board game that mixes Old-West and horrendous Lovecraftian-style creatures.
Each player chooses a classic western Hero, such as gunslinger or bandito, and together will descend into the mines that surround the destroyed city of Brimstone in order to close the mysterious portals that appeared after a tremendous explosion.
During the exploration, you’ll have to slay horrific monsters from other dimensions, collect gear and artefacts to improve your character’s strength, rescue civilians and seal the gateway to other worlds.
It is a fast-paced old school board game that relies on dice rolls for almost every gameplay mechanic. If you don’t accept the high degree of randomness, better stay away from the game and focus on other miniature board games. There’s plenty here!
SHADOWS OF BRIMSTONE: CITY OF ANCIENTS
1 – 4 players | 120 min | 12+
Something a little different for the last game on the list. It’s still in the miniature board games category, but with a twist: it is an adventure book game!
You and your fellow gamer take on the role of a little girl’s stuffed animals entrusted with defending her from the monsters who lurk beneath her bed.
You will navigate a series of interactive stories using collaboration, courage, compassion, and a little luck.
Stuffed Fables is the perfect game for those parents that are always looking for new ideas to share the time with their beloved children.
And yes don’t worry, it’s also a fun game suited for you, grown-up boy!
2 – 4 players | 60 – 90 min | 7+