Fantasy Warriors

When a thread about Fantasy Warlord popped up on the Oldhammer FB group, it reminded me that I after I wrote my post about it I had intended to do a similar one about Grenadier Miniatures effort in the market - Fantasy Warriors. So Here it is!

A year before Warhammer 4th Edition and Battlemasters there was another opportunity to buy a Fantasy wargame in a box stuffed full of plastic miniatures. 102 plastic orcs and dwarves were stuff into a box alongside dice, rules and counters. Grenadier was a long running miniatures company that had arguably been more prolific and successful that Citadel. Originally based in the states it had spent the late 70's producing historical figures before moving into Fantasy with the rising popularity of that genre. It was the place to buy all your Dungeons and Dragons figures (until they parted company with TSR in'82) and also produced figures for a a whole host of licences such as Call of Cthulu as well as Paranoia, Masters of the Universe, The Dark Crystal and loads of others. Grenadier were known for their Dragons and their metal figures and you often saw their adverts in White Dwarf throughout the 80's. A UK office was set up and it became an almost separate entity, leading the product design based on the European market with ex-Citadel sculptors, Bob Naismith, Mark Copplestone and Nick Lund becoming the chief sculptors. Mark Copplestone had Originally worked for Dixon's (check out Nico's Nippon army featuring a lot of Marc's sculpts from that time) and then moved to citadel where he worked on a lot of the RT space marines as well as Chaos warriors, Confrontation figures and Imperial Guard as well as loads of others. He went on to Foundry after Grenadier and then set up his own company which is now with Northstar. Nick Lund had run the Chronicle miniature company which was bought by Citadel and produced by them while he produced new figures for them. Classics such as the Ugezod's Mothercrushers and Mighty Ugezod's Death Commandos are his work. He left to work for Grenadier and citadel stopped producing the Chronicle range.

So that's the set up. There was no real history of rulesets coming form Grenadier and plastics was also a new direction for them so you can imagine that releasing a boxed game packed with plastic figures was a risk for them. I have no idea how well it sold or how popular it was at the time. But you aren't here for a history lesson or a financial report. We're hear to talk about the game.

Figures were 28mm as you can imagine and were organised into units of 10 or so figures. You can have leaders, heroes, standard bearers and musicians in your units and they have effects on various activities you try to carry out, more of which later. Units are organised together in a 'Command' and these are led by a character called a 'Battle Leader'. Several of these commands together are led by a Warchief in order to form your army.

Fantasy Warriors works by allowing your Warchief to issue orders to your commands. There are three of these you can choose. Attack, Hold and Oppose. Within each of these orders you have a small range of options that can be carried out within it. Attack for instance means that your units must advance towards the enemy, attack anyone within the range, shoot at any targets if you are able etc.
Orders can only be changed by the Warchief and must be carried to the Battle Leader by a courier, adding another layer of complexity to organising and controlling your army.

Before the battle starts, however you can do several things that can change its course. First of all the time of day needs to be established and tracked on the counter that comes in the box. This mechanism allows the battle to be fought during the day or at night. This is important for some races such as humans who will find themselves at a disadvantage at night and Goblins who will find themselves at a disadvantage in the day.

Before armies are deployed you can attempt to Scout your opponents battle lines. This is done by picking a command that you wish to scout with and working out a variety of scores based on its composition. If you manage to 'Out Scout' your opponent then he has to deploy his entire army first leaving you to decide how to respond with a distinct advantage.

Your Warchief can also make some boasts at the start of the battle, these give him the opportunity to gain more points at the end of the battle if he manages to carry out his promises in the face of the enemy.

Next you can test for good or bad Omens that can have the effect of leaving Units and Commands disorganised or shaken. This obviously makes controlling units at the start of the battle more difficult. An interesting way to add jeopardy to the start of a battle.

The actual battle is divided into a series of phases that are played through in order.
First up comes the Threat Phase where your units try to intimidate opposing units. Like a lot of tests in Fantasy Warriors, this takes the form of opposed dice rolls with modifiers for the command (known as 'Specials') figures that are included in the unit and various other conditions that might affect the enemy. Again the results of the Threats could be that the opposing units are shaken and disorganised. This is signified by card counters that are placed next the to the units on the table. A handy way to track the status of the individual units.

Next comes the Shooting phase. Your missile units have little piles of markers next to them which shows how many Volleys they have left. A neat little way to teach ammunition, something that Warhammer cares little for.  Both players declare which units they want to shoot and work it all out for both. D6's a rolled and any 1's are automatic misses and 6's are auto hits. Everything inbetween is subject to modifiers for the usual kinds of things but essentially your looking for 4+ to hit.
After this you make the kill roll based on a chart of missle type vs armour. If the unit takes casualties then it has to take a morale test which could leave it Ok, Shaken, Routing or in Bloodlust. This is a unique status for Fantasy Warriors. Essentially the unit is that enraged by taking casualties that it becomes berzerk and try to advance towards the enemy at top speed.

After shooting comes movement. In this phase you can move your units about. The rules actually give you a choice of systems. You can roll for initiative and move one army at a turn or you can choose to move commands, one then the other. I reckon that would be the more fun option. There are plenty of rules about how you move and manoeuvre your units and I don't need to go into them now. You can also reorganise your disorganised units in this phase.

Next up is combat which follows the same sort of method as shooting except both sides fight. Attackers go first, casualties are worked out but are left on the table till after the defenders attacks are worked out. Kill rolls, Combat test (morale test) and Reaction are all pretty much the same as Shooting. There are rules for a variety of weapons and armour as well as capturing standards and other variants of troops (mounted, flying etc).

Next up you have the chance to change your orders. Your Warchief needs to be on the table but he can choose to change the orders of any of the Commands on the table by sending new orders to the command via messengers or couriers. You send the figure, with the counter facedown next to him, to the war chief in charge of the command. There is then a test to see how he reacts to being given new orders, Anything less than a 6 (taking modifiers in to account) causes confusion and delay (the fat controller would not be happy).

The next phase is called influence. This is where your Warchief and Battle Leaders can try and change the reaction that their units are suffering under. Of course there is the possibility of it all going horribly wrong.

Next up is a command test which basically mounts up whats happened in the round and uses the as modifiers in a test to check see if the battle or the entire army has started to panic.

Magic can be used at any point during the battle and is based on having a store of magic power tokens that you span spend of some standard spells that are generally slanted towards affecting units or the effectiveness of battles.

That's pretty much it for a quick tour of the rules. The basic rule book also contains basic army lists for Barbarians, Dwarves, Goblins, Men, Orcs, Wood Elves, Trolls and Ogres ( the last two are not armies in their own right but can be added to other armies)

Grenadier produced entire metal armies for all these races, some classic Copplestone Men and Barbarians as well as Nick Lund Orcs and Goblins. There were other army lists produced and a Companion which expanded the rules. They even produced a sci-fi version of the rules called Future Warriors: Kill Zone complete with classic Copplestone Future Warriors figures.

Unfortunately, Grenadier closed down in 94 but their miniature lines were bought by other companies and are still available to buy through Mirliton and EM4.

The PDF of the rules is easily downloadable for free from the above companies and if you want to have a look at how they work in more detail then I'd suggest you go and have a look.



  1. Have to give these rules a try someday, nice review

  2. Man I wish I still had these rules. I'm pretty sure they were lost long ago, who knows tho they still might be lurking somewhere in my parents basement.

  3. Fantasy Warriors sounds very intriguing. The figures also look very good, I have the Mother Crushers, need to get them out more. Off to scour the internet.

  4. It was a nice set of rules (loved all the command stuff) and figures, but just got buried by GW, locally at least.

  5. We actually played a lot of this at the Tin Soldier in Dayton, OH, back in the day. Some people loved it (like random events like time of day) and some were ok with it. But it pretty much got crushed by 4th ed WFB in the area.

  6. I played these rules like crazy when I went to school. They were more accessible to me then than WH 3rd and had a nice layer of Chaos included, sometimes your archers which you had carefully maneuvered behind cover on a hill went into bloodlust because they took (very few or too few) casualties and charged the trolls straight ahed! An order was misunderstood and your knights thought you wanted them to hold the line instead of charging into the enemy. Or your huge unit of goblins rolled poorly and decided to run for it on the first turn.

    Fantasy Warriors also had a lot of remarkable and at that time innovative rules. Wood Elves were able to deploy up to the middle of the table and set up woods everywhere when they outscouted you. Goblins could start to chant and this spread through the army and might be causing their enemy to become demoralized or all units to go into bloodlust. Some armies featured destroyers, mighty heroes who caused the whole army however a severe penalty when they were NOT in melee etc. Etc.

    Undead had a completely unique ruleset that broke with all the above rules. They were moved by a pool of power created by your necromancer coven, were immune to morale but could scare the shit out of their enemy. They were poor fighters, but wraiths (aka Nazgul) and spectres could boost the units considerably.

    And something else: Killzone (even if it was sold as that) had zero similarities with Fantasy Warriors, but instead was a small scale skirmish (decades before infinity became popular) in a cyberpunk world. Very innovative ruleset. We enjoyed many a summer evening with battles that involved 10-20 models and took an hour or less.


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