Wednesday, 8 April 2015

My thoughts on Hordes of the Things

Today I was asked on Twitter whether Hordes of the Things was any good or worth getting into. Needless to say, Twitter's limit on characters means I can't give a full reply there (unless you count 'Yes' as a full reply, so I thought I'd write a brief blog post on the subject!

For me, HotT fulfils a specific niche in my collection. I'll outline and explain the reasons for this below:

Simple yet effective rules

Although sometimes not written in the clearest way, the rules are really quite simple. However, they do lead to some tough decision making during games. Drawing an analogy with chess would be unfair to both games, but it gives you an idea of how these rules are very much simple to learn but hard to master. 

The combat system is a d6 roll off with modifiers for the troop type and terrain etc. The winning side will usually push back the other on a higher score, but the enemy is destroyed if their score is doubled. Variations on this reflect the effectiveness of certain elements against others. 

Doesn't cost the Earth to get into

The cost of a typical army for HotT is less than that of a regiment for most other games. The system follows a fairly normal basing convention of 2-4 figures per base (on a 40mm frontage for 15mm figures). Each base represents several  hundred troops. 

Flexible army lists

The army lists in the rule book are suggestions of how the system can cover different types of fantasy armies. From traditional fantasy, to mythic fantasy, to the settings of various authors. There are no hard and fast rules though. Typically you field a 24 point army, with most bases costing 2 points. When you get over the fact that there are no fixed lists to 'have fun with' you suddenly realise how liberating it is to choose any army you want! This invariably leads down the route of wanting 'just one more army', usually after reading a book or watching a film! It's great for wargamers who want to try something different and not min/max a force for tournament play!

Quick to play

Games of HotT don't usually last more than an hour and it is possible to play a best of three or five in one sitting. The game is addictive in that way and I often find myself wanting 'just one more'. There are rules for playing with multiple armies on each side and a simple campaign system. Both of these add to the length of a game, but even a campaign can be played in a whole afternoon. 

Why might I not like it?

This is as important as the reasons I've listed above. A guess in a nutshell it is as far from games like Warhammer as you can get. There are no buckets of dice, no multitude of special rules and no amazing magic powers or spells (in fact magic is basically powerful artillery). I play the occasional game of Warhammer hammer when I want a zany, anything goes fantasy experience. The rest of the time I play HotT as it is more suited to battles you might get in Lord of The Rings, Game of Thrones or even Narnia: any kind of more 'grounded' fantasy setting. 

I'd probably say to you, do a Google search for the rules and take a look at the vast range of armies people play using these rules. If any of them look like fun to you, then HotT is probably a game you'd like. 


  1. Excellent description young Chris. Based upon that response to my enquiry (@Phalanx58) I'll follow up on this. Thank you for the time to put this together. i found it interesting, illuminating and to the point. TTFN

    1. Thanks for your comment! I'm pleased you found it useful!