The Coming Disruption in Miniatures Wargaming

World War Tesla Cover ArtI just recieve the rules for the forthcoming World War Tesla by Fat Dragon Games.  This is a new IP that allows you to fully print your units and your terrain.  I’ve been thinking about this market and what 3D Printing means to it.  I’ve been playing Miniatures games since the late 80’s.  In my garage, I probably have as many “dead” games as I do actively supported games. I see 3D printing beginning to exert a disruptive influence of 3D printing.  Imagine not having games “die” and not being able to get models anymore.  As a wargamer, and having seen a number of great games die from lack of support, I am truly excited about games coming out that are fully digital. 

World War Tesla is not the first fully printed miniatures game, that honor (I believe) goes to Ill Gotten Games’ Pocket Tactics.  Another recent example that has had some growing pains getting started is All Out War, a fantasy game by Mathieu Marchand.  The last fully 3D Printable game I am aware of is another one by Ill Gotten Games called Teledrome.  Fully 3D printed games allow companies to create an entire miniatures game and distribute it virtually.  No need for inventory, distributors, or other costly business expenses.  While this is a great change for gamers and some game companies, I do see it as a problem for FLGS (One of my Friendly Local Game Stores actually has their own 3D Printer).  Not all disruption is good for all existing companies.  

When you want to look at the beginning disruption of the wargaming world, you don’t have to look any further than all of the terrain Kickstarters that come out every month.  I keep up a monthly page that shows the current Kickstarters being funded.  We see a number of Kickstarters coming through each month.  The number and diversity of terrain Kickstarters is allowing for great looking, specialized terrain for a number of games.  

Teledrome by Ill Gotten GamesMiniatures are a little more difficult to print but with resin based 3D printers coming down in price we can now print far more complex miniatures at much higher quality than we were able to in the past.  Some models, like those for World War Tesla are optimized for FDM printing allowing you to create nice looking models using the 3D printers most of us have.  I believe we will see an accelerated pace of releases of miniatures, terrain, and full games coming out in the coming years.

I will admit, going to Wargame Vault and downloading a full game like World War Tesla is pretty cool. Instead of ordering a game, and then waiting for at least several days for it to arrive, you can immediately have all the pieces needed to get started.  With the rules, cards, and other pieces virtual, you can print them on your printer, or read them immediately on your computer or tablet.  From there, you load up the models and can immediately start printing.  With World War Tesla, you can easily print out the units needed for a small game over a day or less.  Most of the modes for World War Tesla take between 1 and 3 hours.  I’ll be talking about World War Tesla again and give it a full review, but I am already impressed by the rules and the looks of the figures.  I am really looking forward to getting it printed out and on the table.  The rules look really solid and have some unique ideas that will be fun to explore.

I’d be interested in how other view 3D printable miniatures games, and if I missed any other fully 3D Printable games, please let me know.