Thursday, September 13, 2012
So I have mentioned that I have quite a few Chainmail miniatures in my collection. I had them out to look at them with my daughter today so I decide to snap a picture of the boxes. For those people who do not know about it Chainmail was skirmish game released by Wizards of the Coast early in the last decade (~ 2002). Many people considered it D&D Light which is a reasonable description of the basic mechanics(d20 vs AC) and character types (fighters, rangers, clerics, etc).
Each player builds a war band with commanders and troops. The game had a nice command mechanic where each of your commanders could issue a certain number of orders to nearby troops to get them to do other than the most basic attacks on the nearest enemy. Each model had enough stats (listed on little card for each model) to be interesting but most of the models also had special rules. This is fine when the total number of models in the rules is small but runs into problems unless carefully crafted rules are used (see warseer 40k rules forum number of posts for the ultimate example of badly structured and maintained rules).
The games ended with 7 distinct factions: Thalos (Humans), Ravilla (Elves), Mordengard (Dwarves), Ahmut's Legion (Undead), Drazen's Horde (Orciods), Naresh (Gnolls), and Kilsek (Drow). Some of these models are really quite nice and occasionally you see them painted up for other purposes.
Now this game did not last very long in production. WotC expected this game to be a huge hit and a Mage Knight killer. I am not sure if they expected every player to buy every factor or thought that all D&D players would immediately pick up the game but they really did not let a following grow. They essentially oversold it to the retailers with large quantities of the initial release and they had a hard time shifting them all. This appeared to make them less like to stock the later releases which got harder and harder to find. WotC pulled the plug part of the way into the 4 release. I personally had all the models from the initial and second release but never saw the third in any stores and the writing was on the wall that the game was dead by the time the 4 set was in stores so I did not even look.
The initial release models can be purchased quite cheaply still new in box on ebay but the Set 3 and 4 models start to cost a pretty penny. Recently watched a bundle with maybe 20-25 dollars original retail minis go for over 100 dollars. I was hoping to fill in my collection for these sets but not at those prices. I did recently get some set 3 stuff at a reasonable price on ebay due to a selling not really knowing the models and not having the stat cards (3 set stats are in the 4th set book which I have).
I plan on teaching this game to my kids since I have everything we need. I like old OOP games so why should I not grow my own opponents.