Sunday, 21 June 2009

Free Gaming Resources

Vote for me, vote for me! Ahem, sorry, I had a nice surprise on Friday, while having a look around The Miniatures Page, I found this Poll, which is for the Best Wargaming Blog of 2008. It appears that some generous fool nominated ‘A Year of Frugal Gaming’ for this category, presumably the poll for Worst Blog Colour Scheme had already filled up.

Now, I’m very flattered, but technically I only had a few posts up as 2009 started, so I'm not sure I qualify. However, if you feel that you want to give your opinion on what you think of this (or other blogs), then follow the link above. Ta!

Free Gaming Resources

This is a Frugal Gaming blog (not a cycling blog) and I think I’ve been neglecting my duties recently, so this week I’ve decided to give away lots of free stuff. Not my free stuff though, a selection of free gaming resources on the net. I’ve tried to identify the sites with quality resources, that you can download and use, so no news sites or forums. Here they are in no particular order:

General Gaming resources

Bell of Lost Souls – This is the site that inspired this list. They produce a range of Minidexes (minidexees, minidexi,...?) for Warhammer 40k, which are probably the best fan-produced work I have ever seen. The Minidexes provide rules for armies or groups that have been mentioned in the 40k background, but have not had their own official Codex released. The site also provides some logo sheets for download which I’m sure will be very useful for anyone playing the armies covered.

Games Workshop's Specialist Games – Who’d have thunk it? The company we all love to hate, have got some of the best free stuff out there in the form of their specialist games. Necromunda, Mordheim, Inquisitor, Epic, Blood Bowl, etc are all available for free, all you will need to do is provide the miniatures and scenery; easier for some games than for others. This is what brought me back to miniatures gaming a few years ago; downloading the Mordheim rules, buying some plastic empire militia and starting a campaign with my son. Curse you Games Workshop! Be warned that GW have a history of removing things off their sites, so if you want any rules, go and download your copy now!

Ground Zero Games provide free downloads for their Full Thrust, Dirtside and Stargrunt rules, I’ve never played these games myself, but I’ve heard very good things about them and they are all linked by being set in the same universe at different scales.

Liber Fanatica produce a wide range of resources for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and is worth visiting if you’re a player, or if you just like reading the ‘fluff’.

Another great site is the imaginatively titled Free Wargames Rules which collects all the free wargames rules available on the internet. It has hundreds of sets of rules, many are free rules from companies and a lot are ‘home-brew’ rules from clubs or individuals, which can be of variable quality. The only drawback with this site is the huge number of rulesets available, which can mean many lost hours trying to find the perfect set, or simply retrieve a set you were looking at previously.

BoardGame Geek has various lists of free resources, as well as each game potentially having links to a number of free bits and pieces. The best 'Geeklist' I keep looking at is Retail Games That Are Now Free, which has loads of games, with links for downloads. Plus, if you're a fan of a particular game, BoardGame Geek is an excellent resource, with every game having it's own dedicated page with lots of links to more free stuff.

Of course, there’s always other frugal gamers out there; The Real Cost of Print and Play Space Combat Games prices up the cost of actually printing out those ‘free’ games and comes to some interesting conclusions.

Another site of note is Dream Weaved Worlds which provides downloads of floorplans for use in your games. I’ve downloaded some of their Cavern floor tiles before for use in Mordheim and they give a great effect on the table. The only drawback is the time and cost of printing off the pictures, and cutting out the pieces. To save time, I print the pictures onto A4 sized sticky labels and put them straight onto thin card (cereal boxes work fine), this cuts out the nasty gluing stage, which never turns out well...

Downloadable Magazines:

There are also a huge number of downloadable magazines available. I’m personally not a big fan of them, but some of the best that I’ve seen are:

Firebase Magazine from the Warseer forum is a quarterly 40k magazine which has been going for a while. A new one on the scene is The Freebootaz Webzine from 40k Radio, this looks pretty good, but it has only put out a couple of issues so far, so it could well run out of steam. But there’s some good articles in there anyhow.

If you’re a Battle Fleet Gothic fan (another Specialist Game free from GW), then you’ll want to check out Warp’s Rift and the Incoming! Ezine covers Epic 40k.

It seems (as you’ve probably guessed from the list above) that the majority of fan created magazines are for GW related products, I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why. The main non-GW mag is Fictional Reality which is now in it’s 10th year of production and deals with miniature wargames, board games, terrain building, sculpting and the odd RPG. Like I said, I don’t really read ezines, but this one is fantastic and of all the magazines I’ve listed here, this is definitely the one to check out.

But what about...?

Of course there are plenty of other sites out there. I deliberately haven’t mentioned gaming Podcasts (or Vodcasts) as they’re a huge subject all to themselves and I hope to cover them in a future post. So there you go, I hope you found these links useful. If you have any other to recommend, please let me know via email or by putting a comment onto this post.

Until next week, happy gaming!


Tristan said...

This is a quality post dude. Cheers

Tristan said...

FYI The link for retail games that are free is a dupe of the real costs of printing link.

Ruarigh said...

Excellent post. Knowing the free rules list on BGG is there, is priceless. There is some great stuff there. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

Ethics Gradient said...

Wow, thanks for that! There's some stuff out there I may well try! In the spirit of frugalness (is that a word?) Can I make a plug for the excellent, and also free, Fast and Dirty rules produced by Ivan Sorenson?

Dave said...

Thanks Tristan, link now fixed.

Dave said...

Glad you enjoy the post guys, I was looking around trying to find a similar list, but I couldn't track one down, so I thought I'd make my own!

And yes, Frugalness is a word, well, it is now...

Mr. Retzer said...

My site at

lists a new free wargaming resource every day of the year. After five years, there now are 3,760 different free wargaming resources listed. Each is categorized, and the entire site is searchable.