A buddy of mine recently made the claim that there were no fantasy games out there to compete with Warhammer Fantasy Battles and that this was why Games Workshop felt comfortable pushing their prices up even further. So, this is the first in what I think will be a series of posts looking at the other fantasy wargames on the market. I picked up some of the figs from this first game a while back and was pretty impressed with the sculpts. The game is Hundred Kingdoms from Black Orc games. The game is set in a fantasy world where several factions fight to control the world. (Sound familiar?) The figs they make for the game are fairly inexpensive and the rules are available for free at their website. Just click on the Rules link in the sidebar.
I read through the starter rules and they seemed pretty straightforward. Attacks are made by rolling a d20 equal or under the stat of the troop, modified by circumstances. Troops can break morale and can be rallied by commanders.
The Commanders appear to be awesome in combat as well as being able to rally the troops. While most troops only take one wound before being taken out of action, the commanders usually have 3-5 wounds. They also get more than one attack when they attack. In other words, if you like the "Hero-Hammer" feel that Warhammer often has where massive heroes hack apart units of regular guys, then you'll probably like what you find with the heroes of this game.
The game actually has two versions. The firs one is for low point games of warbands and is called....appropriately enough "Warbands." The other version is the full version of their Hundred Kingdoms game.
There were a few fiddly things in the rules that I didn't care for, but no more than I find with GW rules. Still I don't think I like the rules enough that I would use them, but I really do like the figs they make for this game and with the right set of rules, I think I could have a lot of fun fielding an army of their Roman Ape-Men, or their Zulu Cat-people. The Samurai figs they make for their Japanese themed army are human and so I am sure they get a lot of use by people looking for figs for a L5R game, but I think they are also the first good company I have seen for Cat-Men. I recommend checking them out.