Best Warhammer Alternatives

15 May 2024
Warhammer is an expansive and incredible universe, but where do you go when you want an alternative? We've got five great and cheaper options that you won't regret bringing to the table.

Written by Charlie Pettit

Warhammer is the goliath of miniature gaming, and with such a huge variety of options to suit every style of player, it’s no wonder it’s remained that way. Add in the fact that schools are frequently running Warhammer clubs, the existence of the likes of Warhammer World – it’s a huge, incredible gateway. If you’re one of those people who used to play Warhammer and no longer does, we’ve got some alternatives to the 40K universe that scratch a similar itch…


Arguably a cheaper investment than Warhammer represents, BattleTech has entered its renaissance. It's been around for a long time, and we reviewed BattleTech back in 2019, but there's been a hugely successful Kickstarter since then. Essentially, it’s the perfect balance for those who want complexity in their wargame, without complex models to paint. If you want to see robots fighting other robots, like Transformers meets Robot Wars, BattleTech is the one to try.

Buy your copy of BattleTech here. 

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Frostgrave or Stargrave

Joseph McCullough, creator of Frostgrave and Stargrave, is a name you’ll be forever seeing across the miniatures and wargaming world, because the games he designs are just great. Both have the unusual opportunity to be played extremely well completely solo, so you won’t need to mandate gaming group attendance in order to get it to the table. The former brings you wizards battling within a frozen city for magical artefacts, whereas Stargrave swaps wizards for space adventurers, so you can pick your poison.

You can find Frostgrave on Amazon

Gaslands: Refuelled

In a post-apocalyptic world, save your big spending for game night snacks, as this is a vehicular wargame that encourages you to use non-specific miniatures – namely, Hot Wheels cars. It feels almost entirely like playing in a twisted, futuristic Hunger Games but with the quick car-focused action of Fast and Furious, so prepare your best announcer voice (optional, but recommended).

Buy Gaslands: Refuelled here

Related Article: Our interview with Gaslands: Refuelled designer Mike Hutchinson

Marvel: Crisis Protocol

Web-slinging into a different genre, consider instead of Space Marines, your favourite characters from Marvel franchises in Marvel: Crisis Protocol. If you want a game that offers shelf appeal, one based on popular characters will always be easier to assemble (pun intended) a gaming group around, than one with a huge unknown lore around it. Build around your existing favourites (did someone say Scarlet Witch?), and enjoy the fact that even when they’re not on your table, they’ll look gorgeous from the shelf.

Buy Marvel: Crisis Protocol on Amazon

Core Space

If you’re into Warhammer for the sci-fi, Core Space is a great way to get back in. It’s a hybrid of a miniatures skirmish game, and a dungeon crawling RPG, set in space. You’ll control traders, trying to survive whilst also being hunted by the Purge, semi-sentient humanoid machines seeking to harvest worlds. With exploring and combat on one hand, and resource and crew management on the other, it feels like the best of both worlds. The starter set comes with a ton of miniatures and bits to get you started, but there are tons of expansion sets to prevent the game from ever feeling old. The more recent variant (First Born) introduces fanatical alien species protecting their homes from intruders. Plenty to explore! 

You can buy the starter set for Core Space on Amazon.

Related article: A Core Space Scenario for Wargamers called A Big Game Hunt

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Good selection - I'm a big advocate for Frostgrave, Stargrave, Galands and other Osprey titles - Xenos Rampant is also excellent, and GrimDarkFuture OnePageRules is a great alternative to 40k for large battles. I wonder if, rather than Amazon links, future pieces might have direct links to the publisher - I feel that Amazon doesn't really need our money, whereas a lot of these are smaller indie companies who would benefit from direct sales :)

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Posted by Laura Remy on Fri 31 May 14:57:18

You're missing Deadzone.. OK it's skirmish, but it challenges 40k big time.

Posted by James Tandy on Fri 24 May 09:15:23