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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fanticide Review

Courtesy of Alien Dungeon (
Fanticide by Alien Dungeon Review
by Tom De Mayo

Fanticide is an informal skirmish-level fantasy wargame set in a bleakly whimsical fairy-tale universe.  It looks built to be flexible, fun, and not entirely serious.

Welcome to Nowhere
Fanticide is set in the land of Nowhere.  Nowhere is a flat disk hanging in space (a la Discworld).  In the center of Nowhere is the Hole, a rift in space and time that spits out detritus (and refugees) from other universes and realities. As a result, all sorts of strange, horrible things live in Nowhere.

Courtesy of Alien Dungeon (

Players' warbands represent different factions of monsters and creatures from Nowhere.  Four major factions have army lists, but it is implied there are many more, and there's an appendix that lets players invent their own.

The Fae are blood-thirsty fairies looking to feed thier forest with blood.  The Liberi are Native Americanish Centaurs roaving the plains.  The Creeps are monsters from the underside of Nowhere.  They have a single giant eyeball (the better to see in the dark) and a ravenous mouth with which they eat the skin, only the skin, of thier victims.  The Flying Monkeys scavenge the land looking for technological artifacts for their mysterious masters. Fly my pretties!

Supposedly, there are some humans around, but apparently aren't interesting enough to get their own list. What a relief!

Things may appear happy and wonderful, but they are not.  For example, the Unicorn is an unstoppable carnivorous monster.  It becomes more powerful when there is a Rainbow in the sky.  Fear the unicorn and the rainbow!

Game Mechanics
Fanticide's game mechanics are pretty basic.  They follow Warhammerish lines for the most part, except for an interesting intermixed activation sequence based on cards.

Each model is defined by six attributes, called Virtues.  There's Give (an attack value), Take (a defense value), Soul (a kind of toughness rating), Agility (a movement rate), Spirit (magical ability), Sanity (leadership), and Command (which manipulates the card system).

Models may also suffer from Vices - such as Hunger and Insanity, that require them to behave in a certain way, or pass a leadership test not to go crazy.

Combat interactions are based on d10s. Basically, roll a d10 + Give vs. d10 + Take.  If the Give exceeds the take by more than the Target's Soul value, the target dies.  Otherwise, it's just stunned.  Spirit and Soul are tested - roll higher than the value, and you succeed.  There's some other details, but that's the essentials.

Courtesy of Alien Dungeon (
The activation cards govern the flow of the game. For each turn, both players place cards representing their units into a deck. So if you had 3 units, you'd put in three cards.  Leaders get extra representation based on their Virtue of Command. These cards are keyed to unit type.  You can tell whose card it is by the picture -- one player uses the dagger cards, the other uses a claw card.  You also add in an event card. 

Then the deck is shuffled, and the players draw cards one by one.  When a unit's card is drawn, it is then activated, and can move, charge, shoot, whatever.  Its actions are resolved.  Then you draw the next card.

Leader cards come up more frequently, and a leader can use his card to activate a nearby unit instead of himself. The Event card results in a random event, like an Earthquake, a Unicorn, or a Rainbow.  Events are almost always horribly, horribly bad.  And funny.

When all the cards are gone, the turn is over.

There are some random charts, for when models go crazy.  And that's about it.

Not Entirely Serious
Courtesy of Alien Dungeon (
Fanticide blends nihilism and humor. It's absurd and bleak, but unlike (say) Warhammer 40k, it doesn't take itself very seriously.  That's its biggest virtue, and also its greatest limitation.

For good or ill, it will never have tight lists and a competitive tournament scene because it's designed to be open ended and random.

The lists are point based, and also have limits on the number and types of units you can take.  Most of your units (0-4) will be core units of melee troops.  Then you can have limited numbers of elite melee or basic shooting units (usually up to 2 each), swarms of annoyances (called Peeves) and the occasional monstery thing.  Plus your leaders. 

There's also a generic point system, if you want to make your own list, but as it warns you, it's quite possible to break it.  So experimenters are also encouraged to be responsible game designers.  I think that's a good thing, myself, but it won't sit well with some folks.

An Endorsement
This game has me sold! I long ago swore I'd play any wargame that let me command an army of flying monkeys, and I intend to keep my oath to the dice gods! The prospect of standing on one foot shouting "eek eek" only makes it better.**  I don't know how much replay value Fanticide will have, but I suspect it will be a blast finding out.

**Seriously. It's a real rule. P. 107

Check out Fanticide at and keep your eyes on The Outpost for a model review in the near future!

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