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10 Best Miniature Games

10 Best Miniature Games

Our guide to the best miniature games

Miniatures are essentially figurines that represent players, characters, soldiers and/or creatures- the possibilities are endless. Often, the minis included in the best miniature games we’ve listed below (and their expansions) come unpainted or unassembled. That’s important to remember, because it influences how you approach those games.

Tabletop miniature games are different from collectible miniatures games. Why, you ask? Generally, there are two groups of miniature board game players. 

Miniature game enthusiasts enjoy playing tabletop miniature board games. For some, unpainted minis are fine for playing with as long as you enjoy the essence of the game itself. For others, light customization is the way to go.

Miniature game hobbyists extol the process of customizing the figurines that come in the best miniatures games and expansions. They create fantastical-looking minis and whip up terrains that perfectly integrate with any theme you can think of. They are world builders

With our top picks of the best tabletop miniature games, we cover a range of possibilities. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your gaming preferences- are you an enthusiast or hobbyist, or somewhere in between? 

Our Top Picks – 10 Best Miniature Games


Best Miniature Game Overall: Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Strip back the X-Wings and TIE fighters! Get back to the heart of the Rebellion in the middle of its epic struggle against the galactic Empire. Perfect for the kid who wants to be the next Rey. Anyone can enjoy this game, from the casual bystander to the Star Wars fanatic.

Players: 1 - 5 // Game time: 60 - 120 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Best Miniature Game on a Budget: Frostgrave 

Enter the magical, snow-filled world of Frostgrave for free. Grab anything you have lying around- especially your imagination.

Players: 2 - 8 // Game time: 30 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Best Tabletop Miniature Game: Rising Sun

This masterful game does so many things at once with a heavy dose of intricate feudal Japan art and pulls it all off with a master stroke.

Players: 1 - 5 // Game time: 90 - 120 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Medium

Best Collectible Miniature Game: A Song of Ice and Fire

The Game of Thrones universe is full of otherworldly beasts, outsize characters and great quality miniatures- you’ll want to collect every single one.

Players: 2 // Game time: 45 - 60 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Medium

Best Miniature Game with a Story: Twilight Imperium: 4th Edition

Space lions. Planetary defense systems. Grand story-telling. You’ll find a lot to like about this game. This is one of the most epic games out there – and for good reason. Plan to spend a Saturday playing this incredible space opera with a group of buddies.

Players: 3 - 6 // Game time: 4 - 8 hours // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Best Miniature Games

Best Miniature Games - Infinity by Corvus Belli game box and cover art

Futuristic Science Fiction Wargame

Players: 2 // Game time: 60 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Corvus Belli

It is the year 2195. An advanced version of the United Nations directs massive trade ships through sectors of space. A single AI entity remains. Old nations have transformed into federated blocs that battle over star systems capable of sustaining human life. Friction is everywhere. You command a small group of soldiers, hand-picked for their mission-specific skills. 

Infinity is a game of speed and flexibility. Turns are tight, clean and quick, because you’re active during other turns- no sitting around here. You solve complex puzzles through the use of tactics, technology, terrain areas, and other extras. You make meaningful and fun choices throughout the scenario. 

This game is free. You can download the rulebook here and use free apps to build armies online or offline. If it’s free and doesn’t require minis, why is Infinity in the best miniature games category? Well, the official miniatures are beyond amazing. They’re 25mm tall, which gives you some heft, and the detail is top-notch. 

Who This Game is For

Infinity is for players who want a low-cost entry into the world of miniature games – just snap up  the Steel Phalanx Sectorial Starter pack and a free rulebook. When you are ready to up the ante, grab Operation: Coldfront minis or upgrade to the Infinity N4 Exclusive Bundle.

Buy Infinity from Corvus Belli

Best Miniature Games- Arcadia Quest game box and cover art

Fantasy Adventure

Players: 2 - 4 // Game time: 60 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: CMON Limited

Adventure is within reach. You are the head of a guild of extraordinary heroes working to reclaim the kingdom, working through a series of quests and scenarios.

Only one guild can rule them all, so the gameplay in Arcadia Quest is competitive. You’re up against other players and monsters, so it’s you vs. everyone.

The minis included in the Arcadia Quest box are exact replicas of the anime-inspired characters that appear on the hero and monster cards. This is not a barebones mini game. The components included allow you to rack up coins and treasures, and yet more tokens represent wounds, spawn and death. Each player sets up with a player mat that has spaces for their three heroes and weapons, and double-sided terrain tiles are included. 

While the box is jam-packed, the actions are simple in Arcadia Quest. You can move/attack or rest during each turn. Resting doesn’t heal you- only healing potions do. Monsters don’t move. Rules differ from other adventure games, so there’s an element of strategy there. The fun lies in the variety of quests and the amazing artwork on display. This game is thematically solid.

Who This Game is For

Fans of adventure / fantasy themed games. Anime art purveyors. Competitive players (did we mention it’s you against everyone?).

Buy Arcadia Quest from Amazon

Best Miniature Games- Frostgrave Game Box and Cover Art

Dystopian Fantasy Miniature Game

Players: 2 - 8 // Game time: 30 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Osprey Games

You are a wizard standing in the middle of the ruins of a recently thawed-out ancient city called Felstaldt. You aren’t yet all-powerful, but you want to be. An apprentice wizard stands at your ready, and you can hire a number of mercenaries from lowly thugs to skilled archers and knights, ready to join your command. 

Welcome to Frostgrave

Delightfully streamlined, this game focuses on your development as a wizard. You move, shoot, fight, defend with armor and increase your willpower or health. You have a limited armory, which means you rely more on your ranged attacks/spells as a wizard, leaving close combat to your minions (who don’t change over time). Using the surrounding terrain for cover is key here, as there are other wizards that will target your slower moving, physical combat minis. Your goal is to increase your experience by snapping up treasure, improving your spell-casting abilities and stopping other miniatures. 

This game is essentially a well-written rulebook intended to spark your imagination, one of the best miniature games out there. Just like Infinity, you don’t need to buy the official miniatures to get started- any 28mm figurines you have laying around should do! The great thing about Frostgrave is… it’s limited by only your imagination.

Who This Game is For

Creative types who love world-building. The creative freedom is liberating. You can build out your world with just paper ($30 for the latest rules here), or you can grab detailed female wizard minis to go with your cultists or soldiers. Some folks even play with tiny mouslings to get that Redwall feel.

Buy Frostgrave from Amazon

We can’t wait for Stargrave, the sci-fi version of Frostgrave, to come out. The description is beyond enticing! It’s currently slated for an April 2021 release- keep your eyes peeled.

Best Miniature Games- A Song of Ice and Fire Game Box and Cover Art

Thematic Wargame

Players: 2 // Game time: 45 - 60 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: CMON Limited

The Game of Thrones universe is massive- it’s essentially a positive feedback black hole. Positive feedback black holes help star formation, and here we are.

Welcome to A Song of Ice and Fire, a glorious glimmering star in the Game of Thrones galaxy. As part of a starter set, you throw in your lot with either the Starks or Lannisters.

Starks are highly mobile, possess extraordinary military knowledge, and are generally rock-solid in terms of reliability. Secret stratagems, devious counter-moves and access to a sterling armory are all hallmarks of the House Lannister. The leader you pick for your army will influence the House tactics at your disposal. Put together your tactics deck, and go fight as part of a contest over multiple objectives! 

The quality of the included 28mm miniatures is quite good, as is the balance between complexity and accessibility. This game is easy to learn because it relies on general board game knowledge, instead of approaching with the open-ended mentality of skirmish wargames.

Who This Game is For

Game of Thrones buffs. There’s no question about this. You can act as if the Red Wedding never happened and take your Stark of choice up against your favorite Lannister!

Buy A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game from Amazon

Best Miniature Games- Cyclades Game Box and Cover Art

Ancient Mythological Civilization Game

Players: 2-5 // Game time: 60 - 90 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Asmodee

Ancient Greece in ten words: 

Gorgeous Aegean waters,

Stuffed grape leaves,

Feuding gods, and

Unlimited power.

On the ancient Greek archipelago of Cyclades, you must build not one, but two gleaming metropolises. You manage a team of hoplites, mighty ships and fantastical beasts, while pleading with Ares, Poseidon, Zeus, Athena and Apollo to grant you your wildest dreams.

The many layers of Cyclades makes it one of the best miniature games, bar none. Look at the theme- it’s all about Greek mythology. Look at the gameplay- there are multiple paths to victory. Instead of being a game where you grab the most territory or bulldoze other players, Cyclades is strategic to the max. You can showcase your military prowess, activate mythological creatures, or hope that certain gods will intervene to either benefit you or harm your opponents. 

We wish the eighty-five miniatures included were crafted from firmer plastic. Dunking errant minis in near-boiling water and then into an ice bath will solve that problem. The five special creature minis are a real treat to look at, customize and play with- paint them as soon as they pop out of the box!

Who This Game is For

Mythology students. Scholars of ancient civilizations. Kids as young as eight can get the hang of this game- just take it slow teaching them the auction techniques.

Buy Cyclades from Amazon

If you can only afford one expansion for Cyclades, the Hades expansion is the one to get (we love the light touch of Hades’ guest appearances). The less-heralded Titans expansion adds team-play mode, where you can play with teams of two- which makes it a must-buy for 4 players (even if it does mess with the base game a bit).

Best Miniature Games - Oak and Iron Cover and Box Art

Naval Warfare Miniature Game

Players: 2 - 6 // Game time: 45 - 60 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Firelock Games

Arr there, matey! Oak & Iron is a rollicking naval warfare game that plunks you down in the middle of the 1650 – 1750 era of Anglo-Dutch tension on the high seas. Command the Dutch United Provinces, English, French, Spanish or pirate fleets as you engage in multi-ship combat. Just to give you a sense of the scale of naval warfare at the time, one hundred and sixty-three English and Dutch ships were embroiled in a high-stakes battle fought over just four days in 1666. 

And that was just one battle. 

Oak & Iron includes six detailed ship miniatures at a 1/600 scale- a Light Galleon, Fluyt, Brigantine, Petit Frigate, Sloop and Corvette are at your disposal. Rolling the black eight-sided dice that include Sail, Sword, Pistol, Musket, Cannon and Jolly Roger symbols is just fun. The game also relies on Initiative cards, so you won’t be bogged down by unlucky dice rolls. As part of a semi-modern adaptation of 17th century parchment scraps, the card deck is stunning. Personality cards, random event cards, initiative cards, ship stats- you’ve got everything at your reach here. 

The full-color 32-page rulebook is well written and organized. Historically accurate portrayals of famous Admirals like Manuel Rivero de Pardal (Spain), René Duguay-Trouin (France) and the illustrious Michiel de Ruyter (Dutch United Provinces) flourish here. To get started for free, download the rulebook here and use household objects as ship stand-ins. You’ll want the Core Set before long! 

Who This Game is For

Pirates. Wanna-be pirates. Sailors. Explorers. Dreamers. Adventurers. Go forth and become ruler of the high seas.

Buy Oak & Iron from Amazon

We want to give a special shout-out to Sails of Glory, a fun naval warfare game that could easily be on this list of the best miniature games. We opted for Oak & Iron because it’s easier to learn, slightly more balanced and cheaper.

Best Miniature Games- War of the Ring Second Edition Game Box and Cover Art

Epic Fantasy Miniature Game

Players: 2 // Game time: 2.5 - 3 hours // Age: // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Ares Games

In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, there are two forces: good and evil. As in the novels and movies, War of the Ring: Second Edition focuses on the precarious balance of power. You take charge of either the Free Peoples or Shadow Armies in this epic battle for Middle-Earth.

Elsewhere in Middle-Earth, Frodo the Ringbearer, along with his Fellowship, must travel to Mount Doom to destroy the precious Ring. 

The custom War of the Ring Action Dice balance movement with strategy. Event Cards add an element of surprise. It’s not a pure skirmish game per se; you have political sentiments to consider and your Fellowship hangs in the balance. You protect the Ringbearer from harm, or you capture cities and strongholds across Middle-Earth before the Ringbearer arrives at his final destination. And you have the power to corrupt the Fellowship. Egads!

This game is one of the best miniature games ever for a reason. It’s a classic. The 25mm miniatures in this game are detailed, but require work to make them perfect. The quality of the game itself and the sheer number of minis included are really why you’re buying this game. 

Who This Game is For

Fans of The Lord of the Rings lore will love this game. You can play War of the Ring as a competitive game- with four players you can pair up in teams for a cooperative game. 

Buy War of the Ring: Second Edition from Amazon

With the separate Hunt of the Ring two-chapter prologue, Frodo sets out from the idyllic Shire and obtains the One Ring enroute to Bree, then Rivendell. The best expansion is Lords of Middle-Earth, which brings you Galadriel (finally), Smeagol, Elrond, Gothmog and even the Balrog of Moria. Next, try Kings of Middle-Earth, which brings Theodén, Denethor, Daìn, Brand, and Thranduil to War of the Ring.

Best Miniature Game- Twilight Imperium Game Box and Cover Art

Grand Space Opera Miniature Game

Players: 3 - 6 // Game time: 4 - 8 hours // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

As the leader of one of seventeen different factions in Twilight Imperium, you’ll be sucked right into this epic space opera from the start. You borrow, trade, capture and maneuver your way through the galaxy, with space lions at your side! 

Twilight Imperium blends together exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination (the hallmarks of 4X games) in a way that is absolutely seamless. Epic storytelling, cosmic conflict and strategic actions are the strongest elements of the game, hands down. Strategy cards provide you with unique actions only you can take in that round. A Grand Council of players convenes at the end of a turn to pass new laws and pursue new agendas. You never know what’s gonna happen.

Galaxy tiles allow you to explore jungle-like planets to dangerous asteroids to imploded stars and space canyons that go on as far as you can see. The game board is different in every single game in Twilight Imperium.

That’s what makes this one of the best miniature games out there. 

You win Twilight Imperium by inching up the victory track by accomplishing various top-secret and public objectives. Ten notches on the victory track, and you are anointed Emperor. 

Don’t get anything except the fourth edition– it’s the one we recommend. The detail and heft of the miniatures are stunning. This is a game that gets it. Instead of playing with minis, you use minis to play the game itself. This game just so happens to have a copious amount of stellar miniatures. 

Best of luck to you, Space Lion.

Best Miniature Games- Rising Sun Game Box and Cover Art

Diplomatic Direct Conflict Miniature Game

Players: 1 - 5 // Game time: 90 - 120 minutes // Age: 14+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: CMON Limited

Rising Sun casts you as the leader of one of five clans in feudal Japan. Lead the Lotus, Bonsai, Turtle, Koi or Dragonfly clans to victory using a mix of politics, homage, honor and battlefield smarts. Each clan has unique abilities that can change the direction of the entire game. Diplomatic negotiations are achieved through tea ceremonies, which is another cool idea we liked- we only wish diplomacy wasn’t dependent on player whims. 

Part of the fun in Rising Sun is strategically forming alliances with other clans in order to gain strongholds over the course of several seasons. Alliances make the game feel more cooperative, but everyone is still out for themselves (be on the lookout for potential betrayals). Just like in feudal Japan, honor is paramount, as you are able to break in-game ties with a higher amount of reputation. 

It’s one of the best miniature games out there because there are several nuanced layers here. Worship the Kami to gain favor. Recruit a variety of warriors and legendary monsters to shore up your forces. Shift your resources around in order to come out on top. If you’re looking for a heavy wargame strategy or tactics game, this is not it. Don’t get us wrong- Rising Sun is a competitive game full of power plays and insidious tactics. Waging and winning war is not the only path to victory. 

The gorgeous miniatures are arguably this game’s best draw. They’re absolutely incredible in terms of both size and detail. However, some minis include severed heads, so they’re not quite kid-friendly. Our favorite minis were the Dragonfly Shintos- when they’re painted, they’re breathtaking

Who This Game is For

This is a game for folks who love nuanced, multilayered games. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the incredible commitment to the theme in Rising Sun.

Buy Rising Sun from Amazon

Best Miniature Games- Star Wars Imperial Assault Game Box and Cover Art

Space Skirmish Miniature Game

Players: 1 - 5 // Game time: 60 - 120 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Medium

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

In Star Wars: Imperial Assault, you either prop up the nefarious Empire or throw in your lot with the Rebel struggle. 

Only one leader can command the forces of the Empire, so any other players jumping in must be part of the Rebel struggle. This makes for some serious fun, as you’re essentially piling up the number of players trying to defeat the Empire. Let’s put it into context- if five players are onboard, you’re looking at a 1 player vs many epic battle. Whoa. Sure, the Imperial player has access to a secret mission guide, but the asymmetric play in Star Wars: Imperial Assault never feels unbalanced. 

There’s a certain gravitas to being the leader of the Empire attempting to squash the Rebellion, but the scrappiness of the Rebel players balances that out. The game focuses on tactical decisions and cooperative teamwork (for the Rebellion, anyway). 

Two modes are included in the base game. Your experience differs based on whether or not you’re playing in a player vs player Skirmish Mode or Campaign Mode. The Skirmish Mode is great for light-natured gameplay or when you don’t have a playing group assembled. 

The Campaign Mode is the more interesting option. Core and side missions are stringed together with a layer of light storytelling, allowing for multiple paths to victory. If you fail one mission or fail to hack a computer terminal, it’s no big loss- you’ll deal with a slightly more difficult mission ahead. Unfortunately, though, the winner of the final mission wins the whole campaign. Ew.

Part of the joy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault is that you can take the characteristics inherent to your character and improve on them. A tactical leader, for example, might get new abilities that help promote teamwork or directly help other players. 

Star Wars: Imperial Assault is full of quality components, including incredibly detailed miniatures of new characters and some recurring baddies (like the Stormtroopers). While some folks think having new faces in this game is a negative, it also helps you disconnect from Star Wars canon and invest in your own character. Stellar expansions include iconic figures like Chewie and Boba Fett, along with familiar places like Tatooine and Hoth. 

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. That AT-ST miniature is not mini. It’s HUGE, has moving parts, and is one of the coolest things you’ll unbox. If you play with it unpainted, noooo! Get your paws on it and customize the heck out of it. 

Your inner kid will thank you. 

That’s a Wrap!

Our ten top picks of the Best Miniature Games include games for casual players, enthusiasts and hobbyists. Whether you want to look for universally appealing minis with an engaging, infinitely expandable universe that nearly everyone knows (definitely Star Wars: Imperial Assault), a miniature game that allows you to build frozen ancient cities from the ground up (Frostgrave), an epic naval battle for the ages (Oak & Iron) or a miniature game that will keep you collecting and painting (Infinity, War of the Ring).

With the advent of 3D printing, great miniature game hobbyists are able to create absolutely anything for their games. If you’re just getting your toes wet, this is a great opportunity for you to really customize the look and feel of your game. Start with this high-quality paint set, miniature paint brushes (we prefer synthetic, so you’re not killing gorgeous sable animals) and remember to grab some glue for assembly. 

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention those good miniature games that almost made it onto this list: 

Games Workshop – they’re the Midas of great miniature games. Everything they touch turns into gold. Some of their well-known hits:

Inis – Great-looking Celtic minis learning to live together in ancient Ireland. Currently out-of-print, so if you can find a copy, snap it up 

Kemet – Detailed minis working, living and warring in ancient Egypt

Wings of Glory – Aerial battles set in WWI and WWII using historically accurate minis

Aristeia! – Terrific tactical action miniature game from the creators of Infinity

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth – another good miniature game set in the LOTR universe- but it requires an app

Scythe – A wildly popular, well-designed area-control game that makes great use of minis

The best miniature games have to offer something substantial other than just cool-looking minis. If they don’t, then all of those fancy minis will sit there unused in your tiny bedroom closet. Think about who you’ll play the game with, whether or not you want to customize your minis and if you’re willing to plunk down some serious cash for all the expansions out there. Above all, you should enjoy the game itself- miniatures are delicious icing on the cake! 

Header Photo Credit: Thanks, Corvus Belli! cc

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