What is Bloodfields?
Bloodfields is a fantasy skirmish wargame entirely played with miniatures you can print from the comfort of your house. The game is created by Titan-Forge, a Polish company renowned for the quality of their miniatures and publisher of a few board games.
Bloodfields was initially launched through Kickstarter in May 2020 with an initial set of armies or warbands available only in printable format (also known as STL files) and then relaunched with new updated rules in July 2021. In the latest Kickstarter they added new armies but also added a physical set that should be delivered around January/February 2022. This set also includes dice and optional cardboard tokens that you would otherwise have to print.
You can find the game rules for free directly on their website, as well as all cards for each supported miniature. The old miniatures have all been (or are in the process of being) updated to the latest ruleset. They even have a roster builder that allows you to quickly select a faction and create your warband.
The game is a quick paced fantasy skirmish game that involves warbands of roughly 10 models in a 30″ by 45″ map fighting with special D6 dice and few tokens.
The rules are easy to follow and there’s constant updates, both on the rules side and the armies supported.
How to get the miniatures for Bloodfields
Titan-Forge Miniatures has an online shop where it is possible to buy the physical prints of all their miniatures and other content creators from brands like Archvillain Games and Cast N Play, to name a few. So even if you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still join the fray by purchasing the already printed miniatures from them.
They also have Patreon (a website where you sponsor a content creator than in exchange every month delivers some exclusive content, in their case STL files for miniatures) where every month they create new miniatures around a theme that you can use in Bloodfields. For more sci-fi oriented content, Titan-Forge launched Cyber-Forge Patreon, but that is not compatible with Bloodfields.
If you lost the last Kickstarter and you are not their Patreon, you can still contact them for a late pledge or purchase the STL files from their My Mini Factory shop. A warband costs around 11$ plus the printing time and material.
How to play a game of Bloodfields
The first thing you need is to choose your warband. At the moment of writing (October 2021), there are 8 Realms. Each represents a group of different miniatures and cultures that can be played together. You can however further specialize in a Line and get a “Loyalty bonus”.
For example the Redleaf Elves is a Line belonging to the Noble Alliance realm. As long as your warband contains only models from the Redleaf Elves, then you get the Loyalty bonus that in their case improves the Elves archery skills. Every unit has also a Race Trait associated and several Lines support different Races.
The warbands are extremely varied in theme and races involved: you have Vampires, tech-savvy Gnomes, Demons of all sorts, Japanese-inspired models, Shark-men, Crabs with artillery, but also classic sylvan elves, knights in armour, dwarves and so on.
Once you have selected your warband origin, you need to decide the Blood Points cost, the default being 200. You can then select your miniatures until you reach that limit. Every army has at least a unit defined as “support” of which you can have up to 4, they are usually unnamed cheap fighters. You can have only one of each named character.
You can even select extra spells or items (at the time of writing that list is not available yet) or you could also add Mercenaries, including Artillery.
The game itself is played in rounds; how many and the scenario goals will change from mission to mission, but normally it’s about 5 or 6 rounds. Each round is divided in different phases: you calculate the starting player based on who has the initiative token, you determine how many inspiration tokens you can have and distribute them between your units, and then alternate activating fighters one at a time (only exception the support models all activate at the same time) in the usual “I Go You Go” format.
At the end of each round you have a phase to determine scoring and other activities like removing unused tokens.
Inspiration tokens are an interesting characteristic that are necessary to activate certain skills, but can also be used to boost other skills or improve attack or defence rolls. Being a scarce resource, knowing when to use them, is an essential part of your strategy.
Each unit can perform up to 2 actions per turn (some skills can be used without consuming an action) from either the generic list (move, attack, charge, etc) or their own skill list printed on their card.
During the combat phase, attacks and defence rolls use specific six faces dice with 3 symbols and a blank face.
While attacking a Skull means a hit, a Mastery symbol can be a hit or a miss depending on the unit Mastery (an attribute on the model card) and an Inspiration symbol can become a hit only by spending an Inspiration token.
Likewise in defence a Deflect symbol means successfully saving from a hit, a Shield can become a success depending on the unit’s Armour (another attribute on the model card) and Inspiration can remove successful hits only by spending an Inspiration token. Blanks are always failures.
The damage is determined by the weapon characteristic multiplied by the amount of Hits that were not saved.
What can seem complicated to read, it’s actually fairly intuitive and really quick to learn. The fact that you can decide to use the Inspiration tokens after the rolls allows you to not waste this precious resource. Still, being scarce, there is a really deep strategic aspect on it.
If you have an expensive unit fighting some cheaper support guys, do you use the inspiration to buff other nearby units or to get rid of one of your opponents? Or you keep the inspiration token in case the opponent rolls an excellent attack and you have only inspiration results in defence?
A full game can last more or less 90 minutes, depending on the scenario and the skill sets of the players involved.
Each warband has its own playstyle and with tens of warbands to choose from, plus more being released every month, you will definitely find the one that suits you.
How to get started playing Bloodfields
Great, so you want to get started. You found and read the rules, you know how to build your warband and you have the STL files to print them. What next?
We recommend printing the miniatures themselves in resin, you can print bases, accessories and terrain in plastic, or find them within your own hobby storage.
I have a guide to selecting the best resin 3D printer for printing your miniatures, if you need hand selecting a good (they are not that expensive really).
If you are new to 3D printing, we recommend you familiarise with your printer by doing some test runs of small objects. Remember, using resin the time is determined by the high of the object you have to print rather than the surface it occupies, so the taller the longer it will take. You can check out my complete beginner’s guide to 3D printing if you need any help.
The time can also depend on the resin that you are using as different resins have different curing times. Once the model has been printed, you will need to wash it and cure it. You can do this economically at home using water or alcohol (the resin will tell you if it’s water-soluble or not) and let the prints stay under the sun, or you can accelerate the process with specific washing and curing machines like Anycubic Wash & Cure or Elegoo MercuryPlus 2.
All Titan-Forge Miniature models are pre-supported (it means there is extra material that sticks the model to the build platform preventing certain parts of the model from being separate from the rest and therefore not being printed). If you are not familiar to slicing and supports, then we recommend to use the pre-supported models, otherwise you can use the plain models and add your own supports.
Some models will be in a single block, others are split in different parts and need to be printed separately. Gluing them together may be a little more difficult than what you are used to with plastic. If required you can slightly score the connecting surfaces (with a craft knife or similar) so that the glue has a place to fill when attaching the parts together, but in general the connecting surfaces should not have protrusions that could reduce the contact area.
If you are a returning player, please be aware that some miniatures changed base size. There is a full list of the base each model should have in the Bloodfields website.
If you don’t have much time to print your miniatures (but we strongly recommend it, even using just contrast paints), you can use a Zenithal priming, that is a quick way to display a miniature highlights using spray colours (or even better an airbrush). You can find more details on Zenithal Priming here.
Now you are ready to play your first game of Bloodfields, you just need to find your opponent. That can be tricky at the moment, but with more emphasis on tournaments and competitive play we can only expect this to improve with time.