Home Forums Fantasy General Fantasy A "Burning sands" review

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    Avatar photoMaraviglia

    Product Name: Burning Sands

    Product Format/Material:  PDF/Metal

    Producer/Publisher:  Crom’s Anvil

    Author:  Michael Stockin

    Price:  £6.00

    Scale: 15mm

    Where to Buy:  CromsAnvil.co.uk

    Reviewer: Maraviglia


    If you don’t know “Burning sands” and you enjoy wargames, RPGs or even just sword and sorcery fantasy, especially in the vein of Conan-esque adventure, then you really should give this unique beast a look over and I will attempt to show you why.

    It’s a unique game that is a wargame at its core but is not designed to be a hyper competitive game. I’d say it actually shares a lot in common with role playing games. There are no points values or army lists and is a very much driven by the story the players create. As a result I think this would be a very good game to play with a Games master but certainly doesn’t need one for some fun adventures for two players.

    So to list a few of it’s more obvious positives;

    The models all use a stat line of only 3 things but this is used to cover everything you will ever realistically need to make your heroes and heroines heroic and your minions… minion-y.

    Handily the rules also include fairly extensive designer’s notes so you can have a good grasp of the design intentions when you come to adding any rules, abilities or items into your own games.

    It doesn’t require a lot of space to play in. In fact a 2ft square area (often less) will take care of the majority of your games in my experience.

    (However the rules for groups do mean I think it would be possible to create some fairly large battles limited only by your space, models and ability to manage the play aids).

    The heroes, villains, creatures and general populous of your world are as customisable as your imagination thanks to the somewhat abstract but incredibly flexible character creation options. Add to that the “ready made” pieces of armour, fighting styles and abilities section available in the main rules and supplement and you’re good to go without even needing to go to much personal effort! You can as easily create a barbarian whose story centres on destroying his enemies as a thief who spends their time stealing bread to live while also making life as difficult as possible for the city guards!

    Anything you want can be your starting point for the characters as you take them through an ongoing campaign which is also detailed in the rulebook.

    And of course for a sword and sorcery game there is a decent sized section on “foul sorcery” that allows for anything from magically assisted seduction to summoning demonic aid!

    It’s cheap! The main rules are only £6 and the miniatures themselves are only 75p (actually less than that in many cases as there are group options available on the webstore).

    On top of its very reasonable pricing it’s is also largely self contained. If you need the buildings for any of the places and people depicted in the range they are probably already available and if not (yet), the range is growing. (It should be noted the buildings and scenery in these pictures are some of my own creations and not as nice as the ones from Crom).

    Finally while I would say the rules are flexible enough to be repurposed to whatever your hero centred, pre gunpowder magical age gaming desires  may be… you would be missing out on the growing world of people’s and places detailed on the Crom’s anvil wiki! This is a place to find a world of ready made heroes and places to drop your characters into and set about becoming legends in their own right!

    This game will be very difficult to score but going on my personal tastes I’d have to score it:

    A barbarian/10

    Avatar photoGone Fishing

    This is a rules set that’s been on my radar for some time. Though I wouldn’t be using the figures, beautiful as they are (I game in 54mm), I’m in the midst of a Conan project myself, and so may have to plunk down enough stolen Aquilonian coinage to get me a set. Are the prices on the website for pdfs or are they hard copy? I hate pdfs.

    Thanks so much for the inspiring review!

    Avatar photoMike



    Avatar photoGone Fishing


    Avatar photoMike

    Why no PDF love?

    They have links you can click that move you around inside the book and take you to exciting external websites.

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    Great review John!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoGone Fishing

    Why no PDF love? They have links you can click that move you around inside the book and take you to exciting external websites.

    Because I’m a hide-bound, Luddite old fool who likes something clenched in his sinewy hands, by Crom! But maybe I’ll need to change. Could it be possible? 

    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Print it off and have many copies!

    Avatar photoThorsten Frank

    Great review!!!! I really fell in love with Burning Sands already after the first read through.

    Because I’m a hide-bound, Luddite old fool who likes something clenched in his sinewy hands, by Crom! But maybe I’ll need to change. Could it be possible?

    I really prefer still prefer paper. One can call me old-fashioned. But a good eBook reader or tablet can be an alternative. And besides printing them out yourselve, which get´s quite expensive if you aren´t lucky enough to have an laser printer,  it´s quite handy if you´ve got a printing shop nearby. And I´m lucky to have one (quite a larger one on the border to a printing house). There are several pros for this: for a “cheaper” (in terms of money) I can get a colour print for 50 pages in A4 for 11 Euro and for 6 Eurons in Black and White. Completely professionally bound. It get´s even cheaper if I have several different PDF´s to print. Hardcover is a bit more expensive. So, for a PDF like Burning Sands I could get a soft cover print for a similar price as if I would buy it as a book.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    Avatar photoMaraviglia

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. I’m pleased it reads well as this was my first attempt at a review (and using a forum to boot)!

    As for the PDF debate – I’m also not much of a fan of them however they are useful in several ways. First if I’m out and waiting somewhere I can have a read on my phone, then there’s the option to print it out and finally the option to have it made into a book by some dedicated companies.
    Also in this case £6 for a rule set is just pretty good.

    And there was mention of gaming in other scales so to to chip in my tuppence worth on the subject – I think most games can be rescaled if you have the appropriate space. So using Burning sands as the example, everything is 15mm and uses 2ft x 2ft. If you want to use 28mm then i think its not unreasonable to round that up and call it 30mm which is now twice the size of the 15mm start point so just double all the values. 4×4 playing area, every centimetre is now 2 etc… The only downside is you’ll be missing out on using the rather nice official Burning sands range.

    Avatar photoWouter Wolput

    Love the review! I already played quite a few games with my oldest son and really like the RPG aspects in the rules. There’s also a lot of room for improvisation during the game, which my son likes to exploit (like capturing and dragging off the hero with a net or having his bandits set traps).

    I’m with you when it comes to PDFs though, not only because I still like the feel and smell of handling a real book, but also because I can read a book for hours but reading PDF’s gives me a headache after a while, no matter which medium I use. They are cheaper though, you don’t have to pay shipping and I usually have quite a few ready on my phone if I want to read something.

    Marvelous looking models and terrain by the way.

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