I’m not quite sure how Necromolds took so long to come to my attention, but it’s definitely a case of better late than never.

I’ve always been interested in wargaming, but the cost of acquiring a decent mixture of units and the patience – not to mention skill – needed to paint them has eluded me for the most part. The rules have often been off-puttingly detailed too, though in more recent games of this nature – and even in the latest editions of games such as Warhammer – attempts have been made to streamline rules and make them more accessible.

Still, the more tangible appeal of moving units and measuring range on the battlefield before unleashing the full might of your forces against an enemy’s miniatures still does draw me in from time to time. There’s nothing quite like pitting armies of monsters and other savage forces against each other on the tabletop.

Necromolds – which is heading for release, following a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2019 – taps into that appeal, but adds another hugely appealing element – with players moulding their monsters from brightly coloured clay to literally build their army.

The game itself features an appealingly streamlined set of rules too, with an emphasis on fast play that doesn’t get bogged down in detailed tables or complex equations that so often sucks the fun out of wargaming. Command dice are rolled and assigned to different monsters in your army, which you’ll then move across the battlefield, using slightly different rules depending on whether or not you’re engaging in melee or ranged combat (and with different bonuses for different monsters), with the defending monster being squished if they lose the roll. Though that’s a very basic overview of the game’s structure, it really isn’t much more complicated than that.

Everything feels incredibly tactile too, with players wearing casting rings that they use to squish enemy monsters they’ve bested in battle – and the vanquished enemies then become obstacles on the battlefield for the remaining creatures to take into consideration over the course of the game.

The brightly coloured clay creatures add so much visual appeal, feeling not unlike the classic Monster In My Pocket toys of yesteryear, albeit bigger and with more original designs. The spellbooks used to mould the monsters are cleverly designed and fit in with the game’s lore and universe, with each book also displaying its monster’s stats too.

It’s a brilliantly designed game that’s gone the extra mile in terms of its look and feel, with brilliant graphic design, bold colour schemes and nicely easy to learn rules – that are just the right level of complexity without feeling too simple. The extra care taken to make everything feel incredibly tactile is a great touch too; one of the joys of tabletop gaming is being able to interact with physical components – and Necromolds heightens that with its delightfully squishy monsters, caster rings and spellbooks. The basic, core box isn’t expensive and packs of extra monsters aren’t prohibitively costly either. Not only is the learning curve for players significantly reduced in comparison to other wargames, but the cost is also much lower too, even if you want the complete experience with access to all of the monsters. It’s also worth noting that the lore is far more family-friendly than the grimdark Warhammer 40k, as an example, which means that much younger players can get their first taste of wargaming in a way that’s much less likely to give them nightmares. Sure, there’s monsters – but they’re appealingly squishy and colourful, rather than terrifyingly laden with horrific details.

Though it’s not quite ready for release, Necromolds isn’t far off from hitting game stores – pre-orders are still available via Backerkit if you’re keen to secure yourself a copy of the game and/or expansions. I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on Necromolds – and I hope it becomes the roaring success it deserves to be.

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