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Free Warhammer 40k alternative lets you battle with Bandai mecha

The unofficial 30 Minute Missions wargame uses 1/144 scale mecha kits - aka Gunpla - to fight out anime battles across tabletop battlefields

Free Warhammer 40k alternative using 30 Minute Missions Bandai Gunpla - photo by Blckspawn of a red mecha leaving a broken mech in ruins behind it

30 Minute Missions: Wargame is a free Warhammer 40k alternative for fans of Bandai 30 Minute Missions (30MM) Gunpla model kits. The fan-made ruleset aims to recreate kinetic, city-wrecking battles between giant mecha, and contains detailed rules to build and arm your mechs from the many components in the 30MM line.

Creator Blckspawn explains that they’ve focused the game’s rules on “the ability to play missions in roughly 30 minutes (excluding setup); and the customizability and modular designs for the model kits”.

Free Warhammer 40k alternative using 30 Minute Missions Bandai Gunpla - stat block by Blckspawn for a mechit

We haven’t tested the game so we can’t say if it plays in under 30 minutes, but there’s certainly a lot of focus on customisation. A parts list provides rules for a frankly mind-boggling array of weapons and other components from the extremely customisable 30MM model kits.

All the game rules are available on its website, which links to a Discord community that offers help learning the rules or want advice or inspiration for building and painting miniatures in 1/144 scale. There’s also a YouTube channel with battle reports.

Free Warhammer 40k alternative using 30 Minute Missions Bandai Gunpla - two mechs patrol through a ruined city

It’s a golden time for mecha lovers in wargaming. Later this year we can expect the starter set for Zeo Genesis, a mech battling wargame with rules and setting by two veteran Warhammer 40k designers. Currently, Catalyst Game Labs are kickstarting another expansion to Battletech, adding more plastic minis to their classic 6mm scale mech combat game.

If you have a 3D printer you could check out Full Spectrum Dominance, a game with a line of mechs and terrain that look like Warhammer 40k meets Total Annihilation. If you already have a mishmash of mech kits, Osprey Games publishes Ash Barker’s Gamma Wolves rules, a post-apocalyptic mech skirmish wargame.

And of course there are plenty of Warhammer 40k factions with big stompy robots like the gothic Imperial Knights, anime-inflected T’au Empire, or Space Marines who can expect a new Dreadnought mech around the launch of Warhammer 40k 10th edition.