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"Homemade rules" Topic

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1,858 hits since 29 Mar 2012
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Personal logo Blackhorse MP Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2012 4:56 p.m. PST

I suspect that I'm not the only one to be seized by a burst of inspiration to create a set of homemade rules after reading a particularly good book about a particular war or battle.

My first, and most enjoyable, experience with this was when as teenager I read John Toland's The Rising Sun. I was seized with martial ardor and wanted to take to the seas and refight the Coral Sea and Midway and any other battles I could dream up. So being a penniless teen I rediscovered the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention and I located an old "Battleship" game and promptly cut the pegs off the bottoms of the ships to give me two small fleets. Then I was able to scrounge up a handful of 1/700(I think)aircraft (from an aircraft carrier that I never knew what happened to) which I glued to upside-down finishing nails providing me with my airgroups. From there I cobbled together some rules and spent a very enjoyable summer solo gaming my version of pacific naval battles of WW 2.

So, I yeild the floor with the following question: Anyone else have a similar experience?

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2012 5:01 p.m. PST

Not directly. We used to use home made rules as kids to regulate move and fire for 1/72 minis – both hard and soft plastic.

Skarper29 Mar 2012 5:08 p.m. PST

I made fleets of USN and IJN carriers, cruisers and battleships out of balsa wood, card, rubber from erasers and fuse wire. Loked nice but nothing like the real thing since I had no accurate plans to work from.

Aircraft had to be pieces of paper with the force composition wrtten un and placed upside down!

Solo play of course – still my favorite way to wargame. Other players have seldom pulled their weight or had the same level of commitment, interest etc.

just visiting Inactive Member29 Mar 2012 5:17 p.m. PST

I started war gaming by dreaming up various rules to apply to the "Feudal" game board and miniatures. That phase did not last long, however, and I began to collect Britains 54mm scale medieval figures, and to search out how to come up with good combat rules. What I was trying to do was develop a "skirmish" game without knowing the term applied to my endeavors. Before any of this, I was into WW1 air combat, and I had three copies of "Dogfight" by Milton Bradley; Rocky Russo and I would put all three game boards together and send what looked like air fleets across the lines: I had bent piano wire into altitude stands, so we could put up all the planes at once. I worked at making the game into a hexagon board, to increase the granularity of "flight" away from squares; maneuvering rules were slowly developing; then I was shown the movement stands we now use and the old "Dogfight" developments came to an abrupt halt as we moved into 1/72 scale airplanes….

Personal logo Blackhorse MP Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2012 5:26 p.m. PST


Funny, your post just reminded me that I once sacrificed a Fuedal game by cutting the pegs off the figure pieces to provide me some troops for a brief foray into the Midevil period:)

twowheatons Inactive Member29 Mar 2012 7:16 p.m. PST

Not a miniatures game, but I was inspired by my uncle and his participation in the Battle of Suriago Straits. He was the torpedo/gunnery officer on the USS Melvin (DD680), which sank the Fuso.

Using Avalon Hill's Midway as a base I created a game for Suriago Straits.

OSchmidt Inactive Member30 Mar 2012 5:05 a.m. PST

Oh goodness! Many times. Many are the people who have cannibalized "Battle Cry" to form Civil War Armies, or "Dogfight" to do WWI air.

But even if such violence is done to board games, the urge to tinker and make ones own rules is a narcotic almost impossible to resist. Long ago I stopped buying someone elses rules and started writing my own. These were first adaptions and deriviations of others and as I became more or less dissatisfied with the product I had produced-- it changed.

Finally I just started experimenting and developed my own rules from whole cloth. They are, in my opinion, better than any other in the world simply because they embrace all that I want in a game and nothing that I do not. I play other rules, and enjoy them as well, but in my own personal collection and games I use my own.

I think this is the natural way of things and the way it always has been.

Wartopia Inactive Member30 Mar 2012 5:40 a.m. PST

we'll play commercial rules that have become really popular so it's easy to find opponents and for social purposes. These include FoW, Warhammer/40K, and Malifaux.

Beyond that we'll try out commercial rules but generally only play home grown rules.

Problems with most commercial rules:

- commercial rules tied to figure sales usually demand ever larger forces or at least forces larger than needed for a fun game. Result is excessive unit density and excessive cost in time and money to build armies. We try to achieve the most fun possible with the smallest number of appropriate models. Even games that in theory don't need many figures often creep into excessive figures. For example, in Infinity one benefits from having "Cheer leading" figures that add action points but have little other function…great for figures sales but a waste of hard earned money.

- commercial rules, whether tied to figure sales or not, often evolve among a group of dedicated friends prior to publication and then dedicated fans post-publication. These dedicated fans of the system know it so well that adding "just one more thing" doesn't seem to add complexity. And since the designer is available pre-publication to explain everything at the table, rules and concepts that are complex or counter-intuitive escape notice. The result is usually a Frankenstein monster or Calvin Ball game: it's convoluted, complex, and counter-intuitive, at least to those who haven't played it since day 1 with the designer (FoF/TW is a good example of this). Over time the game grows and grows until you end up with a huge number of special rules and changes spread across multiple books and editions.

Maxshadow30 Mar 2012 5:56 a.m. PST

Very impressed with your adaption of the battleship game Blackhorse. I often tried to work out rules to improve it. Never thought of your idea. Instant fleet!

Doug MSC Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Mar 2012 10:19 a.m. PST

I used to play with my MARX ACW set in the back yard as a kid. We used to blow up hand size balloons and put power in them before we blew them up. We would then bury them in the dirt and stand soldiers upon them. When an artillery piece would land on that spot, we would stick a pin in the balloon and it would burst with a cloud of powder leaving a crater filled with dead troops.

Personal logo Blackhorse MP Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2012 11:36 a.m. PST


Instant fleet, but small fleet. I soon decided I needed more ships and not having any more Battleship games to sacrifice started making ship cut-outs from balsa wood. Then a few years ago I got serious and ordered a mass of Navwar 1/3000 ships and Tumbling Dice 1/600 aircraft. And of course they still sit atop the lead pile, along with the Iron Brigade and Antigonus' phanagites, awaiting attention…so many troops, so little time.

warhawkwind Inactive Member30 Mar 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

Of course I have! How can you call yourself an avid wargamer if you havent at least dabbled with a set of your own rules! (or ripped others off) :)
There was a sci-fi game we played back in the day called "Galacta".
I merely substituted "M1 Garand" for "Laser Rifle" and changed the movement to suit 72mm figs.I made up a weapons chart with to-hit and to-save rolls and made buildings from Kleenex boxes and walls from foam. I've been playing "Streets Afire" now for 25 years. It's a good introductory game for newbies. I even ran it a couple of times for the Boy Scouts to show them how to make thier own games. They ate it up and began coming up with thier own weapons and charts for thier army men.
And so the hobby grows…

Grizzlymc Inactive Member30 Mar 2012 2:28 p.m. PST

When I were a lad, all we 'ad wus 'ome made rules!

RTJEBADIA31 Mar 2012 7:24 p.m. PST

I've had a couple of experiences with this.

When I was a kid a friend and I designed a battleship like game, except it was land battles. You could move units, but terrain was abstracted (it was the reason you couldn't see enemy units). Some units could patrol (infantry) the enemy's grid without revealing their own position for a turn, while other units had to reveal their position (helicopters, tanks) to do the same, but generally their "Patrols" had an area effect. Patrolling a spot where an enemy was resulted in a fight.

After reading some book about the invasion of Normandy by Ambrose (can't remember which one) I made my own army list for Rogue Trader to represent the equivalent of US Paratroopers, but as an Imperial Army unit. This included a lot of homebrewed rules.

Also, more recently (Actually like 7 years ago, now…) I decided to design a game to emulate the feel of Ghost Recon. Ended up being super complicated, though it worked pretty well… it was just too slow, and the scale of it meant that the game was more like a highly detailed gunfight than the longer, stealth based missions of GR.

So then I totally redesigned the game (it became hex based, though it still used miniatures because hexes were just for measuring range while position within the hex still mattered for LOS and such) so that it was heavily simplified, combat was largely abstracted, and so on, and units became class based with some elements of "special abilities," but the morale system became more fleshed out… and the abstraction of hexes made the battles more spread out and allowed for the longer, stealth-action-stealth-action play of GR to be represented.

Then I discovered Chain Reaction and ever since I've been working with that as the basis. Designing a game for them now, in fact.

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