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"Best "Design your own unit" system" Topic

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17 Jul 2018 6:09 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

1,567 hits since 2 Nov 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2012 4:32 p.m. PST

Many games have included rules for designing new, unique, vehicles and/or units and using them within the existing system. Many of those systems are designed for science fiction gaming, but plenty of "historic" games do too (including many old school WRG rules).

Those rules range from the extremely complex (Fire, Fusion, Steel) to the simple (Dirtside II), from the realistic (WRG 1925-1950) to the gamey (Battletech where a 185mm cannon has a maximum range of 270 meters).

What is your favorite system and why?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2012 6:26 p.m. PST

WRG Ancients.
You can take a barbarian cataphract with lance, bow, shield, javelins and darts, and come up with a points cost that works relatively well.

Mako11 Inactive Member02 Nov 2012 10:29 p.m. PST

Don't know which is best, since I'm really not into designing my own vehicles, but Striker, and Striker II should be considers, along with FF&S too.

I imagine the latter was derived from Striker, and/or Striker II and FF&S were probably derived from one or the other. Can't recall which of the latter two came out first.

kreoseus2 Inactive Member03 Nov 2012 2:23 a.m. PST

I enjoyed the Dirtside II system, enogh detail without being an engineering project.

I tried to use the old ICE armoured assault. My brain has blocked out most of the experience…

MajorB03 Nov 2012 4:31 a.m. PST

The Black Powder/Hail Caesar unit definition system is very flexible.

Personal logo mrwigglesworth Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2012 5:26 a.m. PST

Shock Force has an excellent design system.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian03 Nov 2012 5:31 a.m. PST

Battletech had a nice mech design system and for ship design so does silent death. Ironclads and Eatherflyers had a nice airship and wet water ship design system. Full Thrust's ship design system has kept me occupied for years.

(Jake Collins of NZ 2) Inactive Member03 Nov 2012 1:15 p.m. PST

Car Wars had the best balance IMHO.

FF&S 1 or 2 needs a spreadsheet. In fact, I'd argue that a spreadsheet should be DLC for any design-your-own unit system these days.

John D Salt Inactive Member03 Nov 2012 5:24 p.m. PST

WRG Seastrike build-your-own-ships rules. Many a page of maths rough-book was used up working out the best and cheapest guided missile frigate.

All the best,


jameshammyhamilton Inactive Member04 Nov 2012 3:29 p.m. PST

Striker and High Guard from GDWs Traveller game had really good ship and vehicle design rules.

religon Inactive Member05 Nov 2012 6:40 a.m. PST

Battletech had a nice mech design system and for ship design…

We sure wasted lots of time in my youth with BattleTech's design system.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Nov 2012 6:54 p.m. PST

Well, huge personal bias here, but Quick Intermediate Level Skirmish.

It is all about designing individual units and focused on functional strengths and weaknesses, rather than simulation of components. It's also exteremely difficult (but not impossible) to "run the stats" on the fly in the game, but very easy to focus on capabilities.

In the games I have run in cons, the players quickly forget the dice and start in to "I've got a longer range, but he is more consistent at short range, so I need to …" or "Her defense is too high to hit her in cover … I need to draw her out."

Plus, it's OK if you don't color inside the lines well …

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Jan 2013 10:23 p.m. PST

West End Games' "Star Wars Miniatures Battles". Units/vehicles designed from the ground up. Brilliant design and combat systems, still unsurpassed.

(Jake Collins of NZ 2) Inactive Member02 Jan 2013 12:15 p.m. PST

Another vote for Car Wars – an example for others to follow.
Best mix of ease-of-use and playable results.

"Guns, guns, guns" only designs what it says, but does a fine job.

Thunderman Inactive Member14 Jan 2013 5:30 p.m. PST

Battletech is up there for me, especially when balancing Heat was a consideration. The tonnage vs slots balancing act was an interesting facet too.
As mentioned Car Wars and Silent Death are two others I like and have tried…although in both cases I never found much of a reason to use the custom designs beyond the standards.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2013 7:46 a.m. PST

Yup WRG Ancients works pretty well, even for invented nations.

Yes you can have SHI, Class A Regulars with shield, double handed melee weapon & composite bow.

You just can't have very many of them !

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2013 11:09 a.m. PST

Black Powder and Warhammer Ancients.

inrepose Inactive Member20 Mar 2013 10:09 a.m. PST

I vote for Car Wars – it was great fun and I still have the models and play it.


I also spent hours doing designs for Battletech. So I think I would also say Btech not because it was a great system but simply the nostalgia from hours sitting planning a payload and then finally fielding the mech. It was an important part of my gaming in the 80's.

My final suggestion is very biased! It is my own Gruntz 15mm system which has a points system for building. It is certainly not perfect but the battle I had with the process of building it and then getting an application sorted to support it was a big 3 year challenge, so I am pleased to say it is now out there and in use.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2013 2:58 p.m. PST

Ill add to the above "Hail Caesar", very easy to modify to your period from 1000BC-1600AD.

Times of War Inactive Member27 Mar 2013 9:17 a.m. PST

My favorite game system is the one I can use any miniature from other brands. For example in Infinity I have to use their minis because of the manga/anime design and I dont like that. Mantic Games is good because you can use other brands with their set of rules.

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