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"Hippies vs Police: How Would You Design It?" Topic

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2,268 hits since 29 Mar 2014
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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piper90929 Mar 2014 2:04 p.m. PST

I'm throwing this out for general comment and input. I've got a hankering to craft a fairly light-hearted minis game, skirmish-level or very small unit scale, matching The Man (Police, with perhaps National Guard) against Flower Power -- hippies, student protesters, 60s radicals, etc. It's not meant to be serious or bloodthirsty, more of a beer and pretzels lark as a break from "proper" wargaming. So with that in mind, how would YOU structure it? What would be the objectives of the two camps and how could conflict be resolved? It would seem something like a zombies game, with masses of swarming hippies being corraled or dispersed by the authorities, or stampeding all in their path and seizing control of towns, parks, college campuses, landmarks, or what have you.

I would guess that lawmen would seek to subdue or arrest hippies (more so than actually kill them -- light-hearted, remember, cartoonish even) but what would the hippies do, how would they "fight?" Do they try to overwhelm their enemies and, I dunno, convert them into hippies or something? Just make them run away? Get them stoned and incapacitated? I'm not sure exactly what tack this should take.

I bet there's lots of silly ideas lurking here on TMP.

Zephyr129 Mar 2014 2:20 p.m. PST

You'll need to throw in a wandering ice cream truck (for weed-baked hippies to follow like the Pied Piper. Think slow speed OJ chase, with the ICT driver trying to get off the playfield before his truck gets picked clean by the unwashed horde…. ;-)

tberry740329 Mar 2014 2:25 p.m. PST

"Flower power" babes distributing single flowers to the cops. Some kind of opposed melee roll. If the girl wins she gives the cop a flower and the hippies get two points. If the cop wins the hippies get one point. Points are Karma.

If the cops arrest a hippie the The Man gets one Authority point.

Pushing the crowd back The Man gets one Authority Point per 1".

Beating a hippie gets The Man one point and the Hippies two points.


The side with the highest total at the end wins.


piper90929 Mar 2014 2:46 p.m. PST

I had an idea myself about flowers being weapons or markers, but not well developed. This is good! "Karma points," heh!!

I can see buying a bag of daisy buttons from a craft store and handing them out when the Hippies succeed, while the police get blue poker chips or something. Keep a running total that way.

The grabbiest game title I've come up with so far is "Die, Hippie, Die!" but that's sorta counter to my peace and love vibe, despite being popular with the Police players. Any others?

vtsaogames29 Mar 2014 3:05 p.m. PST

Years back SPI did a game called Chicago, Chicago based on the 1968 riots. Never played it or saw it played though.

peterx Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 3:06 p.m. PST

How about, "Peace, Man!" Or "Peace vs. the Pigs" or "Hippy Peace Freaks vs. The Man who is keeping us all down, man!" or "Don't bust me, man!"

What about extra Karma points if the camera crew is rolling while the cops brutalize the peaceful protesters, and Authority points if the News Team is not there or not filming. If the peaceniks surround the ROTC building and successfully stop ROTC recruiting for a day, that is a success. If the cops round up, arrest, beat up and scare all other peaceniks off, than the fuzz wins, man.

You could have Quakers too. They are peaceniks but will not fight the cops. They will lie down and be arrested peacefully. The Quakers get points for being taken to jail. If the cops brutalise the Quakers, then the Quakers get karma points for that.

The Peacenik players should have a goal card, and so should each cop or National Guard player. Each player could have a different goal. The News Team gets ratings points for filming cops beating the hippies, or hippies rolling over the Piggie wagon or cop car, or burning down the ROTC building. Oooh, you could have undercover cops/FBI trying to make the confrontation violent so the cops can bust everyone. That would be a secret goal for one of the "Hippy" players.

vtsaogames29 Mar 2014 3:06 p.m. PST

Jim Wallman has a 18th century riot game that would a place to start.

kyoteblue29 Mar 2014 3:08 p.m. PST


CorSecEng29 Mar 2014 3:17 p.m. PST

I'd do it as a card game really. A random encounter deck with stuff like TV crews or CEOs showing up. Each side has a deck and different goals. The protestors have to get fame points and build their numbers. The cops need to maintain control points and get arrest points for taking down leaders.

Protestors get cards like twitter campaign – gain 4 fame points and characters they can play with special abilities. The cops can subdue sections of the crowd with various tools. Maybe a setup like netrunner but with both sides having a line that meets and flows back and forth. Maybe a game board like city of remnants. You move and counter move but each action causes violence levels to increase or decrease. Both sides loss if a riot breaks out. Has a lot of interesting possibilities.

ETenebrisLux29 Mar 2014 3:23 p.m. PST

Bright Colours vs, Monochromes

Don't forget Snitches!

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 3:26 p.m. PST

Way back when, somebody used to run an "Urban Unrest" game at US conventions. I think it was based loosely on Chicago 1968.

tberry740329 Mar 2014 4:15 p.m. PST

I was thinking of "Peace, Officer".

Now I'll have to check storage. I should have the issue of SPI with the game.

I like the idea of a card game.

If you go minis Rebel has some 15mm cops (no riot gear) and protesters. Superfigs did some 28mm protesters.


Terrement29 Mar 2014 4:27 p.m. PST


Glengarry5 In the TMP Dawghouse29 Mar 2014 4:45 p.m. PST

The police should get agent provocateurs to incite the hippies to violence so the police have an excuse to charge in!

jpattern229 Mar 2014 4:49 p.m. PST

Your thread from last year generated a bunch of ideas: TMP link

Militia Pete29 Mar 2014 5:29 p.m. PST

Through in some water cannons and pot fumes in the air that clouds the po po's judgement.

Strawberry Alarm Clock playing in the background.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 6:33 p.m. PST

Sitting down and refusing to move so the police have to carry protesters off is a viable strategy for the hippies.

Fringe/dissident elements, perhaps as chance cds. Rogue cops who crack skulls, hippie with bomb to blow up ROTC building (or other target), skulker who wants to do a little looting under the cover of the riot, etc.

And yes, definitely news teams, perhaps even competing news teams.

Perhaps some provision for use of armored vehicle a la Tiananmen Square (yeah, I know, wrong time and place) also a provision fo mounted police.

"We shall overcome"


Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 6:46 p.m. PST

Definitely ask around here on TMP, among other places, to see if you can turn up a copy of "Up Against The Wall, M------ F-----!"

Originally published by "Strategy And Tactics," is was the parent game to "Chicago, Chicago!" (which might have been the name of the issue, rather than the game itself).

The politics and multiple layers of strategy, as well as the large number of participant groups (Street Police, Tactical Police, the Network Reporters, different groups of protestors, etc) was the primary complication, and the supporting article was a masterpiece.

I should still have the original issue, but the game pieces, etc, are--alas!--long gone.

But unless you were an active participant back in '68, or have a good library dedicated to all the significance of the events, I'm not sure you can come up with a game that really captures the flavor of things without at least reading the game designer's article, or, best of all, the game rules.

That said, definitely keep going with this--you should find it more interesting even than you may already think!


Personal logo DuckanCover Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 7:26 p.m. PST

"Strawberry Alarm Clock playing in the background."

Yup, "Incense and Peppermints"……

Duck, man….

Henry Martini29 Mar 2014 7:33 p.m. PST

I have a copy of 'Riot!', a non-period-specific square-based miniatures game from Irregular Miniatures, which incorporates the concept of victory point deductions against 'The Man' for police brutality if filmed by a news team.

I also recall a conversation with the leader of a logging protest in NSW circa 1980, who informed me that in addition to the floral tactics described above, female protesters deployed 'special massages' to pacify the constabulary.

piper90929 Mar 2014 9:50 p.m. PST

Wow (man), so many groovy ideas already!

I am just old enough to have been sentient and aware of these things back when they were germane -- I was a precocious kid who read newspapers, comics, MAD magazine (always good for making fun of hippies!) and watched TV news in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and so forth -- so that plus a lot of nonfiction reading and Sixties record collecting since then gives me a certain perspective and period immersion.

Cards seem to be in order -- I do want to play this with miniatures (see the parallel thread mentioned above -- collecting figures for hippies is a project I intend to undertake during 2014 and beyond -- but an event deck or random event deck of some sort seems to be in order, for appropriate chaos and randomness.

I like the idea of adding the Press as elements that can affect the victory points/karma points. I run skirmish games already where the press is sometimes present, and having them record your misdeeds or heroism can provide a boost or minus to your side.

I have read vague things about this SPI game but have never seen or played it -- something to maybe watch for, certainly there could be some useful ideas there.

Need more titles, keep 'em coming!

Hmmm…. "Love-In 1968", "Sock It To Me!", "Down with Pigs!", "Power to the People", and there's gotta be something I can nick from song titles/lyrics of the times….

Coelacanth193829 Mar 2014 10:11 p.m. PST

Guys, I wrote a long-winded post about how I feel about games about cops vs hippies. I just deleted it because I didn't want to cause further turmoil here.
I grew up in California and witnessed a lot of police brutality. This is not a light- hearted matter by any means.
Thanks for listening.

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2014 10:44 p.m. PST


carne6830 Mar 2014 2:29 a.m. PST


Excuse me while I water my hippies.

Patrice30 Mar 2014 2:49 a.m. PST

There was a French boardgame published in the 1980s, I don't remember exactly the rules but it was quite funny:

The flavour of your game also depends of the country you set it in. Protest demos in Western Europe were (and still are) a bit different than in the USA.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2014 7:17 a.m. PST

Grossman illustrates why Coelacanth is correct.

jpattern230 Mar 2014 7:38 a.m. PST

Excuse me while I destroy my career for no good reason.
Fixed that for you, carne68.

Personal logo Martin from Canada Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2014 7:57 a.m. PST

I suggest you read Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop and you'll loose all desire to play a game like this.


Martin Rapier30 Mar 2014 8:44 a.m. PST

Being of an age to have done a few of these things for real, the main aim of the "hippies" is to avoid getting their heads kicked in by coppers whilst trying to make their point. Whatever that may be.

Riots aren't really the same thing.

Solzhenitsyn31 Mar 2014 5:52 a.m. PST

If based in the late 1960's, you could add in a group of construction workers to randomly attack the hippies.

Sung to Air Force theme "Wild Blue Yonder".

Off we go, into the peace group yonder
Looking for some hippies to chase!
There's a creep, tearing our flag asunder
At 'em boys, stomp on his face!

Raise the flag over the land of freedom,
We'll preserve Liberty's ways.
Those sinking reds,
We'll break their heads!

Nothing can stop the hard hats today!

Police were more willing to use violence to clear protests in the late 1960's than they are over the last 20 years.

Baton strikes to the head and teeth were the targets of choice, now it is all elbows and knees.


Current crowd control weapons are much more effective, pepperball guns, tear gas canisters that break up in the air like a MIRV and spread out over the crowd (almost impossible to throw back) and 37mm canister rounds with dozens of small rubberballs. All of these work really well to make people go someplace else other than the site of the protest, like home.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 6:01 a.m. PST

Do a Soviet version like Prague 68. Send in the tanks. Remember chose your enemies well.

Lion in the Stars31 Mar 2014 9:16 a.m. PST

Don't forget the police trying to protect their coffee/donut shop(s) of choice from the baked hippies munchies…

I agree with the idea of event cards, too. Gotta have various groups causing trouble. This would work even better if all the various hippie players each had their own group, so each hippie player has a face-up goal/objective card and a face-down 'secret' goal card.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2014 9:30 a.m. PST

They way I usually handle this type of encounter in a game is as an "influence battle". Remember that the vast majority of hippies, like all other homo sapiens, are sheeple.

What you end up with is a few agents-provocateur in the crowd trying to influence the mass to occupy an area (leaving out hippie objectives like burning down buildings and interfering with first responders – which I don't think are part of your intent).

You need events that the AP can take to increase their control of the crowd – speech, facedowns, tactical maneuver (outflanking the authorities and gaining a piece of ground), passive resistance, arrest. And events that the authorities can take to weaken control of the crowd – barrier formations, non-lethal methods, violence, pyschological harassment.

These things should affect a "unit guage" which dictates what type of further actions can be taken by the hippies. Having two or three "spheres of control" in a large mob makes for a nice dynamic.

The actions should have a cumulative/backfire mechanism. F'r'ex, you roll one die per objective achieved by your actions in the turn. Your increase in control equals the sum minus five times the number of doubles you rolled. This (specific set up) encourages moderated levels of action (optimal at 3-5 objectives) – do too little or try too much at once and you risk big negative effects. The police objectives work the same way, just in the opposite direction.

A good mechanism is to have a few critical "tipping point" options (low probability, requiring build up) where the crowd does things like – become violent, become entrenched (can't move/can't be moved), or run away.

$.02 USD for ya…

flooglestreet31 Mar 2014 11:22 a.m. PST

I think there was a difference between hippies and radicals. Hippies were passived while radicals were looking for trouble.

I had a copy of Chicago. It featured areas for encounters linked by routes. It was not a true area movement game in that the areas were not adjacent.The areas were parks and so forth where large groups could congregate. The demonstrators and the police had three "attitudes" peaceful, rowdy and violent.As the 2 sides interacted they could escalate the chance of violence. IIRC the cops won by keeping their cool or peaceful attitude and letting the demonstrators disperse. The demonstrator player lost forces each turn as people drifted away from the demonstration. The radicals won if the Man started busting heads.

Historically, the police went on a rampage generating sympathy for the radicals. It also Bleeped textede off a lot of people who made loud noises about what types of violence they would mete out to the hippies, which further divided mainstream america. Chicago was a major defeat in the Viet-Nam war. After Chicago the establishment lost sympathy and could no longer act with the support of the average american.

piper90931 Mar 2014 12:05 p.m. PST

Not meaning to take this too seriously or create offense. My intent is to keep it a light cartoonish game. It's almost a parody of "normal" wargaming. I do understand why some would have reservations or personal experiences that would make this an unattractive game topic.

But then, you could easily say the same about wars in general, certainly wars within living memory of participants, yet we are all here in a hobby devoted to making larky "games" about the worst forms of violence conceivable. Zombies would be pretty terrifying in reality, too.

At some point, there has to be enough distance and detachment from reality to allow the hobby to take over from the stark realities.

MarescialloDiCampo31 Mar 2014 12:11 p.m. PST

yessir piper – Kent State comes to mind….and keeping it light is the way to go though..I often game the darker subjects of which are uncomfortable

GNREP831 Mar 2014 1:17 p.m. PST

Martin From Canada
I suggest you read Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop and you'll loose all desire to play a game like this.
albeit a book that comes at it from an American slant of course – most people living in Europe would of course find the whole issue re militarisation rather bemusing when in their countries that was the basis for much of policing and yet they are not living in dictatorships. Of course no taxation without representation's flip side was let the British taxpayer pay for the defence of the colonies.

jpattern231 Mar 2014 2:34 p.m. PST

Somehow you need to work Levitation into the game: link

Levitating a building could be the overall goal of the hippies, or it could be a tactic during the game: levitating a group of cops or troops so that they drop their weapons and realize the error of their ways, refusing to fight any more; levitating themselves out of harm's way; or levitating a cop-car or tank to move it out of the way, or to the top of a building, effectively removing it from play.

The Levitation could be card-driven, or maybe if 10 hippies can congregate in a quiet place and remain "unhassled" for a set number of turns, the Levitation takes place.

piper90931 Mar 2014 9:07 p.m. PST

Hola, Martin and GNREP8,
I have read excerpts from that book and many articles examining those same issues. And I am in alignment with those sentiments -- truth be told, if I had to take a stance in all this, I'd be firmly in the "hippie" camp. I still believe in the higher ideals of the counterculture, which in these dismal times makes me one of the last hippies indeed.

That said, I can't help but feel drawn to the outlandish aspects of the Sixties as they exist today in camp iconography and the half-life of selective memory and media treatment. (E.g., "punk" is still seen as a viable mode of expression, even though it's as dated and archaic as anything from the Sixties, didn't exist as a counter-culture nearly as long, and drew its core inspiration from nihilism rather than idealism -- yet the "hippie" is a stock figure of comedy and derision-- a lot of post facto rationalization going on here.) Hence, this goof of a game.

"Levitation," yes, I like it! That's certainly a worthy hippie objective. Cool idea, jpattern2, thanks!!

Queen Catherine01 Apr 2014 8:01 a.m. PST


jpattern201 Apr 2014 9:00 a.m. PST

In '67, Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies tossed dollar bills into the pits at the New York Stock Exchange, causing chaos for a short time. So tossing donuts to the cops is certainly a possibility.

grommet3727 Apr 2014 11:56 p.m. PST

You could go near-future, and include the many non-lethal weapons currently in use or being proposed, so the "cops" could have vehicles with crowd-control devices on them. The "hippies" would have vans with unicorns painted on the side, from which would emanate strange vapors capable of pacifying the populace.

I propose you also have a crowd/mob/society/zeitgeist which both sides are competing to influence.

The "hippies" could be any NF protester/demonstrator, attempting to peacefully convey a message via media, while trying to keep their own forces from engaging with the authorities or annoying the local populace. Their "weapons" would be non-violence vs. the "cops" non-lethal violence, with the hippies losing points for engaging in combat and the cops losing points for hurting the hippies. The hippies could influence the crowd with whatever mechanism you choose, images, narratives, movements, drugs, etc.

Several scenarios: Capture the Leader, Escort the Executive, Deliver the Message, Infiltrate the Opposition, False Flag Riot Squad, Who Started It?

Force on Force has an Irregular/Insurgency mechanic you may find helpful. You could consider the "cops" to be Regulars, of varying troop quality, with the "hippies" as Irregulars attempting to build a peaceful and non-violent "Insurgency" to overthrow the existing order and replace it with a better world. Both sides would have to do as little harm as possible to avoid detrimental losses to Public Opinion Points. One could win on the Street and lose in the News.

The wikipedia page on NL weapons could keep you busy for a while.


I don't know if you've played the game Deus Ex (FPS video game), but one way to play it was "Batman" mode, attempting to injure and or kill as few people as possible throughout the game. You pretty much had to avoid conflict, or use a baton or taser on opponents, at close range.

That way, it would be light-hearted in the sense that no-one is actually trying to hurt anyone else. Hippies who fight lose points, cops who hurt hippies lose points. Now try to accomplish your objective.

I should add, I would drive it with Fog of War cards, a la FoF. Call them Smoke of Peace cards instead, if you want to invert some normal miniatures games tropes.

Players could control factions: The Cops, The Hippies, The Media, The Crowd and SoP cards could define RoE, crowd reaction, air strikes in the form of press conferences, off-board mortars as national news coverage, etc.

Andy ONeill28 Apr 2014 10:31 a.m. PST

I would have a giant t rex that eats buildings and hippies.
Oh wait.
No violence.

Coelacanth193828 Apr 2014 9:53 p.m. PST

@grommet37 Don't forget collateral damage. During the People's Park Riot, Reagan's CHP killed one bystander outright with shotguns while blinding another, and police helicopters tear-gassed several elementary schools,, stores, and a children's hospital.

Dave F15 May 2014 4:02 p.m. PST


MarescialloDiCampo16 May 2014 9:53 a.m. PST

The Black Bloc:

Tactics of a black bloc can include offensive measures such as street fighting, vandalism of corporate property, rioting, and demonstrating without a permit, but mainly consists of defensive tactics like misleading the authorities, assisting in the escape of people arrested by the police ("un-arrests' or "de-arrests"), administering first aid to persons affected by tear gas, rubber bullets and other riot control measures in areas where protesters are barred from entering, building barricades, resisting the police, and practicing jail solidarity.[44][45][46] Property destruction carried out by black blocs tends to have symbolic significance: common targets include banks, institutional buildings, outlets for multinational corporations, gasoline stations, and video-surveillance cameras. from:

MarescialloDiCampo16 May 2014 9:58 a.m. PST

As for the tactics – read this:


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