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"TMP Simple Rules Challenge. Are you Gamer Enough for it?" Topic

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Early morning writer27 Jul 2014 7:54 p.m. PST

Here is the challenge: to write an ultra simple set of rules in the shortest amount of time possible. And here are the rules no more than six sentences are permitted and they must be relatively short and simple sentences. Eight hundred word sentences disqualifies you, etc. That's it, those are the rules, that is the challenge. There is no period or any other restriction But you must write something you believe could actually be played without you being there to interpret the rules for those playing.

The goal? Well, first the inspiration. One of the most enjoyable games I ever played we used rules I concocted in about five minutes that barely used one side of a 3x5 index card (in largish print). Think I still have that card. And the collective goal is for all of us to get some sense of what is the most common point of reference for rules, assuming there is such a thing (obviously I'm assuming there is). And maybe some fun games and some concepts we've never though of but someone else has.

For those whose response is, "It can't be done." Disqualified.

No, there is no prize and it is not an officially sanctioned TMP event; its just based here because of the membership numbers.

And let it be fun rather than another excuse for some strange trip down those weird and ultimately meaningless corridors too often traveled. Those of you with an appreciation of this know exactly what I mean.

So, on to it. Your best effort at a set of rules in six simple and relatively short sentences. Be quick about it, too much thought will spoil your efforts.


Early morning writer27 Jul 2014 7:57 p.m. PST

Wanted a few more crosspostings but something went awry. But I think there are enough to get the word out.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2014 8:35 p.m. PST

Am I correct in assuming that charts and tables are not permitted?

Happy Little Trees27 Jul 2014 8:38 p.m. PST

Rednecks and Bluebellies-ACW combat


Infantry are in units of ten, numbered 1-10; artillery pieces have four gunners numbered 1-4.

Infantry moves 6" in line, 9" in Column, 12" on road; limbered artillery 9", 15" on road.

To shoot roll 1d20 for every group of three figures and any remaining figures; add one die for first volley and reduce for every six inches of range-score indicates which figure in target unit is hit.

Artillery rolls 1d20 for each gunner (2d20 under 12") and the range increment is 12".

In close combat opposing figures roll 1d6 each and compare scores, if loser is doubled he routs 12", just beaten and he dies/is captured/ hors de combat.

Every turn a unit takes casualties, roll 1d10, if number is greater than number of figures in unit, rout 12", if double the number of figures, remove from play, otherwise OK.

Happy Little Trees27 Jul 2014 8:39 p.m. PST

That's "The Basic Game".

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2014 8:57 p.m. PST

Nice effort HLT, but I do have a few questions. Is the extra first volley die per firing group or per unit? Reduce what for every six inches? As written, a 10 man unit firing at a 1 man unit gets 4d20 and must roll ones to get a hit, while the one man unit rolls 1d20 and hits on a 1-10, correct?

warlordgarou27 Jul 2014 9:01 p.m. PST

1) Every figure has a stat line; at least one player must assert that a stat (cost, morale, move, etc) is grossly incorrect.

2) Each side rolls xd6, where x is the number of figures in a unit/stand.

3) Argue that the other player scooped up the dice before an accurate count could be made.

4) Argument devolves into argument over miniatures having incorrect uniforms or paint jobs.

5) If you are friends, flip a coin to determine winner and retire to friendly drinks.

6) If you are casual acquaintances or enemies, begin fistfight or verbal argument, culminating in storming off or table flip, with no rinks afterwards.

I'm pretty sure that covers most miniatures games, actually.

It may not be playable, though (if you are friends, it is) but it's probably a fairly accurate simulation. ;)

Pictors Studio27 Jul 2014 9:06 p.m. PST

Global Thermal Nuclear War

The rules:

Both players have a number of missile sites determined by whether they are Soviet or US and what year the game is being played in.

Each player rolls a die for each site they have. The Russian player rolls a d20, the US player rolls a d12. Everything that rolls a 10 or less on the die hits.

Players lose after suffering 10 hits from their opponent.

greghallam27 Jul 2014 9:23 p.m. PST

Cast of Thousands:

This is something I did a few years ago – you can find the fuller version here link
but with the rules below you could play, well, anything….

A unit comprises 5-10 figures, has a Rating from 1-6, and players alternate activating units from lowest Rating (1) to highest (6)

When activated a unit may move and fire, or melee, by rolling as many six-sided dice as you wish, but at least two.

Each 4-6 on a dice is a success, but if you roll double 1's the action automatically fails.

For each success a unit moves 4", simply by moving one figure then arranging the remainder around it.

In firing or melee, if the successes equal the enemy unit's rating it loses one figure, and an additional figure for each success over the targets Rating.

Melee is initiated by moving into contact with an enemy, but only the activated unit rolls.

Happy Little Trees27 Jul 2014 9:54 p.m. PST

@79PA One extra first volley die per unit.

The unit's total dice is reduced for every 6" in range.

Edited--To shoot roll 1d20 for every group of three figures and any remaining figures; add one die to unit's total for first volley and reduce total by one die for every six inches of range-score indicates which figure in target unit is hit.

Your firing example is correct. It's best to not think of it as just casualties, but more loss of unit effectiveness. When a fresh unit gets into the fight it is more likely to shed shirkers and become disorganized. By the time it is down to 5 or 6 you've mostly got the die hards in the fight. I thought it was OK for 5-10 minutes of design.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 5:51 a.m. PST

@HLT: Thanks. Yeah, you could play a game with it. I've got a very simple set I've used at conventions, but I don't know if I can get it down to six sentences; I'll have to take a look at it.

Early morning writer28 Jul 2014 6:01 a.m. PST

HLT, I concur with your last statement. The goal is not perfect rules but to do exactly what you did, come up with something 'on the instant' and let it flow. Those rules I refer to in the Original Post did get tweaked once or twice as we played.

So far, 2.5 worthy attempts and 1 tongue in cheek attempt (warlord's). 79th PA, where is your effort at attempting this? Oh, who is the .5? That would be Pictors because he is clearly giving one side a very enormous advantage over the other. That isn't wrong but might make it hard to get anyone willing to play a first time.

Feel free to keep them coming. Just don't put too much thought into it, just use your gaming experience, however small or large it is, to toss something out. Mr. Hallam's effort, though a bit more developed I suspect, at least makes the attempt. Will have to check out his link.

And the why of those rules I put together? We had figures, we had terrain, we had willing players but we didn't have rules. So, I tossed out what I did and it worked and we all had a great time. I think part of what makes such situations work is that there are no real expectations of any great event, just a fun time pushing miniatures around. Isn't that the ultimate goal for most of us? Sure, for some they need a very detailed recreation of war. For most of us it is simply about having a good time. Or so I contend.

mashrewba28 Jul 2014 6:08 a.m. PST

1.Set up toys
2 Move toys.
3 Invent narrative
4 Put toys away.

Works for me…

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 8:13 a.m. PST

"Leave DMScotty alone"

No its true and if he passes this way and sees all us children having a laugh then he should know that my wife thought it was an excellent idea. I happened to grow up in a house where my mother did this as a hobby…from ketchup bottles to combining acid toilet clearer and bleach (no!!!)

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 8:15 a.m. PST

The bug strikes again.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 8:16 a.m. PST

Infantry skirmish rules that weigh in at 194 words:

Units are 10 figures.

A figure may move up to 12" (obstructions such as woods, streams, fences, etc. reduce movement by half) or they may fire at an enemy figure; players alternate moving or firing one unit at a time until all units have moved or fired, with the youngest player activating a unit first.

Roll 1d6 and hit on a 4,5,6 if at 8' or less; subtract 1 from the die for each band of 8" past the first 8".

Roll 1d6 for saving rolls and save on a 6 if in light cover, a 5 or 6 if in medium cover and a 4,5,6 if in heavy cover; players and/or GM will define all cover classifications (if any) before the start of the game.

If a figure moves into hand to hand contact with another figure by touching base to base, each player rolls a d6 and the high die forces the other player's figure back 6"; if you double your opponents die roll your opponents figure is eliminated.

When a unit is reduced to one figure, it may join another unit within 12" of it or it is removed from play.

WaltOHara28 Jul 2014 8:21 a.m. PST

The Wooden Walls


1) Ships can be Liburnians (5 hits/5 crew/Ram of 5/no archers/Maneuver 3/speed 5)
Triremes (7 hits/7 crew/Ram of 7/2 archers/Maneuver 2/speed 4) or Quadremes (10 hits/10 crew/Ram of 8/4 archers/Maneuver 1/speed 3)

2) Ships move on a hex map that regulates distance & turning: 3 hexsides turning & 5 distance for a Lib, 2 hexsides turning & 4 distance for a Tri and 1 hexside turning & 3 distance for a Quad.

3) Ships Move/Ram, then Resolve Fire by side (dicing for initiative each turn)-- in no specific order.

4) Ships RAM by rolling # of dice equivalent to Ram Factor, looking for 6s-- each 6 is damage point.

5) Target ships may try to maneuver left or right, pivoting on either end of the ship, up to their maneuver factor, to avoid ram

6) Ships with Archers may attempt archery by rolling dice against enemy crews (only), looking for 6s to eliminate enemy crew.

It's rough, but six sentences is a fine limiter.



John the OFM28 Jul 2014 9:14 a.m. PST

I call my game "Russian Roulette".

I win.
Err, no. I lose.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 9:39 a.m. PST

Javelin98's Universal Fast-Play Wargame Rules

1. I win.

TMPWargamerabbit28 Jul 2014 9:57 a.m. PST

High die roll wins (dice used by player's choice or rolled for). If rolled ties… report to the wife or girlfriend for household duty assignment.
Repeat as often as needed.

note: Miniatures not required.

Back up game… involves "X" and "O" s marked on grid.

Who asked this joker28 Jul 2014 10:53 a.m. PST

Setup: Each player gets a number of figures (20-30 being a good number), sets up the board with any terrain as mutually agreeable and decides on a specific scenario or setting to be played.

Move: Both players move figures starting with the high roller followed by the low roller with infantry/artillery moving 6", cavalry moving 12".

Shoot: Both players shoot simultaneously with a 5+ being the number to hit on a D6 and each hit causing a kill.

Melee: Roll a die for each figure in contact with the high roller being the winner, killing the enemy.

Morale: When half the force is killed, the owning player dices for each man with a 4+ causing the figure to flee, rechecking any turn thereafter that the side loses a figure.

Terrain: Figures in terrain get a saving roll of 4+ to negate the hit and terrain slows movement by half.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jul 2014 11:10 a.m. PST

An interesting exercise, Writer, very much in the spirit of Stravinsky's Poetics where he says "My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each of my undertakings. I shall go even farther: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles."

As for your assertion that "some they need a very detailed recreation of war. For most of us it is simply about having a good time", your assumption about what most gamers want is probably correct, as long as you allow for the fact that not every gamer would agree on what constitutes "a good time", but there is no justification for your assumption that "a very detailed recreation of war" and "a good time" are mutually exclusive. Nor is there any reason to assume that a recreation of war must be detailed in order to be accurate.

That said, here is my offering:

1. The two players each roll a die (any type, as long as they are the same) to determine which is Player A and which is Player B, the player with the high roll being Player A (reroll ties).

2. The game is played on a table which is divided into three Zones, Player A's Zone (along the edge closest to where he is sitting), the Center, and Player B's Zone (likewise, along the edge closest to where he is sitting) into which Zones Player B will place an agreed upon number of obstacles or terrain pieces, the width of which may not total more than half the width of the table, after which Player A may choose which edge of the table will be his Zone.

3. Beginning with Player A, the players alternate placing an agreed upon number of units, which may consist of anything as long as each unit is the same width and whose total width, for each player, may not exceed half the width of the table, anywhere in their own Zone where there are no obstacles.

4. Beginning with Player A, the players alternate selecting any one of their units to perform an action, which may consist of moving (units may only move forward into the next Zone, i.e., from their own starting Zone to The Center, from The Center to the opposing player's Zone, or from the opposing player's Zone off the table, but they may not enter a Zone in which their unit frontage overlaps an obstacle, nor may they move if an opposing unit is in the same Zone and overlaps their frontage), or sidestepping exactly one unit width to the left or right (as long as doing so would not cause their unit frontage to overlap an obstacle in the same Zone or move sideways off the table), or engaging an opposing unit which is in the same Zone and overlaps their frontage.

5. If a unit is selected to engage an opposing unit, each player rolls a die (any type, as long as they are the same) and if the rolls are not equal the player with the lower roll removes his unit from the table.

6. When all of one player's units have been removed from the table, the game is over and each player scores one point for each opposing unit eliminated by engagement and two points for each of their own units that successfully exited the table from the opposing player's Zone; the player with the highest point total is the winner.

The sentences are not as concise as Walt's, but they are clear and complete, and well under the 800 word limit ;)



WaltOHara28 Jul 2014 2:45 p.m. PST

Aha! I forgot a word count. MS Word says "152". Not bad! I thought I had some run-on sentences there.

(I appreciate the non-sneering entries.. interesting challenge!)


Early morning writer28 Jul 2014 6:00 p.m. PST

Starting to get some interesting things happening here and that is the point. Sure, we have a few responses from the "corridor dwellers" but they seem to me to have kept them in the fun range rather than going in the less than noble direction and such is to be expected here on TMP.

Keep them coming, there is no limit. Maybe when I have time I'll do some tallying but for now it's all about seeing what pops.

Oh, and if anyone chooses to play any of the rules, please be sure and let us all know how it turns out.

Glad there is some enjoyment in this little challenge.


greghallam28 Jul 2014 8:15 p.m. PST

EMW, bother! :) I did miss the point that the rules should be something improvised right now. I never read instructions carefully….

In my defence however, I can honestly say that Cast of Thousands DID come to me almost on the spot,albeit some years ago, straight after watching a Bruce Lee movie :)

cheers Greg

WaltOHara29 Jul 2014 7:00 a.m. PST

Morning Writer: I have already posted errata. :-D



Personal logo Kaiju Doug Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2014 8:08 a.m. PST

Quick rules for hand to hand combat. ( Ancients, F&I etc.) 1. The troops are divided into 5 man or 10 man groups and each group has an ID card in the game deck. 2. Dice needed: 2 Green D6 (Movement), 2 Red D6 (Attack) and 1 White D6 (Defend). 3. When your group is activated by the card deck, roll the 2 Green D6 for movement that will apply to each figure in that group. 4. If you attack, roll the 2 Red D6 for each individual combat and you need to roll a 5 or 6 to hit your opponent. 5. When attacked by another figure, if they roll a 5 or 6 on the Red Attack dice, you will roll one White D6 die and need a 5 or 6 to survive the attack. 6. If you fail the dice roll, that figure is killed and knocked down. Play continues till one side is eliminated. Figure bases must touch for combat. This simple fast-play game teaches kids to respond to changing conditions on the battlefield. No special equipment is needed, only rulers or tape measures and some Dollar Store dice. Any plastic figures can be used.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2014 10:42 a.m. PST


Re your comments on the blog; he didn't disallow run-on sentences or complex cause structures, and your amendments are still under the 800 word limit.

I haven't posted any errata, but wait until you see my list of Optional Rules!!!


Early morning writer17 Aug 2014 6:55 a.m. PST

Been rather busy these last few weeks with the addition of a new immigrant into our little household – a full grown version.

Question for Greg Hallam – any relation to Steve Hallam of Hallmark models. And nice rules, The Cast of Thousands. (and you only get a minor penalty for not reading the rules! : ) )

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