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"Criticize my rules please! (4 pages)" Topic

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Grimpus10 Sep 2015 9:06 p.m. PST

Hey everybody,
I'm working on a generic set of rules that will be versatile enough to play anything from sci-fi to fantasy to historical and either as a skirmish (models act as individuals) or a squad based game with only a few minor tweaks.
The goal was to create something that plays fast but has depth, that doesn't involve an ungodly amount of dice rolling, and something that is brutal and fun. I think that I can achieve that by ensuring that I have a solid core system. That's where you come in.
I have written up a short 4-page "Basic Rules" section with a squad based sci-fi theme (because that's what I'm currently most interested in). Only a small number of minor rules tweaks are required to turn the game into a skirmish and, if there is interest, I can go ahead and write that up too. But in the mean time, I would love to hear what you think. I have done a few hours of my own testing so I know that they work (I plan on testing them more thoroughly this weekend with a largish game of multiple squads per side) but I would love to get outside opinions and suggestions.
If you can play-test, awesome! If you can just skim over them, that's awesome too. I'd love any feedback I can get.

PDF can be found at this link

PS. Included in the PDF are stats for basic human troopers. I can stat up other units and post them on this thread if there is interest.

RetroBoom11 Sep 2015 8:08 a.m. PST

Hey Grimpus. Checked out the rules (didn't put it on the table). It seems like 40k lite. I have 2 notes, based simply on personal preference. You have several stats per model that need to be tracked over the game (wounds, valor, grit, and luck) which always kind of bums me out. I either need 4 different counters next to the models, or more likely a card for each model kept somewhere near by. Not the end of the world, but not my thing. Secondly, your suppression mechanism is only triggered after several troops are already dead. In the example in your rules, 4 troops have to die before the Sgt's unit even tests to see if it's become suppressed. I'd be more interested to see suppression much more likely to happen before mass casualties.

Lame example off the top of my head; At the end of the turn, if a unit was "hit" (regardless of saves) test for suppression, subtract the number of casualties from the highest Quality rating in the unit when rolling to test.

Something vaguely along those lines makes more sense to me and is more appealing personally.

Check out Fubar and One Page 40k if you haven't already, as they cover very similar ground to the direction you've taken here. Good luck!

Grimpus11 Sep 2015 8:58 a.m. PST

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah there is some book-keeping required (which can be a huge pain) but hopefully that can be mitigated by the fact that only heroes have those stats. To me personally, the tactical options and resource management aspect that those stats will provide outweighs the cons. But since I haven't actually shared that part yet, I totally understand your point. I will definitely play around with morale. That is actually the least tested part of the rules so far and I do agree that it should play a larger role. My concern is that rolling for morale all the time will get annoying and since units will ideally be taking a huge amount of casualties (I have designed combat specifically to be very lethal), I thought this might work. But I agree that I have probably marginalized it too much. Perhaps morale must be rolled if a unit takes a number of hits equal to its quality? That might be too difficult to keep track of though. I may just have to wait until my test games this weekend to figure out a good solution. What do you think?

Marshal Mark11 Sep 2015 9:16 a.m. PST

I agree with the comments above that having separate valor, grit and luck seems unnecessary – you could combine them all into one.
Otherwise, it's not really a full set of rules. All you have is the combat mechanism for infantry small arms fire and close combat.
The close combat rules don't seem to take account of the number of figures fighting, which seems rather strange.

Russ Lockwood11 Sep 2015 9:53 a.m. PST

All rules start with an idea. Ultimately, you'll be able to come up with something that you enjoy playing. You've already discovered one secret to wargaming -- if you don't like a rule, change it.

As for the rules, I skimmed it and it seems like a version of Warhammer 40K. I haven't played 40K for 10-15 years, so my memory of its mechanics is sketchy to say the least…but the use of stats and roll to hit, roll to save seem 40K-ish. Keep at it. You never know where it will lead.

Grimpus11 Sep 2015 2:17 p.m. PST

Yeah it borrows from both 40k and GW's Lord of the Rings game. I basically took (and attempted to improve) my favorite elements of both and mixed them with mechanics of my own invention in an effort to smooth things out, speed things up, and cut down on the "buckets of dice" factor (especially in close combat). Speaking of close combat, yes the rules don't seem to reflect the number of fighters on each side (I was worried about it too at first), but the way things usually play out is that the numerically superior side does end up having an advantage due to the fact that they can take more casualties before being destroyed. It is pretty unusual but it has worked pretty well so far in my testing. Also, I'm planning on implementing a standard squad size of 5-10 models. So that will help too.
Thanks for the feedback!

Grimpus13 Sep 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

I ran 3 test games last night. 2 of them were large squad-based games with 30 models on one side and 20 on the other. The other was a skirmish game with 6 models on each side. Each game took less than 30 minutes with the skirmish only taking about 15. The rules worked well for the most part (aside from the obvious morale issue. I only had one morale roll occur in all 3 games).
The skirmish game did feel pretty weird though and I'm going to have to give more thought to how I am going to tweak the rules to support that.
I'm thinking about changing the morale rules so that squads have to test for suppression if they take ANY casualties and for breaking if they take more than their quality in casualties. I am also considering a rework of the combat rules as it is kind of odd that the number of combatants play such a little role. I'm worried about sacrificing speed and the small number of dice that need to be rolled. Perhaps I could change it so that the winner takes a number of hits equal to the loser's lowest fighting skill value? This would benefit large squads by increasing the attrition level, making it more difficult for small squads to stay in the fight long enough to destroy the larger squad. I'm going to try it out.
Another issue I ran into was that powered armor males it very easy to sit in cover and be invulnerable. Even with a couple of high AP weapons, it became stalemated trench warfare. I may change it so that a roll of 1 is always a failure and a roll of 6 always a success for armor rolls.
I will keep posting updates here. Progress is likely to be slow however as I work 11 or 12 hours a day 3 to 4 days a week (and that number may be increasing soon). Needless to say that makes it difficult to run numerous test games (or do anything hobby related for that matter).
Thanks for the feedback. This is likely to be a very long project at this rate, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

Grimpus23 Sep 2015 10:05 a.m. PST

Progress has been extra slow because I work 8 to 12 hours a day and have 1 or less days off per week (on which like to spend time with my wife). However, she started graduate school this week and so I've fixed the morale system (I hope). I will run some tests this afternoon and also wrote up the hero section so that I can post an updated pdf. I've been reading StarFist lately so I'm gonna see if I can get this work for hard scifi as well as space fantasy. I'd love to have one system to rule them all of possible. I'm trying to refine the infantry rules before I dabble in vehicles.
All that being said, here is the new morale system:
A suppression test is taken if unit comes under fire. Even if no hits or casualties are taken. Roll 3D6 against quality. Count successes (a roll less than quality. Or perhaps less than or equal to quality if that is too brutal but I suspect it won't be or will at least encourage protection of one's commanders). 3 successes = No effect. 2 successes = shaken (-1 from initiative roll as decribed in document). 1 success = pinned (some negative effect severely reducing unit effectiveness haven't totally decided this yet) no successes = broken (broken as decribed in document. Can recover. possibly converted to pinned if no casualties taken?).

What do you think? I think this is a MUCH better system and is still very quick and simple.

Still working on the close combat issue.

RetroBoom23 Sep 2015 3:10 p.m. PST

I like it :) 2 questions. Do you think weight of fire needs to be considered? One gretchen shooting your way vs a huge squad of boyz? Also, are there any modifiers to quality? I would personally assume that a unit would be less likely to pass their roll the longer they're under fire and the more casualties they've taken.

Grimpus23 Sep 2015 4:12 p.m. PST

I'm worried about making this too finicky but what if taking more casualties (over the course of the entire game- not in one go) than your quality means that you can only roll 2d6 for future suppression tests. Or perhaps decreases quality by one. Both will erode a squad's effectiveness as they take casualties (and the effectiveness of the force overall). I like the first method better. I'm just worried that it will be difficult to keep track of.

RetroBoom23 Sep 2015 5:10 p.m. PST

No idea if it will work but it sounds good to me.

Grimpus23 Sep 2015 5:29 p.m. PST

Okay I have updated the rules. I added a section about heroes and a page of profiles as well as updated the shooting, combat, and morale sections with the changes that I proposed earlier in this thread. link

Any comments and criticism are welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Last Hussar26 Sep 2015 2:02 p.m. PST

They drink to much and are rude to their wife.

Grimpus26 Sep 2015 4:40 p.m. PST

But they can change dammit! Just give them another chance!

Grimpus30 Sep 2015 9:31 p.m. PST


Did an almost total rewrite of the rules today. I rewrote morale and combat rules to address some of your concerns as well as adding additional tactical options. Also, I use D10s now…
I also ran several test games and wow. The game plays so, so much better now.
I think I really have something solid to build on now.

Take a look if you get a chance. I'd love to hear your opinions and concerns.

Also, its a bit more than 4 pages now. Is there any way that I can edit the title to this thread?


Grimpus15 Oct 2015 4:29 p.m. PST

The core rules of the game are now (pretty much) complete. I still plan on adding a ton of supplemental material (such as solo and campaign rules), but the game is totally playable now. I have a lot of testing and tweaking to do.
I also have divided it into two PDFs. One for the "Squad-Scale" version and one for the "Platoon-Scale" version. The squad scale game is a skirmish in which each model acts on its own. The platoon scale game has models acting as groups.

The PDFs can be downloaded and more detailed information can be read on my blog:

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