Help support TMP

"Another "which VSF rules to use" post" Topic

16 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please do not post offers to buy and sell on the main forum.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. Message Board

Back to the Victorian SF Message Board

Back to the Victorian Colonial Board Message Board

Areas of Interest

19th Century
Science Fiction

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset

New World Disorder

Rating: gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

The Amazing Worlds of Grenadier

The fascinating history of one of the hobby's major manufacturers.

Featured Profile Article

First Look: Barrage's 28mm Streets & Sidewalks

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian looks at some new terrain products, which use space age technology!

Featured Movie Review

1,896 hits since 28 Aug 2017
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
earlofwessex29 Aug 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

My VSF collection is pretty large, but consists groups too small for mass combat rules, but too large for some skirmish rules. For example, I've got 20 Victorian Redcoats, 20 French F. Legion, 20 Martians, and then larger groups of African tribesmen, Venusian Lizardmen, mummies and some others. I've also got some steam tanks, giant creatures, etc. I've also got some heroes for each other these types (I do have more sides, but you get the picture of what I've been building for.)

I'd like to be able to put on some group games (say for 6 people). A little bit of roleplay is okay, but not vital. When I tried this with regular GASLIGHT a few years ago it took a VERY long time.

I am interested in IHMN, but I think that it would only put a very small part of my collection on the table. What I'd like is to have at least 120 minis on the table; more would be better.

What rules would be good? Can you play IHMN with more than two groups at a time? Could each player have a company? This would play at less than my mini count, but it might be okay.

I've been collecting VSF stuff in isolation for years and haven't had a lot of exposure to various rule sets.

Thanks in advance for any help.

earlofwessex29 Aug 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

I apologize for posting this to the historical Victorian Colonial Board. It was a mistake.

Steve29 Aug 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

GASLIGHT has a big battles version, that would be my recommendation. I've used it at Historicon for about 100 figs + 8 vehicle games.


mad monkey 129 Aug 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

If you can get a copy:

Most units are 10 figs, with melee only troops being 20 figs. Has rules for VSF vehicles and contraptions.

TheBeast29 Aug 2017 8:12 a.m. PST

Now part of the GASLIGHT Compendium, it was titled 'Battles by GASLIGHT'. However, a total of 120 between four-six people is not much of a stretch for our regular GASLIGHT.

I've run two groups of ten on a regular basis, plus a vehicle or two, and only felt a bit challenged, and I is a wuss.

IMHN is definitely on the smaller scale, and I cherish it for that.
I think most of the rule sets I'm familiar with would do well, though perhaps on the upper limit, such as V&S&F and Soldier's Companion.

By the way, which/what kind of Martians?


Edit: Ah, I was still editing when Mad Monkey put his up, and shows I am at least right about that. ;->=

Getting a copy IS an issue; getting the figs more so, though plenty of good proxies.

Edit, part deux: Micman, you are aware that V&S&F IS a Sword and Flame variant, right? Just curious if you went a different direction.

Micman Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2017 8:14 a.m. PST

We have a local group where a couple of people got us hooked on Space !889 as background for a Sword and the Flame variant. We have run convention games with 20+ players and several hundred figures and vehicles. It was a bit much.

I have been working on a Men Who Would Be King version. Much bloodier version. Our last play test was 6 people and about 160 figs.

Black Cavalier29 Aug 2017 8:19 a.m. PST

Martian empires from black hat games is a good set of rules. The units are in blocks, so each different block can be a different unit type. But that does mean each player would need a few of these units to make up their force.

Men who would be king is also a good set that we've used it for vsf. Since the unit classifications are pretty generic, British lancers and green Martians on thoats could be classed as the same.

And you you mix in some of the concepts from dragon rampant, the fantasy, version, it wouldn't be too hard to do monsters and steam vehicles.

surdu200529 Aug 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

The nice thing about the Compendium is that it really has five sets of rules, so you can scale your game from role playing to large battles without learning a completely new system.

The Compendium was written merging GASLIGHT (original skirmish rules), Battles by GASLIGHT (large battles), To be Continued by GASLIGHT (Pulp and smaller skirmish), Adventures and Expeditions by GASLIGHT (role playing), and fleet battles by GASLIGHT, so it is not necessarily easy for a newcomer to pick up. The authors provide a FREE quick start guide that you can download from DriveThru.

Mocaiv29 Aug 2017 2:08 p.m. PST

Although I still need to update the army lists and army building documents, there are some free Steampunk rules available here:

CaptainDarling29 Aug 2017 2:27 p.m. PST

You could try FUBAR VSF, its free so if you don't like it you're not out of pocket…I've been using them for years. There is a section featuring character traits but you don't have to use them…check out the download section here…

earlofwessex29 Aug 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

Thanks for the great input. The arguments for the GASLIGHT compendium were good, especially being able to play at different levels (since sometimes I fancy something more RPGish). Then I went to buy the rules and remember why I didn't several years ago: the price.

$48 USD is absurdly high. I can't do it. I'll try out some of the other options. My group has already played FUBAR, though I haven't. I'd forgotten about Martian Empires, which I do have. I have enough for each player to have a few units. I could do British and French on Venus, each with lizardmen auxilia or a separate lizardman contingent, supplemented by a mad scientist (beastmen, robots and guys with weird tech), taking on an invasion from Mercury of Heroscape Marros (I have tons of them). That sounds cool.

As I thought about it, I realized that I don't care so much about the steam tanks being central, or even present. I think that that is one of GASLIGHT's strengths, which I don't particularly value (though, for the record, I would LOVE a serious steamtank game that took into account the same factors used in WW2 armor games such as varying armor thickness and shot penetration, but that's a different story).

My Martians are SPACE 1889 canal Martians, btw.
Thanks again for the help.

For the record, if the price were $30 USD, I would consider the GASLIGHT compendium.

surdu200530 Aug 2017 5:06 a.m. PST

We think The GASLIGHT Compendium provides uncommonly good value.

Gamers rant about rule costs all the time but drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on figures they may never paint. The Internet has created an unreasonable expectation that people should give away their IP and the fruits of their labor for free.

Taking a family of four to a professional baseball game costs well over $100. USD Attending a movie is about $8 USD where I live, and most are so bad, they should pay me to sit through them.

Some people have been using GASLIGHT for over 12 years. When you amortize the cost of the book across 12 years of enjoyable games, it is pretty INEXPENSIVE -- particularly compared to rules you play a couple of times and then move onto another set. How many sets do gamers purchase and never play or only play a few times? People who have GASLIGHT play them over and over and over.

Also, consider that The Compendium is really five sets of rules.

All in all, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value.

I also think that the various booklets that were eventually combined to create the Compendium are still available on the secondary market, but if you can find them and eventually get all of those, the total cost is much more than $48. USD Also, there are items in the Compendium that are not in any of the contributing books.

Beyond all that, you can download the quick start guide for free and give them a chance before deciding to buy. Unlike many rules, with GASLIGHT you can try before you buy with the free download.

earlofwessex30 Aug 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

When I wrote that the GASLIGHT Compendium was too high, I should not have used the word "absurdly" because that implies a criticism of the designers and it edges onto the level of rant.

I don't think that I ranted about the price of the game. What I said is that it is too much for me. This is simply true. You're right that gamers drop absurd amounts of money on their hobby and don't play with much of what they get, but that just isn't the case for me. I am basically able to get gaming stuff at Christmas and my birthday (though I do have unpainted minis because I quit painting about five years ago).

I do appreciate that authors and creative people are entitled to earn money from their work and that $10 USD each is a good price for rules. However, for me, this is like going to the store to buy a Pepsi and finding that six packs are a great price, but I just want one Pepsi and don't have the money for a six pack.

I also agree that the Compendium provides value above and beyond free rulesets because of the playtesting and the years of experience that have helped make it what it is. Again, however, in my case I just can't do it. If I find Battles by Gaslight somewhere I might buy it, because I'm sure it's good and I will actually play it.

So set your price however you want. Thanks for the good rules. I enjoy GASLIGHT when I can get a groups to play it with me.

surdu200530 Aug 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

Yes, I did not mean to imply that your post was a rant. I meant to say that over the years there have been many other threads that the cost of wargaming rules (in general and for specific sets) was too high.

tsofian30 Aug 2017 3:43 p.m. PST

I can also suggest The Hive and the Flame, which definitely works for large battles





Guthroth31 Aug 2017 10:21 a.m. PST

I'm hunting for the same and someone on FB suggested Konflict 47. The Weird WW2 set from Bolt Action.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.