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"SF rules that feel like the future and not WW2 in costume?" Topic

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AegonTheUnready08 Aug 2019 8:52 a.m. PST

Any good rules like that? I've played a lot of SF rules that were just WW2 cosplaying as science fiction; are there any that really feel like future war? you know, drones, satellites, EW, ECCM… anything?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 9:23 a.m. PST

Dragon Rampant, perhaps? Clarke's Law very much applies here. Anyway, "drones, satellites, EW, ECCM…" aren't "future war:" they're current war. War in 2060 may look quite different.

What can I say? I was enlisted in the USAF in 1972 and left contract analysis in 2015. I definitely went to science fiction warfare somewhere in there, but I'm not quite sure when.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 Aug 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

But what makes it SF and not historical combat?

If you look at combat in terms of systems and effects the mechanics are pretty much the same. the biggest differences have been in the dispersion of the battlefield (the 'empty battlefield') due to the effectiveness of weapons.

Mobility, Protection and Combat Power (Fire power or contact) reach some form of balance and will start to feel the same (difference being ground and time scale). An ACW Regiment takes up the same ground as 1-2 modern Platoons (or less) to achieve the same level of results. An ACW Division would be about the same as a modern company.

Steve08 Aug 2019 10:21 a.m. PST

Are you looking for something with a generic setting? Infinity has its own very specific universe and figs, but it is very much different from any WW2 and most other miniatures games. For some reason it's a game that gets overlooked by most people who also play historical minis.


Moonbeast08 Aug 2019 10:41 a.m. PST

Infinity would be my suggestion as well. It's squad level though. Hack the enemies power armor and prevent him from doing anything, yep. Hack the enemies remotes (drones) and have them kill their squad mates, yep. Electronic warfare on a futuristic battlefield…ECM,ECCM…yep it's in there.

AegonTheUnready08 Aug 2019 10:48 a.m. PST

@robert peipenbrick ""drones, satellites, EW, ECCM…" aren't "future war:" they're current war." Yep. And like i said, left out of most rules that are purportedly "The Future!"

Irish Marine08 Aug 2019 11:09 a.m. PST

Tomorrow's War by Ambush Alley Games.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 11:53 a.m. PST

Yes, Aegon. That means those rules aren't "current war." But "future war?" Forget 1,000 years into the future: pick 50 and one or more technological breakthroughs. Senior WWI officers grew up in the aftermath of the FPW and commanded in a world of submarines, aircraft, tanks and poison gas--not to mention telephones and wireless telegraphy. Officers who started in horse cavalry made general in the atomic age. If you actually want future war, imagine battlefields with no human beings at all, reinforcements arriving by matter transmission, or war which is all dueling computer systems--though I think that last would be a card system rather than miniatures. Or something entirely different.

Everyone wants "future war" to be "present war" plus a few upgrades already scheduled. When REAL future war arrives, it will be quite different.

cloudcaptain08 Aug 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

Strike Legion is one of the few that I have seen with specifically fleshed out ECM and ECCM rules:


Looks like they are running a sale on the books right now too! They were a bit more complex than I was looking for but sound up your alley.

d88mm194008 Aug 2019 12:18 p.m. PST

Good old 'Starguard' by McEwan Miniatures.

He based his worlds on a lot of the popular Sci-Fi at the time: Starship Troopers, Gordon R. Dickson's 'Dorsai' series and others.
Exotic races and weapons. Great stuff, back in the day. They're now called " The Game That Would Not Die!"

Corrected. Thanks. (Hit in the head by a Disruptor during the Dreenoi invasion on Venus. Force field saved me, but the side effects linger…)

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 12:26 p.m. PST

Stargrunt is by Groundzero Games
Star Guard is by McEwan

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 3:50 p.m. PST

StarGrunt and Dirtside have ECM and drone rules.
Striker (GDW, 1983) has rules for the effects of different gravity and different atmospheres.
All three have rules for ortillery, that is spaceships providing indirect (or possibly direct) fire.
GDW has some interesting weapons, like meson guns.

TNE230008 Aug 2019 4:14 p.m. PST

the future is not what it used to be

2011 Frank Chadwick lecture on Striker: 30 years after

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 6:41 p.m. PST

I once heard a shop owner call Striker the best set of small unit combat rules he'd ever seen. I liked the rules and the background, but could never quite get my head around them.

Thresher0108 Aug 2019 6:49 p.m. PST

Perhaps the best "vehicle design rules" produced.

I was never able to set up a game with them either. Perhaps if some vehicle examples had been provided, or there was less focus on designing, and more on fighting, things might have been better, at least for me.

I don't think I ever created a single vehicle with them, but was very interested in Sci-Fi ground gaming at the time. I do recall spending some time reading/studying them, but that is about it.

This was back in the day when there were few, if any, Sci-Fi vehicles in any scale to be purchased. The models on the cover of the book were inspirational, but as I remember, GZG was pretty much the only game on the planet, and they were making 15mm resin vehicles back then, as well as some quite nice, 25mm ones too.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 Aug 2019 7:58 p.m. PST

Nick, Striker worked well if you knew how to write a operations order and understood phase lines and control measures.

Gamers would have problems when they need to fight the rules to do what they think they want to

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 9:37 p.m. PST

I learned Excel from designing vehicles for Striker and High Guard.

Saber6 makes a good point about operations orders, phase lines, and control measures. I realized that I needed a handle on those things in order to run games effectively, so I taught myself.

I just hit the books. I thought, if Army officers can understand that stuff (and a few good friends of mine were Army officers), I can, too. I don't pretend that I could send a real unit into action, but the games I run go pretty well.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 9:47 p.m. PST

@Thresher01: I actually used card stock to mock up vehicles that I had designed using Striker. I went with true 1:72 scale, because I had a lot of 1:72 Airfix soldiers. That was back when I had free time, in the early 1980s. I had a few good skirmishes.

I also measured contemporary toy vehicles and determined their sizes for Striker design by assuming that they were 1:72 scale. E.g., the Atlantic M106 mortar carrier (a version of the M113) turned into a much larger AFV with a small laser cannon on top (the way the mortar was mounted, it could go horizontal for direct fire -- not realistic, but it worked great for turning the vehicle into a science-fiction AFV).

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2019 9:48 p.m. PST

@TNE2300: I think that's the lecture where I got Frank Chadwick to autograph my copy of Striker.

Thresher0110 Aug 2019 11:36 a.m. PST

As for the rules for a Sci-Fi feel, I think the real issues are:

1. the need for exotic weaponry with different effects from today's types (think the alien tech in the District 9 movie);

2. alien stats and reactions for control, morale, fighting techniques, etc.;

3. and, alien minis, drones, vehicles, and other things (playing surface and foliage/fauna too, just for grins).

Most of the stuff in the original posting is present today, in some form or another, but probably not as prevalent as it will be tomorrow, or in the far future.

I imagine a lot of tech for Sci-Fi should basically appear to be "magic" to those of us in the current timeline.

Just think what people from 100 years ago or more would think of things we take for granted now, like: automatic opening doors, cell phones (aka Star Trek communicators 0 flip type and others); wrist phones, jet aircraft, spacecraft, refrigerators and freezers, ovens, microwave ovens, air conditioners, cars, motorcycles, computers, TVs, radio, the internet, elevators, etc., etc., etc..

If you can dream it now, you just might be able to make it in the future.

dilettante Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2019 3:46 p.m. PST

It's a boardgame, but SPI's Starsoldier had a very futuristic system. Very few troops to a large area (maybe 6 to a side at most). Personal flight, both high or nape of the earth. Both sides ECM was just part of the odds of hitting. One species always fought in threes, tough at the start but dropping in ability with each loss.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2019 7:39 p.m. PST

Yes, that was a pretty good game ! Like a lot of SPI's games.

10mm Wargaming20 Aug 2019 9:23 a.m. PST

I would recommend Future War Commander Rules. Hope it helps.

As always, comments are appreciated.

Take care


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