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"Subsets of Rules" Topic

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Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Oct 2020 9:19 a.m. PST

Do you play milieu or campaigns (I guess "games", too) where you deliberately use a subset of the rules as a matter of defining the broad context of the game?

So, I don't mean do you not use all the rules and special rules (and special special rules) every game. Do you decide, "these bits are part of the rules, but do not apply to our milieu, so we won't ever use them."

An example: Gangs of Mega City One is in a scifi, dystopian, near future (actually, retro near future as the milieu is set twenty years ago but was written forty years ago) setting. So in addition the ultra-violence and postapocalyptic setting, there are lots of cool scifi gadgets and weapons in the mix.

But beyond all that, the campaign and game system in the rules sets up a nice gang warfare environment. And if you strip away the scifi elements (not just gear, but rules, too) what's left makes for a every nice representation of late 20th/early 21st century gang warfare.

So we use it for that.

Now, in theory, pre-gunpowder warfare would be a subset of the milieu, too. But the core of the rules is directed toward expecting certain types of interactions to be common, so I don't think just getting rid of firearms would make a good representation of a significantly earlier period.

So it's kind of the opposite of "do you think we could extend these rules to add a bit?".

So other than GMCO, Call of Cthulu (an RPG, not a wargame) without all the tentacles makes a nice noir mystery milieu (in fact, they tell you to throw a non-occult scenario in every now and then to keep the players off balance). I've also run D&D campaigns with "no magic" but kept things that could be considered cryptozoological rather than supernatural. Back to wargaming, I've found a couple WWII systems that you could remove the "military" capabilities and run an underground campaign. Also, MechWarrior without the 'mechs is a nice scifi force on force game.

William Warner04 Oct 2020 9:51 a.m. PST


Wolfhag04 Oct 2020 11:20 a.m. PST

Couldn't Bolt Action or WH40K be converted to anything from sticks and stones to Cowboys and Aliens?


Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP04 Oct 2020 11:35 a.m. PST

That is such a good idea Wolfhag I am going to do Bolt Action Cowboys vs Aliens. I loved that movie.

Dukewilliam04 Oct 2020 12:05 p.m. PST

The mechanics of (most) games are nothing more than manipulation of numbers to produce consistent (one hopes) results. No game ‘simulates' anything, ever. It's the armchair generals who don't want to admit that; they consider themselves tacticians. With this in mind, any game can be twisted to any conflict. In 5 minutes, I can turn ASL into a game about cave men fighting octopi.

Not sure why it's hard for some folks to admit to playing with toy soldiers.

It's not like we still make shooty noises, right. Well, sometimes, I guess.


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Oct 2020 1:01 p.m. PST

It's the armchair generals who don't want to admit that; they consider themselves tacticians.

You may want to include all the actual military war colleges across the world that use tabletop wargaming to teach strategy and tactics to their actual generals.

And the first responders, disaster relief organizations, etc. who do the same.

any game can be twisted to any conflict.

The key word being twisted.

A Black and Decker circular saw can be used as a utensil to eat peas, too. Human beings have agency and tools to not, so you can use anything *(like a set of wargamer rules) for any purpose. That doesn't mean that it is good, or even adequate for that purpose.

Couldn't Bolt Action or WH40K be converted to anything from sticks and stones to Cowboys and Aliens?

So, to this point, sure. I'm not so sure how WH40K would be for implementing a sticks and stones fight. I did say that even though it is technically subsumed, GMCO isn't really a good set of rules for a pure pre-gunpowder milieu. Or a lot of others.

Wolfhag04 Oct 2020 1:07 p.m. PST

Yes, that was an unexpendently good movie with a lot of potential for a game. I'm surprised that someone has not latched on to it. Six shooters, bowie knives, bows and arrows and laser blasting aliens to rescue the hottie damsel in distress. What's no not like?


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Oct 2020 2:13 p.m. PST

CvA also has the sweeping outdoor action leading to the dungeon crawl inside the ship. And even an urban town battle. Of sorts.

We've played mini-campaigns based on CvA. The key piece is the VP for the first two scenarios need to influence the set up for the final dungeon crawl.

While, technically, GMCO and WH40K have all the bits you need for those scenarios, I don't think either is structured for a good CVA. I've only played Bolt Action twice and watched once (while SEMBO was playing), so I'm not sure, but it might be a good platform.

Dukewilliam04 Oct 2020 6:52 p.m. PST

You may want to include all the military war colleges…

Good point. From now on I will! Thanks for reminding me.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Oct 2020 10:09 p.m. PST

The Command and Colors/Memoir 44 system is easy, fun and you can adapt to to most any period in history with a few minor tweaks here and there.

advocate05 Oct 2020 1:54 a.m. PST

I tried to use Necromunda for WW2 section level skirmishes. I started by renaming most of the weapons (I think I had to drop one or two). I looked at the various skills and to my surprise didn't drop any. The campaign system didn't really port though.

RudyNelson05 Oct 2020 5:09 p.m. PST

When we designed Guard du Corp back in 1981, we did a special supplement included in the box so the rules would play faster and be used for tournaments.
Our Coastal Command PT Boat rules from 1984, had two main sections. A campaign section and a tactical rules section. The campaign rules were the main body for use with any set of PT Boat rules. During play testing, tabletop, players were asking for tactical rules that their rules lacked. So the appendix grew until only a few extra rules were needed for a compete tactical set.
I also included extra information for most rules in later magazine articles.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Oct 2020 12:40 p.m. PST

RudyNelson – I like that; it's "reverse scaffolding".

Scaffolding is where you have a series of scenarios that start with basic play, then progressively introduce more and more concepts to the players. Most modern video games use this approach. Some wargames also have "quick play" or "intro rules" designed to teach basic concepts, but not really to represent the game.

I like the idea of working it the other way.

RudyNelson11 Oct 2020 8:00 p.m. PST

When we were doing rules mainly in the 1980s, we worked on concepts which are common now. For example with the Coastal Command rules, we created versions using blank maps, hex maps and even square map grids.

With land based rules we worked with different ground scales. The Fire Ogon and Freur rules on WW2 for tanks. We did a 1:25 which was the most accurate for small models, 1:50 which was the most commonly used and 1:100 for small tables.

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