Help support TMP

"Small Unit Rules for Battles on the Moon, or Mars?" Topic

17 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 remember not to make new product announcements on the forum. Our advertisers pay for the privilege of making such announcements.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the SFRPG Message Board

Back to the SF Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

Science Fiction

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Top-Rated Ruleset

Savage Worlds: Showdown

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Chaos Space Marines, Squad #1

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian finishes his first squad of Chaos Space Marines.

Featured Workbench Article

Da Pinkos from HLBS

When evolved Newts happen upon a WWII comic...

Featured Profile Article

Statting the Wildcats

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian comes up with a roster and game stats for the Wildcats, his mercenary force.

Current Poll

Featured Movie Review

1,683 hits since 27 Sep 2021
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Thresher0127 Sep 2021 9:18 p.m. PST

I suspect in many cases, a lot of your generic skirmish rules can be used for squad-on-squad, platoon-on-platoon, or company level battles on the Moon, Mars, or your other favorite off-world battlefields Alpha Centaur anyone(?).

What I'm interested in though, is finding rules that have an off-world flavor to make the battles a bit more interesting, like making them a bit more lethal for near-future combat at least, since penetration of space suits by projectile, and/or laser weapons may be lethal, where on Earth they'd merely wound, becausee if environmental suits are penetrated, resulting in either immediate, or possibly for more cinematic drama, slow, painful deaths (better for smaller skirmish games I suppose in the latter case).

Later, or more advanced suits could have some degree of self-sealing properties I suppose. Perhaps one faction spends the gold to provide that for their troops, while the othere prefers to field more troops in cheaper suits, since quantity has a quality all its own.

Wonder what the guys/gals/aliens with the latter philosophy think about that, when their sides troops die much more often after being wounded/killed?

Can't be good for morale, which could make things interesting for one side, I suppose.

Other considerations could be unique movement rules based upon the gravity of the planet, moon, or asteroid being fought over, dangerous alien fauna, land-based, or aerial/orbiting drones, low-cost, lightweight vehicles, Manned Maneuvering Units (MMUs) for flying thrus space (think the 007 Bond movie "Moonraker"), early spacecraft and landers, etc..

Even otherwise "safe" space suits could be dangerous in some rare cases while on patrol far from your base or spaceship, if it starts to malfunction, and flood your helmet (which has really happened on occasion to one degree or another). Imagine the irony of dying from drowning on a waterless moon, while just going for a walk.

Are there any rules that handle this well already?

Can't say I'm aware of any.


Striker27 Sep 2021 10:04 p.m. PST

I thought Stargrunt had a bit about unsafe environments, not a lot just a "here's how you could handle it". It does use armor and casualties so it wouldn't be hard to adjust that.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Sep 2021 6:33 a.m. PST

Striker and Striker 2 are worth a look

Lucius28 Sep 2021 7:00 a.m. PST

If you can find a copy of the old Yaquinto board game, "Marine 2002", it covers this pretty well.



emckinney28 Sep 2021 10:26 a.m. PST

"quantity has a quality all its own"

Not when it costs a couple million dollars to get your soldier to the battlefield.

emckinney28 Sep 2021 10:31 a.m. PST

See film of the astronauts "bouncing" on the moon. They found it was hard to walk and it would have been impossible to run. Low-gravity environments are just insanely different. So, the troops gain 20-50 cm of altitude every time they move.

Want to "hit the dirt"? How long do you think it would take to drop to the ground?

Besides, insulation is a huge problem. The bottoms of the astronauts' boots were immensely insulated. Lying down on the lunar maria would be a surprisingly quick death from hypothermia--the material of the moon is very, very cold.

ChrisBrantley28 Sep 2021 11:15 a.m. PST

One redeeming feature of an otherwise painful SciFi movie for me was the Ad Astra skirmish with lunar pirates/separatists while on wheeled moon rovers in transit between stations. Enjoy a clip at: YouTube link

emckinney28 Sep 2021 1:20 p.m. PST

"For All Mankind" is a very good show and has some lunar combat in season 2. As you might expect, it's a chaotic mess.

Oh, for vacuum environments, remember that light won't diffuse. Everything's in either bright sunlight or in pitch-black shadow (OK, not quite because the maria is quite reflective, but hiding in the shadows works extremely well). At least until high speed vehicles, explosives, or what have you start sending dust everywhere, reducing visibility, possibly to zero.

And the lunar dust is all charged, so it sticks to everything. Great fun.

Thresher0128 Sep 2021 7:19 p.m. PST

"See film of the astronauts "bouncing" on the moon. They found it was hard to walk and it would have been impossible to run. Low-gravity environments are just insanely different. So, the troops gain 20-50 cm of altitude every time they move.

Want to "hit the dirt"? How long do you think it would take to drop to the ground?".

Excellent points.

Perhaps a skill check for every turn of movement with the chance to fail, and fall very slowly to the moon's surface. Then, very difficult to get up(?) in bulky suits with guns, etc.. Of course, perhaps not, since a pushup might make the astros fly off the ground too. Hmmmm……

Yep, a good chance for that abrasive dust to get into the suits and compromise them too, at least until Tyvek suits are designed.

Augustus03 Oct 2021 11:56 a.m. PST

MARINE 2002 is a good representation. Also the series from Ian Douglas (William H Keith) Heritage Series covers this well. Also his other 5th Foreign Legion series third volume to a lesser extent.

Thresher0103 Oct 2021 9:15 p.m. PST

Is Marine 2002 a boardgame?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Oct 2021 7:57 a.m. PST

There was an interesting short story on this topic in the March 1978 issue of Analog. "Moontrack" by George W. Olney.

DavidBurden28 Oct 2021 6:26 a.m. PST

My article in MW&BG458 on adapting Bolt Action for use on the Moon (and possibly Mars) tried to cover some of the issues raised. As mentioned in the article I think what you need is a good set of "modern" skirmish rules and then add any hi-tech kit or gravity/atmospheric effects to them, rather than having too much of a dedicated SF set. It goes the other way of course if your "good" set is SF but can also cover WW2 (big fan of the Combat Patrol series, but using ACP164 as a base).

Blog post on my take on Bolt Action Moongrunts at


And on Stargrunt and Dark Side of the Moon at link

Bob Runnicles22 Dec 2021 12:38 p.m. PST

Black Site Studios recently released their 'Lunar' game which sounds like it might be perfect. I have a lot of their mdf terrain which is excellent, this looks like it might be worth looking into more closely.

Covert Walrus25 Dec 2021 6:37 p.m. PST

HELLFIRE would be adaptable for this sort of game. The provisos above can be woven into the rules with little to no difficulty.

mrinku11 Apr 2022 6:01 p.m. PST

Stargrave could be another starting point. It's designed for warband type actions, but the mechanics are suitable for squad to platoon scale. It goes with focus characters (officers, heroes, whatever you choose to label them) leading small groups of grunts.

Gravity is often well done by applying a blanket extra level of terrain difficulty. So clear is rough, rough is very rough, or whatever you choose. Falling and climbing distances should be adjusted according to high or low Gs.

infojunky21 Jun 2022 7:53 p.m. PST

Hum… Traveller has rules for all hat.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.