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Galactic battle between Good and Evil. Each figure in this game represents a military unit, and has individual, randomly generated stats. Units are either infantry or archer, and have a rank (leader, general, soldier, or grunt). The standard scenario is fought on a battlefield which includes a city and castle for both players, plus a number of markers (supply, fortification, traps, and shield). Money points, received for possession of cities, can be spent to obtain more units or other benefits. Units which are valiant in combat earn victory points, which can be cashed in to improve a unit's stats; victory points are also key to receiving Battle Cards which "...may greatly influence the outcome..." of the battle.

John Ross, Ryan Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
Year Published
In Print
Rules, 45 Battle Cards, castle template, city template, assorted cut-out Battlefield Markers, plus cut-out army units enough to field two complete armies. Also available in PDF format from the publisher direct and from Wargame Downloads (24-page PDF).

Scale is unstated. Each figure represents a "military unit." Intended for use with 25mm figures, but "...any combination of figurines, toys, loose change, or anything else suitable for children ages 4-84..." will do

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This entry created by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian on 7 June 1997. Last revised by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian on 4 November 2016.

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Fantasy Miniature Battles Core Rules


Our goal in creating Grunt was to devise a simple war game that can be played effectively with a minimum expense and ease of game play. We seek to bring you a system that is easy to understand and play, yet still leaves the possibility of complex variations on rules and the unique option for the development of each personalized army and its skills.
Grunt 2nd edition, pg. 3

The Background

Grunt takes place against the backdrop of the eternal conflict between Good and Evil. At this moment, in this galaxy, Evil is temporarily ascendant. In order to keep the forces of Good from organizing, the gods of Evil are busily "...taking entire kingdoms and phasing them through folds in the fabric of space-time..." Incompatible kingdoms are placed next to each other, so that they will fight - resulting in "...a chaotic mess of misunderstandings and wasted blood."

Players thus take the roles of army commanders, fighting an endless series of pointless battles, while "...chaos and anarchy rule the day."

The Army

The basic army consists of units with the following ranks:

  • 1 Leader
  • 5 Generals
  • 15 Soldiers
  • 25 Grunts

Every figure is actually a military unit, even the leaders and generals (who are presumed to be accompanied by elite guards and highly decorated soldiers). Each figure also has four stats: Hit Points, Attack Level, Defense Level, and Movement. Except for the Grunts - who are "under-equipped and ill-suppied" with "no potential to improve" - all units roll dice (4-, 6- and 8-sided) to determine their original Hit Points and combat levels.

EXAMPLE: Rolling the dice for my Leader, Generals, and Soldiers, I determine their stats to be:

Unit Type Attack Level Defense Level Hit Points Movement
Leader 6 3 3 4
General #1 5 1 4 3
General #2 3 5 6 3
General #3 4 6 4 3
General #4 6 1 4 3
General #5 3 3 8 3
Soldier #1 4 2 5 2
Soldier #2 1 1 1 2
Soldier #3 2 4 1 2
Soldier #4 2 4 5 2
Soldier #5 2 1 3 2
Soldier #6 1 3 6 2
Soldier #7 1 1 2 2
Soldier #8 3 2 3 2
Soldier #9 2 4 5 2
Soldier #10 3 3 1 2
Soldier #11 3 3 4 2
Soldier #12 3 3 4 2
Soldier #13 3 3 3 2
Soldier #14 1 2 1 2
Soldier #15 2 3 1 2

There is no need to roll up the 25 Grunts - they all have identical stats.

I've got an interesting blend of characters. I blew my Leader's rolls for Defense and Hit Points, but his Attack Level is OK. Similarly, my two Generals with the best Attacks have the worst possible Defenses!

Looking at these stats reminds me that I'll want to use very individualistic figures when playing Grunt, so I can tell General #1 from General #3. I'll even need to tell the Grunts apart, even though they all have the same basic stats, since Hit Points are tracked individually.

Next, the player must determine for each unit whether they will be Infantry or Archer. Archers can make ranged attacks, and are very useful when attacking castles (see below), but are quite poor at melee fighting.

EXAMPLE: My guess is that it makes good sense to take figures with low Defense scores and turn them into Archers. It also makes sense for anyone with an Attack of 1 to become an Archer (the melee penalty can't lower their score any further). That gives me 7 Archers (2 Generals, 5 Soldiers), plus I throw in 10 Grunts as Archers.

Once scores have been determined, it's possible to calculate the total worth of your army. When two armies fight, the army with the lower score receives extra figures until the forces are equal.

EXAMPLE: A figure's point score is equal to the sum of Attack, Defense, and Hit Points. So my army's worth is:

Unit Type Attack Level Defense Level Hit Points Points
Leader 6 3 3 12
General #1 5 1 4 10
General #2 3 5 6 14
General #3 4 6 4 14
General #4 6 1 4 11
General #5 3 3 8 14
Soldier #1 4 2 5 11
Soldier #2 1 1 1 3
Soldier #3 2 4 1 7
Soldier #4 2 4 5 11
Soldier #5 2 1 3 6
Soldier #6 1 3 6 10
Soldier #7 1 1 2 4
Soldier #8 3 2 3 8
Soldier #9 2 4 5 11
Soldier #10 3 3 1 7
Soldier #11 3 3 4 10
Soldier #12 3 3 4 10
Soldier #13 3 3 3 9
Soldier #14 1 2 1 4
Soldier #15 2 3 1 6
25 Grunts 25 x 6 = 150
Total Points 342

(You don't always count the Grunts - there are three methods which can be used to determine Grunts, and players have to agree on which they are using.)

There is also a 10-point addition to your army's worth for each battle you've fought. My army is new, so no bonus applies.

If I were to fight, say, a 500-point army, then I'd want to get (500 - 342 = ) a 158-point handicap. I could take that in Grunts (worth 6 points apiece, so that would be 158 / 6 = about 26 more Grunts. Or I could try talking the other player into letting me take some Soldiers and Generals instead of all-Grunts.

The Battlefield

Grunt is more of a strategic game than most fantasy miniatures rulesets. This is obvious with the "one figure = one battlefield unit" scale, but also becomes clear when looking at the battlefield.

In the standard scenario, each player starts with one Castle and one City on his side of the table. Castles are no larger than 7" x 7", with the main buildings being 3-4" tall, and are surrounded by a 2" moat or barrier. The only way into a castle is to use archer fire to bring the drawbridge down, or (optional rules) to bring a siege tower into play (see below). The castle is the heart of the kingdom, and if your opponent drive you out of it and occupies it, your kingdom is considered conquered.

The City is of unspecified size, with at least two entrances. Besides giving combat bonuses to its defenders (as does the castle), the city has the ability to gradually heal damaged units which start the turn there.

Players can, at their option, add trees, rocks and hills to the battlefield. Trees and rocks give a Defense bonus against archery, and hills offer a useful High Ground combat advantage.

Setting Up The Battlefield. Both players place trees, rocks, hills, and other terrain items randomly about the table. The players then dice to see who gets pick of starting territory (or, if the armies are unbalanced, the low-points army gets to choose to pick first or last). After territories are selected, players place their castle and city.

The Combat System

The game is played in turns. Each player first moves any or all of his units which he wishes to, then makes attacks with them.

The melee system is straightforward. A figure can attack if it has an enemy within 1". When combat is initiated, two combats are resolved - Attacker vs. Defender, and Defender vs. Attacker. In both cases, the Attack Level minus the Defense Level determines which column to use on the combat chart. A dieroll, compared to this column, reveals how many wounds the victim takes.

EXAMPLE: Let's say that my General #5 - Attack 3/Defense 3 - mixes it up with a nearby Enemy Soldier with stats of Attack 2/Defense 1. (Should be an easy victory, right?)

My attack is an Attack 3 vs Defense 1, which puts me on the +2 column. Rolling a "3" means that the Enemy Soldier takes 2 hits. He has 3 Hit Points total, and wasn't previously wounded, so he's not dead yet...

His attack is an Attack 2 vs Defense 3, on the -1 column. His player rolls a "5," inflicting 2 hits on my General! But General #5 has 8 hit points total, so he can take this damage!

Retreats. Defenders have the option of Retreating rather than fighting. If they choose to retreat, combat is still resolved, but large modifiers apply in favor of the retreating figure. If it survives, it can then move a short distance away.

Multiple Combat. If a single defender is attacked by multiple enemies at the same time, each attacker after the first receives a cumulative bonus to their combat scores. However, the defender still gets to strike at each and every attacker.

EXAMPLE: Let's say that my General #5 is set upon by 3 Enemy Grunts (all Attack 2/Defense 2). He proudly chooses to fight and not retreat.

Each Grunt's attack is resolved separately.

The first Grunt attacks - 2 vs. 3 - and on the -1 column with a roll of "2," scores no damage. My General responds - 3 vs. 2 - and with a roll of "2" on the +1 column, strikes one hit on Enemy Grunt #1.

The second Grunt attacks. With the multiple attacker bonus, it is now (2 + 1 =) 3 vs 3! He rolls a lucky "6" and does 3 hits on my General (down to 3 left). My General responds - 3 vs (2 + 1 = ) 3 - and rolling a "5," scores 2 hits and kills Grunt #2.

Now Grunt #3 attacks. The cumulative bonus makes him a 4 vs. my 3, but he rolls a "1" and only gets me for 1 hit (down to 2). My counter-strike is 3 vs. 4, and a "1" roll means I score a single hit on him.

So that's one dead Grunt, two half-dead Grunts, and one very concerned General. Time to run for the city?

Archery Combat. Archery combat is identical to melee combat, except that Archers can attack up to 5" away (the range is determined randomly for each figure per turn), and the target cannot strike back. Archers cannot attack if they moved in that turn.

Victory Points. Any non-Grunt can earn Victory Points - which are, essentially, experience points. You earn them for destroying enemies or getting them to retreat. There is a special bonus for destroying the last figure in a castle or city. An army-wide bonus applies if the enemy surrenders.

EXAMPLE: In the last example, my General killed a Grunt and lived to tell about it. That's worth 1 Victory Point. If he had been a Soldier or a General, that still would earn my General a single Victory Point. However, killing a Leader would have meant 2 Victory Points. (It is all based on who-kills-who.)

Battle Cards. Earning Victory Points also means getting Battle Cards, one for each figure which earns points that turn and lives. The cards can be played at any time. Most apply minor bonuses to the selected figure for one turn. Others can be used to obtain new units, heal the wounded, or place/remove markers.

EXAMPLE: When my General killed that Grunt, he earned a Victory Point. That also means he can claim a Battle Card. Selecting one from the pile, I get Potion of Strength - +1 attack level to 1 character for 1 combat. Sounds handy.

Money. Players earn money by owning cities (1 money point per turn), as well as through Battle Cards and destroying enemy fortification markers. Victorious players can also cash in their unused Battle Cards at the end of the game, earning a nice reward for the next game. (If you don't cash the cards in, you lose them - can't keep them for the next game.)

Money can buy almost anything - new units, Battle Cards, a new city, markers, and even a siege tower.

The Continuing Game

Gaining Levels. After each battle, players check their figures' Victory Point totals to see if they qualify for a level bonus. A figure which gains a level may either:

  • minorly improve combat scores and hit points
  • majorly improve hit points
  • or minorly improve movement

Units can go up levels infinitely, but each level is harder to attain.

The true art to this game is to find a way to defeat your adversaries and still keep your army strong enough to be able to survive for the next time your kingdom is rudely uprooted and shifted into another hostile dimension.
Grunt, pg. 3

That's the crux of it. Winning a battle but losing all of your best units could lead to disaster the next time around…


Second edition Grunt

1st edition, 2nd Edition (1997), 2nd Edition: Deluxe, 2nd Edition: Deluxe 2-player boxed set, and now third edition.


Grunt 3rd Edition: Wizardry

The Grunt 3rd Edition Wizardry Sourcebook provides players everything needed to add wizardry and spell casting to your Grunt Fantasy Miniatures game. This sourcebook includes:
  • 3 New Unit Types (Wizard Units, Shaman Units, Magic Null Wizards)
  • 29 Spells with Spell Descriptions
Assorted cut-out battlefield markers to help you track Spell effects and to make battlefield adjustments like adding trees for vegetation spells, Chaos Gate markers for Chaos Gate markers, units poisoned by a Poison Spell, etc, etc.

21 pages in total, including cover. 16 pages of actual rules and spell descriptions.

– publisher's listing

Grunt 3rd Edition: Monster Summoning

Monster Summoning
The Grunt 3rd Edition Monster Summoning Sourcebook provides players everything needed to bring Monster Summoning into your Grunt Fantasy Miniatures game. This Sourcebook includes:
  • Rules for Monster Units
  • 24 Unique Monsters Descriptions with pictures
  • Cut-Out game tokens on card-stock for each Monster Unit
  • 10 Monster Unit Record Sheets
16 pages booklet plus cut out monster tokens and Monster Unit Record sheets.

Also a handy Sourcebook to add Monster Units to NPC Monster Armies for group play scenarios

– publisher's listing

Grunt 3rd Edition: Skills and Abilities

Skills and Abilities
The Grunt 3rd Edition Skills & Abilities Sourcebook allows players to develop their Grunt armies in all new and unique ways. As your Units gain enough experience to gain Experience Levels, now you can opt to gain new Skills and increase Skill Levels as your reward. With 13 different Skills, ranging from Hunting, Engineering, Magic Smithing, Rune Magic, Beast Master, Espionage, Leadership and more, you can now personalize your Grunt army in ways no foe can predict or plan for. This Sourcebook includes:
  • Cover + 13 Pages of rules cover 13 different Skills Grunt Units may acquire.
  • Magic Item Record Sheet
  • Six pages of Battlefield Markers related to the various Skills and Abilities.
21 pages in total, including cover.

– publisher's listing

Grunt 3rd Edition: Kingdoms

The Grunt 3rd Edition Kingdoms sourcebook allows players to develop their Grunt armies in all new and unique ways. Rather than looking for more ways to build up the strength of your existing army, Grunt Kingdoms lets you build up the infrastructure of your kingdom itself. Establish a mint and standard coinage for your kingdom, a variety of different and powerful guild type, ports and ships, expert craftsmen, mines, agriculture and farms, ranches, and much more.

This Sourcebook includes:
  • 16 Page Booklet
  • 10 Kingdom Army Sheets
  • 11 Sheets of Cardstock City Templates and Battlefield Markers
– publisher's listing

Grunt 3rd Edition: Battle Cards Expansion Set

Battle Cards Expansion
48 professionally printed Grunt 3rd Edition Battle cards printed as real playing cards. A huge upgrade in quality compared to the 45 cut-out cardstock Battle Cards that come with the core game set.

You get 3 additional Battle Cards


6 copies of the Grunt 3rd Edition Combat Chart printed on playing cards for quick reference.

– publisher's listing