Mechanics Lab: Deathzap and the D6 Round 2

I’m calling what you see below Deathzap Version Plasmashok. This is because the key dice mechanic is stolen from a much older game unsurprisingly called Plasmashok I wrote back in university. What I like most about the mechanic is that shooting and combat both ‘feel’ right, are fun to resolve and leave room for the unlikely. I wouldn’t know where to start calculating the dice probabilities on this one. So here’s the entire ruleset that I’ve been working on for almost a day now including points values (which will be very much subject to change).



The game should be played on a 4’x4’ board. Each player rolls a dice, high roller decides which edge of the battlefield is their base line and deploys first, their opponent then deploys on the opposite side. At the start of the game all models should be within 6” of their starting board edge. The game then is played in turns.


Models are often grouped into units. A unit is any group of models of the same type or single monster or vehicle. Where a unit has multiple models each member of a unit must be within 2” of another member of the same unit.


The turn is divided up into 4 phases that take place in the following order: 1) Movement, 2) Special Combat, 3) Shooting, 4) Melee, 5) Morale.

PHASE: Movement

Roll off to determine which side moves their models first. Infantry, Vehicles and Monsters can move up to 9”. Beasts, Big Beasts and Light Vehicles can move up to 12”. Units in base to base contact with enemy units cannot move.

PHASE: Special Combat

Special combat is resolved for both sides simultaneously within their training brackets. So all elite units will attack and casualties are removed after the last elite unit has had the opportunity to attack. Then all regular units will attack. Then all recruit units will attack. Special Combat encompasses psychic abilities, nanotechnology, hacking and maybe even a little magic. Special Combat attacks have a maximum range of 12”. Roll a number of dice equal to the special combat value of the attacking unit and then roll a number of dice equal to the special combat value of the defending unit plus 2. Each die rolled by the attacking unit that is not a value rolled by the defending unit causes 1 wound on the defending unit. Cover and range have no effect (provided you are within 12” of your target).

PHASE: Shooting

Shooting is resolved for both sides simultaneously within their training brackets. So all elite units will fire and casualties are removed after the last elite unit has fired. Then all regular units will fire. Then all recruit units will fire. Units with any models in base to base contact with enemies cannot shoot or be shot at, unless their size characteristic is double that of the unit/s they are in contact with, in which case they can both shoot and be shot at. The owner of the unit that is fired upon decides which model in the unit is killed by a successful shot. Units can split their fire across multiple targets, and every weapon carried by the unit is fired.

Roll a die per shot of each weapon being used. Different Weapon types should be differentiated by different coloured dice but all the shooting dice should be rolled together. The target unit then rolls their defensive dice. Units have a basic defence value to which you add 1 if the unit is in soft cover, and 2 if they are in hard cover. You also add 1 defence die per 6” between the target the shooter (ignore fractions). Any dice rolled by the defender will block all the dice rolled by the attacker that show the same value. For example a roll of 3 by the defender will block all 3s rolled by the attacker.

Basic Rifle1212
Advanced Rifle1224
Basic Repeater2112
Advanced Repeater2214
Medium Repeater6116
Arc WeaponSize of Target Unit2110
Heavy Repeater62112
Heavy Weapon16318
Radius WeaponSee below**3230
Super Heavy Weapon16636
Super Heavy Repeater82232

* A spike has a maximum range of 6”.

**Select a target model. Roll a number shots against each unit equal to their number of models within 3” of the target model.

Dice that are not blocked are then multiplied by their strength characteristic. After multiplying the attacker’s unblocked dice roll them again. The defender now rolls dice equal to their unit’s size characteristic.

Infantry/ Beasts21 per model.5+1
Light Vehicles/ Big Beasts33 per model.4+6
Vehicles/ Monsters563+12

Now each die rolled by the attacker that has an equal value to a die rolled by the defender is multiplied by its damage rating, this is the amount of damage the target unit suffers. The target unit can then make a shield save for each point of damage it suffers. Each failed save results in the target unit losing a wound. In the case of Infantry and Beasts each lost wound is a lost model. Light Vehicles and Big Beasts can suffer 6 wounds each before being removed, and Monsters and Vehicles 12.

PHASE: Melee Combat

As with shooting melee combat is fought simultaneously again within training brackets. With Elites going first, then regulars and finally recruits. Roll the attacks for each model in each unit that has models in base to base contact with enemy units. Melee attacks are resolved similarly to shooting attacks however the defence of the target unit is increased by 1 if its size is greater than the attacking unit, and by 2 if the defending units size is double or more than double the attacking unit. Use the Defence, Size, Shields and Wounds listed above.

Big Beasts421
Light Vehicles222

At the end of melee roll 1D6 for each side and multiply the result by the number of models remaining on that side plus the number of models killed by that side. The side that scores lowest retreats a full move away from the other unit. In the case of a draw the side with the lowest number of remaining model retreats. In the case of another draw fight another round of combat with the units.

PHASE 4) Morale

During this phase each unit that took casualties this turn makes a morale check. Roll a die and multiply it by the number of models still in the unit. Then roll a die and multiply it by the number of casualties the unit has taken in this turn. If the result for casualties is higher a further D3 models rout, remove them from the unit. If the result for remaining models is equal to or higher than those killed then the unit carries on as normal.


A side wins when the other side has no units remaining. At the end of turn 4 if neither side is destroyed then the side that lost the most points value in models is the loser.


You can create forces using the points values below. Each model costs its base value plus any weapons it is carrying.

Big Beasts1-312
Light Vehicles1-312

The points cost of ranged weaponry is on the ranged weapons table in the shooting section above.

Up to 2 models in an infantry unit can be equipped with weapons other than Basic or Advanced Rifles or Repeaters. Beasts and Big Beasts can never be equipped with any weapons. Light Vehicles and Monsters can be equipped with up to two weapons. Vehicles can have up to 3 weapons. Only Vehicles and Monster can be armed with Super Heavy Weapons.

Unit UpgradePer?Cost for Infantry/ BeastsCost for Light Vehicles/ Big BeastsCost for Monsters/ Vehicles
Advanced Shields (Add 1 to shield saves)Model21872
1 point of Special CombatUnit555

Any unit can take any of the upgrades listed above. Advanced shields can be taken more than once but can never reduce your shield save below 2+. Special Combat can be taken up to 3 times and is costed for the whole unit rather than for each model in the unit.

To build your force you must take infantry or beast units. Each infantry or beast unit you take unlocks 1 force point. For 1 force point you can add a light vehicle or big beast unit to your force. For 2 force points you can add 1 monster or vehicle unit to your force.

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