Even Superer Simpler Skirmish Rules! Now With Added Strategy!

A lot has happened to my Monochrome Minis game over the past two weeks. I think I’m now on the third iteration of the rules, I’m up to 8 painted warbands, my second gaming board and there’s a load of new terrain.

The Bear Clan push up into Bobby Territory

As you can maybe tell from the image below I’ve upgraded to a 2’x2′ board, this was mostly down to the fact that I had a 2’x2′ bit of wood knocking around, and also because some of the figures were having issues with the hills that were built in to the previous board. This one’s nice and flat, which is good for gaming.

A couple of turns later and the Bobbies are really on the back foot!

Terrain wise I’ve added two corner ruins, some fences and trees. The ruins are your standard cardboard box affair with lollipop stick and card details. I fill in the corrugated edges with a mix of sand, PVA and no more nails, and then coat the entire thing in that same mix.

I left the interiors entirely empty with no indication of an upper floor (other than windows I guess), this is entirely down to storage as several of these ruins will fit inside of each other, and fit nicely in a small box.

The trees I’ve had for a while, but they did look a little worse for wear. They come from a bag of Jarvis Scenics trees I think, and ages ago all I did to them was mount them on washers and paint the washers green. All I’ve done now is put them on a 40mm round wooden disc, add some base texture, and monochromed them.

In terms of warbands, I’ve now added The Bear Clan. The inspiration for these guys came from the idea that Mohican style warpaint would look really good in the monochrome style, and I’m really happy with how these guys came out. They come from Irregular’s 28mm French and Indian Wars range. The Bear is from their 54mm Animals range, and is suitably terrifying, especially in warpaint. I’m also starting to consider the fluff of this rather bizarre imagined world. I see it as some kind of pocket dimension, outside of time, which various groups gain access too by various means, maybe the Bear Clan were on a spirit walk and just got a little lost?

My next addition were the Bobbies. Which I think speak for themselves. They’re all from Irregular’s 28mm A Very British Civil War range, other than the Executioner who is from the Corrective Punishment range. Unfortunately there was no Bobby armed with an LMG so I went for a regular looking guy in a bowler hat, he must be a detective, undercover, or a private investigator. Police from the era I’m imagining these guys being from (early 20th century) did have issues with Masonic influence, so maybe some occult ritual got these guys into the monochrome dimension.

The Toy Soldiers are my third new Warband, all from Irregular’s 28mm Malburians, other than the grenadiers which come from their 42mm Malburians, and I picked the grenadiers in the ‘Toy’ style specifically. I imagine those grenadiers to be amalgamations of human flesh, clockwork and alchemy.

Not a new warband for me, but as mentioned in the previous post, here are my finished Ents, in a somewhat more sepia style rather than the basic black and white.

The image below shows off everything I’ve painted and made for this game so far plus unicorns, which I think are currently the only species native to my little pocket dimension. I’ll have to add more in that way.

As mentioned previously the rules are now on their third iteration and have seen some fairly sizeable changes, while still maintaining their simplicity (I hope). I think I’ve reached a point with a good balance of crunch, ease of play and strategic depth, at the very least they’re certainly more fun to play solo than my previous version:

WARBANDS, FIGHTERS AND STATS

Players gather a warband each, each warband is made up of a number of figures, each figure is referred to as a fighter.

Fighters have a class and two stats: Attack and Defence.

An example stat line is as follows:

 ClassATDF
HunterSoldier51

THE GAME BOARD AND DEPLOYMENT

Games are played on a 24”x24” board. Deployment zones are 6” when playing side to side, and 11” corner to corner (measured from the corner in a quarter circle).

Before the game begins roll a die to randomly determine deployment zones: 1-3 side to side, 4-6 Corner to Corner.

Both players then roll a die, the higher roller can choose which of the deployment zones they would like, they then place all of their fighters in their deployment zone. The opposing player then places all of their fighters in the opposite deployment zone. The player that placed their fighters first takes the first turn in the game.

FATE

Before the game begins each player is given a number of tokens equal to the number of fighters in their warband. Those tokens called ‘Fate’ tokens can be used during the game to reroll attack or movement rolls. A player can only spend fate to reroll their own attack or movement rolls and each roll can only be rerolled once. The rerolled result stands even if it is worse than the original roll.

THE GAME

Players take turns. Each of a player’s turns breaks down into two phases – Activations and Morale. The phases always happen in that order. Only the player whose turn it is can activate fighters during their turn.

Activations

During a your Activations phase you can activate each of your fighters once and have them perform an action. The actions available to each fighter are determined by their class:

 Actions

Walk – Make a D6” move.

Run – Make a 2D6” move.

Dash – Make a 3D6” move.

Defend – The fighter does not move or attack but has their defence increased by 2 until their next activation.

Assault – Make a D6” move and make a ranged attack.

Charge – Make a 2D6” move and make a melee attack.

Shoot – Do not move and make a ranged attack.

Strike – Move up to 2” and make a melee attack.

Snipe – Do not move and make a ranged attack, however to resolve the attack roll 3 dice discard one and keep the two lowest values rolled.

Butt – Move up to 2” and make a melee attack, but your Attack stat is halved.

Support Shot – Make a D6” move and count as a support fighter for a combined ranged attack carried out later in the same turn.

Support Strike – Make a D6” move and count as a support fighter for a combined melee attack carried out later in the same turn.

Blast – Make a ranged attack against a single enemy fighter, and then make ranged attacks against all fighters (friendly and enemy) within 2” of that initial fighter.

Rip – Make a 2D6” move and make a melee attack, however to resolve the attack roll 3 dice discard one and keep the two lowest values rolled.

Movement

Each of your fighters can move up to a distance in inches determined by which action they are taking. Fighters cannot move through enemy fighters and should use terrain in a way that makes sense.

Resolving Attacks

There are two types of attack: melee and ranged. If a fighter is in base to base contact with an enemy or enemies then they must make a melee attack against that enemy or one of those enemies. If a fighter is not in base to base contact with an enemy then they can select any enemy that they can at least partially see and make a ranged attack against them if possible.

To hit their target the fighter must pass an attack check, using their Attack stat. Simply reduce the attacker’s stat by the target’s defence and apply any relevant modifiers below:

-1 to the attacker’s stat if the target enemy is not the closest enemy.

-1 to the attacker’s stat if the target enemy is not entirely visible to the attacker.

-1 to the attacker’s stat if there are multiple enemies in base to base contact with your fighter.

+1 to the attacker’s stat if they are making a melee attack and there are multiple friendly fighters in base to base contact with the target.

Then roll 2D6, attempting to score equal to or under the attacker’s modified stat.

A roll of 12 always fails and a roll of 2 always succeeds.

If the attack is successful consult the table below to determine the effect of the attack:

IF the roll is 6 or higher – Knockback – The target is pushed directly away from the attacker by 1”. If the fighter being pushed cannot be pushed directly away because of other fighters or terrain in the way or a board edge they remain stationary but receive a stunned counter.

IF the roll is 3-5 – Stunned – The target is pushed as above and in addition the target is marked with a stunned counter. If the figure already has a stunned counter then they are killed as below. If the fighter being pushed cannot be pushed directly away because of other fighters or terrain in the way or a board edge they are killed.

IF the roll is a 2 or less – Kill – The target is dead. Immediately remove them from play.

At the end of the Attacks phase any of your fighters that are still in base to base contact with enemy fighters move away 1”.

Combined Attacks – Instead of performing a separate attack action fighters can perform a combined attack.

In this case you select one fighter to perform the attack and a maximum of three fighters to support the attack. In the case of a ranged attack all support fighters must be in base to base contact with the attacker. In the case of a melee attack the selected fighter and all support fighters must be in base to base contact with the target.

Make an attack roll as normal, applying all necessary modifiers, but reduce the value rolled on the dice by the number of support fighters. For example if you roll a 7 and have three support fighters it counts as rolling a 4.

Morale

If you killed any of your opponents fighters this turn then they must make a morale check:

Roll a D6 and multiply it by the number of figures that they lost this turn.

Roll another D6 and multiply the result by the number of figures they still have in play.

If the result for killed figures is higher that side immediately loses the game. If the result for figures still in play is equal or higher then they pass the test and the game continues.

After the morale phase it is the other players turn. Players alternate taking turns until both players have had 6 turns each then the game ends. If the game lasts till the end of the 6th turn the player that killed the most total points of enemy fighters wins.

POINTS CALCULATOR

Take the statline of your fighter and check the points values on the table below to determine your fighter’s cost.

VALUEATTACKDEFENCE
0 0
1 5
2111
3318
4626
51035
615 
721 
826 
930 
1033 
1135 
1236 

Where a points value is not listed that is not a stat value a fighter can have. A fighter’s class costs no points, however there are restrictions on what classes you can take.

Restrictions

When building a force half of your fighters must have a DF of 2 or less. A standard game is 200 points and you can have a maximum of 16 fighters. Additionally at least half of your total number of fighters must be made up of basic classes (Soldiers, Warriors, Beasts, Drones) and you can have a maximum of 2 fighters with a rare class (Monsters, Mechs).

SCENARIOS

The scenarios are something I’m working on, trimming and simplifying, plus making sure each objective works well together. With the 3D6 system you’ll see below there’s a potential for 216 different scenarios. Even if initially they are a little janky I’m not too worried as I’ve found especially with solo gaming any scenario is better than just having two forces fight each other.

After figures are deployed but before the game begins roll three dice to select three objectives one from each of the three lists below.

Blood

  1. Kill, Maim, Burn! – The player that kills the most enemy fighters scores this objective at the end of the game.
  2. Assassinate – The player that kills their opponent’s highest valued fighter first scores this objective.
  3. Priority Targets – The player that kills the highest points value in enemy fighters scores this objective at the end of the game.
  4. Attrition – The player that has the most fighters remaining at the end of the game scores this objective.
  5. Hunt – Place a fighter in the middle of the board with the following stat line:
 ClassMADF
TargetMonster94

The first player to kill that fighter scores this objective. At the end of any turn the target will move towards the closest enemy (it counts all other fighters as enemies) and if possible make a melee attack against them. If multiple enemies are the same distance randomly select its target.

  • Exterminate – This objective works the same as Hunt, however 7 fighters are placed in the middle of the board all with the following stat line:
 ClassMADF
TargetWarrior51

The player that kills the majority of the targets scores this objective at the end of the game. The targets move and attack individually as in Hunt.

Turf

  1. Breakthrough – The player with the most fighters in their opponent’s deployment zone at the end of the game scores this objective.
  2. Take Ground – The player with the most fighters within 3” of the centre of the board at the end of the game scores this objective.
  3. Raid – Place an objective marker in each player’s deployment zone, the marker in your deployment zone at the start of the game can only be moved by your opponent’s fighters. The first player to move the marker from their opponent’s deployment zone to their own scores this objective. To move a marker a figure must be in base to base contact with the marker at the start of their move, they then make a normal move and the marker remains in base to base contact with them.
  4. Loot – Place 7 objective markers in the centre of the board. The player with the most markers in their deployment zone at the end of the game scores this objective. Markers can be moved by any fighter, using the rules described above in Raid.
  5. Territorial – The player with the most board edges within 3” of one of their fighters at the end of the game scores this objective.
  6. Patrol – Place one objective marker in each corner of the board, the first player to have one fighter within 3” of each marker at the same time scores this objective.

Infamy

  1. Vandalise – The player who is going to take the second turn in the game takes 3 objective markers and can place them anywhere in play provided each objective marker is at least 10” from each other objective marker. The player that places the markers is the defender. When an enemy figure controlled by the attacker is in base to base contact with the objective instead of making an attack during their attacks phase they can destroy the objective. If the attacker can destroy all of the objectives before the game ends they score this objective, if not then the defender scores this objective.
  2. Desecrate – The player who is going to take the second turn in the game takes 1 objective marker and places it anywhere in play. The player that places the marker is the defender. When an enemy figure controlled by the attacker is in base to base contact with the objective instead of making an attack they can damage the objective. If the objective is damaged 4 times it is destroyed. If the attacker can destroy the objective before the game ends they score this objective, if not then the defender scores this objective.
  3. Sending a Message – The opponent of the player who has the most stunned fighters at the end of the game scores this objective.
  4. Killing Them Softly – The player who causes their opponent’s warband to make the most morale checks during the game scores this objective.
  5. Special Delivery – The player who is going to take the second turn in the game takes 1 objective marker and places it anywhere in play, the marker cannot be moved for the entire game. The player that places the marker is the defender. The attacking player then places and objective marker in their deployment zone which can be moved by their fighters, and cannot be moved by defending fighters. If at any point during the game the attacking players objective marker is in base to base contact with the defending player’s objective marker then the attacking player scores this objective. If by the end of the game the markers have never touched then the defending player scores this objective.
  6. Seize – Players place one objective each in their own deployment zones and then a third objective is placed in the centre of the board. At the end of the game players are awarded points, 1 for each of their fighters within 3” of the objective in their own deployment zone, 2 for each of their fighters within 3” of the central objective, and 3 for each of their fighters within 3” of the objective in their opponent’s deployment zone. The player with the most points scores this objective.

In all games if a player makes their opponent’s fighters fail a morale check and end the game they score an additional objective.

The player with the most objective points scored at the end of the game wins.

4 thoughts on “Even Superer Simpler Skirmish Rules! Now With Added Strategy!

  1. Wow, another really impressive set of rules and some great terrain! It’s got a wintry feel, so I’m waiting for the North Pole faction (Father Christmas and his war-sleigh, elven soldiers, animated toys, etc). BTW What are those chess pieces with the embedded dice for?

    As for the rules, they look really great. I reckon they must work nicely, but you know me, a couple of questions pop into my mind…

    It’s not a problem exactly, it just feels a tad untidy: some classes have redundant actions. For example, a soldier can Walk or Run. Since walking is just a less effective run, there is no reason ever to walk. The same applies to those classes that can Assault & Shoot, or Charge & Strike – why would they ever choose Shoot or Strike? Maybe the table should remove the weaker actions for those classes that have both, or you could introduce penalties for the stronger actions.

    Is the roll for hit effect a separate d6 roll, or do you just use the attack roll of 2d6? If the latter, then overkill brings limited rewards – the greater the attack differential, the more pushback results you get, rather than kills. Fair enough if that’s what you want.

    The other query is about figures with massively high attack and defence factors – do these work OK? They aren’t linked to classes, but I bet you tend to assign the higher values to the elites and rares. Is there a risk of mismatched factions, where one side has a megacharacter that is almost invulnerable (especially a character with a DF of 35)? I realise that you can always get a hit with a roll of 2, but this is very rare.

    For example, if you have a character with a DF of 20, and you want to be able to hit more often than not by rolling 2-7 on your attack roll, then you need
    a) an AF of 27, or
    b) an AF of 23 plus 4 supports (or any similar combination)

  2. As always great comments! You really get me thinking, I feel like I should be paying you for this service.
    The embedded dice and chess pieces are just small terrain features I made a while back, I enjoyed that they hinted at the fact it’s a game. They’d make great objective markers though.
    The actions thing is something I have in mind. I could simply not allow the figures that have better actions to do the weaker ones it just didn’t feel right lol. A penalty for the stronger action is something I’m considering though, it’s just about figuring out the right penalty. -1 modifier, or costing you 1 fate? If it was fate I’d probably increase the overall amount you started with.
    The effect roll is the same as the attack roll. So an attack is resolved with a single 2d6 roll. You do get more pushbacks, but you can easily convert those pushbacks into kills with good positioning, which I really really like, it adds a lot of strategy.
    Currently attack maxes out at 12 and defence at 5 although I might not have made that clear under the points system section. Unlimited values is something I might have to try though. It wouldn’t be all that difficult to bring down a mega defence fighter since the combined attacks reduce the value you actually roll rather than being a modifier to the value you need to roll. So you can get a 2 or less by rolling a 4 or less with combined attacks. Then you could also use fate to re-roll those dice. I was actually initially more worried about hordes of weaker characters hence the 16 character limit and the 3 support limit. You could make a force of 4 characters to do the killing and then 12 just there for support, so you could get 8 goes with fate rerolls to get that 1 in 6 (4 or less on 2D6), to kill the mega character.

  3. Good answers all, as usual I can see you’ve thought carefully about it. I think your rules are imaginitive, and reading them just sets off my inner analyst!

  4. Love the warpaint on the bear! I recall the terrain makers at Games Workshop sealing the edges and corners of their cardboard with masking tape prior to putting spackle or PVA/sand mixes over the edge. It seemed to work well.

    Regards, Chris.

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