Monday, 12 February 2018

Sci-Fi Skirmish Games

Now that all figures from the Necromunda starter set are painted. It was time for a couple of larger skirmish games with 10 figures each side. Rather than use the Necromunda rules, which come with the starter game and are just too complicated or detailed for my taste, I am using some house rules. I really prefer rules to be sufficiently simple to memorise, particularly for skirmish rules, which I believe are best played quickly with no pondering the next move or action to take. Having to look up rules or figure stats just slows the pace of a game for me.

Defending the supplies
Since last playing a game with my house rules with approximately 5 figures per side. Where each figure got an opportunity to perform their actions, I found with 10 figures I was losing track with which figures had taken their actions. My initial reaction to this was to add an activated counter, placed as each figure was activated and collected at the end of a turn. The unfortunate effect of this is to slow down the game turn, not by too much, but it sufficiently irked me to try out other activation approaches.
A gang on the prowl searching for the enemy
The activation approach I eventually settled on assumes there will never be more than 10 figures per side. This is meant to be a game of small scale skirmishes between gangs. At the beginning of each turn both players roll a D6 dice which indicates how many figures they may activate. Like Player Initiative Points (PIPs) from DBA. However, the player with the lower score activates all their figures first, followed by the player with the higher score. This helps to even out the effects of the higher score and introduces the uncertainty of activating first or second in a turn.

Some long range targets
To begin with I started having players re-roll the dice whenever there was a draw, but decided draws could be treated as a lull in the fighting and allow players to remove wounds from injured figures depending upon the scores of the drawn dice. So if two 3s were rolled, three figures per side could recover from wounds, and if two 4s then four figures could remove wounds, etc. This is a very gamey approach, but I liked the unpredictability it introduced, rather than have figures spending actions to remove wounds.

Close combat
Having had a couple of fast paced and enjoyable games using this activation approach. I am now in the process of writing up the rules to fit on to one page. 

As a painting project there are some additional figures I will be adding to provide more variety to my games. These include...
Local Adeptus Arbites to add interference to gang fights
A bit of muscle to support the local Arbites
Local wild life to randomly enter the games?


  1. Battlesworn uses an initiative rule where players "bid" a score from 1 to 6. The low score activates that many units, and then the high score can react with the difference between the scores.

    e.g. 'A' bids 3, 'B' bids 5. 'A' gets three activations and the 'B' get two actions.

    Don't have to bid, could just use dice rolls.

    1. The bidding approach of Ganesha's Battlesworn certainly adds another clever dimension to games.