I went to buy a copy of Spectre:Operations to play with my kids but discovered it was $100AUD - and $50 of that was postage. Living in Australia makes wargaming a hobby of the rich. Annoyed, I decided to see if I could make my own modern rules set in two hours.
I admittedly recycled a few concepts from Middlehiem (my homebrew not-Mordhiem rules for a dinosaur-riding War of the Roses), but this was typed up as I went. Totally unplaytested, but I'm confident it is a reasonable alpha. May tweak some stats/% but with two hours I didn't have time to crunch the math.
I also thought I'd see what rules layout I naturally deferred to (curious due to a question from Ashley in the google group).
Also, I often discuss homebrew rules but rarely post them. This will be a typical example - a quick set, made for myself, to fulfil a specific need I can't get from my (whole cupboard) collection of rules.
#1. Aim: initiative is interesting while being simple enough to quickly learn.
I want some
to-and-fro interaction without devolving into complex reaction
Mechanics should be consistent to teach my kids and include basic math.
The aim is a game that works for gun-centric modern combat while allowing expansion to aliens/monsters/supernatural. Intended for 4-12 models or so per side (fire team->squad level), individually-moved skirmish game.
Ok here is my rationale - it keeps me focussed on what I want the game to be - how it should play, what I should keep/remove/focus on...
#2. Dice Rolling & Stats “Housekeeping”
This is "housekeeping - what you need - and need to know - about playing.
How to roll: “Warmachine
Contested: Both sides roll stat + d10; highest successful roll wins. Active player wins ties. It is a ‘critical’ if it beats the opponent by 5 or more.
“Never tell me the odds”
– a natural 1 always fails and a natural 0 always succeeds,
regardless of modifiers.
Here is how the stat aligns with % chance to succeed, with stat+d10 vs TN10.
7 (80%) = heroic
6 (70%) = elite/very good
5 (60%) = regular/sound/trained
4 (50%) = rookie/meh/green
3 (40%) = untrained/bad
Most units will have stats of 4 or 5.
Modifiers tend to be +2 or -2 (noticeably more difficult) but can vary. The target number is modified, so a negative modifier is good. Think of it as “adding difficulty” or “removing difficulty”
are quite a few. But this is to allow weird aliens etc later. And
more universal stats means LESS unique special rules.
CQC (stabby fighty skills)
Physique (size, toughness, strength)
Defence (combination of natural physique and armour)
I use an imperial measure for convenience. 4-5 10-sided dice.
Downed models are tipped on their side. Dead models are removed.
Suppressed models get a token: In my case, white
Fleeing models get a different token: I’m using yellow.
“Overwatch” models also get a token: I’m using green.
*You might also need a token to show which models have activated if you forget easily.
I am usually very interested in activation and initiative. Here I've picked a simple system as I don't want to confuse my kids. While reactions do well to simulate the quick exchanges of gunfire, often games with reactions can bog down.
#3. SEQUENCE OF PLAY (INITIATIVE/ACTIVATION)
Start of Game:
Activation: Each model must roll a dice (activation roll) to activate. If model succeeds it activates and may move and shoot. The controlling player may then choose another model to make an activation roll. (Option: may adjust/move and go on overwatch)
If the model fails it activates but may only move or shoot. It loses the initiative. After the mini takes its action, play switches to the opponent who then may make an activation roll for a model of its choice.
Option: If a model is within 6” of a leader it may add -1 bonus to its activation roll TN. This allows natural squads to occur (counter: see 6” area fire). A model out of LoS to all friendlies is -1.
Option: “Sprint” – a model can move a second time, instead of shooting
Option: “Aimed fire” – if move 2” or less/pivoted, can fire a single shot at -1 TN bonus to hit (or re-roll a miss) or add -2 bonus to the damage roll TN.
Option: “Man down!” If the active model is ‘downed’ or killed; initiative switches as if he had failed his activation roll.
Option: “The Flow of Battle” if you nominated a leader, instead of activating, your activation roll allows you to nominate any enemy model in the leader’s LoS (or the LoS of any within 6” of the leader). A failure means the enemy can choose the unit and initiative swaps like usual.
Horde of Rabble Rule: This rule is to prevent cheap horde armies outmanuevering elite troops with lots of unopposed movement or firing at the end of a turn.
If any models on one side are left AFTER all the opponent has activated, they may only make a single move or shoot like models if they pass their activation roll (kinda like if they failed it in normal circumstances).
If any of the remaining models fail their activation roll, all remaining minis yet to be activated may only adjust their position/facing 2” and may not take any action.
A model may reserve its fire for later. It may interrupt an active opponent. It is +1 penalty to shooting though as it is reacting to sudden action of the player with initiative.
Models on overwatch who did not shoot may attempt to remain on overwatch into next turn. In the clean up stage, pass a Combat Skill roll to retain the token.
Option: instead of shooting, overwatch can be movement (charging to CQC or fleeing) or shooting; just not both.
I'm sure I've forgotten stuff here - it makes sense in my head.... Lots of "Options" aka random ideas I am not sure will make the final cut.
TL:DR = Sequence of a turn: (just to be clear)
1) Leaders dice off, winner selects a model to activate
2) Winner has initiative and rolls activation roll. Can continue to choose minis to activate until a roll is failed; then opponent activates troops until he fails.
3) Once only one side has minis yet to be activated, “Horde Rule” applies
4) Clean up phase (test morale, remove suppression, test to remain on overwatch etc)
#4. Movement and Spotting
This will not be tournament-proof but is more a set of guidelines as this stage - I'm also a little behind in my timeline having spent a lot of time on (overthinking?) the last section.
Models move = to their Move stat, usually 4-6”.
Tough going/climbing uses 2” of their move to travel 1”
Climb & Jump
Models can climb ladders and climb/jump down from obstacles of head height; just treat as “tough going.”
Models can jump 1”/base length gaps, but must test for each 1” beyond that (up to half move or half agility. Each 1” beyond the first triggers another agility test.
Test Agility = pass = can continue move after getting to the top or bottom; fail = move ends at top/bottom of obstacle
A model will not fall off a rope or ladder unless he is attacked; then test agility to see if he falls.
Models climbing a slippery surface with few handholds must test a second time if they fail an agility test; a second failure means they fall.
Falling Damage: while models can fall or jump their own height without risk, use agility to make a saving throw each 1”/model height beyond the first; i.e. falling 3x the models height would mean 2 saving rolls must be made or the model is downed - or killed if a critical.
Spotting, Facing & Flanking:
The combat/shooty mechanics were quick to do. I'm always pretty casual about this - it's just a means to generate a result and I often swap mechanics halfway through. Toyed with a "d10 Infinity" system but I kinda want my kids to do "10 combo" math with a TN of 10 and I like how this method can be used for pretty much every mechanic in the game.
The "- is good,+ is bad" is a bit weird though.
#5. Combat – Shooting & Damage
Adjust your target number (10) up or down using modifiers. Roll d10+stat, compare to modifiers. A ‘critical’ (exceeds TN by 5+) rolls twice for damage.
Long range +2 TN penalty
“Suppressive fire” +2TN penalty
In hard cover +2TN penalty
“Aiming” = single aimed shot -1TN bonus (if did not move and only pivoted)
Enemy unaware/flanked -1TN bonus
(So most long-range suppressive fire against targets in cover will likely only hit on 10-20% chance)
Full auto weapons with RoF3+ can spray bullets into a 6” diameter area. Any within the target area can be hit (up to RoF of weapon, allocate hits as you wish); the remainder cannot be harmed but all can still be suppressed.
Any within the 6” suppression zone must pass a Will check or are suppressed...
Long range: All weapons must be stationary to fire suppressive at long range
Suppressive fire is an extra -2 penalty, so most long-range suppressive fire against targets in cover only hits on a lucky ‘0’; it is just keeping their heads down with Will checks etc
#5A - Doing Damage
Downed vs Dead:
When an attack succeeds; models are downed and place on their side. They are ‘downed’.
In the clean up phase, roll to see their actual state.
123 = carry on, twas just a flesh wound
4567 = still downed, may crawl 2”; recheck status next clean up phase or if first aid etc
890 = “you’re dead” - remove mini
A second hit on a downed model (or two ‘downed’ results) kills the model outright with no further rolls. A critical wound roll always outright kills/removes the mini.
Coupe de grace: Any enemy in base contact with a downed mini automatically kills it.
#5B. Close Quarters Combat
If a model moves into contact, it is in melee. If a side loses melee (but hasn’t activated yet) it forfeits its activation.
Models make a contested roll; the highest success wins (active player wins ties). A critical success automatically kills the loser if using a melee weapon.
-2 TN bonus if attack from rear arc
+1 TN penalty if up stairs or slope
Weapons have TN modifiers based on their unwieldness in CQC.
-1 bonus if using katana, axe or specialist melee weapon
0 if using a 1H firearm/pistol or knife/bayonet/improvised melee weapon
+1 penalty if using a SMG or or short assault weapon
+2 penalty if using a full-size rifle or LMG
Multiple melee combat: Allies add an extra +1 dice (an extra d10, not a modifier to the roll) to resolve hits but do not strike themselves; the main fighter just chooses the best roll.
Pushback & Damage
choose to ‘push back’ the loser or remain ‘locked in
combat’; and rolls to wound – using melee weapon bonus + physique or
calibre of pistol/SMG for the Damage.
(I.e. a knife could by Physique 4 + 1 knife bonus = 5 damage; then add d10 and compare to TN like usual).
Pushback = loser is pushed back a base length/1”; winner can opt to fire weapon at full RoF BUT allows either fighter to flee if they are yet to activate.
“Locked in combat” = winner follows up the pushback; both sides remained tied up in combat awaiting the next activation of either.
Ok that was fast. But the next section wasn't, as I struggled to work out weapon ranges that would give the right feel. It's not as important as the other bits, but probably ended up more complicated that I'd like...
The aim is to make a list of simple generic weapons and traits. Ranges and scale are not very ‘precise’ but I’m thinking 12” = ~100 yards or so? As long as weapons feel proportionate to each other, and to movement.
9mm pistol or SMG = 4
10mm, .45ACP, 5.56mm = 5
7.62mm = 6
.300, .308, .338 = 7
.50 cal = 8
Target number can be increased (penalty) or decreased (bonus)
Unarmoured human is 10TN
Light armour +1TN penalty (police vest)
Medium armour +2TN penalty (SWAT vest, neck protection etc)
Heavy armour +3TN penalty (specialist, encumbering, bomb disposal/riot squad type)
Aimed single shot -2TN bonus (careful aiming for head/weak point)
Bulky = +1TN penalty if move and fire, penalty in CQC
Heavy = may not move and fire, penalty in CQC, -1” move speed
Assault – short, agile weapon with grips or tights red dot, means it is +1 to hit at close range (6”or less)
CQC – can be used without penalty in CQC
Bolt action – can fire one shot maximum at any range, but +1TN penalty if moved
Pump – one shot maximum, but no movement penalty
Semiauto – can fire 2x rapid shots at effective range at
targets within 6” of each other, or 1x shot at long range
4x/ACOG Scope – if fire single shot, without moving, can re-roll a miss beyond 6” to effective range – can use normally with no penalty
Bipod - if does not move, +1TN penalty at long range instead of usual +2TN penalty. Gives weapons Bulky if they do not have it elaready.
Oops I forgot something! Probably should be back in #5!
#5-ish! Suppression & Morale
If a model takes even a non-damaging hit; or is sprayed with suppressive full-auto fire, it must make a Will check; if it fails it is suppressed.
Suppression means a +2TN penalty to activation rolls and combat (shooting, CQC) rolls.
Suppressed models may not leave cover or (if in open) make any move that advances towards enemies unless it ends with them in cover.
Suppression removes ‘overwatch’ status.
To remove suppression,
Must pass a Will test in the ‘clean up’ stage of the turn or remains suppressed next turn. This retains the +2TN penalty.
Each mini is worth 1pt. Leaders and special vehicles are worth 2pt.
Once half the force points is downed or dead, morale (Will) test each model at the clean up phase and each subsequent clean up phase when further injuries/deaths are sustained. If a model fails the test, retreat at maximum speed towards the end of the tabletop.
I often upbraid other rules authors for doing a belated job with morale... but I just ran out of time (and if I use this for STALKER/Alien rules, I'll tack on a much more robust system.)
Phew, done. Saved $100. Now to test it out...