Tag Archives: Rules Writing

Writing a Sci-Fi Tabletop Wargame – Part 6

Our past posts:

So the results of last weeks votes are as follows:


Now we’ve got most (if not all) of the basic information in place for our game we can start getting our hands dirty with some of the nitty gritty stuff. Firstly, should we have pre-made ready to go factions or should players have options to construct their own units for their own faction? This would make the game miniature agnostic but it would also require players to take the time to build a faction from the ground up, i.e. this is a leader unit it needs this particular weapon, with this armour and these special rules.

Of course we could always have a mixture of both pre-made and create your own. But what do you think?

Turn Order

This is about how the players determine who goes first. There are many options for this, but I’ve narrowed this down to two or three, but bear 🐻 in mind these can also have vary to some extent. For example, while AoS is a UgoIgo system it also implements the turn priority in terms of a dice roll before each turn.

I Go You Go

This is the first and possibly most common option used. Players use a mechanic to determine who goes first and then play is simply alternated between the players until the end of the game.


Players use coloured dice or chips to represent their individual units on the table e.g. one players units are represented by red dice while the others are blue, when a red dice is drawn the red player chooses a unit to activate. This system will be familiar to those who have played Warlord Games Bolt Action.


This could either be an army wide initiative rating or individual initiative ratings for units to decide what order they act in. For example, elite units may have a much higher initiative than conscripts meaning they’ll always act first.


One of my personal favourites is using bidding systems to determine who acts first. This can take various forms such as rolling a number of orders each side can take on two or three dice then giving up a number of those orders to try and claim the priority that turn.

So which is your favourite? Perhaps there’s one I’ve not even thought of, I’d that’s the case why not add a comment below?

Writing a Sci-Fi Tabletop Wargame – Part 5

Our past posts:

So the results of last weeks votes are as follows:

So this gives us some extra direction when it comes to writing the rules, as we know that each element will represent a Battalion strength unit and that the game will be played on a four foot square area. Excellent! If we factor in that we also want the game to last no more than two hours and that all the measurements will be carried out in inches, we only have perhaps two more votes to go before we get into the nitty gritty of the rules themselves.

Base Shape

This may not seem important to some people, but the base shape can define a lot of things in regards to measuring distances as well as movement. For example a rectangular base would mean that you have to take into account that the base is wider than it is deep and so wheeling and turning become a factor in movement. A round base negates that factor as everything can be measured from the base edge without too much concern, though if you want flanking inside the game having round bases makes this difficult. Alternatively, there’s the option to have a square base, which makes turning and wheeling less of an issue, and can include flanks for the various edges IF we want that as a factor in our game.

Base Size

Our playing area is going to be 4 foot square and so this will have a slight impact on base sizing. We can’t have large bases because of fitting enough of them inside the game. But we can’t have too small either as we want enough models on the base to make it look the part.

There we have it! Next week we will start looking at factions and whether we should include the ability to construct our own or write rules for pre-made factions (or both).

Writing a Sci-Fi Table-Top Wargame – Part 3

So following on from our voting last week, it would appear that we’re making the game in grand tactical scale (10mm or smaller miniatures) and it will encompass all combat theatres from Land to air and beyond.

I personally find this an exciting proposition as it has the potential to create thematic campaigns and narrative driven stories aplenty!

However before we get into any nitty-gritty rules writing there are still a number of issues we need to clarify.


Measuring is a bigger deal than you may think, with our friends over the pond preferring inches and those closer to home often preferring centimetres.

But, they’re no the only options. After all you could also have a hex based map where movement and ranges are set by a number of hexes. Or you could have measurement set by a set ‘constructed’ value such as base widths.

Game Length

The next question is how long do we want a game to take? Under an hour, up to two, an afternoon?

This decision is key as this will dictate how detailed the rules will be in the long term.

Therefore, considering this here are our next two votes!

Remember to check by next week for the results and the next step of our project.

Writing a Tabletop Wargame – Part 1

I’ve always enjoyed creating my own rules and scenarios for the games I play, and last year I jumped into writing my own ruleset for Napoleonic Wargaming called ‘Clausewitz’.

But I thought it may be fun to create a ruleset with the community which could then be hosted here on the site for free.

So what should it be? A historical game? Sci-Fi, Fantasy? Should it be Grand Tactical, skirmish level or something in between?

What about measurements? Should they be in inches, centimetres, base widths or something completely different?

As you can see there are a lot of points to consider before getting into the nitty gritty of it all. So let’s tackle the first question.


What about the genre? What should it be. Well that’s up to you all. Why not vote in the poll below that I’ll keep open until the next article and you can decide here what we work on. Of course there’s always an argument to make the game genre agnostic as well, meaning the ruleset can be used for anything…