Tag Archives: writing rules

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 Tabletop Wargame – Part 4

So following on from our previous articles;

  • Writing a Tabletop Wargame – Part I
  • Writing a Sci-fi Tabletop Wargame – Part II
  • Writing a Sci-fi Tabletop Wargame – Part III

Our latest votes are in and you’ve all voted that games should take up to two hours and that measurements should be carried out in inches.

Now we can start getting into some more detail of the game, such as the gaming area and the smallest element of the game.

Gaming Area Size

There are a few things we need to take into account here. The first is that we wold like the game to take up to two hours. Therefore, we have to consider this when we think about our gaming area, a smaller gaming area may result in either more detailed rules or a ruleset where it becomes difficult to kill units, this is because with a smaller gaming area there will be less units on the board and therefore you want those units to be in play for a longer period of time in order to have the opportunity to survive till the games end.

Likewise, if the table is too large then there will be many more units on the table and the rules will have to be adjusted to make them either easy to kill or make it so that there movement or range becomes a lot further than you would expect in order to make it across the gaming area.

I’ve therefore narrowed these options slightly to ensure that the rulesets don’t become too influenced by these affects.


Smallest Element

Our next question is about the smallest element in the game, what should this represent. I’m using this to classify air and ground units only, as with the space combat element, we’re going to assume the elements are the individual ships themselves.

There are a number of options to go with here and these will have an affect on the way in which the overall ruleset is contructed. For example, should we go with a single base representing a squad of men, or should it represent an entire Regiment? Should it be an individual tank or should it be a squadron of tanks? If we choose a base representing a squad or a single tank then we have to write the rules to represent this, likewise if the elements represent a platoon, battalion or even a brigade. So the question here is what level do you want individual battles to take place at?

All the options below are based roughly off the modern military formations of the British Army;


  • Section (Consisting of roughly 8 men)
  • Platoon (3-4 Sections)
  • Company (3+ Platoons)
  • Battalion (3+ Companies)
  • Brigade (3+ Battalions)
  • rigade (3+ Battalions)
  • Division (3+ Brigades) (Infantry & Armoured Mixed)
  • Corps (2+ Divisions) (Infantry & Armoured Mixed)


  • Troop (3+ Tanks)
  • Company (3+ Troops)
  • Battalion (3+ Companies)
  • Brigade (3+ Battalions)
  • Division (3+ Brigades) (Infantry & Armoured Mixed)
  • Corps (2+ Divisions) (Infantry & Armoured Mixed)

Next week we’ll look at basing our elements and whether they should be on round or rectangular bases and what base size they should be on.