Welcome to the Blog of a Skirmish wargamer! I hope you enjoy reading it!

All my rule sets are freely downloadable from our club website's Downloads page

If you need to contact me my E-Mail address is richardbradley5@gmail.com

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Rule writing - my experiences!

As my friends at the Tyneside wargames club know only too well I gave up largely on commercial rule sets a long time ago and started writing my own (many of which are available to free download on the Tyneside wargames club website http://tynesidewargames.co.uk/downloads.html

I started writing rules as a teenager back in the 1970s, which were invariably modifications of the then currently available commercial rules. I only started serious writing (if you can call this serious!) in the last 5 or so years. The first set I did was a Medieval skirmish set using a few elements from the 'Retinue' rules I had used many years before, and discarded due to the many rules abberations (EG to hit at long range, you have more chance by shooting somewhere else!). Much to my surprise, with very few corrections, the club players accepted them easily, and we still play them, albeit with some additions.

The next set I did was for some lovely figures I got from Eureka miniatures and Ground Zero Games. These allowed us to do simple shoot em' up games in the Stargate SG1 universe. The solo system I devised was basic and rather random, but very much worked in the style of the TV programme battles.
We havent played this game for years now...
However, Ian Logan at the club suggested I develop a version for World War 2 , which has had add-ons in the several years we have played it, and we still enjoy it. The main development in this set was an improved solo system, which, with some development works reasonably well.

The next development came from a crazy idea I had to try and simplify the whole gaming system - combining Movement, morale, shooting and observation in a single chart. This would allow players to run a single figure using parallel rules while all the other figures on the gaming table fought their own battle despite them.
Needless to say, once my club friends, Ian and Lawrence started playing the system, we found that we were able to command units up to 70 strong!
Its very different to conventional rules. I think Ian still cant get his head around the game concept!

The whole idea was to throw a d6, and cross reference the result with a total of 'Risk Factors' - rather like morale testing in other sets of rules-  and consult a chart to see what the group will do - advance, fall back to cover, stand and shoot etc.
Over several games we found the chart was too overworked and I had to separate shooting from the chart into a more conventional system running in parallel with the Actions chart.
This system has been modified from the original 'French and Indian wars' skirmish game into several different periods. I enjoy it!

I modified a Belgian Seven years war web set of rules, but this seems to have been just a massive series of modifications rather than a unique idea of my own.

I have to admit there have been some real turkeys amongst my reasonable sets, but I guess that is to be expected. I suppose they were valid parts of the learning curve for my rule writing!

If I have any advice for would be rule writers, I would say:

1) Go for it! - get something down on paper or Word doc.
2) Always write as simply as you can. Never try to write for every eventuality initialy.
3) When writing a rule, always try to imagine how the most awful rule lawyer would interpret it.
4) All rule sets ultimately consist of these elements;
    (1) Morale
    (2) Movement
    (3) Shooting
    (4) Melee
    (5) A force balancing system like an army list.

Good luck!

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