The internet now means that it is very difficult not to find a set of miniature rules that covers your chosen era, scale or even your imagination. Back in day, rule sets were rare and wonderful thing, usually in black and white and with the occasional picture or diagram. Writing your own from scratch, or based on an established set, was not uncommon.
Above: A pile of inspiration
I have always enjoyed creating my own rules, the first, for my collection of my HO scale WWII Airfix collection. Recently, I have really enjoyed the massed participation Space Hulk kill team games at the club. In particular, seeing whether ideas work through playing, and then coming up with solutions on the hoof. Luckily the Space Hulkers are un-phased by the odd mid game rules amendment. Although, for some, I have to figuratively beat the competitiveness out of them. This is fairly easy as Dave Gilbert (my kill-team co-conspirator) will just nerf whatever silliness is being attempted.
For sometime now I have had a soft spot for Hawk's range of Drop Zone civilian vehicles (before the Resistance get their oily hands on them and attach guns and armoured plates). It is this range of cars, trucks, buses and articulate lorries which have inspired me to do a Mad Max themed game.
I mentioned my idea in passing to Dan whilst at the Birmingham Expo. Our conversation quickly turned to the game's name. After a number of nominations we settled on Furious Geoff (for reasons I cannot recall, it was important that is was Geoff rather than Jeff).
One of my favourite aspects of game creation is the blank sheet of paper you begin with. Any limitations you wish to introduce are entirely down to you. To achieve a 'good' game, however, it is necessary to appreciate some important elements. There is of course much available on this subject on the inter web, but here, briefly, is my list:
- Fun. The game should not be a chore to play.
- Playability. Is it easy to learn and pick up? We do not want to spend most of the game with our head in a rule book. (Yes, but Alex, Infinity N3 is like that! Yes Reader, but the models are soooo lovely and the dice mechanic is brilliant).
- Skill. Is there sufficient skill required within the game? Does a good understanding of the rules lead to success?
- Luck. Some element of this is required, but it should not be the overriding factor in achieving victory.
- Missions. Just destroying your enemy will not be sufficient to keep players interested. Different types of scenarios and objectives will add depth and variety.
- Believability. Sci-fi can allow many an odd thing, but the concepts need to be grounded in some element of realism. 'You cannot change the laws of physics Captain'.
With historical games there is also the factor of historical accuracy and its associated constraints. There are probably less discussions in the 40K community concerning the pros and cons of a Space Marine Bolter over a guardsman lasrifle, than there is in medieval gaming group, regarding the relative effectiveness of longbows versus crossbows.
One thing which does assist the creation of rules from scratch is the availability of other people's ideas. I am not a fan of X-Wing (not enough hobby for my liking). I do like, however, the movement widgets and I have no shame in nicking it for my game. I threw a few rules together for shooting and made some appropriate looking models on some shop bought cavalry bases. Dan came round and we gave it a go.
Above: The first ever game of Furious Geoff is played with the Alpha rule set.
Above: Some appropriate models.
Above: My first shooting attack. Needing two +7 on 2D10 I scored a pair of tens. Yes, I did destroy Dan's bike, but will my luck in future games ever top this?
Above: More in game action.
We both enjoy playing and creating some nice rule mechanics as we went along. More details to come in later posts no doubt.
Happy wargaming to you all.