Combat – Basic Rule Set

September 13th, 2011

The idea of the Basic Rule Set is to introduce new players to the game. The Basic Rule Set introduces the fundamentals of the WarSpike system, these being: the paired turn sequence, simultaneous actions, and the basics of Martial Arts (predominately defence) in combat.

In this post I’ll be mainly concentrating the combat side of things, and I’ll start of very simple.

Gang warfare

This is a basic, quick, rule set for unarmed street gangs. It starts of very simple, and once you are familiar with it, there are some ‘basic add-ons’ to expand the rules. Weapons and armour, along with various psychology mods are introduced with these ‘add-ons’. You can add as many of the basic add-ons as you wish. The basic rule set, with all the basic add-ons applied, becomes the ‘Core Rule Set’.

Gang size

When starting out keep things small. Say 10 gangers a side, basic ‘6’ stats on each Attribute (though the only one you need to start is ‘Action’), no mods or gear. Deploy them within 2” of your edge of the table top.

Movement and turn management.

Use the standard turn system found here, and here. I leave these rules out of this post for now, so comments on them can be kept separate.

In the following bit about combat; I’ll use the terms taken from the Turn Sequence for each side, these being the ‘Instigator’ (the one that picks actions first) and ‘Retaliator’ (the one that picks reactions in response to the Instigator’s actions). For the purposes of this post the Instigator gang is the one that has encroached onto another gang’s territory. Once it is determined which gang is the Instigator and which is the Retaliator they’ll remain as such for the rest of the game.


First-strike: The Instigator who moves into (base-to-base) contact with a Retaliator will auto-hit that Retaliator.

Note: Auto-hits are big bombs that mean business, followed up with a flurry of punches (and kicks, head-butts, etc.)

Defence and counter: The Retaliator must make an MA test to defend themselves. Roll 1D10 per contact. For Action: 6; all rolls of 6 or less are successful, all rolls of 7 or more are failures.

  • Succeed (6 or less): they defend themselves, and fight back (remain in play)
  • Fail (7 or more): they are hit and beaten up (remove from play – see below)

All those who failed should be removed from the table top immediately (they leg it!).

Note: this fighting back can be messy, and may be as simple as punching over the attacker, moving about while hitting back, etc. It can involve taking some hits, but these hits are not powerful enough to stop the Retaliator from acting.

Counter-counter: If the Retaliator makes their MA test, then the Instigator must immediately make an MA test to defend themselves, and if successful, strike back. If they fail they are beaten up.

Loop: Keep rolling MA tests until one fails.

Beaten up: It’s not serious, a bloody nose, a kick in the face, a missing tooth, but those who take a beating will then be fearful of the one who gave them the beating. Their survival instincts kick in and the beaten ganger does not want to re-engage in combat and will leave combat (yes, this means they will not help out their mates!).

That’s it!

For now you can leave it at that, and run through a quick fight to get a feel for it. The biggest areas to concentrate on are getting the turn sequence right, pairing up combatants and resolving them quickly, before moving onto the next pair. For now, everything else about combat is ignored.


later I’ll expand this simple basic rule set with some add-ons. These add-ons cover weapons and armour, strength, ganging up (multiple-combatants), and more unarmed combat techniques and abilities.

Using technique add-ons works with the same alternating combat loop, it doesn’t really get any more complicated, instead the add-ons work like ‘trumps’. A new technique will trump certain types of defence or attack, and if the opponent doesn’t have the same technique, then they usually loose. If they do have the same technique then it’s MA tests as normal. It sounds simple (and it is) but it can be scaled up to model some very complex combat techniques and scenarios.

Weapon and armour add-ons work in a similar ‘trump’ like fashion (i.e. the wielder of a weapon with longer reach auto-hits first on base-to-base contact. This will override the usual auto-hit the Instigator gets when moving into base-to-base contact – but only IF the Retaliator has the longer weapon reach).

Strength deals with differences in power, but uses the familiar trump like system to override results.

Ganging up allows 2 or more gangers to attack on enemy at the same time, and has very little impact on the speed of the system (i.e. when 2 against one, the lone fighter has to make two MA tests and has to pass both in order to counter one of their assailants. If either MA test is failed, they there is no counter, and the lone fighter is beaten.)

Psychology, and associated mods, uses the Mentality Stat and effects how a ganger reacts to taking a beating, threats etc. but also deals with intimidation and threat displays etc.

The above will have introduced three Attributes: Mentality, Action, and Stature. The ‘Reason’ Attribute is a bit of a spare wheel at this level, and doesn’t really make an appearance until much later.

Categories: Rules |

Comments: 6

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  1. Stef says:

    Hey Philip,

    Ha, decided to post as myself here rather than my community name! (kinda makes me feel like Batman in the last movie who was quite open about his secret identity)

    Ok, back on track! I feel a bit embarrassed that I didn’t check this thing out earlier! Have you already play tested this thing to death already? Do you still need playtesters for this thing? I might be able to convince a few friends to try this out. Combined with that riot police vs. gang kickstarter this could be a really nice little step in seeing your game come to life!

    • Philip S says:

      Yes – I need playtesters! I’m currently writing up the PDF, but it seems to have ground to a halt: as there is a bit of a conundrum I have to resolve.

      I see where you are going with the Kickstarter thing. For the basic rules I was planning on pitting two ‘juve’ street gangs against each other. The gangs would lack weapons, or any combat training. The main focus is the movement, ganging up on individuals, and the basics of combat.

      The riot police and the adult gangs would be the next step up, and introduce basic weapons. Perhaps another Kickstarter?

  2. Stef says:

    Let me know when you when your first version of the write-up is ready. I can proof read it for you and tweak it (text wise, not content wise) if needed. Where is the conundrum? Can we help?

    As for the Kickstarter, I like the idea of two ‘juve’ gangs pitting it out against each other. We would then need a sculptor who’s interesting in making unarmed versions of two gangs. Or perhaps just models with the weapons but in this game they would need to be converted (or simply do a count as, as being unarmed). This needs a bit of thinking. Models without any weapons in their hands tend to be not so popular. Unless we could do a multipart thing in which there’s an option of unarmed.

    The riot police and adult gangs would be the next level indeed. It just leaves me the following question: will the miniatures Kickstarter also contain game elements, or will the game become separate Kickstarters?

    • Philip S says:

      When I have something you’ll be the first to know! I would very much appreciate you proof reading it.

      As to the conundrum; it’s all to do with ‘auto-hits’ vs ‘auto-hit’ (when two gangers steam into each other and ignore their defence) and how to handle it. In reality when two similar sized young opponents, who are unskilled, get into this type of fight is usually ends up a stalemate. Ironically their defence is that attack, the flurry of blows acting to fend off the other, so they have trouble closing and really laying in some power. Bumps and bruises but no win (wins usually come from grapples, but even then it can end up a draw).

      The rules at the moment state this is a ‘stalemate’ – like two opposing pawns facing each other on a chess board (except the stalemate can be broken with an Action Test, but the odds are against the ganger attempting to break the stalemate).

      Changing this to both rolling dice for Action Tests, and the result is based off the interaction of success and failed tests works for individual combat, but it doesn’t scale up to the battlefield (it’s a mess to match opposing rolls with a load of dice, it can be done but it’s complex). Combining the odds of both rolls into a single roll is messy, requires tables, and the mess gets worse when we scale and start adding in variable Action Attributes (more tables). Forcing it into the usual combat loop though some form of initiative does match this type of combat.

      In the end it’s just something I have to think about a lot more, I’m contemplating the vs AT for small scale and ‘stalemate’ for large scale. I’m sure I’ll come up with something I like while juggling all these ideas.

      Getting back to the Kickstarter stuff: I think that if we did a Kickstarter based on these basic rules, with two sets of juve gangs, it would be separate from the ‘community Kickstarters‘ we discussed over on TFM.

      I imagine the figures would have to be multi-part so they can double up for both this game (unarmed) and other games (armed) to make it economically viable.

      I was planning on using M.O.T.N’s civilian mob, free PDF, and Lulu POD hard copy. Which means everything is all ready to go. This makes a Kickstarter a bit redundant, unless a sculptor wish to make specific miniatures for this.

      • Stef says:

        I’ll get back to you on the rules later tonight.

        Getting back to the Kickstarter stuff: I think that if we did a Kickstarter based on these basic rules, with two sets of juve gangs, it would be separate from the ‘community Kicstarters‘ we discussed over on TFM.
        I imagine the figures would have to be multi-part so they can double up for both this game (unarmed) and other games (armed) to make it economically viable.

        I know that M.O.T.N. wants to do limited multipart models, so with just separate heads and maybe hands. I know he did a similar thing for his own Redemption Sector infantry. So it wouldn’t too big a step to have the miniatures either carry the sticks or be unarmed. (some exceptions here and there)

        I was planning on using M.O.T.N’s civilian mob, free PDF, and Lulu POD hard copy. Which means everything is all ready to go. This makes a Kickstarter a bit redundant, unless a sculptor wish to make specific miniatures for this.

        Hmm, not fully sure on this one yet. I love the idea of the free PDF and Lulu POD hard copy, but the miniatures would be substandard. This wouldn’t be a problem if you want to do it as a playtester package, but as an official release you’d like to sell it might not be the best step. People mainly buy these things for the models.

        • Philip S says:

          Any rules discussion is probably better over on the forum.

          As for miniatures, M.O.T.N might be interested, and if so a Kickstarter might be on the cards.

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