Bravado Universal Wargames Rules

Bravado is a set of free wargames rules suitable for a wide variety of periods. What makes these rules different is what the author calls “the revolutionary concept of Player Determined Initiative Risk Order.” With it, players may choose to gain the initiative, but at increasing risk of exhausting commanders.



Budget Battle Universal Rules

Budget Battle is a set of free wargames rules for fun games with plastic army men and their ilk. The author writes:


This set of rules was inspired by some sets of cheap toy soldiers with interesting pairings such as “Army men vs Cavemen”, “Ninja vs Robots” and so forth. These reminded me of the running joke in an episode of “Angel” that was about “Cavemen vs Spacemen”. One set was “Pirates vs Ninja”, reminding me of a side mission in Saints Row 2.

Now at last, the great philosophical debates of our time can be settled! These rules are not intended to be as detailed or as sophisticated as some rulesets. They are probably not perfect, just something I jotted down one weekend. Many of the game mechanics are also used in a variety of other games. Some forces will be stronger than others and it may take a few games to determine ratios that give more balance.

These are just intended for a bit of fun with some toy soldiers, a fist full of dice and some measuring sticks or a ruler. Adapt them and modify them as you desire.


Flat Out War

Flat Out War is a “universal” set of free wargames rules. They’re designed to let players use any miniatures in any period. The underlying principle is that a miniatures abilities are determined by dice with different number of faces.

Two Page Skirmish Rules

Two Page Skirmish are a set of free wargames rules for skirmishes in a variety of periods. They look interesting to me because of two features that the author outlines:

The rules have two unusual features.

The first is the use of the action card. You’ll need an action card for each figure in the game. This is a simple, square piece of card; mine are 2 by 2 inches. The possible actions that a character can perform are on the card. At the start of each turn, players rotate the cards to show which action the figure is performing. You could just as effectively have a roster sheet and write the actions on it, or place chits on the table, but I really like the cards because they don’t clutter the table and they’re easy and fun to use. If you put an ID notation in the center of each card, players won’t get confused about which card goes with which figure. I have also experimented with using only one card per squad, on the idea that the card represents the leader’s order and everyone acts in unison on that order. It works OK for the British, less well for the natives. But these rules are flexible enough to accommodate a lot of that sort of modification.

The second unusual feature is the way close, hand-to-hand fighting works. In most games, figures are paired off one-on-one as much as possible and then they only fight each other, no matter how many other figures are battling around them. I wanted to create the feeling of a real, chaotic, swirling melee, where the unlucky get ganged up on and the unwary get speared in the back. So each figure rolls its die and compares it to every enemy figure within striking distance. Get a bad roll and you could be stabbed from two, three, or more directions at once. Get a good roll and you could cut down two or three enemies at once.

HELLION Universal Tabletop Warfare Simulator

John Bear Ross, digital sculptor extraordinaire, offers HELLION, a set of universal miniatures rules.