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"best scifi skirmish game" Topic

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Grabula30 Apr 2012 3:58 a.m. PST

hey all, I'm looking for recomendations on a good rules set for scifi skirmishing. I'm looking for rules that allow multiple players playing their own factions/units (not just multiple players playing on two opposing sides). I'm looking for something with a good level of detail and some fun options to make the game exciting (i just picked up Saga as an example, they have an awesome battleboard system which makes things interesting).

I'd like to hear suggestions along with why you like the system you recommend!

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2012 4:18 a.m. PST

Killzone – and it's expanded version Combat Zone – sound like what you're looking for.

SheriffLee30 Apr 2012 4:37 a.m. PST

Tomorrow's War

tnjrp30 Apr 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

There is no such thing as the "best" scifi skirmish game IMCO, but there are many good ones. Based on your very succintly expressed wishlist, one of those that might fit the bill would be Defiance: Vital Ground from Majestic 12.

It's perhaps mean for a little larger games than you'd prefer but it's quite scaleable once you put a little thought into what you're doing with it. Also, it doesn't inherently cater for three+ -way battles but again it's doable with minimum fuss.

More stuff (including relevant further links scroll to the end of the [short] page):

kallman30 Apr 2012 5:34 a.m. PST

Another vote for Tomorrow's War.

ordinarybass30 Apr 2012 5:43 a.m. PST

Scope of game and type of sci-fi is a very important consideration.

Are you looking for a warband size game with each charachter activated and moved alone, a squad based game, or some combination?

Are you looking for a hard Sci-Fi or a sci-fantasy game?

Caesar30 Apr 2012 6:05 a.m. PST

Ordinarybass beat me to it.

Grabula30 Apr 2012 6:08 a.m. PST

oops, I did forget to mention scale. I'm basically shooting for warband sized games, 4-10 figures per player with 5-6 being typical. 28mm scale.

ThorLongus30 Apr 2012 6:15 a.m. PST

i would check out spacejackers' homebrew "throwdown"
maybe not available yet, but looks promising( he also has a set called gutcheck)
also freeware post apocalyptic , wastelands

Grabula30 Apr 2012 6:17 a.m. PST

Thorlongus, do you have a link?

Caesar30 Apr 2012 6:19 a.m. PST

Whst kind of setting? Military, human-only, gangs, etc.?

Grabula30 Apr 2012 6:22 a.m. PST

Hoping to find something somewhat generic but I'm looking for a set to use with my alien vs predators vs people figures.

AndrewGPaul30 Apr 2012 6:37 a.m. PST

My favourite sci fi game using forces of that size would be Infinity. True, it's tied to a specific range of figures and background, but there's quite a wide variety of unit types and weapons, so it should be possible to use the existing profiles as "stand-ins" if you don't wish to make up your own stats.

Off the top of my head, Colonial Marines types could be represented by a selection of the Ariadnan infantry units, Predators by something like the Combined Army Anathematics and Aliens by Combined Army Hungries. That's just without altering any of the existing unit profiles; by tweaking the special rules or weapons, you could make them more appropriate.

Plus, it has the added advantage of being free, so you can check it out for zero outlay.

ThorLongus30 Apr 2012 6:57 a.m. PST

wasteland rules
gutcheck/and throwdown
wasteland has a really good campaign system
oops almost forgot
in the emperors name. by makers of fubar…excellent campaign system and was going to have versions for non gothic scifi
also worth a look .. mutants and death ray guns

richarDISNEY30 Apr 2012 6:59 a.m. PST

Try Rezolution or Infinity.
Both are really neat systems, but of those two, I like Rez better. But its a tough fight.

sharkbait30 Apr 2012 7:01 a.m. PST

Guncrawl by Mel Ebbles, but now available at WorldWorksGames:


Wide variety of stats and special rules, plus the ability to create your own weapons. It's made for indoor games on a grid, but could easily be adapted to outdoor/non-grids by sustituting 1" for 1 square.

Grabula30 Apr 2012 7:03 a.m. PST

What about some of the rules for pulp gaming? Anything out there suitable for scifi gaming as well?

I'm mostly looking for a rules set with some character. I like systems that use cards for various things or allow for the players to pull of some interesting stuff. Mainly, i want something more then just pushing some models around and rolling dice, if that makes sense.

SonofThor30 Apr 2012 7:04 a.m. PST


or Stargrunt (which is free) link

Ambush Alley Games30 Apr 2012 8:25 a.m. PST

Grabula, if you're looking for a warband sized game with character development and individual figure activation, I'd give Two Hour Wargames' 5150 a look. I think those rules fit what you're asking for to a tee (I haven't played Bulkheads & Blasters, but I've heard great things about it, too).



rebmarine30 Apr 2012 9:13 a.m. PST

I second Shawn from Ambush Alley. 5150 from Two Hour Wargames. Lots of support and "add-ons" available on the web too!

john lacour30 Apr 2012 9:16 a.m. PST

gruntz hands down.

Crow Bait30 Apr 2012 10:08 a.m. PST

Blasters and Bulkheads available at Wargames Vault. It is based on the Goal System, like Chaos in Carpatheia. It has a Character creation system, and a very effective henchmen creation system. It can be used for all types of SciFi skirmish games, from military vs military, to Dr. Who vs Daleks. Very versitile. Plays with a few to around 25 miniatures.

Another possibility is Savage World Showdowns, a free game from Pinnacle Entertainment. Very versitile rules that you can use for any period or Genre. Again, a few to 25 or 30 miniatures per side.

Space Monkey30 Apr 2012 10:17 a.m. PST

I love GRUNTZ and Stargrunt but I think they're both focused on larger forces than the OP is asking for.

I'd go for 5150. It's a borderline RPG in its detail… lots of options. Very versatile.

Also, .45 Adventures and it's offshoots like Fantastic Worlds would be a good option. They're great at presenting scenario-based games that tell a fun story.

Lion in the Stars30 Apr 2012 10:30 a.m. PST

Infinity is my go-to game for up to 10 models per side. Rules are free, and the game is balanced well enough that you really can take just the models you like the looks of and make a competitive army!

ordinarybass30 Apr 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

Based on your specs, I'd suggest:
In The Emperor's name: Based loosely on fubar, it's a great open ended system. The creators were going for a 40k feel in terms of the warband and scenario lists, but it's quite generic.

If you would like to have hero charachters, but also a few bands of henchmen/mooks , check out the goalsystem games such as Blasters and Bulkheads.

Wasetlands is also a great choice. Strait up beer and pretzels fun. I used the most recent version "wastelands" in an even more stripped down mode to run a convention game last weekend and had a blast.

ming3130 Apr 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

5150 for the way you are moving . I like tomorrows war but as a sis versus side game

Feet up now30 Apr 2012 2:30 p.m. PST

Wastelands is good and has heavy loss rate ( at least when we done multiplayer) Guncrawl was another interesting suggestion that would work well.The ealier combat zone recommendation is really good and may suit you request seems to play well with other players better.

Mithmee30 Apr 2012 5:52 p.m. PST

40K but you need to go back to around 1992-1993 before GW destroyed the game.

But since they did go with…

Tomorrow's War.

Ratbone30 Apr 2012 9:17 p.m. PST

Two Hour Wargames also has a pulp adventures set.

Grabula01 May 2012 5:11 a.m. PST

Looking at tw hour wargames, which 5150 set is the base set?

McBane01 May 2012 8:52 a.m. PST

Star army is the"base"for 5150…but I would look at the free chain reaction 3 for how it all works and give you an idea of using it for what you want…and the Yahoo group is great for help and finding what your are looking for and making the rules fit your needs

ordinarybass01 May 2012 10:49 a.m. PST

I definitely agree with McBane. THW is definitely an acquired taste. Some folks love it and some can't stand it. Chain Reaction 3 is free and is the same basic rules engine as 5150. If you like CR3, you'll probably love 5150. If you don't, then 5150 would not be a good purchase for you.

Grabula01 May 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

I grabbed in the name of the emperor and chain reaction to peruse. 5150 star army or whatever appears to be a mass combat system?

Space Monkey01 May 2012 1:01 p.m. PST

5150: Star Army is for larger battles but 5150: New Beginnings is for the smaller gang/warband/entourage focused games.

Grabula01 May 2012 4:50 p.m. PST

Is New Beginnings a stand alone? I seem to remember there was a 5150 base game, red and white border on the cover…

RTJEBADIA01 May 2012 6:09 p.m. PST

Not anymore. Just two separate (but compatible) rules sets, New Beginnings (man to man, low level, good for gang warfare, smugglers and pirates, squad on squad games) and Star Army (platoon or larger is my suggestion). As the setting of New Beginnings (kinda dystopian-but-not-exactly post-cyberpunk city/colony world) affects a lot of its coolest rules (like the campaign system) it can take a little adapting for other settings. But its really good for all SF. Combining it with Star Army is also good-- allowing you to play small scale military games or 'zoom in' on the protagonists while playing the larger fight with Star Army.

Chain Reaction 3 is more like New Beginnings than Star Army in its current form. I'd say that even if you don't like CR 3-- especially for platoon level or higher game-- you could in theory like Star Army… the In Sight test, for exmaple, works entirely differently. I'd still say get CR 3 first but don't assume the rules are the same, as they're quite different.

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