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How I Write Skirmish Games: Skip To The Good Bit

Skirmish games have what I call generic rules. I hate generic rules, I hate writing generic rules. I’ve written so many versions of line of sight it makes me sick. What I hate even more though, are games made up of nothing but a stitched together set of generics. To help you skip to the good bits, and to recognise if you game is nothing but a patchwork of generics, here are the generics of skirmish games laid out. I generally have these rules internalised and pick and choose them during the grinding part of writing new games. These rules supply the framework of multiple different, but equally generic, versions of skirmish games and would require that alternate options be deleted to achieve agreement. Wordings are not intended to be those that would be used to present to the public, rather technical descriptions of underlying mechanics only. Feel free to pretty much cut and paste these into your own games, I have no problem with you using them but if your game contains only and exactly what is in this article, with neither inventive addition nor interesting subtraction I shall rain down upon you like a furious vengeance, not for plagiarism but for unoriginality.


Models – The markers used by players to indicate the locus of their current action. Will vary widely but largely unimportantly in size and shape.

Tests – A random system is used to generate a number (generally dice, but may be playing cards). If the number generated is higher than a given target number then the test is successful in the current stage. Actions with successful tests pass on to any next stage, unsuccessful ones are wasted. There will generally be a manner of mitigation for the random nature of these tests available to players, either re-rolling dice or having a hand of cards to choose from. This mitigation will generally be limited to a set number per round or game.