How deadly is too deadly? Or is it even deadly enough?

A friend and I were adoring the SPECTRE minis [ ] for modern skirmish scale since the only real game around today is Firepower from Avalon Hill and we all know how old that is. Previously the local mini chaps had tried to talk me out of Force on Force but I bought the rules. Quickly the reasons they put forward for its flaws and weaknesses became readily apparent..and of course that horible hidden tables on every other page format was a boardgamer, case structured rule highlighting  nightmare.

So back to SPECTRE. The V 1.0 rules are online so a quick read and some summary calculations left me wondering a little about the games ranged fire.

Lots of other aspects of the system are just very very cool, if you are into miniature warfare with modern 28mm this might be a pretty sweet system with loads of extensibility.

Three things struck me. First, only 3 classes of unit. Militia, Professional and Elite.

Militia men [lowest and generic class of fighter –no formal training insurgents etc]

Professional [standing army?]

Elite [Spec Ops etc]

I think given the segregation of unit types and in particular at the militia level there are degrees of Militia – rabble rousing civilians to hardened Muj etc. Some deeper granularity might be nice there [ this may or should impact the 1d6 metaphor which could ostensibly be better served by 1d10]

Secondly ability to hit. Lets look at the mechanics : You have a shoot ability and an innate ability to seek cover etc without going into a rules regurgitation that is called Defence ( once again a 1d6 effort+x).

Factors that go into ranged combat:

  1. Shooting skill
  2. Weapon type
  3. Defense skill of target
  4. DRMs for terrain/armour etc of target. [ for our examples we will use +1 DRM for Armour for Elite and +2 for buildings high walls type Terrain
  5. Range is generally not a factor, due to close ranged nature of the skirmishes.

Cover types

A Militia chap has a base 4 [shoot skill] +1d6 to hit [Shoot] & a base 1 +1d6 to save [Defence]

A Pro fighter has 5 & 2 respectively and an Elite figure has 6 & 3.

              Shoot         1d6         Total

Militia        4             3              7

Pro            5              3             8

Elite           6             3             9

                      Defend     Terrain   Armour    1d6         Total


Militia                1                   2                                3                 6

Pro                     2                   2                                3                 7

Elite                  3                   2                1               3                9

If the Attacker/Shooter # is = or higher than defender Defence # the Shooter scores a hit on the defender. Which then goes to a Lethality check.

Which leads me to the third element. Lethality, here an assault rifle is …an assault rifle. Delineation of weapon type appears to be out of scope.

Assume a assault rifle with a Lethality of 4+ this means each roll of 4,5,6 on 1d6 will be a kill. If the number is less then the result is a wound and you bleed out in 1d6 turns and die [there are med packs].

A natural 1 is a no effect.

Typical 1d6 spread:

With a 1d6 model we will see some extremely deadly skinnies , Muj, mobs and gobs. If we roll average (3) . God forbid you hit open ground.

Or more realistic is the sheer volume of bad guys who will be taking 1d6+4 shots each at you seeking that 7,8,9 and then looking at a 50% of a kill or a 83% chance of a kill/incapacitate.


I don’t know but the allure of the figures and a seemingly fast playing game has its merits. As a non mini guy, I just don’t know that it is ‘within bounds of reason’ and fun.

What do you experts think?

Our hobby deserves a modern skirmish game, with modern stuff. Our hobby deserves a readable accessible rules [these are mildly less non functional than Force on Force]. Our hobby deserves a system that without painful ASL-esque Monk like adherence to cardboard realism puncing around as reality provides a fast fun game.

If you know of rules systems for skirmish feel real -ish- and dont require you to medivac the moment CPl Jones for SEAL Team 6 gets a boo boo please let me know.

-TGWE out.

4 thoughts on “How deadly is too deadly? Or is it even deadly enough?

  1. Thanks for posting this analysis. I saw your discussion on FB, and wondered what you may have found. I had been looking over different skirmish rules for Vietnam and thought about using them for modern.

  2. – Long time listener first time caller – Great website! I started following when you were posting GBOH battle reports/videos. Keep up the good work. Re: Modern Skirmish rules, you should checkout Skirmish Sangin (very granular, small unit action) or FiveCore modern (more of toolkit, simple system but with some cool ideas)

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