How I play miniatures with a 6 year old

My recent tweets about Warhammer with my son Adam have brought in a few questions, mostly: “How do you play that incredibly complicated game with a 6 year old?” Good question, that.  I can’t usually remember the Warhammer rules, so how am I expecting him to be able to get them.

The answer was a simple but balanced set of rules that I came up with merging some basic ideas from a lot of miniatures games.  I thought I would codify them here in case anyone else wants to try them with their kids.

Remember, this is VERY SIMPLE, so there is a lot of room for adjudication. A hard core gamer would find this very boring. Adam loves it, though.

Tourna

Tourna is a turn based miniatures game for two to four players.

Basics

Tourna is played with miniatures and dice.  Any miniatures can be used, including non-traditional figures like Legos or plastic animals. As long as they can be isolated (for instance, a lot of figures molded to a common base won’t work), then grouped into units, they will work.

At its core, Tourma is about building armies based on an agreed number of ‘dice’ in total.  Each individual miniature, or “figure”, is assigned a certain number of dice, which represents both that figure’s attack and defense value. If both sides have the same number of dice on their side, the game is balanced and may commence.

Setup

Tourna is best played on a flat clean surface like the dining room table.  After deciding on a source for miniatures, dice values need to be assigned.

Generally, individual figures are 1 dice, and generals are 2 dice.  Vehicles or machinery are 2 or 4 dice.  For instance:

Bill is playing dinosaurs.  He has 16 basic figures and 2 generals in two ‘units’, or groups that move together. His side totals 20 dice, because 16x1 = 16 and 2x2 = 4, and 16+4 = 20.

Adam is playing Legos.  He has a tank, which we decide is worth 4 dice.  Beyond that, he has 8 mounted figures with a general (total 10 dice) and 6 gunners. 4+10+6 = 20.  The sides are even, and play can begin.

IMG_20110727_192208
Simple game setup using Brettonians from Warhammer

Units stay together through the game, and can either move or battle.

Units may be designated as ‘shooters’ but they have a harder to-hit and damage roll. (See ‘Battle’)

Movement

Movement is measured in inches.  Distance can be scaled to your environment, and decided based on the figures you have available. 

A good starting point is to allow shooters to move 2 inches per turn, footmen to move 4 inches per turn, and mounted (vehicle or horse) to move 8 inches per turn.

Units are allowed one free reformation per turn.  They can rotate in place, or change formation either before or after they move.

Mounted units can ‘charge’ in exception to the ‘move or battle’ rule.  If the opposing unit is within range of the mounted unit’s movement, the mounted unit can elect to move to base to base contact, and then melee.

Battle

Battle in Tourna is restricted to melee and shooting.  Decide if each unit contains shooters at setup.

Melee

Units in base to base contact may melee.  All units except machines can melee, regardless if they are designated as a shooter.

The unit whose turn it is is attacking and the opposing unit is defending.  Attacking units may roll one six-sided die for each die of value they bring to the game.  Units roll to hit first, and if they hit then they roll for damage.  There is no special defense number for opposing units – only the attacker numbers matter.

Melee-only units hit on a roll of 3-4-5-6 on a 6 sided die.  They damage on a roll of 4-5-6.

Shooters (whether shooting or in melee) hit on a roll of 4-5-6 on a six sided die.  They damage on a roll of 5-6.

So, for instance, Bill’s unit of 8 Velicoraptors and one General is in base to base contact with Adam’s mounted unit.  The Velicoraptors are not shooters.  The General is worth two dice. Bill rolls 10 six sided dice for the 8 dinos and one general. 6 of the dice are 3 or higher, so he rerolls them for damage.  3 of them are 4 or higher, so Adam’s unit takes three dice of damage.  Bill can choose if that is 3 figures, or 1 figure and 1 (2 dice) general.

Shooting

Shooting can only be accomplished by figured designated at Setup as shooters. They can shoot the entire length of the play area. There is no distance measurement.

Shooting is line-of-sight.  One member of the shooting unit must be able to see one member of the defending unit to be able to aim for it.  All members of the shooting unit must shoot at the same defending unit. Shooters cannot move and shoot in the same turn.

Shooters cannot shoot into a melee.

Shooting units hit on a 4-5-6 on a six sided die (shooting or melee) and damage on 5-6.

So, for instance, during Adam’s turn he decides to shoot the one of Bill’s units of dinos that isn’t in melee with the mounted unit. He has 6 Lego gunners, and can draw an unobstructed line of sight from one of the gunner figures to one of the target dino figures.  He rolls six dice for the to-hit, and gets two dice at 4 or above.  He rerolls those two dice and rolls one 6, so does one die of damage to the dino unit.  He can either remove one of the figured from the unit, or reduce the general to a one die figure.

Machines, terrain and whatnot

Machines with shooting capability can shoot based on the number of dice they are.  They hit like shooters – 4-5-6 to-hit and 5-6- to damage.  They can only shoot at one unit at a time.  Machines have no melee capability.

Machines without shooting capability are treated like terrain. Shooters can’t shoot through terrain. There is no bonus for cover. Terrain and machines block line-of-sight.

Endgame

The game is over when one player is left with figures still in the game.  That player is the winner.

Who the heck is Bill Sempf?

Bill Sempf

Husband. Father. Pentester. Secure software composer. Brewer. Lockpicker. Ninja. Insurrectionist. Lumberjack. All words that have been used to describe me recently. I help people write more secure software.

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