Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday, 9 November 2020

More Rules,

In a week where real-life overwhelmed any desire to do anything hobby related, I was  idling on an  internet  site reviewing many Western Skirmish rules and came across "Shoot n Skeddatle" as a free downloadable PDF and thought Why not?". 

[[Some of my 'Desperadoes", that's the seated mexican's legs on the left]

The rules are a whopping 80+ pages long, in this second edition and contain all the necessary rules fro playing a game, but not all the necessary items, namels Cards, lots of Cards, which are available as seperate, buyable, downloadable PDFs or actual cards. - bummer !

The cards relate to Characters - Lawmen, Outlaws, and Other (neutral) Characters; and Weapons - everything from Derringers to cannon -the whole gamut of Western ordinance.

Movement is pretty straight-forward with fixed ditances for walking running etc. and various actions are also taken in to account (opening doors, jumping walls and so on). Movement order is done using two decks of cards, each character aving a card allocated to them. The Doc below, fo r example is activated on the draw of  the Jack of Clubs. The turn ends when all characters have had the chance to activate twice. There is, of course, the chance to make your own characters rather than using the pre-genereated card ones.

 [A pre=generated character]

The various polygonal dice used, cover five characteristics , Strength, Agility, Scrap, Marksman and guts, with the larger polygonal dice having a better chance of success than the lesser ones. A '5' is always a success, so with a D6 you have a 33% chance of success whilst a D20 gives you an 80% chance of success.  

With the varuety of skills (that everyone has), there is a much better chance of individual charactersiation than I found in TRWNN.  

Where SnS scores highly compared to TRWNN is their 'extras', there are scenarios given, a campaign system and imho, everything has a cost, whether it be characters, weapons, horses or anyting else!

[One of the many weapon cards, showing its cost is $20 - toom right] 

The only feature I didn't take to was the simplified wound system, one wound and your hurt, two wounds and you're out of the fight, not outright 'kills'. 

Without playing a game using these rules it's not really possible to give an idea of how much fun they are or whether or not they'll give a good, fun game, but I'm pretty sure they'll have a lot of followers.

My overall opinion on the rules is that they're a pretty solid set of rules with a lot of good features, I like the characteristion structure, more so than in TRWNN and my old "Old West" rules, and the intiative (using playing cards) does mean all characterst get the chance to act, but the wounding system is lacking  and I prefer the TRWNN system. (I'm pretty sure they latter could be easily combined)

That's it then, a quick and dirty post (sorry), as the current real-life situation wears on I realised I haven't played a game since March this year - a solo Jimland adventure and I've only played with three others, in some six games (or so) in the last three years! It's all very depressing and does little to generate any enthusiasm for anything hobby-related.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as always your comments are welcomed and appreciated.


  1. Sorry to hear that real life is not going well Joe, and I do hope that changes for the better for you soon.
    Nice find on the rules and if your able to combine all the aspects you like from the 3 systems to a game your happy with, that's got to be a good thing

    1. Thanks Dave, I'm sue I';; get out of this depression soon enough.
      I can't say I'm looking forward to having to re-write rules, it's a huge undertaking.

  2. Yes, best wishes Joe! Hope will be well soon.

    1. Thank you Michal, I'm sure everything will improve with time.

  3. Interesting little post Joe & I hope what ever it is that real life is thrown at you sorts its self out soon.

    1. Thanks Frank, it's the game rules that either make or break a game imho.
      Real - life currently sucks for just about everyone and there's a lot of folk much worse off than me..

  4. Hope you get a chance for a game soon Joe!

    1. Thanks MJT, I wish I was motivated enough just to make some progress towards having a game.

  5. Sounds like a good find,hope you get enthused a bit more soon!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, they are a fairly good set of rules, no ambiguity (that I noticed) and some good ideas.
      Throughout my wargaming life, I've always had firends rounf that shared in any gaming venture. Without the input of others it's very difficult (for me at least) to maintain enthusiasm.

  6. Life can be a bit of a bummer at times but just bear in mind it's better than the alternative.

    I believe I've played a game with these rules in my first visit to Devon and DevLAM 17 hosted by the Mad Lord Snapcase. If thats true they gave a good and lively game, I seem to remember one of my characters diving through a window, getting to his feet and then being shot. The only thing I'm not keen on and that applies to most rules is activation and interaction. By that I mean one figure moves and shoots or what ever and everyone waits while they do that before taking their turn in an orderly manner. That's what I like so much about the In Sight Test in 2HW rules, I use it for all interaction between figures, so there's no situation where a figure runs across the street and guns down another figure who just looks on in amazement and can't react because it's not his turn.
    The characterisation in the game was good and adds alot of zest to it.

    Joe I know you prefer player interaction to solo games, have you thought of using WhatsApp as a means of playing a game with others remotely? We've done about half a dozen over the last few months and there are huge benefits (hidden movement, suprise etc) as well as downsides (frustration with lack of oversight) but you get a reasonable amount of cracks, jokes and player interaction and communication. I'm posting our latest game in instalments on the Lead Adventurers Forum on the Cold War board, I'm trying to show how this interaction works in practice although probably not doing a good job.
    The train sets looked good but pretty big thought. Needs a big table but would look spectacular, hope to see them in a game at your place sometime soon.

    1. Thanks Vagabond, I guess life is a biit of bummer for most folk atm and my situation is a lot better than some.
      I originally really liked THW's reaction sysyem, but imo it lost its way in subsequent versions. The end result was everyone "in sight" taking taking their acrion or reaction in Reo (or whatever) order and ccassionally simultaneously. Most of my gaming life was simultaneous movement using written orders or order chits rather than igougo. Having a form of random movement goes against the grain somewhat, but then again I played chess (years ago), As long as a game provides fun without nonesensical situations I'm up for it.
      As it happens, I've just played a solo game using TRWNN, slightly adjusted for my preferences - it will be the subject of tomoroow's post (allowing for blogger;s current idiosyncracies).
      I'll take a look at TLA re 'video'gaming and I have been aware f various gamers using many for of media, Discord and Zoom coming immediately to mind. Like all things techy, I'm not up scratch mot knowing my "WhatsApp" from my "Waaasssuupppp?".
      As for the train it fits nicely (though tightly) on a four foot wide board !

    2. Hope you guys don't mind me butting in here, rules unless in a completive setting should never be set in stone imho.
      What I've been doing for a long time is looking at a lot of different rulesets & trying to see what parts I might use from the different ones, THW games I could never play as per the book even though I just bought the latest release of Large then Life today.

      I think THW's reaction system is a great rule if modified to a different setting, eg if someone shoots at you in real life to things will come into play, your guts & your brains.
      Now if one guy is shooting at you & your behind a big rock, then your reaction would most likely will be to return fire, if on the other hand a whole squad is firing at you & your out in the open you'll more then likely try to get out of there.

      One way to make the two above work would be taking tests on guts & brains & using modifiers, now were THW falls down is that the test would be against REP, so a high REP character will most times does what you want from your action hero & returns fire while a low REP character will most likely duck back to cover.

      Its a simple system for a simple game & works very well if that's what your looking for, but fails if you want a bit more depth, at least that's my take on it.

    3. Thanks for the input Frank. I abandoned using REP as the sole characteristic in my THW games very early on. Deciding What Characteristics a figure should have is a huge job in and of itself. I had Leadership (brains and inter-person action);shooting; melee, fitness, driving and Inititative. I reallyliked the THW two-dice system of using these too. The problem is where do you draw the line? Vagabond uses a whopping 14 ! For(lariat/lasso) western games I have three fighting skills, but could add knife throwing, ropeing, riding, gambling, drinking and many others.
      General xharacteristics for many periods, you could add Luck, Oratory, Spotting and tohers (DnD for example has pick locks and SPot traps for their thief character.

    4. I agree with you Joe that its a huge job & that's why blending different rules can be a big help. As I see it there are 3 things that are at play to how a character works.
      1) Stats, I like 45 Adventure's take on this which is 8 + defence, which unlike the others doesn't reduce as you take damage.
      2) Abilities, which help improve stats, so say I want a guy good with a knife I give him an ability that would improve his shooting or melee when using a knife.
      3) This is one that I think people often over look & its dice, I've found that d6 is to restrictive when trying to make a difference between a character that's very good at something against one that's not, this is made worst by the fact that in most games either a 1 or a 6 will always fail.

      So how do you make all of that work ? well that really depends on what your looking for, Pulp uses 6 stats but uses different dice for different characters, so a leader would use a mix of d8's & 10's while a follower would use d6's on all stats, the leader would also have I think its 3 abilities.
      In Pulp Alley a roll of 4+ is a success, so you can see how using the different dice make different characters better or worse at things.

      45 Adventure uses a d10 & a success is your stat number plus a d10 roll been 10+, eg I've a shoot stat of 5 I'd need a 5+ on a d10 to get a success, now while I like the stat system for 45 Adventure as I think most things can be covered with 8 stats I don't like the abilities system & what equipment you need to be give the character, if I've someone who's a thief then I think he should just have a lockpick, I think with 45 Adventure they're bring it to close to a RPG for me, I'm looking for more of a middle ground.

      I hope all of this is of some help to you Joe & if you want any more info on any ideas just ask.

    5. The dice we use adds another layer of complexity, in skirmish style games I always thought percentage dice were the right way to go, after all there's 100 divisions and I could really get subtle differences between characters. In the end the problem for me is that you have to throw a lot of dice to get an average result. The greater the numbers on the dice the worse the situation gets and basically I want to get average results so that the better man will win most times in reality rather than theoretically.
      I've read far too many game reports where someone says "my bad dice lost me the game" if the dice are that powerful then what is the point in messing about with characteristics and tactics we might as well ignore them.
      To get average results you need to throw a hell of a lot of dice. I've played backgammon against an app that records the stats and in 180 games usind d6 I won 1st move 80 times and the app won 100. So after 180 dice rolls I'm still not getting the average rolls I would expect, using percentage dice the situation will be much worse.
      We've all gamed for decades and I think we all have come to use a variation on a similar theme to give us a similar result. I know that at the end of almost all of my games I never think that the dice unduly influenced the outcome where as when I used percentage dice in the Runequest rules I used for a while they always influenced the outcome significantly.

      Anyway it's good news that we will see a western game reports soon, I look forward to it. :)

    6. Thanks Frank, Vagabond.
      This is the sort of discussion I really miss. When I first connected dice with gaming with figures (back in the sixties) it was an eye opener.
      Types of dice will give some variety of results as did using am Average D6 rather than a normal D6 (top score is only two and a half times better than the woprst scoere, rather than six times.
      Shoot n Skedattle using a D6, D8, D12 and a D20 for different levels of abilty, each needing a 5 to hit. This gives probabilities of 33%, 50%, 66% and 80%.
      Using a single D6, this is almost the same as needing a 5,6 (33%) for the first level, then adding one for the three subsequent levels, giving 50%, 66% and 83% - we don't always need 'fancy' dice to get the effect we're after !
      In real life I studied Maths and Statistics (probably why I like rules so much). You have to understand what probabilty you want (approximately) to get the result you want most of the time.
      Rolling lots of times helps to skew the results towards what you're looking for.
      I agree with Vagabond about using percentile dice too it's like tossing a single coin rather than than several and give wild results (I use them for Cthulhu rpgs).
      It's amazing what results you can get just using D6s in innovative ways.