When are enough rules enough? Shooting

With recent hype around possible changes to Warhammer 40k with 10th edition on the horizon I’ve been thinking a lot about Deathzap. Namely, what do I want from it as a ruleset?

The early forms of it were simple and streamlined rulesets primarily designed for quick and deadly games, mostly to inspire me to write stories where the outcome is never set in stone.

As things developed I think I became so enamoured with my imagi-verse that I wanted more rules, more granularity, more personality for each unit.

I don’t really know where I stand now, and I think it’s a difficult balance for any rules writer to strike. Simplicity is easy, complication is easy, elegance is hard.

So stripping everything back to its bare basics, how many rules do you actually need?

So some Reddinists are advancing on a Su Khan position.

What if we said:

Rifles have a 24” range, Repeaters 12”, Medium Repeaters 24”, Heavy Repeaters 36” and Destroyers 36”.

You roll 1 die when shooting per Rifle, 2 for Repeaters, 6 for Medium or Heavy Repeaters and 1 for a Destroyer.

From left to right: Rifle, Repeater, Medium Repeater, Heavy Repeater, Destroyer.

A single hit is scored on a 6 regardless of weapon. The target unit takes 1 casualty per hit if they are in the open, 1 casualty per 2 hits if they are in soft cover and 1 casualty per 3 hits if they are in hard cover. Destroyers ignore cover and so if they hit automatically cause a casualty.

Armoured vehicles like tanks can only be damaged by Destroyers (or in melee) and can take a certain number of hits before being destroyed.

Is there anymore really to worry about when it comes to shooting? Don’t worry suppression will be dealt with when I think more about morale, and my plan from here is to look at each aspect of a wargame and hopefully find something simple and workable!

11 thoughts on “When are enough rules enough? Shooting

  1. You’ve covered range, firepower and cover so that’s the essentials dealt with. You *could* add a lot of chrome but IMHO it’ll just get in the way, with the possible exception of the infrequent personal bonus (+1 to hit for snipers, that sort of thing). Of course, this doesn’t cover indirect fire, assuming such a thing exists in Deathzap.

    When I’m thinking about rules, I find that adding complexity to the ‘mechanical’ aspects of a game, like shooting or moving, doesn’t improve the play experience, it just slows it down. Some people just love complex weapons charts or multi-stage results resolution, and I ask myself why. Here are 2 suggestions: a) the more complicated the system, the more one assumes it is ‘realistic’ – which of course isn’t necessarily so, and b) the more complicated the system the more difficult it is to predict the results of fire beforehand, so you can get a sort of enjoyable tension as you resolve it.

  2. The tension thing is a good point, I’ve always liked mechanics where you need to roll doubles or triples because the maths is far harder to figure out. What if I said then instead of needing a 6, to kill a figure in the open you need a double, in soft cover a triple, and in hard cover a quad?

  3. Hmm, well like you say, it’s quite hard to work out the probabilities there, so people might find that mechanic fascinating! Personally, I prefer simple rules where you can easily see the intention of the designer, so I would prefer your original rule. Ideally the tension and challenge should come from gameplay decisions, luck and chance.

  4. Some of the most interesting sets I’ve seen see things from the other direction. Rather than worry too much about the firer, you merely test for the target. The firers are assumed to be always firing. You just roll for the figures fired at, depending on the weight of fire they’re facing.
    So whilst the figure would rarely be hit, they would often stop what they’re doing to duck behind cover and hide

  5. Doesn’t it depend on how many dice you are rolling (which depends on your firepower)? In other words, the chance of rolling one quad would be higher if you roll 10 dice than if you roll 4. Like I said, I prefer your original rule because my head doesn’t hurt when I think about it!

  6. Lol, I’m sticking to the original anyway. After a little playtest shootout just needing doubles for a kill was far too deadly. And yeah the odds Chris was explaining there I think would be for rolling a quad with four dice.

  7. I’ve just replied but I think spambot ate my comment because it had a link in it. Yes, 1 in 216 would be correct. There are some good online stats calculators around. omnicalculator is easy to use. I try to avoid needing them 🙂

    Regards, Chris.

  8. I’ve just read the follow up comments. A quad kill in hard cover from a medium or heavy repeater firing 10d6 is 10 in 1,296 or 1 in 129.6. A quad kill from 4d6 is 4 in 1,296 or 1 in 324, and 6d6 is still 1 in 216 🙂 . Sorry for not replying sooner.

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