When are enough rules enough? Part 4 – The Big Battle

So my quest for bigger, quicker and simpler games of Deathzap is somewhat over. I compiled my previous posts into a ruleset and played a big game: three platoons of infantry and a tank on each side, a total of 151 minis in play!

The ALL vs SynJen

I did make one pretty huge change to the rules before I began, swapping out my melee rules for what I’m calling ‘Close Assault’ rules instead inspired by similar rules in Laserburn Imperial Commander. So here’s what I’m tentatively calling Deathzap 4 in its entirety, there are some small changes to the rules posted previously:


Players take turns. The player whose turn it is is referred to as the Active Player. The other player is referred to as the Enemy Player.

During the Active Player’s turn they can attempt activate each of their units once. To activate a unit they roll 2D6, if the unit is Elite they will activate on a 4 or higher, if the unit is Regular on a 5 or higher and if the unit it Basic they will activate on a 6 or higher.

The dice roll is reduced by 1 for each casualty the unit suffered in the Enemy Player’s previous turn. So if a unit took 2 casualties a roll of 7 would equal 5. If a unit’s modified roll is equal to or less than 0 the unit is broken and is removed from play.

If the player successfully makes the roll then the unit can move once and can attack an enemy unit if possible. If the roll is failed the unit does not activate this turn. If the player rolls snake eyes the unit does not activate and their turn is immediately over.


A unit can move up to their movement value in inches and shoot in the same activation, or attack an enemy in Close Assault. Or move up to double but they cannot shoot. If a unit moves up to double they can fight an enemy in Close Assault. In any case a unit moves and then attacks, they cannot attack and then move, or move attack move.

InfantryBeasts, Light VehiclesMonsters, Heavy Vehicles

Use common sense to modify movement values in regards to terrain. For example -1” for clearing a low obstacle. Discuss movement modifiers with your opponent before beginning.

SynJen advance!


A unit must have line of sight to shoot at another unit.

A weapon cannot hit a target that is outside of its range.

The number of dice rolled for a weapon is equal to its ‘Shots’ stat.

Medium Repeater24”6
Heavy Repeater36”6
Vehicle Destroyer48”3

A single hit is scored on a 6 regardless of weapon. The number of hits required to cause a casualty are as below:

 In the OpenSoft CoverHard Cover
Infantry, Beasts123
Light Vehicles123
Heavy Vehicles234

Light Vehicles, Heavy Vehicles and Monsters can only be harmed by Grenades, Destroyers or Vehicle Destroyers and when they would be taken as a casualty instead roll a die:

1No Effect
2-3Immobilised, the unit cannot move for the rest of the battle.
6Explodes/ Rampage – The unit is killed, and each unit within D6” takes D6 hits.

Any hits scored on a unit that were not enough to cause a casualty remain on the unit and are added to the hits of the next unit that fires on them. Any next unit must score at least one hit to take advantage of the remaining hits. Any remaining hits are removed at the end of the turn.

The ALL counter charge.


When two units come into within 6” a bout of Close Assault is fought between them. Players take it in turns to select one figure, perform a 3” move and then make an attack. This continues until all figures have had the opportunity to do so other than those that are killed before they get the chance. The Active Player counts as the attacker and so selects a figure first.

Shooting attacks in Close Assault are as below:

Medium RepeaterD65+
Heavy RepeaterD35+
Vehicle Destroyer15+

Attacks is the number of times a figure can shoot with their weapon when activated in Close Assault. ‘To Kill’ is the die roll required to kill their targets. A figure must always target their closest enemy first. The die roll to kill is modified as follows and a natural 6 always kills:

+1 Attacker Elite, -1 Attacker Basic, -1 Target has Hard Cover.

Heavy Vehicles and Monsters can only be harmed by Grenades, Destroyers or Vehicle Destroyers in this instance, and roll on their damage table as with normal shooting.

If a figure moves into base to base contact with an enemy they can instead make a melee attack against that enemy.

Roll a die for each figure and the higher roller kills their target, reroll ties. Die rolls are modified as below:

Light Vehicle+1+0-1
Heavy Vehicle+3+2+1

If the activated figure kills their target they can make a 3” move and attack another enemy. They can keep going until they fail to make it into base to base contact with an enemy. If killed by a melee attack a vehicle or monster is just killed.

After the Close Assault is fought the side that took the most casualties is destroyed. Remove any remaining figures from play.

If a unit comes within 6” of multiple enemy units they select one enemy unit and resolve Close Assault against that unit first, then the Enemy Player can choose either to move their other units away, so they are further away than 6”, or continue the Close Assault. If the Enemy Player chooses to continue the Active Player chooses another enemy unit within 6” and resolves Close Assault against them. Each figure in the assaulting unit can attack again, even if they attacked in the previous Close Assault.


If a player loses half of the units they started the battle with then they immediately lose the game as their entire force routs.

After a brutal battle the ALL are victorious!

So that’s all of the rules, and I have to say they play really well. One of the things I’ve often struggled with in big but simple games is they can often get very samey as the game goes on, but the different mechanics for shooting and close assault really break things up and keep your interest. Not only that but Repeaters (SMGs) feel like they should, and I unintentionally found myself pinning targets with the longer ranged Rifles and then sending in the Repeater squads to mop up what was left. It’s like fire and movement actually works.

Sparked on by this new ruleset I’ve even started tarting up my old Deathzap figures originally painted quickly using contrast paints. My Reddinists now look a little less like they work for Ronald MacDonald.

On a final note, here’s the hobby spend round up for the year so far… after wading through bank statements because I haven’t checked this for a while:

Hobby Spend: £583.06

Which is much bigger than I was expecting… don’t get into Warhammer kids, stick to the cheap stuff!

Total Value painted: £350.52

Which is not the ratio I wanted to see! Looks like I’ll be doing a lot more painting before I do anymore buying!

3 thoughts on “When are enough rules enough? Part 4 – The Big Battle

  1. Really interesting! Sounds like a fun fast-play set of rules that could be used for WW2. You know I like to ask questions to check I’ve understood, right? So… if an infantry unit starts 10″ from an enemy, wants to assault, and moves double (12″) so could in theory reach that unit, then it would have to stop when 6″ away? And then it could move individual figures 3″ leaving them 1″ away from contact, which would mean that they could shoot at close range but not melee (unless some defenders chose to close the range)? I don’t know whether that is good or bad or if it even matters in game outcome terms, it just seems slightly counter-intuitive…

    Hmm, if faced with a charging monster, without any shooting weapons, is there a danger it could get stuck out of melee range?

  2. Thanks for the question, that’s probably something I need to clarify that I missed. When the attacking unit moves they can move closer than 6”, they don’t stop there. So if you want your melee only guys to get in you’ll have to make sure they stop within 3” of the enemy unit. I think that answers your question. I should probably also clarify unit coherency and regrouping after a close assault.

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