Power Armor

Power Armor
Khurasan power armor infantry with conversions

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rail Gun: Wargaming Rules for Starship Combat, playtest version available

I have put up my in-development space-ship rules on Wargame Vault in PDF form

I've seen a few other designers put a playtest version up for cheap (this one is $1.99 USD), so thought I'd give it a try, too. If you get it now, you get all the updates and will have the complete game when it's done. You can also give playtest suggestions, comments, ideas for scenarios and ships, or harangue me generally, as you see fit.

The game is intended as medium complexity--in between hard-core, 3-d tactical simulations and beer-and-pretzel fleet action games. Here are some details:

1) A typical game involves 2-8 ships per side, and takes 45 minutes to 2 hours to play.
2) The game uses D6s and measurements in inches or centimeters, and is scale neutral--you can use any sized ships. It requires a 3'x3' or bigger space.
3) Light bookeeping is required. Each ship's data card fits on a 3x5 index card or less.
4) Movement is done by "vector." There's nothing to slow you down in space and there is no in-game speed limit. Speed carries over from turn to turn.
5) Knowing that the enemy is out there is one thing; hitting them with fire is another. Detecting targets—and trying to make yourself less detectable—are built into the firing rules.
6) Once a ship starts getting damaged, it will likely lose key systems in a hurry.
7) Weapons are simplified to three classes of guns and three classes of missiles, plus close-in defense systems.
8) The game is played 2-d.

Sample Ship Data Card

I also plan to include simple, 2-d ship counters for players who want to get straight to the game, or prefer the super-cheap route of printing ships on paper rather than buying and painting models.


Andy Nelson, author and illustrator of the orbital combat game ASAT, has come aboard as Rail Gun's artist/illustrator.  Here's some of the ships he's designed, which will be included in the game.  They can be printed and used as 2-d ship counters.


  1. Hi.
    Downloaded the rules and had a read - sounds interesting.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks, Roman! There will be another update soon; playtesting has found the damage chart to be too harsh, and a few numbers are getting tweaked. Got some much better ship charts on the way, too.

    2. Hello there, I downloaded it too and I think it looks great - any idea when the new charts will be available? Thanks :)

    3. Thanks for the download! I have been distracted from Rail Gun for a while, by my WWII rules set and by stupid life stuff. I plan to get back to the game this month. I have plans for significant changes. The rules will hopefully get updated before the end of the year.