Skirmish: Wallet Friendly Wargaming is a tactical wargame depicting combat encounters between two small armies, battling either for objectives or for annihilation. Unlike similar wargames, however, Skirmish does not use miniatures or measurements, and is played entirely with dice and an eight-by-eight square grid. The aim is a wargame with a low barrier to entry that’s accessible on a tight budget, with simple base rules but plenty of space to build on.
The Skirmish core rulebook takes place on war-torn Tourlian, where the industrialised war machine of the Mordaunt Empire clashes endlessly with the loosely aligned states of the Ventrasse Alliance. Though the endless Tamerlane Wars have now become the norm for the people of Tourlian, very few know that the war itself is the result of an coup d’état by the Mordaunt prince-regent Beauregard – a means to both consolidate his power and stamp out the sorcerous traditions of Witch-Queen Ventrasse.
But this is but one of the worlds and wars Skirmish can be used to portray. Making your own units for your own setting is as simple as filling out a table, and the base system is kept intentionally flexible so the same rules can work to represent everything from hunting packs of velociraptors to fleets of battleships. Will you fight in Beauregard’s battles for succession or bring us to entirely new planes of existence? The choice is yours, and so are the tools to make them.
“This is goddamn great. Simple, elegant, perfect for the jam, and makes me want to play the original game desperately.” – Jay Dragon, creator of Sleepaway and Wanderhome, speaking about the original version of Skirmish
How Does It Work?
Skirmish creates a battlefield using a regular 8×8 chess board. All units are assigned a dice size (such as d6 or d20) that represents what unit they are. The dice’s shown number is used to track the unit’s health, and spins down as the unit becomes damaged. When their health reaches zero, the die (and the unit) is removed. Each player can also build terrain at the start of the game, using dice boxes (or anything available) to represent both half and full cover spaces.
Rules for units are collated by distinct Armies, each with a handful of units. Within an Army, each unit is assigned a unique dice size, so that each player can keep track of what’s going on at any time. Players take turns to command their Armies, giving Move and Action commands as in typical turn-based wargames. Victory is achieved by wiping out enemy forces or through optional objectives such as keeping a certain unit alive or reaching the other side of the board.