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The WS&S Rules Challenge

In our current issue (WS&S 93), in Parting Shots, Mark Backhouse sets out our challenge to wargamers and to lay down the gauntlet for all you budding rules writers out there.

Your challenge is to come up with an aesthetically pleasing wargame that can be played out over a single evening.

  • It must be portable and no larger than a 2' x 2' footprint when set up. Any terrain should be able to fit in a shoebox, file box, or equivalent-sized container.
  • It must contain figures, although they can be of any scale. The costs for the figures must come in at £30 new or under, although we will assume that your measuring devices, dice, bases, flock, and paints are things you have already and do not need to be counted. We don’t need to split hairs over receipts and every last penny. Boxes of figures can be sensibly split – e.g. you use half a box of plastic figures and budget this as half the price of the box.
  • The rules should be able to fit on two pages of the magazine (so a word count of about 1600 words!).
  • It should look eye-catching and visually attractive. There is no budget for the terrain, but cheaper and scratch-built terrain will be looked on positively.
  • It should have some replay value.
  • Games should last between 20 minutes and three hours.
  • Games will be judged on innovation, artistic merit, playability, and portability. The games will be judged by Guy, Jasper, Mark, Rich? and Rick? The judges’ decision is final.
  • The best entries will be featured in WSS. The winning game will win a year’s subscription to WSS and be published in the magazine.
  • Entries should be sent to the editor, addressed as the ‘WSS challenge’, and include photographs of the game and a Word document of the rules along with a list of costing and a paragraph-long game synopsis.
  • The final deadline is March 1st, 2018.

So get creative and start thinking out of the box! Should you go for a skirmish game with bigger figures? Gladiators, a dungeon crawl, WW2 street fighting, or Three Musketeers spring to mind here for me – but can you be more creative? Can anyone come up with a bigger battle set to rival the seminal DBA? Should it be based around a specific battle or campaign or a more generic period? Would a naval or aerial game help to offset the fiscal restrictions? Or would you be better off utilising plastic figures or smaller scales? Would 10 mm, 6 mm or even 2/3 mm be more useful? How would you handle making attractive and portable terrain?


5 thoughts on “The WS&S Rules Challenge”

  • Keith Charnley

    Hi - can we use wooden blocks rather than figures - like Columbia Games/GMT?

    • Guy Bowers

      I spoke with Mark B. He said "I think it said it should be figures... But I'm open to wooden blocks if they've got a good idea! Bear in mind we are scoring them on aesthetics as well as gameplay though. Also, note the £30.00 limit does not include terrain."

      • Keith Charnley

        Ok - so I have a set of Ancient Rules on a 2 x A4 page format that our Group is going to start playtesting. I have a suggestion. A Game board within the magazine with counters (effectively bases for 10mm figures) that can be removed from the magazine and counters glued on card. There are rules for bigger (2' x 4' battles - 2 x maps) and bigger battles ( 2' x 6'). Terrain would also be 2D. All could be replaced of course by actual terrain - I'll include prices for all that. Alternatively everything could be downloaded from your website. That would allow for everything to remain well in-budget. If that is ok I'll submit everything once playtesting has finished. Thanks, Keith

  • Jon Yuengling

    Finishing up an idea and I need to know do where to send the rules.

    • Guy Bowers

      Sure, no problem. Entries should be sent to the editor, addressed as the ‘WSS challenge’, and include photographs of the game and a Word document of the rules along with a list of costing and a paragraph-long game synopsis.

      My email is

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