11 September 2008

Battle Mechanica - An experimental diceless wargame

This post is a continuation from my previous post here. In this post, I will discuss about the general idea behind Battle Mechanica - my first attempt at creating a diceless wargame - and the (still early) core mechanics of this game. Please bear in mind that this is a Work-In-Progress, which means that the game is still incomplete and is subject to change at any time by the designer.

What is Battle Mechanica?
Battle Mechanica is an attempt at creating a tabletop wargame that forgoes the use of dice-rolling to determine an outcome. It instead uses diceless combat resolution that uses simple calculations to make the game easier and faster to play, while remaining tactically realistic and engaging.

This game was inspired by a lot of gaming systems. Its core mechanics was primarily inspired by Little Fantasy Wars and Hordes & Heroes, while the units took inspirations from Games Workshop's Warhammer: 40,000 universe. It uses paper cutouts as units and terrains, but players may use miniatures and 3D gaming terrains instead as long as they in proper scale.

Why use a diceless system?
Dice-rolling systems rely on chance to resolve an outcome, where your success is entirely dependant on having as much dice in your hand as possible. It also tends to lead players into taking extreme risk by hoping for a miracle roll - which is antithetical to a sound, tactical approach. In actual warfare, generals do not take chances; though commanders do at times take calculated risk, they do so only after meticulous planning.

By taking out artificial randomizers (such as dice) from a wargame, players will have to execute brilliant tactics rather than counting on blind luck to win a battle. Just like in a poker game, a diceless wargame is where you play against your opponent's skill, not your opponent's luck.

The diceless combat system - In a nutshell
The system uses simple attribute comparison to determine whether a unit could cause casualties upon the ranks of the enemy. In melee combat, for instance, two opposing units simply compare their Combat attribute against one another - the unit with a higher Combat attribute therefore will cause casualties on the other unit, while the other unit will most likely only be able to weaken it's enemy (that is, injuring or wounding the enemy ranks).

This simple system is used in many aspects of the game, from determining whether a charge could break the ranks of an enemy infantry to calculating whether a unit of spearmen could falter after the third wave of attack.

In my next post, I will briefly explain some of the aspects of the system, including Units and their Characteristics, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile, you might be interested to check out my other blogs, Epiphany! and The Borneon Ninja. If you like stagnant blogs, I recommend the latter.

Creative Commons License
Battle Mechanicum by Daniel Marcus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. No luck rolls. Now that is what i like.

    Would love to be a tester for this.

    So how will the army miniatures/ models be done? nice print out cupboards papers on a stand?

  2. attributes and characteristics.. i think there's a similar game to this. but i like how this portrayed than the other.

  3. @Fox - We don't use cupboards coz' they're too big. Instead use cardboard cutouts, which effectively makes it look like tokens.

    @Edgar - Thanks!

    @Mas - There'll be a variant that uses dice, but not anytime soon. Sorry.



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