Advisory Note

Please Note: This blog contains poorly painted toy soldiers that may offend those of an aesthetically sensitive disposition.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Advent Game

This year I have been fortunate enough to have been given a Lego* Star Wars* Advent Calendar. Behind each door is a little model to build; some are figures and some are little space ships. (* Lego and Star Wars are Trade Marks - other plastic building bricks and Science Fiction Film franchises are available)
I have always enjoyed playing with Lego (when I was a child of course it was simply red and white bricks and blue roof tiles - oh dear poor old grand-dad) and building the little models is a great distraction from the dreary Breakfast News; however, it naturally occurred to me that more fun could be had from the little toys. Now that I have opened 9 of them I have 4 spaceships so what better than a space battle?
For some time I've wanted to try the Portable Wargame Air Combat Rules but I don't have any suitable planes, so instead I give to you the Portable Space Combat... Fun for all the Family.
1. Make some Spaceships from Lego bricks
2. Place them at each side of the gridded board - I have written these rules for square grids but they could easily be changed to hexes - I have only tried on a 10 x 8 grid so far; more grids would of course allow for more manoeuvring.
3. Determine the Strength Points (SP), Move rate and weapon range of your spaceships - so far I have tried giving ships about 5 or 6 SP and (due to the small board) limited speed to a move rate of 6 and weapon range of 4
4. As I currently only have 4 spaceships I have not bothered with Exhaustion Point
5. Roll for initiative
6. Movement - Movement is mandatory (minimum move of 1 grid space); Each 90o change of direction ‘costs’ the loss of 1 grid area of movement. No Spaceship may occupy the same grid space as another. Being adjacent to an enemy is allowed (there is no melee or boarding!)
Example of movement and turning
7. Firing - All ranges are measured through the edges of the grids not the corners. Spaceships may only fire once per Turn. Arc of Fire is 45 degrees (see below for illustration). Movement may be accompanied by firing (without penalty) at any single point during a manoeuvre.
Example of movement including firing - move limit is 8 for this vessel
Spaceships throw either 2d6 for forward or 1d6 for rear fire at enemies within arc of fire / range.
Blue's forward Arc of Fire - arrows show direction of travel

As above

Blue's Rear Arc of Fire

 The Front (bow?) of a Spaceship requires a 6 to hit; the sides and rear require 5 or 6 (they have less shielding). Each hit reduces the enemy's SP by 1 (so forward fire can possibly cause 2 SP damage).

Advanced (!!!) Rules

Bonuses can be applied to Ace Pilots, eg +1 to hit dice

Random Asteroids or Space Junk can appear on the throw of 6 at the start of each Turn (dice or draw cards for its starting row) - the object will float across the board in a straight line 1 square at a time until it leaves the field of play - the object moves before the players and will cause 1 SP damage to a spaceship it hits (being itself destroyed on contact). The object can be destroyed by fire on the roll of 5 or 6.

For (Han) Solo games make starting positions random.

Make adjustable stands from Lego to add a third (z) dimension to x and y movement or to allow for attacking surface objects during battles inside a Planets' atmosphere (I haven't tried this yet).

Hidden movement (Cloaking Devise) rules could be created - Spaceships only become visible once they fire...

Make space weapon noises and hum the theme to your favourite Science Fiction film during play for extra enjoyment.

A few pictures of the experimental games

Starting Positions

Two Spaceships engage

Double hit

An Asteroid floats into the game

A Star Cruiser of the Evil Space Empire is destroyed


  1. Like the rules a lot Jack, simple enough to learn quickly but with enough going on to give a challenging game. I may have to raid the kids toybox......again.

    1. Thanks Mr Sprinks - get the kids to build some spaceships!

  2. Brilliant! Nice little portable wargame.

    1. Thank you - They're Bob Cordery's rules that I've just tweeked a little.

  3. Excellent fun and improvisation MJT. There are some great (non-franchise) mini space ship fighter designs in The Lego Ideas Book, look for the microships on pages 86-89.

  4. Thanks for the suggestion Mark - I'm waiting until I've opened all the doors before I try and have a larger game; at that point I will certainly be trying to make my own craft from the Lego my kids still have at home. I do like the fact that Lego (the Company) seem to have a policy of adding a couple of extra bits to each kit - even from the Advent Calendar there's already a little pile of bits to add to some scratch-builds!

  5. Nice looking system, always a pleasure to see creative games...and lego is full of (wonderful) memories!

  6. Thank you Phil. Lego has survived amazingly well over the years and is still fun even for old men like me!

  7. Nice system, very pleasant to discover so much creativity. If I had some time (some more time I mean), I would write a skirmish system in which your heroes may change their pieces of equipment - on thing the Lego heroes can do !!

    1. Nice idea Phil. I've been fiddling around with some skirmish game ideas but hadn't got as far as individual weapons - it would combine a Wargame with an RPG rather nicely.

    2. Yes, exactly ! And I think that our old Playmobils could do the job too :)