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Building a ruleset; where to start?!

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 05/13/2011


First let me start by stating I am a total Noob when it comes to designing rules and such, so I hope you bare with me! ;)

Me and my brother are going to make some miniatures/kits of mecha suits and want to have a game to go along with them so people cannot only buy and paint them but also have some fun time playing a game with them. We have the theme and background pretty much settled but now the tricky part comes and that is designing the rules for the game!

I have some early ideas on how movement, shooting, etc could go but am lost on how to build up the mechs. I think of armour values, weapon systems, shields and all but how would I go about what values to assign where and how much points would the finished mechs be in the end? There are lets say three basic types of mecha (and many sub-levels!) for example; light, medium and heavy and there is a pool of points to be distributed to the different areas to establish what class a mech should be placed in each with his own limitations. Each pool would be of the same value but it depends on where you place them.

For example; a lightclass mech has a maximum of 10 (just saying something!) armour value and can have 2/3 weapon systems and a maximum of 15 inch/cm movement. While a heavy class mech would have a maximum of 15 armour value and can have up to 5/6 weapon systems and a maximum of 5 inch/cm movement.

For movement and shooting and all other actions I am thinking about using an energy pool. Say each mecha has 20 (?) energy points which he can use to move, shoot, fight and any other actions that might be available. Again with each system having its limitations. For example a player can use up to ... points on movement, so many points on shooting/weapons systems etc..

It might be wise to explain that the mecha we are going to make are intended for 28-32mm scale wargaming and that the mecha will be varying from 8 to 12 cm in height, give or take. For now the mechanics will focus on the mecha fighting each other but at a later stage other things will be added like Monster Machines, mutants and mech-zombies and such! ;)

Hope my first post makes a bit of sense (?) and that there are some people here who can maybe guide me in the right direction!

Thanks up front!!!


Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
As I see it you can go at

As I see it you can go at this in two different ways.

Do some guessing at what everything is worth, test the game and adjust, retest and adjust, retest and adjust etc… until it works as planned.


Devise a metric i.e. a way to measure the value of your Mech components in regards to each other, test the game and adjust, retest and adjust, retest and adjust etc… until it works as planned.

For example

Lt Laser; Range 3, Damage 1d6, Power Draw 1
Range x Average Damage – Power draw = Cost or 3x3.5-1= 9.5 round up to 10

Hvy Laser Range 4, Damage 2d6, Power Draw 3
Cost = 25 (4x7-3)

If your metric is well thought out it will lessen then number of playtests you need but if it’s not it not any better than a guess.

zipplockbag's picture
Joined: 01/12/2012
I had a question along the

I had a question along the same lines. Is there a tutorial or online guide that helps with writing clear and concise rules? I'm never fully satisfied with what I write down in terms of clarity to new players.

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
As far as the actual writing

As far as the actual writing of the rules go I’m no English Major but I do have a standard way to lay out rules that works for most games. There is some variation from game to game but they are mostly laid out in this order.


Credits and copyright

Number of players, age range, length of game.

Components list

Back story



Game rounds and player turn summery

Explain each rule in the order players need to know them. If the fist action on a players turn is to draw cards explain that first, if actions can be taken in any order explain the most commonly used ones first. Explain exceptions as part of the rule they are an exception of.

Reiteration of the objective with details on how it is achieved

After that you might add sections for strategy advice, variants, etc…

Here is a link to one of my rules sets after editing and layout by the publisher.

Nitro Dice

Joined: 05/13/2011
Thank you for the helpful

Thank you for the helpful advice Dralius! :)

heavyrocks's picture
Joined: 02/11/2012
I would look at websites that

I would look at websites that explain how to play games (Wikipedia articles on Chess, Checkers...) and see how they go about it. Also, try explaining your game to friends that haven't heard of it in different orders and see which way seems the least confusing to them.

Joined: 05/13/2011
That sounds like a good idea,

That sounds like a good idea, explaining (well, try too) it to different people and I guess to experienced gamers as well as to people not familiar with miniature gaming at all!


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