Category Archives: Digital Rules

New Viking Looter Cards

I’m going to run VIKING LOOTERS (the old Viking Raiding game by JIm Birdseye) at game camp next week.  Much of the game’s action is handled through the cards.  The file that I received from Brian Whitaker was great but not formatted for standard business card sized cards– I kept losing alignment during printing.  So to remedy this I recently reformatted the card deck to use a standard business card template originating from Avery.  This is their “Graduation announcement” template which should fit most business cards blanks, including 5571.  I’m very pleased with how these came out.  If you have a use for this kind of game, here are the rules and the cards (the important part).  Cards are in PDF and Word.  Rules are in Word.

Microsoft Word link
Adobe PDF link


(the last sheet is blank in both PDF and Word so you can write some of your own)

I think the end result is worth the effort.

This is a fun time and plays well with younger folks.   The rules aren’t much, maybe a page and a half at most.  The big laughs come with how you handle it as a referee. Enjoy!


Digital Rules: TANK DUEL, a fun team game by Jim Wallman!

After reading LITTLE LAMBENT METEORS last month, I was intrigued enough by the designs of Jim Wallman.  Mr. Wallman is a talented guy, with a sense of whimsy that I really enjoy.  He designs games about most historic eras and scales and on a number of obscure topics (like street riots!).  I like what he does.  You might, as well.  Check out his website. Next on the agenda for an epub conversion is TANK DUEL by Jim Wallman.  This is a fascinating approach to a double blind miniatures game that I really would like to try at my Summer Gaming camp for kids.  Basically, you assign a team of four (or more, or less) players to a single tank model– the Commander, The Gunner, the Driver and the Loader.  Each role has something very specific to do.  Combine that with double-blind sighting mechanics and an emphasis on running the game at breakneck speed.. well, this could be batshit crazy when it gets on the table.  Count me in! Tank Duel is available on Jim’s website for free download as a PDF.  I converted it to epub for about a 50 per cent size reduction.  You can find it on the Digital Rules page in the standard place.  Just click on the cover below. There is also a one sheet reference that outlines what the roles in the game do.  I’ve made this available HERE. copyright-td

Charge Pikes! (2005) now in Digital Rules Library

Go to the DIGITAL RULES library (top of this page) to download

Back in 2005, Wesly Rogers offered us a set of English Civil War/Musket and Pike rules as a free download from his Angelfire page (now sadly gone). Through some diligent searching I found the original rules in PDF, though not the playsheets.  Charge Pikes! is a very decent set of Musket and Pike era rules, reasonably well written, although I did break up some of the excessively long sections into separate smaller sections for ease of conversion into EPUB format.  This was an easy conversion, as the PDF was printed from a Word Document, but there are a lot of tables I screen captured and added in.   I was GOING to color each section’s tables a different color, but that got tedious.  So we’ll live with it as is.  The cover looks like old WRG style books, I retained that out of a sense of nostalgia.

I have no idea how to get in touch with Wesly Rogers but  I presume as this was freely available on Freewargamerules at some point, he has no problem with converting a PDF to an EPUB.  He can contact me if there’s a problem.

As usual, this can be found on the DIGITAL RULES page (tab is up top).  This is NOT found in “Commercial, Out of Print” section.  It’s in the Non-Commercial Wargame Rules (Local Files) section.

Deathmaze (SPI) has been added to Digital Rules

Deathmaze Cover (Click for BGG Listing)

I have added an old favorite of mine from the old SPI days, DEATHMAZE, to the Digital Rules page.  This was a very old tile laying, build a dungeon as you go design presented as a FOLIO style game by SPI (there were four in the Fantasy and SF series, see the Microgames page (above) for more history on that).

Note that this is a conversion of the original games rules text, which can be found online as a somewhat sketchy PDF.  I should know, I believe I created the original a very long time ago when I built a Cyberboard gamebox to play Deathmaze via PBeM.  See the link to BGG (above, click the picture) to download that file if you have an interest in playing via cyberboard.

Note, as well, that I added a “Chapter 11” in SPI Case format, which includes all the information and tables published in the MOVES 51 advanced rules for Deathmaze variant.  I know there’s an old ARES article on Deathmaze out there somewhere, and if it includes new material and I can get it OCR’d somehow, I may add that material to this epub in the future.  (late edit: I tracked that down.  It was a review, not a variant).  For now, it’s fairly complete as is.

Note that the “Section 12” Deathmaze Charts 1 and 2 are a Snapshot of an old excel file I created way back in the 90s to replicate the game charts.  I think it’s reasonably clear but you may need to zoom in.

Original counter scan included.. just for reference. Counters in Epubs are a bit of a waste of time.

To actually play the game using this epub file, you’ll need to print out some Dungeon Tiles  on a color printer somewhere, or have the original set handy.  No need to reinvent the wheel here.  There are some nice sets available on the Boardgamegeek page for Deathmaze.  Click the picture above to visit that page.  You might also need to print out counters for the monsters (or use 10mm or 6mm miniatures from various vendors) to represent the monsters and party of adventurers.  There are new counters on Boardgamegeek, click the cover graphic above.

If you don’t feel like printing anything, you can try playing it with Cyberboard.  I made that module years ago and I can tell you it uses the original SPI images, somewhat modified.  So take it with a grain of salt.

I favor these, since you can print them sized to have a tiny miniature dungeon party to explore in them:

FILES: as always, find the EPUB file in the DIGITAL RULES page, under Commercial Game, Out of Print.


Ram Speed, now available as an Epub

One of my favorite old Metagaming Microhistory games by far is RAM SPEED. Ram Speed was a dirt-simple galley warfare board game designed to play with galley counters on a hex grid.  With not much work or brain power expended, the game mechanics of Ram Speed converted easily to miniatures game play.

I’ve run games of Ram Speed with multiple NAVWAR 1:1200 galleys in play and it worked just fine.  Of course, it would be optimal on a hexmap, if you have one, but converting hexes to inches always worked for me.

Conversion notes:

I scanned and OCR’d the best of my copies of the original, but this is a game that is over 30 years old now so I had to work at fixing the many typos that cropped up from OCRing old, faded and wrinkled paper rules.  If you find something I missed, be kind and let me know.  The original text wasn’t exactly one of Metagaming’s best efforts, having been typset on an IBM Selectra typewriter.   I also created a new cover for the EPUB version.  The one that is on the historical pocket cardboard box that was the final product has messed up color separation and has always been challenging to read.  My version is in the spirit of the original and is perhaps a tad more easy to read.  Finally, I added a consolidated combat chart from a fan entry on BGG.  I’m also providing links to a re-creating of the game charts from BGG as well, they are much clearer and attractive than the originals.

Downloading the Epub

You can find the Ram Speed Epub (only) on the Digital Rules page. download link is fixed.

BoardgameGeek User Submitted Content (highly recommended):

(you will need a BGG account to view these)

  1. Play Summary  1 (Word)
  2. Play Summary 2 (Word) – Combat Tables
  3. Cutout Semi-3D minis, White   and Black Minis, too.  Instructions for both
  4.  Printable Ship Record Sheets (better than the original by far)

Ancients (Freeware Ed) as an Epub, in Digital Rules

Click on the cover to go to the Digital Rules page

Correction:  Ancients isn’t freeware after all.  Had to take it down, ONE SMALL STEP complained..

Howdy!  Many years ago, Bill Banks published a tidy little boardgame focused on Ancient warfare.  It was called “Ancients” and came in multiple editions– the basic edition, edition 2 that added naval rules, a third edition and a combined 4th edition.  3w imploded many years ago, and when the rights reverted back to Bill, he very generously offered them up as freeware.  For many years the files for Ancients were hosted on Mike Nagel’s excellent Relative Range site.  They were recently taken down, possibly to avoid confusion with his game Ancient Battles, which is being published by VPG.

Anyway, I have just converted the entire package (sans maps and counters) to EPUB format.  This includes the rules, the naval rules, the scenarios for both land and sea.  It’s a pretty big EPUB file compared to most of the ones I’ve posted so far, but it does have dozens of ancient battle scenarios included.



Melee, WarpWar, *AND Wizard!* added to Digital Rules page


Steve Jackson’s old, old design published by Metagaming. Found in the “Commercial, out of print” category (click the picture to visit Digital Rules)

Here’s an old favorite of many, including myself, combining my love of microgames and fixation on tablet computers and digital readers. Namely, MELEE, the game that kind of put Steve Jackson on the map.  Melee was an early, simplistic and elegant RPG/skirmish game published by Metagaming Concepts back in 1977.  My friends and I played this one quite a bit, though not as much as D&D.  Not sure why.  Looking at it now, I love the simplicity and cleanliness of the original Melee.  Yes, there is a follow up named WIZARD, and yes, I might be inclined to do a conversion on it as well.

As the file’s contents seems to be out there in many places, as either a PDF or Wiki page, I hardly think it’s daring of me to post this.. still, if Howard Thompson emerges from obscurity with a C&D in his hands, I’ll be happy to take it down.  I won’t mention the other websites but they are findable via simple google search.

You’ll find Melee in EPUB format on The Digital Rules Page, in the “Commercial, Out of Print” category.  I’m rather pleased with this conversion– not the best I’ve ever done, but maybe second best.  I’m getting better at this.

Okay, I couldn’t do MELEE without doing WIZARD as well.  Not a bad conversion, really.

Metagaming’s WIZARD Microgame is also available on the Digital Rules page under “Commercial, out of print”. Click the cover to visit the DR Page.

Also, you might want to check out WarpWar, one of Metagaming’s first microgames.

WarpWar epub file originally posted to Yahoogroup. I posted a local copy as not everyone subscribes to the WarpWar group. (click the picture to visit Digital Rules)

I can’t take credit for doing this epub conversion of WarpWar.  It’s been available on the WarpWar yahoo group for at least two years and maybe more, as I reported a couple years ago on here.  This is a great conversion, done by “electronicdad99” on that group (whomever he is).  I think this is one of the nicest EPUB conversions I’ve ever seen.  I thought I’d add it to this update because it fits the Metagaming theme nicely.  Have fun with these!

Added to Digital Rules: Warriors of Mars (TSR) in Epub

Quick announcement:

Visit the DIGITAL RULES page (tab up top) to get a copy

I’ve added TSR’s old WARRIORS OF MARS rpg/skirmish game/sourcebook for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom stories.  Warriors of Barsoom was written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume in 1974. I found the PDF for this game, quite by accident, on, so I’m assuming the original owners have no concerns about free distribution, but will gladly take it down if TSR/Wizards/Hasbro squawks about it.   Somehow I don’t think they’ll get all that upset about it.  There’s an EPUB version on Archive as well, but it’s pretty bad– clearly someone ran a conversion script and didn’t clean up the file afterward.  I pretty much had to recreate it from scratch, which was a chore!  Visit the digital rules page if you are interested.

Air Force with Ipads! NOVAG Game Day Winter 2014

Thanks to the constant efforts of Mr. Tim Tilson and Mr. Brian DeWitt, NOVAG held its Winter Game Day event at the Centreville Library on 15 February 2014.

My son Garrett and I showed up at a little after noon, so we missed any early games.  I was interested in playing in this game I noticed in the PEL:

1 pm – Air Force/Dauntless, By Dennis Wang
Period: World War II
Scale: 1/300
Rules: Air Force Dauntless
Players: 8
Time: 3 hours
Size Table Needed: 5’ x 6’

Air Force/Dauntless, the Battleline/AH game of plane to plane combat updated for the computer age. Tabletop 1/300 scale plane to plane combat with a computer aid using your Wi-Fi enabled tablet computer to handle movement and all those pencil and paper calculations of speed and altitude. Bring your tablet, laptop or smartphone that has a WWW browser.

This really appealed to me, being A) a big tablet nut, and B) liking plane to plane combat games.   The part that REALLY appealed to me was the clever idea of automating the combat tables for movement and combat away from the paper rulebook (which you can get here as a PDF) and onto a server, which can be viewed through any smart device, like a tablet, ipad, smartphone, etc.   I played it on an Ipad Air Tablet; Garrett used an Iphone 5.  Other players used Kindles and generic Android Tablets, all provided by Dennis Wang.

Two tablets being used during the game, it all went splendidly!

Mr. Wang, pictured below, set out a very simple scenario.  A group of Aichi D3A Vals were attacking a US picket destroyer “somewhere close to the main American fleet”, which was somewhere close to the Japanese mainland in 1944.   They are escorted by two advanced Zero fighters (possibly the A6M5 or 6)– both Japanese aircraft were obsolescent by 1944 standards, but the Zero much less so.    The Americans, me and another fella (Tuscaloosa on TMP), were both flying a single F6F Hellcat, if memory serves.  Our job: destroy or disrupt the attack.  The job of Garrett and the other Zero fighter was to keep us off of the Vals.  Dennis ran the Val attack.  I ran the picket ship Anti-Aircraft fire as well.

Mr. Dennis Wang, creator of the mobile device Air Force game, setting up the scenario.

The infrastructure was remarkably simple. Mr. Wang set up his router and we pointed our devices to the IP address. A screen came up:

Opening screen. This screen takes the place of “Airplane Cards” in Air Force/Dauntless. All the information needed to run an *individual plane* in this implementation. See next screen

I selected the plane I was running, the F6F Hellcat. The Hellcat was arguably the best plane that was ever fielded by the US Navy during World War II. Clicking this hyperlink brought up the turn screen:

Start Screen for F6F. The Vals were handled slightly differently, but the Zero pilot players also saw a similar screen.

The original Avalon Hill game came with a series of data cards that essentially guided you through the physics of combat maneuvers and firing.

Card for F6F in the original DAUNTLESS game. Click to expand

Mr. Wang’s computer program condenses the information on the card into a browser based app that basically tracks all that information, including ammunition, fuel, and damage.

Two F6Fs take on a small horde of Japanese.

My colleague on the American side, Tuscaloosa, was used to the game and Mr. Wang’s implementation of it, and had a better idea of the maneuvering. The point of this scenario was NOT to engage Zeros, but to splash as many Vals as possible. Yet, I dove on the Zeros and managed to inflict some damage on Garrett’s plane. Unfortunately, I shot pasthis plane and found myself shooting away from the action quickly as the diving Vals gained speed. In Air Force, as in reality, a plane gains speed in the dive, and loses speed in the climb. We all started at 10000 feet and the Vals split up and were descending to their target, the picket boat, every turn until they hit max speed.

Lesson 1: go after VALs not ZEROs.

In the background, my Hellcat has just shot past the Zeros after a short dogfight. The Vals spread out to make a harder target and Tuscaloosa is desperately trying to catch up. At this point, it’s looking grim.

Speed was tricky.  Mr. Wang made a big point of this in the game briefing.   If we see a red message in the status window, we had to pay attention to it.  Alas, I didn’t.  I tried to wing over and dive to the right after the Vals on the right.  I tried to descend far too quickly and the wings came off my plane.

Not the status on the bottom right yellow box. Yeah. That sucked.

At least the log file tells you what you did wrong.

Mr. Wang was magnanimous, and gave me another F6F to throw into the fight because at this stage it didn’t look we were going to be able to do much to stop a Japanese victory.

END GAME. Japanese Victory

I didn’t manage to do much but damage a single incoming Val with aircraft gunfire and I splashed one with Heavy AA fire. I think if the game had continued a few more turns we might have splashed a few, but the Vals achieved their objective, which was to get to the Picket boat.

Lessons Learned: I should have turned and dived after the Vals immediately and not even cared about the Zeroes. We might have splashed about two before they got to the Ship. The quality advantage of the F6F over the Val was negated by basic physics.. they were accelerating away from us in a dive WAY too fast for us to catch up.

We didn’t have much of a chance of winning after the second or third turn, but you have to try, right?

As far as the technology implementation, I thought this was a brilliant approach to the game. I remember playing Air Force (the board game) when I was 20ish and it was enjoyable, but very slow to plot and execute movement and combat with 2D cardboard chits. I think Mr. Wang is on to something. The explosion of mobile devices (NOT necessarily Ipads) means this technology (which is web-enabled, therefore not dependent on a particular OS) is going to be increasingly available for gaming. A Kindle, any Android tablet, a smartphone or Iphone.. they can all handle this kind of server-based implementation of the rules.

Rules were minimal. There were two charts, with some basic maneuvers associated with AIR FORCE that were used (See the slideshow link, below). I ignored them for the most part and used my tablet. I still had to use a paper chart to roll gunfire and antiaircraft fire on, and Mr. Wang had to keep track of several Vals on a roster. I think there’s a great future for this, even as a commercial program. I hadn’t played Air Force in decades, but playing this game made mewant to scamper out and buy some planes and try this myself, being an Ipad nut. So, in sum, well done, Mr. Wang, I really liked this event and I liked your implementation. Keep working on it, your efforts are appreciated.

Here’s every picture I took in a single slideshow

Blog Meta Post: Added Digital Rules page

See that new tab, DIGITAL RULES, above?  I’ve moved the small collection of digital rules links from a post to a page, as I intend to add to the collection in the future, and I want it to be easy to find.

Direct link:  or just click the tab.

I’ve also added a Fistful of Tripods, by Ty Beard.