Monday 7 December 2015

FUBAR VSF Rules...Yep Another 'Rant on Rules'

When I decided to start playing some 28mm VSF skirmish games I needed a set of rules, a search of the net revealed a few that fitted the bill but on seeing that a FUBAR set was available I went straight for them as I have used their WW II rules previously. Right I think it's time for another ‘Ramble of Rules’...

FUBAR are a series of small unit game rule sets with a generic core system that covered the basics with extra rules to flesh these out depending on the era/genre of game they cover/represent.

So in a nut shell what do I think of FUBAR VSF, basically marvellous! And I'll just throw in here I have no connections to these rules or their authors!

Here's a two page set of rules that provides players with quick, fun and enjoyable game, lovely to have rules where there's no great tome to get bogged down in checking out minute details. This is not to say these are a perfect rules set far from it, there are some gaps you could probably drive a rather large Mack truck through BUT these gaps are all covered by the all-encompassing 'Rule of AWESOMENESS'. This rule resolves any disputes that occur simply, it states: "Where a situation is not covered or vague, err on the side of the Rule of Awesome.”. Bingo! Now any two reasonable gamers can quickly resolve any odd situation that may arise and get back to the manning the thin red line pronto!

I have now played several solo games with these rules and three face to face ones to get to know them and customise them to my needs. All of these games were very enjoyable and enlightening as to where the rules really work and where they miss the target (small list here!).

Basically the driving force behind these rules are the units classification ratings; activation, Experience and Suppression. These ratings control how units perform. The rest of the rules are along the lines of most others: both players roll for initiative for the turn, all units get one chance to activate in said turn, there are a selection of movement options, for firing roll to hit with a few modifiers and then roll saving throws then take the hits as suppression or kills, for close combat roll to hit with hits killing and morale is very simple test when you have casualties and you keep running until you roll a successful activation for the unit. All of this fun and you only need a few six sided dice to enjoy it.

Okay if you've got the above ideas nailed you now know how to play the game, well almost as there is a bit more meat on the bone!

A units Activation number is what you must roll equal or greater than to allow your unit to perform an action having a large number of green or conscript units will lead to a boring game as they're hard to get moving! It is also your rally number so activating a running unit rallies it. The side with the initiative can continue to activate units until one fails, then the other side gets to activate units until one of theirs fail and so it goes back and forth until every unit gets one chance to activate in the turn.

Your experience level is what you must roll equal or greater than to allow your unit to score hits in fire and close combat again there are modifiers. Different weapons roll different numbers of to hit dice.

Suppression allows you to mitigate the number of hits that kills men in your units, the Suppression rating is the maximum of suppressed figures that unit is allowed before any other successful hits must be kills, the trade-off is by saving the kills and adding suppression to your unit each suppression counts as a negative modifier to your units activation roll next turn (very bad!). You can take a mix of suppression and kills to satisfy the numbers of successful hits scored on a unit.

Morale rolls occur when casualties are taken and a roll is compared to the units activation number a failure on the roll and they start running, an activation roll occurs each turn there after until they rally or run from the tabletop.

The two big changes (house rules) that I have come up with from play so far that should affect play are:
  1. Unit suppression, once a unit that say activates on 4+ gets its allotment of two suppressed figures without a leadership modifier it will only activate on a six not good odds! In one FtF scenario test I had a German squad sat out the entire game without firing thanks to its inability to roll a 6 to activate. Time for a house rule, the simple change is every time a suppressed unit roles unsuccessfully for activation it removes one suppression marker making it one easier to activate next turn and this is repeated each turn. This gives a unit a good chance of getting back into the game, and if the opposition want they can ‘hose’ the unit again in one of their units activations to try to inflict more suppression back on it!
  2. Ranged fire has no increments or range bands within any weapons given ranges, great for a simple game but it means a game can become a firefight with long range weapons sitting back and hammering away as there is no incentive for them to get closer (and into the range of the opponent’s shorter ranged weapons). Now we want to keep things simple but I think a change is required and what I am going to go with for 'highlighted' weapons on the Weapons Chart firing over half range incurs a -1 modifier to hit. Nice and simple and means units armed long ranged weapons can still sit back and blaze away but a little less effectively than if they close in.
The way our ‘wacky’ Victorian era armoured vehicles and robots is controlled by the rules conforms with the simple constructs of how the foot soldiers are handled and has lots of fun variables with breakdown and malfunction tables in addition to the damage one. Here too you can customise to your hearts delight!

The rules also feature a section on characters/heroes but I'm holding off on incorporating them in play until the basics are mastered!
I am actually still looking at other sets of rules for VSF skirmishing for two reasons, I like reading rules (I like others have a collection of rule books many I don’t use nor ever will!) and I am always interested in ideas that may help improve my FUBAR VSF experience.
I am not saying these rules are for everyone but for my purposes the make what is really a fantasy genre simple and fun!
The rules are available to download free at the below site:


Oh and some eye candy from a scenario play through where Stu kicked my scrawny Teutonic arse with his might British Boys in Red! Hurrah! incidentally these pictures were taken at an undercover outdoor night game, the four light sources give the figures/vehicles a sort of spooky day/night cricket look (a cool game for those in countries where Queen Victoria's Boys in Red did not spread the rules of it!)

 Armoured Steam Wagons of the 13th Light Armoured Dragoon and 17th Steam Lancer Regiments supported by infantry of from the 55th Queens Galvanic Rifle Regiment and Robots from the Warburton on Sea Engineers advance on an Imperial German position AKA The Naughty Kaiser's Rascals!

Nasty Germans from the Kaiser's 12th Foot Battery await the valiant British onslaught...
Back Soon! I have a couple of AARs and OOBs to write up and the fifth scenario of the Russians Are Coming Campaign to follow up!


  1. Hey Reginald thanks for taking the time to visit...
    Here's a couple of rousing cheers to FUBAR VSF!!!

  2. I say Darling, this all seems rather splendid, however you do seem to have gotten one of FUBAR's rules a bit wonky, and houseruled something that didn't need it. When you roll for activation, you count the suppressed figures as a penalty, however immediately after that roll, all suppressed figures automatically become unsuppressed. Which makes your first house rule rather redundant.

    I must confess I missed this point on my first run through the rules, and I realise with all the many versions of FUBAR floating around it's possible the variant you're working from might have missed this rule, but it's definitely part of core FUBAR.

    Personally though, I suspect your version might actually be an improvement, since it makes taking suppressions a little more serious.

    Otherwise Splendid work all round. Keep it up!

  3. Bugger tried to edit my comment and deleted it DOH...take two:
    Hey Doc! Thanks for clarifying the suppression rule I read 'suppression is removed after activation' as if the unit activates suppression is removed failing the roll meant the unit didn't 'activate' so the suppression stayed. The wording got me!
    I'll keep playing the house rule for the moment it is working well.
    Let me know if you spot anything else odd I'm doing...

    1. Honestly, I think your interpretation makes a lot more sense!

  4. Dear sir,
    Your writing contains such elucidation and knowledge that it brings you far above such lowly scribbling scriveners I have the displeasure to read as of late. I shall endeavor to reach your level of mastery, if not your level of public publishings.
    Sincerely, etc., etc.,
    Horatio T. Thrumblebottom III

    Coming into some ACW figs. Working on ideas for the other fun bits to add. Great damn blog. Never looked at FUBAR until now.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi praise Sir and I thank you!
      I hope your experience with FUBAR rules is as positive as mine has been!