Tabletop Wargames

A Designers’ and Writers’ Handbook

Rick Priestley, John Lambshead

*Many tabletop wargamers attempt to write their own rules or modify existing commercial sets, this unique book gives clear, practical advice on how to do either.

*Expert authors: Rick Priestley, chief creator of Warhammer, the most commercially successful wargame of all time, is a legend in wargaming circles and John Lambshead is also an experienc
Date Published :
September 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
120 integrated color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781783831487
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Unlike chess or backgammon, tabletop wargames have no single, accepted set of rules. Most wargamers at some point have had a go at writing their own rules and virtually all have modified commercially available sets to better suit their idea of the ideal game or to adapt favorite rules to a different historical period or setting. But many who try soon find that writing a coherent set of rules is harder than they thought, while tweaking one part of an existing set can often have unforeseen consequences for the game as a whole. Now, at last, help is at hand.

Veteran gamer and rules writer John Lambshead has teamed up with the legendary Rick Priestley, creator of Games Workshop’s phenomenally successful Warhammer system, to create this essential guide for any would-be wargame designer or tinkerer. Rick and John give excellent advice on deciding what you want from a wargame and balancing ‘realism’ (be it in a historical or a fantasy/sci-fi context) with playability. They discuss the relative merits of various mechanisms (cards, dice, tables) then discuss how to select and combine these to handle the various essential game elements of turn sequences, combat resolution, morale etc to create a rewarding and playable game that suits your tastes and requirements

About The Author

Rick Priestley is the world’s most successful and best known wargame designer. He has created many professional wargames including Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, which together have outsold all other wargames by a huge margin. He is also the author of successful sets of historical wargame rules for several periods, including Black Powder and Hail Caesar.
Dr John Lambshead designed the award-winning computer game, Frederick Forsythe’s Fourth Protocol, which was the first icon driven game, was editor of Games & Puzzles and Wargames News, and has written a number of wargaming for Games Workshop. He is now a novelist writing SF&F and is published by Bane Books. He is now working on the officially licensed Dr Who gaming rules.

Dr John Lambshead designed the award-winning computer game, Frederick Forsythe's Fourth Protocol, which was the first icon-driven game, was editor of Games & Puzzles and Wargames News, and has written a number of wargaming rules supplements for Games Workshop. He also wrote the officially licensed Dr Who gaming rules for Warlord Games. He was co-author, with Rick Priestley, of Tabletop Wargames, A Designer and Writers Handbook (Pen & Sword Books, 2016). When not designing games he is a novelist writing SF&F for Bane Books. He lives in Rainham, Kent.


"In summary, the whole is extremely informative and the first place to discover a little-known face of the game of history with figurines. On reflection, the interest of this book far exceeds the strict framework of designers and, if you like the game of history with figurines, do not hesitate to discover this "atypical" but exciting work."

- VaeVictis

"Tabletop Wargames lays out issues that designers must resolve, and offer examples of different mechanisms. The book begins with a discussion on the line between a simulation and a game, then covers gaming scales, probabilities, turn sequences, combat resolution, presentation, how skirmish games differ from larger scale games, point values, campaigns and scenarios. There is even a section with advice on how to keep the gaming language neat and tidy so that the rules lawyers do not have a field day. The tone of Tabletop Wargames is conversational, and the book is laden with exemplars from rules sets that most gamers will recognize. It is a quick read, but has enough material to make it worth going back to for reconsideration when making critical decisions about your rules set."

- MiniatureWargaming.Com

“This paperback is profusely illustrated with color photographs of wargames in progress and offers an extensive list of reference works. This handy book should enable wargamers to create their own richly rewarding experiences.”

- Toy Solder & Model Figure

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