Gaming House Rules

Having been playing wargames regularly for the last 15 years (regularly, as in most weeks), we’ve evolved a few House Rules for our games. These aren’t really House Rules in terms of modification to the rules we use, more rules for conduct:

Behave as a Gentleman, or Lady

Taking part is more important than winning. Heroic defeats are as entertaining as rules lawyering wins.

Turn up with your forces ready

Whilst we aspire to fully painted armies (something we introduced after Xmashammer 2009 when I deployed my fully armed and operational battle station painted and flocked battleboards for the first time, we certainly have always expected people to turn up with WISYWIG armies, with proper army lists.

I was surprised recently when on TMP, someone asked the question as to how to get people to stop wasting time before games arguing over army lists, constructing army lists and generally wasting time. The consensus that both I and others posted was that people should turn up ready, have their army lists to hand, and that in most cases spreadsheets were the best way to solve most book keeping problems beforehand. It’s insulting not to turn up ready, insulting to both the host and all the other players to waste their time. Of course, sometimes there are last minute tweaks, and sometimes we all need to point out figures that are not strictly WISYWIG – my Dark Elf RXB units have until recently been fielded with stealth shields.

Manage Expectations

If you’re going to be late, let people know. If you need to leave early, let people know. And then let them know again !
Occasionally a Player may receive a phone call from SWMBO requiring his presence elsewhere. This can be detected by the whispered conversation on the mobile, a lowering in temperature around the Player and a now generally pallid complexion. This is generally known as the Married Man’s Bottle Test. The Player is allowed to leave, and he is assumed not to have ‘lost’ or been ‘defeated’. His position in the pecking order of the results of the game is decided by the surviving Players accordingly.

Don’t leave clutter on the field of battle

One of my pet hates, seeing dice, rules, counters, food, and other nonsense on the field of battle:

(a) As scenery boy, I have spent time, effort and money painting and preparing a decent battle field to be played on.
(b) All the players have taken time, effort and money preparing their armies.
(c) The clutter will inevitably get in the way of lines of sight and distract Players.
(d) Random dice left on the table may accidentally be included in results when rolling buckets of dice.
(e) It looks cr@p in photos of games !

Therefore, we always remove all books, tapes, dice and counters when they are not ACTIVELY in play.
We have started to leave WHFB magic cards tucked under units when they are ‘in play’.

Dice should be counted out and rolled on the field of battle

So that everyone can see ! Pools of magic dice in WHFB are a prime example.

Artillery and Direction dice in particular should be rolled as close as possible to the target unit, so that all Players can see the true direction being measured.

When rolling to hit/wound/make armour saves/skill rolls etc, roll all at once, and then remove the ones that fail, thus leaving the dice rolls that you think are successful.

NB: It is customary to determine out loud before you roll your dice, what scores you need to roll to be successful – starting with the basic success score, and then applying any modifiers.

This should be done to avoid any unseemly disagreements, not because we don’t trust each other to be Gentlemen (or Ladies).

Disagreements should be arbitrated

…by other Players, or an appropriate “4, 5, 6” roll of the dice. Or make up a Common Sense Ad Hoc rule and discuss afterwards with all the group.


Photos of the battle should be taken often, so we can all share them later, and now, on this blogroll.

However, announce you’re taking a photo, to allow all the other Players to stand back from the table. Why ? because otherwise the splendid photo of our well painted armies and battle field is spolit by the (inevitable) backdrop of a fellow gamer’s crotch – the so called crotch shot I mentioned earlier. So please step away, so you are not in the camera shot !

Handling figures, and food

Generally, the hitherto unspoken rule is for players to only handle their own models. Occasionally, other players will literally lend a helping hand, but that is not the default, and is best done when the owning player asks you to move their figures (for whatever reason).

As we often eat pizza, make sure you keep your fingers clean and free from grease – greasy fingers will damage the wonderful paint jobs we’ve all spent time over ! Tissues, kitchen towel, and maybe Lemon Soaked Napkins are available.

Obey the Cats

In my house, which is the venue for 75% or so of our games currently (hint Anthony, & Rich) we have to accommodate and or ingratiate ourselves with the three felines. This may mean regular need to allow them in/out/feed them, no not that fish the other type of fish/can you go now ?


One Response to Gaming House Rules

  1. Wow, that’s really well said, I like it a lot!

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