My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Song of Bolter and Chainsword

I decided to use my 6mm Epic Space Marine figures for another game, only this time using an unpublished variant of the rules Song of Drums and Shakos (SDS). I call the variant Song of Bolter and Chainsword (SBC). If I don't like how this turns out, I will try using Song of Blades and Heroes or Flying Lead to see if I get a better result.

The main elements to be determined for the variant are how armor comes into play and what the weapon values are.


In SDS, armor – the Cuirass special ability – subtracts one from the combat result if the armored figure loses. Thus if the figures loses by one point, the combat becomes a draw. It can also turn a kill into a beaten result, or a gruesome kill into a kill.

As there are so many levels of armor in 40K, you need more than just this rule. The easiest thing to test would be simply increase amount added if the armored figure loses.

40K ArmorSDS IncreaseNotes
6++1** Only applies against Blast weapons.
3++3Power Armor may have additional abilities assigned.
2++4Terminator Armor may have additional abilities assigned.

Note that this makes Terminator and Power Armor pretty tough, having to win by 5 and 4, respectively. That means that you cannot kill anyone in this armor, unless ...


In SDS, weapons have two factors: range band size (Short, Medium, or Long) and range modifier. The range modifier not only specifies what the bonus (or penalty) is to fire at any given range, but how many multiples of the range band size the weapon is capable of (e.g. 2xS, 3xL, etc.).

Weapons in 40K have an additional factor: armor penetration. Put simply, the weapon is rated at how much armor is negated. In 40K an AP 2 weapon would automatically penetrate 2+ armor saves (or worse). In SBC, the AP rating indicates the armor level (the amount added to the combat result) that is negated.

WeaponRangex1 Modx2 Modx3 ModMax RangeAPNotes
Bolt PistolM+2+0N/Ax22None.
Missile LauncherL+1+1+0x5-See missile type for AP.
Frag Missile-----2See Missile Launcher for range stats.
Krak Missile-----?See Missile Launcher for range stats.
Frag GrenadeS+0-2N/Ax22None.
Bike Shoota'L+4+2N/Ax22Range limited by firing platform instability.
'eavy Blasta'L+2+1+0x43Cannot move and fire, unless using powered armor.
Big Choppa'-----2Two-handed battle axe uses these stats.
Power Sword-----4None.
Power Fist-----5Lethal. Power Klaw uses these stats.

Of course, there are many more weapons and I am not going to provide them all here, now. First I want to see if there are any problems with the variant. If it looks promising I will expand beyond the basic weapons I need for my test game of Orks versus Chaos Space Marines.

I am currently playing out my test game and writing it up. Expect that in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dale, I like what you are doing regards the 40K SDS, for a rules suggestion i would look first to Fear and Faith before Flying Lead, it has magic!
    Keep up the good work.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").