We’ve been dipping a toe into the wonderful, rules-lite world of One Page Rules lately, and I finally had an opportunity to take some photos and do a writeup.
One Page Rules publishes Grimdark Future, a fantastic fast-playing game inspired by Warhammer 40,000 (but minus the codex creep and insufferable meta that has come to characterize the actual game itself). Grimdark Future Firefight offers the same fast-playing rules in a skirmish-sized package. GF: Firefight is a great alternative to Necromunda or Kill Team.
We got together at John’s house last weekend to roll some dice and push some plastic, and both goals were accomplished in short order. I brought over my Infected City terrain (commissioned by the excellent Morti5 Studio) and we set up a 2-versus-2 battle featuring my Plague Marines and Paul’s Tyranids versus John’s Inquisitor & retinue and Daniel’s Ultramarines.
It was a classic good-versus-evil matchup! The (self) righteous defenders of the Imperium squared off against the oozing, slithering, skittering hordes of Nurgle and the Great Devourer.
List-building for GF: Firefight is extraordinarily simple. Just pick your guy, figure out what he’s armed with, and move on to the next figure. It’s very much a WYSIWYG approach without a lot of invisible wargear or gotcha strategems. Our warbands ranged in size from Paul’s Tyranids (just 3 frightful models) to John’s Inquisitorial horde (12ish models, as I recall).
We placed 5 objectives onto the battlefield, using some newly painted markers that John had just knocked out. They were little baby Tyranids, so we decided that the narrative plot hook involved the Tyranids seeking to retrieve some hatchlings from a plague-infected city. The forces of Nurgle were only too happy to run interference on this operation…
We quickly found out that my Plague Marines were extremely tough and hard to kill, by virtue of their high defense value and Regeneration ability that gave them a chance to shrug off wounds taken in battle. They began plodding forward, an inexorable green-armored wave of putrescence, while in their wake mobs of plague zombies fanned out to hold the seized objectives.
John and Daniel had the advantage in numbers, but they were plagued by poor dice rolls from the start. And they quickly found that they had to deal with the Death Guard as well as the fearsome, fast-moving Tyranid monsters led by Paul.
In truth, once the gigantic alien horrors fell upon them, there was no escape. There were just too many targets, and not enough guns.
Daniel had some success on the right flank, keeping my Plague Lord on the ropes for the entire game as he struggled to just stay alive. Fast-moving bikers looped around the flank and threatened our mission objectives. But again — once the Ultramarines drew the attention of Paul’s Tyranids, they were not long for this world.
During the final turn, John sent his newly painted Ordo Xeno Inquisitor into the fray, and it was everything we hoped for — he dealt fearsome damage and proved his worth as a servant of the Emperor. Then, of course, he got eaten.
All in all, it was a fun game that was surprisingly close once we added up the victory conditions at the end. Grimdark Future is just so darn fast and simple, both in terms of gameplay and list building. The alternating unit activation is such a modern mechanic, and it keeps all players engaged throughout the game. It’s definitely got me re-energized to play some grimdark games with my large collection of 40k models. Stay tuned for more!