So, I've been eyeing up Games Workshop's Necromunda - a skirmish game, where players take charge of rival gangs in a Hive City (equal parts Tokyo, Mogadishu, and BioDome) - a huge, contained city, with the top layers inhabited by the rich and powerful, the middle layers by the common man, and the Underhive inherited by the gangs and criminals, where there is little to no law, save that passed down by blade and bullet. Under that, there's the very dregs of society - mutants, xenos, and heretics.
Instead of having a set army list, like other GW games, your gang can grow, learn new skills, and become better fighters - so, with enough battles survived, you can take a wet-behind-the-ears teenager with a stick and turn him into a heavily armed professional warrior, or even the Leader of your gang - like I said, assuming he survives.
It also makes for faster games than your average wargame - no huge armies, little paperwork and equipment-swapping, and rules designed to keep gangs to a maximum of about 10-12 models. While it's designed as a campaign game, gaining experience over multiple battles and improving your gang, it's just as easy to set a credits limit, maybe add a set amount of advances (those extra skills you earn) for each model to bump things up a little, and run a quick one-off game for fun.
But, like a lot of GW games, it requires miniatures - and as the originals are hard to find/expensive, I had been looking at proxies that I could use instead. Then something else hit me - I have no time to build, paint, and customise minis, and I have a severe dislike of small, fiddly things - which minis are, mostly.
Then I lucked out and found some cool post-apocalyptic paper miniatures from One Monk Miniatures - they're nice, flavourful, and easily modified (even in GIMP!).
But, they're just not quite right - and try as I might, I can't find cool minis to sub in for a lot of the factions without some big modifications, and I guess I want minis that can be changed to fit equipment layouts, etc.
So I've decided to sketch up a couple of my own.
I want to have a few unique units for each gang - maybe 3 Juves, 3 Gangers, 2 Heavies, and 2 Leaders for each. Between weapon swaps and simple recolours, it should be easy enough to have a unique-looking gang. I also want a run of modular weapons - one to add to any figure, with a small amount of skill in MSPaint. Keeps thing easy, makes it quick and fun to do. I'll make sure I have a Ganger posed for Pistols, Close-Combat, and two-handed weapons - and a similar layout for Leaders. Heavies will be continually armed with two-handed Heavy weapons (what, you give yours a pistol?).
After some time, I'll probably work on some Bounty Hunters - but then again, One Monk's got some awesome unique characters who would fit just nice.
I've taken a lot of the weapon patterns/designs from the Rogue Trader Core Rulebook (the armoury section is just fantastic), having stats for all the Necromunda weapons, and technical sketches for most of them. The Weapons Reference sheet will be the first thing up (once I have a scanner!).
Another thing that makes Necromunda a bit different is the focus on terrain - whereas in large-scale battles, fiddly terrain is a nuisance, and gets in the way of engagements, in Necromunda terrain is expected to have multiple levels, places to hide, things to climb - in part to add a lot of tactical depth to a small-scale game, and also to remove some of the winning power of firearms. Wide open areas make excellent shooting ranges, so the gang with the longest range guns will win - not that much fun. Whereas with terrain to duck behind, cover to fire from, etc. you can really add a new dimension to the game, and also keep hand-to-hand combat a viable strategy (and, of course, meaning you can punt folk off tall buildings - always fun!). So, while still in the planning stages, I'm looking at cheap and easy to store paper terrain. I'd love something like this, but I've never tried building it before...
Current plan is unpainted terrain, all cardboard and sticky-back plastic - Blue Peter style!
Or, of course, there's always (always) Army Men. And Pringles tubes.