Model-Agnostic Rules Systems - SciFi Rules

  • I've been looking at a variety of model-agnostic rules sets for a while now, and I wanted to compile my findings and let others contribute their thoughts.

    In this thread, I'll be posting some science fiction rule sets for people to check out.

    Xenos Rampant
    Publisher: Osprey
    Price: $35 MSRP
    Dice: D6

    Xenos Rampant is an elegent system based around a set of generic units with fixed stat lines that are enhanced by buying them abilities. This is a low point system game, but can go pretty high in model count and is very friendly when it comes to abstractions. Instead of "wounds" units have "strength", representing the overall state of the unit. An Elite Infantry unit with 5 strength could be a unit of 5 power armored warriors, or a single hero unit, the core unit is the same either way. The Xeno Rules are what give each unit flavor. This game is vehicle and artillery friendly.

    Cheap to buy, easy to learn, good customizibility, probably solid for house-rules, radically different from Warhammer 40k in its approach

    Overall unit selection is limited, and there's only so many customizations, radically different from Warhammer 40k in its approach

    No Limits
    Publisher: Wargames Unlimited
    Price: Free
    Dice: D10

    No Limits is a grandaddy an old guard of model agnostic games. Released for free back in 2011 2007 and heavily influenced by 4/5e 40k and VOR, the game has highly detailed rules, extreme customizability, and as it bears repeating, is completely free. The original designer is working on an updated version to modernize the game and step it away from it's roots in VOR. This game is vehicle, artillery, and super-unit friendly.

    Detailed rules, strong depth of gameplay, absurd customizability

    Kinda dated and klugey. But if you like that sort of thing, you can call that a pro.

    If Worlds Collide
    Publisher: If Worlds Collide
    Price: Free
    Dice: D6s

    If Worlds Collide is an in-development open source game system. The game is heavily slanted towards skirmish level play, but can be expanded in to army-level play. The game is very simple to learn, and has some impressive customization options. This game is less friendly for vehicles and artillery.

    Free + open source rules, community built and welcomes new members to contribute, lots of lists coming out

    Still in development, really feels limited to skirmish play

    Grimdark Future (OnePageRules)
    Publisher: OnePageRules
    Price: Free
    Dice: D6

    OnePageRules Grimdark Future is one of the big names in the model-agnostic wargame scene for a variety of settings. The rules are very simple to learn, and if you are looking for a straight Warhammer 40,000 replacement, this is one of the easiest systems to jump in to. The game development is funded through Patreon and sales of bespoke STL files for 3D printing armies.

    Free rules, LOTS of factions, models available if you like 3D printing, fun and quick to learn and play

    Somewhat simplistic, limited customizability in units, armies are fixed, game is oriented around a specific size and doesn't scale well while keeping balance

    Some systems I've spent less time with but are worth checking out:

    Rules are currently free, still seem to be sorta in development. Uses a phone app.

    Genesys Project
    Kickstarter backed rule set by Natfka of Warhammer rumor fame. Game has been very slow in release but looks very polished for what's come out.

    Planet 28
    Low cost open license skirmish game with rules to adapt to army-scale games. Not great for vehicles, but a fun system.

  • After all of this I want to say that Xenos Rampant is my favorite system at the moment. It has two sister systems by the same author; Lion Rampant for historical play and Dragon Rampant for fantasy play. They all play in a very similar fashion and going between them is easy.  I'll get to those when I eventually do threads on historicals and fantasy games.

  • I've played a lot of If Worlds Collide. It's very customizable and great if you can't decide which genre to play in (so it's great for.members of the Myminifactory tribe!). Grognards vs Orcish Pirates vs Spanish Guerillas, no problem. The community is small, but very welcoming. I'd say the biggest downside is how the game is organized to be honest. I'm probably a bigger fan if it than my wife. We've been slowly leaning towards OPR as a result, but it's not quite got what we're looking for. We might go Sword Weirdos or One Hour Skirmish eventually, but we haven't played either enough to truly decide.


  • I always tout Space Weirdos as a simple model agnostic game that is a lot of fun and easy to play. There is a degree of customisation available in the base rules but it can be tweaked by player agreement to add extra variations.

    Sword Weirdos for fantasy gaming is our number 1 too for that genre, with more variations possible while sticking to the core game play of the earlier system. Highly recommended!

  • @Greaver Blade Personally I would say "radically different from Warhammer 40k in its approach" would be pro not a con, but thats me🤣.  

    Also I would not call No Limits the granddaddy all model-agnostic SciFi games since I know both model-agnostic ruleset's Stargrunt II and Shockforce where out well before 2011 (think 90's to early 00's at least) and were far from the oldest games like that (pretty sure there is at least one model-agnostic SciFi game that pre-dates WH40k😆).

    We actually have talked about alot of model-agnostic rules a few months back on this earler thread,  but in case that dies I will list the rest of the Platoon level one's I mentioned since everything else but the Mantic rulesets have already been brought up and "Mutants and Death Rays", "Scrappers", etc. small skrimishers are kinda of not what you seem to be looking for:

    Bolt Gun Action: fan made SciFi re-skin of the boltaction system.

    Antares 2 : second edition of the Gates of Antares rules, supposedly more model agnostic.

    Synaptica: Yeah, all I know is it is platoon level and model-agnostic.

    Get Some! Future Warfare : Same as above though I think it uses a ton of D6s.

    Outside of those mentioned in the earler thread there is also Two Hour Wargame's 5150 star army books and freedownload "every/any genre" game Chain Reaction 2023. Likewise there is Omniverse by Safe Haven Games which is also a "every/any genre" ruleset.

    Also as I seem keep mentioning, one should just checkout Wargamer Vault for themselves as it has a ton of SciFi rulesets like Grim Horizons, Blast Pistol, Restless Sun  and so much more.


  • I've highlighted XenosRampant on several occasions,  it's the ruleset I use for the scifi skirmish stuff.

    It has a chapter for C20 'wierd war' which could be extended as a supplemement to cover Death Fields universe. The major downside of the basic rules is it's neglect of such things as a smoke.

  • @Brian Van De Walker

    No Limits: A granddaddy, not the grandaddy. I didn't want to be too hyperbolic.

    Xenos Rampant: I put that as both a pro and a con for good reason!

    With WGA being somewhat focused around "build big armies", my emphasis went on the 30+ model systems.

    There's a ton of fantastic rule sets for skirmish. The aforementioned Planet 28, If Worlds Collide, or even TTRPGs can fill that slot.

    Another honorable mention for even bigger games would be the totality of the 5Core system. That's more oriented towards 15mm or 10mm, but it can work with the 28mm we largely focus on here if a player wants some really huge games.

  • @Dennis Horne I actually messaged the game designer of Xenos Rampant and suggested an expansion with more xenos rules. The response was "Nothing planned at this time, but if Osprey gets enough feedback, we'll see what happens."

    I run gaming rooms at conventions around the midwest, and I plan on doing a lot of Xenos Rampant demos.

    It was too late this year, but I plan on submitting a formal Xenos Rampant event at Adepticon 2025. I guess this would be a sneak preview for everybody. The event will be "The $100 Army Challenge: Xenos Rampant", where the idea is to build an army for $100 or less in models. If I have time to learn the system, I plan to do an event for Dragon Rampant as well to give the fantasy players something to enjoy as well.

    Right now WGA minis are pretty much the absolute go-to for this event, so I plan on hyping this site up to help people get their armies built. This is also a huge reason I'm hoping to see Bulldog command, Raumjaeger Command, and Eisenkern Valkir before the end of 2024!

  • @Greaver Blade

    I actually messaged the game designer of Xenos Rampant and suggested an expansion with more xenos rules. The response was "Nothing planned at this time, but if Osprey gets enough feedback, we'll see what happens."

    to be honest, finding stuff that isn't able to be covered by the existing ones might be tricky. the only one i can think of off the top of my head would be "summoning" and "endless horde" type rules.. where one unit can generate new units not in the starting list during play (like say a wizard summoning a pack of demons), and when a unit can 'respawn' once destroyed to represent an endless horde (like say space bugs)

    but those would be super hard to balance, and very expensive. and honestly, might work best as scenario specific stuff rather than part of the default army building.

  • @Greaver Blade personally if it was made this side of 2000 I wouldn't even call it a grandaddy model-agnostic  ruleset, not with the old as dirt SciFi rulesets I have seen totted out by greybreads on other forums, you're just young😆.

    Your event sounds fun and Xenos Rampant is probably going to get expansion if gets a Frostgrave level following, and events like yours should help that happen. While I really want to see the Eisenkern Valkir get re-release on the table this year as well, I don't think you need to rush WA on their SciFi lines since even if we are not counting 3D prints or Paper Minis there are other cost effective options besides WA’s Death Fields and Iron Core though they may not look as nice, cool or as easy to work with for the most part.

    For example at the near absolute bottom price range we have Doller Tree mechs for heavy hitters/light walkers ($1.25 each), for infantry those cheap 28mm toy armymen that come in packs of I think 70 pieces/figures you can get off Amazon and ebay (around $10.00 to $15.00), maybe cheap toy tanks from china if you need tanks (10 for about the same as the armymen), maybe along with some scrap plastic/greenables from the street and recycling bin for upgrading stuff and you have more than enough models for a fighting force at roughly the same cost as one Death Field's set (though it will likely not win any best looking army awards even after painting). 

    You can even go further and just scratch build your vehicles and maybe even figures though that is harder without a good plan for what you’re building.

    On the better quality end, one can tinker around with history sets like WA’s or Perry’s WW2 sets. This approach can be a bit trickery on the budgeting angle if you want to make it really “SciFi like”, but that can be done under $100 particularly if you alter the guns a bit, go with a non-historical paint job and add good scratch built vehicles into the mix.  These sorts of armies can turn out awesome visually, the problem is they tend to be harder to build.  

    Edit: fixed the "your" to "you're" as requested.


  • @Mithril2098 Actually the thing they could do is go the D&D route and add campaign settings with Xenos being the core rule which would be cool. And honestly they should plan on going the D&D route if they had any brains, complete with a GM Guild counterpart and open 3rd party content creator contract/license, frankly all the “model Agnostic” rules with any following should since by doing that it would actually give these games lore settings in spades to draw in players.

  • The 3 box WA deals should make fielding a sub $100 Xenos army easy.

    I did it with 3 boxes of Lizards,  3 box CF1 and 2 boxes  of OhRah!.

    Mixing CF1 torsos with OhRah arms and heads gets you the Recon troopers, a spue of Stargrave Merc 2 torsos with the same arms/heads gets you the Marine Ladies.

    I also did a Taliban in SPAAAAACE detatchment .... using torsos from a box of Perry Afghans (which  are more 'heroic' than the WA offering ) plus spare Sci fi weapons arms from WA/Stargrave etc.

    Set a 3 box challenge for that event?

    A couple of 120 mm Mortar or Spigot ATGW type heavy weapon models from Butlers Printed Models (other resin suppliers are available) add a cost effective heavy weapons event.

  • @Brian Van De Walker 
    Obligatory pedant moment: "you're"
    And trust me, I'm not young; I'll go with "early middle age".

    But I concede your point. I'll downgrad (and edit) with "an old guard of" instead of "a grandaddy".

    I really appreciate both the support and ideas for the $100 Army Challenge. I'm really looking forward to hosting that in 2025. One of the rules of Adepticon as an event is requiring game-specific models so things like army men are generally prohibited, but toys with heavy conversion are an edge-case that I could probably talk them in to allowing. But this is an event where 3D printing would be specifically allowed by the convention, as the rules don't have company-specific minis (this being a concession to GW, Privateer Press, Catalyst, and others that make money selling games and minis).

    Getting in to Dragons Rampant, one box of ogres as three units of Elite Foot is a clean 24 point army for $35 using every model in the box.

  • @Brian Van De Walker 

    Holy moly! Antares 2e is huge for this sort of thing!

    I'm already a big fan of Warlords of Erehwon, so this is just sort of the icing on the cake!

    Man, I might have to look at doing minis agnostic $100 army challenges with four systems at Adepticon 2025. Turn it in to a whole event series! The ideas are percolating.

  • @Greaver Blade Yeah supposedly Antares 2e is less model specific  (I would give them a good look  over first to see if that is the case, they are free to download, from my skim it looked like the old Antares mini would be best for it though).

    Also given what you told me (never been to Adepticon), 3D prints are probably going to be veiwed as the "go to" for your event unless you make it clear that your only talking models not the paints used, etc. though WA will be be a close second.

    @Dennis Horne Your talking 3 or 4 seperate armies right, given its $95 for 3 boxes? or did you luck out on Ebay? (I have lucked out on ebay a couple times)

    Dragon Rampent is probably easier to field under $100 armies of wargaming figures for (not just ogres either but humans would be pretty easy), in fact this is probably true of fantasy in general since unlike SciFi, you can normally use those nice 40 to 30 figure history sets right out of the box and a lot of the non-human fantasy sets can count as a full warbands out of the box if done right (not mention vehicles being less of a want/need).


  • @Greaver Blade the big issue i can see with a "$100 challenge" at adepticon is the amount of record keeping needed to ensure that they don't exceed the limit. plus the fact that it would restrict the ability of people just dropping in to check out the game.

    my suggestion would be to hold the challenge here on the forums over the next 11-12 months, with people posting not only their build logs to a thread but also their purchase logs. work out some sort of prize for that challenge.

    then at adepticon, hold demo games of Xenos Rampant using some of the $100 armies, as a way of advertising both the XR game and WGA's products.

  • @Brian Van De Walker Yep, I scoped out 3 different armies. Each can be done on a 3 box deal plus a few stargrave sprues from a sprue reseller. 

    If you have a tame dealer, you may even get them to offer $100 deals directly ;)

  • @Mithril2098 Realistically I'd start advertising the event well in advance of Adepticon 2025. And it's meant to be a pretty casual event; strict adherence to the limit won't be enforced. Instead, winning certain awards would be conditional on proof of money spent. Anybody could play, but if you want to win you need to bring an army that you can prove met the challenge. Basically, bring in a receipt or just a print out of market price for each unit in the army.

    If somebody scores a great deal on a GW army on Ebay, then they can just show the Ebay purchase. If somebody bought models at a store in a retail box, they can just show how much that box sells for (and if they can find it on a discount retailer, cool).

    If they picked up a bunch of models at a garage sale that are now worth a lot of money but they paid very little for them, then I'm willing to take that face value.

    When it comes to 3D printed stuff, if I wanted to be nitpicky, it would be the cost of the STLs plus the cost of the weight of the army in materials. But really I'd do the cost of the STLs plus $10 because that's going to be about what the materials cost almost regardless of the medium used to print.

    I'm also not going to, generally, account for anything but the cost of models. I don't want people to have to track what they spent on paints, brushes, etc. What I would do is have an award for that if somebody wanted to specifically go for it. Something like an "All-In $100 Army Award" where somebody who did try to get everything needed for the army for $100 or less.

    This isn't going to be some hyper-strict thing like the major 40K tournaments. This is to encourage people to get some cool minis they like and build an army with them.

    That all being said, I could absolutely do both. I'd be happy to hold a $100 army challenge on here and anybody here going to Adepticon in 2025 would have an army ready to go. I could spread the events across the entire convention; demos on Thursday and Friday, with tournaments on Saturday and Sunday.

    If you are interested in helping me set up the challenge on the forum, drop me a DM and we can discuss back and forth and get things started.

  • Building on the above, anybody else who would like to help organize a $100 Army Challenge, drop me a DM and we can start a group conversation as needed.

  • @Greaver Blade Being based in the UK, I am unlikely to be able to turn up. ;)

    You can field a 24 point, 30 figure XR Army out of one WA Cannon fodder box :

    • 1* Command RCN Inf (2pts ) , Green (-1), Call Fire (+4) @5  :5
    • 1* Support (5), Indirect (+1), Area (+1)   @7                          :7
    • 3* Lt Inf (1), AP(1), Guerilla or Sheild 1 (1)  @3                       :9
    • 1* RCN Inf (2), Green(-1), Sniper (2)                                       :3

    Most of the other WA Boxes (e.g. Oh Rah!, Lizards ) contain 24 figures. To do the same you need an extra sprue or designate those RCN squads as RM(2) elements and field them as 2 figure groups.

    You could also field a single box of Vain/Ogres as  

    • 3 * Elite Inf (6) RMU(3) AP (+1) Mobile (+1) :8

    Possibly make them up with swappable arms to be useable as Fantasy troops too?


  • @Dennis Horne Living over an ocean is no excuse to avoid Adepticon. We get enough people from Australia and Japan to confirm that!

    The Vain/Ogres end up as three units of Elite Foot in Dragon Rampant. Some magntizing could probably turn them in to pretty cool hot-swappable force to switch between systems.

    I own an Elegoo Saturn, so I'm going for the $15, 12 model army: Valkyries

    Valkyries @24 points

    Elite Infantry @12 points
      - Armor-Piercing
      - Heavy Weapon
      - High-Powered Blades
      - Mobile
      - Force field 1
      - Commander

    Elite Infantry @12 points
      - Armor-Piercing
      - Heavy Weapon
      - High-Powered Blades
      - Mobile
      - Force field 1

  • @Greaver Blade Drill into their armpits & hold the swappabe arm pairs with old school Blu-tak?

  • Could work as well, though Blu-tak can eat plasstic if left on too long.

    I'd probably just fill the bodies with modeling epoxy (green stuff) or milliput to give a solid anchor point for magnets.

  • Stargrunt II is also worth mentioning. The rules complexity is on the high side so it's nothing like Xenos Rampant. But it can be used to model any kind of combat involving troops with firearms. I used it to simulate a WWI trench battle for example and real world tactics worked in a good historical way. Troops using 1917 tactics were able to capture a trench with a 2-1 numerical advantage which is the outcome you would expect. The morale system is the thing I liked most. There is a focus on morale and pinning which worked very well for stimulating soldiers trying to advance into gunfire. The Germans were able to defeat a Mark IV tank with an anti-tank rifle so that worked perfectly as well.  

    So it might play well for a group that doesn't mind learning a complex set of rules. It is the complexity that makes it so adaptable to different scenarios. 

  • @Allan Lougheed yeah that one was already brought up, it also has quick start rules in the book which are easier to follow.

Please login to reply this topic!