Friday, December 13, 2013

Fantasy Battles for Kiddos

This week marked my final fantasy worldbuilding/creative writing class for the semester. I was hell bent on ending on a loud note of mayhem and ludic anarchy so after invoking the Battle of Helm's Deep, Pelennor Fields, and whatever in tarnation that battle is called in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in a mercifully brief lecture on the use of “final battles” in fantasy storytelling, we dived right into a big giant battle scene of our own.

Letting them divide up into two camps: Good and Evil (endearingly all the girls chose this team), I pulled out a big box of miniatures and several bags of homemade play doh. Each so-called Good player was allowed to pick out 15 miniatures while Evil got to make various abominations from the play doh and to employ the large plastic dragons we painted last semester.

To handle the rules backend, I whipped up a simplified system of By this Axe, presented here. You will, of course, need a copy to make of By This Axe miniatures rules to make any sense of this. PDF copy here, print copy here (all proceeds go to Autism Speaks).

Tommy's patron deity with an impossible name appears. 
By This Axe for Kids
Units are much looser than in the regular rules. Individuals can move in a group for mutual protection (to prevent flanking for instance) but are not required to stay in any kind of order.

All range and movement is measured with a regulation unsharpened Number 2 pencil.

Fighting Capacity, Armor Value and Hits
Mooks (normal warriors and the like) FC 2, AV 2 and can take one hit.
Tough 'Uns (heroes, big monsters, commanders, knights etc) FC 3, AV 3 and can take two hits. Heroes and heroines (who represent the player) never die they just get knocked out (or fade away).

Duel Phase
Any hero can call out an opposing hero in one pencil range. Duels are as normal in the rules. Note that in actual practice the dice pool seemed to confuse them, you may want to substitute normal melee combat.

Movement Phase
Movement as normal, terrain is just for show however. Movement must stop if it makes contact with an opponent.

Slow Dudes (big monsters, dwarves, giant sloths etc) half pencil.
Regular Dudes (foot soldiers, goblins etc) one pencil.
Fast Dudes (mounted, flying) two pencils.

Ranged Combat Phase
All weapons except for breath weapons (which get two) get one chance to hit. Roll under FC to hit.
Short Ranged Weapons (breath weapons, slings, muskets, javelins). One pencil range.
Long Ranged Weapons (bows, crossbows). Two pencil range.

Melee Phase
As normal, except that players can freely disengage figures from combat to “run away” during their next movement phase.

Divine Intervention
Twice per battle, the player can “call on their patron god” to intervene at any time. If a “6” is rolled on a d6 the god shows up (She/He/It must be represented by a play doh creation) and either grants two extra attacks, two extra saving throws or attacks itself as a FC 5 creature. It disappears to the sidelines after the turn is over.

No morale is used! Battle to the grisly, child-friendly end.


  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all. Particularly the play doh entities from beyond space and time.

  2. Awesome. I really like the measuring with what's simple and on hand and the user made play-doh monsters. I had my players make treasure items out of it once, but abominations seems a better fit.