Monday 12 August 2019

One Hour Skirmish Wargames – SF Urban Dystopia

One Hour Skirmish Wargames – SF Urban Dystopia


John Lambshead

The Core Rule Book


The One Hour Skirmish Wargames (OHSW) fast play diceless wargame rules are designed to be a toolkit to allow players to create gun-orientated skirmish scenarios that can be played at ‘film speed’ because the various probability ranges are subsumed into the game system. The effect of this is to create a game with minimal mental arithmetic where players concentrate on fire and movement, using just a simple army sheet in front of them as a memory aide.

OHSW scenarios are specific to certain genres with their own special rules, musket era, rifle era, etc. Here, I provide a new genre for the game that is very popular among SF fans and wargamers (groups with a fair overlap of members) – the SF Urban Dystopia.

IN OHSW, each genre is illustrated by a scenario, and I continue to follow that pattern here. I have chosen to use Citadel models for this example because they are inexpensive, easily available from Game Workshop itself and many independent outlets world-wide, and because they are great urban dystopian models. My Bright Lane Mob uses models from Citadel’s Goliath Gang kit, and my Limehouse Collective mob uses models from Citadel’s Escher Gang kit. These gangs are in the “Necromunda: Underhive” starter set so are likely to be widespread among wargamers interested in dystopian SF games. The models are built ‘straight from the box’ as they are shown on GW’s website and box art.

Legal Note: ‘Necromunda’ and other names such as ‘Gangs of House Goliath’ and ‘Gangs of House Escher’ are either ® or TM, and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd, variably registered around the world. All Rights Reserved. They are used without permission and no challenge to their status is intended.


Londinium is an industrial city that expanded rapidly from a small service-industry town due to rich finds of olueum in underlying geological strata. Oleum is an organic soup of complex metalo-organic molecules that provides cheap starting points for many chemical processes. Londinium expanded rapidly with vast industrial plant built to mine and refine oleum – and to service the needs of the itinerant workforce drawn into the city.
Unfortunately, the oleum beds are all but exhausted and the large Consortia have moved out, leaving behind hectares of decaying industrial infrastructure and those who for one reason or another have been unable to emigrate. Wildcatting on a small scale is still possible. And various unregistered operations process raw oleum into high-value chemical ‘substances’ that are worth a fortune in more civilised societies – all the more valuable because they are completely illegal.
Although a City Authority nominally still exists, real power at ground level in Londinium is held by the assorted street gangs who have carved up the city into small territories, often based around a single street. Skirmishing along the borders of gang territories for control is endemic as gang fortunes wax and wane. Above the street gangs are the ‘Firms’ and their enforcers, who control import and export into the city and own the municipal authorities – such as they are.
Note: this happy set up is based on our fair town of London, it’s gangsters, street gangs and the massive illegal drug trade.
All the rules in the original OHSW book stand unless specifically modified.

Scenario 7 – Protection Racket


A group of wildcatters have discovered a forgotten underground storage containing several decabarrels of unprocessed oleum that must have been overlooked when the refinery was abandoned during the Londinium mass riots. They bring one of the semi-derelict refineries on the site back into use.
The local area, Dustville, was a completely depopulated zone of largely burn out buildings and wrecked industrial machinery claimed by no gang so the wildcatters assumed they could operate with impunity. Unfortunately, nowhere in Londinium is completely unoccupied. There is always the odd itinerant passing through for reasons known only to themselves so it was not long before word leaked out to both the Limehouse Collective and the Bright Lane Mob.
Both these street gangs had technically claimed Dustville but it had never been worth fighting for: now it was. The objective is to impress the Wildcatters that your gang can provide security and hence should be paid the usual Protection Money.


The battlefield consists of a dense agglomerate of burnt out buildings and industrial plant, leavened with discarded vehicles barrels and spiced up by the odd uncrossable toxic dump. In the centre, place a large container representing the reactivated refinery. The Limehouse Collective set up within 6” of the southern map edge while the Bright Lane Mob set up within 6” of the northern map edge.

Game Length

The game lasts until an army breaks or is destroyed.


The objective of each gang is to impress upon the wildcatters that they, and not their opponents, are best placed to protect the vital refinery by keeping potential thieves and vandals away so players get victory points for holding the refinery rather than destroying opponents.
Players get 1 victory point for every ganger within 6” of the refinery at the end of each turn.
The player with the highest number of victory points at the end of the game wins.

Limehouse Collective

The Collective are an all-girl street gang operating in the rundown Limehouse region of Londinium. They have an agreement with the Canning Cartel to supply the Firm with high grade narcotics from Limehouse distilleries.

Motivation: 4

Special Rule: the Collective use chemical stimulants to avoid fatigue – their movement rate is +2


Gang Leader
Sonata: tubro-carbine, electric whip, leadership (3)

Poppy: turbo-pistol, leadership (1)
Kalee: two pistols, ambidextrous, leadership (1)
Ash: flamethrower

3 X shooters with rifles
3 X fighters with pistols

Cost: 41 points

Turbo-Carbine: range 24 inches, 1 shot, AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Turbo-Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot
Rifle: range infinite, 1 shot; range 12 inches 2 shots
Flamethrower: range 6”, automatic knockdown on target model plus draw one card for every model within 3”, ignores cover – one card only for defence
Electro-Whip: (i) range 3 inches, automatic knockdown of target, (ii) in close combat draw one extra card

Amidextrous: can fire both pistols together at the same target using only one action point. 

Bright Lane Mob

An all-male street gang that hire themselves out as muscle to such Firms as are willing to pay them. The Dustville Job is a step up for the Bright Laners as they are trying to carve a little biz of their own.

Motivation 3

Special Rule: Bright Laners use heavy duty anabolic steroids: the resulting extra muscle mainly allows them to carry and use weapons that are too heavy for normal humans to employ comfortably such as (i) large two handed close combat weapons (wrenches, hammers, axes - LCCW) used one handed and (ii) pistols and carbines firing massive slugs so count as turbo weapons.

Gang Leader
Yellow Eye: Turbo Pistol, LCCW, Tough (1), Leadership (2)

Martini (up for a bust any time, any place, anywhere): Turbo Pistol, Grenades, Tough (1) Leadership (2)
Smacker: AGL, LWCC, Tough (1), Leadership (1)
Shog: Industrial Stapler

3 X Shooters with Turbo Revolver Carbines
1 X Basher with Industrial Cutter
2 X Basher with Pistol and LCCW
1 X Basher with Two LCCW

Cost 41 points

Turbo-Pistol: range 6 inches, 1 shot AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
Turbo Revolver Carbines range 18 inches, 1 shot, AP(1)
A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’. Models within 3 inches are also attacked by ‘shrapnel’, draw one card for the attack, one card for defence. Note that this effect only applies if the original target was in cover and was knocked down.
AGL: range 24 inches, 2 shots, two cards per shot – ricochet rules apply but only for the second shot, if appropriate.
Industrial Stapler: range 9 inches, one shot, ignores cover
Grenade: range 9 inches, one shot, blast radius 2 inches
LCCW: draw one extra card in close combat
Industrial Cutter: two extra resolution cards in close combat.

Toughness: one extra card drawn when defending against a gun or blast weapon (not the electrowhip)

New Weapon Notes

Guns can be projectile or energy shooting. It is a distinction without a difference in game terms.
All fighters carry ‘shanks’ (blades) of some sort that are simply factored into the close combat rules.
Turbo: some weapons are upgraded by the word ‘turbo’ to indicate that they are heavy duty with Armour Piercing 1. Heavy duty in this sense means that they fire an exceptionally strong burst of energy or a large projectile that might be rocket assisted, discarding sabot dart, or otherwise high velocity, and/or a shaped-charge exploding warhead. A target in hard cover gets only 1 card for defence against a turbo shot: this represents the shot smashing bits off the cover in a blast of ‘shrapnel’.
+1 point cost
Electro Whip: can be used as either a ranged weapon or a close combat weapon.
+1 point cost
Large Close Combat Weapon: one extra resolution card in Close Combat per LCCW.
+1 point cost
Industrial Cutter: two extra resolution cards in close combat.
Plus 2 points


The Bright Lane Mob

I played the Bright Lane Mob while my regular playtester Shaun M. took charge of the Limehouse Collective.

The Mob started by cautiously advancing through the industrial wasteland.

Limehouse Collective Snipers

The Mob were almost immediately picked up on the Wildcatters surveillance cameras and Collective snipers moved into position on the ruined gantries high over the refinery to make use of their rifles' long range.

The area around the refinery had been cleared so gave zero cover. I couldn't win a firefight at long range (or short range come to that) with the Collective so my tactics were for my assault gangers to close as fast as possible while my shooters moved into the open to blast the snipers off their perches.

I was relying on my gangers toughness to protect them in the open, the cover-blasting ability of my turbo-guns, and the close combat strength of my steroid-jacked lads.

Down he goes

This little vignette shows what went wrong with my strategy. Unfortunately, I had overlooked the high mobility of the girls. As my first ganger moved in clutching an industrial cutter Sonata dashed down the ladder, ran across the polluted concrete and smacked him down with her electro-whip. 

And anuvver one

Things went from bad to worse as my next ganger moved in and promptly lost the combat against a slip of a girl with a knife.

A pattern emerged: Sonata knocked them down and then the girl with the knife cut their throats.

The End

Meanwhile, as predicted I lost the firefight and all my gangers legged it after Yellow Eye was knocked down by multiple laser blasts.

Shaun won by Four Points to One

Good Game and it actually took an hour.


  1. Where do we get this rulebook?

    1. You can get it direct from the publisher, Pen £ Sword, or from Amazon or order it through bookshops like Smiths, Waterstones or Barnes and Noble.

      P&N are book publishers so the book is available from book suppliers rather than wargame suppliers - different distribution network apparently.

      It is in hardback and ebook format.

      Have fun!

    2. Or click on the link top right of the blog.

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