Allow me to answer your first question: ELF ABAS stands for Epping, Lee, and Fremont (NH Gamers) version of the Anything But A Six rules. In essence a colleague of mine, Otto Schmidt, designed a simplistic set of rules that I liked but, in the spirit of being a game designer, couldn't stop myself from tweaking. After introducing my local gaming club to the origional and then modified version, we've managed to come to a play tested rule set we think is worth sharing.

What You'll Need
You can use any figures you want from any genre, what ever floats your boat and makes the battlefield look nice. Works for any scale, make, or model of army. We play out out struggles on a green felt mat with 4" hexes using 20 to 28mm figures, our latest scale craze. The only other necessity is a pile of dice, one of which is colored or otherwise stands out. In general the highest number of dice we've rolled in one go has been less than thirty, but of course you can achieve the same effect rolling groups of ten, etc.

Building Your Force
For our play tests we decided to sample the various types of units we decided should be available to add flavor to the battle:

  • 1 Leader figure [move 1, attack 1D, shrug 2]
  • 1 Hero figure [move 1, attack 2D, shrug 4]
  • 3 Foot Units [move 1, attack 6D, six figures each]
  • 1 Missile Unit [move 1, attack 5*, six figures each]
  • 1 Scout Unit [move 2 or move 1 & attack 4, four figures each]
  • 1 Mounted Unit [move 3, attack 6, six figures each]

Here is the basic breakdown of Unit abilities:

  • A Leader figure negates all Retreat and Panic results for the Unit it is attached.
  • Figures or Units with a Shrug ability means they can shake off any Casualty counts up to their number.
  • Units get 1D to attack with for every figure in their formation.
  • Missile Units can range attack starting with their figure count minus 1 for every hex of distance.
  • Scout Units can elect to use their attack action as an additional move.
  • Mounted Units cannot enter built up or dense terrain areas.

Movement & Combat
So the main idea around the rules is to keep the mechanics light. Determine who goes when randomly, we like to place two cards into a pile for each player, mix and then draw the top card after rolling a D6 and placing that many cards at the bottom of the stack. Every Unit can go into any hex, except for deep water and cavalry cannot enter built up areas (dense forests, rocky terrain, and villages). You may attack at any point during your movement, beginning, middle, or end. You may not move through another Unit, and only one Unit may occupy a single hex with up to one Leader and Hero attached.

When a Unit attacks the enemy, they must roll the above specified number of six sided dice (D6s). In general for melee combat you get to roll a single D6 for each figure in the Unit, so five figures means 5D6, three figures 3D6 and so on with Heroes 2D6 each being one exception. The only other exception is Missile troops start with the number of figures firing and subtract a D6 for each hex to the target (including the target hex). So five archers would fire 4D6 into the adjacent hex, 3D6 into the next hex, and so on. You can only fire over friendly Units if they are closer to you than the enemy. Partially masked or blocked line of site targets earn a -1D to the roll.

All attacks on a Unit must be declared and executed at the same time. A single Unit may spread out their attacks over multiple targets. Each 6 result on a die means some sort of effect results. The total effects for a given turn can be reduced by terrain, built-up obstacles typically a -1. For each effect which remains, the defender rolls two six sided dice, one being designated as the Fate die. If the Fate die results in another 6 then a critical effect has occured and you use the non-Fate die to determine which. Otherwise a normal effect has occured and simply look up the value rolled on the non-Fate die:

Normal 1-2
Cumulative. Unit must move toward their designated entry point by the most direct way possible. If unable to move then Unit suffers a Casualty instead.
Normal 3-4
Cumulative. Unit will perform at a -1 for each effect to both Movement and Attack rolls. For each turn spent at Rest player can remove a single Fatigue result.
Normal 5-6
Remove one figure from the Unit.
Fate 1
Boss Loss
Any Leader or Hero with the Unit is removed. If none is present then treat as regular Casualty reduction.
Fate 2
Unit loses all abilities except a Move of 1 and can only be restored if it can refit from supplies from a Camp, Baggage Train, or Village.
Fate 3
Unit Retreats, but any one enemy Unit can follow along. Multiple Pursuit means multiple Units.
Fate 4
Unit Retreats, but takes all adjacent Friendly Units with it. If Panic and Pursued, then an enemy Unit may follow each friendly Unit effected.
Fate 5
Heroic Stand
Negates all effects except for Casualty or Destroyed, whether preexisting or drawn that turn.
Fate 6
Everythig in the hex dies instantly, and negates a Shrug.

Example A:
My Unit of Foot moves one hex to become adjacent to yours. I have five (5) figures in my Unit so I get to roll 5D6. The result is 2, 2, 3, 4, and a 6 which means I inflict one effect on your Unit. You roll 2D6, one red, one white, and get red 5 and white 3 which means you suffer a Fatigue result. Now it is your turn and your Unit of six (6) Foot get to roll 5D6 (6-1) dice back. The result is 1, 1, 3, 6, 6 for two effects on me. I roll my 2D6 and get red 1, white 6 and a red 6, white 2 or a Casualty reduction (now I'm at four figures) followed by a critical Spent result (I can't fight anymore and can only move at a 1 to the closest refit point).

Example B:
My Unit of six (6) Foot and my Hero roll an 8D6 (6+2) attack on your Leader who happens to be by himself. The result is a 1, 2, 2, 3, 5, 5, 6, and a 6 which result in two Casualties. Unfortunately your Leader can Shrug 2, so the effects are ignored. Had I rolled one more Casualty result, a Boss Loss, or a Destoryed then your Leader would have been toast

Example C:
My Unit attacks your Unit which is in a village (Shrug 1) which results in three effects: Casualty, Retreat, and Heroic Stand. The Casualty is shrugged off, and the Heroic negates the Retreat which means I did zilch to your guys. You strike back and get a Panic and Destroyed result. I ignore the Panic as the Destroyed trumps everything.

Example D:
My Unit of four (4) crossbow men fire at your Unit which is two hexes away. I would roll 2D6 (4-2) due to the range.

Example E:
My Unit of Cavalry charges your line moving one hex, attacking, and then moving back two spaces. I could have attacked and moved three hexes, or moved and then attacked. Any order is allowed.

Example F:
My Scout Unit moves one and then attacks your Unit and Leader for a result of three Retreat effects. Since your Unit has no where to go the effects become Casualties instead. You get to decide if you want to lose your Leader or three figures from the Unit. Too bad your Hero wasn't traveling with them as he could have shrugged it all off!

Hopefully you'll enjoy this rules modification. As always, keep it fun and light. Try not to get wrapped around the axle or over think stuff. Just work out any needed modifications of your own and enjoy!

© 2012, Gabriel Landowski