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Homage or copycat? One Page Rules offers a way to play "Warhammer" quickly

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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… 

As we’ve noted before, wargaming is an often time-consuming hobby. One group who’s aiming to change this is One Page Rules. They offer to do exactly what they say on the tin by providing ruleset that takes up no more space than two sides of A4. The rules they offer at the moment – which are freely available from their website – are what might be called the store brand version of the games from a certain popular wargaming company. 

OPR’s main games at the moment are their sci-fi rulest Grimdark Future and their fantasy rules Age of Fantasy. They also offer skirmish versions of each, with Firefight (in which squads, or should I say Teams, Kill each other – cough cough) and AOF: Skirmish.  Unlike Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, each game alternates between opponents’ squads each round, avoiding the ‘I-do-all-my-stuff-whilst-my-opponent-just-rolls-saving-throws’ style of their parents. They also recommend low-point games, at around 750 points (an average squad of 5 models will usually run to about 150-200 points) 

They’ve recently released rules for two armies from the ‘havoc demons’ factions; one for demons of war and the other for demons of lust (presumably, their deities are called ‘Korn’ and ‘Slay-nest’ respectively?)

OPR raises an interesting question about the nature of wargaming as a hobby versus that as a business. On the one hand, even though they don’t use any of the copyrightable assets from Warhammer like names and imagery, there’s no doubt it’s Warhammer they’re riffing on. Similarly, whilst they don’t sell anything, they do have a Patreon for donations. From a hobby perspective, you could argue that having an easy to read, free ruleset that doesn’t require that many models to play a game is a good way of making wargaming accessible to newcomers, especially if it’s channeling the IP that – let’s face it – they’ll most likely have heard about. By the same token, it could be argued that the potential loss of revenue for Games Workshop may jeopardise wargaming as a whole in the long run. Many wargamers, whether they play historical or non-historical games, will likely have been introduced to the hobby – especially in their youth – through Games Workshop. By that logic, there’s an argument to suggest that by threatening to divert money way from ol’ GW, the wider hobby is threatened by endangering the gateway to it. On the otherother hand, you might say that it’s effectively promoting the Games Workshop range – where, after all, is one most likely going to buy units for the ‘Machine Cult’ or ‘Battle Sisters’ factions, say?

 

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