January 4, 2021 systems


The Observer will outline the situation. The small scale and rough differentiation means situations involving irregular forces and clandestine skirmishes more suited. It is recommended this is used as the combat resolution system for a more involved campaign.


Characters are made up of their equipment, training, morale and history.



Deal 1 card to each meaningful combatant or cohesive unit for combat. (individuals, vehicles, squads depending on the resolution desired.)
Deal 1 additional card for any of the below factors which apply :

  • has superior firepower
  • has a prepared position
  • has superior visibility
  • has superior training
  • has superior morale

For every 2 ticks of Suppression, combatants lose 1 card. For a pulpier game, player characters cannot be reduced below 1 card.

In the case of surprise or an ambush, no cards are dealt to the surprised side.

Once this is done, all cards are revealed - actions are taken in descending order of cards, with Aces high and the following suit rankings:

Spades > Hearts > Diamonds > Clubs. (i.e. Ace of Spades acts first, then King of Spades, and so on) .

Combatants with multiple cards take multiple actions. Each action should be concise, achievable within ~6 seconds. Longer than this requires the use of multiple cards, either splitting the action into constituent parts or spending’ multiple cards at the lowest value cards rank.


A combatant may choose to shoot as their action. Targets shot at take 1 Suppression.

If aiming to score kills, roll 1d10. Roll 6+ to hit a target out of cover.
Roll 7+ to hit a target in cover.
Roll 8+ to hit a target in good cover.
Trained soldiers add +1 to this roll. Elite solders add +2.
If a hit is scored, consult the following the table, modifying any rolls as directed by the weapon.

  • STUN - target takes 3 additional Suppression. Target takes no cards next round. If already STUNNED, they are INJURED.
  • INJURE - target takes 3 additional Suppression. Target takes one card less, and has been non-fatally shot. They begin DYING if not treated in 2d6 Rounds. If already INJURED, becomes DEAD.
  • DYING - target takes 5 additional Suppression. They become DEAD in 1d6 Rounds without immediate first aid and serious medical attention after that. If already DYING, becomes DEAD.
  • DEAD - target is DEAD.

If aiming to Suppress, roll 1d10 - on a 10, a hit has been scored, see above. Otherwise, target takes 1 additional Suppression.

Semi-Automatic and Automatic Weapons can be used to Suppress areas.


Rather than an exhaustive cataloguing of weapons, we compare their relative power. Generally, newer weapons beat out the old - the rare cases where this is not the case should be obvious. Different types of weapon are more effective in certain conditions - the killing power of a sniper’s rifle is limited in house-to-house fighting.


After being shot at, a combatant gains one tick’ of Suppression. All suppression is lost once a round is spent without receiving any fire. For every 2 Suppression held, the highest card held for Initiative is lost.

Attacks from unseen foes add 2 additional Suppression. (e.g. Sniper attacks)

The use of dice to track total suppression is suggested.


Small Arms

  • Automatics gain +1 to hit and damage rolls.
  • Semi-automatics may gain +1 to hit or damage rolls.


Note - these effects stack.

  • Explosive Weapons gain +2 to hit and damage rolls.
  • Ground Vehicle Weapons add +3 to damage rolls and double Suppression.
  • Air Vehicle Weapons add +3 to damage rolls and triple Suppression.

Suggested Research Topics

  • Any War of Independence
  • The Spanish Civil War
  • Various Resistance Efforts during Nazi Occupation
  • 1967 Opium War
  • Laotian Civil War
  • Various CIA-backed coups and counter-revolutions
  • Chechen Wars
  • Chaco War
  • The Art of Not Being Governed - James C Scott
  • The Politics of Heroin - Alfred W McCoy
  • SDECE operations in Africa

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