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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 12 February 2023

Xenos Rampant

 This is the latest in Dan Mersey's 'Rampant' series of fast play wargame rules published by Osprey Games. They are aimed at science fiction games, possibly the only wargame period I don't play. Not sure why, but sci-fi has never grabbed me. Although I have been slipping recently, watching the Star Wars 'Andor' series, which is very good.  

I am planning a WW2 participation game for Claymore using my new Adriatic harbour, upgraded to WW2. I have used a cut-down version of Bolt Action for these games, but the narrow terrain would work better with smaller squads. While Xenos Rampaant is aimed at sci-fi, the mechanisms work fine for any 20th-century conflict. It is designed to be very flexible, so you can use any setting, figures etc.

The other advantage is that the basic 'Rampant' mechanisms are quick to learn, and many gamers are familiar with them. There are obviously a lot of changes to bring the rules into this period, but the basics are the same. The troop types can cover WW2 squads and even armoured vehicles, although this is not a tankie game. You activate normally, and each unit has the usual stats for moving, shooting and attacking. The armour save doesn't work for WW2, but I suppose if you think of it as using cover better, it might.

I gave it a go today at home rather than the club, as I am confined to barracks due to my wife contracting COVID. The harbour is defended by two standard squads of Handschar and two large Whermacht squads, plus an armoured car. The attackers are two commando squads and a squad of US Rangers. The objective is to capture the harbour office and the naval gun positions. 

The Rangers storm ashore.

Commandos charge the Handschar barricade. Disturbing the rat's lunch!

It needs more thought on squad capabilities and playtesting, but I think this might work. The rule book has a lot of stuff other than the game rules. These include scenarios and detachment lists ranging from Weird War 1 and 2, urban streets to Star Wars.

I confess that my eye, and wallet, strayed to the bring and buy stall at York last weekend. As a result, half a dozen space orcs just found their way into my bag. This is a perilous rabbit hole!


  1. XR seems to be a really good toolkit ruleset for all sorts of periods. I'm in the process of sorting out forces for a Laserburn inspired game with my 15mm figures from the 80s

  2. Nothing better than a new ruleset resulting in some old figures getting on the tabletop! Or that's my excuse.

  3. Your Adriatic harbour looks impressive. I would, however, urge everyone to stick well clear of the local rodents. That rat delving into the bins is HUUUUGE.
    I have, somewhere in my lead mountain, some of the old TTG Laserburn figures - the ones that look suspiciously like a certain Judge from the comics (yes, that comic “23 years ago” if you know what I mean). I had been thinking of using it for Hordes of the Things, but was distracted and moved onto another project… That’s wargaming I suppose 😉

    1. Adriatic scraps are obviously nourishing. I can't even remember where I picked up the giant rats! Another forgotten project.