Back in 2021, when me and Cassa were still dangerously wet behind the ears, we started Fortified Niche with an episode on
Grimdark Future. It was done without any playtesting – something that may actually be useful when you’re judging rules for tabletop miniature wargames. That’s why we made a redux episode to check out the game with more expert eyes.
Listen to the Fortified Niche episode.
Grimdark Future endeavors to give you as much fan-made 40K gaming as possible to fit on a page or two of rules. It mostly succeeds at this!
All the factions you like (including some I don’t) are there, allowing you to recreate basically any Warhammer 40,000 matchup. You can also recreate any Warpath/Deadzone confrontation as well, plus, some original factions also join the fray.
Heroes are handled fairly simply in this system – they can join units, and they are always the last to be allocated wounds (means that the rest of the unit is dead by that point). Multiwound model units allocate wounds to one of them until it’s dead, so nothing really new there.
The dice mechanics are very simple: d6s and target numbers. Most of the time, those will be either unit Quality or Defense – the stats that every unit has. Quality also pulls double duty for Morale reasons, etc.. Simple enough! Flavor is provided by special rules that impart such abilities like doing more attacks on the charge.
At least where my friends are concerned, the key downside of the system is that you don’t have many options to mitigate getting shot – which is understandable when you consider both the system it’s trying to emulate and the fact that original project is called One Page Rules for a reason. My biggest issue that Space Marines aren’t tough enough.
If you can get over those hurdles, you will find that Grimdark Future is a system supported by many modules, adding AI, campaign rules and more. Outside of just loads of free stuff (included a top-of-the-line army builder), it also offers digital goodies for those willing to support it on Patreon.
Summa summarum, Grimdark Future is good, fast game that has loads of support behind it. Whether you want a more graceful approach to certain mainstream game universes or just a fast beer-and-pretzels game, it’s the game for you.