Nightwatch: The Solo Wargame
Posted On March 11, 2021
This is a game about killing monsters. All kinds, anywhere, any time.
So speaketh Patrick Todoroff, the scribe behind Nightwatch.
This little gem of a wargame is a solo wargame that features a fairly simple core mechanic upon which you can bolt all kinds of weird and wonderful special rules.
The short version is that you take four heroes onto a table filled with terrain and have to accomplish one of the standard wargame objectives. Break a thing. Cross the table. Find a hidden thing and get off the table. That sort of objective. The trick is that there are four spawn points where increasingly strong monsters are going to be pouring onto the table to stop you.
The core mechanic is that each figure gets four actions: a free move and three potential interactions. You’ve got to roll above a target number of 4+ to succeed. You get one each of the d6, d8, and d10 with which to try and take actions beyond that free move, and that’s the core. Each character class gets two things it’s good at, and so it can roll two dice looking for a success. Tanks get to roll two dice in melee and resisting damage. Wizards get to roll two dice when casting a spell or moving.
The enemies that spawn on the table have four classes as well. All get a free move and then they scale up in actions from a single d6 to a pair of d8s to three d10s. So each class grows in power exponentially. From one action to three per turn, and an increasing probability of moving and striking, it gets pretty tough. The last class is the big Big Battle, and that last boss has multiple wounds, multiple abilities, and four actions per turn, making it the end-state goal of a seven-plus mission quest.
If it all sounds a bit generic so far that’s probably because it is, but that’s all part of the beauty of the system. It’s meant to be a starting point for you to use your own figures to really make the game come alive.
Got a giant bat swarm? Fine – they are vermin who who fly over obstacles. A minor threat, but one that can zip freely around the table.
Got skeletons? Give them a +1 to resist damage from bladed weapons.
Got a dragon figure? Make it the Big Boss and give it fire breath, flight, and ferocity. It’ll make for a serious threat.
It’s a refreshingly open game system, and one that looks robust enough after a couple games to allow for just the sort of tinkering that every wargamer does anyway.