10 February 2013

An overview of MAYHEM

There is a new entry into the fantasy mass battle game market, and that is MAYHEM from Bombshell Games (available from Wargames Vault).  Here, I am just taking a quick look and giving first impressions... please note that I have not played the game yet.

The download from Wargames Vault is a zip file, with four PDF's  -  a 21-page rulebook, a Quick Reference Sheet, an army worksheet, and the General's Compendium with sample unit/army builds.

Basing for MAYHEM is centered around elements.  The recommended scheme for standard units is 40mm squares for 6mm/10mm, 50mm squares for 15mm, and 60mm squares for 25/28mm miniatures.  Heroic units, i.e. generals and the like, should use round bases to aid recognition.  However, I believe that any basing scheme should work if the units of each side are based in a similar fashion - one could use two rectangular DBx-style bases for one MAYHEM unit.

Units have three different stats - movement, combat, and traits.  Movement and combat are differentiated by dice type - D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20 are used.  For movement, the bigger the dice, the farther one can move.  For combat, the smaller the dice the more effective - low rolls are good for combat results.  Traits, such as different weapon types (melee and ranged), can modify this, and there are traits such as 'Fear' and 'Ranked Fighting' which can further modify the results and give a lot of potential for designing unique units.

Movement is based around the 'Overdrive' system, which uses Command Points (CP).  A major design feature for MAYHEM is the use of CP.  Units are not limited to one move per turn.  As long as there are CP's to use, a unit can perform multiple moves during a turn, and these moves can be in a non-linear sequence, i.e. one can use CP's to move a unit twice, conduct melee with another unit, then return to the first unit and continue moving as long as there are CP's to use.  Of course, there is an additional CP penalty for multiple moves but fortune favors the brave!

Combat is based around rolling lower than your opponent in a melee.  The unit that rolls the highest is disordered; ties have no effect on either unit.  A roll of '1' is a critical strike and eliminates the target!  Traits and weapons do have an effect on combat, typically modifying the dice type that the unit rolls, or causing the target to fall back farther than usual.

Ranged combat is based on the specific weapon type.  One rolls for a hit, then again for damage.  To hit a target, the distance is measured to the target from the firing unit, as modified by terrain and such.  A roll lower than the range is a hit.  To damage, the weapon's damage dice is compared to the target's quality, with a low roll disordering the unit (and yes a critical hit is seen with a roll of '1'!)

Almost forgot  -  in most circumstances where dice need to be rolled, the unit can use the 'default' value  -  half of the dice value, i.e. the default value for D6 is 3, the default for D20 is 10.

Magic is not dealt with in MAYHEM; probably the only omission in the basic system.  It is promised in the next supplement for the series.

(Please note that this is a very basic overview of the rules!)

I am a bit impressed with MAYHEM.  For your US$7.99, you get an interesting system that has a lot of potential for the design of unique units and unique armies.  The 'Overdrive' system can be used to set up some very intricate maneuvers, if given enough CP to accomplish them.  The traits and weapon categories are varied enough to provide for a lot of variation, while the system is simple enough to not slow one down.

Hopefully, I can delve more deeply into MAYHEM soon with a view to make a more Tékumel-flavored set-up.


  1. I am interested to read your impressions of the rules.I had noticed them at the Wargamer's Vault and had been tempted.
    I think I will succumb...
    best wishes

  2. It is an inexpensive yet well-written set of rules - I hope you enjoy them!