Wargames Rules for Toddlers.

Designer: Dorian Love

Link to RulesEdit


Wargames Rules for ToddlersEdit

These rules were written with the help of my sons, Tamlin (4) and Merlin (2). Tamlin, having attended a wargames session at Old Eds, took out a box of ancient World War Two soldiers that belonged to my wife when she was girl, and proceeded to announce that he knew the rules of wargames. He lined the soldiers up, and started knocking them about with suitable war-like commentary. I decided to regularise his efforts a little, and introduced a die into the proceedings. The result is these rules. I am indebted to Merlin for the introduction of fluffy animals into the rules. This was not something that I had thought of, I must say, but they do add a certain je nais se quoi.

Do not expect a game to last very long, or to be played to conclusion. Children are easily distracted, and a game can devolve into something quite unlike a wargame in double quick time.


The aim of this rules set, if such a glorified appellation may be applied, is to introduce young children to wargames mechanisms. The rules are designed to develop as the child gets older, and become more complex. The use of die rolls, combat modifiers, such as +1 for being bigger, or +2 for being the general, all serve to introduce children to the basic routines of a wargame. These modifiers should be introduced when and as you and the child are ready to do so.


Any set of figures in any scale can be used. As children get older the figures can become more historical and less fanciful, but be guided by your children. They will want to introduce MacDonald clown figures, elephants and even fluffy toys. Let them. The basic rule is "anything goes".


Both players place their soldiers in turn, or all at once, however the child wishes to, onto a table. They should name the soldiers. Talk to your child about the soldiers, what arms they bear and so on, but don't spoil it by getting too heavy. Terrain can also be set. My sons and I play with cowboys and Indians, with canoes, tepees and trees decorating the table. When we play with the World War Two Afrika Corps and Eighth Army, tangled barbed wire adorns the table, together with the rhinoceros and lions that my eldest insists need to be there for the soldiers to hunt. In a recent battle, proceedings ground to a halt so that the British and Germans could shoot rhinoceros and lion.

Combat RulesEdit

Each player rolls a die. The player with the highest number goes first. Play is then in turn.

The first player nominates a "soldier" to shoot and a target. The player rolls a die, and needs a 5 or 6 to hit. Anything else is a miss. If the target is hit, it is removed from the table, or laid on its side. Once a soldier has shot, hit or miss, the turn revolves to the next player. Any number of players may participate, Mexican stand-off style.

Movement can occur at any time by simply moving the soldier before shooting.

Winning and losingEdit

The winner is the player with the last soldier/s standing in place a la Donald Featherstone.

Extending the rulesEdit

I haven't got there yet, but as children get older the rules can become more complex and involve formalised movement and shooting bounds, the introduction of figures mounted in units (but shooting as one), and weapons modified combat such as cannons count +1!

Make it up as you go along, and encourage your child to invent rules too. Above all, make it fun! Please let me know how you get on with these rules.