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Instant Thunder
Instant Thunder Logo.jpg
Designer Nigel Lancaster
Type of Game "Skirmish" - Individual Soldiers and Units
Type of Dice nil - Intresting card draw mechanic


These rules provide an abstract representation of air to air combat between jets. They are designed to be equally suitable for solo as well as two players.

This game came about as a response to the complex boardgames I had played on this subject in the past – you know the type. Three hours and a blinding headache later, you have only fired off one heat-seeker which missed anyway!

The important thing about ‘Instant Thunder’ is the word ‘Instant’. The game plays extremely quickly, once you understand the basics.

Instant Thunder is abstract and reliant on luck with the cards – particularly for deployment. First and foremost, it is a GAME (of fleeting opportunities), not a simulation. However, the results (after hundreds of playtest games) appear consistent and within realistic boundaries. There ARE tactics that can be used (I will leave you to find them out yourself) but what continues to surprise me is the STRATEGIC aspect of the game. You need to constantly look ahead in a turn to see who is going to threaten you or who can support you. The game rewards realistic decision making. If you are ½ a victory point ahead on the last turn then is it really worth going after another kill or would you be better off dodging into that convenient nearby cloud?

You will find that missiles never work in line with manufacturer’s claims. I was delighted to read that, as late as 1998 during the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, modern Russian jets using the latest Russian missiles were reporting appalling performances from their AAMs and were resorting to cannons for their kills. Remember this when your super-duper AAM falls a square short of its target – you’re in good company!

The most common question I have been asked about the game is ‘when do I shuffle the deck of cards?’ The answer is – whenever you feel like it! It is emphatically NOT intended that the pack should be exhausted before shuffling. Card-counters should have no advantage in this game. You should not shuffle during the deployment sequence, however, as deployment is intended to place aircraft in different squares (unless using the optional Formation rules). Otherwise, shuffle as and when you think necessary. Similarly it is not cheating to deal off the bottom or middle of a pack either.

Instant Thunder can be played on an A4 sheet of paper, using ½ inch counters, on larger ‘Artist Board’ to give more elbow room or by using 1/300 or 1/600 miniatures. I use miniatures on a sheet of 2 x 4 foot chipboard with cotton wool clouds. You don’t even need a stand for the models!



Rules Link One (odt): File:Instant thunder rules.odt

Rules Link One (pdf):File:Instant thunder rules.pdf

Rules Link Two (odt):File:Instant thunder scenariopack.odt

Rules Link Two (pdf):File:Instant thunder scenariopack.pdf

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