SABOT Tank vrs Tank skirmish wargaming rules – part 1

SABOT Tank rules …..

sab pg 000

sab pg 004

Though I’d do a quick (ish) post and give a little background on part of the reason behind the revival in our tank replacement and production program. Sounds a bit like a 1930s re-armament program when put like that doesn’t it ….. 🙂

For really deep background we’d have to start with our 20mm collection which was/is mostly made up of models over 20years old (and that’s the assembly and painting, not the kit/mould age lol) and generally in pretty poor shape. Some time ago we decided to retire our old collection and sort of start with a new broom as my building and painting had somewhat improved over time. Actually we thought it’d be nice to have vehicles and troops as good as the stuff I was building and sending out to my customers. But as in all things other projects jumped in and apart from some Project ’46 stuff our 20mm replacement program really went nowhere.

Recent Motivation

Advance to today, well recently anyway and the major thing that got us moving again was finally locating faux fur with the right density to cut down and use as a gaming table cover. This has been on our “badly want” list for a long time and was another factor stalling our 20mm gaming. The fur once trimmed will allow proper grass cover for our whole table, with HD foam formers underneath creating undulating terrain and using place-on buildings, woods and roads etc. The great thing about the fur base is that it’s equally good for all scales, from 20mm through to 28mm and 1/48th, and maybe even 1/35th . . . hmmmmm.

So that fired us up to get back into 20mm gaming and to get our collection updated. After a bit of thought (unusual for us) the quickest bang for a buck collection wise was to focus on vehicles and the best way to use them would be for me to get my Tank vrs Tanks rules sorted out.

And so after all of the above this is why we’ve been working on tank platoon building, for use with our SABOT rules.

Gaming fur 001 1024

And so what is SABOT?

Well basically it’s the core of our standard WW2 ruleset but expanded and focused on Tanks. The goal was to have a set of rules backed up by a first principles vehicle generator system which would allow us to create relative stats for any AFV from the WW1 A7V to the latest ultra-modern T14 Armata, and everything in between. Opposing forces can then be selected using roughly comparable AFVs and then with points values so that balanced forces can be fielded.

SABOT has optional RPG elements to it also and you can take your AFV crews through a campaign or series of battles, improving their skills and their chance of survival and success as you go. Of course crew losses have to be replaced which is done using battle experience points gained from battles. Don’t have enough EXP? then your replacement driver is going to be “Green”. Crews cost points which is added to the base AFV cost so that the total force points cost is a combination of crews and AFVs. The fun is in seeing whether your veteran crew can really make enough of a difference to win against superior numbers ….

But at it’s core we really wanted SABOT to have a Tank only – WOT feel, but without the match fixing and behind the scenes result adjustments you get in WOT. Here good tactics and a little luck rolling the dice will determine success and you can instantly feel elation rolling a lucky 12 or pain coming on with a roll of snake eyes …..

Rules Mechanisms

In SABOT each vehicle is moved individually with activation alternating between the two sides (or players if it’s a multiplayer game) and each activating one vehicle at a time until all have performed actions or been “passed over”. Each vehicle/AFV has three activation points which can be used in any way the player wishes, ie the AFV can move for 3 AP, or it can mix other actions such as move 1AP, halt 1AP and spot a target for 1AP. Vehicle characteristics such as mobility, rate of fire, gun accuracy, range-finding equipment, turret rotation speed, optics quality and others all help determine what actions can be attempted and how effective they might be.

Crew skills (fixed for the basic play version) are determined by the level of experience and training. A “trained” crew makes all it’s activation dice rolls and tests with a base value of 7 on 2d6. The system is also a “roll equal to or higher” for success as we feel it’s more natural when rolling dice to try and roll high. So when attempting to shoot a target for example, the base to hit roll required is 7 and this is then modified by both the firing vehicles actions and the targets range and actions.

The effect of successful hits is determined by both players rolling dice (2d6) with the firer adding his roll to his AFVs weapon penetration. The target player adds his dice roll to his AFV armour value, which is dependant on the location of the hit (front, side, hull down/turret, rear, top/bottom). These dice rolls allow a measure of real-world variation to the results, so a weapon of penetration lower than the target vehicles armour value still has a small chance of causing a damaging hit. This represents that lucky hit which finds the gap in the armour belt, the drivers vision block or smashes the gun tube. Likewise there is a remote chance that a smaller vehicle could bounce that potentially crippling 8.8cm hit …. for a turn at least.

Gameplay example

The best way to illustrate the gameplay flow and the use of the 3AP is (hopefully) with one of our gameplay examples;

sab gameplay

And some random pages below showing where we’re headed with the SABOT system …. still very much a work in progress 🙂


sab pg 015-16

sab pg 019-20

sab pg 021-22

sab pg 025-26

sab pg 038

sab pg 053

sab pg 052


19 comments on “SABOT Tank vrs Tank skirmish wargaming rules – part 1

  1. Excellent work.
    I confess to also being a devotee of 20mm scale and have never been very happy with existing rules. I can’t accept the poor sculpt and geometric issues with much of the 15mm stuff out there (1/285th GHQ is of better quality IMHO) and 1/48th – 1/56 is too big. The best I can do is game with the very considerate and understanding Flames of War players at my local club; EMIRS here in Sydney (where I roll up with two armies, very rarely now due to work/ family demands).

    Can’t persuade anyone to play Rapid Fire and have not got around to looking at the Bolt Action tank rules (although the club plays it ).

    One recent rule set that I am impressed by is the Knight Models Batman Miniatures Game. This has an interesting activation choice, sequence and skill model similar to your direction. Check it out for mechanisms as each character has some comparisons with a ‘Tank’.

    Many thanks for the interesting posts, and good luck with SABOT.

    • Thanks for the interesting comments. Back when we started gaming it was with 20mm so whatever else we play (we being me and my brother who’s my main gaming partner) it’s got a strong nostalgia draw.

      We had big GHQ armies for quite some time and that is perfect for larger more tactical games. I’d go back to them but we’re trying to focus a bit, both due to funds and available time.

      And yeah, both the style of the 15s and 28s aren’t really to my taste, although much better stuff is slowly becoming more available.

      And thanks for the heads up on the Knight Models game. It’s always pretty interesting and useful to look at systems and see how others solve what are essentially the same problems …


  2. I really like the color scheme you have going on in the book. Nice to look at, tasteful, and very legible. And, of course, the models and model photography are absolutely top notch!

    • Thanks Tim, much appreciate the kind comments. No guarantee it’s gonna look the exactly the same as we go fwd as this was pretty much a quick lash up to print a couple for playtesting …..


  3. Looks great to me- will pick it up when it comes out. What is the plan for vehicle stat listings and such like. TheWoT reference gives me the idea to use all the 20mm What if? tanks I’ve collected….



    • Hey Pete,

      There’s stats for everything from the various Sherman variants through to the E series stuff, along with US and Soviet experimentals as well.

      I’ll copy a couple for examples and try and post em up tonight. They’re obviously not totally finalised but pretty close and should give you some idea of the direction we’re taking …


      • Pretty early days on the WW1 stuff to be honest.

        Run the Mk I/IV male and females, A7V and FT17 through the vehicle generator to get some base stats but as to how they play – I suspect they may need some tweaks to the movement to get enough “granularity” as you don’t want a super slow paint drying exercise, just movement relative to each other and other similar vehicles.

        They could be fun with their own set of breakdown and unexpected results tables though.

        At any rate to test them properly we need to get some and build em first 🙂

    • Hi Nash.

      We’re still working on play-testing and rules balance stuff which has been delayed by my illness. We’re hoping to get them (both SABOT and FIRE TEAM) finished this year and then they’ll be available on PDF for free (or maybe some sort of donation if people like them).


      • Those are good news.
        I was afraid that it was abandonned.

        I’m not in a hurry, I have plenty of figs to paint…

  4. Hey Mr. Queeg, sorry to hear about your daughters illness, our thoughts are with her… I imagine the sabot rules are on the back burner for the duration?



    • Hey Doug, thanks for the thoughts.

      We are still hoping to get most of our rules tidied up and close to being finished this year. Fireteam and Sabot have been worked on and we have started putting a new combat resolution system into both sets (simpler but much more intuitive and streamlined).

      Unfortunately it will certainly be as time allows and when Leia is well enough to come home, she’s only managed two days at home since starting treatment and is currently still in isolation unfortunately.


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