1st Edition

The Fundamentals of Tabletop Miniatures Game Design A Designer’s Handbook

By Glenn Ford, Mike Hutchinson Copyright 2025
    272 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    272 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This book presents a much-needed framework for the critical examination of miniatures games and their design. It provides the reader with both a conceptual model for understanding how these games work as well as a toolbox of mechanical approaches to achieving a range of design outcomes and assessing the fit of any given approach within a specific design.


    Though dating back to the 1820s, tabletop miniatures games have been little explored critically and lack a conceptual vocabulary for their discussion. Active practitioners in the miniature games design community, Glenn Ford and Mike Hutchinson explore what defines these games, proposing the term ‘non-discrete miniatures games’ to encapsulate the essence of these open and immersive hobby gaming experiences. Discarding the term ‘wargame’, they argue against limiting conceptions of these games to direct armed conflict, and champion their diverse narrative potential.


    The book provides a fresh conceptual framework for miniatures games, abstracting the concepts of positioning and moving markers non-discretely across scale-modelled environments into inclusive and generalised terminology, untethering them from their roots as military simulations and providing the foundations for a fresh consideration of miniatures games design.


    Written for game designers, and with a foreword by Gav Thorpe, The Fundamentals of Tabletop Miniatures Game Design is a handbook for those that wish to design better miniatures games.

     Introduction. 01a Section 1_ Miniatures as Medium. 01b What are Tabletop Miniatures Games. 02 A Brief History of Miniatures Games. 03 The Spatial Relationship. 04 When Should Something Be A Miniatures Game. 05 The Hobby Games Loop. 06 Players of Tabletop Miniatures Games. 07 Sources of Fun. 08 The Victory Imperative. 09 Fantasy & Narrative. 10 Dramatic Focus. 11a Section 2_ The Raw Materials. 11b Miniatures & Measures. 12 Scale and Scope. 13 Uncertainty. 14 Dice Mechanics. 15 Card Mechanics. 16 Genre Theme and Setting. 17 Resources. 18a Section 3_ Miniatures Rules Systems. 18b Setup & Deployment. 19 Activation & Initiative. 20 Movement. 21 Close Resolution. 22 Line of Sight & Ranged Actions. 23 Terrain. 24 Control Removal. 25 Damage. 26 Victory Conditions. 27 Special Abilities. 28 Scenarios. 29 Campaigns. 30 Forces & List Building. 31 Conclusion


    Glenn Ford is the designer of miniatures games including Pukeapocolypse and Boarders and Black Flags as well as the regular developer on the games of his friend and Rule of Carnage podcast collaborator Mike Hutchinson. He runs an independent games publishing company, Man O’ Kent Games and has successfully funded six Kickstarter campaigns, so far. Glenn lives in Deal, a small town with far too many castles in Kent in the UK with his wife, son and a disturbingly high number of games and toy soldiers.

    Mike Hutchinson is an award-winning designer of miniatures games including Gaslands, A Billion Suns and Hobgoblin, and runs an independent game design studio called Planet Smasher Games. He is the co-host of the Rule of Carnage podcast, a weekly series examining tabletop miniatures game design. Mike lives in the inexplicably named village of Old Wives Lees in Kent, UK with his wife, Vanessa, and two daughters.