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Alien Invasion Rules

A game for several players where the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance (sometimes).


This is a skirmish level game designed to be played by four to six players in about an hour and a half. Each player will control a competing faction with personal victory conditions to achieve based on the scenario chosen. Not all victory conditions are mutually exclusive so alliances and diplomacy have their place.

The game is ostensibly set in a fictional present day but this is not a requirement. Many of the factions are drawn from popular culture and new factions can be added very easily simply by quantifying a small number of variables.

The game requires minimal measuring, no charts and a lot of six sided dice. The rules will be memorised by a player by their second action and everyone can then concentrate on having fun.

Game requirements


I use 28mm figures but any scale will work. Distances have been given with this size figure in mind. Each player will need a collection of painted figures to represent his or her faction. Figures within a faction should be organised into distinct groups based on the faction’s organisation.

For example; U.N.I.T. forces are arranged into squads of eight men that operate in sections of four. Daleks, on the other hand, operate in groups of three.

If you need to balance things (and this is less and less necessary the more players you have) then make sure every side has roughly the same amount of shooting dice.

Figures should be individually based for convenience but crewed weapons etc. based as a group work fine as well.

Playing area

For a four player game you will need a 6’ x 4’ table but small factions of 10 – 15 figures will work on a 4’ x 4’ area. Smaller or larger playing areas can be accommodated by varying the number of figures to a side or by having a variable density of terrain. After a couple of games you will have a pretty good idea of what will work best.


This game uses six sided dice (D6). You will need about 20 – 30 for a comfortable game.


There are only two measurements in the game; a ‘Move’ measurement which is Eight inches and a ‘Blast’ area which is a six inch diameter circle.
It is recommended that you prepare a Blast template before play and if you have pre-cut movement sticks they help to speed up game play immensely.

Action cards

Groups’ and individuals’ actions are regulated by drawing cards from a prepared deck. If you have four or less factions you can use a normal deck of playing cards by assigning a suit to each faction. If you need more variety it is fairly easy to make a deck of Action cards for yourself.

As a general rule, each faction will get 5 x Single Action cards, 3 x Double Actions cards and 1 x Triple Actions card. If you are using a normal deck these can be represented by using Pip cards for Single Actions, Court cards for Double Actions and Aces for Triple Actions. You will also need some Special Event cards which can be represented by Jokers. The deck should contain one Special Action card per faction involved up to a maximum of four.
Some factions can be given advantages or disadvantages by increasing or decreasing the number or type of Action Cards for them.

Mechanics of Play

Once a scenario has been decided on, the terrain has been laid out and the forces assembled the game is ready to start.

One player draws a number of cards from the Action Deck, announcing what they are and placing them where everyone can have a clear view. The number of cards drawn should equal the number of factions in the game but four cards must be drawn if there are fewer than four factions.

The actions on the cards are then played through in order with the relevant cards going to a discard pile as they are used. Once the cards have been used another set of cards is drawn and play continues in the same way. If the deck is exhausted the discard pile is shuffled and cards drawn as before.


When an Action Card for a faction comes up the controlling player may carry out the number of actions on the card with his forces.

A Single Action card allows one group to do one action.
A Double Action card allows one group to do two actions, or two groups to do a single action each.
A Triple Action card allows one group to do three actions, or three groups to do a single action each, or one group to do a single action and another group to do two actions.

A player is never required to use all the actions available to him.

There are three basic types of actions that can be attempted.

1. Move

The player chooses one figure in one of his groups and measures a single move for it. He then places the rest of the group next to the original figure as he sees fit. It is not necessary to measure the move distance for every other group member, this just slows things down. When the same group moves again the controlling player can measure from any figure, he doesn’t need to keep using the same one.

The standard Move distance in the game is eight inches but some factions can move more or less than this depending on their nature. Spugs, for instance, get to travel 16 inches per Move action.
A move must be in a straight line but may be in any direction.
A player never has to move a group the full move distance if he doesn’t want to (unless they are retreating from combat).
A group’s movement ends when it enters a terrain feature (including a vehicle). A group’s move also ends once they cross a linear barrier such as a wall or fence. If a group moves out of a terrain feature its move is measured from any edge of the feature. If exiting a building or vehicle measure from a suitable point, probably a door.

Vehicle movement

Ground vehicles may move in a straight line in the direction they are facing as far as they are able and end their move with a turn to face any direction.
Vehicles end their move if they enter a terrain feature but may still turn to face any direction. Vehicles can only enter terrain suitable to them. A road vehicle can only travel in open terrain, an off-road vehicle could cross rubble and scrub as well, use common sense to decide this unless a scenario gives special exceptions.
Helicopters and other VTOL craft use an action to take off, another action to travel anywhere and a third action to land.

2. Shoot

A single group may shoot at a single opposing group as long as one of the figures can trace an unblocked line of sight to any figure in the target group.

Line of sight will be blocked by intervening groups, and blocking terrain (terrain types are listed later). Please note that it is an intervening group that blocks line of sight, not just the individual figures in that group. You cannot shoot between figures in an intervening group.

There are no ranges in this game, the playing area is very small and modern weapons can hit anything the shooter can see. Imagine how much better the alien weapons are! Therefore, if you can see it, you can shoot it.

Once the target group has been decided on the shooting player rolls the number of D6 that his group can muster and totals them up. Different factions require different amounts to kill their figures.

For example; a section of 4 U.N.I.T. troops fires on a group of 3 Daleks.

The section can muster 8D6 comprised of two rifles at 1D6 each, one Light Support Weapon at 2D6 and one LAWS rocket at 4D6.
They roll a total of 29 (2,2,2,3,3,5,6,6).
They need 24 points to kill each Dalek so one of the metal encased monstrosities explodes. The extra 5 points does nothing.

At a later date the group of Daleks may feel like getting revenge and so they shoot at the U.N.I.T. troops.

There are 2 Daleks left and they each have 6D6 shooting dice for a total of 12D6.
They roll a total of 47 (1,2,2,4,4,4,4,5,5,5,5,6).
It only takes 6 points to kill a human in the open and it’s a four man group so the entire U.N.I.T. section is exterminated.

Had the U.N.I.T. troops been inside a building the Daleks would need 12 points to kill each man and so they would have killed three men with 36 points but the last man would have survived because the remaining 11 points is not enough to get him.

When a group takes casualties the player controlling the target group decides which figures to remove.

Each shooting action is resolved separately and casualties are removed immediately.

Some factions have the ability of linked fire.
Linked fire allows any shoot actions that are carried out from the same Action card to be combined. So a Double Action card would allow the U.N.I.T. section above to shoot twice at the Dalek group and total all 16D6 (two lots of 8D6) before determining casualties. This allows for greater effects from shooting. Linked fire also allows two different groups to shoot at the same target and total their dice.

3. Special Actions

Any action that is not moving or shooting is classed as a Special action. Most Special actions will be scenario specific such as searching a building or operating a piece of machinery. Some factions have Special actions particular to them; Spugs can burrow as an action for example. If a player wants to attempt something new or odd then common sense and a quick discussion between players should decide whether to allow it. Many actions require an Action roll in order for them to succeed. The basic form for this is to roll a D6 for every figure helping to carry out the action. One or more ‘6’s on any of the dice is enough to succeed.

Hand-to-hand combat

Close combat is not an action. When a group reaches an enemy group both become locked in hand-to-hand combat and cannot move until it is resolved. It is enough for a single figure to be able to get into base-to-base contact with a single figure from the opposing group for both groups to become locked this way.

Hand-to-hand combat is resolved when either a Double or Triple action card is drawn but after the actions on the card have been completed. If the combat is initiated as a result of an action from a Double or Triple card then it is resolved before the next Action card is acted upon.

Whilst a hand-to-hand fight is occurring and before it is resolved any group that has an action may join in if they can reach. If the new arrivals are reinforcements for a faction already involved they will join with figures from their faction to form a single, bigger group.
Any of the participating groups who get an action may shoot into the combat in an attempt to kill the opponents before the combat is resolved (and thus avoid taking casualties themselves).
Groups not involved in the close combat may not shoot into it if they have members of their faction involved.

Separate factions than those involved may shoot into a continuing close combat. They must choose a target faction and roll damage as normal. All even numbered damage dice results will be allocated to the target faction and all odd numbered damage dice results will be allocated as evenly as possible amongst any other participating factions.

Resolving hand-to-hand combat

Hand-to-hand combat damage is simultaneous but should be resolved one faction at a time to make it easier to work out. Casualties that have not had a chance to make their own attack rolls should be placed nearby so they can be included when it is their faction’s turn.

Each faction totals its close combat dice (which are the same as for shooting unless there is a note in the faction background that says otherwise) and rolls damage as if they were shooting. The target number is always the one for ‘in the open’ unless one faction is defending a terrain feature in which case they get the cover benefit of the defensive position which will vary depending on what it is (see the terrain list).
Casualties are worked out as normal and the player controlling the target faction decides which figures to remove.

If there are more than two factions involved the attacking player decides on a target faction and rolls his damage. All even numbered damage dice results will be allocated to the target faction and all odd numbered damage dice results will be allocated as evenly as possible amongst any other participating factions.

Once all casualties have been removed the hand-to-hand combat is over.

If there is a single faction remaining they will form suitable groups based on their organisation, Daleks would form up into threes for instance, and may move to occupy any ground that their opponent was holding. This allows a successful attack on a barricade to carry the attackers over it or if a building was stormed the attackers will get inside etc.

If more than one faction remains and an area of terrain was being defended such as a barricade or a building entrance then any defenders stay put and any attackers move back a full move ensuring that they don’t stay in contact themselves. If no position was being held, perhaps a group was jumped out in the street, then all factions will move a full move apart, usually back the way they came.


Because of the nature of the game there are many types of terrain that can be encountered.
Terrain other than Open terrain should be placed so that it occupies a discreet area. Small areas, large enough for one or two groups to occupy are best. If you want to represent a large terrain feature such as a forest then you should put down several small areas of trees separated by narrow gaps.

Remember, a group’s movement ends when it enters a terrain feature (including a vehicle). A group’s move also ends once they cross a linear barrier such as a wall or fence. If a group moves out of a terrain feature its move is measured from any edge of the feature.
Terrain offers varying amounts of protection which is referred to as ‘cover’

Cover is given three definitions:

Open for open terrain that offers no protection.
Cover for terrain that offers some protection or that hinders an enemy seeing you.
Buildings for hardened terrain that offers substantial protection or that significantly reduces the chance of being seen by an enemy.

Some examples are listed below:

Terrain Type
Wooden Fence
Wire fence

There is a PDF of these rules, along with rules for five sample factions, a four player scenario and a complete set of Action cards which you can download for free. The file is 2.8Mb.

Sample Forces

MiB usually operate in pairs; each pair is a group. They move 8 inches. They cannot link fire.
Each time a group shoots it rolls a D6 to see how many actual D6 to roll when it shoots, this score is for each operative in the group. MiB's firepower will be weak at the beginning until they know what they’re up against.

The first time an alien species is killed the MiB player gets the miniature to study. The MiB player doesn't need to get an operative next to the dead alien or anything, getting the miniature is automatic. Each action spent studying lets the MiB player roll 1D6 for each group on the table. A 6 is a success and adds 1D6 to each initial shooting roll. This success is only available once per different alien.
When fighting Spugs for instance there are three alien races, Spugs, Mites and Burrowers so three successes are possible during the game giving a total fire power of 4D6 x D6 (a possible 24D6) for shooting. Normally however, there will only be a single upgrade available, allowing a possible 2D6 x D6 shooting dice per operative.

MiB are protected by alien devices and require 3 more than what is normally needed to kill a human.
Open-9, Cover-12, Building- 15.

MiB Clean Up teams arrive with heavy weapons when a Special Event card is drawn.
Clean Up teams operate in two sections of five men comprising a leader, four troopers and a light support weapon. Each man rolls D6 equal to the current successes +1 for shooting. This is because they’ve been deployed from HQ equipped with the current ‘best intel’ weapons for the job. Therefore, if only one success has been made before they arrive each man will roll 2D6 per shot. The heavy weapons in each squad get an additional D6 to this. Clean Up sections can link fire and both sections get an action per action drawn. This means that one section can shoot and the other move as a single action, or both could shoot at the same or different targets etc.
Deployed Clean Up teams do not add to subsequent study rolls nor do they reap any benefit from them.

In addition to any scenario specific victory conditions, the MIB can claim a victory once they have made a success roll for every alien species present.

Spugs operate in squads of varying sizes, usually with Mites and/or Burrower Worms attached.

Spugs are very quick and move 16 inches as an action. Spugs can also jump vertically up to 8 inches as a move (there must be a platform to land on). Mites move 24 inches over any surface including vertical ones. Burrowers cannot move on the surface.

Spugs and Mites are unaffected by terrain except soft going like water or marsh which they can’t cross at all unless the Spugs can jump it, ie it is less than 8 inches across.

Spugs roll 1D6 per weapon and can link fire. Heavy weapon rolls 4D6

Mites roll 2D6 in close combat only but may be exploded by their Controller as an action for a 6 inch radius blast effect of 4D6, any other mites caught in an explosion will blow up also and this damage will be linked to the previous damage. If the controller is killed the mites can do nothing except charge towards the nearest enemy (regardless of LOS) and attempt to melee them. Each time a Triple Action card is drawn for the Spugs, one action MUST be used to move uncontrolled Mites if there are any. They can be moved with actions as normal too of course. A Controller can direct the mites to a target he can see without having to see their path to it so the mites can be sent on flanking moves etc.

Spugs are tough and require the following scores to kill:

Open- 9, Cover- 12, Building- 15.

Mites require the same as humans:

Open- 6, Cover- 9, Building- 12. Mites do not explode when shot or killed, they must be detonated by a Controller.

Burrowers are armoured and require 30 in order to kill them regardless of terrain.

Burrowers spend 1 action to tunnel down, 1 to tunnel anywhere on the table and 1 to surface. Accompanying Spug squads are carried down and along for free but require an action to deploy on the surface. Burrowers may be moved independently to rendezvous with their squad if it has moved away. Place a Spug hole at burrow points. Surfacing at an existing Spug hole does not require an action for the Worm but still requires a deployment action for the accompanying Spugs. Burrowing down always requires an action.

Spugs do not fall back after close combat, they fight to the death. Combat with Spugs that does not result in their extinction will be continued and resolved on the next appropriate card draw.

An opponent of the Spugs may take an action with a whole group to close a hole.

Spugs should start with a total of three holes per squad, 2 per squad deployed and the rest to build as needed.

Burrowers can attack in melee if they appear next to a group of enemies. They roll 6D6.

Sample Scenario 1

The full set up and force lists as well as a battle report can be found by clicking the link below.

Additional Rules.

Humans (and others) in the sewers.

If you want to let humans and other non-burrowing races move underground then they can do so by by descending (1 Action) Moving (1 Action) and surfacing (2 Actions)- this keeps them from scooting round the board because they'll have to wait to get back up again, it also makes it dangerous, - Every time theres a Special Event card drawn underground groups meet in a sudden melee, resolved there and then. After the melee, losers surface at a point of their choosing. Unlike in a normal melee, underground dwelling factions like Spugs will attack first and resolve their damage before any other factions get to roll their attacks.

You will need either a sewer system denoted by manhole covers on the board or a Spug tunnel system for this option.