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Reshuffled: 52 Pick Up

Paperweight - The Instant Wargame

by David Masad
Jun 17,2002


Paperweight - The Instant Wargame

by David Masad

War is a game that is played with a smile
-Winston Churchill

Paperweight is a simple wargame that can be set up in five minutes and played in a similar amount of time. Paperweight is perfect for playing while waiting for the rest of the gaming group to arrive, during a boring class at school, or whenever else you need your wargaming fix.

What You'll Need

Paperweight requires only basic writing implements to play: some paper, a pen or pencil, and three differently lengthed objects to act as measurements - a paper clip, an eraser and a pen, for example. Optimally, there should be a more-or-less 1:2:3 ratio between them, but whatever can be classified as Small, Medium and Large should work fine.

Setting Up

To play Paperweight, the first things you'll need are figures. Figures are made by simply cutting or tearing some paper into more-or-less equally sized small pieces. Each piece should be folded in two down the middle and folded again slightly at the very bottom, allowing it to stand up. Draw a picture of the unit the stand is to represent on the paper (front and back, if you like). You now have a fully functional unit! Repeat as necessary until you have the army you want. If you don't want to bother with the drawing yourself, a number of free and commercial paper miniatures are available; particularly recommended are the Sparks series of paper miniatures in font form, available from Cumberland games here.

Large units (tanks, mechas, ice giants) can be made by using larger pieces of paper (A full-sized sheet of A4 paper allows you to introduce a scale figure of Great Cthulhu into your game). Cutting a single piece of paper and laying it flat on the table can make a truck, APC or other transport, with room on the back to place the units being carried.

Every unit is defined by three traits: Move, Range and Defense. Each is rated as None, Small, Medium or Large. For Move and Range, this corresponds with the appropriate measurement object. For Defense, it denotes the chances of destroying it in combat. Players should agree on the ratings of the units that will be used during the game, possibly by assigning a point value to each level. A weak, fast scout unit might have ratings of Move: Large; Range: Medium; Defense: Small, an average infantry unit might be rated Medium on all its ratings, and a stationary howitzer might have Move: None; Range: Large; Defense: Small.

The players should agree what the goal of the game is - eliminating all of the enemy units, reaching a certain point, etc. You may also wish to set a turn limit - 5 to 10 turns work well.

The terrain, like the figures, can be prepared in a moment. A length of paper folded down the middle to stand up can serve as a perfect wall, and some tears in it can create firing positions. A wad of paper can be a boulder, crate, alien egg or whatever else you desire. If you're playing on a surface you can mark on (paper or school desks, for example) you may also wish to draw additional details such as roads.

Playing The Game

Playing Paperweight is very simple. Before the game begins, the players should agree on the victory conditions, time limit, house rules, terrain, and so forth. Once that is done, the players set up their figures and start playing. Play proceeds in turns. During a turn, the player whose turn it is first moves all his figures and then makes any attacks he can. Then it is the other player's turn.

Every figure may make two steps per turn. Each step may be no longer than the unit's Move rating - i.e. an Imperial Warrior with a Move rating of Small may take two steps, each of a distance equal to the length of the Small measurement (a paperclip, for example). The unit may turn and change its facing between the steps. A figure is not required to make its full move, nor move the full distance of its step.

After the movement phase is complete, the player makes any legal attack. Any unit may attack any other unit, provided the attacked unit is within the attacker's front 180 degree arc and the distance between them is not greater than the attacker's Range rating - i.e. a Sniper with a Range rating of Large may attack any unit that is within its front arc (determined by the unit's front face) and the distance to it is no greater than the length of the Large measurement (a pen, for example). The attack itself is made by a quick game of Paper-Rock-Scissors. The attacker must score an amount of wins according to the defender's Defense rating - 1 for Small, 2 for Medium, 3 for Large. If the defender wins a round, the attack fails. If the attacker wins the necessary amount of rounds, the defending unit is destroyed and removed from the table (or kept as an obstacle, if the players like).

Play continues until one of the players wins by destroying all the enemy units or fulfilling the agreed-upon goals. If you're playing for a set number of turns, the winner is the one who has destroyed more enemy units and/or taken more objectives.

Closing Remarks

The rules provided here are only enough to get you started, and leave much room for expansion. You will need to create your own units and scenarios, at the very least. You may also want to make up rules for cover, overwatch, reinforcements, and other important things I may have forgotten. You don't need to use paper miniatures - the rules work for commercial-quality models just as well as they do for folded notebook paper.

This is one of my first games, so I apologize if the rules are a trifle unclear. Paperweight has gotten only very limited playtesting (a squad of stick figures against a toothbrush, a carrot, an Illuminated eye-in-pyramid and a Beholder with a bazooka) so any input, criticism or suggestions you have are welcome. I'm particularly interested in any units and house-rules you create. Feel free to e-mail me at

Thanks for your time! Enjoy! TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

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Reshuffled: 52 Pick Up, edited by Chris Czerniak

52 Pick Up original run, by Gareth-Michael Skarka

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