Ug by J. M. Hope

Issue: 6

or Blood, Socio-Economics and the Caveman Way
by J. M. Hope

The following was prompted by Irregular Miniatures' advertisement in Ragnarok 4 for their new 6mm 'Caveman/Hairy Barbarian' range. I wanted some, but felt that using them solely for set piece battles wouldn't be exploring to the full some interesting possibilities. Hence, 'Ug' came into being.

The rules can be used as they stand, or with the insertion of a more involved combat system (Newcastle Fairly Fast Ancients Rules, for example), as the basis of a campaign.

You Will Need:

  • Chits A number of chits marked '1', ' ¾', '½' and '¼'.
  • Figures Any multi-figure element will do (HOTT elements for example) but the thirteen pence per five figure unit for the above mentioned Irregular Miniatures' Cavemen is well worth paying. You wl1l need ten to fifteen elements per player, about a fifty-fifty split of missile and melee units.

    There are a number of very nice 25mm/28mm Caveman ranges available so the game could be played with individual figures instead of multi-figure elements. See Copplestone Castings, Eureka Miniatures, GZG, HLBS, Maidenhead Miniatures, Pulp Miniatures or Stever Barber Models.

  • Dice Two six-sided dice.

The Rules

Each player is the leader of a tribe. Each tribe begins the game with one element, either missile or melee.

No player's tribe may drop below one unit strength, unless playing the Sudden Death competition version.

Note - in confusing situations all percentages round up.


Each tribe has three skill points which are allotted in any combination to the following skills:

Insults and bargaining.
Killing wild animals/one another.

Once allotted, skill points may not be altered, save by random events.

Turn Sequence

  • Random Events: Roll once per turn on the random events table. In cases where the event affects only one tribe, roll a D6 do decide which tribe.
  • Birth: Each player rolls once on the birth table.
  • Hunting: Each player rolls one on the Hunting Table.
  • Crops: Each player rolls one on the Crops Table.
  • Raids/Battles: Players declare raids. Raids are resolved in a sequence decided by a dice roll.
  • Death: Any elements for which there is no hope, make their way to the big cave in the sky.

Extra curricular bargaining/battles at players' discretion.

Random Events Table

Roll 2D6 on the following table:

2 Saber-toothed tiger runs amok In village with highest population. Roll on casualty table -2.
3Not many womenfolk in two thirds of tribes. Unless they can defeat the remaining tribe(s) in combat, they roll at -4 on the birth table for the next two turns.
4Shortage of menfolk In two thirds of tribes. -2 from one skill level and +2 to another (please yourselves which skills) for two turns or until tribe/s with no shortage beaten in combat by that tribe.
5Geoff Ugilton born In one tribe. That tribe +2 on crop table this turn.
6Ug Hood: master bowman produced by one tribe. That tribe +2 in missile phase this turn.
7Medicine man appears In one tribe. For one turn, halve all casualties in that tribe.
8Philosopher produced by one tribe. +2 to communications for that tribe for one turn.
9Poisoner offers assistance to one tribe. The tribe may choose a tribe. That tribe must roll on the casualty table.
10SuperUg is born in one of the tribes. The tribe In question has a +2 martial skill modifier this turn.
11Mass migration of animals. -4 on the hunting table.
12Hurricane Ug. All tribes roll on casualty table. -5 on crops table this turn.

Each tribe rolls 1D6 on tables below +/- skill modifiers

Crops Table

1Stamping Mammoths. Half of tribe squashed. Crops destroyed.
2Bad Year; no crops.
3Enough food to feed a quarter of tribe; take a ¼ chit.
3Take a ½ chit.
4Take a ¾ chit.
5Take a 1 chit.
6Take a 1 chit.
7Take a 1 and a ½ chit.
8Take a 1 and a ¾ chit.


1Killer Rabbits, half tribe killed. No food.
2No luck.
3Enough food to feed a quarter of tribe; take a ¼ chit.
4Take a ½ chit.
5Take a ¾ chit.
6Take a 1 chit.
7Take a 1 and a ½ chit.

Raids & Battles


Preliminary insults/bargaining. Each side rolls 1D6 and adds communication skill level. If the loser scores less than half of the winner's total, the winner may decide whether the raid continues or whether the opposition is persuaded to leave. If raid continues, winner + 1 in next round.


Each side rolls ID6 and adds martial skill level:
+ 1 if won previous round.
+ 1 per missile element more than opponent
If loser's total is less that half of winner's, he rolls on casualty table and the skirmish ends if the winner wishes.


Each side rolls ID6 and adds martial skill level:
+ 1 per previous round won.
+ 1 per melee element more than opponent.
If loser's score is less than half of the winner's he rolls at -1 on the casualty table. Winner rolls for casualties at +2.

If the winner is the raider, he may take three quarters of the loser's food chits. If the loser loses by more than half, he rolls on the casualty table with no modifier, the winner at +1. If the winner is the raider, he may take half the loser's food chits.

If the battle is drawn, both sides roll with no modifier on the casualty table.

Optional Rule

Defender, i.e. the one who is being raided, + 1 in missile and melee rounds.

Casualty Table

1All of tribe killed save for one element.
2Three quarters of tribe killed.
3Half of tribe killed.
4Half of tribe killed.
5One quarter of tribe killed.
6No casualties.


Elements for which there are no chits are eliminated. (E.g. if one had four elements and only a ½ chit, only half of the tribe would be fed and two elements would be eliminated).


Roll 1D6 per tribe. +1 per surplus ½ chit the previous turn. All surpluses are used and may not be stored between one turn and the next.

Either missile or melee elements may be chosen.

1-3Try again next turn.
4-5One stand.
6-8Twins, two stands.
9+Three stands.

The winner is the tribe left with the most elements at the end of a specified period of time. Try starting the game with five units per tribe, especially if using wargames rules for the battles.

There is scope for additions; mammoth hunts, submariners in Arran sweaters and of course Raquel Welch.