Tabletop gaming is a very imaginative hobby – without the flash and movement of video games and movies, players tend to play out the battle in their heads as the situation unfolds. Games like "Grunts" produced by Robin Fitton, owner of Gruntz (the company, not the game), take this phenomenon to the next step and provide nearly limitless possibilities for tabletop wargaming. "Grunts" is a skirmish-level game with rules bent towards science fiction, but without a story or rules for creating armies, players can play out any scenario they can imagine.
"Grunts" uses a standard six-sided die (D6) system to represent things like shooting and moral. Because it's a 15mm game, troops can only move 4 inches at a time, but are given different actions to take which can include running another 2 inches. The game also works with initiative cards that dictate the order of activation and provide players with convenient stat sheets for their units. The ideal situation is to put each card inside a plastic sleeve and use dry or wet erase markers to tally damage amounts and type.
"Grunts" doesn't feature any narrative or background – players are free to come up with whatever story they want. Since the rules allow for a wide range of troop types, vehicles, and special weapons, players have the tools to create almost any original story. It's also possible to recreate some of your favorite military sci-fi scenarios that don't have a tabletop game to represent them.
Where to find it:
The game is respected among tabletop gamers, but it's not prevalent in hobby shops. Your best bet is to purchase the rules via Wargame Vault. A PDF is $14, the softcover hardcopy is about $30, or you can purchase both for about $44. Gruntz provides free downloads for starter armies and army cards, so you don't have to worry about shelling out for supplements.
Because "Grunts" has few official models and the company doesn't itself produce miniatures, a number of other companies support the game and cross–advertise. Here are a companies to choose miniatures from: