Spl-Attack, Spl-Attaque and Spl-Attergy Games – Close Little Paint Wars? Rules 1.0

A quickly converted chess board and some Wilko Heroes pound store ‘paintzooka’ soldiers

Sometimes you struggle to find a use for all those ‘useless’ toy soldier poses you get too many of.

Bazooka man. Mine detector man. Flamethrower man. You know the ones. The ones you can’t usually properly use, as nobody can use too many of these heavy weapons poses. The ones they sometimes seem to manage to cram too many of into the average pound store bag or playset of toy soldier figures. Not mentioning lying down man, clubbing with rifle man etc.

I have been exploring over the last year or two some non-lethal games, non-fighting or non-lethal strategy games where no one gets hurt or ever dies. These range from Scouting Wide Games, snowball fights rules and Home Guard training games. Such games would be good for public participation or library gaming without the militaristic connotations that put some parents off toy soldier games or wargames.

I have noticed an interesting cross over between wargames, board games, and video games. YouTube has a series of lectures by the now retired American academic and board game collector George Phillies on board wargames design for video game design students.

There is an interesting crossover into other pop culture aspects, where a video game becomes a film (Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed, Angry Birds movies).

Sometimes a video game becomes a physical toy and game (Angry Birds again), books, a collectible card game or short lived plastic figure range (Fortnite etc). which prove useful for sci-fi figure gaming minis (see The Works store in the U.K.).

I thought about turning this video game into another form whilst playing on the family games console the Nintendo ‘paint warfare’ classic Splatoon. (This is almost as much fun as Nintendo Mario mini game Splatarazzi but that’s another story …)

Splatoon is a very successful video game that has now spawned a series of games, Splatoon 2 etc. It can be played solo or as a four game multiplayer game.

Nintendo Splatoon 1 trailer


Nintendo Splatoon 2 YouTube trailer



The object of the game Splatoon is to cover as much of the area with your paint colour. You can hit opponents to slow them down. You can hit enemy players to knock them out of the game temporarily, once they have lost all their health and life points, sending them back to their spawn point or baseline.

Different weapons have more paint coverage.


Movement and Firing

So for our figure poses the following suggestions (rules draft 1.0):

A (flamethrower) paint-thrower squirts 2 whole squares straight ahead or diagonally.

A mortar fires a paint bomb 3 or more squares away.

The mine detector paint roller covers just the one square that it moves into.

The paint-zooka fires at a single square two squares ahead.

Additional figure: A grenade Man could be throwing paint bombs into the face of the critics and paying gallery public, oh no, sorry, that’s modern art and art history.

Ammo refill as many times as you like. There are only 64 double sided squares to put on the same number of squares on your chessboard.

Figures move one square at a time and can fire on that turn. Fire can be forwards, backwards, diagonal, straight.

Exception: climbing hill or obstacle, you only move that turn – no firing.

Like chess, each side moves one figure each turn. IGOYUGO.

Splatoon the video game is a fast moving shooter / shootemup (paintemup?) with time limits. Solo or several players, setting a short Wellsian time limit to move one figure (or more if you decide) per turn should capture this feel.

A square that has previously been painted can be easily repainted by the opposition. Just turn over the square to the opposite colour.

A time limit or turn limit can be used to see who finally covers most squares in their paint colour in the time – victory!

Too many on each side in this tryout?

What you need

A chess board, hex board or other gridded surface.

Some cheap useless poses of Pound Store Plastic Soldier figures

As many two colour reversible squares as you have in the game board. 64 for a chess board.

I made these squares by paper glueing two different colours together then drawing with pencil a grid of my chess board sized squares on one side of the paper only. When cutting these out, you can add several more two colour sided sheets of paper, if you are careful, speeding up the task.

Add some obstacles – this hill is made of a fence post cap with square grid of paper glued in to match the chessboard. Add a tree. Add a wall. The original Splatoon game is 3D urban industrial skate park territory.

Wilko Heroes (OOP) paintzooka guys … too many men?

Poundland 32mm paintzooka guys … one just climbed the hill, no firing allowed that turn.

To establish some more complexity, a wider range of poses and weapons of other Pound Store figures could be used.

TimMee type 54mm standard pound store infantry types: paint-thrower, paint-zooka …

You may have come across non-lethal paint balling. This is another possibility of hits on players, recorded in various ways such as plastic rings or washers over their weapon / head etc. In Splatoon the enemy or opposing side can be hit by paint and have to respawn on their baseline, wasting their painting time.

Paint Hits on Players

Paintzooka hit on nominated enemy target – Roll 5 or 6 to hit target / figure

Mortar paintbomb – roll 6 to hit at 2 to 3 places at nominated target / figure

Paint-thrower – roll 6 to hit at 2 squares distance at nominated target / figure

Paint roller – no offensive capability? (Mine detector figure)

Once several hits (2 or 3) have been received, the figure goes back to baseline and starts again.

Featherstone savings throws (d6 roll of 5,6 ‘not wounded’) can be added as you require for complexity.

Add in modifiers for being behind cover as you wish.

So there you are – Spl-Attaque, Spl-Attack, Spl-Attergy. Call it what you will. Some quick play draft game rules to play around with over the next couple of months to make a Featherstone simple game, he having frequently used the phrase that wargames are like a game of “chess with a thousand pieces” (and others would no doubt add, as many variations of the rules as there are players). Enjoy rules tinkering!

Blog posted by Mark Man of (paint) TIN, 29 – 30 June 2020. All riches from playing this game should be credited and copyrighted to Mark Man of TIN.

Why the name Splatoon anyway? “S-Platoon – The first casualty of Paint Wars is the Furniture …”?

References screenshots to Splatoon by Nintendo are not ‘unintendo’ to infringe their copyright or IP, purely for reference. Why not buy the original videogame?

Author: 26soldiersoftin

Hello I'm Mark Mr MIN, Man of TIN. Based in S.W. Britain, I'm a lifelong collector of "tiny men" and old toy soldiers, whether tin, lead or childhood vintage 1960s and 1970s plastic figures. I randomly collect all scales and periods and "imagi-nations" as well as lead civilians, farm and zoo animals. I enjoy the paint possibilities of cheap poundstore plastic figures as much as the patina of vintage metal figures. Befuddled by the maths of complex boardgames and wargames, I prefer the small scale skirmish simplicity of very early Donald Featherstone rules. To relax, I usually play solo games, often using hex boards. Gaming takes second place to making or convert my own gaming figures from polymer clay (Fimo), home-cast metal figures of many scales or plastic paint conversions. I also collect and game with vintage Peter Laing 15mm metal figures, wishing like many others that I had bought more in the 1980s ...

9 thoughts on “Spl-Attack, Spl-Attaque and Spl-Attergy Games – Close Little Paint Wars? Rules 1.0”

    1. Good to have a few non-lethal or cooperative games. I look forward to seeing how other people mutate it or tinker with it.

      I can see (fire starting Fahrenheit 451) or firefighting versions of it, fire versus water with added cute koala rescue elements etc.

      A good use for all those useless poses of flamethrowers etc.


  1. Very interesting! I am currently looking at demonstrating old Tafl-style games on a chessboard for our “virtual” storytimes.

    There IS a firefighting miniatures game available free online, by Jim Wallman. It’s a cooperative game where the players are the London Fire Brigade during the Blitz. Unfortunately, I dunno where to find period figures or trucks.


    1. Oddly I had looked at this Jim Wallman Website before and had noticed this game

      Click to access blitz%20rules%20version%20101.pdf

      It would suit a club and be excellent for teaching history. I’m not sure in the light of the Grenfell Tower high rise blaze in the UK (or indeed of 9/11) how it would be accepted as an exhibition or show game.
      As you say, without card counters, assembling enough suitable Forties firemen and model appliances would be a challenge for a large Blitz game. There are original fire crew figures out there from the 1940s, most firemen tend to be modern or Victorian, however there is a very nice WW2 NFS AFS fireman here OF175 40-42 mmish:
      which at £3 each would make the whole game very costly, not mentioning the size and cost of fire appliances and buildings. I think realistically past 20mm this is unlikely to work.

      As well as the Tafl games https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tafl_games, the game of fox and hounds or fox and geese variants work well. It’s a good guards versus escapers game, I used to play this as a child with my dad. There are some online versions around.

      Lots of historic games here –

      I came across an interesting version of Fox and Geese / Hounds last week which may soon no longer (in the light of Black Lives Matter) be seen as acceptable under the old name of Sepoys. (Postcolonial views of The Indian Mutiny etc.)


  2. Interesting idea and I do like the way it takes video game to board game rather than the reverse, if that isn’t too obvious a thing to say. As many schools don’t like “war play” it is a useful game for there too. I recall the puzzled look oh children who had spent ages making a “gun” out of construction material only to be told to take it down and stop. Another debate I suppose. ..


    1. I recall the V & A War Games exhibition had a selection of toy guns as a debate point including vintage ones and child sourced recent stick ones and Lego ones.
      I know this war play issue has had a particular effect on Jen Burdoo’s library gaming due to sensitivity over local shootings.

      That is the uncontroversial joy of non-lethal games.

      I had a couple of fine plastic model rifles (what self respecting Cowboy didn’t?) including a beautifully detailed heavy one that my late Dad brought home from one of his workmates. It was a non-firing made up 1:1 model kit of a long American flintlock muzzle loading “squirrel shooter” that I lugged all over the place. It was great for backwoods role play in the woody bits at the back of all our gardens. I was reminded by my Dad though whilst ‘sharp shooting’ ‘hostile’ pedestrians and pirates from my front garden, even with a non-firing toy gun, “not to point it at people”, as “they might have been shot at for real in the war”. Too much Davy Crockett at a young age.

      Thank heavens Star Wars came along when it did … laser swords, spaceships, ray guns, that somehow kind of didn’t count.

      It has not made me a crazy gun toting freak. Having had to go through the preliminaries of firearms training in the past, I have a healthy respect, bordering on dislike for firearms. From long study of military history and local war memorials, I know what guns can do to people. Many of the working countrymen that I have met had this respect and calmness dinned into them as children, lugging empty heavy rifles around as they learned safety and respect for these bits of working kit. I’m sure you had the same in CCF days. (I still don’t get the psychology of “sport shooting” animals.)

      Usually most TV or video game franchise into boardgame games are high on graphics and lousy on game play. Downton Abbey a family gift a few Christmases ago was particularly dull even when you tried to build Cluedo elements into it.
      The George Phillies lectures on board game design are worth watching, a low tech slow burn …


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