Gears of War: Optional Rules

Gears of War is a hugely successful video game franchise, but it was also a great 2011 “dungeon crawler” boardgame by Fantasy Flight Games. Sadly, there was only a couple of small card-only expansions published for it (and those were very hard to find even at print) and nothing covering the later games in the series. However, it’s still a fantastic game, especially for solo play as the “Locust” (bad guys) are entirely AI controlled.

GoW does have a few issues though, IMO; the game can be very hard to win in certain circumstances, and some small things don’t make a lot of logical sense.. like Emergence Holes being so hard to seal even when standing on top of them, or all Locust having unlimited weapon range.

Thus, I came up with a few house rules that I like to play with, and thought I’d share them here.

Obviously, you are free to use any combination of these rules in your own games, ignoring any you don’t like.


Optional Rules

Easy Mode

This difficulty is the same as Normal Mode, except that you should ignore any “draw another AI card” instruction on Locust AI cards.

Ammo Drops

If an enemy drops nothing when killed, roll 1 attack die. On an Omen, place 1 Ammo token in the area. This token can be picked up as an extra action (at a cost of 1 Order Card) the same way dropped weapons can be.

Weapon Swapping

During their turn, as an extra action (by spending 1 Order Card), any COG can give one Weapon, Grenade token or Ammo token to another COG in the same area, so long as they can hold it (i.e. they do not exceed their maximum weapon card limit by accepting it).

Fire in the Hole

If a COG is in the same area as an Emergence Hole and there are no enemies in that same area, they may roll double their normal attack dice and discard 1 Bolo Grenade to attempt to seal the Emergence Hole (as usual, one Omen is required to succeed). When sealing an Emergence Hole in this manner, no damage is inflicted to the occupants of the area or any adjacent areas.

Locust Weapon Ranges

All Locusts now have maximum ranges, and suffer -1 attack die for each area further than their maximum when attacking. This means that AI Card text that specifies a range for whether Locusts shoot or not should be ignored; any Locust mentioned will now attempt to shoot regardless of range (thus balancing out the new range penalties they are now subject to). Maximum Ranges for each Locust type are as follows:

Wretch: 0 Drone: 3 Boomer: 3 Kantus: 2
Ticker: 0 Berserker: 0 Grenadier: 2 Theron: 3
Butcher: 0 Skorge: 2 Raam: 4

Grenadier Locust Loot

When a Grenadier Locust is killed and drops a weapon, it is a Gnasher Shotgun rather than a Hammerburst.

Dual Wielding

If any COG is carrying two Snub Pistols, they may choose to attack with both using just one attack and either roll 2 attack dice (costs no Ammo) or 6 attack dice (costs 2 Ammo). However, defenders roll 2 extra defense dice against this attack due to its inaccuracy.

COG Helmets

Before starting a mission, you may choose whether each COG is wearing a Helmet or not. COGs wearing a Helmet receive +1 defense die, but are -1 to all attack rolls. A Helmet does not count towards a COG’s weapon card limit. At any time, a COG can remove and discard their helmet but once this is done, it cannot be put back on.

Unarmored COGs

Some COGs (civilians, officers, Stranded, etc.) deploy without wearing Armor (this will be noted on their character card). Additionally, any COG may choose to start a mission unarmored. An unarmored COG rolls NO defend dice (unless dodging or using an Order Card that grants bonus dice), however they may move up to two areas for free (regardless of other actions or Order Cards played) per turn.


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