Miniature Tower Defense Rules Page!

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Miniature Tower Defense Rules Page!

Miniature Tower Defense Version 1.2 Alpha

These are the miniature rules for my new game Miniature Tower Defense. They are currently in Alpha mode, which is to say, I am currently messing around with them, but they are not really ready to be played by other people just yet. I am adding to this on a constant basis. Keep checking back.

05/06/2015 - 1.3 update, reinstated to site. I might start working on these again since I am painting all these fantasy army men.

10/16/2011 – 1.2 update, lowered spawn rate for Orcs again, as it was still too high an average spawn per turn, and removed Goblins and Kobolds. Less in line with inspiration sources, but more fun, and needs less miniatures. Made Orcs tougher by adding increased toughness and speed on wave summary table.

10/15/2011 – 1.1 update, lowered the spawn rate for Orcs, and changed spawn rounds to alternating rather than at the beginning 5 turns because there were too many on the board at once. Took too many miniatures.


You are the sole defender of a precious Portal which allows travel between worlds. Orcs want to travel to other worlds, because theirs sucks. They will smash down the gates and doggedly pour through the castle into the portal, if you let them. Miniature Tower Defense is a tabletop game inspired by video games such as "Orcs Must Die" and "Sanctum" in which the hero places traps to stop mindless hordes of enemies, while also fighting them personally. While this game was designed to function as a generic game 'engine' where any real setting could be poured in, I will use the term orcs and fantasy themes to keep the terminology simpler for myself.

To play Miniature Tower Defense, you will need:

-Lots of miniatures for orcs. I use 15mm because they are big enough to be fun, but small enough to be cheap in large numbers. Any scale will work though. If you don't have mounds of miniatures ready, you can just use pennies or anything small and plentiful to represent enemies.

-3 six sided dice and an assortment of other dice (d4, d8, d12). When a dice roll is required, we will use the following terms: d6 refers to one die, 2d6 to two dice rolled simultaneously, 3d6 to three dice.

-A hero. A suitably heroic miniature to represent your character. You should try and pick one that has an apparent ranged attack, and also some visible way to fight in hand to hand combat. Since there is only one hero, it is important to paint or model your hero to a higher standard than the swarm of orcs. You don't have to, but it makes for a more satisfying experience.

-A Game Board. Anything with squares, hexes, or other way to mark moves will work, really, but you need to make sure it is relatively simple, and make sure there is a bit of a path where the Orcs will wander around in. In a pinch, a Monopoly or Candy Land board would work, I suppose. Bottlenecks and turns will make your life easier.

-Game tiles or counters for traps. You can make these yourself, or download some. Wall traps will also need some sort of stand, since they don't actually lie flat in the squares affected.

-Chits or markers for wounds. You will need some way to keep track of how many wounds the enemies have.

The Game Turn:

The game progresses in a series of 'turns' which are repeated until the wave of orcs is destroyed, or enough orcs have gotten through the portal to fail the mission. A game turn goes in this order:

-Orcs Spawn. Place the correct number of orcs at the spawn point. First cover the spawn placement, then those space next to it. For every figure placed, make sure it is as close to the spawn point as allowed by other figures.

-Orc Movement. The orcs move in the shortest possible path to the portal. Orcs are not smart, they do not avoid traps. They will walk in straight lines and hug corners in their mindless quest for escape through the portal. Passive traps activate in this phase, affecting those Orcs that pass over them. If they are blocked by the Hero during their movement, they will attack to clear their path. Otherwise they ignore the Hero.

-Trap Activation. Active traps are sprung in this phase, Damaging any Orcs who are currently in the affected squares.

-Hero Movement. Player moves the Hero.

-Hero Attack. Just what it sounds like. The Hero may attack with ranged or close combat attacks at this phase.

The Portal:

The portal is a magical phenomenon of mind boggling importance. As far as the game is concerned, however, it is just the furthest block on the game board from the orc spawn. They move in as straight and short a line as possible to reach it. It should be represented on the game board by a tile or diorama. Any time an enemy passes The Hero and his defenses and enters The Portal, it takes a point of Damage. If the portal is Damaged 10 times, it is destroyed.


-The Hero. The brave Hero defends the portal. The Hero is a mighty champion of endless experience and valour, clad in the mightiest of armors. He cannot be killed by mere Orcs or Ogres, though they can bat him aside with a well placed blow. He may move up to 5 spaces on his movement phase. In his combat phase he may either:

  • Make a ranged attack. He can shoot three times. For each shot, pick a target, roll 2d6. Every 5 or 6 you roll causes 2 wounds. Range is unlimited, though The Hero cannot shoot through walls, solid obstacles, or explosive traps.
  • Make a close combat attack. He may only make 1 close combat attack, and only against an adjacent foe, rolling 3d6 against enemy's attack dice. Highest single number (or second highest, in case of tie, etc.) wins combat. If the Hero wins a close quarter attack, he automatically slays his opponent. What happens if he loses varies by opponent, see profile for relevant enemy.

-Orcs. The most common of the perfidious foe, Orcs are not fast, clever, or smart, but they are strong, and there are lots of them! Orcs move 3 spaces, and have 8 wounds. They roll 2d6 attack dice in close combat. They only attack The Hero if he is obstructing the shortest path to the portal. If an Orc wins close combat, the hero is knocked back one space.

-Ogre. Ogres are rare and terrifying monsters that sometimes ally themselves with an Orc Warlord to break into a Portal Fortress. They move 3 spaces, and have 16 wounds. Ogres roll 3d6 attack dice in close combat. They will attack The Hero any time he is in an adjacent square. If they win close combat, The Hero will be knocked back two spaces, and stunned for a round.


-Tarpit. Just what it says on the label. A pit filled with tar. A passive obstacle. Moving into a tar pit counts as two moves, effectively slowing the enemy unit. The Hero is unaffected by tarpits.

-Spike Trap. Active trap. Spikes shoot from the floor during the trap activation phase, then retract, skewering the footsies of any enemies in the square. Causes 1 wound to any enemies in square during activation.

-Arrow trap. Active trap, positioned on walls (not on square). Must be faced. During trap activation phase, Arrow Traps shoot arrows in a line five squares long. Any enemies in those squares take 2 wounds.

-Acid pit. An acid pit, like a tarpit, is a passive obstacle. It counts as two moves to move into an acid pit. Additionally, any unit that moves into an acid pit takes 1 wound during the move phase.

-Explosive Trap. A prepositioned mine, that can be fired once. The Hero may select during any trap activation phase, to detonate the Explosive trap, after which it is consumed and may not be used again. The explosive trap deals 8 wounds to enemies in the square in which the mine was placed, and 5 wounds in any adjacent squares.


There are 10 waves which make up the game. Orcs spawn at the assigned rate for whichever wave is being played, on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th rounds. The wave is considered over when the last enemy is slain, walks into the portal, or the player loses by ten orcs entering the portal.

After setting up the game board, the player may set up traps before the first wave of enemies begins. The player has 100 gold before the first wave with which to make preparations. The player does not have to spend all of the gold allotment, and any gold not spent is saved for later rounds. Additionally, the player may position The Hero wherever he wants to be at the start of the wave.

The table below shows the characteristics of each wave.

Table 1: Waves

Wave #

Spawned Per Turn

Gold Reward

Boss @ Turn 10



1d4 Orcs





1d4 Orcs



Orcs +1 Wound


1d6 Orcs



Orcs +1 Wound


1d6 Orcs



Orcs +1 Wound, +1 Movement


1d8 Orcs



Orcs +1 Wound, +1 Movement


1d8 Orcs



Orcs +2 Wound, +1 Movement


1d10 Orcs



Orcs +2 Wound, +1 Movement


1d10 Orcs



Orcs +2Wound, +2 Movement


2d6 Orcs



Orcs +2 Wound, +2 Movement


2d6 Orcs


2 Ogre

Orcs +3 Wound, +2 Movement




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