I have tried a minimalist rule-set for superhero miniature skirmishes: the Simple Super Hero Tabletop Rules by Peter Jones (v.1.1 2010).
These rules were inspired by Hi-Lo Heroes by Jeff Moore.
Each hero has 6 abilities (Move, Attack, Evade, Damage, Block “ordinary” damage, Block “fantastic/super” damage): he rolls 2d6 with advantage (i.e. picking the High roll) for three abilities, and with disadvantage (Low roll) for the other three. Characters with Damage advantage also have more hit points (15 vs 10 for the other characters).
Each hero also has two powers (additional +1 on one ability) and a single “fault” (-1 on one ability). Additionally, all heroes have +1 on Damage.
I defined stats for four Marvel heroes: Cyclone, Gypsy Moth, Moonstone and Rhino, for which I also drew some sketchy paper minis.
|Block “ordinary” damage||High||Low+1||Low||High+1|
|Block “super” damage||Low-1||High||High+1||Low|
Scenario: a random superhero (I rolled Rhino) will help four soldier escort a personality (the red figure) diagonally across the board. The other three heroes will try to prevent the personality from exiting. The personality cannot be attacked until it is near an escorting figure and can never be the target of a ranged attack.
Ordinary soldiers roll all dice with disadvantage: since movement is the result of rolling the dice, they move considerably slower than the average superhero.
Cyclone is the first to eliminate a soldier with a “wind-burst” attack. Rhino and Gypsy Moth engage in hand-to-hand combat and soon are both wounded.
Moonstone puts a soldier out of combat with her light-rays and then move to the left of the board to meet the mission target. Cyclone is engaged in a brawl with one of the soldiers, while the fight between Rhino and Gypsy Moth continues.
Rhino puts the Moth out of combat and Cyclone does the same with his adversary. Moonstone is now very close to the target, escorted by the last soldier.
The soldier engages Moonstone in hand to hand combat.
The soldier is soon defeated. Now also Cyclone and the slower Rhino are getting near.
While Moonstone delays Rhino, Cyclone flies in front of the target personality and stops him: the scenario is won!
I liked the game (I am particularly happy with how dynamic the scenario turned out to be) but I guess that the rule-set could usefully be both extended and simplified. Some of the extensions might be derived from the rule-sets by Jeff Moore linked above. I am thinking of having separate abilities for ranged and hand-to-hand combat and a definition of being pinned-in-melee and how to disengage from such a situation.
Also, I feel that managing “to hit” and “damage” as two distinct abilities doesn’t add much to the game and could be simplified.