A WARGAME THAT IS A BULLET HELL SHOOTER
In hell, they don't have physical matter to forge weapons out of. No iron for swords, lead for bullets, saltpeter for gunpowder, or wood for spear-shafts. Nothing but each other, and the souls of the damned.
They still fight, though. When they do, instead of making armaments out of matter, they weaponise souls, hurling them at one another in huge salvos.
This is a game about when that happens.
You are a demon. Or maybe not. Maybe an angel, a devil, a psychopomp, a reaper, or some other powerful spiritual being mucking about with souls. Get a model for yourself. Something big and impressive. Full of dark majesty. That's you, right there.
At the start of the game, only you and your demon enemy are on the board, you'll have to summon souls in as you go.
You have thirteen Lives. If those Lives run out, you're defeated. Everything but your thirteenth Life point can be sacrificed. Have a little pile of tokens on your base to represent spent lives, or track it with a dice.
If you collide with an enemy soul, it deals its damage to you, and is then removed. If you collide with one of your souls, push it out of your way.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
On your turn you have six actions to spend. Each one can be used to do one of the following:
Move: Move an inch in any direction. If you collide with an enemy soul, it deals its damage to you (you lose that many Lives), and is then removed. If you collide with one of your own souls, it's pushed aside to make way for you. If you collide with an enemy demon, or a terrain piece, your movement ends there.
Spawn: Place one of your souls touching you, and then move it its full speed in any direction. Follow the normal rules for moving souls.
Direct: Select any one of your souls and move it immediately, using the normal rules for moving souls.
Reap: Remove any of your own souls, putting them back in your available pool. Useful for if they get stuck behind something, or bugger off somewhere useless.
Less important playing pieces. Random dead humans under your power. If they didn't want to be the bullets in a bullet-hell shooter, they shouldn't have damned themselves, hm?
Each is defined by six values.
Cost: How much of your budget it takes to have one of these.
Speed: How far it moves, in inches.
Damage: How much it hurts when it hits something.
Health: How much hurt it takes to remove it.
Pattern: The direction it moves.
Quirks: Things this soul can do, that others can't.
Your souls begin in a pool off the table, and are put into play using the Spawn action. When a soul is removed, put it back into your pool, so you can summon it again. You'll recycle the same souls over and over. They're already dead, so they can't be properly killed, see.
A soul that moves off the table entirely is removed from play and can be summoned again. Obviously.
WHAT SOULS DO
After you've acted yourself, all your souls activate. You can choose which order they activate in, but they all have to act before you pass the turn over.
Each soul moves its full speed in the direction indicated by its Pattern. Except for Kings, you don't have a choice in what it does.
If it collides with an enemy soul, each deals its Damage to the other. If that damage is equal to or higher than the other soul's Health, remove that soul. Then, continue the movement in the same direction it was already going, if possible. You might have both souls removed, both survive, or only one prevail over the other.
Damage to souls DOESN'T stack up over time. Either it's enough to remove the victim, or it isn't.
If it collides with one of your own souls, or an enemy soul it didn't have enough Damage to remove, or a terrain piece, or you it stops right where it is. End its move right there.
If it collides with the enemy demon, it deals its damage to them. The enemy loses that many Lives. Then remove it.
TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
First, you and your opponent select the souls you're bringing to this fight. You have a total cost of 40 to spend on souls.
Then you and your opponent place terrain on the board. Do it however looks suitibly dramatic. Once you both agree that the board looks nice, you're done.
Then flip a coin roll a dice to see who goes first.
The player going first puts their demon on the board anywhere they want. Then the other player does.
The player going first takes their turn: they use their demon's six actions, then move all their souls. Then their opponent does, alternating until one demon has no Lives left.
TYPES OF SOUL
You have eight types of soul to pick between: Pawn, Knight, Bishop, Rook, Jack, Queen, King, Joker. You have a budget of forty to spend on them.
Cheap useless souls you can sacrifice in vast numbers. The worst type of common soul, but you can throw out lots at once.
Pattern: Moves straight forward in whichever direction its facing.
Quirks: When you Spawn an Pawn, one action can spawn up to three of them in one go.
Souls that still have faith. Fast and slippery and hard to block. You need to destroy them, because you can't hide behind stuff from them.
Pattern: Moves towards the nearest enemy demon.
Quirks: Moves through terrain and (if it survives the collision) other souls, rather than ending its movement.
Martially minded souls, dead soldiers. Decent at everything, and can get in among the enemy and ricochet around among them, wrecking stuff.
Pattern: Moves towards the nearest enemy soul or demon.
Quirks: When it contacts an enemy soul, after dealing damage, it picks a new victim rather than keeping going in the same direction. Point it towards the next closest enemy it hasn't been aimed at yet this turn, and continue its move.
Solid, defensive and stubborn. Probably died at, like, age 120, and even then only after a frustrated relative applied a pillow to their face. A good unstoppable wall to hide behind (but beware bishops).
Pattern: Moves directly away from you.
Quirks: When a rook collides with another soul (friendly or enemy), and that soul survives, the rook keeps moving. Push the rook the rest of its movement, and push the enemy soul back with it.
The best souls. Absolute wrecking balls that smash things to bit and don't give a fuck about anything. Girlbosses. Many demons secretly want this sort of soul to step on them.
Pattern: Moves towards the nearest enemy.
Quirks: Double damage against souls.
The smartest souls. Not particularly strong or anything, but you can get them to do unexpected stuff and keep your enemy off guard. Sneaky scheming bastards you need to keep an eye on.
Pattern: Moves in whichever direction you want.
Quirks: Can even change direction in mid-move. Goes wherever you want.
Quiet, supportive souls. Not much use on their own, but they can coordinate with others. Throw them out alongside other souls to support them.
Pattern: Moves towards the nearest friendly soul its not touching, or directly away from you if there aren't any.
Quirks: If a Jack bumps into another friendly soul while moving, after the Jack's move is done, that friendly soul gets a bonus move for free. PEW!
Wildcard souls. Who the fuck knows what they're going to do. Maybe they're the fastest, hardest hitting souls available to you. Or maybe they're fucking useless. Who knows? Throw 'em out there and find out, baby!
Pattern: Moves towards the nearest enemy soul or demon.
Use 28mm. Or bigger, I'm not your boss. You're looking at a maximum of 41 models (you, and forty pawns, you fucking maniac), and a minimum of six (you, and five queens/jokers). Make them suitibly gothic and horrible.
Zombies, ghosts, demons etc can all make a good base for this sort of thing. Be creative. My souls are all bright yellow nighthaunt, and my demon is nagash converted to have a hood, scythe, wings and a fucking halo.