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Alternative to Medic Rules – Simple Wound System

This is kind of fun. It doesn’t work for EVERYTHING, but it can spice up the right game.

The idea is that the medic is usually a referee or a game admin. They carry a medic bag containing various tape, bandages, and disposable earplugs. Players that are “hit” receive medical attention in the form of a random or semi-random wound, which is simulated in a way that actually causes a handicap to the player’s gameplay. Read on for more details.


As mentioned, the basic idea is to give players “wounds” that affect their gameplay.

I find that 2 wounds works well (1 hit = first wound, second hit = second wound, third hit = dead) but it can be different depending on your game or your group.

This can be useful in many ways, but particularly for scenarios where you don’t want someone to be dead/out of the game as soon as they’re hit – but you still want wounds to have some real negative effect.


The ideal medic bag for this system consists of the following inexpensive items:

  • A roll of Painter’s Tape (looks like green masking tape – it does not leave a residue, which is important).
  • Cloth bandages at least 1 foot square each. They can be stained with red paint for effect.
  • Cloth “strip” bandages, each at least 2 feet long.
  • Disposable hearing protection (the expanding foam plug kind).


Wounds can be random or pseudo-random. You may wish to give minor wounds first, then more serious ones. Or you may want to apply wounds that are related to the circumstances (example: if a grenade was involved, hearing loss might be appropriate). The best approach for your game is up to you.

Here are some sample wounds that can be simulated:

  • Hand Wound (from shrapnel, etc) – Have the player make a fist, then drape the square bandage over the whole hand and gather at the wrist. Wrap with the tape to hold it secure. Player loses use of their hand – even if it’s just their off-hand, when it comes time to reload or wind their hicap they’ll be cursing away.
  • Hearing Loss (from concussion, head wound, etc) – Player is given two disposable earplugs to insert. Their hearing is limited, they will find their situational awareness is affected, and communication must be via shouts, or hand signals.
  • Arm Wound – A strip bandage is used to restrict arm movement, similar to a sling. The wrist, elbow, or bicep can be loosely tied to a piece of the player’s gear to restrict range of movement. This is more serious than the hand wound.
  • Eye Wound (from shrapnel, etc) – Simulate one of the following by applying Painter’s Tape to the player’s goggles: Blind in One Eye (tape over one eye), or Tunnel Vision (tape over sides of goggles so no peripheral vision). Blind in both eyes should not be done for safety’s sake, except in tightly controlled circumstances.

Players will find that some of these are surprisingly debilitating in unexpected ways.  For example, one player with earplugs (hearing loss) reported that while defending a structure, he was unable to tell where shots were coming from or whether they were under fire because he couldn’t hear the BB impacts on walls.  It made his job much more difficult.

Giving players physical handicaps can increase the risk of accidents on the field. Give due consideration to the environment and possible hazards to players before implementing any part of this system.


In one game, this system was used to give wounds to POWs. When the POWs were broken out of the prison and needed to be escorted quietly to the border, the situation was complicated by the POWs’ wounds. Some did not have use of their primary hand (and could not effectively wield a weapon), some were partially deaf (earplugs) from the concussion of a blast which made them unable to hear low voices/whispers, others had tunnel vision or were blind in one eye which made it difficult to effectively watch their surroundings. Even though the POWs were not the main combatants, it was challenging to escort deaf, partially blind POWs quietly through enemy lines.

In another game, a team of players had to defend a building against waves of attackers. After each wave, the defenders who were hit were given a wound, and permitted to keep fighting. After a few waves the defenders – who were rapidly resembling a squad of walking dead – were finally overrun. This kind of thing can be used for games where you measure success not by direct elimination, but by how long a team holds out.

As a referee or game admin you can also use this system to give other effects. For example, the Painter’s Tape can be applied to the objective lens of a scope, preventing its use. This can simulate battlefield damage (such as a gun hit). Remember to use painter’s tape as it doesn’t leave a residue.

Want more? Read some more Game Scenarios and Concepts for some other things to spice up your games.

Got any results or improvements to share or suggest? Leave a comment below!


  1. Ed wrote:

    Not a bad system, but restricting vision is FAR more dangerous than restricting leg movement. I’d suggest scrapping that.

    [Editor: The actual danger level presented by putting tape over a part of someone’s goggles depends greatly on the circumstances and play environment, but the poster makes a good point that handicapping someone physically should be taken seriously and can increase the risk of accidents. I have edited the original text to make this clearer.]

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  2. Sgt. Toji wrote:

    thanks a lot, this topic helps my war games gets more fun! but in our opinion, head wounds like losing sights are useless since the head is one of our weak spots,and any damage taken on heads are counted as clear hit(totally dead!)^^

    but still, this topic helps us so much!thanks!

    Friday, February 1, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  3. john wrote:

    To 2. What if a grenade shard hit your eye?

    Friday, April 4, 2008 at 9:15 am | Permalink