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Sundown Slashers is a free Halloween alternative to Warhammer

This free Warhammer alternative pits bands of survivors against a lethal Slasher and its minions, complete with rules for jump-scares.

Warhammer Alternative Sundown Slashers - A hatchet superimposed on a blood splatter on a blue background, composite of Wikimedia images, Blood by Nyki m CC-BY-3.0, and Anika by Beherdolf, CC-BY-SA-4.0

If you’re in the mood for a seasonal Warhammer alternative that channels classic horror movies, why not check out the indie wargame Duel: Sundown Slashers? This set of solo wargame rules was created by CatZeyeS_Kai, and is free to download from their website.

Wargamer recently gave our recommendations for the best horror wargames this halloween, and then got lots of great community feedback about more horror wargames we’d missed. Sundown Slashers was one of the names that showed up, so we thought we’d give it a look.

Slashers is an expansion to Duel, which is one of the most compact, small-scale wargames we’ve ever seen. Unlike the colossal battlefields of Warhammer 40k, Duel is played on a 12” x 12” board, with just one model per side trying to gain control of a treasure. Terrain is a necessity; if the two models ever have line of sight, they initiate a duel.

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Players first choose their Duel Score by setting a D6 to one value in secret. The player with the lower Duel Score gets to shoot first, so low scores mean you get the drop on your opponent – but that value is added to your attack roll to hit the other fighter, and you hit on a seven or higher.

That’s a neat, compact little system that forces you to choose between accuracy and getting the first shot. Shooting an enemy in cover forces you to reroll one of your attacks that hits, so positioning is crucial. Then there’s a stack of extra rules that make the game ever so slightly more nuanced, like using extra fighters, or differentiating heroes from basic grunts.

Sundown Slashers – which you can get from CatZeyeS_Kai’s website – takes that core mechanic but expands the scope of the game, from a 12” board to a 36” board, and from two players with one fighter each to a single player controlling a team of four survivors against a Slasher and its minions. The minions start on the board, but the Slasher is hidden behind Jump-Scare markers.

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Approaching a Jump Scare marker starts a duel of willpower. As with a shooting duel, you’ll select a Duel Score, but you’re aiming under the Slasher’s randomly determined Scare Score to even have a chance of resisting. More rolls to resist follow, and the fewer you succeed, the worse the consequences are – your mini can go mad and have the Slasher spawn right on top of them.

Sundown Slashers adds extra rules just for customising Slashers, as well as the insanity system. The rules text would benefit from some editing – it’s clearly a work of passion, and English isn’t CatZeyeS_Kai’s first language – but there’s no cost to trying the game out.

If you fancy giving Sundown Slashers a shot, we can recommend some fantastic horror miniatures that would be perfect for it. Wargamer has spoken to CatZeyeS_Kai before – their video introduced us to sheep-herding peacegame Herding28, which then led us to write a feature about the NonCombatTabletop community.