There are three modes of play: Introduction, Basic, Advanced and Campaign.
- Introduction is just a means to introduce new players to the game. Players are limited to Orlock or Goliath fighters (of average stats) with whatever weapons are available for the figures. The rules only cover the most basic aspects of the games (e.g. melee, shooting and pinning, but not injury and armor saves are not covered). The rules are noted in the introductory playsheet.
- Basic is used for players who just want to have a quick one-off bout with the normal rules, and do not want to deal with the more complicated rules. Like the Introduction game, you are limed to generic fighters. Without the Campaign rules, players cannot build-up their gangs. You only need the rulebook to play.
- Advanced is used for players who want more verity in their gameplay, but do not want to commit to a Campaign. The rulebook covers the advanced rules, but players may use the sourcebook for creating a gang.
- Campaign games expands the game with rules that allows players to develop their gang with income, experience, skills, permanent injuries, and added equipment. This requires both the rulebook and the sourcebook.
The core rules are easy to learn and simple to use. The structured gameplay does not leave a lot of option for unusual actions, like dragging injured bodies or stealing an opponent's weapons. Gang creation is limited to only six House Gangs, with the gang members having limits on the sorts of weapons they can use, and gangs cannot start off with any equipment beyond weapons.
The campaign rules are a post-game possess of determining permanent injuries, experience/advancement, income, and acquiring new equipment, members and hired guns. The downside to this system, is that a highly successful gang can become too powerful against less successful ones. There is a rule that gives underdogs bonus income and experience, but this may not be enough of an incentive for woefully one-sided fights.
Additions and RevisionsEdit
In 1996, the Outlanders box set was release. The Outlanders rulebook was a major expatiation to the original rules, and offered a great many options for gameplay on all levels. This can be considered a essential for players who are interested in going beyond the limited gameplay of the original ruleset.
The 1997 Battles in the Underhive book was a compilation of Necromunda articles from White Dwarf magazine and Citadel Journal, along with some original content.
In 2003, Specialist Games (a subsidiary Games Workshop that covered discontinued titles) re-released a revised edition called the "Living Rulebook", along with supporting 'zines like Gang War Magazine and Necromunda Magazine.
Going beyond official rule revision, the Yakromunda forum community released their "Community Edition" rulebook. This is basically the Living Rulebook edition, but with new or altered text highlight in red. The majority of the new text are simple clarifications to simple problems that crop-up often during gameplay (e.g. re-rolls, halving values, armor saves vs special saves, etc.).