UNIVERSAL is intended to be a generic, universal system that could be utilized for any miniatures or role playing game in any genre. Several genre expansions were published and numerous expansions were planned. The core rules focus heavily on combat resolution for individual combatants.
Characters in UNIVERSAL have two Abilities - Physical and Mental, each generated with 1D6. Abilities play very little role in the game, however, are are used only to tie together the character's Skills. Skills are individual components that are not related or grouped; Skill lists vary by genre, and samples are offered for Fantasy, Modern Horror, and Space Opera. Characters gain experience and spend it to gain additional Skills or increased Skill Levels.
Combat uses a gridless, free form arena - individuals move by rates noted in inches (e.g., 6" for humans). Each round, individuals may Move (full rate), Move (partial rate) and Attack, or Attack. All Attacks use a dice pool with the number of dice being determined by the Skill Level in the weapon used. Each result of 6 indicates damage. Task resolution works similarly but the Game Master determines the number of successes (e.g., rolls of six) that equate to success. A Skill Level of 1 is considered fully trained; this means that fully qualified actors will only succeed 1/6 of the time at routine tasks.