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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's, New Documents

It's a new year, and I'm proud to present major changes to the site.  I have rewritten and presented the Core Rules as a PDF (click on the picture). 

Core Rules v2
The Core Rules v2

I have also made my first Force Book, describing the Martian Colonists (click on the picture). 

Martian Colonists v2
The Martian Colonists v2

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be writing and adding Force Books for the Free Martians, the Brutes, and the Ancients.  These are all working documents.  I'd welcome any comments you might be kind enough to forward.  


Friday, December 20, 2013

Yule Time

When Odin rides across the sky with a bunch of dead people!  For real!

The time around the Solstice is the time when the days are shortest, the world is dark, and getting through the winter is on everyone's mind.  It's also the time when the days start to lengthen again, giving rise to thoughts of rebirth. 

So naturally, people stuck in the dark, with little else to do, tend to have a big winter party: Yule, Christmas, Saturnalia, etc. 

They also tend to think about death a lot.  Christmas time has a lot of creepy stories associated with it, and one of my favorites is the Wild Hunt.  During this liminal season, between life and death, when everything is cold, processions of the dead were believed to ride through Northern Europe.

So when Santa rides across the sky, with his eight tiny reindeer, just remember: it could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Design a Comp System for 40k?

The Warhammer 40k world is reacting to the release of Escalation.  Warhammer 40k continues to be the train-wreck from which I can't look away, or maybe the abusive spouse I can't bring myself to leave.

This column was inspired by a post by Goatboat over at Bell of Lost Souls.  He asks whether it is possible to create a tournament system by "broad changes instead of just small 'faq's' to fix specific unit rules".  He then gives some suggestions.

More or less, he's asking for a kind of soft comp system.  For those who don't know, a comp or "composition" system judges tournament players' army lists.  It either gives them a score that helps rate their final place in the tournament or outright forbids certain combinations or units.  Various ones have been tried -- I encountered my first ones back in 3rd edition Rogue Trader tournaments -- but GW has abandoned them, and they have fallen out of favor for most players.

I have written about 40k balance issues before here and here.  My conclusion has been that 40k's woes result from several problems combining together: some unit are under-priced, some rules are too powerful, and armies can be abusively min-maxed in several different ways. Any real fix would need to originate with GW and would require a rewrite of all the Codices and changes to the core rules.

But in the interest of amateur game design, I will try to design a fix that meets Goatboy's criteria:  one that is universally-applicable to all existing armies, that changes few or no core mechanics, and does not mess with the sealed box of existing Codices' unit descriptions or point values.

Most 40k abuses involve maximizing specialist units beyond the capacity of a "normal" army's ability to counter them.  So most of my fixes will concentrate on reducing the number of specialized units an army can take.  Largely this means strictly limiting the Force Organization Chart.

1) Let's start with Goatboy's suggestion that there be only one Force Org. I like this one.  So overall, there will be a limit of 1-2 HQ, 2-6 Troops, 0-3 Elites, 0-3 Heavies, 0-3 Fast Attack, and 1 Fortification.  Any allies must come out of this allotment too.

2) Limit all Non-Troop units to 0-2 of any particular unit.  So you could only have a maximum of 2 Whirlwinds or 2 Wraithlords or 2 units of Sternguard or whatever.  Dedicated transports are instead subject to a limit of 0-4 of the same type.

3) Any mandatory Troops who do not purchase a Dedicated Transport must be taken at their maximum size.  Any mandatory Troops that do purchase a Dedicated Transport must be taken at the maximum size that will fit in the transport.  (As an exception, if the player intends to run an Independent Character with the unit, it must instead be taken at the maximum size that will still allow the Character to fit in the transport with it.  The Independent Character chosen must begin the game as part of the chosen unit.)

4) For every 500 points (or fraction thereof) over 1000 points, the player must take another mandatory Troop choice, subject to the rules above.

5) Limit all Fliers or Flying Monstrous Creatures to a total of 0-2 combined.  

6) Disallow any Lords of War, any model with a Str D weapon, or a Void Shield.

7) I also like Chumbalaya's suggestion from the comments.  As a special Tournament rule, no 2+ Armor or Invulnerable save may ever be rerolled. 

The idea here is to prevent maximization of particular capabilities by duplicating units or transports.  It prevents minimization of mandatory selections.  It particularlly limits Fliers, which require a strong investment in unusual equipment to counter in large numbers than other types of model.  Number 7, is pretty much there just to stop Screamstar and/or Jetbike Seer councils.

This is a hardly a fool-proof system.  It punishes some armies more than others.  But it may at least be less bad than current, unregulated Warhammer 40k.  In the absence of competent attention by Games Workshop itself, I think that's the best we can hope for.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rewriting


I've started revising my core game rules this weekend.  My intention is to bring the quality up to the level of a professional print publication, or as nearly as I can manage on my own.  Right now, I'm doing it in Word.  Eventually, it will become a PDF for the site.

My first pass will be a play test version of the core rules, with only minimal art.

The next step will be a series of army books for each of the four armies I've been developing.  I'll start with the Colonists and the Free Martians, which are farthest along.

I also want to create a generic World War II infantry list. This site is largely an adjunct of www.wwpd.net and a lot of readers come here from www.boltaction.net.  I'd like to lure some of you readers into trying out my rules with figures you already have. 

So, there's not much to show on the blog at the moment, but work continues...


A Sample Page



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Squanto Was Awesome

Eat me.
In traditional American thanksgiving mythology, Squanto appears at the "friendly Indian" who helped the Pilgrims survive their first years at Plymouth.  This story is true (ish) but wholly inadequate.  The long-suffering Tisquantum was actually born in a Native American village in the spot where the Pilgrims would later settle.  He was kidnapped, sold to Spain as a slave, won his freedom, then hung out in England for years, hoping for a ride home.  The English eventually dropped him off in New England, but he discovered that his entire tribe had died of disease.  So he moved in with his neighboring Wampanoag.  When the Pilgrims showed up, settling in his old village, he apparently felt more loyalty to his old home than to his adopted tribe, and assisted the newcomers.  Of course, the Pilgrims were ungrateful European religious fanatics, who ended up conquering most of the neighboring tribes later anyway.  So, all things considered, Squanto's choices may have been a bit unwise.  But he lived a fascinating life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More 40k Thoughts


I think it's pretty clear that Warhammer 40k has long had serious problems of game-balance.  I enjoy casual games with the system, but in a tournament or other highly-competitive environment, it's far too easy to create lists that are abusive. (40k's woes are in marked contrast to the relative stability of Flames of War, as I discussed here.)

Naturally, I'd like my own game to avoid similar pitfalls, so I've been thinking about the origins of 40k's balance problems, and how to escape them.  I have concluded that 40k's woes stem from several sources, and that there is no single, simple fix for them.

Abusive versus Competitive

Let's start with some definitions.  40k's problem is that its current set of codices too easily permits players to produce abusive army lists.

My first definition: "An abusive army list is an one that maximizes one axis of the army's capabilities to such an extent that it overwhelms the opposing capabilities of any likely opponent."

Any particular army a player can choose has different elements, such as numbers, armor, vehicles, flyers, and so forth.  It also has certain countering capabilities: anti-tank weaponry, high-AP marine-killers, anti-air weapon, and so forth.  Any of these axises of capability can be increased (usually at the expense of some other axis of capability).

Naturally, players have choice about exactly what kind of army they want to play, and what trades of capability they find desirable.  And, indeed, competitive list building (deciding what parts to maximize or minimize or emphasize) is an important and enjoyable part of a bring and battle wargame. Most players try to build lists that emphasize one capability, so that opponents will have trouble countering it.

The difference between a competitive list and an abusive list is then largely a matter of degree.

There are, of course, some necessarily subjective key words in my definition.  How much advantage is "overwhelming"  and how much is a normal part of the variety of armies?  Exactly how does one decide what's likely in an opponent?  Some local environments will be different than others.  But even if there's some fuzz around the edges, I think the core meaning remains clear enough: an abusive army seeks to win the game before it is played, by fielding a force that a "typical" foe simply will not posses the tools to counter.

My second definition: "A balanced meta-environment is one that does not permit the creation of abusive army lists."  Simple. The game lists should prevent any army from becoming so distorted that it's abusive.  (Now, it well may still be possible to create an underwhelming army that stupidly forgoes certain key elements, like an army entirely made of lasgun-toting guardsmen, but that's a different issue.) 

Abuse Me

An abusive army overwhelmingly maximizes a particular capability.  An army list can reach this threshold in any of several ways, or (more subtlety) by some combination of them.  Here are the most common offenders:

Under-costed Units

Some units just cost too little for what they do.  I'm sure we can all think of examples from 40k.  And, honestly, I have a lot of sympathy for the mistakes of game designers.  It's difficult to tell, before publication, what's the appropriate value for a unit, because there are so many factors involved.  But an under-costed unit is easy to abuse.  Take a lot of them, and whatever capability that unit represents will increase with every duplicate choice.  Or, if the unit is a mandatory choice, make it as small as possible, so that you have more room elsewhere in the list for your desired axis of capability.  (Ie, take only 2 small units of Cultists so you can have more Heldrakes, or take 5 man Dire Avengers squads so you can have more Wave Serpents.  Or whatever. ) 

Over-costed Units

This is the not-so-evil twin of an undercosted unit.  It basically makes any army taking them bad, which of itself does not lead to abuse.  But if, for example, all of army A's anti-infantry is really good, but all of army B's tanks are too expensive, it may force army B into a bad match-up.  For example, armor 14 might be a counter to many abusive builds, but Land Raiders have long been just a bit too expensive.  So few people take them.  Subtle, but it's a factor.

Spam

"Spam" is internet slang for a duplicated unit.  If someone takes three Heldrakes, or three Landraiders, or six units of thirty Chaos Cultists, then they're "spamming" that unit. Spamming is an obvious way to maximize a particular capability: take a unit that has that capability, then take a bunch more.  Now, spam is not always abusive.  I could take six identical tactical squad units, with a flamer and missile launcher, and no one would care.  Spam usually only works if the unit has some really special ability or is under-costed already.  Nor is spam entirely the same as being undercosted.  There are plenty of units that if run in small numbers are not abusive for the point cost, but if run in large numbers can be. Most armies can deal with one Riptide.  They probably can't deal with four.  Spam is essentially abuse of the Force Organization chart, and it becomes more common (and annoying) when using multiple FOs, due to allies, high point games, or whatever. 

Synergy

It's also possible to spread a capability out among many units, in such a way that when they are combined, the end result is abusive.  For example, one unit with an Ignores Cover weapon is an annoyance.  An army that takes Ignore Cover weapons on multiple different units may end up with so many weapons that cover (an essential part of the game) just becomes meaningless.  Or, there are abilities that can be countered separately, but together "stack"  into something crazy good.  (For example, the Screamer Star or the Jetbike flying Seer Council.)

Healing the Broken: Is is Possible?

There are systems of "Comp" that try to layer a second set of rules or choices on top of the existing set of Codices -- by limiting force org choices, or forbidding duplicate units, or requiring set percentages of different unit types.  But I'm skeptical: I don't think 40k can be fixed in any easy way.  The game designers would have to rewrite the line of codices and (I think) fundamentally alter and limit the Force Organization chart. 

So what are the lessons for my game?  I have a couple of take-aways:

1) If I expect an army to consist mostly of a particular type of unit (like infantry) I must require armies to take them.  Low minimums will be abused.  So, for my game, I think the core of every army will be three basic squads of troops. 

2) Conversely, especially powerful units like vehicles, that don't have a natural counter, should be limited in number.  So, for my game, I think armies will be limited to 0-3 light vehicles and 0-1 tanks.

3) Avoid powers that stack.  I think all my Doctrines will be limited: only one will affect a unit at a time.

4) I have to get the point values right.  If and when I don't get the point values right, I must immediately correct them.  Even if it requires errata and FAQs.

5) I must provide game-balance whether I like it or not.  Even if I, as the game designer, do not care about creating a tournament-capable, balanced meta-environment, and say so, like Games Workshop has done, people will still play tournaments with my game and then be surprised it's not balanced. 

Enough complaining.  Next week: Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Among the Ancients


 For four days after my crash, I wandered across the trackless desert, drinking but sparingly of my hoarded water.  By night on the third day, I let the final drop wet my parched lips as I struggled on, for I was determined not to perish.  When dawn came I despaired, knowing the day would kill me.  Then the heat haze lifted, and in the distance I saw salvation (or so I thought): a walled city, alive with flags and lights, of the very image as I imagined of ancient Ur, or Nineveh, or the Baghdad of the thousand and one nights.   It was all I imagined the wasted cities of the south once had been, before whatever catastrophe had rendered them ruin.  I commenced to hail and to wave, until at last men and horses sallied forth from its gates and brought me inside.  There I found every horror, and for twelve years I yearned and struggled to escape the evils of that walled city and to return to the parched desert whose privations and even promised death I now imagined as a blessed surcease.

-- Tyrone Patrique, Memoires de la D├ęsolation (1946)

Krak des Chavaliers.  Wikipedia.

The Army of the Ancients

 The Ancients army consists of the powerful warmachines of the Ancients themselves supported by the masses of their slave troops, hired mercenaries, and their fanatical enforcers.  Their warmachines should be the toughest in the game, but expensive in points.  Their slaves are inexpensive and poor in quality, drawing on elements from the Brute and Free Martian lists.  The mercenaries are similar troops, but of average quality.  Their enforcers, "the Immortals," possess higher quality motivation, skill, and equipment, but are correspondingly fewer in number.

Humans and Brutes

Ziggurat of Ur.  Wikipedia.
The streets of the city teemed with many sorts of residents.  The most numerous were human slaves: in race and complexion like those we first encountered upon establishing our colonies, golden-skinned, dark-haired and dressed in tunics and robes like the inhabitants of ancient Hellas or Rome.  There also were Brutes of many sorts: some with multiple limbs, most scaled like a lizard.  I feared them, for by their bestial countenances, I knew that fear and not nature had rendered them civilized and docile.  All of us were slaves together, subject to the lash and labor.  But the worse of all fates awaited those few called through the palace gates, for they did not emerge, save perhaps as mutilated and sectioned corpses.

Sometimes, I heard, we slaves might serve in wars between one master and another, driven forward to die for the amusement of the Ancients.  Others, more favored, the city's rulers contracted for arms, and these swaggered through the streets like nobles, armed with strange weapons and armored in steel, leather, and fur.


The Ancients employ both humans and Brutes.  The least capable are mobs of poorly-skilled and equipped slaves.  I imagine players using or reusing the same sort of models they use for the Free Martians or Brutes.  The mercenary troops will be basically identical to the standard troops of the Free Martians or Brutes. Players may wish to model them differently than their "free" equivalents -- with heavier armor or different weapons.

The Immortals

Ishtar Gate, Babylon. Wikipedia.
The universal face of the masters were viziers and overseers known by the name Immortal.  Most wore masks upon their faces, but those that did not could be terrible to behold.  Iron machines and strange growths molded their flesh, and made them immune to heat and cold and privation beyond the human.  When they strode into the slave warrens to purge or to cull, they wore iron plates strapped to their robes, and wielded strange devices that killed or pained as they willed.

Some humans have the Ancient's favor: their master's trustees, enforcers, and soldiers.  They follow the Ancient's philosophy of domination, trading service for a chance to make others suffer and obey.  The Ancients reward their favorites with enhancements biological and mechanical; the oldest and most trusted live for several lifetimes, and for this reason they are collectively known as the Immortals.  Together, they form a well-armed and disciplined troop.  They may also be attached as pairs or individuals to other squads; Doctrines will allow them to boost the leadership of the slaves they drive before them. 

Warmachines

Of the Ancients themselves, I saw only their  devices, in which they were rumored to reside whenever necessity or evil desire drove them into the streets.  These were of two types:  the first floated or flew by some unknown mechanism, capable as they were of great speed or of hovering in place with no visible wings or props.  These most often took a discus shape, or sometimes a lozenge trailing limbs, armored and barbed.  The second walked, sometimes on two legs, or four, but most often three, with a discus or carriage on top.  Some stood no larger than a man, others towered over crowds, many meters tall.  The largest I saw only once.  It overstepped the walls, needing no gate, more gargantuan than the highest building in Lyons-sur-le-Canal, and the sight of it filled me with despair for the future survival of all Earthly nations.

There will be rules for flying (or hovering) saucers, and for walkers.  Each vehicle will come in several size categories, to match whatever model players can produce.


Mars Described

As part of my general housekeeping, I'm collecting all my Martian background threads into a page.  The link to it is here.


General Design

http://www.buildingabetterwargame.com/2012/10/a-sample-setting-mars.html
Technology

Religion

The Martian Colonists

The Free Martians

The Brutes
The Ancients

Monday, November 4, 2013

Revising the Core Rules

My next task consists of revising my existing rules.  I want to create a playable Tier One rules set, along with some tools for using any models or armies with it.  Right now, there are several problem areas I'm contemplating:

  • Suppression: I want something simpler than I have now, more like Force on Force and less like Flames of War.  I think a unit will need to take a Leadership test every time it is fired upon and is wounded (whether it saves or not).  I may make recovery from Suppression automatic after a turn to compensate.
  • Firefight/Melee: I want to better integrating close-ranged shooting and melee.  They are both (essentially) a form of Assault, and I want to simplify them and review the basic math. 
Anyway, it's a bit of a slow month for posting, between my rules review, exam season, and National Novel Writing Month.

Shoot them some more!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Woot!

I have now made my 100th post the blog! 

Preliminary Thoughts about Force on Force

Dice of many sizes.
Over the last week or two, I've been reading the Force on Force rules.  I've not yet fully processed all their nuances, but there are certain elements that have relevance as I rewrite my own rules set. 

Force on Force combines two key design decisions. First, it places its greatest emphasis on the skill levels of the units involved.  Second, it largely ignores differences in equipment, and all the micromanagement that entails.

The actual game mechanics are based on poly-sided dice.  Every unit's skill (and a few other factors like morale) are rated by dice type: D4 troops are crappy, D6 troops are okay, D10 troops are awseome, etc.  When one unit fires on another, the number of models in a unit largely determines the number of dice thrown, plus, if they have a support weapon they throw a few more.  The defending unit throws a number of dice based on their unit size, plus cover and other factors.  The dice each side throws are compared: higher rolls win.  So a more skilled unit has a better chance of winning the toss because its dice will have more sides. 

It's a pretty simple mechanic, especially to someone used to 40k or FoW, each of which lovingly describe the different weapon options availabel to squads, their relative characteristics and so forth.  I do wonder if it might get too same, too fast, and fail to hold player interest.  (In my experience, players love micromanaging list options.)  I'm also not a fan of anything but 6-siders - a standard 6-sider produces an adequate range of numbers of most purposes, if used creatively.

Also of interest: how the game handles suppression.  In Force on Force, a unit is suppressed if it suffers designated Suppression fire of a given number of incoming dice.  The unit must then roll to avoid being Suppressed.  So there's no counting hits (as in Flames of War) or accumulating pin markers (like Bolt Action).  Again, I've been considering a mechanic more like this for my own game, but I'm not sure how to account for the great diffences in weapons and toughness among sci-fi units.  (Does an armored Space Ogre care if it's shot at by .22s?  Or only .50 cals and greater?  How does it feel about mortars? etc.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A 40k Campaign

My FLGS is planning a friendly 40k campaign.  The manager wanted a map-based, easy to manage, campaign that was friendly to beginning players.  He asked me to write something, and here's what I came up with.

---




Design Goals
  • The campaign organizer should be free to assign any player into a match with any other player on any turn.  
  • The campaign should not require extensive record-keeping by either players or organizer.
  • The campaign should make only minor modifications to the basic 40k rules.


Overview
The campaign uses two major tools: a map/scoreboard in the game shop and a series of printed cards.  


The Map


The map shows the battlefield areas as a central band, divided into war zones  It depicts the Imperial Hive City Antiochus and its surrounding countryside.  There are several Battlezones such as the Hive Center, the Wharfs, the Marshland, the Farmlands, the Wastelands, etc.  Above and below these warzones are two big areas labeled Reserves - one for Order, and one for Disorder.  A whiteboard keeps track of the current player’s win-loss-draw ratios and the overall win-loss-draw for Order and Disorder.


Every player has a push-pin or magnet representing their army’s current location. At the start of the the campaign, everyone’s pin is in their side’s Reserves.


The map does not actually control who can fight who, and territories are not retained from turn to turn.  It merely provides a visual guide to the match-ups and looks cool.


Players, Teams and Points


The players must declare their primary army and their ally (if any) at the start of the campaign.  They may not change their army, but they can change their list from week to week, if they want.  All games are played at 1850 points.  [Or whatever.]


The players are on two teams: “Order” and “Disorder.” Order consists of the Imperial forces, Eldar and Tau.  Disorder is everyone else.  If there are too many Order or Disorder players, we can organize the teams some other way:  The Imperium vs. Everybody Else, for example.


This is a casual campaign, so players are discouraged from bringing killer lists.  Unfortunately, there is simple way to prevent abuse with a mathematical formula, comp guidelines, etc.  If a player’s list generates lots of complaints or otherwise seems abusive, the organizer should issue a gentle reminder or warning.  If that doesn’t work, the offending player may be put on probation or expelled from the campaign.


The Game Turn
Each turn (presumably, each week), the organizer schedules the players into matches.  Each match-up is assigned to a Battlezone.  Move the two player’s push-pin into the relevant sector on the map.  


Ideally, the organizer will match forces of Order against forces of Disorder, but if this is not possible or desirable, use the “friendly fire” rule.  Randomly determine one of the players. For this match only, that player is counted as being on the other team.  So if two Order players fight, one of them fights for Disorder this round.  They are assumed to have turned traitor or accidentally gotten into a conflict with their allies in a way that hampers their side’s efforts. (This “friendly fire rule” only affects the way team scores are calculated -- the “traitor” still gets credit for the battle on his personal win-loss-draw score.)


Battlezones and Terrain


For each battle zone, there are suggested terrain pieces.  The game board must at least one (and preferably more) of each of the suggested terrain pieces.  If at all possible, the total number of pieces from the required list should outnumber the total number of pieces of other types.  The board can have other pieces too -- the wastelands might have a small ruin among its hills. The method for choosing terrain pieces and deploying them should be mutually-agreeable to both players.


There are 6 Battlezones, enough to support 12 players.  If the organizer needs more, they can be duplicated.


  1. The Hive Spire: The heights of Antiochus Hive contains the palaces of the nobility, now ruined, surrounded by burned gardens and broken monuments to imperial glory.  Suggested Terrain: Ruins, Monuments.
  2. The Hive Center. The main portions of the Hive are now twisted corridors of broken habs, shattered manufactories and commercia.  Nevertheless, the defenders still hold firm in scattered bastions and hotly-contested ruins. Suggested Terrain: Ruins, Bunkers.
  3. The Wharfs: Much of Antiochus Hive’s strategic importance derives from its key location at the mouth of the Leonias River.  Its western flank is dominated by the ruins of docks and warehouses.  Suggested Terrain: Ruins and River.
  4. The Marshland: Below Antiochus Hive, the Leonias river spreads beyond the main channel.  The massive delta filled with poisoned creatures and a vast jungle ruined by industrial pollution has now become a place of ambush and counterattack among the various armies assaulting or defending the Hive.  Suggested Terrain: Forests and Rivers.
  5. The Farmlands:  Most of the arable land of the Northern Continent is given over to farmland in support of the Hive.  Such territory makes excellent tank country, and has seen several massive armored battles. Suggested Terrain: Hills and open areas (fields).
  6. The Wastelands: Antochius Hive’s pollution has rendered vast tracks of surrounding territory uninhabitable wasteland.  In peacetime, only outlaws and nomads cross its stony expanses, but in war, armies find it a direct approach to more desirable country.  Suggested Terrian: Hills.


Resource Cards
For each match, the organizer draws three resource cards.  These cards represent the resources of the battlezone over which the players are fighting.  At the end of the match, the winner picks one card.  The loser gets the other two.  If there is a draw, each player gets a random card, and the remaining one is discarded.


Each card grants a small special ability, roughly equivalent to the bonus from a Warlord Trait or a Mysterious Objective.  The benefit should either grant a moderately-powerful benefit for one turn for one unit, or should grant a minor benefit all game to one unit.


Players may play their cards in future games.  They may play as many cards as they wish.  Once they play a card, it is discarded.  They must inform opponents of which cards they have available.


So, players that lose games will accumulate a small but useful handicap in their future games.  Players that win games will gain a smaller benefit, but will have more choice over what benefit they receive.


The Cards


There are 34 cards.  If the organizer needs more cards, he can print additional sets.


  1. The Stench of Heresy: Imperial Guard troops defending the Commercia Ciborum quickly learned that the tingling of their skin and the faint odor of rancid milk presaged an attack by chaos slave-zealots. Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains Acute Senses until the end of the game.
  2. Medallion Puritas: The aides of Inquisitor Hexenshlag distributed these small ceramite disks inscribed with images of the Emperor to certain mid and low-level Imperial Commanders.   Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly character immediately.  That character gains Adamantium Will until the end of the game.
  3. Incendiary Wrath: Sternguard Space Marines of the Astral Falchion Chapter deployed a non-standard magnesium-coated bolt-round that released a blinding flash-cloud upon impact.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons have the Blind special rule for this shooting phase.
  4. Thudd Rounds: The Basilisks of the 23rd Mechanicus Maniple used advanced ground-disruptive shells to collapse enemy-held bastions along the eastern ridge.   Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons have the Concussive special rule for this shooting phase.
  5. Street Fighters.  Cut off and alone in the Garment Manufactorum, the 214th Antiochian milita for months survived as a fearsome unit of partisans.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains Counter Attack until the end of the game.
  6. Icons Fanaticii.  In the second week of mobilization, the Ministorum called the Hive’s lay confraternities to arms as militia.  During the street-fighting, these units assaulted the Emperor’s foes with makeshift weapons of all sorts.   Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains Crusader until the end of the game.
  7. Fearsome Aspect:  Nothing could stay the rout on the Curtain Wall, when Night Lords Raptors dropped onto the parapet wrapped in the bloody skins of slain Imperial defenders.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains Fear until the end of the game.
  8. Stimm Packs:  The manufactories of the Medicae court ceased production of common analgesics during the conflict, instead producing large quantities of chem boosters.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains Feel No Pain (6+) until the end of the game.
  9. Xenos Swiftness.  Imperial scouts sometimes reported encountering Xenos creatures scurrying across walls and ceilings with unnatural swiftness.  Such rumormongers were swiftly executed for reasons of morale.   Play at the end of your deployment phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit has the Fleet special rule for the remainder of your turn.
  10. Anger of Khorne.  Lord High Marshall Edipe perished when red-clad, bronze-studded cultists of  Khorne overturned his command Baneblade and tore him limb from limb.  Play at the beginning of your assault phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit has the Furious Charge special rule until the end of your turn.
  11. Preachers Incarmine.  In the darkest days of the siege, hatred and wrath drove the defenders to survive and spite their foes.  Play at the beginning of your assault phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit has the Hatred special rule until the end of your turn.
  12. EMP Grenades.  During the Reclusian push, Scitarii of the the Mechanicus utilized electrical grenades to great effect against the chaos Hellbrute walkers.  Play at the beginning of your assault phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit gains Haywire grenades until the end of your turn.
  13. Strike from the Shadows: The third Ravenguard Shadow Company contested the Hoplicon Highlands throughout the siege, effectively preventing the assembled Orks from utilizing the province’s resources.  Play at the beginning of any assault phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit gains the Hit and Run special rule until the end of the turn.
  14. Explosive Rounds.  The Antiochian High Guard utilized their grenade launchers to great effect during the defense of the Hive Spire.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gain the Ignores Cover special rule until the end of your phase.
  15. Infiltration Tactics: The Lowland 3rd “Swamp Devils” excelled at raiding traitor positions in the swamplands, thrice destroying the Word Bearers’ command barges.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains the Infiltrate special rule.
  16. Bring it down!  Imperial gunners quickly learned to target the largest of the demonic creatures assailing their walls during the infamous Noon of Darkness.  Play at the beginning of your movement phase.  Designate one friendly character immediately.  That character gains the Monster Hunter special rule until the end of your turn.
  17. Stealth Leader.  The Xenos creature known only as the “Big Shadow” decimated the defenders of the Wharf district, but was never reliably sighted or identified.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly Character immediately.  That character gains Move through Cover until the end of the game.
  18. My Gaze, Inescapable.  The Raven Guard's advanced optics enabled them to operate a night without difficulty.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly Character immediately.  That character gains Night Fighting until the end of the game.
  19. The Long Way Around.  The Night Lords surprised Imperial defenders by navigating the impassable cliffs of the Cenopath district and slaughtering the Mourning Guard stationed upon the heights. Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains the Outflank special rule until the end of the game.
  20. Ratling Hotshot Rounds.  The Ratling Cuilinary Hussars would supply illegally-modified rounds to whomever would pay their price in lard.  Play at the beginning of your Shooting Phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gain the Pinning special rule until the end of your phase.
  21. Ratling Special Sauce.  Snipers of the Ratling Culinary Hussars were seen dipping their rounds in a large cauldron before setting out on missions. Play at the beginning of any of phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gain the Poisoned special rule until the end of the phase.
  22. Last Stand.  Lothar Magnus, Sergeant of the Astral Falchions, and his three companions held the Mourning Gate for three hours against the blood zealots.  Their last stand amid a mound of corpses has become legend.  Play at the beginning of any assault phase.  Designate one friendly character immediately.  That character gains the Rampage special rule until the end of the turn.
  23. Mobile Support. The Mechanicus Maniple mounted their most potent weapons upon tracked chassis.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s gains the Relentless special rule until the end of your phase.
  24. Monofilament Edging.  The Xeons mercenaries employed by the besiegers utilized razor-sharp triangular projectiles.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s gains the Rending special rule until the end of your phase.
  25. Rapid Redeployment.  The Word Bearers surprised Imperial defenders when they engaged the cities Wharf district, despite reliable reports that they had committed elsewhere.  Play at the end of your deployment phase. Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That unit gains the Outflank special rule until the end of the game.
  26. Bigger Chainswords.  12 Officers and other Ranks of the Lowland 3rd “Swamp Devils” were summarily executed for their use of captured enemy chain-axes.  Play at the beginning of any of phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gain the Shred special rule until the end of the phase.
  27. Advanced Targeting.  The Hydra batteries on Mourning hill accounted for 134 enemy air kills before being silenced.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gains the Skyfire special rule until the end of the phase.
  28. Psy-rounds.  These inquisitorial weapons proved especially effective against traitor Legion opponents.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gains the Soul Blaze special rule until the end of the phase.
  29. Flexible Command and Control.  The Antiochian High Gaurd received better training and had more officers than standard units.   Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gains the Split Fire special rule until the end of your phase.
  30. In the Shadows, Inviolate.  At least three patrols had already passed the Cliff Wall before the Night Lords made their ambush.  Play at the beginning of any of phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit gains the Shrouded special rule until the end of the phase.
  31. Darkness, My Ally.  The Lowland 3rd “Swamp Devils” made extensive use of natural camouflage.   Play at the beginning of any of phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit gains the Stealth special rule until the end of the phase.
  32. Only in Death does Duty End. The Mourning Guard perished to the last man defending the tombs of the highborn.  Play at the beginning of any turn.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons gains the Stubborn special rule until the end of the turn.
  33. Munitorium Excess: In their disastrous rout from the West Bastion, Antiochian militia forces abandoned large stocks of las-rounds and bolter-shells, most of which found their way into enemy hands. Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit’s weapons count as Twin-Linked until the end of the phase.
  34. Death to the Machine.  Raven Guard tactical squads familiarized themselves with all marks of enemy vehicles and how to disable them.  Play at the beginning of your shooting phase.  Designate one friendly unit immediately.  That friendly unit has the Tank Hunter special rule until the end of the phase



The End of Turns


At the end of the match, the organizer moves the losing players tokens from the battlezone back to Reserves. He then updates the win-lose-draw ratio for each player and for the teams on the whiteboard.


End of Campaign
The campaign lasts for five weeks. [Or whatever.] At the end of the campaign, the player with the best win-loss-draw ratio is recognized, the team with the highest win-loss-draw ratio is recognized, and the best score on each team is recognized.