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· Scourge Lord
1,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a method I thought up of playing a game of 40K with 3 armies so that there is no one getting squeezed in the middle, and the outcome is hopefully more balanced action. What's more, it uses only slight variations on the standard missions and is not all that different from other standard forms of deployment. So it should be fairly straightforward and easy to put into use.

Note: This mission is designed for armies of roughly 1500 points on a 6'x4' table. If your armies are larger or smaller, you may need to adjust the size of your board to be either 4'x4', 6'x6', or maybe even larger.

Also an interesting point: you could easily play a 4-army game by having Player 4 use the long table edge that Player 3 doesn't use. This will likely require a larger board though, unless the armies are each 1000 points or less.

This misison depicts two armies clashing when a third army makes a surprise assault, hoping to catch the other two forces off guard.

Roll on the Standard Missions Chart of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook (pg 90).

Players follows the same rules for the victory conditions of each mission with the following changes:
• Seize Ground – players place objectives in order of who rolled highest until all have been placed.
• Capture and Control – Player 3 does not place an objective in this mission.
• Annihilation – Any player can gain an +1 kill point if they destroy 50% of a squad in a single turn.

The table is divided into three thirds, each 2 feet wide by 4 feet long.

Players roll-off to determine who chooses to go first or second. The player who goes first (Player 1) may choose a short table edge as his own, and may deploy his forces up to 24" from that edge. Player 2 uses the opposite short table edge as his own, and may deploy his forces up to 24" from that edge. Player 3 does not have a deployment zone, but should declare reserves as normal.

All players (including Player 3) may deploy infiltrators as normal. Players 1 & 2 may make scout moves.

Start the game! Only Player 2 may attempt a "Seize the Initiative!" roll. After both Players 1 & 2 have taken their turns, Player 3 picks a long table edge and rolls a D6. On a roll of 1, 2, or 3, he takes that edge as his own. On a roll of 4, 5, or 6, he must take the opposite long table edge.

All units not in reserve in Player 3's army must arrive on turn 1 from anywhere on his table edge, as if they were arriving from reserve. Units with the 'scout' special rule arriving now may make a free move. Units with heavy or rapid fire weapons may use the "Slow & Purposeful" rule in order to fire them if they are arriving in this manner; however, they are not allowed to make an assault move if they do so.

Players 1 & 2 will use the long table edges for any outflankers, while Player 3 will use the short table edges as normal.

Turn order is always Player 1, then Player 2, and finally Player 3.

A Note On Close Combat
Players may not fire into a close combat even if their army is not involved in it. Multiple combats between three armies allows only the current player's units and those units he is attacking to fight in each round of combat.
Please try these rules out and let me know how it works for you. Below is a map of a standard 6'x4' board for those of us who are visual learners.


· That Which Has No Time
1,480 Posts
A good frameset, Krovin-Rezh!
I'd love to have a good set of rules for threesome games other than the broken alliance mission from the rulebook. Though I think you still need to tweak some details.

How exactly does the roll-off between three players work? Highest roll picks 1/2/3, next highest then picks from the two remaining?

How exactly does close combat between three parties work? You can allocate attacks as usual, but who counts as having lost combat and can everyone sweep everyone else, and...?

How does the player3-scout move work exactly? The vehicle gets a free move and may then act normally (e.g. move again)? That would be better than a normal scout move, pretty awesome...

Do you think player3 really needs slow&purposeful for his units on first turn? I don't think so, he has enough advantages, getting to pick which army he crushes and having full surprise effect, able to act without anyone targeting him before, etc...

Regardless of slow&purposeful: I fear the player3 position is just too awesome. I would take it any time, it's priceless to be able to bring your entire force in close to the enemy without him having any chance of weakening you, etc...
Chances are some vital targets are already dead once player3's force arrives, and then it can bring its entire arsenal, from close-range to long-range to bear without any restraint. This will surely wreck and entirely cripple the targeted force.

· Scourge Lord
1,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. The reason for not shooting into enemy assaults is to maintain the current balance between shooting vs. assaulting. If charging into assault ceases to protect you from being shot up, there's not much reason to do it anymore.


You may well be right about some of that Red. This is just my first draft, so it will probably need a few tweaks as you say.

My intention was that you can't pick to be third, only first or second as normal. So all three players roll-off and the lowest result is 3rd, highest result choosing between 1st & 2nd, and the other player is either 1st or 2nd depending on the winner's choice. The way I have it is to ensure the person who goes third is always random and not chosen by someone, since player 3 does have some unique advantages.

The rule is basically thus: If it's not your turn, and you aren't being attacked by the current player's units, your units don't participate in that round. Example: SM vs Orks vs Eldar. A SM squad assaults an Ork squad already in combat with some Eldar. The SMs are in contact with both, but they choose to attack the Orks. So the Eldar are basically ignored during that round as only the Orks will make pile-in moves (toward the SMs) and return attacks (against any Eldar, following normal rules).

Since you're still probably locked with another unit, if you won and the enemy fell back, you won't be able to try for a sweeping advance or consolidate.

I probably edited that part too much in my effort to not complicate the explanation, so I'll go back and explain it a bit better the next time around.

It may or may not be too much as is, but I don't think anyone would want to move only their scouts onto the board while two other armies are blasting away. However, I can see the problem when we start talking about Scout Bikes, for example, so it might be best to restrict it to an additional 6" during the movement phase.

You make some compelling arguments. I'll take it out.

So you think we still have the problem of one army being targeted more than another? I can see how that might be the case. It seems what we really need is a system in place to incentivize the third player to strike both enemies instead of just one.

· Senior Member
4,980 Posts
You could allow shooting into close combat as long as none of your own forces are engaged in the combat.

All participants are counted as a single target unit for determining hits then the hits are allocated to squads involved one at a time starting with the bigest squad then the next biggest etc. Then roll to wound on each squad and take saves as normal. Because units will be intermingled in a big scrap all participants are entitled to a 4+ cover save.

· That Which Has No Time
1,480 Posts
It seems what we really need is a system in place to incentivize the third player to strike both enemies instead of just one.
That would be key. And unfortunately this is the hard part!
"DIVIDE ET IMPERA", divide and conquer, is one of the oldest and most effective strategies, and one of those that perfectly work in 40k as well as the real world. Thus, players will always try to concentrate on one enemy force at a time, usually the one you can counter the best, which usually is the one less focused on close combat.
Player 3 comes onto the board. Dividing his forces voluntarily would be mere stupidity. He knows the close combat heavier army is still far on one side of the board and less able to hurt over the distance than the shooty army. So player 3 is bound to focus on the shooty army, heavily crippling it with its entire force, whether it itself is a shooty army or a close combat army. This will always be the best approach, unless there are other incentives included...

· Scourge Lord
1,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
As it is, the mission works well when the players agree not to single out one army over another. This is something that can't be done if you just placed the third player on one edge at the start, so in that respect I think this project is successful.

But as Red Archer explains, it is not usable in hyper-competitive situations. You could have each player split his force down the middle, with each half having to target a different army. That solution would force players to be more fair, but some players may resent the restriction. It could also seem like 3 smaller battles instead of one big one, but hopefully the following system can remedy that a bit.

Before deployment, each player must split his forces into two groups of an equal number of units (or as close as possible). Use markers as a reminder or write down which units are in each group, and which army that group is facing. Each group can only target the corresponding enemy group from the chosen player. Templates can still cause collateral damage on any units, however.

At the start of each player's turn, he may choose to do one of the following Group Maneuvers:

Switch-off: Pick one unit from each of your two groups and have them both take a Ld test. If both units pass, you may swap which group these two units are aligned with. This does not affect the location of either unit. Vehicles count as Ld 10 for this test. Ld "–" units cannot switch-off.

Support: Pick a single unit from one of your groups that no longer has an enemy group targeting them (i.e. they destroyed their opponents), and have it take a Ld test. If passed, that unit may join your other group for a single game turn only before returning to their original group. If that unit is locked in close combat, it will automatically disengage at the start of the turn by moving 1" away from any restricted models. Vehicles count as Ld 10 for this test. Ld "–" units cannot support.

EDIT: With this Strategic Groupings system, it may not matter how you deploy, so the Surprise Arrival rules are probably not necessary.

· That Which Has No Time
1,480 Posts
Nice idea, Krovin-Rezh, though I fear it could take the fun out of the game for me, because I imagine having to split your forces in two halfs that can't support each other would really ruin my armies and tactics. Hard to tell, though, without having tried it out.
Since the approach you are talking is aiming at encouraging three different battles, the split FOCs may very well be the cause for great imbalance. One may be better off playing three different battles entirely, which unfortunately does not help our aim.

One example for an exploit: if I face Tyranids and Necrons I dedicate my captain and say three bike squads to the Necrons and two typhoon squadrons and three vindicators to the Tyranids. Then I would deploy all my bikes in a nice long line in front of my vehicles. The Tyranids mustn't touch my bikes and therefore can't hurt my army at all, while I will very quickly be able to kill the opposing force. Afterwards I could advance my speeders and vindicators into the most advantageous positions before using one of them to "support" my bikes, because the Necrons may not harm my vehicles at all (until I use one of the units to "support" my anti-Necron force). This really gives me a big edge...

So "overloading" an army half with the hard-hitting units (while keeping the your other half safe) to quickly finish off one opposing force-half and then positioning them without the danger of being harmed until ready to strike optimally is a big exploit. There are many units that just take you apart if you don't destroy them but are usually hard to bring to bear because they are too fragile and high-priority targets. But if I needn't worry about being targeted until ready to strike, this can be a big problem...
I hope you get the idea, I kind of fear my words were too confusing.

· Scourge Lord
1,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I see what you mean. There's obviously a lot of restrictions that would have to be in place to prevent exploits. I have my doubts that the end result would be a fun game or even a real competition, so I'm ready to relegate this concept to friendly games where you can depend on your opponents to play for the enjoyment of a fair game rather than going for the jugular.

It's just too problematic trying to account for every tactic that someone could think of to mess up the game.
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