Map Tactics

We (me+friends) played our 1st Ed games "from the small table edges", basically because we did not think of starting the game almost within firing range of the enemy. It worked pretty well under 1st Ed (but then, we played scenario-like games most of the time as no proper army lists were available).

It won't work under Ed 2.

If you want to play 2nd Ed on a larger table you will encounter the following problems:

  1. Heavy/Support weapons will be very effective and quite cheap.
  2. Vehicles will be extremely effective and a real bargain!
  3. Foot troops with no jump pack will have difficulties to get somewhere (if you are not allowed to cramp them into a transport), especially with the turn limit.
  4. Support weapons will not get very far as well. Some of them cannot be towed.
  5. You cannot use standard missions due to altered ranges and available time.
If you want to skip the turn limit you will get problems with fielding characters and those pesky personalities as it is very difficult, unless playing a really large game, to kill them. While the character caused damage can be limited when playing a set number of turns they will be the sole survivors when fighting to the death (especially those psykers, no. uno the teleporting Space Wolf Librarian with an assortment of really nice toys and powers).

If you use a different table and skip the turn limit, you'd better re-adjust PCs [of course both sides have to face the same problems, but again, players will field ANYTHING other than "reasonable" armies; Swooping Hawks, skimmers, speculative firing Thudd Guns, etc].

And you have to provide convenient means for transporting all types of foot troopers (like Eldar, Tyranid constructs and large creatures like Ogryns or Tyranids) and for "tow"-ing all types of support weapons (like Eldar anti-grav platforms, Tarantulas etc).

I agree with you that playing on larger tables with a bit of terrain between the opponents is more interesting AND the new set-up rules are not that dominating [most of you will know the situation where you place your models first just to look down those big enemy guns some minutes later].

BTW, why not rolling 2 or more d6 and add the strategy rating to determine who sets up first [the idea is to produce an outcome which strongly depends on the strategy rating but holds the occasional surprise of catching the Marines flat-footed - just an interesting variant].

PC 1500 to PC 2000 on a 8-by-4 is quite nice. To pile PC 2500+ on such a table is no fun with all the troopers stepping on each others' toes, there is no room for moving troops [I only use a 4-by-4 when playing PC 1000 games of Man'o'War].

The Turn Limit

The A POSTERIORI approach:

The TIME LIMIT approach:

Both approaches soften up the problem but will not solve it in a satisfying way. So it's up to your models to go on overwatch for stop suicide runs and the like when need arises.


Forget those mission cards!

If you cannot be stopped from using them, choose them in a convenient way, either before (depending on game philosophies) or after purchasing armies.

It works better to do it the epic way; nominating a couple of (eg, 4) objectives (like buildings or bridges) and award VPs to the player controlling them at game's end. As both players have the same "mission" it allows for better balanced games with less problems concerning the army size : VPs ratio. For even better results, the VPs for controlling objectives could be adjusted in relation to the army size [after all, had the objectives been of greater interest to the armies' commanders, they would have sent more troops].

The VP approach (for terminating a game):


IMHO, J. stresses the "you can wipe out the opposing army without moving due to the proximity"-argument too much, as this will be the case if placing litte terrain only [you cannot use this fact as a basis for your arguements, even if playing this way].

As GW says, place a lot [or at least, don't complain if you had not]. There is reason to it.

[Of course, GW keeps things very easy and general, especially when it comes down to summoned efforts on the home team's side]

How about:

The Speshool Troops

  1. As such they are excellent. They add colour and variety to your battle plan.
  2. Problem is, you do not get two of them, you can purchase them by the pound, with no need to buy something decent at all!
  3. To be sure, there are too many troops [models AND/OR pieces of equipment] too good in a lot of different roles.
Eg, the Assault Cannon [of course there are more of these cheese knifes out]:


GOOD: Weapons like that show excellent performance in any combat role; they are excellent for mowing down complete squads and devastating when firing at a vehicle.

[Note that vehicles take damage by the HIT not by the DAM-characteristic! Lascannons will cause a SINGLE hit on a vehicle if AP-ing while the Assault cannon may cause MULTIPLE hits at slightly lower AP. Ok, the Assault Cannon jams BUT NOT BEFORE firing. As a Lascannon may fire 3-5 times per battle, ie once per turn, you usually get more shots off an Assault Cannon, even if it jams with the 1st firing action.]

Some statistics:

BTW, How about allowing the Lascannon a +2 [1st guess] mod for rolling on the damage table, to give more impact to the few shots you can squeeze out of these anti-armour weapons during a battle.

[I did talk about Assault Cannons and Lascannons only, of course the above applies to a lot more heavy weapons]

BTW, I'd say when mounting other weapons to your vehicles (DM conversion table) you may NOT mount weapons that are not in your army list, for the sake of NO-CHEESE.

[No eg, Ork Warbikes with 2 linked Assault Cannons or Cyclones on a Wartrack or Rhinos with Shuriken weapons]

Note: I'd say the given special rules for Space Marine DNs from DM apply no matter which vehicle it is mounted to [though I do not like these specials altogether], since "increased ammo capacity and improved targeting systems blabla" are not a DN-only feature.

Ah, almost missed the topic. There is a concept that can be used on any "reasonable" game that rules the fair-factor of special troop types.

Eg, chess: 8 Pawns, 2 each of the others and 1 of King and Queen + their "VPs". The more you have of a certain troop type the worse its performance and vice versa, therefore poor troop types will give away few VPs [and will be pretty cheap if you have to buy them]. The King is not very spectacular in its daily business but as you lose the game when it is killed that makes it very special, so you get only one as well. Note that messengers are worth less than towers, especially later in the game, as have access to half the board only.

Basically, there are 3 factors that determine a trooper's value:

  1. How far you can go
  2. How easy you can kill
  3. How much you can endure
Note: Increasing a model's PC or VPs will not help always. If you cannot kill it, you can't win.

For a better tactical feeling troops have to be created according to the principle "the more a trooper specializes in a certain role the worse its general performance [or giving it a real handicap]".

Of course there is a place for characters who are better in all aspects, but then there is the inavailability [or better there should be one] and high PC.

IMHO, J.'s "I know he will buy this, so I buy this" is a problem, but in quite a different way.

  1. There always should be ways of preventing the opponent from getting off nasty tricks, so any army should be able to eliminate any threat offered [with "reasonable" means that is and most of the time only].
  2. The problem is the PC ratio measure : counter measure. Like, Orks are better advised to purchase both the Vaxxine Squig and the Sniffer Squigs just in case the opponent fields the most hated ones. While the opponent may most happily spend PC on whatever he likes.
Yeah, the above is not so bad as I want to have it, but you should have guessed the idea by now.

While you're on the offense, it wont matter much if you skip an option or two - while it can and most likely will cost you much when skipping a defence or two.

On the other hand, it should not be too easy to defend your troops against a certain attack [eg, by just purchasing a single item or so].

Army Lists
The "No Yellow Smelly Stuff" Approach

  2. Return to the "BY THE SQUAD"-PURCHASE approach: Like, Devastator, Assault and Tactical Squads are considered regular squads and you may not have more special squads [any non-regular squad] than regulars. Eg, 1 Devastator + 1 Tactical + 2 Termies are ok, but you may not purchase a, say, Scout squad without purchasing another regular as well.
Finally, please, don't tell me [again] that there are battles with lots of characters engaged and stuff. That's not a standard skirmish game suited for tournaments and the like, its a scenario, IMMAHO.

[GW should have done it this way or another (maybe more convenient one). For tournaments' sake. See, if you feel like terminating everything, feel free. Agree with your opponent and you're in for some real mutilation. Instead GW produced codex after codex listing all the different troop types with "in case it will not work agree on something different" being the only help offered. Thank you.]

"Reason is the first casualty in every war"

Mutilate! Here goes GW's rule No. Uno in flames and shrapnel. In the heat of battle with your eyes dilluted by the fog of war, your hands drenched in your enemies' blood and your mind gone numb in the barrages you always will get off better once rules are not quite clear. I played with a lot of people and most of them are worth some parsecs of elastic tape measure (I should get them nominated - or did anybody of you try to hit two buildings with a single ballisticaly fired shell since the closer one was higher than the other) while there are some people (Hi Chris!) you can discuss matters on the spot [something I prefer to rolling a dice to decide who's right].


A 1 in 6 chance of absolute failure is too much, while a 100% success is even less satisfying (I prefer playing chess then).

The up to 6 locations per vehicle is rather limiting. Eg, There is a 1 in 6 chance to hit a Rhino's bolters (with your only Lascannon) while the Land Raider's Heavy Bolter destroyed result comes with aspecific hull hit.

Why GW do not use non-d6 dice for their games? Where is the problem? Hey, it works with armour penetration!

And why skipping the target grid. True, it was time consuming. But there are approaches that work, like the epic Titan hit locations. Skip some detail, take some special dice, paint some fancy diagrams - 'ere we go!

- Heinz Roehrl

Last Updates
29 November 1996page split
22 July 1996reformatted
16 April 1996reorganized
Comments or corrections?