Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twist on rolling off for deployment

I've been thinking for a while and had just always accepted the 40k 5th edition way of rolling off for first turn and deployment.

That is the following:

  • Both players roll off.  
  • The winner then decides whether to go first or second.
  • Player who goes first chooses which deployment zone they want.
  • Player going first deploys their forces.
  • Player going second deploys their forces.
  • Players deploy infiltrators and perform scout moves.
  • Player going second may attempt to seize initiative.
  • Game begins.
That is the player with the first turn gets to decide not only who goes first, but also which sides each player will start on.  

For a while I never questioned it because it was all I knew, but recently I was watching a game of American football on tv and something dawned on me.  In football at the beginning of the game, there is a coin toss and the winner gets to choose one of three options.
  • Offense (Receive the kickoff)
  • Defense (Kick the ball off to the other team)
  • Choice of side of the field to defend.
Whether they play in the Super-Bowl or Adepticon Team Tournament; they use the same uniforms for both.

While in the vast majority of circumstances teams will choose either to take Offense or Defense, the option still remains to simply pick the side of the field to defend and allow the opponent choice of offense/defense.  

I then wondered if there could be an application to 40k rolling off for first turn because it is essentially the same thing, except replacing a dice roll-off with a coin toss.  The only difference is in 40k, the player who takes first turn also gets the choose the side of the field to defend.  In the 40k tournament I ran last weekend, I made a twist to the rolling off for deployment rules.  

  • Both players roll off.
  • The winner gets to choose to either A) go first or B) to go second and choose deployment zone.
  • Deployment zone is chosen by player going second.
  • Player going first deploys their forces.
  • Player going second deploys their forces.
  • Players deploy infiltrators as per normal rules.
  • Players scout as per normal rules.
  • Seize the Initative.
  • Begin game.
I tested it out at the tournament I ran last weekend for the Adeptus Windy City group at the Chicago Battle Bunker.  I was unsure about how the response would be to the mission, but it got an extremely positive response, with several players wanting to incorporate it into events they run or take it back to their gaming groups.

It's a small twist that hopefully can put some added strategy to the game.  Depending on the terrain setup, it may also reduce the damage of a first turn alpha strike as the player going second can pick the best deployment edge in an attempt to mitigate the damage done.

I would encourage anyone to at least try out this idea or something similar and let me know what you think of it.  


  1. I like this idea. It adds more tension to the decision. Do I want the first-turn advantage, or the strategic advantage of choosing deployment?

  2. So, I used this style of deployment in the tournament I ran over the weekend. I heard mixed reviews about it. Some people it did add a level of tactics to the decision, and some thought it had little effect on the game as a whole.

    I think it really depends on the army you are playing, which is true of the current rule. Orks with a ton of trucks and a KFF don't care if you go first or not, because they still have a 4+ cover. Dark Eldar still really want the first turn, to make use of a strong alpha strike.

    Thanks for the idea though! I hope that was some useful feedback.


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