Ok I thought about this the other day whilst playing with my Dark Eldar friend. The idea involves changing the way warhammer 40k turns work to make it what I think is more fun and interesting for both players and more tactical.
The main idea is:
Both players in the 40k game now share the same turn, i.e. each "turn" is actually both player's movement, shooting and assault phases. Where before it was Player 1's move, shoot, assault then Player 2's move, shoot assault, now they're combined. The players take turns performing an "action" (an action means moving, shooting, or initiating an assault in its respective phase) so it feels more like chess, and a reacting battlefield instead of what it currently is where all models are frozen until it is their player's turn.
How to do it:
- The way this works is the players roll off at the start of each movement phase, the higher roll gets to choose whether to begin the "actions" first... Lets say Ben chose to go first, he will begin all actions in every phase, so he will move one of his units first in the movement phase (then Jerry his opponent, will move one of his own units), then it will be back to Ben and he will move one of his own units again. In this way you have a chance to respond to opponent's actions. Subsequently in the shooting phase, Ben (having chosen to go first when he won the roll off earlier and begun the movement phase) will also initiate the shooting in the shooting phase, and will get the chance to pick one of his units to assault first in the assault phase.
For those of you aware of the Epic: Armageddon game system you will recognize a small similarity in this method to that game's "actions." I've played a test game with my friend following these rules, a 1850pt Space Marine mirror, and I must say we enjoyed it as we would a normal game, and for me personally even more.
Why I think it's more fun:
I've always had a problem with the fact that in a standard game only one player is doing anything, but the other player is forced to sit there for quite a while waiting for all the opponent's phases to conclude. With this system both players are "playing" at the same time, so no longer does one person sit idle waiting, as it will be his turn to do something next.
Why I think it's more tactical:
Well, you're reacting aren't you? You no longer have to sit through a whole turn 1's worth of shooting hoping your army doesn't get shredded, you can shoot back and take out key enemy units, mitigating the damage you would have taken. Moreover, it places greater importance on target choice, "do I target the enemy's valuable devastator squad which just shot me? Or do I go for the Vindicator that is still to shoot?"
Likewise with assaults, as you might get the chance to make the charge first, which I think is damn well more realistic than just wanting to bloody stand there!
And those are the core changes to the idea, I will post the limitations and how we resolved them below.
Rarely will you play a game in 40k and find yourself evenly matched in numbers. The issue here is what if one player has completed all his actions and the other player still has units left? We couldn't really find an answer to this that I'm satisfied with, but we went for the simple option: the player who has nothing more to do that phase must simply wait whilst his opponent moves/shoots/assaults with this remaining units.
Deep striking and reserve units don't pack the same punch as before. In the normal game lets say a unit of terminators deepstrike, they would then get to shoot immediately without the opponent having a chance to target them back. With the exp. rules if reserves come on at the beginning of the movement phase then the opponent can still move away or toward them, and subsequently shoot at them, removing the whole idea that they're supposed to be 'shock n awe' units.
My friend and I decided to move the reserve rolls into the shooting phase and make a successful reserve roll a separate action, so units can be brought into play and shoot in one action. E.g. I have a terminator squad and a whirlwind off the board. Instead of shooting with a unit that I have already on the table (or if I have no more units left to shoot) I roll for reserves. I choose to roll the terminator squad's reserve roll and it is successful, so I bring them into play as per the usual rules and shoot with them as well, action completed and over to my opponent. When it is my turn again I can continue shooting with other units, or perform the reserve roll for the whirlwind.
Note: a failed reserve roll does not count as an action (though you can play it the way you like). I feel that it would be quite unfortunate if one player had 6 units in reserve and never rolled high enough to bring them in to play, so kept "skipping" his actions whilst the opponent got to shoot the hell out of him. Therefore a failed reserve roll will still allow you to make an action. If you pass the reserve roll though you will have to bring that unit in from reserve in that action, you cannot "save" it to bring it in later in the shooting phase.
As per the usual rules you must roll all reserve rolls (and deploy any successful ones) in every turn. The only difference is that with these rules you're allowed to choose at what point in the shooting phase you make the roll. Beginning to get your shots of early and knock out a rival key unit? At the end so that your deep strikers cannot be retaliated against? Or somewhere in between.
Does doing nothing count as an action? I.e. not moving, not shooting or not assaulting? What about units prevented from doing anything such as units gone to ground or pinned?[B][U]
This is up to you, but we decided that choosing not to move DID count as an action, but not shooting and/or assaulting did NOT count. Gone to ground units do not use actions up in the movement phase either.
Actions and transport units
Transports count as their own units for all intents and purposes. They will move, and the unit inside will disembark in a later movement action, just like they are to shoot independently of other units. As you can see a disembarking action is its own action in the movement phase.
Assault Vehicles/Open-topped vehicles
Units wishing to disembark from these vehicles can do so in the shooting phase. The rationale behind it is the same as the reserve units. If you have units that are meant to appear as a surprise as intended by the original rules, it would make little sense to make them endure a whole turn of shooting before they get to assault.
The 5th edition rules have in essence, two assault phases in each game turn. Therefore my friend and I agreed to play two assault phases after the shooting phase instead of just one. They would play the same way, except that all assault moves must be made in the first assault phase.
Morale checks from shooting
Normally this is done at the end of the shooting phase, but it wouldn't make sense to enforce that here, because that unit might not have had its chance to shoot, and it makes little sense to let them shoot and then still take a morale check and fall back later.
We agreed that as soon as the unit is due for a morale check (under 25% of starting numbers as usual) then it is to take a morale check right away, and if it passes then it will not have to take another one regardless of further casualties sustained that phase.
Fall back moves
We decided that the mandatory fall back move is made at the beginning of the movement phase as usual.
That's it really! These are all the problems we thought of prior to and during the game, but surely there are many more, and I invite you to present them to me so that I can plan for future games using this system. Always remember, this is supposed to be a friendly game, and if you run into problems with existing rules as you play, be sure to work it out with your opponent in a courteous manner.
Please provide feedback as to how it worked out for you.