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Thread: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

  1. #1

    Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    I've written some rules for those interested in playing practice solo games of Warhammer 40k and not feeling like you're entirely playing against yourself. These rules have not had too much playtesting and any feedback is welcome and appreciated. Let me know what you guys think!

    Playing Warhammer 40k solo

    Pick two army lists as normal using the standard force organization chart. One army, hereafter called the automated army, for the sake of convenience, will have an additional 25% points to choose its army and will also be subject to what will be referred to as Random Intelligence rules, which are explained below.

    The automated army is partially controlled by you, the player, and partially controlled by dice rolls which determine if units take the best possible action available or instead revert to performing an action in line with their usual capability, be it offensive or defensive.

    Deployment:

    Split the deployment zone of the automated army into three sections, roll a D6 for each unit, and randomize in which section it will be deployed. Defensive units should always be deployed in cover if space allows it, whereas offensive units should be deployed as close as possible to an enemy unit.

    For each deepstriking unit, roll a D6 to determine if it will arrive on the battlefield via the deep-striking rules or deploy as normal. When a deep-striking unit is available in reserves roll a D6. On a 1 or 2 split the table into six sections and roll randomly for the section the unit deep-strikes in. Place the unit in the best possible position in that section as normal. On a 3 or higher, the unit is deployed via deep-striking rules as normal.

    Random Intelligence

    Models in Warhammer 40k are generally either offensive or defensive in nature and players tend to keep their play-style in line with a unit’s capability, barring some unforeseen or unusual circumstance which forces a readjustment of tactics to suit a particular situation on the battlefield.

    Before beginning the battle, choose a defensive or an offensive combat designation for each unit, vehicle, character, or any other independent model such as monstrous creature.

    A defensive unit will tend to stay in cover and keep its distance from the enemy, often shooting with long range weaponry while sitting on an objective. Not afraid to take hits or give them out in return, an offensive unit will often charge across the battlefield to engage a foe in close range and take the objective through close range fighting.

    Before performing an action a unit must roll a dice and consult one of three tables, depending on the phase during which it is performing an action. Roll only once for units with characters in them. What is referred to as "best possible action" means an action that you yourself would perform were you playing against a real opponent.

    Movement –

    Defensive unit:
    1-2: Moves at full speed towards nearest piece of terrain giving cover. If already in cover or claiming an objective, unit does not move.
    3-6: Performs the best possible movement action.

    Offensive unit:
    1-2: Moves at full speed towards the closest enemy or objective it can see. In case of a tie, roll a D6 and randomize.
    3-6: Performs the best possible movement action.

    Shooting—

    Defensive unit:

    1-2: shoots at the nearest enemy it has a chance of damaging, i.e. causing a wound or a glancing hit. If the unit has no chance of damaging the nearest enemy, the unit shoots the next nearest enemy it has a chance to damage.
    3-6: performs the best possible shooting action.

    Offensive unit:
    1-2: runs towards the closest enemy or objective it can see. In case of a tie, roll a D6 and randomize.
    3-6: performs the best possible shooting action

    Assault--

    Defensive unit:
    1-2: cannot perform an assault action and must move away as far as possible from the closest enemy unit if it able to do so.
    3-6: performs the best possible assault action – which can be no action at all.

    Offensive unit:
    1-2: attempts to assault the nearest enemy if able to do so. If the unit can make a movement action it must do so at full speed possible and towards the nearest enemy it can see. If it cannot see an enemy it will perform no action in the assault phase.
    3-6: performs the best possible assault action – which can be no action at all.

    Examples of units that may excel at being offensive include Ork Slugga Boyz, Chaos space Marine Khorne Berzerkers, Tyranid Hormogaunts, and many units with assault and/or close combat weapons.

    Examples of units that may excel at being defensive include Tau Fire Warriors, Eldar Guardians, Imperial Guardsmen, and many units with rapid fire or heavy weapons.

    Certain units, such as the ubiquitous space marine tactical squads, can blur the distinction between offensive and defensive units, but when using Random Intelligence rules, use your discretion to pick which role the unit will best fulfill.
    Last edited by dooms33ker; 17-03-2013 at 04:27.

  2. #2

    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    No feedback?

  3. #3
    Brother Sergeant Dr. Darke's Avatar
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    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games


  4. #4

    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    That link was all to relevant. ^^

    Quote Originally Posted by dooms33ker View Post
    I've written some rules for those interested in playing practice solo games of Warhammer 40k and not feeling like you're entirely playing against yourself. These rules have not had too much playtesting and any feedback is welcome and appreciated. Let me know what you guys think!
    Emphasis mine.

    Seeing that the goal seems to be to practise I doubt this is the way to go. For half the time the enemy will be a complete ***** and the other half of the time it will be you, I doubt an arbitrary 25% bonus makes up for that.
    If you want to get better at warhammer while being alone I think you'd be better of playing computer strategy games with decent ai's. If its a decent game it should give you a good feel of many strategic an tactical principles.
    An other option while being alone is learning to apply mathematics and statistic to warhammer. This makes sure that when you play you can make well informed decisions.


    But you are probably not here to hear that people don't like your idea but instead want some feedback on your system, well here it goes.

    Id make an objective decision tree for each unit (or type of unit), preferably with choices based on the status of the battlefield. This tree should end in a couple of sensible actions to be take, one of which is then selected either randomly or by evaluating its importance.

    For example shooting with devastator squad full of cannons (does anyone field them?)

    First make a target priority list, for example:
    1 armoured vehicles (AV12+)
    2 monstrous creatures
    3 light vehicles
    4 the rest

    Then build a list of sensible targets by testing enemy units in range and line of sight to some conditions that that make the unit interesting, first starting with units of priority type 1. This may look like this:
    1 Is it a transport? no: next line, yes: have the passengers disembarked yet? no: add to list, yes: next line
    2 Is it a mission objective? no: next line, yes: add to list
    3 Is it a serious thread* to you next turn from its current position or a position it can reach with a standard move? no: next line, yes add to list
    4 Could you destroy it on an average roll when shooting with this unit this turn? no: next line, yes add to list (this adds some synergy, if an other unit already removed a few hull points this vehicle will now be a more interesting target).
    5 Are there units on the list: no: go back to 1 evaluating with the next priority type. yes:select a target from this list and shoot
    *thread should be defined to make it objective (minimum x number of shots or strenght Y and ap z)


    Now selecting the target could simply be random or weighter or based on more criteria

    lets say we added the following targets to our list:
    A landraider in rage with a squad embarked that can shoot you next turn and which is in cover.
    A psyfelman that can shoot you next turn and is worth a victory point (for whatever reason).

    You can have extra criteria to break a tie, like always shoot the closest one, or the most expansive one.
    Or just roll a dice, in this case: 1-3 landraider 4-6 psyfelman (its random but at least its a random sensible target)
    Or make it a weighted roll by giving each unit on the list a point for each criteria it meats on your earlier test, and maybe deduce some points for extra conditions:
    The landraiders scores 1 point (one for being a thread next turn and one for being a transporter that still needs to deliver, and losses one point for being behind cover).
    The psyfelman scores 2 (one point for being a thread next turn and one for being worth victory points).
    now the roll would be: 1-2 landraider 3-6 psyfelman.

    tldr: If you want it be be even vagule usable for practise make it so that the choices the AI makes resemble as close as possible those a (novice) player would make.
    Last edited by Symrivven; 18-03-2013 at 18:12. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Chapter Master dugaal's Avatar
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    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    Agreeing with above about practicing solo games;
    But why not simply play the game using two armies and standard rules, yet stay impartial about each and always act out each armies best interests? When you "change hats" you are for all purposes, that general, and crossing the table to fight yourself.

    You might think its silly to understand all your own strategies, but thats a good insight into future opponents possible actions. You might learn to predict their decisions by having a 'cross the table' mindset
    Only the insane have strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane

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  6. #6

    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    Quote Originally Posted by dugaal View Post
    Agreeing with above about practicing solo games;
    But why not simply play the game using two armies and standard rules, yet stay impartial about each and always act out each armies best interests? When you "change hats" you are for all purposes, that general, and crossing the table to fight yourself.

    You might think its silly to understand all your own strategies, but thats a good insight into future opponents possible actions. You might learn to predict their decisions by having a 'cross the table' mindset
    I'd agree with this. I playtest specific things myself on a somewhat regular basis and I don't really need some arbitrary rules set to make the opposing army crappier some of the time. Specifically it loses any value as an actual practice - you still are relying on yourself to decide what is best for the army so why make subpar decisions some of the time? In particular I find value in running the "dummy" army with the same list game after game and trying different setups for your own army to see how changes in your list and/or tactics will affect problematic matchups. I assume people that are practicing are practicing to improve against specific (or potential) issues, rather than just "how do I do when my opponent randomly makes terrible moves?"

  7. #7
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    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    You can't really say for sure either way. If you are crossing the table acting as your opponent, you are going to act with foreknowledge of the other guy's plans. So some element of randomness would probably help, but how do you randomize your own understanding of the enemy's strategy?

  8. #8

    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    If I was doing this I would want something both simpler and more challenging. The reason you want there to be a random element to the oponents decisions is because otherwise you know exactly what they will do and they will never blindside you - you want the random to add challenge not reduce it.

    I would probably just come up with what I would do in the oponents position then roll a dice - on a one or two you cannot perform that plan and must perform an alternative but still thought out in a competitive mindset. This will add some element of randomness without hobbling the enemy too much (and mean that you can't be sure they will do what you expect). It will also force you to think of multiple ways the enemy might respond to your tactics.

    If necessary you could play around with the probability for a change of plan and consider adding a points advantage for the foe.

  9. #9

    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    Thanks for the feedback guys! I agree with everyone's assertion that these rules won't make you a better player as you're essentially waiting for the automated army to make a bad move, but with that said I don't think it would be possible to create rules that would make solo play as challenging, or even remotely as fun as a regular match.

    I do think that if one were to ever get a cankering to take out the ol' models and roll some dice, there really needs to be some sort of random element to keep things interesting. Another possible idea I had was to make a "last man standing" ruleset of sorts, where enemy models randomly spawn and your team has to survive for several turns.

  10. #10
    Chapter Master dugaal's Avatar
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    Re: Experimental rules for playing solo Warhammer 40k Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapters Unwritten View Post
    You can't really say for sure either way. If you are crossing the table acting as your opponent, you are going to act with foreknowledge of the other guy's plans. So some element of randomness would probably help, but how do you randomize your own understanding of the enemy's strategy?
    Well 6th gave a bit more fluidity to the units but i still find 70%+ of the possible options available and taken by units in-game are predetermined by objectives and setup. After that responding to evolving conditions is the order of the day. Unless your opponent has some sneaky gambit that isn't obvious until its sprung one can typically dictate the enemies probable course of action by how the last turn ended up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midvalley View Post
    I find value in running the "dummy" army with the same list game after game and trying different setups for your own army to see how changes in your list and/or tactics will affect problematic matchups.
    This I agree with, and usually i try small setups like "is this squad actually reliable against this target..." and run 1-2 squad armies against each other a few times to find the average turnouts. I admit large army-scale solo tests are beyond what Ive tried.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamuz View Post
    I would probably just come up with what I would do in the opponents position then roll a dice - on a one or two you cannot perform that plan and must perform an alternative but still thought out in a competitive mindset.
    This sounds like a good idea, rather then a choice between the correct or a hindered tactical choice, two roughly equal options are randomly decided from.
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