Thursday, June 20, 2013

Three is a Magic Number: 3-Player House Rules

With Game Weekend 2 coming fast, Evan, Ron, and I have been in discussions about some house rules.  With any game, whether at a hobby store, school, or even a garage filled with enough miniatures to have our significant others wondering if we have a mild-severe obsession (not speaking from specific personal experience or anything), it is a great idea to talk about rules questions that could come up ahead of time.  House rules are a necessity because there will be times when you are in the heat of a battle and a situation will arise where you realize that there is no FAQ, no response from GW, and no clearly defined answer to the situation.


This post is going to go over some of the house rules we have talked about for our big weekend.  Granted these will not always apply to every game (like a three person mob rush in the middle of a board) but we hope this will spawn some discussions, some ideas, and who knows, maybe even give us a chance to actually find the answers that GW hid while they were burying the Ark of the Covenant.

Rule 1:  Split Fire

A unit firing using Split Fire or any special rule that allows for a target outside of the unit's main target must declare all targets before any rolls to hit are made.

So why this rule?  Well if you have a Rhino, Devilfish, or Trukk that can be crushed in one fell swoop, your troops are going to be vulnerable as soon as they step out, look around, and say “Well, we’re screwed.”  What if that destruction came from a unit of Space Wolves Long Fangs or from a High Yield Missile Pod on a Tau Broadside Pair?  Could half of your forces destroy the Transport and still shoot the insides?  We decided for sanity and for what it would look like on the battlefield, that the squad would be maximizing firepower, and therefore could not shoot at the units inside the vehicle since they were not in view at the time the order was given.

This rule also prevents someone from going figure to figure firing on a target until it is dead so that it can maximize its fire power before moving to a second target.  This would be evident by looking at a group of 3 broadsides split firing on a Flyer and a troop choice.  If the main target was the flyer and the second target was the troop choice, the player would need to determine how many broadsides fire on the flyer and how many fire on the troops before a single shot is fired.  If we did it model by model, each broadside could have a chance to target the flyer until it is shot down and then move on to the troops. 

Rule 2:  Multi Combat

Question:  Should a combat be fought in a Player turn where no "active" models are involved?

Answer:  No, the combat will stand idle unless assaulted into by the third member, or it is one of the combatants' player's turns.

We decided that it doesn't make sense for a combat not involving the player whose turn it is to be fought and potentially decided.  Once again, we side with what seems right to us, and say let the fight wait until an engaged player can move his other models to support or avoid the combat.

Rule 3: Player Z Shooting into Combat between Players X and Y.

Question: Can a player shoot into a combat between the opposing players?

Answer: No, since it could be understood that there are higher priority targets than those already locked in combat. Also, hit allocation would be a nightmare. That said, blasts can of course scatter onto combats as normal.

Rule 4:  Game Setup

Question:  With 3 players, how are we deploying to be fair?

Answer:  We roll off to see who deploys first, second, and third, and place a unit at a time until all units are on the table, similar to Fantasy deployment rules.  

So this seems a bit odd on the surface, but it is actually a rather simple solution.  We each roll a D6 and then whoever has the highest gets to choose when they want to deploy, the second highest D6 roll gets to choose when they deploy, and the lowest gets stuck deploying when it is their turn.  So if you have players A, B, and C in a game, each rolls a D6.  A rolls a 4, B rolls a 6, and C rolls a 1.  B decides he wants to deploy second, A decides he wants to deploy first, and this leaves C deploying last.  Each person will place a single squad in their deployment zone in a round robin style similar to Fantasy until all units not held in reserve or infiltrating are on the table. 

Rule 5:  Turn Structure

Question:  After Deployment, who the hell goes first?

Answer:  Option 1:  Person who finishes first goes first, second goes second, and last goes last.  Option 2:  Person who finishes first gets first choice, second gets second choice, and last gets no choice.  Option 3:  Person who finishes first gets a +2 to their roll, person who finishes second gets a +1, and person who finishes last gets nothing.  Then roll a D6 to choose who gets what.

This is a problem that we haven't talked about, but we need to figure out ASAP.  Each option has pros and cons.  Option 1 will allow a small elite force, running force, or deep striking force the chance to do some damage right off the bat or find cover, but a shooting army or army that needs the enemy to get close may be out of luck until turn 2.  Option 2 lets us decide based upon who has the largest force and may allow for a shooting army the opportunity to do some damage right off the bat.  Option 3 basically says screw everything roll the Dice and then determine who gets what turn.  This seems a little odd but since everything else is determined by dice with modifiers, why not add a modifier to the roll and let the dice god smile upon their chosen army.


Rule 6:  Ensuring Combat

Question:  Since one player might sit back and laugh while the other two fight, how can we ensure combat?

Answer:  Option 1:  High priority objective towards center of the map.  Option 2:  Giving bonus points to units killed in addition to objectives.  Option 3:  Both Options 1 and 2. 

This Rule really only has two options.  Why? Because you really can't do too much to ensure combat other than hoping that your friends will be fair.  So which option is the Best?  My opinion is Option 3.  This is because you are rewarding not only aggressive behavior towards everyone but you also have a nice bonus if you decide to try to move to the center and hold the fort.

Rule 7:  Game ending

Question:  How do you end a game if one player is tabled?

Answer:  You finish off through the bottom of that turn and count up Victory points.

Well this throws a Gigantic Chaos size wrench into a Free For All battle.  Mainly because one player could in theory hang back, let the other two fight, and then charge in to finish off the job.  This will force players to go after objectives, try to take other units off of objectives, and it will generally end in players looking to take shots at high priority targets in each army.  We ended up voicing our opinions and deciding that it will be Game Turn.  This will ensure that if one army is wiped, any army that hasn't acted during that Game Turn will get one last shot to go down swinging.

These are just some of the house rules we have come up with for a 3 player free for all.

What are your comments and thoughts?