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FFA and Alternate-By-Phase Rules (Simple!)

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To be honest I wrote these for Road to Renown but they are worth having a thread for on their own. I have played using the below dozens of times and can confirm from experience that they are extremely effective, particularly because they are simple enough to explain to someone right before a game.


Free-For-All Matches: To play a free-for-all match, each player rolls off and the player with the highest result chooses their deployment zone, followed by the player with the next highest, and so on. Each player then deploys their entire force in the same order, and this order is used for initiative in the first battle round. Each battle round consists of one turn for each player following the normal rules, with the exception that in the combat phase a unit is only eligible to fight if it is within 3” of any enemy unit(s) and at least one of those units belongs to the player whose turn it is.

Initiative: When determining initiative for a battle round, the player with the highest result may choose to either keep their place in the initiative order or ‘pass’ and go to the end. The next highest player may then choose to either keep or pass, and so on until each player has chosen and the order determined. This initiative order is also used for other sequential elements in the round, such as picking units to fight in the combat phase. The current player goes first, followed by the next player in the initiative order, and so on (this includes ‘looping’ back to the highest initiative after the lowest, when needed, so that every player is accounted for).


Alternate By Phase: An alternative to the normal sequence of play is alternating by phase, particularly useful in free-for-all matches because it prevents any one player from waiting a long period between actions. Using this method the player who is first in the initiative order takes their hero phase, then the next player takes their hero phase, and so on. Once each player has taken their hero phase the round progresses to the movement phase which proceeds in the same manner, and so on with subsequent phases. Note that while there is only a single battleshock phase it uses the accumulated casualties of the whole round.

Second Combat: In an exception to the normal phase sequence there is a second combat phase immediately after the first which uses reverse initiative order. Abilities that expire at the end of a player turn or which rely on a type of move (other than pile-in) being performed in the same turn do not apply during the second combat phase. For example, an ability which grants benefits if the unit made a charge move the same turn can only grant them such during the first combat phase, not the second.


Please let me know if you have any comments, feedback, or questions!

Edited by NinthMusketeer
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It makes me remember the rules I used for alternating turns in phases in WFB. It did work well indeed for multiplayer games.

I'm just not a fan of your Second Combat Phase rule...I'd just make a single combat phase for everyone just like the battleshock phase. I do agree it sounds it makes it "less deadly" than in a normal game, but honestly I don't mind it. Never was a fan of melee units fighting twice in a turn (once on your turn, second on your opponent's turn) while shooting units only do so once (only on your turn).

Furthermore, in a multiplayer game, having just a Second Combat Phase feels unfair in comparison to normal games when you have...well, one per player effectively. Even more deadly indeed !

The only thing that may be a bit weird is the charge phase. Technically, it will imply a lot of "countercharges", especially for melee armies who will certainly enjoy having enemies charging in their front lines so that everyone can charge into the fray ! I also found that playing second on such alternating by phase games is really, REALLY interesting in more than one occazion - effectively denying charges from the first player by moving your units backwards and still shooting their ass. In WFB, you had penalties when shooting after moving, so it wasn't a full win-win situation (also, the charges had to be declared first, so it was much more difficult to dodge them). In AoS...that's totally not the same situation.

Maybe it would be a good idea to try the 40k rule for charges in that system : alternating units that charged first to pick in combat phase, then alternate the units that didn't charge.

Edited by Sarouan
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@Eldarain in a 1v1 it's the same thing either way.

@Sarouan the design and balance of AoS warscrolls is based off units being able to fight in two combat phases per round but only shoot one. Doing only one combat phase would be, in effect, doubling the strength of shooting and magic.

The dynamic of the charge phase does change, in specific situations it can be extremely different tactics than normal. Unfortunately addressing that element is more complex than it's worth (I've tried). These rules work because they can be explained to someone in less than five minutes and be readily understood without needing to reference them, but that does carry sacrifices to keep simplicity.

Regardless I appreciate your commentary!

Edited by NinthMusketeer
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