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Meeting Engagements - Alternate Battle Structure For 9th Edition 40k  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in us
Shadowy Grot Kommittee Memba


I really love the Apocalypse style 'alternating chunk activation' style of game, but translating it to 40k hasn't really achieved what I truly want to get out of altering 9th edition - reduced lethality and the game feeling more like a progressive "Battle" than a turn 1/turn 2 wombo combo followed by 3 turns of the remaining dregs maneuvering around the board.

This alternative battle system for 'meeting engagements' sorts a player's army semi-automatically into three elements - Recon, Battleline and Reinforcement, and those arrive progressively throughout the game. Turn 2 and turn 3 feature some slight alternating activation to give the player taking the second action a chance to respond before the first player's whole element opens fire.

My experience with the system so far has been incredibly positive. The battlefield feels much less crowded, and the action ends up much more spread out and progressive rather than an all at once full-army combo attack.

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games


Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

I really like the high concept here. This seems like a good way to mitigate alpha strikes somewhat and to make the flow of the game more interesting. That said, I do have few questions and thoughts.

Units are added first to the Recon Element and then to the Battleline Element in stages. The player must add all units from their army that fit within a particular stage before adding any units from the next stage.

Is this section in reference to things like summoned units? And if so, how are such units treated in terms of being able to activate, etc.? So for instance, my recon element contains about 24% of my army and a character that can summon daemons. He summons some daemons on turn 1. Are those daemons treated as being part of the recon element? And if not, are they still allowed to charge, fight, etc on turn 1? If my battleline element is about 49% of my points and the summoned daemons are about 10% of my points, do the daemons get bumped back into the reinforcement element? Do they have to stand around doing nothing until turn 3? Do they get added into the later elements instead of actually being summoned onto the table? Just need some clarification.

Also, when do you break your list up into elements? I suggest making it happen during list creation to avoid lots of hemming and hawing and calculating points during deployment.

Stage 1...

While your guidelines for what can fit into each stage are pretty flavorful, I feel like you're setting yourself up to miss some weird outliers. Would it be better to simply add a "recon" and "battleline" keyword to all appropriate units? You can use your current criteria as a guideline for what units should get those keywords and then edit the resulting list manually, but it's probably easier to explain to people in the long run. Easier to glance at a list of "recon" units than to go through the long list of criteria too.

-Any unit with the Fast Attack battlefield role
-Any unit with a rule allowing it to be deployed on the battlefield outside the normal deployment zone, or any unit with a rule allowing it to move prior to the beginning of the first turn

While fluffy, I feel like this could mess up how many such units are actually utilized. Drukhkari scourges, for instance, are a fast attack unit that generally wants to deepstrike in, sucker punch a unit, and then pray it somehow stays alive to shoot again (but usually doesn't.) If I'm forced to put scourges into my recon element (by virtue of not having enough other stuff that satisfies the stage 1 criteria), then I'm forced to put a fragile suicide unit on the table at the start of the game, possibly out of range with its weapons, and subject to the anti-shooting benefits of Night Fighting. Basically any "deepstrike and shoot" unit gets hurt by this.

Although I guess I could just put them in the reinforcements element? That would delay my delivery of them until turn 3, but maybe that's a feature rather than a bug.

-Optional: Any unit with a rule allowing it to be deployed off of the battlefield. Any such unit placed in the Recon Element loses that rule and must be deployed normally.

I don't think I like this. I might want to start my mandrakes or swooping hawks on the table, but I don't want to give up their ability to re-enter reserves to do so. And something like nurglings feel like they lose a lot of value if they have to jog all the way to an objective you'd normally start them on. Also, drop pods.

Stage 2:

-Any unit with the Troops Battlefield Role
-Any unit with the HQ Battlefield Role
-Any unit with the Elites Battlefield Role

I can think of troops and elites that seem like they really ought to be in the recon element. (Eldar rangers, striking scorpions, kommandos, genestealers, arguably skitarii rangers, anything drukhari if it happens to be in a venom. Probably anything described as sneaking up behind the enemy and quietly stabbing them.)

Not allowing HQs to deploy with your recon elements does feel weird in some cases. My fast attack swooping hawks can be in my recon detachment, but Baharroth, the first of his aspect, lord of the swooping hawks, has to wait his turn to arrive. A marine captain with a jump pack can't deploy next to your jump pack assault marines. Darkstrider(?) (the tau guy) can't deploy with his pathfinder buddies.

Night Fight: All units are treated as receiving the benefits of Light Cover and Heavy Cover during battle round 1

Feels like this should probably be the benefits of Dense cover (-1 to hit) instead of light/heavy cover. The darkness makes you harder to hit, but doesn't make your armor thicker.

The first player sets up their Battleline Element on their deployment zone battlefield edge,

I could be mistaken, but I don't think "deployment zone battlefield edge" is currently a defined thing in 40k. And in some missions (Open War and Narrative mostly), one player might have a deployment zone that doesn't touch a table edge at all or one that covers two table edges enough to make which edge is "their" edge ambiguous.

Additionally, this does potentially short-ranged units quite a bit if your battlefield edge is one of the short edges (meaning you have to travel further across the table to get close to the enemy). I'm picturing something like thunderwolf cavalary. I get that the point is to slow down the pace of the game, but being forced to deploy so far back and thus giving your opponent more time to shoot at you is a bit of a double-whammy. Perhaps it would help if units could come in any where within their deployment zones so long as they're touching any board edge. So the T cav wouldn't be pulling off turn 1 charges, their opponent would need to be a little cautious to avoid turn 2 charges.

Battle Round 2:

-The first player takes their entire turn with their Recon Element
-The first player sets up their Battleline Element on their deployment zone battlefield edge, and then takes the Command, Movement and Psychic phases with their Battleline Element

-The second player takes their entire turn with their Recon Element
-The second player sets up their Battleline Element on their deployment zone battlefield edge, and then takes the Command, Movement, and Psychic phases with their Battleline Element

-The first player takes their Shooting, Charge and Fight phases with their Battleline Element
-The second player takes their Shooting, Charge and Fight phases with their Battleline Element

How does the Fight phase work with multiple elements? Say my recon unit is locked in combat with your recon unit at the start of the turn. Then my battleline unit charges your recon unit. Assuming your recon unit survives everything, that mean it gets to fight during my recon element's fight phase, your recon element's fight phase, and again during my battleline element's fight phase? (And potentially then again on your battlelien element's fight phase?) If so, that's a lot of potential bonus attacks for a given round of gameplay.

Alternatively, if your intention is that all units only fight during their own element's fight phase, does that mean that you're getting rid of all the fight first/last rules in the game? I'm probably overlooking something.

Also, I worry that this way of doing things is going to be really rough on short-ranged deepstrikers. Let's say I'm playing a scions army. I have a lot of short ranged special weapons that need to get within 12" of my target to be effective (things like plasma and melta guns). The way I see it going is...
1.) My opponent puts his battleline units somewhere.
2.) I put my scions within 12" of the thing they want to shoot at.
3.) My opponent shoots and/or charges my scions.
4.) My scions are dead having never fired their weapons.

Battle Round 4, 5, and 6

I haven't been able to play in a few months, so I'm genuinely a little fuzzy, but is turn 6 a thing this edition? Either way, just a nitpick. Your intention is clear.

Overall, I like the general idea, but I think some of the limitations and alternating activation rules might actually be creating more problems than they're solving. Some suggestions:
* Get rid of all or most of the criteria for which units can go into the recon and battleline elements. Maybe create a keyword for this purpose as suggested above. I like the general idea of representing "recon units" being recon-y, but your current criteria keeps me from putting some of my fast and sneaky units into recon and risks making some of my fast attack units less good at being fast/recon units.

* Probably ditch the alternating activations thing. It creates the confusion/problems I pointed out above. I'm sorry to advise against it; I'm sure you put a lot of thought into it.

* Instead, maybe just don't let units shoot or charge on the turn their element arrives? So player 1 puts down models basically announcing their intent to start wrecking stuff in one general area, and then their opponent places models with knowledge of the threat range of the element player 1 just deployed. So you end up with the staggered threat that seems to be the main point of this proposal, but you don't have to add a lot of complication (that might turn off potential users of these rules) via the alternating activations. You get to avoid answering some of my above questions too.

* As an exception to the above bullet point, DO let units with a deepstrike type rule shoot/charge on the turn their element arrives. This is a decent way to distinguish them as being fast/sneaky/ambushy.

* I'm not sure how compatible these rules actually are with certain other missions (mostly thinking Open War and Narrative missions), so it may be worthwhile to create a list of actually compatible missions or even to (down the road) create some missions designed with this ruleset in mind.

And as a final thought, does this ruleset possibly make things like Mortarion too powerful? Big bully units that you really need your whole army's firepower to take out? If most of my big guns aren't shooting until turn 2 or 3, I feel like there's a good chance Mortarion or Magnus will still be around at the end of the game. Not sure if that necessarily means I lose though. Similarly, mission objectives that require you kill certain units might be harder to pull off if you're missing a lot of your guns until the second half of the game.

Overall, a great start and a cool idea.
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

I'm really intrigued by this, and I'm definitely going to take a closer look - but I have to question Fortifications being subject to this system. It doesn't make much sense that a Seraphim/Rhino-heavy Adepta Sororitas army would slap down a Battle Sanctum on battle round 2 like they've been very hastily building it mid-battle.
Made in us
Shadowy Grot Kommittee Memba

OK, clearly my quick rules are coming into contact with folks who don't know the intentions, that's good.

A couple notes:

1) Units with the ability to deploy off the board may deploy off the board as normal, even if they are in the recon element. Stage 1 grants special permission to units that can deep strike on that don't otherwise fit the requirements for Stage 1, if they do deploy on the board (example, Terminators, who are Elite choices). Scourges, being Fast Attack already, could be placed in Recon and held off the board, where they would come on turn 2. This also helps account for pretty much all the units that 'should' fit into recon but technically dont like Rangers, Striking Scorps, Kommandos, jump pack HQs, etc - they can all go in the recon element if they start on the board.

2) I should add a note that Fortificiations may only be used if they are in the Recon element.

3) big bully units like Mortarion (honestly, I forget if he is technicaly TITANIC or not) will most likely end up in the Reinforcements or almost certainly the Battleline element.

4) Issues with the Fight phase could I suppose be resolved by having there only be one fight phase during the full battle round, but the way we've played it so far is that you activate separately. So say I'm the second player, and it's turn 2 so I get to fully activate my recon element before my opponent's Battleline gets to attack. I would fully activate something from my recon element and charge and attack, but units from my opponent's Battleline would not attack that unit back until they get to activate. The alternating activation on turn 2 and turn 3 is intended to be a powerful advantage to the second player's units that manage to survive two turns of attack from the first player's Recon element.

5) I intended to add a turn 6, as we found stufff from the reinforcement element would end turn 5 largely untouched.

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games


Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

Alright, finally had a chance to really dig into this, and I like it a lot. I'm going to try to get someone to play this style with me... well, whenever I can get a game again.

A few notes, nitpicks, and questions:

  • Recon/Battleline are good names, but Reinforcement is already a name for a (related) rules concept; I'd suggest changing the name to something like Bulwark Element. Or just making it Alpha Element/Beta Element/Gamma Element.
  • Do the listed value limits also apply to the number of units in each stage, in the manner of Strategic Reserves/Reinforcements? Should they?
  • Why "less than" 25/50%, out of curiosity, and not "25/50% or less"? Splitting a 2000 point army into 500/1000/500 seems more natural than 499/999/502.
  • Do the units listed under each Stage have to be added to each Element in that order? For example, do I have to add any Fast Attack units before any infiltrating units, because they're listed first? Or does every unit type within that Stage have equal "priority"?

  • Playing the Game:
  • How do these rules interact with Strategic Reserves or Reinforcements? Assuming we set aside Strategic Reserves as a rule for these games... how do these work? Can I assign Reinforcement Points for summoned Daemons to my Reinforcements Element, and if I do, does that mean I can't summon Daemons until round 3? If I put my Inceptors into my Reinforcements Element, can they a) deploy via deep strike in my Reinforcements Phase on round 2, following the usual restrictions for matched play deep strike, or b) deploy via deep strike in my Reinforcements Phase on round 3 (or count as destroyed), because they're only actually "set up high in the skies" on round 3?
  • (I'd also ask about Cult Ambush, but frankly I've decided not to bother thinking about that ability until GSC get a 9e update)
  • With regard to multiple phases and the duration of abilities; I understand the problem, but the resolution seems a little awkward, mainly because there are turns you might not activate a unit even if it's part of the wrong element (e.g. Movement phase while in Engagement Range, Shooting phase after Advancing, etc). Would there be any problem if you changed it to "the next X phase in the next battle round"?
  • For "Setting Up Units On The Battlefield Edge", it feels like it'd be simpler to just borrow the rules in Strategic Reserves, here, where the unit has to be set up "wholly within 6" of the battlefield edge", instead of making it possible to string out your models in weird ways, or punishing smaller units/characters by effectively pushing them further back on the turn they're deployed.
  • Are the standard "not within 9" of an enemy model" Reinforcements rules meant to apply to setting up Elements, or the "not within 9" of an enemy model unless every model is within 1" of your battlefield edge" rules from Strategic Reserves, or can you just ignore enemy models when setting them up?
  • As written, Battleline/Reinforcement Elements don't have to face Morale phases on the turn they arrive. Is this an oversight?

  • And a few bigger concerns/discussion points:
    Night Fight: I appreciate this rule was a Stratagem by the end of 8e, to blunt early casualties in the first turn, and it's doing the same thing here... but won't this punish factions, units and Stratagems that gain or grant light cover (e.g. Raven Guard, Miasmic Malignifier, Shroudpsalm), while disproportionately rewarding factions, units, and Stratagems that either ignore cover (e.g. Kabal of the Flayed Skull, Imperial Fists, Omnispex) or gain extra benefits from cover (e.g. Hunt From The Shadows, Bolster Defences, Camo Cloaks)? Imperial Fists can cheerfully ignore this entire rule for no obvious narrative reason, while Raven Guard, who are meant to be blunted from early casualties, are suddenly on the same footing as everyone else. It also makes it much less urgent to deploy your units to take advantage of terrain in the first place, which is disappointing. Would it be a problem to make it a flat +1 Sv (max 2+) and maybe a 6+ inv bonus to all units, just so there's no overlap? Or halved range on all guns and charges, or something else?

    Extra Turns: The division of that "extra turn" is really interesting to me, and I like the advantage it gives the second player in terms of being able to react to the enemy's arriving Battleline and shoot/charge them with Recon units. It's actually a bit like Kill Team's turn sequence. Have you considered instead creating a whole separate turn sequence? e.g. you take a normal turn, then an Arrival Turn (Deployment, Command phase, Movement phase, Psychic phase), then at the end of that Battle Round you take a Reaction Turn (Shooting phase, Charge phase, Fight phase, Morale phase).

    Progressive Abilities: In playtesting, how have these rules interacted with abilities that change over time, or that affect your whole army only once? It feels like it'd greatly favour armies that get stronger over time, while penalising those who lose momentum, or need to match certain units with certain abilities at certain turns. For example, Drukhari are effectively skipping a whole turn on the Power From Pain table and starting at Eager to Flay, which is very useful, while Space Marines are going to find it really hard to get enough heavy weapons on the table in the first turn to actually use their Devastator Doctrine, and Necrons have to "waste" one Command Protocol on just 25% of their army - similarly, while Adeptus Mechanicus get a free Shroudpsalm (which allows them to use it more flexibly down the line), each Doctrina/Canticle is now much less attractive to use on turn 1-2.

    Narrative of Elements/Stages: The elements as currently laid out neatly demonstrate the idea of two armies meeting; their fast-moving Recon forces clash, the rest of the army catches up, and then the heavy guns are brought into position. Have you considered how/whether you'd change it around for a different, attacker-defender/siege/trench attack narrative, where the defender's heavy guns would already be in place, then the recon would respond to the attack, then the rest of the army would be brought to bear?

    Detachments: Have you considered the possibility of doing away with Elements/Stages, and instead introducing separate army-building rules based on Detachments? i.e. you've got to have at least 2 Detachments, your Recon Element has to be a Patrol, Outrider, or Vanguard Detachment, your Battleline Element has to be a Patrol, Battalion, or Brigade Detachment, and your Reinforcements Element has to be Patrol, Spearhead, Super-Heavy or Vanguard Detachment, with Fortifications being a free addition to Recon? Something like that?

    Automatically Appended Next Post:
    RevlidRas wrote:
    Detachments: Have you considered the possibility of doing away with Elements/Stages, and instead introducing separate army-building rules based on Detachments? i.e. you've got to have at least 2 Detachments, your Recon Element has to be a Patrol, Outrider, or Vanguard Detachment, your Battleline Element has to be a Patrol, Battalion, or Brigade Detachment, and your Reinforcements Element has to be Patrol, Spearhead, Super-Heavy or Vanguard Detachment, with Fortifications being a free addition to Recon? Something like that?
    To flesh this concept out a bit...
    When playing a game with the Meeting Engagements rules, both players must select a Battle-forged army. The rules for Battle-forged armies are modified as follows:
  • Your army must include at least 2 separate Detachments.
  • The maximum number of Detachments that can be included in your army, based on the size of the battle is increased by 1 (i.e. an army in a Combat Patrol game can include up to 2 Detachments).
  • Each Detachment in your army must be designated as a Battleline Detachment, Recon Detachment, or Support Detachment.
  • Your army must include at least 1 Battleline Detachment, and at least 1 Recon Detachment or Support Detachment (excluding Fortification Network Detachments).
  • Your army cannot include more than 1 Recon Detachment (excluding Fortification Network Detachments).

  • Designating Detachments
  • Any Detachment (excluding Fortification Network Detachments) can be designated as a Battleline Detachment.
  • Fortification Network, Outrider, Patrol, and Vanguard Detachments can be designated as Recon Detachments.
  • Patrol, Battalion, Spearhead, Super-Heavy, Super-Heavy Auxiliary, and Supreme Command Detachments can be designated as Support Detachments.
  • If every unit in a Recon Detachment (excluding Fast Attack, Dedicated Transport, and HQ units) has an ability allowing it to move before the first turn, deploy outside of the normal deployment zone, or start the battle in a location other than the battlefield, change the Command Cost of that Detachment to 0CP.
  • Units in a Recon Detachment cannot start the battle in a location other than the battlefield.

  • Or sssssomething like that. Probably more trouble than it's worth; more complicated with no real upsides. Still, I do wish Detachments were used more as mechanical entities in the game; it's a way of splitting up your army by role, everyone ought to have something that gels with that. T'au abilities that affect a whole Detachment or have different effects depending on what Detachment a unit's in, that sort of thing.

    This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2021/06/16 11:12:53

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