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Deadzone 40K


This article covers the development of an addition to the Deadzone rules, making the armies from 40k playable and balanced internally with the current Deadzone armies. Where possible, already existing Deadzone rules will be used to make it as fast and easy to play as Deadzone already is, but some additional rules will be needed to preserve the feel of the armies. All armies will have full unit lists and themed card decks. The goal will be to emulate 40k fluff more than 40k rules where possible.

This is a work in progress! The article and rules are currently in a very rough state as work is ongoing. Please comment in this thread.

Why Deadzone 40K?

40k is an awesome setting filled with awesome armies made up of awesome models. 40k however has arguably lacklustre rules. Deadzone, a new entrant to the tabletop has rules that look to be a lot of fun, allowing fast paced action without loss of depth in gameplay. The game scales from 2x2 up to 6x4 and multiple levels high. The rules innately take height into account, referring to cubes rather than squares so no matter the scale you play at, you should have good tactical fun.

Deadzone 40k aims to combine the awesome fluff and models that comes with the 40k universe with the awesome rules that comes with Deadzone. Once complete, any 40k army should be able to play with or against any number of 40k or deadzone armies at any sized board with the Deadzone rules either solo (deadzone comes with solo play rules in wave 2), 1v1 or XvX - whatever works for you!


  • Feature complete army lists and rules for all the official 40k armies.
  • Distinguish the armies by using Asymmetrical gameplay mechanics.
  • Provide a variety of customization options for the players where possible.
  • Adjust the rules to be more fun and balanced based on play testing and feedback in a timely fashion.
  • Keep the rules up to date with changes in the 40k universe.


Deadzone is a game Kickstarted by Mantic in July 2013, due for delivery to backers and stores starting December 2013 with wave 2 in 2014. With 4,300 backers and over $1.2M raised, it was a very popular kickstarter and has a lot of community interest. Earlier Mantic had the successful Dreadball kickstarter with another fast and fun ruleset that retained depth of gameplay that has taken off well. Both rule sets being developed by Quirkworthy so it’s hoped Deadzone will gain as much traction in the community.

Deadzone (and Dreadball) is set in the Warpath universe, which has been fleshed out by Mantic over the last few years for their large scale tabletop game by the same name. It has a lot of great factions of its own, and room for many more factions to be discovered in the wide expanse of it’s galaxy.

Current Talking Points

  • More custom rules or few?
  • Large disparity in models per army ok? ie. 5 3 point guardsmen vs 1 15 point tactical marine? Or equalise strengths to be more like 2.5 4 point guardsmen to 1 10 point marine and visualise it as 1 model representing multiple guardsmen?
  • Baseline balancing - Should SMs be better (and more expensive) than Enforcers or roughly equal in power per model?
  • Distinguish SM from Enforcers playstyle? All Enforcers have Jump Packs, only Assault/Vanguard have Jump Packs, but they should be better. More armour for SMs or is 3 overkill?
  • Are racially customized Battle Card decks a good idea? ie. baking an "Orders" system into IG battle cards, having Reanimation Protocols in Necron Battle Cards etc.

Army playstyles

Playstyle goal for each faction as a basis to work from when developing rules for that faction.

Space Marine - Good variety of expensive, durable and versatile troops.

Imperial Guard - Very cheap but weak troops relying on volume of fire to take down tougher opponents. Use of +1 blaze away dice per supporting model could work as a mechanism to represent this, or a new rule allowing supporting fire for shooting actions could be made.

Use of Battle Cards to represent an Orders system is currently included. Order cards generally target an entire cube rather than single models (due to the very weak nature of individual models) and require Line of Sight between a Commander or other Leader. Very much subject to change based on fun (seems fun!) and balancing (no idea yet).

Chaos Space Marines - SMs with more emphasis on aggression and less on discipline and defence. Could use the Plague mutation system for some or all units.

Necron - Slow, durable, expensive and hard hitting ranged oriented army.

Tau - Mobile ranged oriented army relying on unit synergies.

Tyranid - Cheap and plentiful troops with a large close combat focus.

Daemon - Expensive but tough close combat troops with mutations.



Psyker. Tech Adept. Model is capable of repairing friendly mechanical units and devices.


Space Marine

Heroic Intervention. Overwatch action - model can choose to intervene in a melee combat within 2 cubes so long as movement is unobstructed. It must be the target of the fight action for the first round of combat.

From the Skies! Gain +2 Fight dice instead of +1 when moving into a cube in this Fight action whilst equipped with a Jump Pack.

Imperial Guard

Summary Execution - Use a short action to execute a friendly suppressed or pinned model within 1 cube to increase the alert level of all friendly models that have LoS within 2 cubes to ‘Alert’.

Righteous Fury - "Litanies of devotion and mantras of hate rouse nearby friendly troops and specialists to greater heights of service to the God-Emperor. Friendly models within 1 cube add 1 dice to their fight checks in the first round of combat."

Orders - Order cards can only be played on targets within line of sight of a leader, your commander, or a model taking over as commander after your commander is killed. Rare models gain no benefit from Orders.


Energy Shield Projection. Tau Shield Drones have the shield generator (6) special rule which affects all friendly units in the current cube. Resolved as per standard energy shield rules.

  • Shield may need the ability to regenerate after it fails.


Reanimation Protocols. Allows the model to be the target of Reanimation Protocol Battle Cards.

Entropic Strike. Any model that suffers potential damage from a model with this ability loses its armour save for the rest of the battle. Mark the model with a token.

Tesla. Shoot doubles, in addition to the -1 Aggression penalty result in another unmodified shooting attack on the nearest model within 1 cube radius which can continue indefinitely.

  • Not happy with how this works. You get the idea for the goal though, replicating the extra attacks from 40K.

Army Lists

Whilst undergoing lots of changes I won't make tables for the rules here, instead links to some of the spreadsheets I'm working from.

Space Marine

Space Marine Google Spreadsheet

Space Marine Battle Cards based on Deadzone enforcer battle cards.

Old New Description
+1 Fight. Assault Doctrine Play when you make a test with your fight stat before you roll the dice. Model gets +1 dice to this action.
+1 Shoot. Tactical Doctrine Play when you take a shoot action, before you roll the dice. Model gets +1 dice to this action.
+1 Blaze Away Devastator Doctrine Play when you take a Blaze Away action, before you roll the dice. The model gets +1 dice to this action.
+1 Break Off. Hit and Run Play when you take a break off action, before you roll the dice. Model gets +1 dice to this test.
+1 Survival Enduring Machine Spirit Play when you make a test with your survival stat before you roll the dice. Model gets +1 dice to this action
Courage For the Emperor!* Play during your turn when no enemy models are in the same cube. Raise the aggression level of target friendly model to Alert and take an immediate move action towards the closest visible enemy model.
Steadfast ATSKNF Play when a model suffers a reduction in aggression. The models aggression remains as it was.
Booby Trap Larraman's Blessing* Play on an injured friendly model. The Space Marines Larraman's organ heals them of an injury. This functions just like healing a model with a medi-pack.
Head Shot Bolter Drill Centuries practicing with the Holy Bolter has resulted in unerring accuracy. Add +2 Dice to a Shoot action.
Distract Angels of Death Play on an unactivated enemy model at any time during your turn. Mark that model as activated as it cowers in fear before the Emperor's Wrath.
Weak Spot Litany of Fury Reciting a litany of fury focuses the Space Marines hatred for the enemies of the Emperor. Add an additional +1AP to the friendly models Shoot or Fight action.
Change of Plans Tactical Mastery Opposing player discards one Battle Card at random from their hand.
Surge Prescience Discard this card to take 3 more battle cards immediately. Play in your turn
Move Rapid Advance Exactly like the action.
Discipline Combat Tactics Lower your aggression to back out of combat.

"*" Card substantially changed from enforcer version.

Imperial Guard

Imperial Guard Google Spreadsheet

Old New Description
+1 Fight. Order: Do you want to live forever?!* Play in your turn. All friendly models in target cube have +1 Fight for the turn.
+1 Shoot. Order: Bring it Down!* Play in your turn. The next three Shooting attacks against target enemy model this turn have +1AP.
+1 Blaze Away Order: First Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire!* Play in your turn. The next three Blaze Away actions this turn receive +1 dice.
+1 Break Off. Order: Incoming!* Play when friendly models are subjected to a Blaze Away or Frag action. All friendly models in target cube receive +1 to their survive check against it.
+1 Survival Look Out!* Play when a model fails a survive check and has a guardsman in the same square. Apply the failed survive check to the guardsman instead.
Courage Order: For the Emperor!* Play during your turn when no enemy models are in the target cube. Raise the aggression level of friendly models in target cube to Alert and take an immediate move action towards the closest visible enemy model.
Steadfast Order: Get Back in the Fight!* All friendly models in the target cube raise their alert status to alert.
Booby Trap Snare Mines* Play when an opposing model picks up an item. The item was booby-trapped! Reduce the aggression level of all hostile models in the cube to suppressed.
Head Shot REMOVED - Couldn't think of another card to put in here.
Distract Distract Play on an unactivated enemy model at any time during your turn. Mark that model as activated.
Weak Spot Send in the Next Wave!* Play when one or more Guardsmen have been removed as casualties. Place a guardsman model in your deployment zone.
Change of Plans Intercept Reserves Opposing player discards one Battle Card at random from their hand.
Surge Tactical Genius Discard this card to take 3 more battle cards immediately. Play in your turn
Move Order: Move! Move! Move!* All friendly models in the target cube immediately take a move action together.

"*" Card substantially changed from enforcer version.

Chaos Space Marine

Chaos Space Marine Google Spreadsheet


Necron Google Spreadsheet


Too rough.


Too rough.


Too rough.


Not started.


Not started.

Dark Eldar

Not started.

Sisters of Battle

Not started.

Possible Future Armies

Since we're creating house rules anyway, we can look at what non-codex armies we want to be able to play. Here is a list of some that have been mentioned - please discuss and mention any others you're interested in.

  • Mechanicum
  • Dark Mechanicum
  • Squats
  • Inquisition
  • Individual Chapters, Regiments, Warbands and so on
  • Horus Heresy era Legions and enemies.


Necromunda Google Spreadsheet by Pixel_kitty.


  1. Deadzone Kickstarter
  2. Official Deadzone Site
  3. Quirkworthy
  4. Deadzone Kickstarter discussion thread
  5. Deadzone 40K Discussion thread


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