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Multiplayer Battles

by Avian

This little article contains the rules we locally use for multiplayer team battles (i.e. battles with more players than sides). They have been developed with a few considerations in mind. Firstly, they are flexible and work pretty much regardless of what you are fielding, as well as letting you fight battles with a different number of players per side . Secondly, they are meant to favour no army over the others. This is something I have found multiplayer rule sets to often do, with rules for distrusted allies generally favouring Undead and other armies who don't take many Leadership tests. Thirdly, they are meant to be difficult to abuse. Abuse in multiplayer battles generally involves nasty combos of magic items (two items that give extra attacks in the same unit, for example), so these have been reduced. Finally, they are meant to be simple and easy to remember.

What they do not contain is any restriction of who can fight who, so if you want a battle where a Chaos player allies with a High Elf player you can do so - the Chaos General has probably made an effort to do good for once (when talking about such unlikely alliances, most people seem to assume that the "good guys" are somehow corrupt - I am not one of those).


Armies and setup

The players agree between themselves how many points each of them will bring and who will be on which side. The number of points per side should be the same. Each player selects his or her army according to the number of points available to him - the size and composition of allied armies does not influence this.

Example: If a player is part of an 8000 point alliance and has 2000 points available to him, he selects his army according to the limitations for 2000 point armies. The whole allied force does not have to follow the limitations for an 8000 point army.

Something I quite enjoy is two players with a 3000 pt army each versus three players with 2000 pt armies. I highly recommend a different number of players for each side, as otherwise it can easily end up being effectively a series of battles fought side by side.

Allied armies are separate, but are considered to be friendly towards each other, so an item or ability that affects all friendly models will affect allied troops as well. Things that are listed as only giving a bonus to models of a specific race will only affect allies if they belong to that race. Exceptions to this will be listed.

Characters may not join allied units. Models may not use the Leadership of an allied General and will not be able to re-roll break tests if within 12" of an allied Battle Standard.

This is basically done to avoid getting into situations where magic items interact in unforseen ways. Prime examples being a unit with both the Hydra Banner (double attacks in the first round of combat) and the Banner of Butchery (+1 Attack once).

The basic Warhammer scenario at the beginning of the rulebook makes a good multiplayer scenario. A good rule of thumb for table size is 6 feet wide, plus an additional foot for each 500 points above 2500 points per side (thus 8 feet for 3500 pts, and so on).

Whatever you do, don't cram too many points worth of models onto a too narrow table. Increasing the distance across the table isn't really necessary, favours fast armies more than normal and isn't often practically possible anyway.

Each side takes turn to deploy their units. To avoid this phase of the game taking forever, it is recommended that each side deploys more than one unit when it is their turn. Players can agree on a decent number, though basing this on the number of players works well. If there are an unequal number of players on each side, it is highly recommended that each side deploys the same number of units each time it is their turn, the number being for example equal to the number of players on the side with the most players. So in a 2 vs. 3 battle, each time a side deploys units, three units are deployed. The units deployed need not belong to different armies.


The turn

Each side shares a turn and goes through all the phases of the turn at the same time. Thus one player may not start his magic phase while his allies are still executing remaining moves. To save time, it is suggested that things that would normally be done one after another (fighting combats, for example) can be done simultaneously as long as it does not affect the game.

This really needs to be carefully done and you should always make sure that every player on a side has finished each phase before you start on the next phase, so you don't end up with Dwarf players starting to fire their war machines while their allies are still doing the magic phase. If you are not certain it's a good idea to do things in parallel, do them in order.



The two basic Power / Dispel dice are only given out once per side, not once per player. The players on a side must agree on some system to divide the dice, though they may do so any way they please. The dice must be divided at the start of the phase. Other than that, each player has his own pool of magic dice and players may not give or borrow dice to each other. Dwarf players gain 2 Dispel dice extra as normal.

Example: A High Elf player with two level 2 wizards is allied with a Dwarf player with a Runesmith. In the enemy magic phase, the High Elf player receives a pool of 2 Dispel dice (one for each of his wizards), while the Dwarf player receives a pool of 3 Dispel dice (2 for being a Dwarf and 1 for the Runesmith). In addition, the players get 2 Dispel dice they can share any way they like.

This is basically done so that when there is an unequal number of players per side, the side with the highest number of players will not get an advantage.

Players can cast spells in any way they like and one player need not finish his casting before the next player can do so. Special rules that apply to the casting order still applies, so Horrors of Tzeentch must still use their bound spell at the start of the magic phase and a Tomb King player must cast incantations with his Tomb Kings before continuing with his Liche Priests, and so on. When two Tomb King players are allied, the hierarchic order of one player is not influenced by the other player, each player only has to worry about the order in which his own models cast their incantations.

Similarly, a player can dispell any spell cast, including one that only affects his allies. As normal only one attempt to dispel a spell can be made, though, and the players will have to find a way to agree on how to do this.

Spells that affect all friendly models affect allies as well.



Units will not cause Panic in allied units if they flee, break from combat or are destroyed.

This is a big one and neatly avoids all such silly occurences where a fleeing unit of Skavenslaves cause a nearby unit of allied Dark Elf Black Guard to flee. This could of course have been made highly detailed, but that would have made the rules set many times longer.


Victory points

Victory points are counted per side and not per army.

Though of course players are free to compare their individual sums, to see who contributed most to a win or loss.


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