Tuesday 1 April 2014

Three player 40K

40k is a great two-player game. But what if, as the Warzone team has found recently, you have three players all wanting a game? While three-player 40k seems like an ideal solution, there are a few pitfalls to consider...

1. Deployments are unequal
With two or four players, each deployment is equally distributed around the table. This means that no player is significantly advantaged from picking their deployment zone first. The three-player deployment is more tricky and you will find one player is disadvantaged by facing two armies. While this means a struggle in the first turn (especially with night fighting), the extra dimension of the third player will negate this disadvantage as the game continues. 

2. There are two chances to lose the initiative
The chance of one of your opponents rolling a 6 is twice as likely as a regular two-player game. This makes going first a far less attractive prospect. 

3. Going last means you face two enemy shooting phases
While the prospect of losing the initiative may entice you to go last, if you fail to seize the initiative, your army will face two shooting phases before you get the chance to fight back. You'd have to be really unlucky for this to wipe you out but it's definitely worth considering when deploying your troops. 

4. It's easy to get knifed in the back
We all have tactics that have worked really well for us in two-player games. These tactics can prove far less effective when your army is fighting on two fronts. While it can be difficult to come up with a strategy that will work against multiple enemies, it's really enjoyable to try to balance your army to the strengths and weaknesses of your two opponents. Of course failure to do so can result in some spectacular losses - my Rangers were decimated by Crazy's Dark Eldar jetbikes while the rest of my army was concentrating on the Dark Eldar and Space Marine tanks.
On the flip side, there's something sadistically satisfying about changing your tactics mid-game to take advantage of one opponent's weakness. Players who seem to be winning can find themselves outflanked and overwhelmed - Ruby found this out the hard way when his Bikers (with God on a bike) swarmed the Dark Eldar army, only to leave his Tacticals and Whirlwind exposed to my Ork Boyz and Warbikers.

5. Alliances can be formed and broken at the drop of a hat
When Ruby and I faced Crazy's Zombie list, our natural reaction was to focus the majority of our attention on the advancing undead. We hadn't planned to do that, it was just the sheer number of Crazy's models on the board. However, Ruby's Scouts taking pot-shots at my Wraithknight triggered a shooting contest that ultimately meant death for Ruby's poor Space Marines.

6. Someone always feels the victim
When the dust settles and we're sitting in pub, someone will always claim that they were fighting both opponents who had unfairly teamed-up against them. It's easy to feel this way when you're killing lots of enemy and in a single turn, you're all but wiped out. But that's the nature of the game. It could be as simple as having a strategy and changing your target at the last moment because you have spied an opportunity. Alternatively, it could be a retaliation - the three player game is a lot more political.

The three-player game is a completely different experience to a 'standard' two-player game but it's certainly a lot of fun. Deployment can have a massive impact on how the game plays out but ultimately it's down to who is deemed to be the biggest threat at any time - and who makes the mistake of shooting at your warlord...

As usual, we'd love to hear your experiences and advice with three-player games


  1. i played a ton of 3 player games...threesomes xD
    we have our own gametype with killpoints and one objective in the middle...
    on top each player will get 2 primary objectives and 3 secondary objectives.(homemade cards)
    Primarys could be "get the objektive in the middle" kill enemy hq with your HQ" and so on....
    Secondarys are like "win an assault by destroying the enemy unit"or "kill MC or vehicle" or "your cheapest unit needs to stay alive"

    its really fun!
    of course yo got first blood,linebreaker,and slay the warlord
    and nightfighting first turn so the game isnt over after 3 turn we are using the normal random game lenghts...recommendet 1500-1750-1850 or 2000 point per player...

    go ahead and try it out u can get real creative with these objective cards...
    its a blast when u realize that u r the only one that needs to take the middle n'stuff xD


  2. We generally play three player games as 2v1. It solves a lot of these issues. The two single players just have normal 1k army lists. The person playing 2k points plays 1500 points + 500 points. Their FOC looks like this.
    2-3 HQ's (two must be marked as warlord with two warlord traits)
    3-7 Troops
    0-4 elite
    0-4 heavy
    0-4 fast

    We then play BAO Tourney rules, so you have primary, secondary, and tertiary objectives. Additionally, we are experimenting with a balancing system to first blood. First blood still exists, but there is now an annihilation point at the end of the game. Whatever army side does the most overall damage gets a point.

  3. A group I am associated with gives each player one objective in their deployment zone. You must go after the objective held by the player to your left while holding your own. This tends to work out fairly well as it keeps the double team thing down to a minimum as you will eventually have to go left if you want to win.

  4. whenever me and my mates have a three or even five way game we do notice those problems that u mentioned with me usually getting shot a lot with my zombies. we play each player has an objective in deployment zones and one in the middle and a lot of terrain we also remove the must start with half units and units that aren't deepstrike flyers or similar can come in turn 1 as it means that the last person doesn't get shot to death as there army isn't often there we also randomly determine 1st turn in a turn each turn so we have to adapt to the situation. also we make up cards for secret hidden objectives for 3 vps which are really fun from kill the enemy deployed to your rights warlord to get to the highest point of the map or my personal fav get player to your right to kill the most points of your army (led to some great banter to make friend concentrate or even pleading) it is safe to say that it can get obvious what the card is at some points like when I kept on asking my mate to shoot me or the response of our guard tank company player when he got get to the high ground top of a ruin its great fun in friendly games and we have a massive laugh and I recommend people try multiple sided games if you don't take it seriously it can be great fun.

    1. nearly forgot we remove 1st blood as we found that 2nd player usually gets it with a stupid kill steal lots of rhinos die to 2nd player getting rid of last hp just realised how long that post is went into too much detail it seems :)

  5. Why not set the game up so each players objectives are against only one opponent. Hence everyone must attack A to gain objectives and defend against B to deny the other

  6. Anyone tried Triumph & Treachery in 40k?

  7. I hate games with multiple players and teams. Too much drama... Someone always feels picked on.

  8. A three-player dynamic brings an intriguing twist to games and collaborations. It demands strategic thinking, communication, and adaptability. What Good Internet This configuration adds depth and complexity, offering a unique experience whether in sports, board games, or creative projects. It's a balance of competition and cooperation, fostering dynamic interactions.


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