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House Rules for 40K

40K's ninth edition is probably the best one yet, but has that stopped us wanting to tweak a few things? Obviously not. Admittedly there's not much we've changed, yet, but still it made sense to have everything in one place where our group could find it and make suggestions.

Of course this raises the question as to when one should have a house rule, and when one should just calm down and follow the rules. If you find yourself writing a giant list of amendments, one has to start wondering if one is even playing the right game. There's alternatives out there, foremost among which is the well-regarded Grimdark Future.

To my mind, house rules are there for when any of the following are happening:
  • Something is confusing.
  • The rules are causing units to not work like they ought to.
  • The rules are getting in the way of you doing something that is both fair and thematic.
Post-game sequence for Crusade games
Now that occasional Beard Bunker guest writer Tom has played a fair few Crusade games with Andy, he had some thoughts about how the post-game sequence is, in places, contradictory. He has therefore created the most substantial part of this document: a self contained, reordered post-game sequence. This also incorporates refinements to the way you generate scars and honours that keeps things random while also preventing non-thematic outcomes.

Experimental cover rules
One of my few substantial criticisms of 9e is the way the effectiveness of terrain varies wildly depending on how much armour you happen to be wearing. I have thus included an experimental rule that we're keen to playtest at some point which should, in theory, have the effect of halving the effectiveness of firing into cover in a way that is consistent regardless of who's shooting, and who's being hit.

This would of course have a massive impact on the way the game is played, hence it being experimental. I'll also need to finesse the wording to make it clear how the rules for the game's stealthier subfactions interact with it. When we try it out I'll be sure to write about it here, and likewise I'd be keen to hear from anyone else who tries it.

Amended unit profiles
There's plenty of under- or over-powered units in the game, but some examples are so egregious that I'm fine with upgrading them without even asking my opponents to pay more points. Foremost among these is the poor old Tau Hammerhead, whose effectiveness compared to comparable vehicles in other factions is outrageously poor. This thing's meant to be their MBT!

I've also pumped up the poor old Hydra flak tank, since it really shouldn't be outperformed in AA duties by almost any other weapon. Doing an average of two wounds to a T7 flyer is... basically pointless.

The future
I expect we'll keep adding to these rules over time. It's early days, so I haven't decided where or if we'll keep a changelog.

Where can I get these rules then?
To make it easy to update, we're keeping them in a Google Doc, which you can access by clicking the banner below. We're only going to have commenting available to members of our own group, but if you have thoughts, feedback or suggestions, you're welcome to leave them in the comments of this blog post and we'll address them!


  1. Thanks, the Crusade house rules sound good. Here's a challenge for you: how could you increase the survivability of Lictors in close combat?

    1. Thanks! And hmm, lemme think about lictors for a sec.

      I'm actually not sure, thematically, that I'd want them to be more survivable. At 37 points they're a unit intended to shout "boo!" and then get hosed with the bullets of their terrified enemies and/or stay hidden in cover and force your opponent not to just trust that those ten gretchin will hold that objective. I think they're reasonable for their cost, given that you could only get about 2 intercessors for 37pts.

      There's possibly an argument for making something of that size T5, or give it a 4+ save, but actually I'd be tempted instead to give them an extra attack or two; keep them easy to kill but just stabby enough that your opponent can't afford to have them running unchecked in the backfield. They seem like a unit that should be more distracting than tanky or killy. Your thoughts?

    2. Short answer: I would increase their points a little and then make them more of a pain to have on (or possibly off...) the board (extra attacks sounds fine), or give them an invulnerable save like the other "assassins" or find some other interesting game effect.

      It is a tricky question! I agree that at the current points cost, there is very little room for modification. From a gaming perspective, their role seems to be "hide or die", which I see as a lost opportunity. In 2nd Edition they had the option of taking some biomorphs that could increase their potency or survivability, which set them up as an assassin equivalent. Their ability to do this has been eroded over time, though Deathleaper has retained the theme for more editions than the generic form. If they are going to remain as units that are useful *not* to have on the board (i.e. in reserve causing opponent to have second thoughts), I would love to see the rules explore this in a creative way. What if Lictors could take Objective Secured OFF an enemy unit... "There's something in those trees..."

    3. Huh, undoing objective secured is an interesting concept! I think that'd have to be as part of a buffed, more expensive iteration of the lictor, since a 35 point model with that ability might really mess with the macro strategy of a game in a way that feels fairly intense. But you might be right, a chonkier lictor would probably be a more interesting proposition. Something worth 50 points feels like it might be the sweet spot, perhaps.


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