Three's Company - Dealing with an Odd Number of Players

Warhammer 40,000 – With a new year I’m working on running a new campaign. Rather than get complicated I’m opting to try the “Battle Honors” system presented in Chapter Approved 2018. Most of my group has committed to playing and painting a single 2000 point list before the end of the year. Which makes it really easy to have fixed unit cards that will allow us to keep track of the units experience during the campaign. I picked up a fancy hole punch to keep it official, so after the game honors can be doled out.

The beauty of the campaign is its simplicity. If you play and do stuff you get some minor benefits. For every honor they get it increases the power level for the unit by one. Given that we’re playing by points (because power level hasn’t been updated with the annual points changes) this wouldn’t have an impact on the games. My solution is to incorporate the Open War Deck. If you have a difference in Power Level the lower player gets a Ruse card. Simple and should make for some interesting games, it also helps to even out for the players that can’t play as often. The other interesting part of the Battle Honor System is if a unit dies at the end of the battle you roll a dice for them and if you roll a one they sit the bench next game. Which gives me a second use for the Open War deck, if your Power Level is less than half of your opponent’s Power Level you get a Sudden Death card (finally these will get some use). I’m excited to see how it plays out and if things go well I might introduce the custom characters to the second phase of the campaign.

For the most part the campaign will consist of 1v1 or Team Games using missions from one of the books or the Open War Deck. However, it will often happen that we have an odd number of players with factions that have no business being on the same side. Which means the dreaded 3-player game. This is usually a nightmare for the guy in the middle or the player that gets ganged up on which can turn the game into a FUN SPONGE which nobody wants to play.

I’ve come up with a simple mission for these occasions that attempts to solve the problem. I haven’t figured out the perfect deployment zones yet but I think these three options are pretty close.

Mission Objectives:
+2 VP Line breaker: you must have a unit in both of your opponents deployment zones
+1 VP Warlord: when you kill an opponents warlord you score a single VP.
+1 VP For each objective you hold at the START of your turn.
+3 VP for each objective you hold at the END of TURN 4

Game Rules:
Players roll-off to choose deployment zones. The player with the center deployment zone will completely set up their army holding no more than 50% of it in reserves. (for units without special reserve rules, they will walk on from the controlling players long table edge. The remaining players roll-off to determine who completely deploys next and will take second turn.

At the start of the second Battle Round players roll a D6 for initiative. This can result in a double turn.

Objectives: There are three fixed objectives (numbered 1-3) that are placed according to the maps above. The remaining objectives (4-6) are placed by the players before deployment zones are chosen. Objectives must be 12” from the center of another objective and more than 6” from the board edge.

Game Length: At the end of turn four roll to see if the game continues on a 4+ (continue roll each turn to a maximum of 6 turns)