I spent two days working on this; once I got started I was obsessed with hammering it out. This is a long and exhaustive blog entry but hopefully worth while and not too confusing for any non-neophyte 40K players out there. If you are as confused or frustrated by the 6th edition rules for challenges as I am, read on…
Single combat between unit leaders and champions can make or break the enemy, or their own unit. Or perhaps a lone hero is faced with overwhelming numbers, but can challenge their leader and win the day after all. Challenges have the potential to add some great heroic, cinematic episodes to your battles, but NOT as written in the new 6th edition rules. As it stands now there is no victory or defeat in engaging in single combat. Winning or losing means nothing, but for the Emperor’s sake, don’t refuse a challenge! Refusing one is ten times worse than losing one, which makes no sense, and winning a challenge yields no rewards. The only reason I can see to issue a challenge is if you expect to get your butt kicked and would rather force the enemy badass to focus all his attacks on one sacrificial lamb just to keep the rest of the unit alive for one more round. So I say the challenge rules, as they stand, SUCK. I like the concept but there is no benefit other than pulling the cowardly maneuver just mentioned, and anyone can throw out a challenge even if they expect to lose without penalty. I think a Challenge should mean something and never be entered into lightly.
So I rewrote the rules. Please give them a read, give them a try, and let me know how it goes.
IN A NUT SHELL: Challenges have rewards and consequences! You can refuse a Challenge when you know you can’t win or it’s not to your advantage and doing so isn’t an automatic whimper-fest for your character. Chances are, however, that he and his unit will be Demoralized, but if he’s got a silver tongue he can save his own and his unit’s confidence. Challenge results have twice as much value in the general combat, but this still should not be entered into lightly. So great is the emphasis on the prowess and honor of their leader that a unit whose Champion has been killed cannot win, not matter the total combat result. If you lose your men will be Demoralized, but if you win they’ll be Inspired by your heroism. These altered morale states are temporary, however, and only last as long as the melee does.
Champion: A character model involved in a Challenge or Duel.
Combat: Refers to the brawl currently going on and may span multiple phases or turns. If joined by other units, affects like Inspired and Demoralized continue, even if one of the initiating units has fallen back or been destroyed. Combat continues into however many phases/rounds are needed until there is a victor who finishes by making a consolidation move.
Demoralized: Morale penalty status involved in Challenges.
– Leadership is cut in half (round up)
– WS reduced to 1
– Ends when the combat ends
– Fearless units cannot be Demoralized (they care not for such trivial things)
– Units with And They Shall Have No Fear can be Demoralized, as they value their honor.
Dog Pile: Cowardly maneuver during a Duel in which one Champion’s unit of onlookers decide they don’t have faith that he’ll win and rush in to join the melee. Doing so instantly Demoralizes the cowardly champion and his men and gives the opposing Champion two options (see rules below).
Duel: Special, higher form of Challenge in which the Champions agree to true single combat while their units watch rather than fight, with the prize being “A True Champion” victory point.
Get ‘im Boss: As described in the 6th edition rulebook: A Champion’s unit that is not fighting provides rerolls to their Champion, one per five models cheering him on.
Inspired: Morale benefit status gained in winning a challenge.
– Reroll failed Morale Checks
– Roll 2D6 and pick highest for Consolidation move
– Fearless units cannot be Inspired (the other side of the “cannot be Demoralized” coin)
– Ends when they fail a morale check and/or when the combat ends
A True Champion: The winner of a single-combat Duel (see below) earns +1 Victory Point toward determining the final game winner, just as if he’d taken a Secondary Objective. Multiple “A True Champion” VPs can be earned by either player in this way.
1. Attacker has first right to issue challenge when charging. If he doesn’t, defender may. Units joining a combat already in progress cannot issue challenges.
1a. If a Challengee wants to Refuse, he makes a Morale Check at half his normal Leadership while he tries to convince himself and his men that it was strategy, not cowardice. If he fails, he and his unit become Demoralized for the remainder of the Combat.
2 – The Champions move into base contact and fight only each other. There battle takes place at the same time as the rest of the combat but only the combatants can direct their attacks at each other. If one unit is composed of just one Champion, no one else can attack him but the opposing Champion.
2a – The 6th edition “Get ‘im Boss” rule applies only when the rest of a Champion’s unit has no one else to fight, otherwise they are busy. Their Champion receives one reroll per 5 men cheering him on.
2b - The Champion’s combat result is totaled separately from the rest of the combat. Once the difference in wounds is determined, double it and apply it to the winning Champion’s unit total. This represents the importance of the single combat going on in the midst of the melee.
3 – Total the unit combat result, then add in the modified Challenge combat result. Determine the overall winner and make morale checks, sweeping advances, and fallbacks per normal rules. If the Combat continues into the next turn the Champions remain engaged and everything repeats next round/turn.
3a – If one Champion is slain his side automatically loses the combat. Still complete the combat through all Initiative phases and tally the total Combat Result . After the overall winner of the Combat has been determined, the unit whose Champion has been slain in the Challenge makes a Morale Check. If they won the overall combat then they make their check as if Stubborn. If they lost or tied in the overall combat, they immediately become Demoralized and therefore make their Morale Check at half their normal Ld (no other modifers for losing apply).
If this unit that has lost the Challenge passes their Morale Check the fight continues next turn as normal, though they remain Demoralized until the Combat ends, having seen their Champion laid low.
If this unit that has lost the Challenge fails their Morale Check they Fall Back as normal and are subject to sweeping advance. They remain Demoralized until the end of the Combat (which may be right now if they escape into a Fall Back move).
The unit whose Champion has won the Challenge by killing his enemy is now Inspired and remains so until the end of the Combat (which may be right now) or until they fail their own Morale Check (including their Inspired reroll) within the same Combat.
Fearless units are immune to morale and therefore do not suffer from Demoralization nor benefit from Inspiration. In Challenges they still double their combat result, however, and can still fight Duels to earn “A True Champion” reward. If they lose a Duel they will still Fall Back as per the terms of the Duel.
A Duel is a specialized, honorable form of Challenge in which the Champions’ units do not engage in the fighting at all; instead they send only their heroes forward and vow that the single combat will determine the winner between their units.
1. First a regular Challenge is accepted. Next decide if it will be a proper Duel. This means only the Champions will fight for the honor of their units with a Victory Point at stake to the winner and guaranteed death and retreat for the loser. Both players must agree; no one can be forced into a Duel.
2. Carry out the Challenge. The rest of the units are still considered to be “in combat”, thus cannot be shot at or engage in anything except “Get ‘im Boss” support. The fight is to the death and once a winner and loser (dead hero) are determined, apply the following results:
— The Loser dies. His unit automatically Falls Back. No morale check is taken and no sweeping advances can be made against them. If they hit the board edge they are removed from play. The unit may attempt to Regroup next turn as normal. Fearless and ATSKNF units do Fall Back as per the terms of the Duel (possibly off the board) but automatically Regroup next turn.
— The Winner’s unit makes an Inspired Consolidation Move (roll 2D6 and pick the highest) and earns one “A True Champion” Victory Point!
“Dog Pile” – Occasionally a Champion’s unit loses faith in their hero and decides not to stand by to watch him slaughtered, but instead throws honor to the winds and rushes in to save him. A Duel must be in at least its second round of combat before Dog Piling is an option and the decision to do so is made before any blows are struck. One side declares that they are making a Dog Pile and Piles In to combat. This cowardly lot and their feeble champion instantly become Demoralized and stay that way for the remainder of the game (not just the combat). The other player now has two options:
1. If he also has a unit cheering him on they may now rush in to counter the enemy without penalty. At this point the Duel ends and it becomes a normal close combat round (with one side forever Demoralized).
2. The champion continues and heroically takes on the entire enemy unit by himself! In doing so he instantly becomes Inspired for the remainder of the game (or his life, whichever is longer) and if he wins he will earn TWO A True Champion Victory Points.
Thus Dog Piling may save your hero, but it’s a terrible curse and risk. But perhaps you have a shooty unit who doesn’t plan to enter combat again anyway and it’s worth the risk? Or you are sitting on the board edge and know that a retreat will destroy you? Then again your betrayal might just make your opponent into a legend!
Glorious Interventions – GIs can be conducted as described in the 6th edition rulebook when a new character comes in and attempts to take the place of another in a Challenge or Duel. When this happens, however, the replaced champion is subject to Demoralization. He makes a morale check at half his normal Ld and if he fails becomes Demoralized for the remainder of the combat.
So there’s the Brink Method of Fighting Challenges in 6th Edition. What do you think?? Comments and feedback welcome, and please, try it out. I can’t wait to give it a try and see how it goes!
— J. D. Brink