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With a cast of indomitable heroes, diabolical villains and enigmatic xenos, a plot of system-spanning conflicts, unshakeable loyalty and ruthless betrayals, and of course spectacular battles, every Warhammer 40,000 story is an epic in itself. Narrative play is all about enacting such tales on your own battlefield.

All across the galaxy, relentless battles of conquest and survival are being fought between the forces of the Imperium, Chaos, and the disparate xenos races. Just as you might expect, recreating these sprawling conflicts on the tabletop is a hugely popular part of the Games Workshop hobby, allowing you to make these stories your own. Put simply, narrative play is a gaming style that ties the battles you play on your tabletop to the stories of the Imperium and its foes.

Most games of Warhammer 40,000 tell a story. Every time players get together and talk about why their armies might be fighting each other, they are working out a narrative game. Once objectives have been decided, there are endless ways to build that story into the game. Armies might be modified to better reflect the protagonists of the story, specific scenery might play a part in recreating the landscape, ‘house rules’ might be invented to represent the consequences of victory and defeat – even the paint schemes can be developed to reflect the narrative the players are trying to create. This element of planning and storytelling sets narrative play apart from open play, embedding the games firmly in the worlds of Warhammer 40,000.

Narrative play can be further enhanced through the use of Battle-forged armies. In these armies, your units are organised into Detachments, which not only allows your armies to better reflect the background of their Faction, but also awards Command Points, giving you access to general and mission-specific Stratagems which you can use to shape the battle.

The stories set out in the various Warhammer 40,000 publications are there to provide a setting for your collections of Citadel Miniatures. By their very nature, these tales describe battles fought by named individuals and specific armies, such as the Ambush at Dhorak Pass, when the Cadian regiments commanded by Commissar Odoski came under attack from the Alpha Legion.

We have included a mission at the end of this section that allows you to refight that battle, as well as a general guide on how to create your own missions based on historical events. These kinds of battles are referred to as ‘Echoes of War’ missions.

Most of the missions presented in this section take a more flexible approach to war in the far future, however. We’ve included six missions, each representing a classic type of battle that you can easily adapt to suit your own narrative should you so choose – we call these ‘Crucible of War’ missions. The Meat Grinder mission, for example, centres around a desperate defence against a foe who throws his forces at the enemy in ceaseless waves. It is representative of a thousand such conflicts in the Dark Millennium, and is ideal for recreating classic battles such as Ghazghkull Thraka’s assault on Hades Hive, or the Ultramarines’ ill-fated defence of Macragge’s polar fortresses during the First Tyrannic War.

Narrative games are typically asymmetrical, with one player taking the role of the attacker and the other taking the role of the defender. Each player’s army might be composed according to these different roles, with access to different abilities, and one player will often have an advantage over the other. These types of narrative games present a whole new challenge to a general, and require different skills and stratagems if you are to succeed.

Narrative games also tend to have more bespoke rules than either open play or matched play games. This is simply because narrative missions are more detailed in the way they try to recreate the stories, events and strategies of particular battles. Planning a narrative game, and working out which special rules you will use, is often just as fun as playing the game itself, as it lets you really unleash your imagination.

All of the missions and rules in this section can be used to provide inspiration for battles of your own creation. Recreating a battle just as it happened is great fun, and as we provide many missions that do this, it’s very easy as well. With only a little effort, however, it is just as satisfying to use these missions as the framework for making up your own stories, tailored to your own collections. The only limitations to a narrative game are those of the story itself – which you get to create! Small and large armies, one-off games or campaigns, simple or complex additional rules – all of the parameters are up to you and your opponent, ensuring that the games you play build on and support the legends of your collections.

Narrative Play Mission Rules

Most narrative play missions use one or more additional special rules to better represent the different tactics and strategies used by attackers and defenders. Some of the more in-depth mission special rules are collected below and referenced by the missions that appear later in this section.


Concealed Deployment

In some battles, commanders have had time to conceal the positions of their forces from the enemy.

If a mission uses Concealed Deployment, the Defender will need a set-up marker for each unit in their army that they intend to start the battle deployed on the battlefield. You do not need any markers for units that will start the battle embarked on a TRANSPORT, only a marker for the transport itself. Each marker needs to be distinct (for example by having a different number) so it can correspond to a specific unit. The Defender must write down which unit each marker represents and keep this information secret from his opponent.

When the Defender deploys their army, they set up the markers instead of their models. Once the Defender has set up all their markers, the Attacker deploys all their forces. Once this has been done, the Defender then reveals which marker corresponds to which unit, setting up the appropriate models as they do so. The first model in each unit must be placed exactly where the unit’s setup marker was placed, and the entire unit must be set up wholly within the player’s own deployment zone.

Dawn Raid

Cunning commanders may attack under cover of darkness to conceal their advance from the foe.

If your mission uses Dawn Raid, both players must subtract 1 from all hit rolls made in the Shooting phase during the first battle round of the game.

Preliminary Bombardment

In a major offensive, the attacker will often launch a heavy bombardment prior to the main attack.

If your mission uses Preliminary Bombardment, then at the start of the first battle round, but before the first turn begins, the Attacker should roll a dice for each enemy unit that is on the battlefield (do not roll for units that are embarked inside TRANSPORTS). On a roll of 6, that unit has been hit by a Preliminary Bombardment; that unit suffers D6 mortal wounds. INFANTRY units that are hit by a Preliminary Bombardment can choose to go to ground before the damage is determined – if they do, they only suffer D3 mortal wounds, but cannot take any actions during their first turn.

Random Battle Length

War is rarely predictable, and the time available to achieve your objectives is never certain.

If your mission uses Random Battle Length, at the end of battle round 5, the player who had the first turn must roll a D6. On a roll of 3+, the game continues, otherwise the game is over. At the end of battle round 6, the player who had the second turn must roll a D6. This time the game continues on a roll of 4+, otherwise the game is over. The battle automatically ends at the end of battle round 7.

Reserves

Reserves are forces which are not directly present at the start of an engagement but are available as reinforcements during battle.

If a mission uses Reserves, it will detail which units in your army start the game in Reserve – these units are not deployed with the rest of your army.

The mission will usually state when the units placed in Reserve arrive on the battlefield – this is typically at the end of a particular Movement phase. If the mission does not specify when units arrive, roll for each unit at the end of your second Movement phase (and at the end of each of your Movement phases thereafter) – this is called a Reserve roll. On a 3+, the unit being rolled for arrives from Reserve. Note that if a unit placed into Reserve is embarked within a TRANSPORT, they will arrive when their transport does, not separately (if rolling, make a single roll for the transport and the units embarked in it).

The mission will explain how and where to set up units when they arrive from Reserve – typically within a short distance of a specified edge of the battlefield.

Sentries

Many commanders use sentries to guard vital locations and raise the alarm if intruders are spotted.

If your mission uses Sentries, the Defender will need one extra unit to act as their Sentries. Unless otherwise stated, this unit should have the Troops Battlefield Role, contain up to 10 models and have a Power Rating of 10 or less. The Sentries’ Power Rating is excluded when you are calculating the total Power Level of your army.

The mission rules will detail where Sentries are set up, but it should be noted that each Sentry model moves and acts as a separate, individual unit throughout the battle. At the start of each of the Defender’s Movement phases, both players roll a dice for each Sentry model, in an order chosen by the Defender. The player who rolled the highest can move the model the distance indicated on their dice in any direction (a Sentry cannot Advance as part of this move). If the rolls are tied, the Sentry does not move.

At the start of the game, all is quiet and the alarm has yet to be sounded, but it is raised if any of the following occur:
  • A model from the Attacker’s army fires a ranged weapon or manifests a psychic power.
  • A model from the Attacking player’s army attacks a Sentry in the Fight phase but fails to kill them. Note that Sentries cannot fire Overwatch until after the alarm is raised.
  • A model from the Attacking player’s army is spotted by a Sentry. An enemy unit is spotted if it is within a certain range of any Sentry at the end of any Movement phase (irrespective of whether or not that unit is visible to the Sentry). The spotting range depends upon the Power Rating of the Attacker’s unit, as detailed below:
POWER RATINGSPOTTED WITHIN
5 or less3'
6-106'
11-199'
20 or more12'


If the alarm is raised during the Attacker’s turn, their turn ends after the action that raised the alarm has been completed. If the alarm is raised during the Defender’s turn, the Defender immediately starts a new turn in which they can typically set up response forces or reinforcements; this will be detailed in the mission itself. In either case, the Sentries are now under full control of the Defender.

Sustained Assault

Occasionally, an army will possess overwhelming superiority in numbers, with wave upon wave of its troops hurling themselves forward.

If your mission uses Sustained Assault, any of the Attacker’s units that are destroyed can be brought back into play later in the battle, to represent their almost limitless supply of reinforcements. At the end of each of the Attacker’s Movement phases, roll a dice for each of their destroyed units, adding 2 to the result if that unit has the Troops Battlefield Role. On a 4+, immediately set up that unit within 6" of a battlefield edge – the mission will specify which.

The Attacker can also, at the end of any of their turns, remove any of their units from the battlefield that have a quarter or less of their starting number of models (or, in the case of single-model units, a quarter or less of its starting number of wounds). This unit then counts as having been destroyed for all purposes, and so can be brought back into play later as described above.

Crucible of War Missions


Meat Grinder

The enemy forces arrayed against you are the last stubborn defenders of this war zone, grimly holding out despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered. You have been committed to lead an all-out attack to annihilate them in their entirety. Friendly casualties are of no concern – no enemy must survive!

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but if their army is Battle-forged they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission. Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Levels of the two armies are different, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. The Defender’s deployment zone should contain several defensible pieces of terrain, such as ruins or obstacles, from which they can make their defiant last stand. The Attacker’s deployment zone should be more sparse by comparison, to better represent the no man’s land they are crossing.

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the players then deploy their armies using the Concealed Deployment rules. None of the Defender’s units can use abilities that allow them to arrive on the battlefield mid-battle – such units must be set up on the battlefield during deployment, using the Concealed Deployment rules.

PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT
Once both sides have been set up, the Attacker launches a Preliminary Bombardment.

FIRST TURN
The Attacker rolls a dice. On a 1, 2 or 3, the Attacker has the first turn, and on a 4, 5 or 6, the Defender has the first turn.

SUSTAINED ASSAULT
The Attacker can use the Sustained Assault rules to represent their overwhelming superiority in numbers. Each time one of the Attacker’s replacement units arrives, set up the models in that unit within 6" of the Attacker’s battlefield edge.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
If at the end of the battle the Defender has any models remaining on the battlefield, they win a major victory. Any other result is a major victory for the Attacker.


MEAT GRINDER STRATAGEMS
In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
1CP

SUSTAINED BOMBARDMENT

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before rolling to see if a unit is hit by your Preliminary Bombardment. Roll 3 dice instead of 1.
1CP

SPIES

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately after the Defender has finished placing their setup markers. Select one of the markers – the Defender must reveal which unit is hiding there and immediately set the unit up (the first model in that unit must be set up on the marker as normal).
2CP

OUTFLANKING REINFORCEMENTS

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when a replacement unit arrives on the battlefield. That unit can be set up anywhere within 6" of any battlefield edge other than the Defender’s battlefield edge.
1CP

DECOYS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before placing your set-up markers. You can place two extra set-up markers as decoys. When a decoy is revealed, simply remove the marker.
1CP

FOXHOLES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when one of your INFANTRY units is hit by a Preliminary Bombardment, but before the number of hits is determined. Halve the number of hits (rounding up) suffered by that unit.
1CP

TRAPS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when a replacement unit arrives on the battlefield. Roll a dice for each model in that unit – for each roll of 6, one model in that unit is slain (controlling player’s choice).

Ambush!

Under cover of darkness, the attacker’s forces have prepared a deadly trap and are even now lying in wait for a convoy of enemy reserves heading for the front line. They hope to catch their foe unawares and destroy them utterly before they can escape or mount a retaliatory counter-strike.

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but this mission works especially well with ground-based armies that contain few, if any, units that can FLY. If a player’s army is Battle-forged they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission. Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Levels of the two armies are different, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. The Defender’s deployment zone represents a thoroughfare leading towards the front line and should be exposed. The Attacker’s deployment zone should be covered in dense terrain such as woods or ruins, making it a perfect ambush site.

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the players set up their armies using the Concealed Deployment rules. However, for this mission, the roles are reversed; the Attacker uses set-up markers to deploy their army first, and the Defender then sets up as normal.

FIRST TURN
The Attacker has the first turn.

DAWN RAID
This mission uses the Dawn Raid rules.

ESCAPE ROUTE
The Defender’s units can move off the battlefield edge labelled ‘Escape Route’ so long as all of their models are able to make it off the board in the same phase. Any that do so have escaped the ambush – they are removed from the battlefield and take no further part in the battle.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
At the end of the battle, add up the Power Ratings of all the Defender’s escaped units (see Escape Route, above) and compare this to the Power Level of their army (count the entire unit’s Power Rating, even if only a single model escaped). If the combined Power Rating of the escaped units is one third or more of the army’s Power Level, the Defender wins a major victory. Any other result is a major victory for the Attacker.

AMBUSH STRATAGEMS
In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
1+CP

NIGHT RAIDER

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately after deployment. For each Command Point you spend, the Dawn Raid rules apply for one additional battle round. For example, if the Attacker uses 2 Command Points on this Stratagem, both players must subtract 1 from all hit rolls made in the Shooting phase during the first three battle rounds of the game.
1CP

SPECTRUM-ENHANCEMENT WARGEAR

Attacker Stratagem

Select one of your own units immediately before it makes its shooting attacks. That unit can shoot without penalties from Dawn Raid this phase.
3CP

PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately after both sides have deployed. You can launch a Preliminary Bombardment.
1CP

THE TABLES TURNED

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately after both sides have deployed, but before the first turn begins. The Defender rolls a dice – on a 6, they get the first turn instead.
2CP

RETURN FIRE

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem at the end of your opponent’s first Shooting phase. Select a unit in your army that was the target of at least one shooting attack; that unit can make a shooting attack at the enemy as if it were your own Shooting phase.
1CP

IRON DISCIPLINE

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after the Attacker has resolved a Preliminary Bombardment. Roll a dice for each of your units that went to ground; on a 2+ they can act normally during their first turn.

Patrol

You have been detailed to patrol no man’s land and drive off any enemy forces encountered. Additional forces are near at hand to secure victory, but be warned – the enemy have their own reserves and will attempt to do the same to you.

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but if their army is Battle-forged they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission. Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Level of one of the armies is a third or more higher than the opposing army’s Power Level, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. Ruined buildings and craters litter the battlefield, the fallout from months of conflict.

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the Defender sets up three of their units wholly within their deployment zone – one of these units must have the Troops Battlefield Role. The Attacker then selects three of their units to serve as their patrol and sets them up wholly within their deployment zone – one of these units must have the Troops Battlefield Role. All other units arrive later in the battle using the Reserves rules.


FIRST TURN
Both players roll a dice, rolling again in the case of a tie. The player who rolls highest chooses who has the first turn.

DRAWN TO BATTLE
Starting from the second battle round, each player makes a roll for each of their units in Reserve at the end of their Movement phase. Attacking units arrive on a 4+, while Defending units arrive on a 3+. Units automatically arrive at the end of a player’s fourth Movement phase if they have not already done so.

When a unit arrives, set it up anywhere within 6" of the controlling player’s battlefield edge.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
At the end of the game, the player who has scored the most victory points wins a major victory. If both players have the same number of victory points, the game is a draw. Each player scores 1 victory point for each enemy unit that is destroyed (any unit not on the battlefield at the end of the game counts as having been destroyed).


In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
2CP

ENCIRCLING REINFORCEMENTS

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when one of your units arrives from Reserve. That unit can be set up anywhere within 6" of any battlefield edge other than the Defender’s battlefield edge.
2CP

SIGNAL THE ATTACK

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem at the end of your Movement phase, before making any Reserve rolls. Until the end of the turn you can add 1 to every Reserve roll you make.
2CP

PATROL IN FORCE

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after the Defender has deployed their patrol. You can set up one additional unit during deployment – this unit must have the Troops Battlefield Role.
1CP

RAPID REINFORCEMENTS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before making a Reserve roll. The unit being rolled for automatically arrives – there is no need to make the Reserve roll.
1-2CP

DELAYED RESERVES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before your opponent makes a Reserve roll. If you spend 1 CP, your opponent must subtract 1 from the roll, but if you spend 2 CPs, they must subtract 2 instead.
2CP

HOME ADVANTAGE

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before rolling to determine who will have the first turn. You can roll two dice instead of one, and choose the highest result.

Blitz

The war progresses and the offensive is pushing the enemy back all along the front. However, the foe has mustered a strong defence at a vital crossing, and thus far, all attempts to break through their lines have failed. You must attempt to smash the defenders aside and drive deep into enemy territory.

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but this mission works especially well with ground-based armies that contain few, if any, units that can FLY . If a player’s army is Battle-forged, they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission. Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Levels of the two armies are different, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. The battlefield represents a well-defended and fortified position which the attackers are trying to break through. The Defender’s Front Line and Second Line deployment zones should both feature plenty of dense terrain features, such as ruins, to shelter within, or even a series of obstacles, defence lines, razor wire and other defences with the potential to halt the Attacker’s advance. The Attacker’s deployment zone, by contrast, is a carefully prepared killing field, with relatively little cover available.

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the players set up their armies using the Concealed Deployment rules. The Defender must attempt to place an equal number of set-up markers in their Front Line and Second Line deployment zones.

PRELIMINARY BOMBARDMENT
Once both sides have been set up, the Attacker launches a Preliminary Bombardment.

FIRST TURN
The Attacker has the first turn.

SUSTAINED ASSAULT
The Attacker uses the Sustained Assault rules to represent their overwhelming superiority in numbers. Each time one of the Attacker’s replacement units arrives, set up the unit wholly within 6" of the Attacker’s battlefield edge. The Attacker must attempt to bring on units if they can – there can be no holding back.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
At the end of the game, the player who has scored the most victory points wins a major victory. If both players have the same number of victory points, the game is a draw. Victory points are achieved for the following:

Break Through: The Attacker scores 1 victory point for each of their units with at least one model completely within the Defender’s Front Line deployment zone at the end of the battle. They score 2 victory points instead for each of their units with at least one model completely within the Defender’s Second Line deployment zone at the end of the battle.

Destroy any Approach: Each time one of the Attacker’s units is destroyed, the Defender scores 1 victory point.

BLITZ STRATAGEMS
In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
1CP

HEAVY BOMBARDMENT

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before rolling to see if a unit is hit by your Preliminary Bombardment. The unit being rolled for is hit on a 4+ instead of only a 6.
1CP

COVER GROUND

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before a unit rolls for its Advance distance – you count as having rolled a 6.
2CP

FORCED MARCH

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when a replacement unit arrives on the battlefield. That unit can be set up anywhere within the Attacker’s deployment zone that is more than 9" away from any enemy model.
2CP

DUG-IN DEFENCES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately after setting up one of your units. Until that unit moves (for any reason) you can add 1 to that unit’s saving throws against all shooting attacks.
1CP

PROXIMITY MINES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem the first time an enemy unit moves into or through your Front Line deployment zone. Roll a dice for each model in that unit – for each roll of 6, one model in that unit is slain (controlling player’s choice).
1CP

DECOYS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before placing your set-up markers. You can place two extra set-up markers as decoys. When a decoy is revealed, simply remove the marker.

Sabotage

The attacker is leading a force on a surprise raid deep in enemy territory. Their mission is to sneak past the sentries guarding an important installation and plant explosives to destroy it. The defender’s main forces are on high alert, however, and should the alarm be raised, they will respond with deadly force.

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but this mission works especially well with armies that have a Power Level of 50 to 100, and which do not include many (or any!) VEHICLES or MONSTERS. If a player’s army is Battle-forged, they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission. Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Levels of the two armies are different, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide. The Defender will need an additional unit to act as their Sentries.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. The Defender’s deployment zone needs to include an objective marker or a suitable piece of scenery that is wholly within 12" of the centre of the battlefield to represent the target of the Sabotage (called the Objective).

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the Defender sets up their Sentries. At least half of the Sentries must be placed within 12" of the centre of the battlefield, but the remainder can be placed anywhere in the Defender’s deployment zone. The Attacker then sets up as many of their units as they wish wholly within their deployment zone. All remaining units for both sides are placed in Reserve; they will arrive during the battle as described below.

FIRST TURN
The Attacker has the first turn.

ATTACKER’S RESERVES
The Attacker is allowed to bring on any Reserve units that they wish to at the end of each of their Movement phases. When a unit arrives from Reserve, they must be set up within 6" of their battlefield edge.

DEFENDER’S RESERVES
The Defender is allowed to bring on any Reserve units at the end of any of their Movement phases after the alarm has been sounded. On the first turn after the alarm is sounded, the Defender must roll a dice before bringing on a Reserve unit; it will only arrive on a roll of 3+. In subsequent turns, no roll is required. All models in the unit must be deployed wholly within 6" of one of the Defender’s two battlefield edges, and with all models more than 9" from any enemy models.

SABOTAGE
Units from the Attacker’s army can make a Sabotage attempt if they are within 3" of the Objective at the end of any of their turns. An individual unit cannot attempt to Sabotage the Objective more than once during the battle, but any number of different units from the Attacker’s army can do so. VEHICLES and MONSTERS cannot make Sabotage attempts.

Keep track of the number of Sabotage attempts that are made over the course of the mission. When the battle ends, the Attacker rolls a dice, adding the number of Sabotage attempts to the result. If the score is 7 or more, the Objective is destroyed in a massive explosion!

Proximity Alert: The alarm is automatically sounded from the end of the turn in which the first Sabotage attempt is made, even if no Sentries are left on the battlefield.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
If the Objective is destroyed (see SABOTAGE), the Attacker wins a major victory. Otherwise, the Defender wins a major victory.

SABOTAGE STRATAGEMS
In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
1CP

SILENCED WEAPONS

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when one of your units makes a shooting attack, immediately before the attack is resolved. The alarm is only sounded if the target of the shooting attack loses one or more wounds, but is not slain.
1CP

CAMOUFLAGE

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when one of your units is set up during deployment. Halve that unit’s Power Rating when working out the distance at which it can be spotted by Sentries.
1CP

EXTRA EXPLOSIVES

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after a unit has made a Sabotage attempt. That unit can make one additional Sabotage attempt during the game (it cannot make another Sabotage attempt this turn, however).
2CP

SENSORS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after you have set up your Sentries on the battlefield. All Sentries can add 3" to the distances at which they will spot an enemy model.
1CP

CUT THE WIRES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem if any of your units are within 3" of the Objective at the end of the game. Reduce the number of Sabotage attempts that have been made by 1, to a minimum of 0 attempts.
2CP

EXTRA SENTRIES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before setting up your Sentries. Two units can be set up as Sentries rather than only one unit.

Rescue

A spy has narrowly evaded capture by the foe, but they are still trapped behind enemy lines. Your orders are to locate the spy, and then escort them from the battlefield before enemy reinforcements arrive to overwhelm your rescue force.

THE ARMIES
Each player must first muster an army from the miniatures in their collection. A player can include any models in their army, but this mission works especially well with armies that have a Power Level of 50 to 100, and which do not include many (or any!) VEHICLES or MONSTERS. If a player’s army is Battle-forged, they will also be able to use the appropriate Stratagems included with this mission.

Once the armies have been chosen, the players must then decide who will be the Attacker and who will be the Defender. If the Power Levels of the two armies are different, then the player whose army has the higher Power Level should be the Attacker and their opponent should be the Defender. Otherwise the players can roll off to decide. The Attacker will need a single INFANTRY model with a Wounds characteristic of no more than 4 to represent the Spy. The Defender will need an additional unit to act as their Sentries.

THE SPY
The Spy model is not included in the Attacker’s Battle-forged army, and does not contribute to the Attacking army’s Power Level. It is treated as a unit consisting of a single model, that can only be attacked by enemy models if it is the closest target.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Create a battlefield using the deployment map below and then set up terrain. Once all the terrain has been set up, the players take it in turns, starting with the Attacker, to pick a piece of terrain in the Defender’s deployment zone in which the Spy may be hiding, until a total of six terrain pieces have been chosen (alternatively, players can place six objective markers).

DEPLOYMENT
After terrain has been set up, the Defender sets up a unit of Sentries. At least a third of the Sentries must be placed within 12" of the centre of the battlefield, but the remainder can be placed anywhere in the Defender’s deployment zone. The Attacker then sets up as many of their units as they wish wholly within their deployment zone. All remaining units for both sides are placed in Reserve; they will arrive during the battle as described opposite.

FIRST TURN
The Attacker has the first turn.

ATTACKER’S RESERVES
The Attacker is allowed to bring on any Reserve units that they wish to at the end of each of their Movement phases. When a unit arrives from Reserve, they must be set up within 6" of their battlefield edge.

DEFENDER’S RESERVES
The Defender is allowed to bring on any Reserve units at the end of any of their Movement phases after the alarm has been sounded. On the first turn after the alarm is sounded, the Defender must roll a dice before bringing on a Reserve unit; it will only arrive on a roll of 4+. In subsequent turns, no roll is required. All models in the unit must be deployed wholly within 6" of the Defender’s battlefield edge, and with all models more than 9" from any enemy models.

FINDING THE SPY
Roll a dice the first time one of the Attacker’s models finishes a move within 3" of a piece of terrain (or marker) that may contain the Spy. On a roll of 6, or if this is the last place the Spy could be, the model representing the Spy is set up by the Attacker within 3" of the terrain, more than 1" from any enemy models. If this is impossible, the Spy is slain and the Attacker loses the battle immediately.

The Spy cannot move in the Movement phase in which it is discovered. In addition, the alarm is automatically sounded at the end of the turn in which the Spy is discovered, even if no Sentries are left on the battlefield.

BATTLE LENGTH
The players should use the Random Battle Length rules to determine how long the battle lasts.

VICTORY CONDITIONS
If the Spy has been discovered and is still alive at the end of the game, the Attacker wins the battle. Otherwise the Defender wins the battle.

RESCUE STRATAGEMS
In this mission, the players can use Command Points (CPs) to use the following bonus Stratagems:
1CP

SILENCED WEAPONS

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem when one of your units makes a shooting attack, immediately before the attack is resolved. The alarm is only sounded if the target of the shooting attack loses one or more wounds, but is not slain.
2CP

NIGHT RAID

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after both sides have deployed. The Dawn Raid rules are used in this mission and the spotting range for all Sentries is halved during the first battle round.
1CP

SCAN FOR DISTRESS BEACONS

Attacker Stratagem

Use this Stratagem at the end of your Movement phase if a model is within 12" of one of the pieces of terrain that may contain the Spy that has yet to be investigated. On a 6, you have found the Spy and it is placed using the rules above.
2CP

SENSORS

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem after you have set up your Sentries on the battlefield. All Sentries can add 3" to the distances at which they will spot an enemy model.
3CP

RAPID RESPONSE

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem before rolling to see if a Reserve unit arrives on the turn after the alarm is sounded. The unit automatically arrives without the dice being rolled, and can arrive within 6" of any battlefield edge other than the Attacker’s.
2CP

EXTRA SENTRIES

Defender Stratagem

Use this Stratagem immediately before setting up your Sentries. Two units can be set up as Sentries rather than only one unit.

Historical Battles

The galaxy is replete with heroic deeds and legendary battles. With a little imagination, you can recreate these battles with your armies on the tabletop and find out if history will repeat itself, or if your command can alter the course of fate.

After reading about a specific battle, many players become inspired and wish to incorporate similar themes into their own games. Some players may even take their inspiration a step further, wanting to replicate not just the flavour of the battle that inspired them, but recreate the conflict exactly. Such ‘historical’ battles offer many unique and rewarding challenges.

There are myriad ways to approach recreating a historical battle. There is no right or wrong method, and players should experiment to find what works best for them. Unlike a pick-up-and-play match against a regular opponent, replaying a historical battle takes some degree of planning. How much depends on the scale and detail of the battle you are trying to bring to life. In some cases, there will already be an Echoes of War mission that represents the event. Effectively a ready-made historical battle, these narrative missions feature all you need to recreate the clash on the tabletop. We have provided one here as an example – Ambush at Dhorak Pass – including a brief summary of the events (below) and the mission that recreates it (right).

Conversely, if a battle is recounted in less detail, further research and perhaps a little innovation is called for. If there is no mission for the battle you wish to enact, you may want to make up your own rules. You could adapt an existing mission to better suit your needs or devise one completely from scratch. Read the source material again and study any artwork, both of which can give you glimpses into the circumstances of the battle. Look for any details that can be translated to the tabletop, such as mentions of the different types of units that were present, or of the heroes that led them into battle, the strategies they used, the terrain they fought over, and so on. The more you discover and translate into your rules, the more authentic and enjoyable your game will be. Inventing rules, army lists and a modelled battlefield for a historical re-fight is all part of the fun!

THE AMBUSH AT DHORAK PASS
The Cadian Dhorak front was beginning to crumble beneath the onslaught of relentless Chaos attacks. Yet this was Cadia – a fortress world as well prepared for war as any in the Imperium, honed by battles uncounted. Reinforcements were already en route – with tank columns of the Cadian 309th Armoured Regiment leading companies of the 822nd Infantry – ‘The Sureshots’ – to the aid of their beleaguered comrades. They did not make it. Waiting for them on the supply route was a carefully laid Alpha Legion ambush. Designed to deny Imperial reinforcements at the most critical junctures of the final battles, such ambushes had been set up all across the multiple fronts. Under cover of the unnatural darkness of violent warp storms, the Alpha Legion had laid a characteristically effective trap behind the Dhorak front. A series of quake-mines across the path stalled the lead Imperial forces, their own wrecked vehicles blocking their route. Then, with perfect timing, hidden Chaos troops rose from concealment to lay down a deadly crossfire upon both flanks. In this way, the undersized strike force whittled down the Imperial forces’ superior numbers. Cadians are born to fight, however. Under barked commands from their Commissar, they began to coolly lay down return fire while attempting to fall back in good order. Commissar Odoski knew he needed to extract himself from the immediate ambush, and that if he could set his firing line then his superior numbers and armour could make his foe pay for their daring. Unfortunately, this played right into the Alpha Legion’s plan. Summoned Daemons materialized amidst the Cadians’ rear ranks, and for the first time, panic began to set in amongst the battle-hardened Astra Militarum. In a few short moments, only smoking wrecks and cruelly hewn corpses were left at the crossroads, the only sound the crackle of flames and a last few vox calls from the Dhorak front – still calling for aid that would never arrive.

Ambush at Dhorak Pass

The final battles of Cadia were marked not just by the terrible onslaught of Abaddon’s assaults, but also by innumerable synchronised ambushes. The action at the Dhorak Pass crossroads is an example of how the smaller Alpha Legion strikes could eliminate larger Imperial forces.

THE MISSION
This mission is a variation of the Ambush! mission. Select the armies and create the battlefield as described below, but otherwise use all the rules as listed in the Ambush! mission, along with the additional rules and modifications detailed here.

THE ARMIES
The Defender commands an Astra Militarum army; the Cadian 309th Armoured and 822nd Infantry under the Command of Commissar Odoski. The Attacker commands Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines and a host of their Daemon allies. The Cadian forces outnumber the Alpha Legion forces.

THE BATTLEFIELD
Use the deployment map and set up terrain as shown below to create the Dhorak Pass battlefield.

DAEMONIC AMBUSH
The Alpha Legion player’s DAEMON units are not set up during deployment, but will arrive later during the battle. At the end of the Alpha Legion player’s third Movement phase, they set up all of their DAEMON units anywhere on the battlefield more than 9" from any enemy model.

UNNATURAL DARKNESS
Do not use the Dawn Raid rules. Instead, use all the rules from Battlezone: Night Fight to better reflect the darkness caused by the warp storms.

BLOCKED ROUTE
The wrecks in the middle of the battlefield have blocked the road. Models cannot move through or over them and must move around them.

QUAKE-MINES
Roll a dice each time an ASTRA MILITARUM unit Advances along the Dhorak Road (see map) – on a 1 it triggers quake-mines buried by the Alpha Legion and immediately suffers D6 mortal wounds.

THE SURESHOTS
To represent their disciplined firing lines, the Cadian player can re-roll any hit rolls of 1 in the Shooting phase for any of their INFANTRY units that remained stationary in their preceding Movement phase.

COMMISSAR ODOSKI
If Commissar Odoski exits the battlefield (see Escape Route) then the battle immediately ends and the Cadian player wins a major victory.
Hit Roll
Each time a model makes an attack, roll a dice. If the roll is equal to or greater than the attacking model’s Ballistic Skill characteristic, then it scores a hit with the weapon it is using. If not, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends. A roll of 1 always fails, irrespective of any modifiers that may apply.
Mortal Wounds
Some attacks inflict mortal wounds – these are so powerful that no armour or force field can withstand their fury. Each mortal wound inflicts one point of damage on the target unit. Do not make a wound roll or saving throw (including invulnerable saves) against a mortal wound – just allocate it as you would any other wound and inflict damage to a model in the target unit as described above. Unlike normal attacks, excess damage from attacks that inflict mortal wounds is not lost. Instead keep allocating damage to another model in the target unit until either all the damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.
Advancing
When you pick a unit to move in the Movement phase, you can declare that it will Advance. Roll a dice and add the result to the Move characteristics of all models in the unit for that Movement phase. A unit that Advances can’t shoot or charge later that turn.
Overwatch
Each time a charge is declared against a unit, the target unit can immediately fire Overwatch at the would-be attacker. A target unit can potentially fire Overwatch several times a turn, though it cannot fire if there are any enemy models within 1" of it. Overwatch is resolved like a normal shooting attack (albeit one resolved in the enemy’s Charge phase) and uses all the normal rules except that a 6 is always required for a successful hit roll, irrespective of the firing model’s Ballistic Skill or any modifiers.
Roll-offs
Some rules instruct players to roll off. To do so, both players roll a D6, and whoever scores highest wins the roll-off. In the case of a tie, both players re-roll their D6; this is the only time players can reroll a re-roll – if the second and subsequent rolls are also tied, keep on rolling until a winner is decided.
Re-rolls
Some rules allow you to re-roll a dice roll, which means you get to roll some or all of the dice again. If a rule allows you to re-roll a result that was made by adding several dice together (e.g. 2D6, 3D6, etc.) then, unless otherwise stated, you must roll all of those dice again. You can never re-roll a dice more than once, and re-rolls happen before modifiers (if any) are applied.
© Vyacheslav Maltsev 2013-2019