Deep within the heart of these ancient vessels are unexplored areas twisted and altered by their journeys through the warp. The rules presented in this section provide a new way to play, representing two rival warbands coming across one another in these strange and dangerous sections.

A number of half-sized mission maps are presented, each requiring only one of the two game boards that are found within the Warhammer 40,000 Boarding Actions Terrain Set and half of the wall and hatchway pieces. This allows any two of these maps to be combined together to create a wide variety of different environments to fight across. When players muster their Boarding Patrols, they will select which mission map they want to use for their side of the battlefield and then make a note of this on their army roster.

In organised play or tournament events, this information can be included on each player’s army roster, making it quick and easy for players to move between games without having to take apart their assembled scenery between rounds, or, if time allows, players can be allowed to change which deployment map they wish to use after each battle.


BookKindEditionVersionLast update
  Arks of Omen: Farsight
  Arks of Omen: FarsightExpansion9March 2023


A Boarding Actions Dark Depths battle is waged by following the sequence below.

1. Muster Boarding Patrol

The players must first select their Boarding Patrol, as described in Arks of Omen: Abaddon.

In addition, each player must select one of the half-sized mission maps presented below to use for their half of the battlefield and make a note of this on their army roster. During the battle, each player will make use of the Entry Zones on the battlefield half that they selected.

Players must then provide a copy of their army roster for their opponent to read through. If, when players compare their points total, one player’s is at least 30 points less than their opponents, then the player with the smaller points total is the Underdog, and they may receive an Underdog bonus as detailed in the mission they are playing.

2. Read Mission Briefing

There is only one mission briefing for Dark Depths games, which is found below and details the objectives that award victory points to the players. This does not mean that Dark Depths games lack variety or replayability, however, instead this comes from the huge range of mission maps that can be created from combining different battlefield halves together. We encourage players to experiment and try out different selections for their Boarding Patrols, to see what works best for them. Players should read and familiarise themselves with this mission briefing before proceeding.

3. Create the Battlefield and Place Objective Markers

Players now create the battlefield and set up terrain features. Each player sets up their half of the battlefield according to the mission map that they selected. Each of these maps will show the position of all the terrain features and the objective markers that go on them.

Each of these mission maps will also indicate how they align with each other as shown here.

Designer’s Note: When combing battlefield halves, players may create a battlefield where Walls push against Walls, or Hatchways open on to Walls. This represents the ramshackle construction of the labyrinthine Arks of Omen and the cursed energies of the warp corrupting realspace itself.

4. Form Boarding Squads

Each unit in your Boarding Patrol that has a Unit Strength of 10 must now be split into multiple units, each containing 5 models. When splitting a unit, make a note of which models form each of the two new units. From this point onwards, these split units count as independent units for all rules purposes.

5. Generate Starting Command Points

Each player starts with 1 Command point.

6. Deploy Armies

Players roll off and, starting with the winner, alternate setting up their units one at a time. Each player uses the Entry Zones from the mission map they selected. For each of those Entry Zones, that player sets up one unit within that Entry Zone.

If a unit has a pre-battle rule that allows it to be set up anywhere on the battlefield, that unit is instead set up wholly within 6" of its Entry Zone. That Entry Zone is then considered to have had a unit set up within it, and cannot have another unit set up within it before the start of the battle. If one player finishes deploying all their units, their opponent then deploys the remainder of their units, until either both players have set up one unit per Entry Zone, or all units have been deployed.

If both players have units with abilities that allow them to be set up after both armies have deployed, players must roll off after all other units have been set up and alternate setting up these units, starting with the winner.

7. Determine Reserves

Any units in a player’s army that do not start the battle on the battlefield, will start the battle in Strategic Reserves. This does not cost any Command points to do so.

In the Reinforcements step of a player’s Movement phase (starting from the first battle round onwards), that player can select one of their Strategic Reserves units for each of their Entry Zones that has no models within it and set those units up in those Entry Zones.

If one or more of a players Strategic Reserves units has a rule that would allow them to be set up in a location other than the battlefield (e.g. Teleport Strike) then in each of that players turns (starting from the second battle round onwards), one of those units can be set up on the battlefield as described by their rule that turn, instead of being set up within an Entry Zone. Any Strategic Reserves units that have not arrived on the battlefield by the end of the fourth battle round count as having been destroyed (this does not apply to units that are placed into Strategic Reserves, after the first battle round has started).

8. Determine First Turn

Players roll off and the winner takes the first turn.

9. Resolve Pre-battle Abilities

Each player can resolve a single pre-battle ability that units in their army may have, irrespective of how many units in their army may have them, starting with the player who will take the first turn.

10. Begin the Battle

The first battle round begins. Players continue to resolve battle rounds until the battle ends.

11. Ending the Battle

The battle ends after five battle rounds have been completed. If one player has no models remaining in their army at the start of their turn, the other player may continue to play out their turns until the battle ends.

12. Determine Victor

At the end of the battle, the player with the most victory points is the winner. If players are tied, the battle is a draw.

Each player can score a maximum of 90 victory points from mission objectives (any excess victory points awarded are discounted). If every model in a player’s army was painted to a Battle Ready standard, that player is awarded a bonus 10 victory points. This gives players a maximum total score out of 100 victory points.
Boarding Action Mission

Dark Depths

The depths of the largest, most ancient ships are sometimes entered only by servitors and vermin for decades at a time. Those souls who eventually do venture into them have little idea of what to expect, or find what they believed to be true about their vessels deepest regions to now be false - why, they do not know.

Underdog Bonus: If one player is the Underdog, that player starts the battle with 1 additional Command point.


Progressive Objective

As warriors explore the darkest territories of the ship, they seek to bring it over to their faction’s control.

At the end of each player’s Command phase, the player whose turn it is scores 5 victory points for each of the following conditions they satisfy (for a maximum of 15 victory points):
  • They control one or more objective markers.
  • They control two or more objective markers.
  • They control more objective markers than their opponent controls.
This objective cannot be scored in the first battle round. In the fifth battle round, the player who has the second turn does not score any victory points at the end of their Command phase; instead, at the end of their turn, they score 5 victory points for each of the above conditions they satisfy.
End Game Objective

It is common to find vital leadership personnel either overseeing a strategic target of such value, or leading the assault against it. Ensuring that the enemy commander does not survive this battle, no matter its wider strategic outcome, is a victory in its own right.

At the end of the battle, each player scores 15 victory points if their opponent’s WARLORD has been destroyed.
End Game Objective

Destroying the enemy’s elite is a true sign of an army’s strength and power, earning it a legendary reputation.

At the start of the battle, each player identifies the Boarding Squad from their Boarding Patrol that has the highest points value (excluding their WARLORD). In the event of a tie, that player then selects one of those Boarding Squads (this must be a Boarding Squad that contains a unit champion model if possible).

At the end of the battle, each player scores 15 victory points if the Boarding Squad their opponent selected for this objective has been destroyed.

Generate Map

Example Setup

John and Wendy both decide to play a Dark Depths game. When mustering their Boarding Patrols, John decides to use the Alpha map setup for his half and Wendy decides to use the Iota map setup.



When creating the battlefield, these two map halves are placed adjacent to each other, aligned along their Joining Edge, as shown above. In the Deploy Armies step, John will use the Entry Zones on the left half of the battlefield (Alpha), while Wendy will use the ones on the right side (Iota).


Half-sized Mission Maps









Entry Zones
In Boarding Actions, each player will have one or more deployment zones called Entry Zones. Each time a unit from your Boarding Patrol is set up, it must be set up wholly within one of your Entry Zones. If a unit will not fit wholly within an Entry Zone, all of its models must be set up as close to the centre of that Entry Zone as possible.

You cannot set up a unit within an Entry Zone if any other unit is in that Entry Zone. However, when setting up a unit at the start of the battle, you can set up your WARLORD alongside that unit as if it was a part of it, using the same Entry Zone. Rules that prevent a unit from being set up within a specific distance of another model or unit cannot prevent a unit from being set up within an Entry Zone.
Objective Markers
In Boarding Actions, objective markers should have a diameter of 40mm. A model is within range of an objective marker if it is within 1" of that objective marker.

At the start of the battle, each objective marker on the battlefield is contested, and so is not controlled by either player. Unless otherwise noted, a player will control an objective marker at the end of any phase if they have more models within range of it than their opponent does.
Command Points
The starting number of CPs each player starts with for Battle-forging their army depends on the size of the battle you are playing. This is usually defined in the mission pack that is being played, but if one is not presented in the mission pack, use the following table. Note that the total Power Level is based on the combined power of all the models used in the battle (so the combined Power Level of both your and your opponent's armies). If you are using a game that uses points values, then the points limit is the maximum points limit per side.

Combat PatrolUp to 50Up to 5003
Strike Force101-2001001-200012

  • Starting number of Command points varies with battle size.
Some rules instruct players to roll off. To do so, both players roll one D6, and whoever scores highest wins the roll-off. If there is a tie for the highest roll, make the roll-off again. Neither player is allowed to re-roll or modify any of the D6 when making a roll-off.

  • Roll-off: Both players roll a D6 – highest wins.
  • Roll again if a tie.
Mission Objectives
During the battle, players can earn victory points by achieving mission objectives. There are two types of mission objectives: End Game and Progressive. Progressive mission objectives are scored during the battle (exactly when is detailed on the objective itself), and can be achieved, and hence award victory points, several times. End Game mission objectives are scored at the end of the battle.
The Warlord
While mustering your army, you can nominate one model (except a model with the FORTIFICATION keyword) to be your Warlord. That model gains the WARLORD keyword. If this model is a CHARACTER, you can also assign a Warlord Trait to it. Note, that more than one model in your army can have a Warlord Trait (e.g. by using Stratagems), but they are only considered your Warlord for the purpose of that trait.
Points Values
Every model and weapon has a points value, which is found in a number of Warhammer 40,000 publications. Points values are similar to Power Ratings, in that they give you a guide as to how powerful certain warriors and weapons are, but they offer a greater degree of granularity. A unit’s points value is calculated by adding together the points value of every individual model in that unit and the points value of every individual weapon equipped by a model in that unit. Certain items of wargear also have a points value, and must be included in a unit's points value if equipped by a model in that unit. While it takes a little longer to work out each unit's points value, doing so enables you to differentiate between two similar squads equipped with different weapon options, as the points values listed in our publications reflect the fact that some weapons are more powerful than others.

  • Points values: Detailed measure of a unit's efficacy.

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