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40k Deep(er) Thought - How Many Turns Do We Need?

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Was just looking over this article; http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2017/11/40k-deep-thought-how-many-turns-do-we-need.html

It's asking what the Turn length of the game really needs to be in 40k. The writer suggests trying a 4-Turn format. That's it. You get 4 turns to win or lose, and then it's game over! It was boggling my mind at first. FOUR TURNS!?! That's it??? It truly did sound like madness. But then I got to thinking, perhaps 4 Turns is actually better, but not necessarily for the reasons the article's writer explained.

The author said that most games of 40k right now can be pretty much called on Turn 4. There are the occasional "down to the wire" games where you can come back from behind for an upset victory, or where it's neck and neck the whole way until the end, but those are admittedly more rare. Perhaps not as rare as the author seems to think (I've had a LOT of close games in 8th), but in a tournament setting you can almost for-sure see who is going to win or lose by Turn 4. I think there were only 2 games this weekend at the BPO where I heard afterwards how close it was. In one, a Salamander's player topple the Ultramarine player who was in the lead all game. The Ultramarine player was 4 points ahead, but then the Salamander player got two "score d3 points" Maelstrom cards, scored them both, and ended up 1 Victory Point ahead to close out the win. The Ultramarine player felt good for playing one of his best games ever, but was soured that the victory was stolen from him at the last moment. In the other game, Necrons battled Death Guard; two armies renowned for their resilience. The game ended 10VP to 12VP in favour of the Death Guard, as both forces just kept scoring points, again during Maelstrom.

How would these games have changed if they went exactly the same, but with only 4 Turns? Well, the Ultramarines likely would have won against the Salamanders, but the Necron vs Death Guard game likely would have remained equally close. Using the BPO as a sample size, that would mean only 1 in 36 games would really be different given a Turn 4 change.

But, of course, there's more to it than that. If each player in those 2 games knew the match would end after 4 turns, how would they have played differently?

4 Turns means you don't have a lot of time to get stuff done. If you have to leave your deployment zone, you have to leave it right god-damn away! A model than moves 6" would move a total of 38" during a 4 turn game, assuming they Advanced every turn an average amount. That's barely enough to get from one side of the table to the other. There's no casually spending two turns slaughtering your opponent from your side of the table before starting your journey to your opponent's deployment zone.

4 Turns means that not as much will be dead at the end of the game. Turn 1 "lol, u dead" stays the exact same, but you're more likely to have forces still functioning by the end of the game. Heck, by the end of the game, you might still have more than a 3rd of your army left, which means you're still very capable of grabbing objectives! This means that going last in 4 Turns is more important, because you're more likely to be able to have the forces necessary to turn things around at this point in the game. Going first, meanwhile, still remains extremely powerful, but doesn't actually get any better either.

4 Turns means more games reach their natural conclusion in tournaments. We all hate only getting a few turns in, and then hearing time being called in the round. Thankfully, most games at the BPO didn't go down to time (in fact, I think only 1 did). We're all pretty good at that. However, it can still be a problem, and prevents certain lists from showing up because they take too long to play. If you knew the game was going to end in 4 turns rather than 5, 6, or 7... you might just have enough time for even these forces to see a game through to their natural conclusion.

So, yeah, I'd be totally willing to give this a try. Anyone want to be a guinea pig?

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In older editions, I found we rarely went past four turns. The games went on a lot longer though as well. 

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Honestly in 80% of the games I play I can tell you who the winner will be after the end of turn 2.

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5 hours ago, Kevin said:

Honestly in 80% of the games I play I can tell you who the winner will be after the end of turn 2.

This is a problem with the game way not just flip a coin to see who wins. Would save time 😃

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28 minutes ago, GreyKnight said:

This is a problem with the game way not just flip a coin to see who wins. Would save time 😃

Age of Sigmar also has this issue.

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I would really prefer a game that builds up to a frenzied pace as opposed to cutting to the middle of the action. I suppose that the ugoigo deployment model is supposed to do some of this for you, but in my experience it hasn't quite achieved that. A shorter game of ugoigo leads to an even more swingy experience.

 

What about just playing smaller games? 2000 points was supposed to be the holy grail of 40k, but maybe there is still too much on the table at once?

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I dunno... the two games of 8th edition I've played have been really close right up to the end, with a lot of back and forth. 

I honestly feel like 2000 points isn't enough. Again... two games in 8th edition, but it seems like vehicles are super expensive now. 

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Generally speaking, I've found that larger games are over faster. The reason for it is that in larger games you have more weapons and abilities that can delete the critical parts of your opponent's army, thus resulting in an even less effective response-attack from them. The smaller the game, the greater the percentage of less effective weapons you're allowed to bring to the battle. For this reason, I've seen smaller games often having a greater number of meaningful turns than larger games. If your 2000 point games are consistently being really close, with a lot of back and forth, then I think that's great and highly enjoyable, but also probably means you're both playing with underpowered lists (which, again, is nothing bad, just not what I've tended to see or hear about).

I really enjoy smaller point games, but haven't done many of them in 8th. From my experiences in the league, the most dynamic and nail biting games were the 500 point ones, but these were the games that were almost entirely played with "my mass of troops vs your mass of troops", and heck yeah I love infantry battles!

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