Part of the job of the Beta is to draw out the elements of the rules which cause the most confusion so that we can clarify the relevant parts. Whilst it would be nice to have examples and tactical hints and tips for every single section it’s not really practical (it would triple the size of the book). So, the Beta focusses on the rules bit of the rules and when folks find something tricky I know to expand on that in the final version.
So, the first candidate for expanded explanations seems to be the new turn sequence. I’ll not worry about exactly what the models can do when they get a chance to act – we can look at that later. For now I’ll just focus on the sequence of play as a whole.
I’ll assume that you’ve looked briefly at the Beta and find it less than clear. See if this helps.
Rounds & Turns
Deadzone is played in Rounds. During a Round all the models on both sides get to move, shoot and generally do stuff.
Within a Round, players take Turns doing some stuff with some of their models until all of the models have had their chance to act.
For example, if I have models A, B , C and D in my force, and you have models 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in yours, then a Round might go like this.
- Turn 1: I do stuff with A and B.
- Turn 2: You do stuff with 1, 2 and 3.
- Turn 3: I do stuff with C.
- Turn 4: You do stuff with 4.
- Turn 5: I do stuff with D.
- Turn 6: You do stuff with 5 and 6.
At this point all the models on both sides have had a chance to do something and the Round ends.
Note that the number of Turns within a Round is not fixed and doesn’t really matter. It’s as many as it needs to be and could vary from one Round to another if the players changed their tactics.
A Single Turn
When it comes to your Turn you must normally do stuff with some of your models. You must use at least one model and can choose to use more. The maximum you can use in a single Turn is equal to the Command Total of your Leader model. The Command Total is the two numbers of your Leader’s Command Value added together.
For example, an Enforcer Sergeant has a Command value of 2/2 and therefore has a Command Total of 4 (2 + 2).
Passing Your Turn
As it says above, when it comes to your Turn you must normally do stuff with some of your models. However, sometimes you can Pass the Turn right back to your opponent without doing anything.
Count the number of models on both sides that have not done anything yet this Round.
If you have fewer models than your opponent left to do stuff with this Round then you may choose to Pass.
If you have the same number or more models than your opponent left to do stuff with this Round then you may not Pass.
In the first example above, the red Turn 5 shows a point at which the army of letters could choose to Pass because when it comes to their Turn the only model they have left to do stuff with is D while the army of numbers has two models (5 and 6) left.
That’s it. What is really interesting is the implications.
Firstly, it allows your models to work as teams and support each other when you want them to. However, when you just want to bide your time you can hold back and just take Turns with a single model at a time.
Secondly, it gives more control to better commanders. By more control I mean that they can do stuff with more models at a time if they want to and can therefore do more to control the ebb and flow of the Round. Given the number of models you usually have relative to your Command Total you can choose when to surge forward only a few times in a Round before you run out. When you choose to do so, or if you choose to move as small teams or individuals for the whole time, is all part of the tactics.
Thirdly, because the ability to act within a Round is based on the Command Value of the current Leader it reacts to the changing situation on the battlefield. If a Leader is killed then their loss is immediately reflected in a reduced ability to control the ebb and flow of the battle.
Fourthly, it helps to give character to individual factions as the command structure of each is different. Some have Leaders who are well armoured and dangerous fighters who are happy leading from the front. Others have less combat-oriented models who are happier leading from the safety of an armoured bunker.
Fifthly, it adds another consideration to army building. Now you have to decide which type of leader you want. Adding a captain rather than a sergeant isn’t just about their fighting skill any more – it’s actually about their command ability too.