DZ Experimental Rule

The subject of this experimental rule is related to high AP weapons and Tough targets.

I say experimental as this isn’t something that’s slated for a particular product. It is, instead, simply something that has been worrying away in the back of my head as a detail that needed looking at… sometime. However, several commenters have brought this topic up recently and so I thought it would be worth looking at a bit more closely now. Thanks to all of you that have made suggestions and comments.

This isn’t an official update, change in the rules, or errata. It’s just me musing out loud 😉


Excessive Force

This situation is typically caused by someone using an anti-tank weapon to attack an individual trooper. In these cases the individual’s defences are totally outclassed and usually overwhelmed.

Any attack that is resolved at AP3 or higher may count as Excessive Force.

If the attack’s AP is equal to at least twice the target’s Armour then the attack counts as using Excessive Force. Excessive Force attacks are resolved as if they were Irresistible.

Note that Excessive Force applies regardless of whether the AP value is native to the weapon or boosted by playing a card, using special ammo, or any other method.

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89 Responses to DZ Experimental Rule

  1. General Jobo says:

    I haven’t tried it yet, but to me it is definitely a good rule! It starts to make units like ork Hulks very useful in scenario games. Also takes a bit of the power out of tough, and really tough.

  2. General Jobo says:

    If someone had no armour and “Really Tough”. Would you need at least one AP in order to have irresistible.

  3. Alex Cooper says:

    Well thats certainly a nasty bit of kit. It even affects the enforcer thermal rifle and the multiple different missile launchers. Ap3 was probably a good choice, makes sniper weaponry no more damaging vs those tough models, as it should be, and it definitely increases the danger of the higher ap weapons like the HEW’s.

    I’ll shall be playtesting this a lot but I can’t see it not being used all the time.

    Definitely a game changer. If all goes well would this become a proper rule (maybe printed in the compendium) rather than staying experimental?

  4. Retalus says:

    Love it. We literally just played a game where my hulk was underperforming, and the commandos were getting torn up by plague terratons and swarms sporting Very Tough. I thought to myself, how many points did I pay for AP6 on this gun, when nobody has more than 2 armor? Nice nice nice!

  5. DrDuckman says:

    I love it too, mostly because HEW units like the Hulk really need Irresistable to be useful right now. The more scalable nature of the rule also allows more variation, and makes the really expensive units like the Plague Teraton worth it. Finally, it makes thematic sense, which is nice.

  6. Rigel says:

    This, or something close to it should be a rule. Missiles and HEWs should really be causing harm to tough units. I must have missed the debate though, why not just give things over ap3 irresistible? (Yes I realize this rule allows certain attacks to rise to the level of excessive force)

  7. Sam says:

    Feels a bit odd where one rule is writing over another:
    Armour: Yes I do, AP: No you don’t, Tough/Really Tough: Yes I do, Irresistable: No you don’t
    Are you just writing another rule to cover not having put Irresistable in somewhere?
    At the moment AP3+ weapons never fire because I just suppress them every round.
    Do they really need to be better? And if they do, why not use Irresistable instead of a complex comparison of AP and Armour values with cards thrown in?
    What is the point of Peacekeeper Armour if you take away my Armour AND Tough?
    I’ll playtest it but it smacks of 40K’s AP being overpowered forcing Invulnerable saves into the game…I don’t play that game anymore. Don’t do it to Deadzone.
    You should definitely have a rule called Excessive Force, it may not need to be this version.

    • A.Davies says:

      I agree that Peacekeeper Armour/FG Armour would be fairly pointless with this rule.

      Why not simply dispense with Tough and Really Tough altogether in the next iteration of the rules? You could just use armour to represent all facets of resilience. That would allow you to streamline the rules by also negating the need for the ‘excessive force’ and Irresistible abilities. That’s four sets of rules you could ditch without really diminishing the game. Also it would allow you to more effectively cost models as there’d be less variables to consider while calculating points.

      I think that whatever happens if the effectiveness of Tough and Very Tough are reduced then all the models with those abilities should be re-costed to balance out their diminished defensive ability.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Tough has a very different effect to armour, and even with this rule in place will function against the vast majority of enemy attacks.

        If you replaced Tough with Armour then you not only simplify but also dumb down and reduce the variety, neither of which I think are good. It’s always a matter of opinion as to where you draw the line in simplification, and for me these are fine. The core armour rule is applicable in the majority of cases. All other rules are limited to use with only a minority of specific troop and weapon combinations and add character and definition to them. Without these rules you are left with many troops and weapons which are the same.

        Finally, if you think that Peacekeeper armour would be fairly pointless, then how about i play you with free peacekeeper armour on all my models. Does that sound fair? Thought not. If you’re not happy with me having it for free then it’s hardly “pointless”.

        • General Jobo says:

          To me the benefit of the Peacekeeper Armour is the 3+ survival, that’s what makes these guys awesome! With four dice to survive you are likely to get three successes most times!

        • A.Davies says:

          Excellent spin on the English language, I was actually using the word pointless in its more usual sense of meaning something having little or no use or purpose. As I also proceeded the word pointless with the word fairly my meaning was actually that peacekeeper armour has little use or purpose within the context of a game where Tough can be negated by regular AP rated weapons.

          I think that peacekeeper armour is worth some points but not as much as it would be if Tough was only trumped by Irresistible.

          Whatever game mechanics you decide on are fine by me so long as the models are appropriately costed. My concern is that models like the peacekeeper captain will end up being relatively over-costed – if that concern proves to be unfounded I’ll be happy.

    • lord_blackfang says:

      I sort of agree that a chain of successive special rules each trumping the previous one is a bad idea.

      But if it has to happen, maybe just say that negating Tough eats up 3 points of AP?

      • Quirkworthy says:

        It’s only a bad idea if you want rules with no variation. This “chain” is hardly complex or long and adds a huge amount to the possible different weapon and troop types.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Armour and Tough is only “taken away” by very specific combinations of weapons and rolls. How many such weapons do you think are typical in a Strike Team? I’d say 1-2. Troopers don’t carry them and that’s half your force. In other words, the majority of weapons firing against any target in any armour are not using this rule. If you have a force entirely equipped with Peacekeeper armour then it will be a formidable obstacle against the majority of attacks, and only when faced with an anti-tank weapon would this personal armour run into trouble. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

      This isn’t a case of adding Irresistible because I liked the name, it’s a case of making the high AP weapons behave as they should. These are designed to punch holes in main battle tanks, and nothing a human can wear is going to make them safe against that kind of punch. Nor should it.

  8. Chris Bburn says:

    That sounds like a great rule. Have been playinv a bit and wondering what the point in high ap weapons was with tough and really tough being so powerful.

  9. pepperpunk says:

    Perhaps just make all AP 3+ (or AP 4+) weapons irresistible?

  10. Owesome says:

    Doesn’t this kind of bone Brokkrs, who have – armour and Tough is their only saving grace?
    I’d be happier if the threshold was AP4, or if Irresistable was applied more liberally to existing models. Why have more rules when less will do?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Because less will not do the same thing.

      Less gives me less ability to write troop types and weapons with different capabilities which in turn makes for a game with less choice and less tactics. I don’t much like any of that.

      As I’ve said above, Tough will still apply as normal against the majority of attacks.

  11. Jonatan Reino (asdepicas) says:

    Its true that high AP weapons are quite underwhelming right now, missile launchers and HEW weapons see litle play due to not being able to deal with the high count of tough models around (specially in plague) but doing this rule would outright kill other models such as peacekeeper commander (29 points that would easily blow up when fired by a 11 point missile launcher) Its just a first idea, probably in the right way, but definitively its not the final solution

    • Jonatan Reino (asdepicas) says:

      I mean, make it a dice roll when shot by a weapon with AP3 or higher, making it that way useful but not as powerful when facing high ap weapons… maybe 4+?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Unfortunately you cannot point models based on the worst case scenarios. If an Enforcer missile launcher fired at a captain in Peacekeeper armour then it would come down to the 4+ Shoot vs the 3+ Survive as the armour would be penetrated by the anti-tank missile.

      Of course, if we reduced the armour’s points cost to account for this one instance then what about all the other people who have AP0 weapons who find it almost impossible to get through the Peacekeeper armour and Tough? I’ve played games against canny opponents who avoided or killed my missile launchers and then romped through most of the ret of my army with Peacekeepers. They are a nightmare to kill with most weapons and troops. This rule makes no difference to them.

      • Rigel says:

        I like the rule having read all of your responses it seems the goal is to add a touch if realism for damage while maintaining your ability to use tough and really tough with high armor models?

      • DrDuckman says:

        I think an appropriate solution to the Peacekeeper problem is this… instead of saying all weapons over AP3 potentially get this, say instead(or perhaps in addition to?) that Excessive force activates when the AP value is double the Armour AND +1 for Tough or +2 for Really Tough models.

        Essentially, that will mean that you could wound armour 1 Tough models with AP4 weapons, such as the missile launcher, but you’d need an AP6 weapon to actually wound the Peace Keepers/Phase Ones. This seems in keeping with the power of such beasts, and will not impact their viability too much, since the opponent will have to get really specialized models to deal with them, which leaves them vulnerable in other areas. A player bringing a missile launcher along to combat your potential Piecekeeper is not really much of a risk for him.. bringing a 20 point Hulk? now he’s putting some investment in to handle your superheavy, and that’s fine.

        What’s more, this rule does not step into the toes of the very rare Irresistable weapons. You’d still want them for the really big guys, since most factions don’t have much AP6, and there is always the Armour 2 Really Tough beasties like the Plague Teraton, who will still be immune to Excessive Force. Plus, it will be a boost for that beast, which I think it needs.

        The only issue with this variant is that it will not help Heat Lances and other AP3 weapons, but those generally seem fairly cheap and mounted on quite mobile(Enforcers) or already quite versatile units, like the Rainmaker. I am not sure they need the boost, since I’d try to keep this kind of killing power for Deliberate or specialists only. Shame that the Rebs TK-Zero team is only AP3, but hey, they’ll still get the Strider eventually.

  12. Jonatan Reino (asdepicas) says:

    maybe tough could become a dice roll so that it doesnt protect always…

  13. General Jobo says:

    I play tested this rule today… Played Enforcers (me) vs. Plague (bro).
    I have never won a game with Enforcers vs. plague, except for today, maybe I’m just pants! This game was still no exception.

    I managed to kill a plague swarm with a thermal rifle (using Excessive Force) ! this was first plague swarm I have ever killed! I felt that Excessive Force made the plague have to think that wee bit more for his victory. Typically Plague swarms, with move cards played on them, are just cheesing me every time (four square move, usually followed by a free move into cover – broken)!

  14. Brian S. says:

    This is a good rule, Jake. In my games the Plague have been hella strong, and this will really tone down certain units like the Plague Swarm that were dominating. I can see how the “AP3 and above are Irresistible” idea has its merit, but if you have some long-term plans we don’t know about that would be hampered by that simpler rule than so be it.

  15. Tom says:

    I have to agree that I like the idea of this rule. A person can’t stand up to antitank fire, no matter how solidly built! The cases where it occurs will be in relatively low numbers, and it will maybe change the focus of some initial attacks by those with tough. ie. if there is an antitank weapon on the opposing side when you are using plague, then you make sure you deal with it before romping off after less useful or scary targets. I like the realism. You have to deal with certain threats first.
    Having said that, I haven’t as yet play tested this so I may be talking nads.

  16. Jonatan Reino (asdepicas) says:

    I think that the main problem here is that most people think tough=plague, but there are other models around with tough that would be heavily nerfed. In fact most high cost models (20+) with tough such as peacekeeper captain or even teratons would see their playability greatly decreased. Those model already see very low play because having a high model count is important in Deadzone (due to blazing away) and with this kind of rule if point costs arent revised big guys will be outright removed from games (at least competitive ones) they nearly are right now, this would kill off them.

  17. Greg Hendry says:

    Oh ho! Interesting. I’m definatly going to suggest to my group that we play test this. It’s been bothering me for a while that armour is less effective than tough and any weapon with more than 2 AP has wasted points. Hope this gets refined and out in time for the compendium 🙂

  18. Oni says:

    Played two games last night using excessive force with the rebel missile launcher. The EF and shockwave was a devastating combo. It turned the 12 point missile launcher into a Plague Lord killing machine, which wasn’t right. I think if you go with AP 3 weapons, there with need to be adjustments to the cost of several models. One other option might be to make the EF cut off at AP 4. That would cause the lower AP 3 weapons to at least have to use a headshot card.

  19. DrDuckman says:

    Oooh, I totally forgot the Headshot cards. This is interesting.

    So if the rule was to be modified to include +1 or +2 for Tough and Really Tough respectively, for the purposes of calculating doubles on Excessive Force, you’d get the interesting mechanic whereas now AP3 weapons like the Heat Lance or the Reb team have to use Headshot cards to get Irresistible against Phase 2s and the like, while AP4 weapons like the Missile Launcher get it natively. This makes Headshot cards a much more valuable a resource.

    However, AP3-4s still wouldn’t really match up to the likes of Peacekeeper Captains and Phase 1s, which is only right. You’d need an AP6 weapon for that, which every faction might eventually get with the Strider(except Forgefathers, who already get Irresistible natively). It’s a huge investment to counter a single unit type which still will survive on average, due to the 3+ survival rolls, which again is only right. And ofcourse a survival specialist like the Plague Terraton will be immune outright, to make natively Irresistable weapons worth it as well.

  20. Michael Kelley says:

    I was thinking about this rule. Obviously it makes high AP weapons more useful, and tough models more killable. But it also gets into some weird situations. For example, 4 AP, 5 AP, and 6 AP are identical against all current targets under this rule. Even if you add in 3 armor units (which I expect you will), 4 and 5 AP still have no difference, since they take away all armor and toughness from armor 2 units, and only armor (no toughness) against armor 3 units. So in some ways your goal of obtaining more granularity and variety in units is perhaps actually defeated with this rule change?

    A slightly different rule I thought of, and it seems simpler to me while still allowing granularity in unit power levels, is the following:
    Tough – Subtract 1 success from attacks. May be cancelled by 2 unused AP.
    Really Tough – Subtract 2 successes from attacks. These may be cancelled by unused 2 AP each.
    Deliberate – Same as it is now.

    The wording isn’t perfect, but the idea is that if you have 2 more AP than the target has armor, you cancel one level of toughness. 4 AP more than the target cancels all toughness. Deliberate ignores this requirement, cutting through really tough targets easily, as usual.

    I could be wrong, but this seems simpler and more straightforward to me, since you don’t have to add any new exceptions or special rules, just change the definitions of tough and really tough. It also achieves similar results to what your rule above does. For example:

    1 armor units with tough are identical with this rule, needing 3 AP to cancel all toughness.
    2 armor units with tough are identical, needing 4 AP.
    0 armor units with tough are a bit weaker, with it cancelled by 2 AP, but they will still have a level of defense against the vast majority of units, as you pointed out in your posts above. This will also give units with 1 AP a reason to use Weak Spot or Head Shot against these units.
    Theoretical 3 armor units with tough will need 5 AP instead of 6, but that’s a small difference, since most of the big guns have 6 AP already.

    Really Tough gets better overall, but I feel like it SHOULD be better than tough units with 1 more armor. Right now, with your current rule, the Peacekeeper Commander’s armor is cancelled with 4 AP, and the stage 1 is cancelled with 3. It seems like a pretty low hurdle to breach the stage 1 for decent weapons with head shot or weak spot. But maybe you want stage 1’s to be squishy against medium AP weapons, I’m not sure.

    Anyway, the game is amazing, and you’re an awesome designer, so I’m probably ignoring 30 problems with this rule suggestion, but thought I’d throw it out there!

    • Michael Kelley says:

      Another thing I noticed with Excessive Force, looking through the units. Plague Teratons, and other 2 armor really tough units, are identical against 4+ AP weapons to 2 armor tough units. Of course they get a bonus against lower AP weapons, but still it seems like excessive force in some cases actually decreases variety, since these units are identical against missile launchers, despite their different capabilities.
      Similarly, stage 1’s and stage 2’s are identical against 3+ AP. Again, this seems a little off to me. Really Tough matters not at all against high AP weapons, since armor is the only determining factor in what gets deliberate.

    • Michael Kelley says:

      Sorry, replace “deliberate” with “irresistible” in both of these posts.

  21. Rhift says:

    Hopefully people are still reading this post. I thought of an elegant solution to this rule that is easy to apply and give adequate compensation to armor and the tough and really tough abilities. Here it is.

    A model’s total effective armor is doubled to determine the AP value at which Excessive force applies.

    Total effective armor (TEA) = Armor + 1 for tough or +2 for really tough
    Excessive force applies when AP = TEA * 2

    So for example, a Stage 2 plague has 1 armor and tough. Excessive force would apply when being hit by a weapon having AP4 or above. For it to apply to an enforcer captain then the weapon would need no be AP6 or above (2 armor + tough). This applies equally well when a model has no armor. For example, a plague swarm with really tough would be affected by excessive force when hit by an AP4 weapon. For a model with no armor and tough it would apply when hit by AP2 weapons.

    I think this solution deals with most of the concerns expressed regarding this rule. This rule can be applied regardless of the armor value, is easy to apply in any situation and gives effective consideration to the armor and tough abilities of the models. Additionally, it provides reasons to have all AP values for weapons. For example, an AP5 weapon with AP ammo can then be used when AP6 is needed to apply excessive force.

    I am currently using this version of the rule and it seems to be well balanced.

    • DrDuckman says:

      Totally agreed on this one, as mentioned on a couple of my comments above. Not only does it make card management more interesting, by giving those Headshots more value, but it also gives a lot of units that are kinda iffy right now an interesting niche, without hugely compromising the big baddies, like the Peacekeeper, or the Plague Teraton. It even makes them potentially more valuable, since the middle of the road tough units are no longer quite as tanky, making you want to splurge for that Teraton.

    • Michael Kelley says:

      I like parts of this idea. It is a bit more streamlined than my rule above. But I am concerned that is requires very high AP values to breach strong targets.
      For example, as you pointed out, you would need 6 AP to breach a stage 1’s armor, as opposed to 3 AP with Jake’s rule, and 3/5 AP with mine to eliminate 1 and 2 points of toughness respectively. 6 AP puts his armor out of touch of some of the current armies. For example, peacekeepers would be left with no way to reliably breach him, which is devastating if they have a kill the commander mission.
      And it’s even more ridiculous with the plague teraton. 8 AP to have a reasonable chance to hurt him? I don’t think the game is even going to make weapons that strong.
      Did you read my post above yours? I think it strikes a nice balance of simplicity, while still allowing granularity in varying unit defenses. Let me know what you think.

      • DrDuckman says:

        I would think that needing AP 6 on some targets is ok however. After all, these AP6 weapons need to have a niche themselves. And remember the Strider looks like it will come with HEW as well, which probably means AP6. And both Enforcers and Rebs get that.

        I think the main thing there is, yes, some factions will have more trouble getting through Really Tough than others, and that’s ok. Enforcers for example don’t really need the killy help… an Enforcer Sniper can do the deed against a Phase 1 pretty reliably, as is, and is an amazing counter against everything else. A Hulk on the other hand pays a huge premium for not much more actual value for his AP6 weapon. Most importantly, the Plague Teraton should be immune to this… because it’s cost is so massive for pure survivability, there should be very little that can reliably hurt it… which is basically where actual Irresistable weapons come in. And I think it’s utterly appropriate that something like the Peacekeeper Captain is only countered by they highest AP in the game, given his cost. The big guys tend to struggle to get a game in as it is.

      • Rhift says:

        Thanks for the reply. I thought your solution was in the right direction but I wanted to take into consideration all of the stats of the model in a single calculation. I felt like your calculation was piecing apart the characteristics too much. I think this option streamlines the calculation and gives the appropriate synergy between the tough abilities and armor.

        I also tend to agree with @drduckman and don’t have a problem with it being difficult to neutralize the tough abilities. As this is an override type rule (i.e., it overwrites the normal rules for existing abilities), I don’t have a problem with it not being able to apply to some models. Also I think that there needs to be a place for irresistible weapons to counter units such as the plague teraton. By reducing the AP cost for neutralizing the tough abilities it effectively makes every heavy weapon irresistible, which would make the irresistible trait superfluous.

        I think this solution strikes a balance between adding value to units with high AP heavy weapons (e.g., marauder hulk and enforcer missile launcher) without neutering expensive units like the enforcer captain.

        Let me know if you have any thoughts or feedback.

        • Michael Kelley says:

          I will say that I definitely like your solution more than Jake’s proposal. I think his version makes it far too easy to completely neutralize tough and really tough, and especially weakens guys like the stage 1 that have only 1 armor. I also like that yours makes really tough more important in the high AP attacks. Jake’s makes the distinction between tough and really tough meaningless once you have 3 or 4 AP, which nerfs stage 1’s and plague teraton completely.
          I’m still a little worried that a plague teraton a will never die with your rule, since I don’t see him ever creating an 8 AP weapon. But they cost a ton, and they have a fairly bad survive stat for their cost, so I guess you can still bring the big boys down.

    • Michael Kelley says:

      I thought of another reason that I prefer my rule suggestion over yours. Your rule makes even AP values very valuable, and odd AP values weaker unless they use a head shot or weak point. 3 AP is especially weak, which I see as problematic since so many units across the armies have 3 AP.
      I think Jake’s rule goes a little too far in making 3 AP super phenomenal. But his rule and yours make 5 AP pretty pointless, except when a card can raise I to 6.
      Since the whole purpose of the rule was to make high AP units more valuable, and really tough units like the plague swarm more killable. I think Jake’s rule goes a little too far in this direction, but I think yours takes it to another extreme, making some units with an additional AP much more valuable than units with 1 AP less, and making the units that were supposed to be weakened still pretty damn near impossible to kill at times, especially for some armies.
      Like look at the marauders, who are only able to easily get AP 3. With my rule they can cancel at least one level of toughness on the plague swarm, they can cancel all the armor for a stage 2, and they suffer only -1 success with a stage 1. With your rule, all of these units would be much harder for them to kill with the HEW Beamer,unless they used a card every single time they took a shot.
      Maybe mine is a bit more complicated to explain (I don’t think it is, really), but it seems to offer the most granularity with giving every AP value a use in certain situations,while still making head shots and weak spots more useful for high AP units than they are now.

      PS – I wonder if jake knows that this thread is still active. Obviously he has all the true expertise in the system, so I imagine he’d have valuable insights for both of our rule suggestions.

      • DrDuckman says:

        Issue there is, the AP3 weapons are generally on non-Deliberate platforms(like the Heat Rifle Enforcer, or the Desolator Grogan), or already versatile ones. For your example, the AP3 HEW beamer is on the Rainmaker, who is already well worth his points with all the other awesome firepower that he tots around. So it’s entirely reasonable that he’d have to have Headshot card to hurt Phase 1s easier… Deliberate only starts happening on AP4s, or on units that already have other bonuses/are cheap, like the Rebs weapon team or the Rainmaker. I would certainly not give further bonuses to Deliberate models, not when there is an 11 point AP4 Deliberate model around.

        The rule we suggest makes those mobile AP3s more tactically threatening without them being overpowered, since the opponent cannot know if you have a Headshot/Weak spot card available. This makes for interesting bluffing opportunities, which is always a nice element in a card game. On the other hand, if a non Deliberate model can actually move into line of sight and shoot your Phase 2s off the board reliably with a +1 shoot card, or aiming, we got a balancing problem. Or, even worse, when that same non-deliberate model can hurt a Peacekeeper captain with a Head shot/WS. Do we really want an 11 point model with Headshot to be able to hurt a Phase 1? Even AP6 Hews being able to pen Plague Teratons is food for thought, given how much the Teratons pay for that survivability. Perhaps they deserve to only be hurt by actual Irresistable weapons, or Headshotting snipers, given their cost.

      • Rhift says:

        Generally, I prefer AP4 to AP3 because I am of the opinion that the rule should apply infrequently. Otherwise, the tough and really tough abilities take too much of a hit. I am not opposed to the models that have the tough abilities being difficult to kill. The game provides various options for deal with them.

        That being said, I will also playtest your rule to see how it plays out.

  22. Michael Kelley says:

    Whoops, I was thinking of the wrong army. Marauders have 6 AP guys, so don’t have to worry much in any case.
    But what do the Rebs, or heck, even another plague player in a mirror match, have to counter really tough units like the plague swarm and the stage 1 at the moment? And yes, I saw your argument that every one is getting strikers which will probably have 6 AP. But I only went in at the striker level, and I would like at least a soft counter to every unit in the game within the starter. My version of the rule would mean that every single army starter can at least get every unit in the game down to -1 success, if they get the right unit into shooting range.

    • DrDuckman says:

      That’s the Sniper no? every faction except the plague gets one, and they can hurt Phase ones fairly decently. Not quite as well as irresistable, true, but 6 dice at +4 (with a Card) gives you a pretty decent chance to get 3 successes over that Phase 1, particularly with exploding dice. A headshotting sniper has a decent chance to hurt a Plague Teraton.

      As for Plague, they really should not have a shooting option that can hurt Phase 1s…. melee is the great equalizer. A suppressed Phase 1 charged by a couple of Phase 2s is in trouble even with really tough.

      My worry is that AP3s being able to take out Phase 2s easily will massively nerf the Plague, who rely on those Tough units to get into melee. Deliberate enemies one can deal with, with smart positioning. more mobile units on the other had will eventually get a shot at you before you get to them.

      • Michael Kelley says:

        Marauder sniper is 5+, so messes up the math a bit. Reb sniper is a leader, so not great to put her in potential harms way to get the shot.
        And phase 2’s only cost 10 points, same as a basic enforcer trooper. Allowing the one or maybe two expensive units on your squad with 3 AP to have a consistent chance to damage them is hardly what I would call a nerf.

      • Michael Kelley says:

        By the way, DrDuckman, I could be wrong, but it seems like you are overestimating the effectiveness of even the enforcer snipers (the best in the game so far) against stage 1’s.
        Snipers roll 5 dice, 6 if you play a headshot. They hit on 4+, so you will average 2-3 hits without headshot, 3-4 hits with headshot. If you get super lucky, maybe you’ll get 5.
        Stage 1’s are rolling 3 dice for survive if they aren’t in cover, which seems like a pretty bad idea for them. Much more likely they’ll be in cover, if they’re played well. So that’s 4 dice, succeeding on 4+. So with only moderate luck they’ll get 2 successes, maybe 3 if they’re lucky. Add 2 for really tough, and they will have 4, maybe 5 successes total.
        So the sniper, using a card, has to get very lucky to have 5 successes, and the stage 1 only needs moderate luck in cover to have the same 5 successes.
        And that’s even assuming he walks himself into your line of fire, since the sniper is deliberate and can’t move and shoot. If you play a card to move him into position, there goes your chance for a headshot.
        And that’s with the absolute best sniper in the game, playing one of the best battle cards. Shouldn’t there be a better counter to this, who is conversely WORSE against other units. Because right now, as you pointed out, snipers are basically good against everyone. It seems more interesting to me to have a standard paper-rock-scissors idea in unit matchups.

        • DrDuckman says:

          You misunderstood by want I meant “decent chance”. Given the points cost difference, a 30% chance to wound in cover is actually pretty reasonable, given the fact that you should be getting a bead on him most of the game due to size, and that the phase 1 is not really going to be threatening you back. Remember, exploding dice skews larger number of dice upward, so those 6 dice have a big chance to add another dice, but even without, that’s around a 50% you’ll wound a Phase 1 out of cover with any +1shoot. It may take the rest of the game to kill him, but he costs 8 points more, and will not really get to hurt anyone due to being slow… fair enough.

          The reb sniper is similar, since you got spotter widely available. The goblin snipers cost half as much… You can have 3 of those taking pot shots for the same cost as a Phase 1, and ofcourse the Mauraders have Spotter as well. Again, due to exploding dice, the 5 dice even at 5+ will eventually get through. And ofcourse, most of the time, you just suppress that Phase 1 for the rest of the game, or ignore him.

          These units are meant to be difficult to kill. This is basically all you are paying for with them.

          However, the Phase 1 is not really the issue, it’s the fact that your rule would make the Phase 2 vulnerable, and they are pretty much the main killing unit plague has. They are cheap because they are essential. A common set of non Deliberate 13 point specialists being able to reliably ping them would actually be a huge nerf for the plague, since they have to slog all the way across the map. This is, after all, why they are costed so cheaply in the first place.

          I actually agree with you on the snipers being the best at killing pretty much everything being boring. It’s an artefact of the fact that weapons dont really have a damage value, and hence why Excessive Force, in some description, is a good idea. I just dont think that having it being very common (as AP3 is) is a good solution. But either would be better than none at all.

        • Michael Kelley says:

          Duckman, you raise some great points. I think I need to play more 🙂
          And rhift, I’m going to try your idea too.

  23. Hi,
    Sorry for my english

    A big gun not only works to kill better just tough man….but all!

    New way : AP 3 weapon or more ( why not all ap?) have this rule instead irresistible because irresistible is a rule and i whant to keep it safe :

    Add to potential dammages the half of : PA – armour value.
    For the 0.5 ; 1.5 & 2.5….etc It leave you judge in case that all AP works .5= 0!

    Ex : a missile launcher add (4-2 )/2= 1 potetial dammage against plague terradon
    He make the same against enforcers….

    I thinks it is logical, easy, more balanced for all faction and keep the rules safe.

    I whait your comments.


  24. My first post was not explicit, I write this if like I’m drunk.

    What I want to mean :

    – irresistible is a special rules we have to keep this rule for the weapon who have it, not for all weapon.
    – in the goal to give some power to HIGHT AP weapons and keeping the tough rules safe (not just treat tough like armor)
    – if a big weapon can injured a big guy he can kill a little guy It don’t just negate toughness of the model.
    – do this for all weapon : after shoot resolution it is additional damages for AP :

    (AP – Armor) / 2 are added to potential damages after that apply Tough rules as normal

    NB : half to the lesser number : 0.5 = 0

    We have :
    an AP 1 add always 0 potential damages to the normal result.
    an AP 2 can add 1 more potential damage if the target armor is 0

    an AP 3 weapon against 1 armor add one potential damage. This damage can be nulled by Tough or Very Tough.

    I hope this middle way between “nothing” and “irresistible” make sense.

  25. Axel Berge says:

    I would rather add a new weapon ability Excessive Force, printed EF(x), For weapons which should deal more damage without making them easier to hit with. I think the concept of separating armor penetration from damage is good. I imagine weapons which are specialized in getting through armor materials without increment in the damage to organic material. My interpretation of though is that the target get injured but is to hard boiled to be affected (or in the case with the swarm, shooting one of the small creeps does not affect the overall swarm performance).

  26. Jack Trowell says:

    While I like the basic idea behing this rule, I find that the jump to 3 is too brutal, with no benefit in the current meta from having more than AP4.

    I have been using myself a similar houserule where leftover AP after reducing armor to 0 can be used to negate tough or very tough, but with each level of “Tought” needed 2 points of AP to be negated.

    This give a better niche for all AP values, AP2 being good against enforcers and models without armor but Tough( Forge father brokks), AP3 great against hybrids like the stage 2, AP4 great against almost anything except for very tough models with armor, and AP5 and 6 what you need against them.

    See the table that I compiled at

    • Michael Kelley says:

      That’s the exact idea I floated earlier in this threat! I’m glad to hear it’s been working well at your table… it seemed like a good way to keep things simple while still giving a unique feel to each weapon against certain enemies.

  27. “This situation is typically caused by someone using an anti-tank weapon to attack an individual trooper. In these cases the individual’s defences are totally outclassed and usually overwhelmed.
    Any attack that is resolved at AP3 or higher may count as Excessive Force.”

    I completely agree with the statement that the individual’s defences are totally outclassed and usually overwhelmed – but I do not agree that the outcome of the suggested “Excessive Force” reflects this. It simply affects models with tough/really tough, and does nothing to other individuals defences being put to shame by a missile launcher.
    If the goal is to give a bonus to high AP weapons vs. low armour targets, why don’t we do that directly by adding one or more dice to the shoot action?
    That means it’s more likely that the attack will potentially cause more damage against all low armour targets – not just give a bonus vs. tough/really tough enemies.
    This can also be a global rule, not needing to be “attached” to high AP weapons. And let’s not forget that we might see high AP fight weapons in the future – those should surely be a part of this discussion/rule?

    (very rough text :P)
    Excessive Force (a blue box under the AP rule on page 66 might be a good spot?)
    When weapons or models with the AP ability attacks a target with a Fight or Shoot action, there is a chance that the attack will receive a bonus.

    Either something like:
    Subtract the Armour of the target from the AP number. If the AP value is 3 or above, resolve the attack with a +1 modifier. If the AP value is 6 or above, resolve the attack with a +2 modifier. And finally, if the AP value is 9 or above, resolve the attack with a +3 modifier instead.

    Or something like:
    Subtract the Armour of the target from the AP number. For every 3 points of AP value remaining, resolve the attack with a bonus modifier, up to a maximum of 3. So, if an AP9 attack hits a model with Armour 1, then the bonus will be 9-1 = 8, which equals a +2 modifier since you have more than 6 points of AP value remaining (but less than 9).

    Shoot/Fight modifier:
    +X Excessive Force**

    ** See page 66. [insert either/or text]

    As far as I can see, the result of this rule would mean that high AP attacks receive a bonus modifier vs. low armour targets, whilst still keeping the damage of low AP attacks vs. “naked” targets the same.
    I personally feel this, or something like this, would be a better solution rather than just tossing tough/really tough aside (there’s already a separate rule for that) – as the “fluff” of the rule is to allow potentially more damage when the target doesn’t have sufficient armour.
    If the modifier is too substantial, raise it to every 4 AP remaining, put a max bonus at +2, etc.
    I could even see a fluff motivation that only allows the rule vs. targets of size 2 or greater if it’s too punishing for the smaller models.

    I didn’t mean for this post to become a wall of text, sorry about that. 😉

    • Axel Berge says:

      I think one problem with adding dice is that the dice are related to the probability to hit as well the damage. The excessive force rule would mainly be for weapons which do not have easier to hit but do more damage if they hit.

      • Ah, yes, I see the issue. It doesn’t make sense to add to the shoot/fight action, as it’s about how well the attack hits – not just about the damage potential. Thanks for the response. 🙂

  28. Hello everyones.

    Cool rules Benny and Axel and I agree the fact that irresistible rules have to stay for the weapon that have this rule.

    IN all this proposition I thinks some point very important :

    -Higher AP => add damage if the shoot hit…. Not only negate tough rules : if a weapon can hurt a Teraton it can kill a Goblin sniper easy.

    Add a bonus to shoot big sized model : size after size 1 = accord to rerol missed dice :

    Size 2 = 1 rerol
    Size 3 = 2 rerol


    in combat range difference of size between opponent = number of dice who miss the bigger can reroll both attack and defense.

    Thanks for reply

  29. scarletsquig says:

    Just wanted to add that we’ve been using this rule, and it is really good and helps a bit with the shooting/melee balance of the game. Definitely something to include in the core rules.

  30. Pingback: Deadzone Experiments |

  31. Overall, this rule is polarizing depending on your favoured army. Enforcers and Rebels likely love it. Forge Fathers and Plague less so- Especially if an AP3 attack can negate the plague 1a so easily.

    I tend to agree with Benny Falestål, but would say that the extra die he talks of should only apply to the damage, not the attack roll. – If the attack wins, even if by 1, roll x additional dice to apply to damage. The mechanics become very simlar to a Frag Grenade, or It Burns!, plus can add some flavour in adding incendiary or flesh-ripper rounds on soft targets. (only gain additional damage if target is unarmoured)

  32. The truth is that a rule like this was sorely needed, since already even AP2 weapons are half-useless in most cases. I will not reiterate the arguments already said about AP 3 etc- what I want to bring to your attention is that rules in Deadzone, so far, are clean-cut and flowing, and that’s what makes this game so quick and easy to play. So far, most of the rules suggestions I’ve seen (including Jake’s, I’m afraid) add “math” (Yes, bear with me. I know we’re all grognards here, but most people hate that kind of “math” and it’s not practical anyway).

    It’s always better instead of checking double/leftover/whatever, to simply have a simple comparison.

    Excessive Force: If there’s any leftover AP from your weapon, any model you hit is considered Vulnerable against this attack. If they have the Vehicle trait, they suffer +1 damage.

    There. The fluff is simple: If you actually get hit by one of these, don’t expect to be “injured”. You’re either dead or alive. Sometimes it’s +1 damage. Other times it isn’t. Depends on if you hit. Unless the target guy is a Vehicle, which is ridiculously overpowered already (see Guntracks), so get that free +1 damage.

    The “feeling” of the rules is also simple: Dammit, if you hit the guy, he’s gone. Imagine hitting a Peacekeeper Captain with a Missile launcher and saying “Err, he got a booboo, just an Injury”.

    Now for the “math” to explain my decision:
    1) Adding extra dice is bad. The game has already enough luck as it is.
    2) Adding more than one “if” is bad – humans don’t have good computing power on average. So that leaves functions etc out. Scalable results are not good.
    3) Adding extra damage outright (e.g. +1 damage if you actually hit etc) can get very overpowering, practically ignoring/downgrading Tough/Really Tough on a 1 for 1 basis.
    4) “Spending” leftover AP is a great idea- except it’s not practical on even a skirmish-scale.

    So you need something that gives you more “oomph” when you have leftover AP, without compromising anything. So let’s check what this does to AP weapons:

    Ap 1 weapons are plentiful and useful already. Now, with a Weak Spot/Headshot, you have a good chance of getting rid of most Armor 1 guys- not that was a problem in the first place.

    AP 2 weapons are only Melee so far. Except against Teratons or Enforcers (and now Forge Fathers), they were useless. Now they’re not, since they can kill smaller guys easily, and with a Weak Spot can kill bigger baddies. They’re also great against Armor 1 Tough/Really Tough, so your Enforcer Sergeant is actually not so useless after all in close combat. The only AP2 weapon is the Acidic Breath, which, well, is rare anyway.

    AP 3 weapons are not very common- portable HEW or Thermal Rifles mostly, and the Rebs heavy weapon. Utterly useless so far except against Defender-Shield armored folk, but now they get that extra “oomph” they needed against pretty much everyone.

    AP 4 weapons are only missile launchers etc and Strider Weapons. Useless weapons so far. Now, however, it’s actually worth it to hit people with them, you get that benefit against almost everybody! And of course +1 damage against Vehicles.

    AP 5 weapons- are there any? Maybe Asterians or FF have some? Don’t have the cards yet, only the free version from this site. Still, nothing has armor 4 or 5, so same as AP 6.

    AP 6 weapons: Now these are the beasts. Heavy HEW weaponry were UTTERLY useless. Especially on the Ork Hulk. These were the ones that made me think of maybe having leftover AP being the damage on a Vehicle… but that would mean hitting a Guntrack with an AP of 6 would kill it outright, and it would make AP6 Insanely powerful against Vehicles, one-shotting them easily.

    In the end, I do believe what I propose is more practical (if simplified), since there are too many AP > Armor cases out there so it warrants a general rule. But really fringe cases don’t need a rule, really.

    What do you think?

    • Erion says:

      I like this concept very much. A good survive roll will still save you, if you negate the attack roll and prevent any damage. The interaction of Tough/Really Tough and Vulnerable on the same model will need to be clarified.
      Are we talking about Excessive force being a general rule or a rule on specific weapons? As a general rule this version makes even AP1 weapons very powerful against unarmored models, but if only specific weapons are given the rule, it could be VERY useful in making certain models more deadly against highly armored/tough targets.

      • byzantinecataphract says:

        General rules are always better for the sake of clarity. At best, there could be a cutoff point, like AP3 or AP4 (that wouldn’t be bad since it would limit the use of this rule) but nothing too complex.

        Unarmored models are few and far between, and AP 1 are not so common after all. It does make Weak Spot a very powerful card of course. By far the most common is 1 Armour, which when played with an AP1 weapon would indeed make Weak Spot very powerful.

        Tough/Really Tough and Vulnerable are independent (think Enforcer Captain being hit by a Toxic Weapon). The first reduces potential damage, the second says that you only need 1 damage to get killed, no Injuries.

  33. Another alternative to think about for this rule is a matter of perspective. As written, the experimental rule is comparing AP to Armour, then using the outcome to reduce/negate the effects of Toughness. I think it’s safe to say that 1) We all view Toughness as a point of armour and 2) While you are negating it, Toughness is not being considered as armour in the AP comparison.
    In addition, the rule, while overall sound in concept is written negatively – as in Excessive Force NEGATES Toughness. So, how about we reverse the logic a bit.

    Instead of AP negating Tough, what if Tough negated AP?
    You could amend Tough to read ” This model’s Armour is considered to be 1 higher than printed and reduces the AP of attacks affecting this model by 1″
    With a similar change to Very Tough:This model’s Armour is considered to be 2 higher than printed, and reduces the AP of attacks affecting this model by 2″
    The change Irresistible to read:
    “A weapon with this ability may not have its AP reduced.”

    By both reducing AP and changing the wording from “reduces damage” to “Counts as armour”,
    it neatly creates a situation where 1 Tough = 2 AP.

    Ideally, you could scrap the “considered to be” and errata the cards to be +1 AR, and have toughness simply be an AP nerf, but this gets the job done with less ink.

    • Torkel says:

      I think I’m leaning more and more in favor of this method. “Tough is like 1 Armor but takes 2 AP to negate.” It’s simple, and it creates a gradual increase in penetration with increase in AP. It scales up to our current max AP of 6 and current max damage negation of Really Tough + 2 Armor: AP 6, and only AP 6, is able to completely bypass Really Tough + 2 Armor.

      Irresistible can stay, where it treats Tough exactly like 1 Armor. Those weapons are better at dealing with Tough targets, but non-Irresistible weapons can still deal with Tough by having excessive AP values. It makes Irresistible weapons a special thing instead of meaning essentially nothing, as happened with this experimental Excessive Force.

      I’m sure this option has been considered way long ago. I’d be curious to hear what unwanted effects it has. Maybe I’d be convinced that the rule is not as nice as I think.

      • Jack Trowell says:

        That’s exactly what I have been using, I made a table that compare the “official” variant with just Tough as needing 2 AP to negate :

        The highlighted lines show were there is a difference between the two version, and like you said, the double AP version give more importance to AP5 and 6 against very tough targets, while the excessive force version makes AP4 the king, with AP3 almost as good against non very-tough targets.

        • Torkel says:

          Wow! Nice table! 🙂
          That honestly makes it obvious to me which one is the better of the two. Interesting that there is only one case where they differ vs Tough targets.

        • Great side-by-side comparison.
          As I was tinkering, I originally had the same progression as you did, but I felt that Tough should be a bit more than just 1 point of Armour, in the regard that your example of AR1 and Tough has the same reduction damage vs AP 1 and 2 weapons.
          If you force AP to get throuigh Tough first, the same AR1 and Tough now reduces AP 1 by 2, but AP 2 by 1. – essentially, sliding the changes in the scale down a bit.

          I can’t produce as fine a chart as you did, and lack the html to publish, but I would like to see the “Tough first” progression, as well as “as written” in the side-by-side to really show what we are gaining/losing from each method of application.

        • Jack Trowell says:

          Thank you everyone for your feedback.

          I updated my table, it now include entries for armor 3 + Tough/VeryTough, and I added a column with Walter Wedenbine variant.

          I think that his variant might go too far to the other side, making Tough and very Tough even better than in vanilla against low AP weapons, but maybe this is what is needed to preserve them at their current power level (but many would say that they are too powerful in vanilla)

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I’m working on DS today, so I’ll look at this later. Nice table Jack 🙂

        This idea was suggested quite early on in the discussion around this, and I can’t offhand recall why it wasn’t used.

  34. MonkeyGoose says:

    Yea, Michael Kelley’s idea from January 3 seems to be the best one. Reduce 1 point of toughness for each 2 points of AP. Simple and does what we are looking for.

  35. xem1337 says:

    I want to get this involved in the games we play. Currently we have 8 players covering all of the factions. I’m playing Forge Fathers and haven’t lost a single game against any of them, they moan that it’s because of having Tough on my units – I’m more than happy to try this out to see if it makes the game fairer for them.
    I love that it makes everyone’s units more versatile and stops tough units having no fear from anything but the Irresistible weapons (which there aren’t many!).
    The AP3+ and having to double existing armour (so just AP3 if someone has no armour) makes perfect sense!, meaning that someone would need AP4 to hit my Forge Guard guys as their armour is 2 with tough, this stops the Rebels gorgon guys getting the bonus without using a head shot or AP rounds item but it also means things like missile launchers are much more effective.

    Any news on if this will become an official rule?
    We haven’t tested it yet but I hope it will stop them all moaning that FF are overpowered lol.

  36. xem1337 says:

    When I heard about this rule and before reading it I expected it to be something like that but I still like the idea of it shrugging off most damage apart from the heavy hitting weapons. Adds more variety to the game.

    Are you saying to wound the Plague Terraton (2 Armour and Really Tough) they would need to have AP6? Only a couple of models have that high of an AP value so it narrows down the units people will use again.
    The original rule would be that you would need AP4 (double their armour) to get Irresistible and then that new armour from the toughness is automatically ignored because of the AP value. It would open out the chance for more units to damage tough units with the AP3+ (and double the armour) without letting everyone being able to.

    With your ruling you would be able to take out low armoured and tough units a lot easier but it would be very hard to do damage to higher armoured and tough/really tough units – in the original ruling it’s means it’s still hard but not impossible to damage the low armoured and tough but you can now have a fighting chance against the high armoured and tough units which armies like the Rebels need without penalizing toughness too much.

    I do like your rule but I favor the original more as it seems like you still have to think about your army list harder and be more stratigic with the use of armour penetrating rounds and headshot/weakspot cards.

    • xem1337 says:

      Tbh Jack I only just looked at your table (didn’t have chance before sorry) and it does make a lot of sense as it scales better.
      Rather than having 2 damage reduction dropped to 0 with 1 additional AP value it drops to 1 until there is enough AP to bypass the toughness too.

      It has a less extremes at both ends of the table. Either rule would make it much fairer for to get past toughness but I still like it that it’s only heavy weapons or a lucky headshot/find weakness that could tip the balance.

      I’d be happy with either rule though.

      • Jack Trowell says:

        Yes, my version main merit is that it scales better, and give some use for AP5 and AP6 weapon, where currently the official experimental rule would make AP4 the most that you might ever need expect against armor 3 very tough models. This also mean that AP4 irresistible that the Forge Father get is more or less the same than AP6 in most cases, which seem appropriate to me.

        • xem1337 says:

          I’m trying to get my group to agree to the experimental rule to see how that pans out in the campaign.

          Giving a use for the AP6 units is a very nice idea, but it’s still only limited to be used against the Plague Terraton. In comparison Enforcers who usually get destroyed by the Plague Terraton suddenly have a good chance to defend themselves against it using The Rocket unit, the plague who could just rush in usually now suddenly have to rethink and target the Rocket unit as a priority.
          Both are good rules to be added in I agree but I’m still leaning towards the original Experimental Rule just so the low armoured tough units aren’t penalized as much.

          I think I preferred your Rule A to Rule B in the table you linked.

        • Jack Trowell says:

          The B version was a suggestion by someone else, that I added for comparaison, I also prefer the A version.
          Against a plague Terraton (Armor 2 and very Tough if I remember correctly), AP1, 2 and 3 would work the same as with the experimental rule (or even with just the original rules), AP4 would remove all the defense of the Terraton (making him to tougher than a normal 1st gen) with the official experimental rule, while my version would live it with just 1 point of effective damage reduction. This should be enough to give the Terraton a reason to keep some cover against a missile launcher, while preserving the fact that it is supposed to be even harder to kill than a 1st gen.

  37. xem1337 says:

    Whilst that does make sense it only really effects the Plague Terraton which you will only ever really see 1 of in a strike force, however units with no armour that have tough such as the Brokkr would become a lot more squishy as it would only need AP2 to ignore their toughness so they end up losing some of their edge, seeing how you will see about 3 Brokkr on average in a FF strike team this is a much bigger drawback.

    I’ve had it agreed we are trying out the Experimental Rule of Excessive Force as described for an entire campaign, if this changes the game too much then we may try out your rule after that to see if it works any better.

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