DZ Experimental Rule Number 2

This was actually something that got removed while we were simplifying things during Deadzone’s development. However, I rather like it. Simple, easy to remember, and helps balance out the opening moments of the battle. It also nicely reflects the confusion and surprise of the first moments of a scrap. So here it is again.

What’s the rule? Easy. The first Turn of the game has a limit of the first number of your Commander’s command stat, not both numbers aded together like other Turns do.

For example, let’s say a Marauder Strike Team with a 3-2 Commando Captain in charge gets the first Turn in a game. In normal Turns they can act with up to 5 (3+2) models. Under this rule, their first Turn would have a limit of 3 models instead.

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23 Responses to DZ Experimental Rule Number 2

  1. DrDuckman says:

    Sounds pretty good. It stops Enforcers from utterly taking over initiative first turn which is nice. I’d play with that.

    Then again, this does mitigate a problem I have with the game, instead of fixing it, and that’s the initiative rule. It’s really weird that I basically want units to die, or to waste their activation so I can get first activation next turn. Not a huge fan of that.

    Whatever happened to the first Experimental Rule btw? Is a version of it going into the Compendium?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      You obviously use very different tactics to me.

      The initiative rule in DZ allows you to change your tactics to get advantages now or next Round depending on the battlefield situation. Different factions intentionally have differing levels of ability to mess with this aspect of the metagame as part of their character.

      It’s rare for me to have a model on the table that I don’t have a plan for or who isn’t doing something useful. If you have models standing about just getting in the way of you finishing your activations then why did you take them? Sounds like I’m missing something.

      • DrDuckman says:

        Yeah, I think I was unclear there, apologies, I was in a hurry. I tend to find that often, particularly in the last rounds of the game, I may suicide melee a model or waste it’s activation on a Blaze away support action in order to ensure I get first turn. This is particularly true when I have a single model left to activate. Getting initiative is worth losing some useful actions from the model most of the time. This is particularly true with the Orcs, I found.

        This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does seem to be a point where the rules kinda infringe on the gameplay in a way that I find a bit too “gamey”. I’d probably have preferred it to be tied to a probability based on your command score, like for example you both roll off and add your total command value. It would also give the more expensive commanders as boost, which they kind need. Possibly with some cards to add to your initiative/subtract from your opponent’s.

        I say this also partly because I find that being sure about your initiative allows for longer term planning, but also less risk. Some other games like Bushido enable manipulating the initiative roll while still making it risky, which I find more interesting.

        But I do realize this one may just be my personal preference, however, and probably a bit late to change it. This rule is a good compromise.

        PS. no news on the Excessive Force bit then? Sorry, I’ll stop asking, I just really hoped that will get in.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          You say gamey, I say tactical choice. It’s a matter of perspective.

          DZ includes a number of subtle bits of the command and control aspect of battles including this. It starts when you choose whether to pay points for a high command stat or more troops, and goes from there. Having a high command stat means having a smaller force, and the flip side is a better control over the sequence of battle. I am rather pleased with the simple way this produces quite a profound effect on the way the metagame evolves. If you have chosen to prioritise more troops over a better commander why should you not suffer a loss of ability in the area which commanders specialise in? If you had de-prioritised heavy weapons you would lack them, so why not a lack of command function for de-prioritising that? It seems that you want to be able to have all the abilities of a good commander without there being any balancing factor. If this was the case then everyone would always take the best commanders, and that would be boring. As it stands, there is an important choice to be made when you compose your Strike Team, and many more of them throughout the battle. I think that’s a good thing.

          As to Excessive Force, I don’t have a definitive answer yet. There were a number of negative comments as well as positive ones and I need to work through some more calculations to check things before it becomes official. Even if it does, I have no idea where that would be. Of course, if you and your gaming group like it, then go right ahead and use it. That’s why I put it up in the first place – for you guys to play with 🙂

  2. Jack Trowell says:

    Very good idea, I had been thinking of a similar house rule for a while.

  3. Nirven says:

    That sounds like a great rule, the first initiative always seemed too important. It gets alleviated this way.

  4. Pikaraph says:

    I think it’s a really good idea !

  5. Leon says:

    I think the game plays better with only the first number being used at all times especially at 70 points

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I disagree. Doing that in every Turn also removes a large part of the command/control metagame aspect.

      • Leon says:

        Of course you disagree otherwise you would not have wrote it the way you did. I find that waiting for my opponent to activate 6 of his guys before I get a go boring and can with a good turn win very easily. I also have enjoyed playing I go you go. The command system is interesting but I find some of the coand stats to high when there is so few models on the board.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          All of which is a deliberate part of the design. Taking the leaders with the high Command is expensive, so having better leadership (and therefore more control over the meta game) gives you fewer pairs of boots on the ground. It’s no different to balancing whether you take a heavy weapon’s trooper or more guys with rifles.

          You can House rule whatever you like to get the game you want – it’s your house 😉

          However, if you change this then most of your leaders will have the wrong points cost as they are, in part, paying for this ability.

        • Pikaraph says:

          I agree with Jake, remember one thing : if your opponent is able to move all is troops during the same turn, alright he will do… but after that you will be able to move yours turn after turn to place them wisely or go on a rampage and kill those you can with your opponent stuck (he may have some models on Overwatch 😉 )

  6. icevvind says:

    And talking about experimental rules…
    What if we change the way overwatch action works doing it in a reverse way. Something like; rolling for overwat during the other player model activation, in an attemp to react to it (without having the overwatching counter placed on your model yet) and once rolled (sucessfully or not) place the overwatch counter on your model (unless you roll 3 successes) preventing it from reacting again. We can take a short action, like “Put your head down!” to clear the model overwatch token in its next activation.
    This is cause i feel the Overwatch action pretty useless like its now. And this way i can try to get rid of those scary marauder dogs….

    • Quirkworthy says:

      This sounds more like the Infinity approach, which I really don’t like. It slows the game down massively and encourages people to do nothing rather than act.

      I don’t find Overwatch to be useless at all. Unpredictable and not entirely reliable, to be sure. That’s how I want it because predictably good Overwatch stops the other side from doing anything and bogs the whole game down. It’s a balance between too good (game slows to a crawl) and not good enough (pointless). I think it’s hard to use well, but I’ve seen it be devastating many times. Positioning is important as is choosing who you overwatch with. It’s not the easiest of game aspects to do well with.

  7. Pingback: Deadzone Experiments |

  8. Sam says:

    I like this.
    Doesn’t make initiative a moot point against Enforcers as it is now.
    I play Enforcers a lot and field my Plague vs Enforcers for demo games.
    It is great flavour for the futuristic SWAT team to be more organised it makes for repetitive games.
    Enforcers still have great control of initiative due to small numbers but they have to work for it.
    Also, Enforcers kind of miss out on the complexity of variable activation chains other factions do a lot of jousting with.
    Would be nice to see new Enforcer players getting a peak of the crunchy strategic decisions.

  9. I think I like the overwatch option a bit better as a way of making the first activation less “safe” – Start the second squad entirely on overwatch on turn 1. Some downsides: Any model that activates overwatch is activated for their turn, and it could create a situation where the second squad could take initiative in the second turn by activating everything – but at the cost of only using 1 short action (if any!) on the first turn.

  10. Hakon says:

    the problem comes when you want to do things like distract, if you can never get initiative you can never distract an opposing player, if distract allowed you to make an opponent count as activated OR an activated model not deactivate in kits owners next turn it would work far better. and people would not have as much complaining about the initiative, we don’t mind smaller forces going first but having smaller forces immune to most command moves and special cards is stupid.

    • Greg Kourik says:

      If you change the wording on pg 21 of the rulebook End Of Round step 4 from:
      If the battle is not over then remove the activation
      markers from all models and start a new Round at
      step 1.
      to
      If the battle is not over then remove one activation
      marker from each model and start a new Round at
      step 1.
      That will sidestep that entire problem (and the problem with glue grenades).

    • byzantinecataphract says:

      I disagree. A smaller force that gets targeted by a Distract card and a lucky command can lose half its Strength (theoretically more, since the powerful models will be Distracted first).

      I played against a friend of mine with Marauders who has this obsession with killing my (always Shielded) Peacekeeper Captain. He won initiative, and proceeded to Distract and Command into Activation three out of my four models, then slammed me in the next turn with his Mortar and played Weak Spot. Luckily for me, he only injured my Captain and killed one more Enforcer.

      So no, it’s not stupid when you can miss half a turn practically.

  11. byzantinecataphract says:

    Also, @Greg Kourik:

    I also thought this would be a cool idea, and how it would make the game better.

    Then (fortunately before I tried it) I realized that it would utterly decimate small forces. Imagine playing with a Peacekeeper Captain or 1A, and your opponent locking him down for two to three turns in a row- all it takes is a couple of cheap leaders from any faction and a lucky Distract card.

  12. Greg Kourik says:

    @byzantinecataphract
    I understand you concerns. Remember, the terrible things you are ascribing to this are already happening to every force that goes against the Enforcers. They just cannot dish it back. IMO this change sounds balanced and, more importantly, fair.
    I will give it a try from both sides and let you know.

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