A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.


Smaller Games of 40K

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on March 20, 2024

Tagged: 40k combatpatrol warhammer youtube 28mm


I’m enjoying the latest iteration of Warhammer 40,000. With the release of its 10th Edition, the designers created a smaller scale game mode they dubbed Combat Patrol. The armies you play are all built from the models in the start collecting boxes they sell. There is no list building. The units (sometimes) have simpler rules than the corresponding unit in the full game. Most armies only have 5 or so units in their list. This all comes together to produce a game that is simple to play. I’ve played many games of Combat Patrol at this point. If you are trying to learn the game, I can’t recommend this format enough: it’s really well done.

What if you want some variety? Warhammer 40K is a game that’s designed with bigger games in mind, so simply making smaller lists can lead to weird situations. Play on Tabletop, a Canadian Warhammer YouTube Channel, has been running a tournament where they pit 500 point lists against one another. To try and avoid some unfortunate pairings have added a small set of additional restrictions when building lists for these 500 point games:

  1. You must have at least one character.
  2. You cannot include any epic heroes.
  3. The maximum toughness of any unit is 9.
  4. You must have two units with the infantry keyword, excluding characters.

They are playing a tournament, and the additional caveat for their games is the winner keeps playing their list till they are beaten. This feels like another, more organic, approach to balance. Challengers will know what they are facing, and try and build a list with that in mind. They also need to keep in mind their list will be frozen in amber if they win.

I’m a big fan of smaller scale games of 40K. I’m curious what other attempts at playing 40K in sub-1000 point lists might look like.

Update 2024-05-10: Play on Tabletop are running a few King of the Colosseum tournaments, and have shared their rules online.