Pre-Battle Sequence

The Pre-Battle Sequence has the following six steps:

  1. Buy Advancements and Recruit Hired Guns
  2. Determine Scenario
  3. Set up Battlefield
  4. Choose Crews
  5. Draw Tactics Cards
  6. Deploy

1) Buy Advancements and Recruit Hired Guns

Each player can spend Experience to purchase Advancements for their fighters. If both players wish to do so, the player with the higher Gang Rating goes first, purchasing any Advancements they wish, then the other player does so. If both players have the same Gang Rating, the winner of a roll-off chooses whether to go first or second

Once any Advancements have been bought, players can spend credits to recruit some kinds of Hired Guns, specifically Mercs and Hive Scum . If any Mercs or Hive Scum are hired by a gang, don't bother to recalculate their Gang Rating yet; Gang Rating will be recalculated again after all recruitment of Hired Guns is completed.

If both players wish to hire a Merc, the player who currently has the higher Gang Rating goes first and then the players alternate back and forth until no one wants to hire any further Mercs.

If both players wish to hire Hive Scum, the player who currently has the higher Gang Rating goes first and then the players alternate back and forth until no one wants or is permitted to hire any further Hive Scum. A player may not attempt to hire more Hive Scum than their Gang Composition allows. Hive Scum each cost D6 x 5 credits to hire, which is rolled for when a gang attempts to hire them. If a gang decides not to pay the hiring cost after it has been determined, the Hive Scum they opted to pass on still counts against their maximum number of allowed Hive Scum for this battle. For instance if a gang were allowed to hire up to five Hive Scum and attempted to do so, but opted not to pay each randomly determined hiring cost, they may not keep attempting to hire other Hive Scum for this battle at a more agreeable price.

Note that it is possible to hire one or more Hired Guns for a battle, only to have them be excluded from the Crew that actually participates in the battle during the Choose Crew step of the Pre-Battle Sequence. Credits spent on a Hive Scum who ends up not being part of your Crew are lost. Mercs are added to your roster and only charge upkeep if they participate in a battle, so they are a safer investment.

Comparitive Gang Rating

At this step in the Pre-Battle Sequence for each gang participating in the battle, their Gang Rating is the total Rating of all fighters who are able to participate in the battle (including Hired Guns), all Hangers-on, and all Special Territories (+50 Rating each).

Note that each Hive Scum hired increases Gang Rating by 100 points for this battle, rather than by their hiring cost.

Compare the Gang Rating of each gang participating in the battle to determine which is higher and which is lower. Ties are broken by comparing number of battles, then Reputation, then Turf. If there is still a tie, roll off with a D6 until there is a winner. The outcome of this comparison is applied hereafter in the Pre-Battle Sequence whenever the rules refer to the gang with the higher Gang Rating or the gang with the lower Gang Rating, until the end of the Choose Crews step where it will be recalculated based upon the Chosen Crew.

2) Determine Scenario

The Scenario to be played is determined in a specific order:

  • Arbitrator
  • Player Agreement
  • Rescue Mission
  • Turf Struggle
  • Random Determination

Arbitrator

In some situations the Arbitrator may decide or be asked to choose and set up the Scenario for a battle between two other players. Special rules in effect (if any) are explained to the players by the Arbitrator and agreed upon before the battle begins. This can be an opportunity to do something fun or custom, introduce an interesting bit of terrain, and so on. All players have the option to not participate in the battle without penalty and determine the Scenario another way. The Arbitrator should not abuse this option to set their own gang up for success or to bypass the Scenario determination for their own battles

Some rules of thumb for when this is a fair and legitimate use of Arbitrator privilege follow. If three or more gangs will be participating in a battle, this is the approach that should generally be taken. If the set up of the Scenario can be documented and replayed by other gangs in the Turf War or even added to the Random Scenario Determination chart, this can add a lot of flavor to a Campaign and benefits everyone involved. If players who are not the Arbitrator are bored with the standard Scenarios and want a challenge or just something different, allowing the Arbitrator to come up with something custom can keep them engaged with the Turf War.

Player Agreement

The players have the option to mutually agree to play a Stand-Off or Border Dispute in either Sector Mechanics or Zone Mortalis. If this is the case, just skip to the next step.

Rescue Mission

If one of the gangs has captured any of the other gang's fighters, the captured fighter's gang can choose to mount a Rescue Mission, in which case that is the Scenario that is chosen. If they opt not to mount a Rescue Mission the Scenario is resolved normally.

If both gangs have captured any of the other gang's fighters, then the gang with the fewer number of fighters who are not in recovery and not captured gets to chose first. If they opt not to mount a Rescue Mission the other gang may decide to do so. If neither gang wants to mount a Rescue Mission the Scenario is resolved normally.

Turf Struggle

If one of the gangs currently has Turf Size 0, that gang's player can choose the Turf Struggle, Scenario.

Random Determination

To determine which Scenario will be used, roll 2D6 on the following table:

Scenarios
2D6
Result
2-4
The player with the higher Gang Rating chooses which scripted Scenario to play from the scripted Scenario chart below. If there is an attacker and a defender, the player who chose the Scenario is (usually) the attacker.
5-8
Roll on the scripted Scenario chart below to randomly determine the Scenario.
9-12
The player with the lower Gang Rating chooses which scripted Scenario to play from the scripted Scenario chart below. If there is an attacker and a defender, the player who chose the Scenario is (usually) the attacker.
Scripted Scenarios
D6
Scenario
Summary
1
Viciously Vie For New Turf (2-4 Gangs)

All Out War variant (2-4 Gangs)

2
Blind Box Looting (2-3 Gangs)

Fighting Over Loot Crates variant (2-4 Gangs)

3
Chance Encounter of the Violent Kind (2-4 Gangs)

Doomed Negotiations variant (2-6 Gangs)

4
Waylaying Wayward Wastrels (2 Gangs)

Hijacked Cargo Transportation variant (2 Gangs)

5
Robbing You To Benefit Me (2 Gangs)

Homewrecking variant (2 Gangs)

6
Stealthy Sabotage (2 Gangs)

Stealthy Assassination variant (2 Gangs)

-
Saving Captured Gang Members (2 Gangs)

If the selected Scenario dictates that it must be fought as a Sector Mechanicus or Zone Mortalis battle, then that is the sort of battle it will be. Otherwise the players should agree whether they will fight using the Zone Mortalis or Sector Mechanicus rules. If the players cannot come to an agreement roll a D6; if the result is a 4+ it will be a Sector Mechanicus battle otherwise it is a Zone Mortalis battle.

3) Set up Battlefield

Determining how to set up the battlefield is done in a specific order:

  • Scenario Specific
  • Arbitrator
  • Player Agreement
  • Standard Method

Scenario Specific Set Up

If the selected Scenario has explicit setup instructions including top-down diagrams (such as the case with many Zone Mortalis Scenarios), battlefield set up is done by following the Scenario's directions.

Arbitrator Set Up

If the Arbitrator is running a custom Scenario, they set up the battlefield.

Player Agreement Set Up

If there are no explicit instructions or Arbitrator involvement, players can agree amongst themselves how the battlefield is set up if they like.

Standard Method Set Up

If all else fails, the standard method of setting up the battlefield is used.

Zone Mortalis

If the Scenario has a defender, the defender goes first. Otherwise roll off to determine who goes first. Then in alternating turns each player selects a terrain piece and places it on the playing surface.

First, board tiles are placed. Each tile after the first must be placed so that at least half the length of one of its edges is touching an existing tile. A tile cannot be placed if it would make the entire board more than four tiles wide in any direction. At any time, as long as at least three tiles have been placed, a player can declare that they have finished placing tiles. Their opponent then has the opportunity to place one more tile.

If a special tile is selected that require doors or obstacles or other board elements to be placed (such as the Secure Vault), the player who placed that tile also places the other required board elements.

Next doors are placed. The player who places a door can also choose to place a door terminal on either side or both sides if they wish (turning the door into a locked door). At any time, as long as at least three doors have been placed, a player can declare that they have finished placing doors. Their opponent then has the opportunity to place one more door or one door terminal if they want to.

Next barricades and scatter terrain are placed. At any time, as long as at least three barricades or bits of scatter terrain have been placed, a player can declare that they have finished placing board elements of this kind. Their opponent then has the opportunity to place one more board element of this kind if they want to.

Then, if there is an attacker, they can place up to two ductways; otherwise, each player (starting with the one who did not place the last barricade) sets up one ductway then stops. The battlefield set up is complete.

Sector Mechanicus

The players should agree on the size of the play area; the standard assumption is 48" x 48" but smaller or larger sizes can be used if both players agree to it. Then roll 2D6; the result is the minimum number of board elements that must be placed on the battlefield.

If the Scenario has a defender, the defender goes first. Otherwise roll off to determine who goes first. Then in alternating turns each player selects a single large terrain piece or a handful of smaller board elements such as scatter terrain and barricades or ladders and railings and places their selection on the playing surface, observing common sense and safety. It is permissible to nudge already placed terrain a bit to line up bridges, pipes, and the like or for aesthetic reasons with the opponent's permission.

Terrain should be relatively stable and resistant to falling over if the table is bumped; anything too likely to fall over during the course of play can be vetoed by the other player.

Once the minimum number of board elements has been placed the players can continue to place terrain but either can declare that they are done at which point the other player may place one more board element and then stop. The battlefield set up is complete.

Blocked Areas

In some cases, particularly when fighting a battle in Zone Mortalis, part of the battlefield might be blocked off and unreachable from the rest of the battlefield. These unreachable areas of the battlefield should be considered to be off limits and to effectively not exist for purposes of deployment or terrain placement; they are basically decorative.

4) Choose Crews

Each player chooses a Crew from their available fighters, using one of the following methods. The Scenario will state which method is used by each player, or might instruct one or both players to use a different, bespoke method. Unless the Scenario states otherwise, any fighters not included in the Crew will not take any part in the battle.

Random Selection (X)

The player first removes from their deck of fighter cards any fighters who cannot take part in the battle (for example, because they are in Recovery or have been Captured). Then the player shuffles their deck and deals out a number of face-down cards dictated by the number shown in brackets (for example, a player using the Random Selection (D3+4) method would roll a D3, add 4 to the result and deal out that many cards). The fighters shown on these cards are the gang’s Crew for this Scenario.

Custom Selection (X)

The player chooses their Crew, in secret, by creating a face-down pile of fighter cards. They cannot include any fighters who cannot take part in the battle for any reason. The number in brackets shows the maximum number of fighters that can be included in the Crew, if this is a random number (for example, D3+4), this should be determined before the Crew is chosen. If there is no number in brackets, there is no maximum size to the Crew.

Resolve Hangers-Ons

Some Hangers-on will be included in a gang's Crew when the gang has Home Turf advantage, others will join for a battle under certain specific circumstances. At this step any Hangers-on whose "Hiring Criteria" has been met join the gang's Crew for the upcoming battle.

Resolve Bounty Hunters

If the Bounty system defined in our house rules is in use, a gang may be able to hire a Bounty Hunter to join their Crew for the upcoming battle if certain criteria are met.

Inform Opponent Of Bounty Status

Each player who has one or more fighters in their Crew with a Bounty on them must inform their opponent at this time.

For all fighters in the Crew whose identities are not hidden from the opponent who have at least one Bounty on them, inform the opponent at this time how many Bounties are on each fighter.

For all fighters in the Crew whose identities are hidden from the opponent (due to Scenario setup, typically) inform the opponent at this time of the total number of Bounties on those fighters. When the identity of fighters with one or more Bounties on them are later revealed, inform the opponent at that time of that fighter's Bounty status.

Hire Bounty Hunters

Bounty Hunters are powerful professionals who attempt to capture fighters with one or more Bounties on them. If an opposing gang's Crew includes at least one fighter who has a Bounty on them and your own gang has at least 5 Reputation and no fighters on its roster who have a Bounty on them, you may employ the services of a Bounty Hunter at this time. This is described fully in the Bounty Hunters section of the Hired Guns document.

Bounty Hunters are not paid in credits; they take their compensation after the battle as described in the Wrap Up step of the Post-Battle Sequence.

Resolve Dramatis Personae

Dramatis Personae are special, unique, or out of the ordinary fighters who may join a gang's Crew. Each individual Dramatis Personae's write up describes the conditions under which they will join a gang's Crew and how they affect a gang's Crew Rating, as well as any special objectives, requirements, or behavior they might have.

Invite Dramatis Personae

At this time, in priority order, a gang might invite any Dramatis Personae whose "Hiring Criteria" has been met to join the gang's Crew for the upcoming battle.

Each Dramatis Personae is unique and self-describes what it costs a gang to include them in a Crew; if a Dramatis Personae demands something upfront for their participation, that is resolved now. If a Dramatis Personae who will participate in the battle has any special rules that affect the Pre-Battle Sequence, those are resolved now.

Some Dramatis Personae have Post-Battle Sequence behavior; that is resolved after the battle in the Wrap Up step of the Post-Battle Sequence.

Determine Crew Rating

At this step in the Pre-Battle Sequence a gang's Crew Rating is the total Rating of all fighters who are in the gang's starting Crew for the upcoming battle, including Mercs, Hive Scum, and Dramatis Personae. It also includes the cost of all the gang's Hangers-on (whether they will take part in the battle or not), and all of the gang's Special Territories (+50 Rating each).

Note that Hired Guns such as Hive Scum and Dramatis Personae have a "Crew Rating Increase" value, which is the amount by which they increase the gang's Crew Rating, instead of by whatever their hiring cost is.

Some Scenarios allow Reinforcements, fighters who may join the battle after it starts. This complicates the process of determining Crew Rating, particularly for the purposes of determining Underdog status. Individual Scenarios may describe a specific way to manage this, but by default the total Rating of fighters who are held as Reinforcements is not included in the Crew Rating.

Determine Underdog Status

If one gang's Crew is significantly weaker than the other gang's Crew, the weaker gang is the Underdog and may benefit from some compensatory benefit; whether a gang is the Underdog or not for the upcoming battle is determined now. Some Scenarios describe a specific way to determine Underdog status for that Scenario, but the default method in a two player battle is to subtract the lower Crew Rating from the higher Crew Rating to determine the difference. For instance, if one gang's Crew Rating was 1500 and the other gang's Crew Rating was 1000, the second gang is the Underdog with a Crew Rating difference of 500 points.

Scenarios often offer some kind of Underdog Bonus to Underdog gangs.

Fighters Recover

For each fighter that was excluded from Crew selection because they are in recovery, clear their Recovering box on their gang's roster now. These fighters are able to take part in their gang's next battle. They are also able to take part in Post-Battle Actions after this battle.

5) Draw Tactics Cards

Each player prepares their deck of Tactics cards; see the guidelines for gangs Tactic Card Decks in the Campaign section. Some Scenarios allow a player to choose cards from their deck of Tactics cards, some Scenarios require a player to shuffle their deck and randomly draw some number of Tactics cards, and other Scenarios provide specific direction on how Tactics cards are selected.

Some Scenarios allow an Underdog player to select or draw extra Tactics cards; this is resolved as part of Custom Selection or Random Selection.

Some cards, such as the Rigged Door and Hidden Passage cards found in the Necromunda Underhive boxed set, are intended for use in Zone Mortalis battles only; they cannot be chosen for Sector Mechanicus battles. Similarly, some cards such as Three Point Landing are only usable in Sector Mechanicus games, and cannot be used in Zone Mortalis battles. Any Tactics cards that cannot be used in the upcoming battle should be set aside and not included in the gang's Tactics cards deck for this battle.

The Tactics cards drawn or selected should be set aside, face down, so that opposing players do not know what they are until such a time as each card is played. A player may look at their own Tactics cards and any Tactics cards opposing players have played at any time, but a player cannot look at an opposing players' unplayed Tactics cards.

Custom Selection (X)

Some Scenarios allow a player to choose a given number of Tactics cards from their gang's Tactics cards deck. In this case the player does so now. It should not take a player more than a few minutes to decide which Tactics cards they wish to select; fiddling around with Tactics cards before a battle should be kept to a reasonable time limit.

Random Selection (X)

Some Scenarios require a player to randomly draw some number of Tactics cards from their deck. In this case once each player's deck has been prepared and thoroughly shuffled, they draw the number of Tactics cards indicated by the Scenario from the top of the deck.

Scenario Specific

Some Scenarios have specific instruction on how players gain and or use Tactics cards, which should be followed.

6) Deploy

Many Scenarios have specific deployment guidelines which should be followed. However, if none are provided for a Scenario the following default method should be used.

Each player will have a deployment zone, an area on the battlefield where they must set up the fighters in their gang's Crew. The size of the deployment zone for each player is dependent on the size of the battlefield

By default the size of a deployment zone is 1/4 the total width of the battlefield from a selected board edge; thus on a 48" x 48" battlefield, the default deployment zone would be 12" measured from opposing board edges, while on a 36" x 36" battlefield this would be shortened to 9", and on a 24" x 24" battlefield it would shrink further to a 6" deployment zone.

For Zone Mortalis battles it can be convenient to instead define one, two, or three rows of squares on opposing tile edges as the deployment zones, if preferred.

If a Sector Mechanicus deployment zone includes raised platforms, fighters can be deployed on those platforms.

If a deployment zone includes unreachable areas, fighters cannot be deployed in those areas. For instance, on some Zone Mortalis battlefields part of a tile might be entirely blocked off from the rest of the battlefield by walls.

If a deployment zone is not big enough to fit all of a gang's Crew, the extra fighters can be deployed outside the deployment zone but in base contact with a friendly fighter that is in the deployment zone.

The players roll off, and the winner decides whether to take the Priority marker or give it to their opponent. Then, the player with the Priority marker chooses one of the edges of the battlefield and sets up one of their fighters within the deployment zone from that edge.

Their opponent then places a fighter within the deployment zone of the opposite board edge. This continues, alternating back and forth between each player, until all the fighters who can be deployed onto the battlefield have been.

7) Begin the battle

For the first round, the player who already has the Priority marker keeps it (do not roll off in the Priority phase). The Battle Sequence begins with the player who has the Priority marker activating an Active fighter.