Monday, August 16, 2010

40K Basics: Wound Allocation - it's not that hard, really.

The wound allocation complaints have been making the rounds again lately, including the complaint that it's "too hard" or "takes too long".  If you really have problems understanding it, here's some examples that hopefully will clear it up a bit.

Here's a complicated unit - ten Chaos Marines: six normal, two meltaguns, icon, champion, so four wound allocation groups.

Here's the unit taking ten wounds of the same type.  Each group is full up with one group of wounds.  Six on the bolter guys, two on the meltaguns, one on icon, one on champion.

If we go by the dice results here and say they're normal wounds they get saves against, two bolter guys and one meltagunner will die.

Now we mix it up a bit.  The red dice are still something normal, like lasgun wounds, but now we add the black dice as for example plasma wounds, which will ignore the CSM's armor save. Four plasma wounds and ten lasgun wounds.

All four plasma get allocated to the regular joes, along with two lasgun wounds to fill them out, the meltagunners, icon, and champion each get a lasgun, and with two lasgun wounds left over, they lap around back to the bolter joes.  

If we go by the dice as shown, four bolter guys will die (no save) and one meltagunner also dies from a failed lasgun save.  If you ignored wound allocation in this instance and just did everyone as one large group, you would only have five bolter guys die and the meltagunner would be safe.  Using the allocation properly provides an example of how wound allocation can benefit the shooter, even with mixed AP weapons.

Here's another mixed AP example, this time with the white dice representing the armor-ignoring attacks, and red dice still being normal armor saves.  Say, eight Demolisher cannon wounds, six heavy bolter wounds.  

Six demolisher wounds go on the bolter carriers, and everyone else claims a heavy bolter wound until everyone in the unit has a wound allocated.  Then in the second lap, all of the remaining wounds (two demolisher and two HB) wind up on the bolter carriers.  
With the dice in this example, the bolter guys are wiped out with a little left over, while the other groups are safe.  This is one of the examples those who dislike WA hate; if you just did everything as one group, you'd wind up with nine dead CSM (eight from no-save demolisher, one from failed HB save).  Interestingly though, the CSM player would get to choose which one survived.

Let's make the squad smaller.  Three bolter guys, meltagun, champion - three wound groups.

Basic allocation, six regular wounds.  Each group is full up, and bolter guys get an extra wound.

Using the dice as shown, everyone is OK except for the champion, who bites it.  Without wound allocation, rolling the six saves as one group, you'd just see a regular bolter guy go down instead.  Another example where WA can benefit the shooter.

Bringing mixed AP in again.  Two plasma wounds (white dice) added to the six lasgun wounds.

Two plasma and a lasgun go on the bolter guys, lasgun to meltaguy, lasgun to champion.  Three lasgun wounds left over, wrap back around to the bolter guys.

Here, dice as shown would have two bolter guys die (no save) and the champion bites it again.  Without wound allocation, you'd just see the three normal bolter guys die instead.

One of the much less likely, but commonly used examples - a bunch of normal saves and a bunch of amor-ignoring ones.  Again, white dice for armor-ignoring shots, like plasma, red for normal shots like lasguns.

Three plasma to the bolter guys, lasgun to melta, lasgun to champ.  Wrap around - repeat three plasma to bolters, lasgun to melta, lasgun to champ.  Two lasgun wounds left wrap around a second time and land on the bolter guys.

This is an example those who dislike WA really hate, as it only has the three bolter guys die, where if you ignored allocation the squad would be wiped out by the plasma wounds.

For the last example, let's tie it in with another of the big 5th-edition hates, cover saves. Here the five-man CSM squad is in a trench, hunkered down for a 4+ cover save.  They're hit as in the last example, with six amor-ignoring plasma wounds and six lasgun wounds, but this time they get to make cover saves against the plasma.

Allocation as previously, but this time the CSM get lucky with their cover saves and unlucky with some lasguns, felling both the champion and the meltagunner but sparing the normal joes.  Without wound allocation, rolling as one big group, you'd see two bolter guys removed instead.

So there's how to do it.  Keep track of how many and what kind of wounds your opponent inflicts, grab some dice, put them in groups, roll, remove casualties.  Try it a few times, it really doesn't take long.  If you try the above scenarios (or others) and roll them out a few times, you'll see that sometimes wound allocation ends up benefiting the attacker, sometimes the defender.

You may or may not like it, and that's your right, but I hope that you won't consider it "too hard".



  1. It's worth pointing out that most of the "grr, grognard is ANGRY!" expamples come from applying excessive firepower to a unit in a single round of shooting- mixing in different kinds of shots, etc. Obviously it makes no sense, but it makes no less sense than everyone refusing to shoot the sarge/heavy weapons guy until _every other guy is dead_, because clearly that wasn't the point of getting rid of the squad in the first place.

  2. While wound allocation is not hard concept, it is one that many players do not take full advantage of when playing. It is a double edged sword that has both offensive and defensive applications...
    ...hmm....think I just did an article on this :-).

    Fantastic job with the pictures and the descriptions!

  3. good post.. you need to come on down to Charlotte some weekend for games.

  4. Thanks folks.

    @clt40K - I should, would love to find a weekend day to do just that. Not too far, just a matter of finding a good day to abandon the family. ;-) I've heard from folks that PBKW is pretty good, what other places are around down there, or do you mostly play at homes?

  5. Normally, I'm at Games HQ... Went up to PBKW last weekend... got a couple of decent games in. Also, I'm thinking of hosting another Games and BBQ day at my place in Gastonia (I have a 1500 sq/ft building on the property...)

    From what I can tell, PBKW is pretty good... I really like the owner.... It's just halfway to Greensboro ;) so I don't get up there during the week.


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