Adding A.I. in 40k



This week Pimpcron has a new idea for you to try. Artificial Intelligence!

Hi buddies! Your old friend Pimpcron has a way from you to join a buddy and fight against an imaginary buddy! I swear I’m not crazy.

Why Play Co-Op?

It’s a nice, fun way to liven up your games. Especially if you have a small group of players and play each other over, and over. In some ways, it is way more fun than your normal “you versus me” game.

How Do You Simulate A Real Opponent?

Well mostly with a random table but also with a decent helping of common sense. The table below is supposed to represent you’re A.I. opponent being unpredictable and changing his/her tactics during the game. But of course a random table won’t be quite as awesome as a real opponent. So to counter-act some of that lacking, you give the A.I. some special abilities in the table to give them an edge. In a real game with a real person, there is always the threat of them out-thinking you. The table can’t really do that, but we can make it scary nonetheless by making it a tad-bit in its favor.

kids-everlast-boxerRandom Tables don’t do as well with boxing.

Make Their List

When making their list, make it as you usually would make a list you were playing, but put all units into one of three categories: Shooting Units, Assault Units, Sit Back & Shoot Units. The Table refers to different types of units in these categories.


Delpoy them as if you were playing them and give them cover wherever possible. Don’t be a rube.

A.I. Tables

At the beginning of each turn, roll on the A.I. Table and determine what the opponent’s goal is this turn. This roll applies army-wide and will give you the direction they are going with their strategy. Table special

futurama robot santaI will play-as this guy using the rules for this guy:


A Few Terms To Know:

“Moving Towards” Something always includes running, Flat Out, Turbo-Boosting, etc. unless the table tells them to shoot or assault if in range.

“Good Assault Range” always means a charge distance of 7 inches or less without Fleet unless the table says otherwise. “Good Assault Range” with Fleet means a range of 10 inches or less unless the table says otherwise.

“Focus Fire” means that all named forces will focus all of their shooting, Psychic and/or assault forces on one target unit that is their biggest threat against winning the game and try to destroy it this turn. Any units out of assault range or shooting range will pick a second target they all can see and converge on that as well.

“Sit Back & Shoot Units” are units that usually fill this role on the battlefield and are often Heavy Support Choices. If the entire army is shooting-oriented (ex: Tau) then Infantry are not included in this category and they will follow the table rules.

Units will always Jink if the weapon shooting at them will ignore their armor save, unless their cover save is already as good or better than their Jink.

funny-robot-chickenSomeone needs to make an AdMech chicken army.

The A.I. Table

If you roll something that simply cannot apply such as Capture Objectives during a Kill Point game, then treat it as #7 Act As Normal.

  1. Cautious: The entire army will not act aggressively in the movement phase and rely more on their long ranged elements to deal damage. Units not in shooting or good assault range will move towards cover (including running).
  2. Move To Cover: All units will move towards or into cover, while firing as usual. If they are an assault unit with good assault range, they will assault instead.
  3. Advance!: All units will move towards the human player’s table edge in their movement phase. Shooting and assaulting as normal. Assault units will attempt to charge with 9 inches or less of assault range. “Sit back and shoot” units will remain stationary and Focus Fire.
  4. Focus Fire!: The entire army determines what single unit is the most immediate threat to winning this game and Focus Fire this turn.
  5. Capture Objectives!: All units will move and run towards good objective positions on the field. “Sit back and shoot” units will focus their fire this turn.
  6. Act As Normal: All units will act as they normally would, but will be generally moving in a forward direction. Shooty & Assaulty units will do their best to get into good range to do what they do best, and then do it.
  7. Kill! Kill!: The entire army determines what single unit is the most immediate threat to winning this game and Focus Fire this turn. All shooting units have Relentless and Poison 5+ this turn.
  8. Forward!: All units will move towards the enemy table edge in their movement phase. Shooting and assaulting as normal. Assault units will attempt to charge with 9 inches or less of assault range, and have Hatred & Furious Charge this turn. “Sit back and shoot” units will remain stationary and Focus Fire.
  9. Objective Grab: All units have Stealth & Fleet this turn. All units will move and run towards good objective positions on the field, In Cover if able. “Sit back and shoot” units will focus their fire this turn.
  10. Battle Cry: All units have Preferred Enemy & Stubborn special rules this turn and Act As Normal.
  11. Reserves!: If the army has any units in reserve that have not come in yet, they all come in this turn automatically. If they have no units in Reserve, then they will have one infantry unit that was previously killed this game enter the game via Outflank at full strength. Dedicated Transports that the unit originally took will not come back with them but the unit will have all upgrades/wargear that it originally had. Randomly determine which unit if there is more than one infantry unit killed before you rolled this result.


Do you ever see yourself giving this a try?

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  • Westdraygon

    WOOOO finally! I can play 40k by myself!


    • lol. Solo gaming is actually a pretty big thing. When I play by myself, I’m hangin’ with my favorite bro.

      • Simon Chatterley

        When I play with myself….wait…wrong site

      • ChubToad

        Forever alone lvl 9000!

    • Zingbaby

      It’s the logical progression for the “pick game only” crowd.

      People that want to roll up on a Social-Interaction-Game and play without any Social-Interaction finally have a solution – go play with yourself!

  • Secundum

    Doesn’t work for me-the special rules hugely change the way some armies work.

    • Erik Setzer

      Yeah, the first one I read, I pictured someone playing Orks (my army of choice) and all I could think was that it’s simulating Artificial Lack of Intelligence. If someone did that with Orks, Khorne Daemonkin, or some other armies, they’d completely waste a turn.

      • Of course you could tweak it to suite your needs. This is just a general-use table. But also remember, some human opponents you might play against don’t make good decisions either.

    • Zingbaby

      Yeah and somehow entirely random Eldar-AI keeps tabling me!

    • DJ860

      Goodness me, you could always apply some common sense to the table?

  • Nocturus

    Intresting concept. I would personally give the “A.I.” more results with advantages to give it an edge more often and increase the difficulty. However, the best part of the article is the “Someone needs to make an AdMech chicken army” comment… I would love to see that…

  • benn grimm

    Sounds about as much fun as having a really long and tiring conversation with yourself, ie not fun. If you want to play 40k by yourself, go play a video game, far less hassle, far better sound effects…

    • I guess that depends on how much you love yourself. When it comes to long, boring conversations with myself, I can’t get enough of me! I love that guy!

      • memitchell

        I’ll bet been grimm’s conversations with himself ARE long and boring.

        • Mathew G. Smith

          “What time is it?”
          “Still clobberin’ time, Benn”

        • benn grimm

          Funnily enough, I have conversations with other people mostly….its fun, you should try it sometime.

          • Donzo Schenk

            Yes, by endlessly posting your negative outlook on everything on Bols. I know trying something like the above is “very drab torture” , unlike spending your days posting your rants on a 40k blog…

          • benn grimm

            Lol, thank you for sharing your anonymous hatred, I feel happy for you that you finally managed to get it off your chest. Wanna know a little secret? Hardly takes any time at all to post on BOLS…

          • Donzo S

            now multiply that times 3200 and you have the realization you’ve wasted a lot of your time and energy sharing you’re thoughts that no one wants to hear on a 40k blog…

          • benn grimm

            You see your mistake is assuming that everyone else thinks like you. A lot of people come here to take in, respond to and share views, not just attack some-one they don’t know personally for sharing opinions they don’t agree with(which by the way were asked for by the contributor in this case). That’s just sad little trolls like you.

      • benn grimm

        Sorry to be a negative nancy, it’s just the idea of setting up a board, two armies and playing a game of 40k (all those g’darn dice) without the relief of human company seems like a very drab form of torture is all.

        • euansmith

          I can see you point that this problem isn’t the AI system; its the game system.

          • benn grimm

            I think what Mr. Pimp came up with was pretty cool, its just the idea of playing 40k by myself that I’m reacting to in an honest fashion.

        • Morgrim

          I could see something like this being useful when you’re testing out a new unit or army and trying to figure out the best way of using it. Do a small game and try some strategies, see what works. Then you’re prepared when you play it against another person.

          • benn grimm

            Kinda like Fritz used to do in his tactics videos I guess, yeah i can see that being a thing.

    • Shawn Pero

      far less imagination…

  • Dave Bacon

    This is indeed interesting, id be interested to see this done I’m different ways depending on the race of the army, or perhaps on a per unit basis, so assaulty flavour units get more assaulty flavour tables etc. In fact, I might conjour up such a table this afternoon.

  • Old zogwort

    I like the idea but i feel like you would need a stronger / better AI.
    I wounder how hard it would be to create a really good one.

    • No, it actually works pretty well. I’ve played against plenty of gamers who make bad tactical decisions, so this isn’t that far off. BUT, it would take a lot to simulate a competitive play table, because most tactical decisions are both situational and unit-specific. So you’d need a table for the specific units your AI opponent was playing with that game, as well as situational contingencies for each. This table is #1. a general table and not army specific, and #2. meant for fun at-home games.

    • Spacewolflars

      Maybe expand on the table to be D66? 6 different categories of actions with 6 different interpretations.

  • Spacewolflars

    I almost want to try this with both armies using an A.I. Maybe I’ve been playing too much clash of clans though.

    • I have a friend who plays one of the WWE games on console. He sets both sides to AI and does bracket tournaments. lol. Not too far off.

      • Spacewolflars

        Ok, there you go. Now it’s happening. I may submit an A.I. battle report.

  • Solo gaming is becoming a bigger thing as we move on. This concept is being used in a lot of games. I think the above is a good start but needs a bit more refinement.

    • Zingbaby

      True — as we finally approach the realization that forcing awkward nerds to actually talk to each other (40K) is just too much to ask.

  • Daniel Man

    You’ve got a great idea here, Pimpcron. Thanks for sharing!
    It’s definitely got my creative juices brewing

    • Thanks man! It was meant to just be a template, so make it your own to suit you!

  • Shiwan8

    As usual, the actual fun this place provides is presented by the ever vigilant imperial lapdog smacking, pansy slapping, green skin stabbing alpha machine.

    • Is that me? Am I the Alpha Machine? I’ll take that as a yes. Thanks!

  • NagaBaboon

    If you expanded this idea and produced a scenario based mission system for player/s, and maybe rules for co-op multi play where each player controls one unit. Perhaps even added in an exp system this could be great, otherwise I really don’t see the point.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Think that is called Frostgrave, kidding. Was called Inquisitor as well as Gorkamorka and Necromunda back in teh day!

      • NagaBaboon

        They were neither solo/co-op AI games or especially scenario driven? Oh I mentioned experience! Yes then that’s exactly the same.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Yeah mainly for scenarios and exp. Was being playful. But yeah a co op forty k scenario against an AI was doable in RT as well as the game was run by a GM. Which I think would not be hard to do these days either. The Third Ed Kill Teams could be setup that way too. As well as you could steal some of the campaign paradiso scenarios from infinity!

  • JP
    40K AI –
    “Calculating most efficient method of victory…..”
    “Most efficient method of victory determined.”
    “Proceeding to TERMINATE opponent’s life functions.”

  • euansmith

    This is a pretty neat idea; like your solo kill team games. With a bit of tweaking, players can refine the table to reflect the antics of their chosen AI army. I like that the table makes use of the standard distribution for 2D6 to balance the effects, though this could perhaps be made more of a feature; with box-cars and snake-eyes triggering some really loony results.

  • Xodis

    This is a pretty awesome idea, it just sucks when you have to use it lol

    • Naw man. I love solo gaming. I was into that way before social gaming.

      • Xodis

        I enjoy my solo gaming too, but thats mainly because its games that are made for solo play lol.

  • ErgonomicCat

    While it’s not 40k, there’s a thing in X-Wing called Heroes of the Aturi Cluster that is a big ol Coop campaign designed to be played through with 1-6 people. The humans play the Rebels, the AI plays the Imperials. Each ship type has a card that has a table of actions, a choice of manuever based on distance and direction and die roll, and then targeting priority. It works extremely well in many cases. More enemies spawn in at designed points in the scenario based on how many players, how powerful the ships are, etc.

  • GLaDOS


    • Oh, hi GLaDOS. Sorry i didn’t return your calls, and texts … and emails. I’ve just been really busy with work lately and I’dd totally be up for hooking up again, but my schedule has just been soooooo crazy. So sorry i just unplugged my USB and left but I had work. I’ll call you when I get the chance. But in the meantime we should see other people. . . not that i have time for anyone else. [cough cough]

    • euansmith

      GLaDOS? I thought you were dead?

  • Andrew Thomas

    Not a bad table, might make playtesting armies easier.

  • Jay Shepherd

    Pretty bad if you lose to an AI table. Either that means there’s no strategy to the game other than obvious moves, or you really should find another hobby.

  • Guillaume Bardales

    What about an article with AI readers ?

    • That would be simple on a D6:
      roll a 1-3 the readers don’t like it and complain/call your mother’s upbringing into question
      on a 4 the readers take your comedy the wrong way
      on a 5-6 they like it and are nice.

      • LordRao

        But… but… THIS IS THE INTERNET!!!
        1-5: readers will whine and moan.
        6: roll again. 1-5 readers will become hostile. 6: one reader will say something nice but altogether off-topic or just trite.

        • The hate I used to get was much more than the hate I get now. . . unless I miss off some interest group. The chart you made was from my early days of blogging. lol

          • euansmith

            We all meet up on and bad mouth you there these days. We’ve got a shrine of hate and everything. It’s great!

          • Is it bad that I was sad when the link went nowhere?

          • LordRao

            It does, you’re just blocked.

          • lol. It would make my day if someone made a we-hate-Pimpcron club. I’m very hard to offend.

          • euansmith

            In truth it is actually a cover for the

          • euansmith

            We’ve just blocked you is all 😉

          • LordRao

            Great minds think alike… 🙂

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I think this would work well in comjunction with those old AI Robot programme charts from Rogue Trader days.

    If you had several flow charts set up – an aggressive one, a shooty one etc, this chart could tell you which one to roll on. It would make the units unpredictable and take all control out of the players hands so more like true AI.

    • Ya know, I’ve always wanted to get my hands on that set of charts from Rogue Trader. That sounds fun.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I think I posted a link to them in one of your previous articles.

  • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

    I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, nothing new. Written all kinds of rules and they all work well, especially of games like Space Hulk or Kill Team. Same principle as in many respects as playing Chess alone, although the Try Hards and WAAC players of today would have hard time looking in the mirror 😉

    • David Leimbach

      Care to share some experience? I’m sure there are many who would love to see how your favored rule sets are etc.

      • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

        Sorry for the late reply, still new to this Disquis thing. Actually I would, I am actually finishing the revision for me new Space Hulk/ RPG rules. Trying to keep it simple and add a few things from existing games.
        The biggest thing is keep it honest for yourself. To give you a quick example of what I mean, if you lose, don’t immediately assume you went over powered. For example in 40K. The easiest way to move the ‘AI’ is scatter and of course play as you would if you were the opposing player (try to beat yourself). Secondly, if the unit looks like it will make to the edge of the board either re roll the dice, or like anything (on evens it does this, odds it does that). In a lot of my Space Hulk type games (the enemy player is always moving ‘to’ the player, but you can change that up by making a really simple chart 1 – Lurks, 2-3 Stops/doesn’t move, 4-6 moves the most direct route to player. The same can be done for a normal 40k or fantasy game per unit, just add your own actions if you need to, or make it interesting and give them some special ‘things’. But like I said, the main thing is keep it honest and challenging. If you win, trust me, it will be a great win. If you lose, PLAY AGAIN!!!!!! 🙂 Hope this helps.

    • Yeah, many people don’t understand the joys of solo gaming. It’s not for every one I guess.

      • euansmith

        I really like co-op games like Zombiecide, as you can play them solo and have fun writing your own missions.

      • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

        It’s definitely a challenge if you do it right 🙂

      • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

        By the way when I said nothing new, it was a response to the article as if this was a new phenomenon, not a retort to you or anyone specifically.

  • Commissar Molotov

    Don’t do it, Pimpie – you’ll grow hair on your dice-rolling palm and go blind!

  • euansmith

    [Localisation warning: British themed humour attempt immanent]

    A.I. controls a robot, but that governs the actions of a Georgie-bot? Wey Aye, man!

    • It must be. Because i didn’t understand any of it. lol

  • Dave

    There’s an app for X-wing that tries to generate maneuvers based on where the enemy ship is located on a grid. It’s a great way of experimenting with new ships and learning the dial. Not sure how AI methodology would translate to a big game like 40k. It’d be neat to see someone try to create a “trainer” of sorts.

  • Satyan Patel

    I don’t understand why so many negative comments. Dark Vengeance box set comes with two solo missions. Due to timing/ work / family for many people it is difficult to meet up many times. I know many players who test out their armies using solo rules simply to tweak and figure out best strategies to use against that specific army.
    I’ve got friends who load up football and NBA on consoles with both teams on AI as we enjoy the company of many friends and take odd bets while in off season. has a complete forum on just solo games and solo gaming.
    Solitude by Montaigne.

    • All very good points Satyan. But solo gamers are still kind of “weird” to most “normal” gamers. My wife would watch me play a solo RPG using Mythic and just shake her head in confusion. lol.

  • jeff white

    genius. love it!

  • cudgel

    About as good if not better then total war AI tbh.

  • cudgel

    About as good if not better then total war AI tbh.