40K: Cities of Death Returns

Games Workshop announces the return of Cites of Death for Warhammer 40,000 8th!

Warhammer 40k is a very cinematic game and one of those things that makes it look so darn pretty is the terrain. Especially when done well. Terrain can sometimes be the “3rd army” on the board because it can fight you as much as your opponent. Anyone who’s ever failed a charge due to difficult terrain can attest to that!

Now, GW is taking a look at some of the “Advanced Rules on Cities of Death” for 8th. These are an optional add-on to spice-up your game variety. So with that said, let’s dive in!

via Warhammer Community

How Will Ruins Work?

“[Ruins] impact takes the form of bonuses for units with certain keywords, and limitations for others.

Infantry are the big winners here. They alone have the flexibility and dexterity to move easily between levels of a building, over ruined walls, through doors, hatches and windows, as well as taking advantage of holes blasted in the ruins themselves. They are also the only units that benefit from cover naturally, just for being in a ruin. Other units (monsters, vehicles etc…) will need to actually be obscured to gain any bonus.”

How Will That Apply in a Cities of Death Game?

“In Cities of Death games, these bonuses get even better – if a unit does not move, its cover bonus from being in a ruin is increased from a +1 to their Armour Save to +2, representing the unit digging into cover and fortifying their position. This can make even a humble Guardsman squad difficult to shift, and a power armoured unit all but invulnerable.”

Dug-in like an Alabama tick!

Fire in the Hole?

“It’s not going all Infantry’s way of course. There are solutions to dug-in enemies. Grenades for example. Any Grenade thrown at a unit in ruins will always count as having rolled the maximum number of shots (6, in the case of a frag grenade) and can reroll to wound thanks to the “Fire in the Hole” mission rule.”

Cities of Death Special Stratagems

As an additional advanced set of rules, Cities of Death will also come with a new selection of Stratagems. Naturally, there will quite a few to pick from to add that extra “Cities” flavor to your game. Sewer Rats, for example, allows you to infiltrate an Infantry unit in a street level ruin more than 9″ away from an enemy model. This is done at the end of your movement phase, just in time to make with the stabbin/shootin!

Read More About Cities of Death HERE

Between this new optional rule-set and the Stronghold Assault optional rules it really sounds like Games Workshop is looking to attract those Narrative players back to the game. I’m all for this stuff as well. If you don’t want to use these rules, you don’t have to “slow down” your Matched Play Games with them.

However, if you’re looking for a much more cinematic and thematic battle, incorporating one or both of these optional rule-sets can add some more GrimDark Flavor to your games!


Anyone else already planning a Narrative Campaign for the new edition launch? These rules are certainly making a case for it…

  • AircoolUK

    Sounds like Cities of Death will be a separate book containing, amongst other things, Stronghold Assault?

    • orionburn

      I didn’t get burned too badly on more recent books rendered useless with 8th coming out, but this is one of them. Tried to find out on their FB page if they were going to have updated rules on day one for all the current fortifications.

    • Xodis

      I think these rules will most likely be a part of the GHB equivalent. Which makes the sting of book irrelevance a little less painful.

    • Shawn

      I don’t know. I was under the impression that these will be optional rules listed in the core rule book. I’m hoping that’s the case, since most 40k players shy away from supplements that don’t directly effect their codex.

      • EmperorOfMankind

        I hope they are optional rules in the main rule book, but that’s just crazy talk.

        • Shawn

          But we do know now that they’ve officially announced the new edition that they’re advanced rules that are in the core rule book. I’m happy with that. Now I just need to convince folks that it won’t “break” the game or “nerf” their army into uselessness.

  • Xodis

    Another cool way to play narrative. Curious if Terminators in +2 cover become immune or the rule of 1 being a fail stays true? Personally I hope for the immunity to encourage better tactics instead of spray and pray.

    • orionburn

      I like that grenade rule. Now we have to wait for people to start asking all over again if only 1 guy can throw a grenade or if everybody in the squad can…lol

      • Xodis

        Yeah, not to mention if that grenade rule is going to transfer over to other blast weapons.

        • Karru

          Doubt it. It makes little sense in my opinion. A Grenade thrown into a small confined space getting maximum amount of hits makes sense. A HE shell fired from the other side of the battlefield makes less so, as the chances of it hitting such a small target is very low, especially since they already can’t seem to hit the broadside of the barn in GW’s mind.

          • Xodis

            Makes perfect sense in mine. Those HE shells bust through rubble and turn that rubble into more shrapnel.

          • Karru

            But GW has already made it clear that HE shells fired from tanks cannot hit anything. Otherwise those Shells would deal much, much more damage than they do now.

            They said that the D6 roll indicates shrapnel hitting people, so the explosion itself happens farther away. So one can assume that when the tank fires the HE shell towards the building, it hits the side of the building or blows right next to it, but it is never a direct hit, because otherwise they would do a cr*p ton more damage than they do now.

          • Xodis

            Not true at all, a direct hit has the possibility of 36 damage that why all the variance, the lower end of the spectrum simulates just shrapnel hits. So there is plenty of room to simulate all types of different hits from a HE shell.
            So if the “grenade” rule turns out to be part of the rules for other blast weapons in ruins, then it makes sense that a squad in an open field wouldn’t get hit with too much shrapnel (since there is only the round itself really) unless it was a really good shot, while a squad in ruins would be blown away, have the ruins cave in on them, etc…

          • Karru

            All I’m saying is…

            A better way to do blasts would have always been this:

            A Blast weapon has a normal weapon stat. For example, the Battle Cannon would have the current stat line but the Heavy part would be Heavy 1 (D6). When firing the Battle Cannon, you roll the amount of dice indicated by the number before the D6, which is one. This indicates the shell being fired. If it hits, you score D6 HITS. If you miss, you roll D6 shots and roll to hit again with them. The idea is that if the shell lands close enough to the unit, it hits a lot better.

            This would have been the superior way to accomplish blasts. It would have been realistic, simple and balanced.

            Current way makes little sense. If the shell lands close enough, the explosion alone would cause a lot of damage. Because it is shots we are getting, it indicates that the explosion happens far enough so it doesn’t guarantee a hit. Same thing with the shrapnel, as the number of hits at best is very limited.

            Also, the best part about all this is that Grenade has the same radius as a HE shell. It is absolutely hilarious.

          • Xodis

            And that would work well in a vacuum where its unaffected by other abilities, if it could gain IG armor benefits, upgrades, etc… I can see it being another “Why take anything but this” choice.

            Current way makes plenty of sense though. Sure the mechanics can be confusing as to how it translates to real explosions, but they dont really need to. Imagine how angry someone would be if they missed that single shot and now dont have a chance at all the other chances? People would be screaming about how its a giant explosions how did everything miss. The random “shots” gives you a guage of how great of a shot it was. Roll a 1 and that soldier needs to be executed for stupidity, roll a 6 and give that guy a medal. Hits/Wounds/Saves work as normal, but than damage kicks in with a d6 per hit showing us if it was a random piece of metal flying by or did the Marine take a shell to the face.
            Because of the Grenade having the same radius as the HE Shell, is why I think those types of weapons will be included in this rule, but there is also the chance that they wont be and other rules will be there to maximize their potential.

          • Viper666

            That’s exactly how I thought they would have manage the Blasts in 8th but they didn’t just for streamlining…..eck…I would even give Blast half the number of the D6 hits rounded down in case of a miss (so 0-3 hits) to represent the scattered explosion

          • AircoolUK

            From the 40K facebook page on how they deal with realism:

            “That’s fair feedback, Ryan. I’m afraid we can’t comment on the realism of this as we have never actually witnessed the real effect that an exploding 80-tonne battle tank has on real Space Marines.”

          • Xodis

            lol yeah I remember that comment.

      • Karru

        One can assume only 1 guy can throw a grenade. Especially now with them being D6 hits instead of normal, you would almost never shoot normally if you had the option to throw grenades.

        It’s a cute rule nonetheless.

    • AircoolUK

      I’m sure the rule of 1 will apply, it just means that they can soak up some negative AP modifiers.

      • Xodis

        Yeah, and thats a good thing…still though, would be a lot better than the classic spray and pray approach.

  • Nyyppä

    Yeah, loving this. Things are looking up.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Cites of Death. Like Cities of Death but you battle hordes of endangered species. Pandas riding rhinos?

  • The question is… will the community be open to playing non-tournament scenarios etc like cities of death, or will it return (at least like it was in my area) to sitting on the shelf and never touched because its not tournament-standard?

    • Brian Murphy

      That’s a good question. I think GW’s preferences lean (perhaps heavily?) towards Narrative play, but that’s largely based on their past ambivalence to tournament play. And one thing we can easily say about GW is they are not the company they were two years ago.

      On the one hand, you have the intrawebs’ obsession with competitive play and “playing the game right.” On the other, you have what appear to be a bushel-full of cool options coming from GW for Narrative play, from greater gameplay flexibility, to additional stratagems, to expanded options to keep the game fresh. If you put a gun to my head and asked which would “win,” I’d be forced to say the intrawebs, but that’s only because I don’t have my fingers on the pulse of even my local meta, forget all the local metas scattered across the world.

      It’s often been commented that GW has no idea how people actually play 40k. It can just as easily be said that many people who play 40k have had no idea what sorts of 40ks GW has made in the past. For the first time, GW appears to be welcoming the competitive players into their clubhouse, but by setting up Narrative and Matched as alternative versions, they’ve actually pitted them in competition with each other. And I can say this without too much fear of contradiction: a table where people are playing a matched game is going to look much less cool than a table set up for a stronghold assault or cities-of-death game. By releasing this sort of content right out of the gate, GW has set up the expectation that we’ll be seeing a lot of new stuff on a regular basis for Narrative play (which is probably both easier and more fun to create for than Matched) and that could spur its popularity. But time will tell.

    • AircoolUK

      Out here in my area, the FLGS receives a ton of scenery items, battle boards and battle mats etc… all the time. Either as promotions from gaming companies or from backing kickstarters, especially local one’s.

      There’s never any shortage of scenery and there’s more than enough battle boards to fill two 8’x4′ tables pushed together… as for the battlemats, it’s like a carpet warehouse!

    • GrenAcid

      I would love to see GW baning tournament play alltogether, that is cancer, most unplesant games ever was with turnament/WAAC guys. I know its over-reaction.

      • I partly agree with you, but none the less, there are players that LOVE tournaments. Banning someone else’s take on the hobby is not good for the game, the company or community. Simply move on to another opponent if you don’t like WAAC guys. Personally I like narrative gaming but still like to play with matched play points

        • GrenAcid

          Cant do if those guys are lobbing for hardcore game at your centre so 99% of players got rly in to it and next one is like 4h drive away.
          Heh even if I tell people to bring waky fun list they go ‘min-max’ fun on me and boast how they owned me. Real fun.

          • I see your frustration, but have you tried to just get in a narrative campaign? Try changing force org charts by using only CAD or even better still 1 HQ, 6 troops (max) and only 1 Elite, 1 Fast Attack and 1 Heavy. Just a thought.

      • Muninwing

        tournaments are fun. provided you don’t become a crazy WAAC-obsessed nutjob who then crosses over into being a bad sport.

        though to me, it’s the bad sportsmanship that’s more of an issue.

        moreover, a tournament is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” in a lot of ways. if WAAC players can break a system, or find a hidden loophole, they will. knowing what that is can be great for improving the solidity and quality of the game. looking at what WAAC players flock to can show you where the points need to be adjusted or where the rules need to be nerfed a bit.

        of course, the parent company or other regulatory board needs to be willing to make changes in order to fix these problems, or it’s not functional. and that’s what GW has neglected for far too long…

    • Muninwing

      with support, these kinds of scenarios can be fun and challenging. before, it was a book that they tossed out into a crowd without placement or context.

      • the argument I always received was they weren’t tournament-legal and therefore we werne’t going to ever play them.

        • Muninwing

          which i don’t really get. the only major difference is the stratagems.

          tournament-legal is easy — assign each a point value. then give everyone 0-X points to spend on stratagems. allow them to spend up to Y of their main list on more. then play a regular game with stratagems and more terrain.


          • Lot of line of sight blocking. These people ******** about doing ANY scenarios that weren’t tournament scenarios because they bought and built their army to min/max tournament scenarios and felt that they were at a disadvantage in any other scenario.

          • Muninwing

            i’ve always thought the game was far more interesting with more scenery…

          • I do too. Their issue was never scenery by itself was bad or not interesting, but that they built an army and paid for it and optmized it around tournament play, so bringing in outside scenarios and non tournament sanctioned tables was a heavy no-go (and people got nasty about this back in 5th edition).

        • Muninwing

          though this is one of the best counter-arguments to the people saying “well if you don’t like a new edition, you should just play the old one you like better”

          this is an interesting expansion, current in rules, and not placing a major burden on anyone… but because it’s “not tournament legal” it died a pointless death.

          not even a galland-but-foolish being gunned down under a streetlight with an empty gun in hand, “doin’ it for johnny” kind of death, just an offscreen disappearance.

          if you can find likeminded players it’s different, but the GW-focused crowd in many places (much like the M:tG players early on) focus on playing what they think of as the “official” version of the game, rather than any sort of variant they could consider lesser.

          • The “official only” crowd is very numerous and very vocal.

  • Sleeplessknight

    That’s great, can we get all these different ways to play supplements AFTER all the armies get their basic codex releases please?

  • GrenAcid

    I can only hope flamers get the same rule, this is only change so far I dont like.
    Former SoB player speaking, I just love the smell of promethium.

  • This Dave

    Cover only adds to the Armor Save but doesn’t seem to be Invulnerable? This kind of makes cover pointless for things like Orks or Astra Militarum. Even dug in their armor save won’t be that great and things like Heavy Bolters will ignore most of that.

    Guess I’ll just have to wait and see how it actually works.