40K: Oh No! I Forgot To…


No Take Backs!

Look, we’ve all been there. You’re at a tournament playing your third game of the day and everything is going swimmingly for you. You’ve just moved up your troops and can’t wait to put the hurt on the enemy. In a rush of excitement you nominate you first unit to shoot, pick its target and start rolling dice. “Eight wounds!” You cry out in triumph, then, slowly – a sinking sensation. You look around and it dawns on you. You’ve forgotten your whole psychic phase! What do you do now?

We’ve All Forgotten Things

Like I said, above, we’ve all done it before. Be in in a friendly game or at a major event each one of us has, most likely many times, forgotten a key thing. Maybe we’ve skipped a whole phase, forgotten to deep strike a unit, not fired a key unit, or maybe there is an important stratagem we skipped using. Sometimes its a minor thing, forgetting a bolt pistol shot, sometimes your whole battle plan is wrecked. No matter how hard we work to remember things at some point, fatigue, excitement, or simply having too many things to balance will trip us up. In a friendly game such mistakes can often be waved away.

However when it happens in a major tournament, what should the players do? 

Deal With It

The simplest thing is to just deal with it. You’ve forgotten to do whatever it was. You don’t get to do it. Simple. Time to move on. You’ve made an unfortunate mistake and that’s that. The milk is split and crying won’t help. Sometimes this is the right choice. Sometimes, this is the only choice, if I’ve forgotten my physic phase and now it my opponents movement phase, well there is no going back. But sometimes there are other options.

Ask To Go Back

You can always ask your opponent to let you both turn back the clock and do whatever you forgot to do now. I’ve never been to an event where anyone had a problem with both players agreeing to do this. Nor do I see any issue at all with at least asking the other player. It is of course up to them if they will agree to let you go back, but I see no harm in asking. If both players agree to it, go back and re-do the part of the battle that was missed. Everyone can be happy.

Should I Let The Other Player Have A Take Back?

So lets say the other player forgot something and is now asking to go back, should I agree? Now obviously this is going to be case by case, but to me there are two key factors:

1. How much time has passed since the mistake was made?

2. Did the results of actions taken after the mistake was made effect my opponent wanting to take the action.

For the first point, I feel the time between the mistake and the realization of it are important. If the other player forgot her psychic phase and has only fired one unit, I’d let them go back. If they are wrapping up the shooting phase, then it’s most likely too late. This is obviously case by case, but but as a rule of thumb I would let someone go back if we are the first action taken after the mistake almost 100% of the time. If its longer I would consider it.

As for my second point, it can also be boiled down to, do I feel like the enemy is trying to get an advantage out of their mistake? If the Chaos player I am playing with makes his attacks and then after rolling for wounds states they forgot to use Veterans of the Long War, having now seen just how wounds they got I would most likely say no, it’s too late. (Though if I said yes I would make them re-roll). Had they rolled better maybe they wouldn’t want to use VoTW, so this is giving them an advantage. On the other hand if the enemy forgets to use Cloud of Flies during her movement phase and asks if its OK to use it at the start of the shooting phase I would most likely say yes. It’s unlikely the enemy got any advantage form that.

Be A Good Sport

Being a good sport is important in wargaming. While we are trying to batter down an opponents army and win a game, having fun is also a main goal. To me if you can, I say let the other person make up their mistake. At the end of the day its important to realize there is a ton of stuff going on in any game and it’s easy to miss something. It’s also easy to get excited and jump ahead in a game. I’ve seen plenty of people excited with making a long charge go right into the fight phase, forgetting the other charges they need to make. At the end of the day part of being a good sport is realizing whats going on. Even if we can’t always let the other person go back and correct a mistake, we can all work to prevent them from happening.

True, it’s not your job to point out your enemies tactical mistakes, but I do think part of being a good sport is pointing out if the other player has forgotten something. Are they about to make attacks but haven’t charged with a key unit? Ask them if they wanted to charge with that unit first. Or at the least say “So we are moving on to the fight phase now?” Did they state “I’m going to shoot unit A with unit B, but first let me shoot unit C over here?” Remind them about unit A if they forget. Don’t throw the game, but be a good sport.

At The End Of The Day It’s About A Fair Game

When I play I want a fair game. I want to win because I out-played the other player, or got some good luck, or had a better list. I don’t really want to win because the other player forgot some minor detail, or got caught up in the excitement of the game and moved too quickly. I also don’t want to give the other player the unfair advantage of hindsight. So yes, even in a tournament I’d consider letting the other player have some take backs. And hopefully she’d do the same for me. I think if we could all do things like that we’d have a much more enjoyable gaming experiences.


So What do you think, is it OK for players to get some take backs? Let us know down in the comments! 


  • Boris chelius

    For me, it depends on which kind of game and with what playgroup I’m playing. In a friendly coop-game, there is no issue with taking things back at all.

    In a more competitive enviroment, I’ll always tend to the “deal with it” solution. And there is one main reason for that: it very often creates the expectation, that my opponent will do the same for me. It sets a social precedence in the game. Going back is never something you can demand based on the rules, so it opens up a “social favour account”. And if one party refuses the”cash in” (because maybe the mistake was very beneficial to them), this can lead to really bad arguments.
    “I let you correct those 5 misplays, why won’t you grant me mine?”
    My rule of thumb is: if the game demands something to happen (forced movement etc.) and we skipped it, we will correct the misplay, if possible. If it’s a player choice (moving a squad, shooting at something) Deal with it.

    • marxlives

      I feel the same, for me casual games are learning games. Tournament, you really should just say “well I forgot, will need to remember that next time”.

    • petrow84

      This. Also, even in a friendly games I let them do, but remind them that it won’t be allowed in a tournament game.

      For me, I almost never ask for rewinds save for introduction games. It’s simple: if I get pardon for my mistake, and later win the game, it won’t register on my mind, and I’ll likely to commit it again. If it costs me the game, I’ll remember it for sure.

  • DoctorBored

    I’ve had games where my opponent will go back and do their whole psychic phase that they forgot till after the fight phase, or will re-roll a huge pool of dice because they forgot to add a special rule. Meanwhile, these same opponents won’t let me go back and re-do a psychic attack that I rolled incorrectly in the same phase. :I

    It’s a give and take, and after I figure out who are the givers and who are the takers, I play accordingly.

    • Laszlo

      i know that kind of gamers…. used to play with them…. after a while me and some other “Fair Play” gamers just left and created our own gaming circle.
      Now its Social and fun to meet up and play.

      and yes… i left the big tournament stage for the same reason.

  • Andy Wise

    Nice. Pragmatic and sportsmanlike sounding.

    • Dirheim

      In my gaming circles we are very used to do let this behavior happen, even letting a unit move in the fire phase because somebody forgot moving it because he had to change the toddlers diapers. The older you get, the more you care about the fun part, and not about winning (although it is still fun)

  • Jack

    I care not. For at the end of the day, it is Blood for the Blood god!

    • petrow84

      It makes a slight difference, whether this blood is an enemy’s on your fist, or your own from your nose – but only for your self-esteem. Khorne cares none, true dat.

  • Karru

    I always let my opponent go back and fix their mistake, as long as it doesn’t cause a cascade of “take backs”. The only other time I don’t do it is when I teach more “arrogant” people how the game works, but that is a rare situation.

    I personally don’t see the issue with take backs, as long as it doesn’t happen constantly. Then again, I have a tendency to ask people what’s their plan with a unit or model if it looks like they completely forgot they even exist. That would be also be the reason why after every phase before I move on to the next one I go “Okay, that unit moved, moved, moved, these guys were meant to remain still, moved, advanced, okay, next phase”. That way I hardly forget things myself. I do the same for the enemy when he is about to move on to the next phase, making sure that he did all he wanted to do as well as remind him if he wants to bring in reserve units, now is the time for example.

  • ZeeLobby

    If we’re doing competitive games, we do 1 take back a turn. Have even done it in tournaments after agreeing with the opponent.

  • I have no problem with takebacks. However, this is a heated topic because there are a lot of people that feel that that is part of “being a good player” so …

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah, I totally get both sides. I think it’s just an important thing to bring up before you play someone. Usually when I offer a single simple takeback per turn to an opponent they’re OK with it. If they’re not, then I just play it that way.

  • Apocryphus

    I always just suck it up when playing competatively, even if my opponent offers a take back. I figure if I’m constantly allowed leniency on my mistakes, I’ll never learn from them.

  • LordKrungharr

    Take Prevagen. Jellyfish always remember their psychic phase, and so we should eat them.

  • nope none


  • extrenm54

    Dont play “gotcha!” 40k…always let your opponent go back if it is within the same turn, and possibly more if it can be reasonably worked out.

  • Malevengion

    For me it would depend on the experience level of the player who made the error. If they’re only a few games in to the new edition, for example, some leniency seems to be in order (I’m not one to talk about not forgetting a unit or a phase every so often anyway). In a tournament though, I think players should bring their A-game and pay attention. There’s a fine line between “Oops, I forgot the psychic phase” and “I deliberately didn’t do it just in case my assault doesn’t kill enough of your men”.

  • Corelin

    Deep striking my troops. THE WHOLE PSYCHIC PHASE. Just little things.

    • Koonitz

      For a lot of armies that have one, “THE WHOLE PSYCHIC PHASE” is one or two spell casts. That’s the rough equivalent of forgetting to fire with one, maybe two, units.

      If you’d consider letting someone go back and shoot a single unit after forgetting and charging with one unit, then you should let those psychic players go back and do their psychic phase after forgetting and firing with a unit or two.

  • Xodis

    It generally depends.

    Move a unit “AH, I moved the wrong direction”
    Its cool bro, you do you.

    Move a bunch of units, 5 units later “AH, I moved these the wrong direction”
    We are not playing speed 40K, you should have decided on your strategy BEFORE moving all these other units, and not tried to change strategy mid turn.

  • Defenestratus

    As long as the other player’s turn isn’t over I don’t care. Do what you do bud. I’ll get a beer while I wait.

  • Nogle

    I pretty much never ask. I usually say “oh man, I forgot to do….” if my opponent says, go ahead and do, I go back. If I ask it puts them on the spot, saying I forgot gives them the chance to offer but if they don’t want to it’s not much of a thing because I didn’t ask. I forgot, it’s on me.

  • Carney3

    “If the other player forgot her psychic phase and has only fired one unit, I’d let them go back.”

    The only grammatically correct generic is the masculine. It’s also common sense in most contexts, especially this one. Using the feminine as a generic is jarring and distracting.

    If you’re talking about a random generic person, male OR female, just use he / him / his, etc.

    Using the plural as a pseudo-neuter singular is logically and gramatically wrong, and also distracting. They, them, etc is NOT for an individual! It’s a silly, weak dodge away from just saying “he”.

    But this stupid sentence that I quoted takes the cake. It switches in mid stream from one wrong distraction (the use of “her” as a generic) to another (the use of “them” as a singular generic). Maximum garbled dumb pointlessness.

    • grim_dork

      Awesome and relevant, I’m glad you took the time to bring this up.

      • Carney3

        Ow, multiple wounds from your sarcasm, but I still passed my morale check.

        • LankTank

          Still failed a ‘being a tool’ check though. But you do you buddy

  • bryanp319

    Forgotten steps should almost always be allowed provided they would not change a decision that was made later in the game such as what unit is targeted. As long as it is reasonable I would just go back and do it and if my opponent has a problem with it then this game escalates into something other than a game at which point all bets are off. I will ruin that players entire event if possible, as this has become personal. If they want to ruin the game for me then I will ensure that they will never want to play in an event that I play in again.

  • Simon Chatterley

    I had a tournament game once in 6th I think were my opponent asked to do his psychic powers he forgot to do in his movement phase. I was totally fine with it.

    Later in the game it was getting pretty tense and I forgot to move a unit onto an objective and I asked for my take back and he said no lol.

    I had to get a ref over in the end as following our discussion it was clear he thought he’d lose because of what I asked and didn’t see him doing the same earlier was something he should allow me to.

    Red told me it was fine and he lost. I made sure he remembered it for the rest of the event…

  • Chet Atkinson

    Tournament = hard cheese
    Friendlies among friends – we usually let each other take the missed round as long as its not going to be too awkward to move stuff about

  • fenrisful2

    Friendly games, sure have as many backsies you like, unless it’s an obvious strategic advantage, you shouldn’t have had in the first place.

    At tournaments generally no, simply because there isn’t enough time. If it’s a big and obvious misstake which is easily fixed, pay a command point for it.
    Things like forgetting to draw tactical objectives is always fine though as it is still a disadvantage to do it too late. Redoing moves during the movement phase is also fine, unless a roll for advancing has been made for any of the affected units.

  • zeno666

    If the game state hasn’t been changed, go for it.
    Otherwise, deal with it.