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Warhammer 40K: This Is How Complicated 9th Edition Really Is

4 Minute Read
Feb 11 2021

Let’s take a look at just how complicated 9th Edition has gotten – starting with Sororitas.

Warhammer 40,000 is a complicated game. Even before you get on the table there are thousands of units, infinite combinations of terrain, and tons of pre-game rules to address. Once on the table, there are pretty much infinite choices to make, with units have amazing freedom of movement. Resolving even the small action can sometimes require complex decision trees. Today let’s take a look at how complex 40K can really be.

A Sister of Battle Example

Sister Decisions

To highlight just how complex 40K can be let’s take a look at one seemingly simple example. Below is a chart made by a friend of the site Brandon Sullivan. It shows the decision making tree you have to follow whenever a basic Sister of Battle is hit and wounded by an attack. Let’s look at it.

Just take a look at that! That’s the process you have to go through for every single wound your Sister of Battle takes. It’s something like an 18 step process, with you having to make multiple decisions along the way. That’s incredibly complex. When someone tells you to make 30 saves, it’s not just roll 30 dice. It’s go through this super complex process 30 times. And this chart, as complex as it is, is also somewhat abbreviated. For instance, it mostly skips over the step of comparing AP to armor to figure out what you need to roll.  It also skips over the process of making the normal shooting attack if you have Spirit of the Martyr, which is its own large process. Heck, it skips over the whole process of the enemy making the attack, with 2 more rolls, and a whole huge decision tree of their own to go through. 

In the most extreme situation, you could even have TWO Sister of Battle players facing off against each other. The first one goes through all their processes and die rolls to wound the enemy. That player then goes through the whole tree here, and gets to shoot back with Spirit of the Martyr, going through another whole process, forcing their enemy to then go through the whole 18 step process again. This could make resolving a single attack take upwards of 40-50 steps. In a really crazy situation, this loop could repeat until both sides are destroyed, with a single shot leading to two entire armies dying!

The Human Mind Is Amazing

What’s really amazing about all this is that we are able to play 40K at all. Despite it being so complex we are able to reduce things down to be playable. Processing a massive about of decisions should just bog the game down and make it unplayable. Yet the human mind is pretty crazy and we are able to intuitively work through most of these decisions without really giving them much thought. Indeed many of the options above might be cut out simply by your army choice/pre-game decisions allowing you to skip steps. Really the human mind is pretty crazy!

Cut Them Some Slack

So maybe next time you’re playing a game and the other player is taking some time, cut them some slack. This game is really complex. Doing anything requires a fair amount of thought. Next time you are fast-rolling, or batch rolling dice, just take a moment to think about how much you are able to condense into a few dice rolls. And hey, if you are yourself ever struggle with the game, cut yourself some slack, this stuff is really complex.


Let us know if you think the game is too complex, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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