The Reinforcements Detachment


Loopy brings us an idea on how to implement Side Boards in 40k!

The idea of a sideboard is certainly not new to Warhammer 40,000, but the implementation of such a thing has always been thought to be a bit of a pain. With the advent of Detachments, it could be seen as nearly impossible to try and figure out which Detachment a unit came from when added to the list, particularly if a tournament organizer is going through twenty or more lists and an opponent has to go through the other player’s list in a short amount of time before their game begins. Factor in unit upgrades and you’ve got a real tangle on your hands.

This is why I figured it’d be useful to create the Reinforcements Detachment. This gives all players a choice to either use it or not while keeping the swapping-out clean. Using the Detachment also doesn’t unfairly benefit armies which are well-suited for specific tactics within their core units such as Tau and Space Marines while other armies need to buy specific units for this task such as Orks and Eldar.

Lastly, making this a Detachment forces the player who decides to use it to choose a single faction for their sideboard, use up a Detachment limitation, and give up Detachment benefits. Players will be trading one kind of flexibility for another.

It is my hope that this will bring flexibility to lists which allow them to face lists built for extremes, whether by simply allowing them to field a bunch of anti-air, some drop pods with melta, or simply three separate psykers in the hopes of generating just the right powers to face their enemies.

Reinforcements Detachment


  • 1 Elite, 1 Troops, 1 Fortification, or 1 Lord of War


  • 1 HQ
  • 2 Troops
  • 1 Elites
  • 2 Fast Attack
  • 2 Heavy Support


  • You may only take 1 Reinforcements Detachment in your army.
  • Only 1/4 the points in your army (rounded down) may be devoted to a Reinforcements Detachment.
  • All of the units in this Detachment must be of the same faction or no faction.
  • This Detachment may not be your Primary Detachment.

Command Benefits:

Muster our Reinforcements: While you only ever pay the points for this detachment once, when building your army, you may create up to three Versions of this Detachment, each with the same points level. Each Version may use whatever faction or units you desire within the confines of the other restrictions of this Detachment. Note that unique units may only be taken once across all Versions. During the generation of pre-game abilities, generate them for each Version of this Detachment separately.

Call in the Reinforcements: Before deploying your army, you must pick one version of this Detachment to use in your game. You must do this before any other ability which happens before deploying your army.

Note that my point with this article isn’t to discuss the benefits or the negative aspects of sideboards in general, but to simply provide a more organized and equitable way of executing them. Please do leave a message in the comments below if you think this Detachment could be further refined.


About adam Fasoldt

Loopy (Adam) has only been playing 40k since 2010, but is an active member of the community. He is a host of the Masters of the Forge podcast and also a moderator of the Independent Characters forums. He also belongs to gaming clubs at Grimfoe Games in East Greenbush, NY and Dirty Goblin Games in Queensbury, NY.

30 Responses to “The Reinforcements Detachment”

  1. regulatoryblarney June 2, 2015 9:11 am

    I like it

  2. fluger June 2, 2015 9:49 am

    I think the two HS and FA might be too much. Just an opinion. Overall though, I like the flow of it.

    I’d also add something like this: If the Reinforcements Detachment is a different faction than the primary faction then it must include an HQ. Basically, otherwise, this works out better than an allied detachment.

  3. alex yuen June 2, 2015 9:55 am

    keep working on it.

    • IndigoJack June 2, 2015 10:18 am

      Very constructive input

  4. Prindlehaven June 2, 2015 9:58 am

    The main problem I see with this idea is bookkeeping. It’s added work for the TOs having to make sure all the sideboards are legal before the tournament, added work for opponents who have to make sure that the correct units from each sideboard are bein fielde together in the right combination. In other words, it makes it easier for certain players to be dishonest and get away with it, and puts the onus for discovery of foul play on everyone else.

  5. Razerous June 2, 2015 10:08 am

    With regards to book-keeping, there are tools (battle-scribe), that provide a very quick/efficient manner to confirm lists. Basically, the error-checking is automated and going forwards, it will become better or more common.

    With regards to sideboards; it’s a good idea but it also favours pay-to-win armies. However limiting armies to 1500pts could counter this.

    Great Idea!

  6. Fagerlund June 2, 2015 10:27 am

    So what happens if both players are using this detachment? Who chose first?

    Other than that my first impression is that it’s probably a bit too powerful. Would be cool to see some playtesting though.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:08 pm

      It is chosen at Deployment.

  7. Scumlord June 2, 2015 11:09 am

    Definitely needs a troop/HQ tax. Right now, it would be a way to get some extra HS or FAs for the price of an Aegis line. I would take this over an allied detachment any day.

  8. vercingatorix June 2, 2015 11:20 am

    I think this would favor armies that are much better at specializing. Especially when it comes to units that are base skyfire. You can have an anti-air attachment.

    Also, as someone further up said, who chooses first or how do you choose blind? If there’s an order it’s like going second in rock paper scissors, you can always win.

    • VonCrown June 2, 2015 12:25 pm

      I think a lot of people have valid concerns, though I really do like this idea. Here’s my take on what I’d do differently:

      This detachment must always start in reserves, and all comes in on one reserve roll. This places constrains on the flexibility this option offers. And as an added bonus, it helps forge a narrative that much better, because since when are reinforcements there at the start of the fight?

      If you go that way, and if you choose to let players make the choice of which set of reinforcements they’re using when they do the reserves roll, it also clarifies which order people choose their reinforcements, and adds further penalties to the otherwise advantageous position of choosing your reinforcements second, as that means they’re coming on that much later.

      Obviously that would need some slot tweaking, as you can’t have fortifications coming on from reserves (and while I get crunch reasons, I think allowing fortification reinforcements doesn’t make a lot of sense).

      Just my 2 cents, I’m glad to see the community trying their hand at writing their own detachment though, this seems like a great format for fun homebrew.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:08 pm

      You chose at deployment.

      • VonCrown June 4, 2015 3:00 pm

        I was putting forward an alternative, I know how to read.

        • Loopy June 4, 2015 8:01 pm

          I was replying to vercingatorix.

  9. Bassface7 June 2, 2015 2:37 pm

    If two players have “Sideboards” who gets to decide which one they’re using last? Just seems like a bad idea (imo)

  10. TinBane June 2, 2015 3:20 pm

    A fortification as a required selection?
    I agree with some of the other comments on the heavy support and the fast attack.

    I’d require all variants to use the same faction as your primary.

    If you think about it, one of the major benefits of this, is the ability to select from three options. That is simply HUGE. It should be building in quite a few limitations and downsides, to counteract that massive benefit, otherwise a sideboard would be a no-brainer.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:11 pm

      My intent with the Detachment was for it to be used in competitive play where it is assumed most if not all folks would be using a sideboard. I didn’t make that clear in my post.

  11. amnesiadidit June 2, 2015 4:51 pm

    I really love the idea of sideboards and in 40k implementing one would be outstanding!

    I agree though that in order for it to work, it would be smoother in a 1500 point tourney but here is my changes. You make your main army, primary detachment and allied detachment, instead of ITC rule as of now where you can use three sources, change it so the third source is the sideboard / reinforcements. This force will be the same pts as the allied detachment or less, it can be another allied army to swap with the other detachment or contain units that can swap with units of the primary detachment.

    So one person might have CWE/DE with harlies as the reinforcements, when they want they swap said harlies detachment with the DE half, straight up.

    On the other hand a SM player can have SM primary and lets say Ad-mech allied and in his/her sideboard they take drop pods to replace the rhinos, and maybe some AA tanks to swap with vindicators. Maybe tac squads if they need more troops or different tac load outs depending on the opponent.

    The downside to my idea: I still kinda want to use 3 sources at once for my armies haha

    • amnesiadidit June 2, 2015 4:53 pm

      Edit: also after the maelstrom mission is rolled for is when you choose to swap or not, that way you can build to counter armies or build to play the mission and since its hard to build to do both it evens up the sideboard game

  12. Lord Krungharr June 3, 2015 4:03 am

    I don’t think a fortification should be mandatory though maybe mr Loopy didn’t intend it to mandatory?

    I think Warmahordes tournies already do this kinda thing, but you have to use each sideboard detachment at least once. They seem to like it.

    Adepticon had this too one year, I think in the exterminatus event. It was fun, and requiring a different faction than the core makes for good variety. Though I agree this would be a pain for TOs toke sure the lists are all legal and stuff. Amazing that people don’t make legal lists for tournaments. It’s not hard to get it right

    • vercingatorix June 3, 2015 5:50 am

      In fifth edition, I would have agreed with you. Now, it can be easy to mess up the legality of lists. I can only speak for orks, but drawing from multiple suppliments and making sure each relic works with each detachment can be confusing. It took me several months to get it down and I play pretty often.

      If players only play once a month, make a new list every time, then come to a tournament not caring about results. I would be surprised if that list DIDN’t have something wrong with it.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:09 pm

      The idea is that ONE thing is required; Either an Elite, Troops, Fortification, or a Lord of War. This allows you to have just one of these in your sideboard if you want.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:16 pm

      Also, some army books don’t really use Troops or HQs, so that’s why they aren’t explicitly required.

  13. westrider June 3, 2015 7:56 am

    I’m not a big fan of the idea of sideboards in 40K for a few reasons, but if they are going to be implemented, a special Detachment is definitely the way to go.

    I’d definitely put at least a Troops Tax in there, tho, and probably not have Forts or LoW available this way.

    • Loopy June 3, 2015 5:14 pm

      I think the main concept is to encourage people to build Take All Comers lists. It’s not that powerful against armies built to take on anything. It’s very powerful against armies that heavily favor one flavor. At the end of the day, I think the only negative that would happen is that folks who load up on stuff that’s hard to deal with without specific answers (flying monstrous creatures, imperial knights, summoning, etc.) would feel like their opponents do 90% of the time when their armies get crushed. I feel like the sideboard does something similar to what Highlander does, except that it allows you to make a choice, rather than forcing you into it hamfisted-ly.

      • westrider June 3, 2015 7:02 pm

        Part of my issue is that a few Armies (perhaps most notably Tyranids) have a very narrow range of viable builds, and can be stupidly easy to sideboard against. The only reason some of those are viable at all is because they’re so strongly counter-meta, and sideboards just take them off the table entirely.

        My other issue with sideboards in 40K is logistical. It’s already enough of a pain hauling 1850 Point Armies around, both to the venue and from table to table. With this, you’re talking about taking the amount of stuff people are hauling around up as far as 2775, which is kind of ludicrous.

        • Loopy June 3, 2015 7:45 pm

          Your arguments certainly are valid. As with anything, the question is do the concerns outweigh the benefits. I’d like to see how it works out.

          • WestRider June 3, 2015 9:33 pm

            It’s certainly worth a try. I’ve seen Tournaments try far worse experiments. Worst thing that happens is one Tournament ends up being less fun for some people than it could have been, which is a fairly minor failure cost, really.

  14. Vidar June 4, 2015 6:33 am

    I like your idea. It will work. It does work (with a point limit) in warmachine and it’s great. The one-list-to-rule-them-all concept of 40k is boring to me. The pay-to-win argue net is fallacy in an expensive hobby such as this so ignore it. I think running a test ITC tourney, something small, would be a great test bed. Good work. I know it’s hard for 40kers to accept any change from the scum they may play against instead of the vaunted champion rule writers at GW but this seems solid and looks fun.

  15. Adan June 4, 2015 8:24 am

    Nice job, Loopy! We’ve used sideboards before in events, but this was before the 7ed list-building landscape. People were allowed one more sideboard than there were games. We let people pick their sideboard secretly, once they saw the opponent’s main list and the scenario. Then both players revealed at the same time. People seemed to like it.

    As Vidar mentioned, they use a similar concept in WM/H. That’s where I got the inspiration.