Open source chess clock rules for Warhammer 40k Tournaments

Hey everyone, here are the Chess Clock rules we’ve been using and have found to be great for keeping games on time. Give them a read and let us know what you think.

Now please remember a few things when reading these:

  1. These are a work in progress but based on a LOT of play-testing having been used in tournament play since 7th edition. And a HUGE thanks to everyone who crafted these rules (from the Chicago area, Dakka Dakka, and many more) and was willing to share them with the ITC community!
  2. These are optional to use, you are not obligated to use chess clocks in the ITC format. 
  3. Due to the nature of implementing them in 40k it requires some house rules or the clocks don’t function correctly.

When does time start?

Time starts when the first pregame action or dice roll happens.

When does the game end?

Games end naturally depending on random game length rolls or at the start of a new game turn when neither player has greater than 10:00 minutes of time left on the clock.

  • This number is malleable, too. We’ve experimented with as low as 5 minutes but when folks are getting used to the clock, 10 is a little more forgiving. Let us know what you think after you’ve tried it out a few times!


  1. Each player is responsible for their own time. It is a player’s right but not their obligation to make sure that their time is being handled properly.
    • In the assault phase, a player may always choose to forego rolling to determine the results of a combat, starting with the player whose turn it is. If they choose to save their time this way, their opponent may decide the results of the assault. This can range from leaving the enemy unit unharmed, up to removing the entire unit involved in the combat. This must be decided before any rolls are made in the combat.
      • This is the biggest deviation from book standard and the point we’ve like the most feedback on. This rule developed as a result of player feedback using the system and wanting a way to speed things up but keep it fair from the perspective of the clock. For people that have not used a chess clock before, you may not be used to the concept of saving your time as a high priority. If you were to just pull models off of the table without taking proper steps to save your clock, that is actually not fair to your opponent and violates the spirit of the clock. So, rules have been implemented to create a system to fairly address this. And again, all feedback welcome!
      • Also, an example as this has been confusing people. Player A has a unit of 3 Genestealers remaining in a combat against 10 Berzerkers. Player A player goes first and chooses to not to roll it out, however per the BRB rules they’d have to do this step by step which takes time and in this example let’s assume that Player A is very low on the clock and doesn’t want to take the time to roll the combat out. The Berzerker player now can opt to simply pull the Genestealer unit off of the table, counting them as destroyed and carry on with the game without actually rolling out the attacks. Or, he could opt to possibly leave a single Genestealer and wrap it up to prevent the Berzerkers from being shot in the next shooting phase. People pull units like this all the time normally in games, but this rule is in place to formalize how to do it with the added element of the clock. The thing to remember is that the objective here is not to simulate what is likely to occur or just to speed the game up, but to prevent a player from pulling models instead playing out the game in proper sequence in order to not burn their clock.
  2. Any major rule dispute results in a paused time scenario. The time is to remain paused until a formal judge is called to the table and resolves the dispute.
  3. If a player’s time runs out, they may not perform any actions except for those listed below. The only exception is if they are in the middle of moving a unit, they may finish so that the unit is placed legally on the board. As an example, this can include moving a unit in the movement phase, finishing moving a unit into assault (note they will not be able to attack), or consolidating a unit. Any other action is immediately stopped.
  4. If a player runs out of time they may only perform the following actions:
    • Making saving throws, and taking a leadership test if required to.
    • Scoring objectives that they have already achieved or already hold.

The most important rule is rule number 1. This is the most important rule because it puts time in your control, and fairly allocates time while players interact. It is each player’s right to pass the time to his opponent whenever they are making an action or spending time making a decision.

Some examples of this are as follows:

  1. You put 20 wounds on a unit containing models with different saving throws. Pass the clock to your opponent so he can make his saving throws in the order that he chooses.
  2. Your opponent must make 3 leadership tests. Pass the clock to your opponent while he makes these tests and adjusts the units which fail.
  3. You destroy a vehicle and your opponent has a large squad inside that he wants positioned just right. Pass the clock to him while he arranges his models.
  4. You do 5 power fist wounds and 5 regular wounds to a unit. Pass the clock to your opponent while he decides what saves to take on which models.

These examples are limited but show the basic concept. You manage your own time and it is up to you to pass the clock. If you burn your own time, it is not your opponent’s fault.


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About Reecius

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145 Responses to “Open source chess clock rules for Warhammer 40k Tournaments”

  1. Ujayim March 7, 2018 8:12 am #

    While I respect the use of clocks, I would rather play at lower point values than deal with this.

    Perhaps I need to play with a clock more, because I play very quickly and have little patience for those that play slowly, but it feels a little off at face value.

    Times are changing, I guess.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:03 am #

      It’s well and truly no big deal once you get used to it. I like it a lot and Frankie and I use it every time we play now.

      • Ujayim March 7, 2018 9:14 am #

        I’m willing to try it!

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 1:15 pm #

          That is all we can really ask =)

  2. Truesight March 7, 2018 8:27 am #

    Imagine being such a slimy player that you force a worldwide tournament circuit to implement clock systems.

    • abusepuppy March 7, 2018 8:57 am #

      Do you mean “most players in the game these days”? Because they aren’t adding chess clocks because one person is a fuckup, they’re doing it because a LOT of people are not finishing their games, at all levels.

      • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:03 am #

        Yeah, this is as a result of games simply not finishing. Tony’s may have been the most visible, but it is something Frankie and I have discussed implementing since 5th ed.

    • Peteypab March 7, 2018 10:45 am #

      This would have happened anyways, I feel. There were just too many games finishing prematurely. Also, to anyone reading this who’s games may consistently finish on turns 1-2. You are not a slimy player, but you really need to play faster man.

    • Earl March 10, 2018 5:55 am #

      I’ve been playing in tourneys since 3rd edition, and not finishing games due to time is a recurring issue. Doesn’t matter players, edition, or armies.

  3. GeekmasterK March 7, 2018 8:47 am #

    That option to forego rolling in close combat needs some work, I think. Lets say I charge a chaff unit with my Death Company. It’s my turn, but I’m running out of time, so I decide to forego my roll in the fight phase. Why would my opponent not say the unit is unharmed, even if they would clearly have been wiped had I rolled? I see no incentive for them to not say their unit is unharmed every time. Especially considering these are tournaments we’re talking about here. I appreciate the incentive for assault armies to play faster, but the current rule as it is seems way too open to abuse. Maybe put a limit on how often you can say a unit is completely unharmed? To be clear, I don’t see this being abused all the time, but I can see it being abused constantly at the top tables.

    • Michael Corr March 7, 2018 8:52 am #

      I think this more covers the situation where one or two Marines are charged by a unit of 20 Orks, Genestealers, etc. Odds are the unit is going to get obliterated and I think both players would be happy to remove them without a roll.
      It is definitely open to abuse, but any time control system would probably be as well.

      • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:31 am #

        Exactly, This is when a combat is largely a forgone conclusion and you don’t want to waste time rolling it out. People do it all the time in games now, they just may not realize it.

    • happy_inquisitor March 7, 2018 8:53 am #

      If you are so badly down on the clock that you have to forego rolling for a key unit like this then you have all but lost and your opponent is within their rights to refuse to remove any models. Technically they could claim that their chaff wipe out your whole unit, it would be pretty cheesy but like I said you have effectively lost on time already if you are pulling something desperate like this. why did you even waste time on making the charge?

      I think this option is more for situations where you just want to lock a tank in combat and do not want to waste clock time on rolling a bunch of attacks that will probably do nothing.

      • GeekmasterK March 7, 2018 9:07 am #

        Good point. I definitely did something wrong if I’m that short on time in this situation. Though, if the chaff wiped my whole unit when they clearly would not have been able to based on the number of attacks, then yeah, I would call BS. The more I think about it, the more this makes sense. Though I would include maybe a stipulation that the result must actually be possible based on the number of attacks a unit has.

      • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:36 am #

        I think you are misreading it, buddy. It kicks in when you are willing to just let a unit die instead of rolling it out.

        • Michael March 7, 2018 10:36 am #

          Reece, as written it allows a single attack sentinel to kill 20 horrors, since the horrors chose not to resolve their attacks. This is an unrealistic result of that combat. I’d recommend limiting damage dealt to either side to the maximum potential damage caused, rather than allowing for infinite damage because I don’t feel like rolling 20 odd meaningless dice.

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:40 am

            In that situation, the horror player would not opt to forgo combat so it would not come up.

          • Michael March 7, 2018 10:46 am

            Reece, it is reasonable to want to not roll 30 dice to hit and wound for the pinks, however as written they would be forced to use their time or suffer losing the entire pink unit. Is your intent to force the to roll those dice and take that time? Or would it be better if the pink player could estimate that the rhino killing 3 pinks was an acceptable outcome, and forego the attacks to save time?

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:49 am

            When you have a clock, you have to have rules for these things as otherwise you open the door to gaming the system. As you have to attack if able to, then you have to roll the dice and burn your clock, those are the rules. You actually can’t choose not to rules as written but it is one of those things people just do in games and we found you needed a way to fairly resolve it. You can’t try to save time for yourself by not following the rules of the game. This is a house rule that allows you to do that to preserve time. You are looking at it from a different perspective than it is intended to work in.

          • Michael March 7, 2018 11:14 am

            Reece, is the intent to allow only one player to be able to save time in these situations? I understand that you’re trying to limit it to the second round of a combat where, for instance, 19 genestealers trapped 5 rangers, and the eldar player wants to save their time by not bothering with a handful of shitty attacks. However this is a relative disadvantage for the melee player since they are functionally required to roll their dice, or lose an entire competent unit, whereas the eldar player can save time by skipping meaningless rolls.

          • Vercingatorix March 7, 2018 4:01 pm

            I think you should just give the choice of the result to the player not skipping.

            So 20 pinks vs rhino

            pink player is short of time.

            She declares she is skipping her attacks.

            rhino player may now declare he takes 0 up to 20 wounds.

            and may declare the rhino does 0-3 wounds to the pinks.

            The combat ends.

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 4:26 pm

            Again, that doesn’t work. If the Pink player would time out rolling out the combat that is worse than losing the unit.

            This whole Rhino wiping out a unit thing is putting the cart in front of the horse. It is missing the point. The rule is there not to simulate what would happen in fast time but to prevent a player from choosing not to burn their clock.

            If it doesn’t make sense to a TO that wants to try this system out, simply do not use it and require that all players play it out without skipping any required rules. Problem solved.

          • Saieden March 11, 2018 7:13 am

            You don’t “choose the result of combat”. Their is no “combat” (noun) in 8th ed that is made up of a group of models. You choose the result of the activation, like such:

            Player A activates his Pink Horrors, and opts to pass the dice to save time. Player B chooses the outcome *of the Pinks attacks*, and decides that they do nothing.

            Player B then activates some other unit elsewhere.

            Player A then activates some other unit elsewhere.

            Player B the activates his Rhino, and Player A opts to pass the dice. Player B then chooses the outcome of the Rhino’s attacks, and is within his rights off kill off three Pinks, or do no damage so Player A can’t pull from of combat without falling back in his next turn.

            Make sense now?

        • happy_inquisitor March 7, 2018 11:44 am #

          Ah gotcha.

          I think it would be a lot cleaner and easier to just allow a player to not activate a unit just like they can choose not to shoot with a unit – but I doubt if it would make much difference.

          However the “yeah, you made the charge so my kroot are dead” is a time-saver I have always used and would still use.

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:29 pm

            You can’t opt to not swing in combat though, that is the point. You can opt not to pile in, but eligible models have to attack. That is where this comes from. If you could just choose not to attack to save time you can game the system a ton as say, you have a unit in combat and you want to stay in combat to not get shot. Simply not attacking would be super unfair to the other player in addition to not following the rules for combat.

            As you noted, people just do this in practice, so a rule had to come up to make it fair in a game where time is a resource. It makes more sense when you get some reps in with the clock.

  4. happy_inquisitor March 7, 2018 8:48 am #

    The only change I would make to that is that any player can choose to decline to make saves or morale checks on the clock and their opponent decides what happens.

    I routinely skip saves on my kroot because it is a waste of time, no need to change that.

    However it is worth putting in black and white in the guidelines exactly when you pass clock control back to the active player. Is it when you finish making saves or is it when you finish removing models from the table? I would think it is only when you finish removing models so in practice you should only be able to not take time on your clock if you concede the removal of the entire unit so there is no possible thinking time about model removal and your opponent can carry right on with their next activity while you take your models away.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:37 am #

      Yeah, this is what the combat rule is for and the one that is the largest deviation from the book so we wanted the most feedback on it.

  5. ManDollySavage March 7, 2018 8:48 am #

    @Truesight, if you think it was Tony who forced this issue, it is not. Most players play too slow and the clock issue has been talked about before 6th ed. Small point games at 1850 or 1750 dont speed up game play, army sizs dont change much, maybe a unit or 2 max.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:38 am #

      Tony did not force this issue, no. His game was the most predominant for sure but go back and watch some of the other streamed games at the LVO, many of them didn’t finish. Many games in general didn’t finish.

      Even at lower points people will still not finish games. The issue is to make games finish going the distance. That is what you come to the table to do, that is what people will want to watch. We’ve tried everything (including lowering points) and it just doesn’t work.

    • WestRider March 7, 2018 5:30 pm #

      If “most” players are having trouble, that really suggests to me that the issue is with round times vs. Points levels. If it’s actually “many”, rather than “most”, then this is closer to the right solution.

      • NickTheKnife March 8, 2018 9:41 pm #

        Players play too slow is the problem. I get too bored with too many opponents who silently stand thinking thoughts they never actualize

  6. Beau March 7, 2018 8:53 am #

    Good work guys. I agree with the post above that I would rather do smaller points games than deal with the stress of a game, but 40k isn’t balanced for that. Many a time I have completed my turn with a horde army in 10 minutes only to have to endure a 45 minute xenos shooting phase. So annoying.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:43 am #

      Eh, I think the game is fin eat any points, personally. The balance of power shifts when you alter any variable but the game doesn’t just implode at lower points or what have you. People just don’t want to cut their lists down 25% is what we’ve seen.

      And the clocks are really no big deal. Once you get used to them they’re awesome. i prefer playing with one, now.

  7. abusepuppy March 7, 2018 9:00 am #

    I will third the preference for smaller games- I’ve been playing 1500 for a long time now, and despite the constant claims that it “isn’t balanced” or “the game wasn’t designed for it,” it plays just fine. Several of our local events are played at 1500pts and the real truth is, it’s really not that different from 2K at all. I think if you guys just moved over to 1.5K with some or all of your tournaments, people would start to accept it just like they accepted the 1850 value back in the day.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:41 am #

      The game is fine at any points size but the simple truth is that the overwhelming majority of tournament players do not want to play with less points.

  8. Agent X March 7, 2018 9:27 am #

    The only item that draws my attention is requiring 10 minutes for a new game turn (1 player is out of time and the other had X left).

    Disclaimer I’m a novice…but end game turns seem to go real fast. Moving just to close with objectives and skipping fighting is key when 1 player is out of time.

    Is this a flexible number?

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:46 am #

      I think you are misreading that rule, my friend. Basically what that means is that the game is coming to it’s final turn when the clock hits 10 minutes total. You don’t have a total turn time per turn. You can take as much time as you want in each turn (although that can burn you).

      • Agent X March 7, 2018 10:02 am #

        Sorry Reecius let me clarify,

        “Games end naturally depending on random game length rolls or at the start of a new game turn when neither player has greater than 10:00 minutes of time left on the clock.”

        3 hour game. Each player has half on their clock (90 minutes)

        Player A runs out of time turn 3
        Player B has 12 minutes remaining start of his turn 3 (hypothetical)

        Player B is able to move everything to go after objectives…score ITC points etc. in just over 2 minutes (super fast basically). He isn’t fighting or rolling dice unless absolutely critical (kill a unit a turn and he has done enough).

        Turn 3 ends

        Player B has 9 minutes remaining on his personal clock

        “When neither player has greater than 10 min”
        Player A has 0
        Player B has 9

        Game ends even though Player B has 10% of his original time remaining and could easily start and complete Turns 4+ by just moving and scoring more points (or even saying no move turn ends…give me more secondary or primary points based on board).

        I know you guys are doing playtesting etc. but this doesn’t seem like the major advantage for the non slow player. A 10 minute threshold appears to be a high bar at first glance to this novice player.

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:22 am #

          We play 6 turn set games typically, but yeah, in a random game length scenario when you hit that limit of 10 minutes you would not roll for another turn. Once under the 10 minute mark though, you are in your last turn.

          But, as stated, this is the kind of feedback we’re looking for. Yeah, that rule can be altered or removed if we deem it to not be helpful. This is a WIP after all =)

          • Agent X March 7, 2018 10:35 am

            I think we are reading the game end rule differently. Sorry if this is nitpicking but I figure feedback here is better than cropping up at a tournament somewhere

            “Games end (1) naturally depending on random game length rolls or (2) at the start of a new game turn when neither player has greater than 10:00 minutes of time left on the clock” (enumeration added).

            That “or” has a huge impact on the game ending conditions.

            “Game ends … at the start of a new game turn when neither player has greater than 10:00 minutes of time left on the clock.”

            So despite the ITC fixed 6 turn game length it could end prematurely when “neither player has greater than 10:00 minutes of time left on the clock” (i.e., the player with the MOST amount of time remaining drops under 10:00)

            So the hypothetical above
            Player A 0 time
            Player B 9+ min remaining

            Doesn’t matter what the actual game turn is…game simply ends because the next turn (i.e., “new game turn”) doesn’t meet the requirement.

            Could happen as early as turn 2 potentially.

            Just making sure we are on the same page and if that isn’t the intent a quick correction to the wording.

            Thanks for engaging in the back and forth!

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 2:45 pm

            Happy to help!

            So when your clock goes under 10 minutes, you are in your last turn.

  9. TombKing March 7, 2018 9:31 am #

    Can there bea vote this month on the points issue? I feel that would be more enjoyable then slapping the clock 15 times a turn. I have used clocks before.. it makes the gane feel like a chore.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 9:33 am #

      Well buddy, not to be mean at all, but some of your games didn’t get past turns 2 and 3, haha. Your game on stream at the LVO only went to what, turn 2? It needs to happen.

      • HaHa April 11, 2018 2:31 pm #

        Great reply Reecius !!!

        Tell it the way it is – of course notorious slow players don’t want clocks.


    • Rob Butcher March 7, 2018 10:45 am #

      A vote ?

      How would you reach every-one who actually will play in the three FLG tournaments where clocks will be used for the final day?

      This is a TOs decision … whether you enter or nor not is yours.

      Personally, I want a game length where I can score some points … so the longer the better.

      • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:50 am #

        It is indeed a TO decision. If their community doesn’t want to use them? No big deal, don’t.

  10. Heldericht March 7, 2018 10:00 am #

    “In the assault phase, a player may always choose to forego rolling to determine the results of a combat, starting with the player whose turn it is. If they choose to save their time this way, their opponent may decide the results of the assault. This can range from leaving the enemy unit unharmed, up to removing the entire unit involved in the combat.”

    Does this mean if player A foregoes his attacks, can Player B choose to remove his own unit or just the enemy unit or both?

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:19 am #

      Only the unit that opts not to do anything. So player A opts to forgo combat, player B then can remove player A’s unit as if it was destroyed.

      • Heldericht March 7, 2018 10:29 am #

        That makes sense, though the second part of that last sentence could use some clarification to make that clear.

        Some people are interpreting it as being able to remove your own unit which can mess with things like kill a unit in your turn, etc.

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 1:16 pm #

          Yeah, that is not how it works. You give all of the power to the other player.

          So, it only rarely comes into play.

      • Michael March 7, 2018 10:42 am #

        The potential issue that arises under these circumstances is, for instance; 30 pinks charge a rhino. They choose not to swing since their damage is minimal. The rhino player then removes the unit. This is an entirely unrealistic damage potential. It would be better if the maximum potential damage caused was limited to the quantity of damage the unit that is still swinging could cause. In this case, when the pinks choose not to attack due to time, the rhino would kill 3 pinks. It is possible in game for this to occur. The rhino player really should not be able to do 10 times the maximum potential damage because the pink horror player wanted to save 2 minutes, imo.

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:43 am #

          Mike, you would not make that choice in that instance as already stated, lol. If you want to avoid it, roll it out like normal.

          • Michael March 7, 2018 11:49 am

            Reece, is your intent to favor small model count/shooty armies further by allowing them to save time by ignoring swings in melee, whereas large model count/melee based armies can’t really save time by skipping required swings?

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 1:18 pm

            How is it a benefit, lol? If you say, I don’t want to roll, the other player can say, cool, I will leave one of your models, wrap it with a consolidation, and now you can’t shoot me in your turn.

            Again, I think you are missing the core concept.

  11. Garry Leonard March 7, 2018 10:03 am #

    I’m a fan.

    Only thing I think would make the chess clock thing go ALOT faster. Would be to give players a separate opponents turn clock. Like you get a resetable timer you can stop and start on your opponents turn to do things. Instead of flipping the clock repeatedly.

    Think it would protect against folks that run out of time slow rolling thier saves and such. Or it could allow some manner of simultaneous play. Letting some one roll some weird string of saves on blue horrors while i start shooting my Las cannons at tanks. Something like that. Instead of having to wait for my opponent to roll his saves before i can do anything else.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:22 am #

      I see the logic but that gets really complex and I think opens the door to confusion and possible cheaty moves, too.

  12. Farseer_V2 March 7, 2018 10:15 am #

    Clarification question on the combat ruling (my initial gut reaction to it was pretty negative but trying to keep an open mind here):

    I charge my opponent’s 5 man tactical squad with 30 Boyz
    I decide not to roll it out
    My opponent can state which of the following:

    A) His marines survive in full as do my boyz
    B) His marines survive in full and my boyz are wiped out
    C)His marines are wiped out my boyz survive in full
    D)Any of the above, or something more complex such as he loses 2 marines and I lose 3 boyz

    2nd question – When must the player who isn’t rolling declare the results (i.e. I’d like not have to roll out the above scenario because the conclusion is foregone however if my opponent is going to select say option B then obviously I’m going to want to roll it out.

    Just trying to get clarification here.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:25 am #

      Obviously that rule could use a rewrite as lots of folks are not getting it. No big deal, can fix.

      So this is how it works, in the scenario you describe if you as the ork player chose to not swing, the Mainre player could yank your entire unit of 30 boys. So, you would never do it, obviously. However, if the Marine player went first and said, hey, I am dead here and don’t want to waste time rolling, he can opt to simply let you choose to yank his unit or leave 1 model, etc.

      It doesn’t come up much, honestly.

      • Farseer_V2 March 7, 2018 11:06 am #

        That makes sense – like I said, just trying to get a better understanding. To play the devil’s advocate here for a moment – wouldn’t it be in your best interest to almost always force your opponent to roll it out (eating up his time while yours remains untouched?) I know this assumes a negative view point but I certainly know some players who aren’t above it.

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:11 pm #

          Exactly correct. So, if you opt not to burn your own clock, your opponent gets full advantage of how the combat is resolved.

          • Vercingatorix March 7, 2018 4:08 pm

            I think what people are latching onto is that as written, it’s not the full advantage. It’s the full advantage plus infinite possible damage.

            Just make it actually max damage.

            so like the ork player says “I skip my assault phase here, I take max damage inflict however much damage up to the maximum damage to the space marines as you want”

            So the space marine player can say “I don’t want to be trapped, kill all my scouts and remove 6 orks from my swinging” or, if he wants the unit to live “Your assault does nothing to me and I kill 6 orks”

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 4:29 pm

            You guys need to play with the rules to fully grasp it. Folks are working off of theory and trying to visualize it out of context. That is understandable but also the source of the confusion, here.

            The point in your example is not to benefit the Ork player but to give the Ork player the option for the lesser of two evils. Otherwise people will constantly opt to not roll out combat to save time, which is unfair to their opponent. When this possibility comes up, you do it ONLY to save time at a very steep penalty. You aren’t going to do it in most games and if you do it is because you have to. If you want to avoid the penalty, you roll it out as you are supposed to per the core rules and let the dice fall as they may and the clock burn down in the process.

  13. Walter March 7, 2018 10:16 am #

    Units should just not strike in melee if chosen to not activate instead of being removed.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:18 am #

      The problem is that is gamable. Say for instance, you didn’t want to destroy your opponent’s unit to stay locked in combat, you could use that to your advantage.

  14. Embrace Your Inner Geek March 7, 2018 10:29 am #

    Is the intention that this will be compulsory at the LVO 2019? Last time you mentioned it, it was going to be compulsory in day 2 for all those on 3 wins, but I thought I heard elsewhere that even on day 1, one party can insist on a chess clock.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:32 am #

      We’re still working out the details. This is step one. It will for sure though, be mandatory in the LVO finals at the absolute least.

      • Embrace Your Inner Geek March 7, 2018 10:35 am #

        Thanks a Reece – are you planning a vote on whether to implement for the LVO?

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:38 am #

          Not for the finals, haha. It will be implemented there regardless.

          • Embrace Your Inner Geek March 7, 2018 11:21 am

            Sure for the Finals, but the vast majority of the participants will not be in the finals …. and if their experience is impacted by using Chess Clocks (as it will be), surely they should have a say? Otherwise, you’re letting the top (say) 10% drive the experience of the majority.

          • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:23 pm

            We’re not 100% certain how we are going to implement them just yet but there are a lot of things to consider. For one, at an event like LVO, we don’t really want to bring 300+ chess clocks when in many of the games it doesn’t matter. So, we’re still feeling out some of this process and we don’t want to push clocks onto games where it isn’t as relevant but we also know for many games it 100% is.

  15. Embrace Your Inner Geek March 7, 2018 10:38 am #

    Another thought – it might be helpful if you streamed a game using a clock to let people get an idea of how it works in practise.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 10:41 am #

      We will definitely do that and make a YouTube video, too.

  16. abusepuppy March 7, 2018 11:29 am #

    As a suggestion, why not instead make it so that if a player chooses to “pass” on making a dice roll due to time, their opponent is allowed to decide the result of the roll? That seems simpler and more in line with the “actual” way the game would play out while still maintaining a time-saving option.

    It also avoids the “my one Tau model charges a 30man Berzerker squad and wipes them all out” issue, which I think is very disconcerting for a lot of people. You can’t do more damage than was otherwise, but you can still do maximum damage (which is typically quite a lot.)

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:26 pm #

      The Berzerker thing will never happen though, lol, unless the Berzerker player determined that it was worse to lose the time than the unit.

      The point of it is to not get the benefit of say, charging a tank to stop it from moving or shooting but then saying “I don’t want to burn my clock rolling out the dice when I am likely not going to do any damage.” You don’t get the benefit of the charge AND not burn your clock. That is very unfair to the other player. So, if you want to save time (and again, this will become a lot clearer when people actually get reps in with a clock) you give your opponent total control of the outcome of the combat. So, it forces you to actually roll the dice and burn your clock as–by the rules of the game–you do have to do. You wouldn’t opt to skip it if your entire unit was going to get wiped out, you’d roll your dice.

      • PuppetSoul March 8, 2018 11:33 pm #

        Have you ever saw a unit of Berserkers or Arco-flagellants coming at you, and thought to yourself, “man, I’m totally going to charge this Rhino into that, fail its three attacks, and then chew through a third of my opponent’s clock with mandatory rolls”?

        Because that’s about to be a thing.

        • Vercingatorix March 9, 2018 8:48 am #

          I think I’m okay with this though. That’s an example of forcing someone to use more of their resource then it takes you in exchange for war material. I’m sure we’ll see other time imbalanced actions become important.

        • abusepuppy March 9, 2018 10:05 am #

          If it takes a player THAT long to roll out a single unit- even a unit like Berzerkers- then they really need to learn to play faster regardless of the presence of a chess clock. If you can’t resolve a unit’s attacks in a minute, two minutes tops, you are really dragging the game.

          • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:21 am

            Yeah, exactly.

            And charging Zerkers with your RHino to try and burn their clock may backfire, giving them extra movement, allowing them to wrap the tank to stay safe from shooting, etc.

  17. Michael March 7, 2018 11:51 am #

    Reece, is the intent to favor small model count shooting armies over larger model count or melee based armies? As you’ve indicated in your previous replies you intend the time saving rule to be used when your attacks are unlikely to do anything. This functionally is smaller shooting units who will save time this way. I think you should add a caveat to the rule that both players have to agree to the time saving measures, otherwise melee armies will have an unfair disadvantage when playing the clock relative to shooting armies.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:10 pm #

      Buddy, you are dramatically overthinking this =)

  18. winterman March 7, 2018 11:53 am #

    Good start to a codified method. Couple tweaks seem needed.

    The game ends rule needs more clarity. If I have 9 minutes and opponent has 9 minutes, neither has 10 minutes so new turn does not start? That is 18 minutes of gametime lost. Seems odd. If you are meaning 10 minutes total between two players than that makes more sense, but that is not how that reads to me.

    The game end rules also don’t seem to take into account actual round time left. Between judge rulings and actual round start vs tracking chess clock time there’s bound to be a mismatch. I am guessing that is what the 10 minute rule above is trying to deal with but may need to be refined.

    The ability to forgo rolling something out, I see the intent but since the outcome is based on player choice not statistical likelihood, it doesn’t quite standardized what typically happens. It sort of complicates it to me. In the example with termagants and zerkers – what happens in a typical game is one player may go hey outcome here is obvious lets just remove the termagants and if both players agree it just happens. Now we have this weird meta game where I may want to speed things up by resolving it in the most likely fashion, but instead I give my opponent an option where the very unlikely can be the outcome – or be forced to roll something out.

    When a player runs out of time I would add a third condition of the player with time can force the player out of time to roll out anything they would normally roll if time were not a factor, at his discretion. Kind of corner case but there could be situations where the player with time left needs a unit of his killed in close combat or something as may have without time limits, but rules as written here no attacks would be made.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 12:39 pm #

      The game doesn’t end, that becomes the last turn (so far, we have experimented down to 5 minutes). You don’t lose any time (although you can but why would you?). Once your clock goes under 10 minutes, you are on your last turn. You don’t get another turn after that so you might as well play it out.

      If both players are down to 9 minutes in a 3 hour game, then unless they had to call a judge a lot and paused their clocks, the round time should match them and have 18 minutes left. It is possible to end without using all 18 minutes but unless you have literally nothing left to do, you may as well use the time.

      I knew the combat rule would be confusing but again, it will make sense once you play. You ONLY use it when you have to save time and you are willing to let the other player choose what happens. When you have the clock as a resource, choosing not to do things you have to do is actually cheating. However, we all do it so in order to make it fair, if you opt not to roll dice in order to speed things up, your opponent needs to gain a benefit. So, the benefit is massive, therefore you will almost always opt to play the game per the rules and roll out the combat as you are meant to.

      Again, when you play with the rules, it makes sense. On paper it is such a foreign concept that it seems weird.

  19. Kdash March 7, 2018 12:59 pm #

    So, couple of things i think need to be clarified, but, otherwise, i’m happy to see this happen! Even if after full testing we find out the idea doesn’t work as well as we hope.

    1) You need to clarify the exact moment the clock starts to avoid confusion and deviation. I.E. Starts immediately after the “who deploys first” decision is made. Also, is the clock paused for the roll off to determine who gets 1st turn?

    2) If a player runs out of time, but the other player has time remaining for a couple of turns, is the clock paused when the player with 0 time left makes saving throws, model removal and morale interactions? If yes, this obviously has potential knock on effects to the tournament as a whole event, time wise, if no, what instruments are in place to prevent the opponent from slowing down, now that they are out of time themselves?

    3) Is the intention, when resolving D# damage weapons vs multi-wound models to pass the clock back and forth for each individual damage roll?

    4) Currently the game ends when the end of a full turn is reached and both players have 9:59 or less on the clock. If player A has 0:00 on the clock, but player B has 9:59 on the clock – that is a lot of time lost and potentially a lot of points lost as well for player B. Recon, Behind enemy lines and Linebreaker are a few secondaries that could easily be gained during that time with nothing but 60 seconds of moving – not to mention holding additional objectives for Primary Bonus points.

    5) Would “batch rolling” be allowed? For example 30 boyz in combat – i roll 20 of the attacks at a time and resolve that batch of wounds and saves before rolling the next batch? Usually saves time and will prevent issues with the “choose not to roll” option. Will need stating in the rules though, to prevent players demanding the full set of hits and wounds be rolled before saves are rolled.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 4:38 pm #

      Glad to see your enthusiasm! And again, FLG /ITC didn’t create these, they have been in play for several years now in tournament play.

      1.) As soon as you roll any dice for the game to begin as noted. If that needs further clarification we can provide an example.

      2.) Good points, and that is why we have buffers built in to accommodate things like that. If it is a problem, we can just say saves are automatically failed or something like that, but so far it hasn’t been an issue.

      3.) Well, if you fast roll it that shouldn’t be an issue. You resolve damage last to if you failed X saves, you roll damage one at a time and your opponent pulls models as you go.

      4.) Yes. You have to manage your clock and leave at least 10:01 on the clock for that last turn. Again, managing your time is on you.

      5.) It depends. Technically the Ork player in that instance would be trying to cut corners on the clock and would be better served simply not getting as many Boyz into combat to avoid having to swing with all of them. However, trying to do it incrementally to save time but get the full impact of all of your attacks is not fair to the other player. Also, dice app =)

  20. Cybro1 March 7, 2018 1:26 pm #

    I searched through this and there was zero mention of stratagems. How will this chess clock interact with stratagems that are used on your opponents turn?

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 1:30 pm #

      You hand the clock back to them if time is an issue, just as if they were taking saves on your turn.

      In practice we find if something happens very quickly, like Hey I use my Take Cover! start to give this unit +1 to their saves, it is seconds of time and not worth handing the clock back and forth but you can if needs be.

  21. Danny McDevitt March 7, 2018 2:40 pm #

    So I was chatting about clocks with the TO’s of our next couple big events – so what happens if your opponent wants you to read them the text of a stratagem or rule? Do you flip the clock back to the help while you do this? I’d assume so, as it’s not a “call the judge” thing.

    Just looking at the ways that scummy people could use this to their advantage.

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 2:53 pm #

      Yeah, I mean, if your opponent says: read me the strat in entirety, then just have it go on their clock. I get the point but in reality it just doesn’t really happen.

      “What’s that start do?”

      “Adds 1 to my saves”

      “Ok, cool.”

      Proceed with game.

      If the player says: “Can you show me the rule?”

      They take the clock (burn their time) and they can read it to their heart’s content, it is on their time.

  22. Lochcrest March 7, 2018 3:09 pm #

    Hello, I am one of the major contributors to the Open source chess clock rules for Warhammer 40k Tournaments project. I am going to hop on this thread for a bit and help Reece field questions.

    First off, I want everyone to understand these rules are designed for tournament games that are intended to end naturally, but can be used in any setting. These rules have evolved over the last few years through the play testing of hundreds of tournament level games. They are designed like the ITC as a baseline rule set to give TO’s a starting point to enhance their tournaments by using chess clocks. The rule set itself is very solid and can be used effectively unchanged, but if a TO wants to make tweaks to a certain parameter then that’s 100% up to them.

    Secondly, I want say that chess clocks enhance the tournament experience at all point levels by making the game fair for both players in regards to time. I personally have a hard time playing without one anymore.

    Lastly, to put things into context I am currently playing a large model count Nurgle Demon assault list. But I have used these rules to play in high level tournament games with Storm Raven Spam, Gun Line Guard, Magnus Demons, Imperial Soup’s of all varieties and Conscript Heavy Guard. I can say unequivocally that the clocks do not favor any one style of list, because it treats everyone equally in regards to time.

    To address some common themes that I have seen in the comment section already:

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 4:38 pm #

      Thanks for your contributions and for jumping in here!

  23. Lochcrest March 7, 2018 3:18 pm #

    Close combat rules:

    These rules are designed to put all of the power in the hands of your opponent if you decide to forgo your close combat attacks in order to save time. This rule has evolved this way through significant amounts of play testing to eliminate the ability of players to game the rule of allowing models to choose not to fight in order to save time.

    If a TO finds this rule not to their liking and wants to force everyone to resolve all close combat attacks then they can strike this rule for their event. I however, highly recommend they do not because allowing people to rarely forgo their attacks in this manor to save time is really clean once you try it and it enhances the timed tournament game experience.

  24. Lochcrest March 7, 2018 3:25 pm #

    10:00 minute threshold:

    10:00 minutes is a parameter to the “When Does the Game end?” rule and can be adjusted by a TO. 10:00 minutes was chosen as a baseline because it is a good balance between too little and too much time for a proper last turn. If a TO wants a more aggressive last turn then they can adjust this parameter towards 0:00. If they want a more orderly last turn and additional buffer against potential time overflow due to pausing for major rule disputes, then they can leave it as is or adjust it higher.

    Most of the questions and examples given above are correct. Using the baseline value of 10:00 minutes, if both players are at 10;00 or less at the start of a turn then that turn does not start and the game is over. So it is possible for a game to have 20:00 left on the clock and be over, this is working as intended. What needs to be understood is that if players want to guarantee that the game to proceeds to another full turn then they need to keep at least 10:01 minutes on their clock.

    Additionally it is also possible for one player to have 10:00+ minutes left on their clock and their opponent 0:00 for several turns. This is also working as intended and is designed to be a penalty for running out of time.

  25. Lochcrest March 7, 2018 3:28 pm #

    Not taking saving throws:

    Saving throws are never mandatory and do not need to be taken. The only reason a clock would be passed to your opponent is if their models physical presence impeded you in some way. If they do, then it is your right but not your obligation to pass the clock to your opponent as they remove their models.

  26. CeeEhl March 7, 2018 5:09 pm #

    FINALLY! As a Warmachine and Warhammer player I’ve been suggesting the use of a clock for a while. I really hop this catches on and thanks for posting an article about it,

  27. Jeff Poole March 7, 2018 5:27 pm #

    Love this thread and we’ll be testing the beta rules out on the TFG Radio twitch stream next Monday the 12th. Look to our FB page for more details as we get closer.

    Here are some of my suggestions that I have prior to actual play testing, so take them with a grain of salt.

    1) You should define how much time you’ll be providing to each player in your tournaments, but I assume it’s 75 (2.5 hour rounds).

    2) I would remove the language about the game ending when players have less than 10:00 minutes remaining. It creates too many issues imho; players should be able to play our the entirety of their 75 minutes.

    3) Insert the following to Rule #1: “As is customary in most tournament games to speed up game-play, both players may agree on the results of a particular roll, combat, situation, etc. If they do so, the players can simple express what they think will happen and then remove models or take other actions to effectuate their mutual agreement.

    For example, Player A declares that his 5 scouts with bolters will all shoot at Player B’s single remaining gretchin. Player A asks his opponent if he can forego rolling and simple have Player B remove the gretchin in order to save time. Player B (who considers himself a good sport) agrees and picks up his single gretchin, allowing Player A to move through his turn more efficiently.

    4) Insert the following into Rule #1: “In the Fight Phase, when a player activates a unit to fight, he may choose to forgo rolling any dice for that unit. If he does so, his opponent may then remove any number of his own models engaged with the chosen unit (from zero to the total amount of engaged models) as casualties.

    For example, Player A charges his Rhino into Player B’s squad of 30 pink horrors. Player A chooses forgo rolling his dice for his Rhino. Player B then opts to remove 0 pink horrors as casualties. Alternatively, Player B could remove enough Pink Horrors so that the Rhino could not consolidate with 1″ of any of the remaining Pinks (thereby allows the Pinks to move, shoot, and charge normally next turn as they would not be locked in combat).

    As another example, Player A charges his 10 Death Company into his opponent’s 20 man Conscript screen. Player A (thinking he will be incredibly sneaky and devious) chooses to activate his Death Company but then opts to forgo rolling dice so that he can consolidate and tri-base the conscript and lock them in combat (and avoid his Death Company being shot off the table next turn). Not so fast says Player B, who then removes enough of the Conscripts as casualties to prevent the Death Company from tri-basing his Conscripts, thus allowing Player B’s army to shoot at the now unengaged Death Company.

    **IMHO; it seems that the rules for skipping combat are intended to allow a player to skip rolling dice in order to save time. The current rules give a big stick to the other player though, who can just choose to eliminate the skipped unit entirely. IMHO, that stick is too big and essentially removes the option as most of the time a player won’t want to remove his entire unit just to save 1 minute rolling dice. However, the edit above still allows a player to skip rolling dice in combat to save times, while at the same time permitting the other player to remove models, should he so choose, in order to avoid any negative effects that could result from his opponent’s choice to skip rolling his attacks (such as being locked in combat).

    • Reecius March 7, 2018 6:07 pm #

      Glad you are excited about it!

      1.) That depends on the event, but yeah, 75-90 minutes per player should be the norm.

      2.) That rule comes at the advice of years of experience from the TOs that have written these rules. It seems weird in theory, I agree, but that is based on actual in the field tournament running so I strongly suggest trying it first before looking at making changes.

      The rule to not engage in combat is not meant to speed up the game. It is meant to give the player making that choice an option (a bad one) when the other option is timing out. It is hard to get it until you play with clocks for a while as it is so foreign to the way 40k plays without time as a resource.

      • Shawn March 7, 2018 6:44 pm #

        I concur with Reecius on this. I had to run through a number of scenarios in my head to realise that this isn’t about speeding up the game as a whole, but rather a tactical decision for the active player.

        The player can either keep their time but relinquish the tactical situation to their opponent, who can manipulate their unit, or they can lose their time but keep tactical ownership. It’s a hard choice.

        • PuppetSoul March 8, 2018 11:50 pm #

          The problem is that it creates a very large opening to exploit with moves that are tactically disadvantageous, but result in “taking a knee” while your opponent’s clock runs down.

          The example I used previous is charge Rhinos into close combat specialists that are quantity based (Zerkers, Arcoflags, Boyz, etc.): you roll 3 dice (or less) and fail to hit to start the chain, and then they are required to roll out their activation or sacrifice the squad.

          You would rarely consider doing that course of action in a normal game, as you’d be feeding BGH points and/or Kill More points to your opponent while wasting valuable shared game time to score your own; but when you’re shaving 10% or more of their clock with no risk to your own resource pool, while they’re unlikely to finish killing it within a single combat phase and are most likely going to get stuck burning 20% of their clock’s health pool in mandatory rolls, suddenly it becomes strategically advantageous to take what would otherwise fall somewhere between a punt and a hail mary.

          • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:24 am

            As stated though, that move may be detrimental to you. You may benefit your opponent by trying to take time away from them. Give them a free kill point, extra movement, etc.

            Again, once you get used to using the clock you will find that you largely play as you did before, just much quicker.

            These weird scenarios we can all imagine in which you game the clock really don’t play out in reality.

      • Jeff poole March 8, 2018 11:45 am #

        I read your comments and Shawn’s below. If that’s the rule you want to implement, then that’s what we’ll play with. However, it seems like a non-option in all but the most corner case scenarios.

        In fact, IMHO, it seems like a rule like that would discourage players from entering into mutual agreements about how a combat would run itself out.

        I.e. Player A charges his 10 berserkers into Player B’s 1 gretchin. Normally, Player B would just pick up his lone gretchin and move along. However, with these rule, Player B has an incentive to force Player A to roll out his dice as that will burn through Player A’s clock. I don’t think the chess clock rules should encourage players to force their opponents to run out the clock.

        Just my 2 cents.

        • Vercingatorix March 9, 2018 8:56 am #

          I think if we’re going to implement clocks then we have to admit that time is a resource and plays that force your opponent to spend more resources are totally fine.
          Any way that can force a win besides just tabling your opponent is great in my book. If I force my opponent to run out of time so I can go score a bunch of points than that’s just another avenue to victory and shouldn’t be looked down upon as unsporting any more than getting tabled but winning on early game board control is unsporting.
          Both strategies fall under the umbrella of “I lost the fight but played the mission better”.

        • abusepuppy March 9, 2018 10:04 am #

          I mean, for what it’s worth that is technically already the case- the Gretchin player could absolutely make the Berzerker guy roll out the dice for it as things stand, and it would accomplish the same goal (eating up the clock.) That’s not really a change from the way things are now.

          • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:25 am


          • PuppetSoul March 9, 2018 1:04 pm

            Not quite.

            Currently, the only win button for forcing him to roll out the combat is if he is already winning, as it runs out the game time as a whole.

            The downside is that if he is not winning, he also needs that shared clock, and is incentivized to pick his models up to maximize the time he gets for making plays that have the potential to score points or table his opponent.

            Under death-clock rules, there is NEVER a situation where he has more incentive to allowing his opponent to determine the outcome rather than forcing said opponent to burn the opponent’s half of the clock and roll it out.

            Declaring charge on your arcoflags with my platoon commander. Nope, you gotta roll it out. Nope, you gotta roll all of them.

          • Jeff Poole March 11, 2018 11:39 am


            Yes that’s how things are now, but the Gretchin player currently (with no clock) is eating into both players’ time. With a clock, the Gretchin player is eating only his opponent’s clock and therefor would never be incentivized to remove his Gretchin.

          • Reecius March 11, 2018 1:08 pm

            But remember, you are not supposed to just remove models, lol. By the book, you have to roll it out.

    • Lochcrest March 7, 2018 6:37 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, my initial thoughts are as follows:

      1. I agree the total amount of time should be clearly communicated by the TO. But I don’t think it has a place in the base rule set.

      2. Try 10:00 and then a game with 0:00 and I think that you will understand the importance of having a time buffer. Play testing has shown that a time buffer is ideal for a multitude of reasons. We used 5:00 in the past but 10:00 seems to work much better as a base line rule. Most games tend to still use almost all the time with the 10:00 cutoff while still allowing for a proper last turn.

      Remember if a TO really feels that 0:00 is what they want for their tournament then they can use it. But as a base rule I don’t think its optimal and I wouldn’t actually suggest it.

      3. I am not sure how this rule would improve the base rules and it makes them more complicated. The concept of the base rule set is to be as lean as possible.

      4. I think you are little confused as to how the assault rule works. In your Rhino example player B would simply choose that the Rhino is removed. Again, with your Death Company example If player A (Death Company) chooses to not swing, his opponent Player B (Conscripts) would simply ask him to remove his entire death company squad.

      The rule is if you choose to not swing in combat then your opponent gets to decide what happens in that combat.

  28. Shawn March 7, 2018 6:11 pm #

    How does this work with combat activation?

    Player A with 10 tactical marines, player B with 4 Guardians defenders.
    Player A activates his tacticals he decides to roll it out and kills 2 Guardians.
    Player B then activates the last 2 Guardians and chooses not to roll.
    Player A can then choose to remove all, some or none of the Guardians.
    Is this correct?

    Also, how does this work with multiple units in a combat?

    Player A with 10 tactical marines, player B with 4 Guardians defenders and a Warlock.
    Player A activates his tacticals he decides to roll it out and kills 2 Guardians.
    Player B then activates the warlock and kills 1 tactical.
    There are no other combats so Player B activates the 2 Guardians and chooses not to roll.
    Can Player A remove the Warlock or does it only affect the activated Guardian unit?

    I’m assuming it only affects the activated unit – but I’m unsure.

    • Lochcrest March 7, 2018 6:47 pm #

      Good questions, it’s very simple. When you activate a unit, if you choose to not swing with that unit, then your opponent chooses what happens to the unit that you just activated.

      • Shawn March 7, 2018 7:39 pm #

        Okay. I think something a little more codified may clear up some of the confusion around who gets to pull which models and when. Can I suggest something like this:

        Add step 1b to the Fight Phase as follows when using a chess clock:
        1. Choose unit to Fight with
        1b. Choose to Fight or Skip
        2. Pile in up to 3″

        Sometimes it is more beneficial to sacrifice a unit in order to save time for later. Declare to your opponent which of the following options you are performing:
        a) Fight:
        Continue with steps 2 through 5 of the fight phase as normal.
        b) Skip:
        You perform no further actions with your chosen unit in this Fight Phase. Instead, your opponent may select to remove from play any, or all, models from your chosen unit.

        • Shawn March 8, 2018 12:15 am #

          Follow up thought – The issue with this is positioning. Is the following how it would play out…?

          Eg1: Player A chooses to Skip. Player B then removes Player A’s entire unit. Player B’s unit is no longer in combat so cannot be chosen later in the Fight Phase, therefore it does not get a Pile In or Consolidate step.

          Eg2: Player A chooses to Skip. Player B then removes all but 1 of Player A’s unit. Player B can then choose their unit later in the Fight Phase in order to play out the full Pile In and Consolidate Step.

  29. Venkarel March 7, 2018 6:18 pm #

    I am very willing to give this a try. As a first iteration fix it beats having to define slow play and then having to hire/get volunteers for the judges needed to consistently enforce the issue. I think most of the rules are well thought out and applicable. I do not however agree with the under ten minute buffer and what happens when an a player reaches zero time.
    I think that when a players clock reaches zero the following should happen; 1) They cannot originate any actions except those needed to resolve their opponents abilities and leadership test (this includes morale). All other test are considered failed with every die included in the test considered to be a result of one (this includes saving throws). 2) They immediately lose the ability to score points. They can still deny the opponent points however.
    The first point is to prevent players from accumulating “negative time”. What I mean by this is time spent after your clock reaches zero. Under the original framework players could accrue significant negative time and on top of that they could receive benefits even though they had reached zero time remaining.
    The second point ensures that a player receives no benefit once their clock runs out. I cannot for example, run my clock to zero by end of my turn four, making sure to put all my remaining units are in as many score positions as possible (recon, linebreaker, behind enemy lines, on objectives, etc.) while my opponent has wisely saved 20 minutes for his turn 5 and 6. In this scenario using the original rules, my opponent could very easily lose the game based solely on the points I accrue after my time has run out. I do not think this match the perception of what should happen to a player when their time runs out. If instead I could not score but could still deny points this matches the perception that the player that ran out of time cannot do anything else. It also allows us to get rid of the ten minute buffer as you do not need to insure that a player finishes a turn, as scoring and for the most part dice rolling stops immediately when a players clock reaches zero. Finally, it minimizes clock management skill as an additional test that separate the best players from the rest. 40K has many other skill tests built into the system, we do not need another.

    • Shawn March 7, 2018 6:31 pm #

      I like the idea that when you are out of time all your rolls are a fail. Keep in mind that the combined time for each player is the round time, so if player A is accruing negative time while they are making saves there is a risk the round will end before player B has used all their allocated clock time.

      So for example Player A is out of time but in a great scoring position on Turn 3/4, Player B has time up their sleeve. But then Player A simply takes forever making their saves. The result is that rather than Player B running out of time on their clock, the round is ended.

      I don’t think Player A, in the example above, shouldn’t be stopped from scoring though. Their models are still on the objective, it is just on Player B to remove them from the board.

      • Venkarel March 7, 2018 6:42 pm #

        Fair enough. I just do not think you should be able to win the game based on points you accrue after your time reaches zero. You are still denying points so the opponent will most likely have to effectively remove your units to gain whatever they are denying.

    • Lochcrest March 7, 2018 7:02 pm #

      What you are describing is a Death Clock system. We made a conscious decision, informed by play testing, to not take this design approach to the rule set so that the penalty for timing out is extremely harsh but isn’t an auto loss. This approach may in theory result in negative time on your opponent’s clock. The reality is however, that unless you’re dealing with a bad actor the amount of negative time should be insignificant and the occurrence infrequent.

      • Venkarel March 7, 2018 7:07 pm #

        Good to know, regarding the philosophy behind the design. I do disagree that I am proposing a death clock system. You keep the points you accrue already, it is closer to ITC’s tabling rules than anything else, which I think is pretty much the appropriate consequence for having zero clock. ITC obviously thinks the tabling penalties are appropriate why would this be any different?

        • Venkarel March 7, 2018 7:22 pm #

          Just to clarify, you lose the ability to score any further points when your clock runs out. You keep the points you have accrued and can depending on when and the score when it happens win the game if you have zero clock. Oh yeah and should probably add that the game immediately ends when both players have zero clock.

        • Reecius March 7, 2018 8:15 pm #

          As stated, this is a beginning. We’re taking a tested clock system and folding it into the ITC format. It will take some time and learning to fine tune it, but we have to get the ball rolling somewhere, right? This is that point. If some elements need adjusting, we will do so =)

          • Venkarel March 7, 2018 8:23 pm

            I totally agree just giving my initial thoughts or feedback. I fully intend to use chess clocks and appreciate the timeliness and celerity of ITCs implementation of an answer to slow play. The next step is to play and test and see if different proposed rules would make the game play the way we want it to play vis a vis time use, and the consequences of having zero time left.

  30. Adam Vollrath March 7, 2018 7:05 pm #

    This is a great start and I hope everyone commenting will go play a game or three with these rules and then return to this thread. I’m sure changes will come after the next ITC GT. I, too, would love to see fewer points but I recognize I’m in the minority.

    When you say “The Berzerker player opts to simply pull the unit off of the table”, do you mean the genestealer unit or the Berzerker unit? I guess it’s the Berzerker player’s choice? Consider getting help from a technical writer here, or at least remove the ambiguous nouns.

    It’s hard to imagine the assault rule being invoked often. When would the genestealer sacrifice the chance to both kill a couple berzerkers AND shaving significant time off of his opponent’s clock just to save a smaller amount of time on his own? Could you provide some context that would make this a rational choice?

    Maybe this will make more sense once I play a game that goes down to the wire I’ll see an opportunity to invoke this, and I’m looking forward to trying this rules soon. Thanks!

    • Venkarel March 7, 2018 7:13 pm #

      I think the assault rule exist to codify behavior that players already exhibit. I don’t know about you, but I often pull my models if they are face with overwhelming odds, after pile in of coarse. Since fighting in the fight phase is mandatory they had to make this rule so player could skip that part of the turn.

    • Shawn March 7, 2018 7:55 pm #

      Took me a bit to get my head around it, but with a chess clock you have to view time as a resource. Did you ever play Apocalypse? That had the same concept as the turns were timed. Sometimes you would skip shooting with your 30 Ork boys just to give you the time to shoot with your stompa, as it would do more damage.

      To clarify – The Beserker player opts to pull all the Genestealers.

      The example is contrived, and has no context so it seems pointless. But lets assume Player A’s Genestealers were way out of position, time for player A is under 10 minutes, and they need to finish another more complex combat near an objective in the time available. The RAW require them to select a unit to fight in a combat if it can, and do all the fight steps. They can’t skip it.

      This allows Player A to say “stuff it”, gives their opponent the tactical edge (the Berserker player could have left 1 Genestealer on the table to avoid being shot), but allows them to move on quickly to something they deemed more tactically valuable in their remaining time.

      Not something that would come up often, but critical when it does.

  31. Ninjadave March 7, 2018 11:36 pm #

    I really like the idea of chess clock but I don’t like this current ruleset for them. Not really the ideas in it except one but the implementation. They feel like to me how GW write rules and expect people to use the rules the way they do themselves and not think about taking them to the extreme.
    It is the nature of people to explore the boundaries of the rules in any game. Its pretty much how all sports evolved into their current form and how the current mode of play was developed and I think that utilising a proper rule format would help a lot.
    This is a preface to most of the wall of text I wrote below to help think it through.

    TL;DR of important ideas that need addressing

    * A mission statement for the rules (and tournaments in general) telling people what the clock are really trying to achieve – ie, playing to win via a clock vs. the clock as a constraint on the game and removing time wasting actions to get a result from the game.
    – this plays into clarifying how you define what a game of warhammer really entails, is getting lucky on dice rolls making you a better player?
    * definitions for things and terms used in the rules
    * actual rules for the mechanic of using the clock
    * find a better way to explain the 10 min final turn time
    * how is 0 time play handled – slow playing on the time or point penalties
    * should the game function differently when one player has 0 time left, especially the final game turn

    Are these the whole rules? I don’t think it really explains much at all to be honest.

    Are you going to explain how to the clock or just assume people know what to do with it?

    I think it really could use a very basic break down of the rules so that the intention is understood and there is no room for misunderstanding.
    Definitions of actions and important things – Game round time, player time, negative time, pause time, passing the clock, etc.

    Run through the exact mechanic of using the clock, who activates the clock first? at which point?
    Is mid round scoring put on either players time total?
    When am I allowed to pass time?

    These things might all be super obvious to people already playing games with a clock and others might have their own entirely different idea of how it should work, but for you to say here’s the rules and get a clock and off you go they are not clear from the rules posted here.

    I don’t think that if you are going to weaponise the time system – this is making it a way to win games and really is a good thing – that you cannot avoid changing some of the ideas of the core game that are designed to work in a time free environment.

    You could either be saying “we want to find the best warhammer players who can play in a timed scenario” and force everyone to play perfectly by the rules and make them adapt to not wasting time.
    OR you could be saying “We want to find the best warhammer players but need to cram games into a time limit” and we therefore need to change how some of the slow interactions play out.

    This is pretty much about the assault rule weirdness. You either need to say that the forced dice rolling is a part of the rules and you should play accordingly knowing it will waste your time. – this is open to abuse of people deliberately forcing their opponent to roll a million dice for things that are 100% going to happen and then making otherwise nonsense plays to force clock issues and I feel is counter productive to the game.
    Worst case scenario your opponent charges one useless model into an important unit with lots of attacks to force you to roll all those attacks and waste clock time or lose the unit.


    Say the rolling of dice is a tool used to play the game and if it can be removed due to statistical probabilities of outcomes being so high/low that we don’t need to roll to continue the game fairly then removing it is increasing more time to play the game.
    This way you could then avoid people deliberately making time plays to win games.

    A clear way to display a move to fast play the assault would help – a marker to throw down rather than a verbal thing between players which can be played into killing time as well.

    I think its really unclear on what the 10 min final round means as well.
    Is it total remaining time or a player round time. If you pause for a few minutes of judge consultation then you could easily be preventing an extra round especially if one player has run out of time.
    How is it handled if one player runs out of time? do they get to run down the time of the other player while slow rolling dice? Do they go into negative time and start incurring point penalties?

    I do think there needs to be a lot of clearing up the rules for them to be applied to anyone except the writers, playtesters and casual friend practise games.

    • Vercingatorix March 9, 2018 9:08 am #

      Just want to say I really agree with what you said about the clock’s intent. Personally, I think it’s fine to add an element of gaming the time system. However, I know when you add a new way to win people get salty.

      My answer to your questions would be that we’re starting out in your first scenario, just playing 40k but we need a time limit.

      My hope is that we eventually get to the other way where dice apps are nearly mandatory for competitive play because if you don’t then your opponent can force you to eat too much time.

      With that being said. I just don’t know what that future game and state will look like because you’re right in that the core rules don’t support it now. That kind of game state, IMO, will need a referee rather than a judge.

  32. idontknowjack March 8, 2018 12:39 am #

    I’m pretty new to the game and I’ve only skimmed the comments so I might have missed someone already saying this, but the value of speeding up the game could be huge from an audience perspective. Both standing at the tables watching or viewing a stream/video I think would attract more viewers, and possibly new players, growing the hobby.

    • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:26 am #

      Exactly! That is exactly on the nose. If we want to grow and take the next step, we have to finish games.

  33. Spags March 8, 2018 4:08 am #

    Many tournament players i know prefer smaller point games or more time. 2.5 hours isnt enough time. You need pregame time. The game isnt faster than 7th. We have bigger games with less time. Im all for trying it as ive used them already, but why not use clocks and add more time? At least add 15 min pregame if you arent willing to look at adding more game time.

    • Dbiesto March 8, 2018 7:48 am #

      We used to play 3 hour rounds with 1850. People want to play with more toys so overall votes bumped it up to 2000 because everything dies easier. Then the time was reduced and competitive players need those rerolls which factor in time. High numbers mean without a dice app, average horde player wont ever finish all his rolls. I think a full squad of orks is under 250 points and they get 109 attacks on the charge.

      Easily 5+ minutes after moving without a tray and then assaulting without a tray. This edition focuses on lots of dice and lots of rerolls so most tournaments round 1 you have to hope you dont get a new olayer/ new army player who doesnt know his statlines.

      In a situation like that, play for the round 3 win. A newer tournament player in a recent tournament went to round 3 with 2 wins ending at round 2 each game.

      • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:27 am #

        That is what we have found, too. People want to play 2k.

        However, you absolutely don’t have to! If your community likes 1,500pts, do that and have fun.

  34. GeekmasterK March 8, 2018 9:45 am #

    Reece, there is one thing I feel like isn’t really clear in the assault ruling that’s confusing me. Suppose there’s a situation like this: a Player A’s unit with 10 models and 30 attacks charges Player B’s unit with 5 models and 5 attacks. Player A chooses not to roll, so player B says, “okay, the 10-man unit is wiped.” This isn’t even possible under normal circumstances, even if all of the 10-man unit’s attacks cause no wounds, and all the attacks of the 5-man squad cause 5 wounds. I feel like this needs to be clarified. Maybe there should be an additional sentence that says, “the result must be possible under normal circumstances, even if it is highly unlikely to happen.” Then include an example of an impossible situation, like the one I mentioned above. Thoughts?

  35. GeekmasterK March 8, 2018 9:51 am #

    Please disregard my previous comment. I just saw that this was already addressed above, after I had already posted it.

  36. FTGTEvan March 9, 2018 6:26 am #

    I have a few concerns and suggestions. First, while I think the clocks can be used fine, I am concerned that this seems to be the only solution being explored (while understanding anything adopted by FLG is a suggestion for non-FLG run events). I’ve never been really a fan of polls, but revisiting the topics of round time and points level, alongside adoption of clock rules, I think could be valuable. I do know some events are revisiting the points level in particular, and the round times differ event to event, but are largely 3-hours at events I’ve attended.

    Some concerns and suggestions for the clock rules themselves: can “neutral” time be better defined and how this time impacts the clock in regard to round time? By that I mean both rules disputes, where the clock is paused, but also the pregame decision points where the clock is ostensibly on both players. Just defining how this runs alongside the pregame operations would be useful. Something like:

    1. Adjust and define terrain, trade lists and pick relics, warlord traits, pre-game stratagems, and psychic powers. When one player is ready to move on to the next step, they can begin the clock, running for their opponent. The second player can then pause the clock once they have made their choices and are ready to move on to the next step.
    2. Players reveal their choices.
    3. Players roll off. Clock starts for the winner, who rolls for deployment map and picks side.
    4. Players place objectives – if player placed, clock runs for the “active” player. If mission determined, clock is paused while players measure out and place objectives.
    5. Clock is paused. Players pick 3 Secondaries. The first player to complete their choices may start the clock running. Second player can pause the clock when done. Both players reveal their choices.
    6. The player who lost the roll for deployment starts the clock and places the first unit. Clock is passed back and forth for deployments.

    This is getting pretty granular, but I think it may be helpful.

    I’m a little leery of the no-new turns limit if neither player has X minutes remaining. I’m not sure of the best way to do this as normally the “death-clock” is for the last 15-30 minutes of a round being split, or otherwise an announcement to not start another turn at the 20 or 15 minute remaining mark. Really, this can probably vary event to event, but generically I might feel best about just play to no-time remaining or agreement.

    • Reecius March 9, 2018 10:30 am #

      Yeah, totally man. We will have some adjustment period as we fully integrate the rules for clocks.

      So, that is why we have the 10 minute buffer in part, to help adjust for this neutral time as you put it. We also tend to have 20-30 minute breaks between rounds also for that purpose, so folks can start a bit early and finish a bit late with the chess clock to help adjust for that. But, it will take some time to fully get it all hammered out.

    • Lochcrest March 9, 2018 3:16 pm #

      This is really good feedback and I think the majority of your points 1-6 belong in the design of the mission packet and not the Baseline rules that this framework represents.

      Remember these rules are designed to be a framework that any TO can easily insert into their event rules to enhance their tournament. They have been adjusted through feedback and play testing to be effective in their design, but not so hardcore that they will not be widely adopted. A TO can adjust the parameters of the baseline rules for their tournament if they so desire. But I highly suggest that they play test any changes extensively before they do.

      As for the time rule, all I can suggest is to try it. We have tried several different values from 0:00 up and 10:00 is by far the best value for a widely distributed baseline. I think that if you play a few games in a tournament game mindset, which is imperative to understand the value of the buffer, that you will find that 10:00 works really well and very rarely is there much time ever left on the clock. Remember you control your time so if you want the game to keep going you simple stay above 10:01.

      I cannot be more against “do not start another round timers” and “agreements” on when the game ends. They are some of the most exploited rules at current tournaments. Chess clocks remove the ambiguity of when a game ends and its 100% fair and transparent to both players. These relic concepts have no place in my opinion at any event especially a timed one.

      Another thing to remember is that when using clocks, games magically start going the distance and natural winners are decided. Timing out does not happen as often as you would first imagine, because if you time out, most of the time you will lose the game.

  37. Jural March 9, 2018 2:14 pm #

    1. something needs to be done. We played a series of 5 or 6 games early this year, and in every case we noticed the “clear winner” after turn 2 was in trouble by end of 4. I think the turn 2 “winner” still won most of the games… And these games were super long.

    2. Before implementing a chess clock, one of the things we kicked around was maybe the ITC had made a mistake in getting rid of the “first side to stop deploying” goes first rule. The reward for being a smaller army is gone is pretty minimal, and it’s making for some gigantic lists.

    (Counterpoint- UNITS, not MODELS count for the deployment rule. One could argue that MODELS, not UNITS are the problem in terms of deployment time. I’m guessing Reecius and the team from LVO can look at this idea and easily see if it would help or not; I just thought I’d put it out there.)

    3- Honestly, my gut feel is that the set-up phase is just too complex right now. Too much starts off the board, too many things can scout, deny, etc. I would prefer a system where you needed command points to put things anywhere but your deployment zone, maybe 2 placements are free and you have to pay after that? Again, I bet the FLG team can look at this and immediately see if it would help or not.

    4- I can really see some dick moves coming out of this.

    P1- *rolls 90 gaunt shots, 50 hit*
    P1: *rolls 50 wound rolls*
    P1: *immediately stops clock*
    P1: “take your saves”
    P2: “Which ones are saves?”
    P1: “Well, I wound on a 4+…”

    But… I guess any rule change there will be jerks to jump on it.

    • Lochcrest March 9, 2018 3:17 pm #

      Bad actors are bad actors. The good thing about clocks is that they are very transparent and Immensely help to identify them.

  38. Jural March 9, 2018 2:17 pm #

    One other note- the game Blood Bowl (also competitive Warmachine, Hordes) are played with turn clocks. It seems awful and pressure packed ahead of time, but you get used to it and it adds a level of fun to both of those games.

    I just hesitate for 40k because the dice change hands so often in a turn, and there is already so much stress in tournaments anyway to finish on time.

  39. Lochcrest March 9, 2018 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for all the feedback, a few word tweaks were made and version 8.3 was just released. Please continue with the play testing and feedback.

  40. Eli March 10, 2018 7:37 am #

    I frankly like the idea. I think the option to choose the result of the combat should be amended so that if you choose not to roll it out, the opponent may choose the result of the combat, and remove models UP TO HIS NUMBER OF ATTACKS. Essentially meaning that all your attacks magically hit, wound, and go through armor. Prevents a tied up rhino from magically wiping out a squad just cause I didn’t feel like rolling all my attacks.

  41. nuubtard March 11, 2018 12:37 pm #

    why does this seem like an attack on horde armies/close combat armies? The rule for close combat resolution doesn’t make sense logically unless i am missing something.

    If I say charge a 3 man infantry unit with 20 genestealers, obviously the 3 man unit is going to die, however if i decide to say it is obviously a wipe but my opponent disagrees i still have to make rolls or if i decide to forgo combat i risk losing a full squad of genestealers to a 3 man infantry squad because it is their choice and obviously they won’t want to be in close combat.

    alternatively if i am down on time and someone charges my 10 man assault terminators with a 5 man infantry squad and they choose to do their combat, then because i am down on time and need to act on my turn decide to forgo combat that would obviously destroy the 5 man infantry squad they can just pick my unit up as dead even when they have statistically no chance to kill the unit and they have already attacked in the combat round.

    i understand that there are people who stall for a win, but there are also those that play horde armies and put 100-200 models on the table, not to waste time but because that is how their armies work. it takes time to move all of those models and make all of those attacks, i should not be punished because my army gets 300+ attacks in close combat. It seems like you are pushing for everyone to play non cc armies with as few models as possible, not all armies work that way and should not be punished for it. You are essentially forcing everyone to play against the clock and not the enemy army, making the game more of a chess match maneuvering for position because combat will lose you the game based on time. The problem is people stalling and the fix is more oversight and control at the Table rather than 1 person overseeing all of the games, not punishing someone for playing Tyranids or Orks or Chaos Daemons, the secondary objectives already do that.

    • Reecius March 11, 2018 1:13 pm #

      Not an attack, regardless of the army you play you need to be able to play in the time allotted. You cannot show up to an event with a big army and expect more than half the time. That is definitively unfair. You can only expect half the time and if you don’t plan for that then you are making a very big mistake in your planning.

      In the example you give, yeah, someone could try to get you to burn your clock but it will happen rarely and usually doesn’t deviate from normal situations in the game. I that example, it would still probably be best to simply move in front of the assault terminators to move block them than to charge them, die, and give the Terminators extra movement for no good reason. You still would like charge them if they are the closest unit anyway.

      And again, no, not trying to force anything other than force people to finish games, lol. If you think you cannot finish a game to 6 turns in the time allotted with a certain army then no, don’t bring it and yes, that is fair as you have to think about all of the other people you are going to play at an event. Is it fair to show up with a very slow army and simply expect to have more time to play than them and to probably not finish your games? The answer is obviously no.

  42. Joshua Goodloe April 29, 2018 11:35 am #

    I like that time will be split evenly. If we have 2 and 1/2 hours to finish a game then we both get 1 hour and 15 minutes worth of turns. If you play your army well, have movement trays for big units(since we no longer fear template weapons in this edition), then you should be doing ok. I think that players will eventually adapt to this and the game will evolve. I personally write my turns out on notecards to remind myself what I need to be doing on each turn and phase so I am not mindlessly staring at the table. But the cards also help me go faster and forget nothing.

  43. Bryce Sillavan April 18, 2021 10:52 am #

    For a 2000 point tornement at my local game store what would be a good time for each of the clocks to have

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