Necromunda – Tactic Cards

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Today we’re going to talk about Necromunda tactics cards.

Tactic cards typically provide a one off effect that can help you out in a game. Each scenario will have a little section telling you how many tactics cards you will have the for the battle and whether you get to pick them or draw them randomly.

You also get more of these cards if your opponent has more points than you, so it’s a little bit of a balancing factor in the madness that is Necromunda. If you picked up one of the core sets, you should have 2 packs of tactic cards that any gang can use, but it’s also possible to pick up some gang specific packs.

Now, everything I’ve said so far is honestly wonderful.

Unfortunately, and infuriatingly, the rules for actually using these cards are a mess. This isn’t a problem when you just have cards from the box, but once you start picking extra packs of cards you discover the rules for making a deck are woefully inadequate. 

Essentially, the rules as written have you include every card you own into a deck. So if you just have the starter that’s a manageable 11 cards but every time you buy a new pack, all those cards get added as well.

From what I can tell, this is just a copy paste from the Underhive Wars rules, that was the box with Escher versus Goliaths. In that box you got 4 Escher cards and 4 Goliath specific card along with a bundle of neutral one. So these rules are specific to the contents of that box and kinda hand waving additional cards. 

There are hundreds of cards and the quality varies wildly. At a strict reading of the rules, you should be including every card you have. So you could end up playing against someone who has a pile of two hundred card or you could be up against someone who has totally gamed the system and destroyed all but the 2 most powerful cards in their collection.

Like so many other things in Necromunda, players shrugged their shoulders and made some house rules.  One option is to just remove them, this is certainly the easiest approach, but they are one of the few mechanics to help a weaker gang.

The second option is to keep using them, but add a deck size. Goonhammer has a great article about this and suggests a gang builds a deck of 12 cards for the campaign.

They also suggest any choose x selection is changed to random x + 1 and then discard 1. This lets you tailor your tactics somewhat while avoiding picking the same card every time. So if it’s Choose (3), then instead draw 4 random cards ad then discard one of them, so you end up with 3 tactics you can use for the scenario.

Tthe reason I’m making this video is Games Workshop currently are releasing gang tactic packs. We saw Orlocks get a release with Ash Wastes, and we saw Goliath come out with Cinderak Burning. I’m fully expecting to see Escher in an upcoming release. So now seems like a pretty good time to buy some of these packs if you’re interested.

If you cannot get your hands on them at the normal price, do not pay over the odds for them on eBay. They will come around eventually, and you’re much better taking the next option until then.

The third option is to use a table. Each of the House of faction books includes a list of the 18 cards from the Gang Tactics Card pack (note there is a difference between the Gang Tactics Card pack and the Gang Card pack) and provides a D66 table so you can roll on them.

They also have Vehicle Gang tactics appearing in the Ash Wastes and Cinderak burning books, these have a different able so I guess you can pick which table you’d like to roll out of.

What I would recommend doing here is draw up a list of the 13 tactic cards you want access to for the campaign. Then take a normal deck of cards and use one suit to randomly draw your tactic cards. This will avoid any weirdness around rolling and recording secret dice as you can reveal the card when appropriate and show your opponent the list.

This is a great approach for a campaign, players who don’t have the cards can still play and players who do have the cards get to use them as the nice accessory that they are.

If you’re organising a campaign, I’d suggest having a read of that Goonhammer article, and consider what cards you’d like to ban. 

Explain to your players how you’d like Tactics card to b e run, and get your players to fill in a list of the cards they’re planning to use. Give your players a generic starting list that they can use if they’re fresh to the game. 

If you’re running Cinderak Burning where there are Ash Wastes and Underhive battles, then consider allowing your players to have two tactic lists, one when they have Vehicles and the other when they don’t.

To make things a little easier there is a fillable pdf in the and 13 card in the style of the Emperor’s tarot you can use along with it. 

I’ve also put together a page where you can type in the name and text of a card and download a card image. They’re not going to be a nice as the GW ones, but they’ll still look decent. It’s also quite handy to make reference cards for things GW don’t make, like Skills, Equipment, House Favours, and Territory.

And that’s it. Tactic Cards a a great addition to the game, they add some unique flavour to the gangs, help out the underdogs, and create some memorable moments. They just need a few tweaks to the rules to make sure everyone is on the same page.

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.

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