Thursday, 16 February 2012


Using GW's Epic Figures For 'Hordes Of The Things'

In a previous document I outlined how I had set up my Epic figures for use with 'Hordes of the Things' on 60mm frontages. These served me well for many years, but in 2007 I saw some lovely armies using the same figures but based on 40mm frontages and using 15mm ground-scale. Doing the armies this way offered the advantage that elements needed fewer figures, so an Epic collection stretched much further than before. The only downside was that the larger titans wouldn't fit on a 40mm frontage; a small price to pay. Inspired I set about rebasing all of my Epic stuff on 40mm frontages and even created a few new armies.

The design principle remains much the same as before; whilst most troops are armed with ranged weapons, firing happens at fairly close ranges and the game scale is such that base to base contact can represent troops shooting at each other over such a range. Troops equipped for very close-range combat or melee only are assumed to close quickly with their opponents.

The general troop classifications, and number of figures per base are as follows:

TypeExamplesFigures per base
BladesSolid, elite infantry with good armour or high morale, such as Space Marines or Eldar Aspect Warriors. Also most Dreadnoughts.5 figures or 2 dreadnoughts
WarbandFierce, close fighting infantry such as Ork Nobz, Minor Demons or Harlequins5 figures
HordesCheap or relatively ineffective infantry, such as Eldar Guardians, Imperial Guard or Ork Boyz10 figures
LurkersInfiltrators or snipers2-4 figures
KnightsMost tanks, Khorne Juggernauts1 vehicle or 4 Juggernauts
RidersTroops in fast, light vehicles such as bikes, buggies or Land-Speeders, or those riding beasts, such as Rough-Riders or Boarboyz. Also Eldar Falcon grav-tanks.2-3 vehicles or 1 Falcon
BeastsFerocious Chaos creatures, or some rough terrain support vehicles.2- vehicles or figures
ArtilleryLong-ranged semi-static guns or launchers, such as Manticores, Ork Traktor Kannon or Thudd Guns1 vehicle or 2 guns
BehemothsSuper-heavy tanks, Imperial or Eldar knights, Chaos engines, Squat Land-Trains or Ork Battle-Fortresses1 vehicle
MagicianPowerful offensive psykers, such as Eldar Warlocks, Chaos Sorcerors or Tyranid Hive Tyrants1 figure, plus retinue as appropriate
ClericDefensive psykers or inspiring characters, such as Marine Librarians or Chaplains, or Imperial Commissars1 figure plus retinue as appropriate
PaladinPowerful defenders of the Imperial cult, such as Living Saints or Grey Knights1-4 figures plus retinue as appropriate
HeroOther powerful characters, such as Chaos champions or exceptional Marine commanders1 figure plus retinue as appropriate
SneakerAssassins1 figure
AirboatLarge troop landing flying vehicles, such as Thunderhawk gunships. Also Squat airships and Tyranid Harridans.1 model
FliersOther aircraft, such as Thunderbolt fighters and Squat gyrocopters1 aircraft
GodPowerful but capricious entities, such as Chaos Greater Demons and Eldar Avatars1 model

No functional equivalents have been found for Spears, Shooters, Dragons, Water Lurkers or Aerial Heroes, although arguments could be made for including them in some specialist armies.

Space Marines Face
An Ork Onslaught

In order to give each army its own 'character' I have created a core list. These are fixed troops that a 24AP army must have; in most cases this will account for 12AP of the army. The rest of the troops can be chosen from appropriate elements, examples of which are given after each list. Obviously an army can have more of some of the elements on its core list as well if appropriate. For example, a Space Marine army could have more Blades, but an Eldar army can only have one Avatar. The general's element can be chosen from an appropriate type, although in some armies it will be fixed. Note that the core armies may not alway tie in with Games Workshop's 'fluff'.

Obviously there is no need to use the core lists at all; forces can be constructed from whatever troops are available. However there is a danger that given free choice of troops some armies become too flexible given the range of options they are allowed. The core list forces the army into a certain structure from the start.
The core lists can also be used as guidelines for constructing forces larger than 24AP.

The pictures that accompany this post can be found, with many more on Flickr.

Space Marines
The basis of this army are the Marines themselves; solid, dependable infantry.

6 Blades (Space Marines)

Plus: Blades (more Marines, or Dreadnoughts); Knights (Land-Raiders); Riders (Bikes or Land-Speeders); Airboat (Thunderhawk); Fliers (Fighters); Hero or Cleric (Character such as Chaplain or Commander); Behemoth (Titan); Warband (Legion of the Damned); Paladin (Grey Knights)

Imperial Guard
An Imperial Guard army is made up of a mass of cheap infantry, backed up by a versatile range of tanks and other vehicles.

6 Hordes (Guardsmen)
3 Knights (Tanks or equivalent)

An Imperial Super-Heavy Tank
 Engages The Tyranids

Plus: Hordes (Guardsmen); Knights (Tanks or Gorgons); Behemoth (Super-Heavy Tank); Artillery (Artillery); Riders (Rough Riders or Bikes); Hero, Paladin or Cleric (Heroic Commissar); Lurkers (Snipers); Beasts (Sentinels); Sneaker (Imperial Assassin); Warband (Ogryns); Blades (Robots)

Sisters of Battle
The Sisters emphasise short-ranged fire-power and religious fanaticism. A Sisters of Battle army should be limited to 24AP; for larger games it should be considered allied to an appropriate Imperial Guard army.

4 Warband (Sisters)
1 Paladin (Living Saint)
Plus: Warband (Sisters); Knights (Tanks); Riders (Bikes); Hero or Cleric (Inquisitor); Paladin (Living Saint)

Most Ork Clans are based around the Nobz, their lesser followers (Boyz) and a large centre-piece mechanical monster (Behemoth). However Clans that have an obsession with vehicles will centre around fast bikes and buggies to the virtual exclusion of all else.

Basic Clan:
2 Warband (Nobz)
1 Behemoth (Stompa or Battlewagon)
4 Hordes (Boyz)

Evil Sunz or Kult of Speed:
6 Riders (Bikes or Buggies)

Plus: Warband (Nobz); Hordes (Boyz or Gretchin); Blades (Dreadnoughts); Knights (Tanks); Riders (Bikes, Buggies or Boarboyz); Behemoths (Squiggoths, Stompas or Battlewagons); Artillery (Gunz); Airboat (Freebooterz); Warband (Mad Boyz); Magician (Weirdboy Tower)

An Eldar force is led by a Warlock and has its Avatar available to summon. The rest of the core force is made up of Guardians and Aspect Warriors.

1 Behemoth (Avatar)
1 Magician General (Warlock)
2 Hordes (Guardians)
1 Blade or Warband (Aspect Warriors)

Plus: Blades or Warband (Aspect Warriors); Riders (Bikes or Falcons); Knights (Heavy Tanks); Behemoth (Knights); Blades (Wraithguard or Dreadnoughts); Warband (Harlequins); Magician (Warlock or Farseer)

Chaos vs Chaos:
Slaanesh and Khorne
A Chaos army can be based around one of two cores. The first represents the forces summoned and controlled by a major Chaos leader, who is able to summon a Greater Demon to assist the army. A war-engine of some kind acts as a focus for the army's worship. The second core is a Chaos Space Marine force. Note that either core can draw upon troops in the other for its options.

Demon Force:
1 God (Greater Demon)
1 Magician or Hero (Chaos Champion or Sorceror)
1 Behemoth (War Engine)

Chaos Marines:
4 Blades (Marines)
2 Knights (Land-Raiders)

Plus: Behemoth (War-Engine); Knights (Juggernauts or Land-Raiders); Riders (Beast or Disk Riders); Warband (Bloodletters or Demonettes); Beasts (Chaos Hounds or similar creatures); Hordes (Cultists or Beastmen)

Tyranids Battle Squats
A Tyranid force is controlled by a powerful psychic creature such as a Dominatrix or Hive Tyrant (the latter representing an army detached from the main horde). Endless waves of creatures are represented by the compulsory hordes, which are then supported by larger, more specialised creatures.

1 Magician General (Dominatrix or Hive Tyrant)
8 Hordes (Tyranids, Termagants and Gargoyles)

Plus: Magician (Hive Tyrant); Hordes (Tyranids, Termagants and Gargoyles); Blades (Carnifex or Zoanthropes), Knights (Haruspex or Exocrine); Airboat (Harridan); Lurkers (Lictors); Warband (Genestealers or Hormagaunts); Artillery (Dactylis or Biovore); Behemoth (Trygon)

A Squat army consists of a stolid Warrior Brotherhood, supported by Guild Bikers. Each army must also choose a 'focus' or 'foci', such as a Land-Train, artillery battery, Overlord airship or a Living Ancestor. The core Squat list consist of 14AP rather than 12.

3 Blades (Warrior Brotherhood)
1 Rider (Guild Bikers)
Any two eligible 3AP elements from: Artillery (Guns), Airboat (Overlord Airship), Cleric (Living Ancestor or Warlord)
1 Behemoth (Land-Train) + 1 Warband (Beserkers)

Plus: Blades (Brotherhood); Warband (Beserkers); Riders (Bikes or Trikes); Knights (Land Raiders); Fliers (Gyrocopters); Behemoth (Land-Train); Airboat (Overlord Airship); Artillery (Guns); Cleric (Living Ancestor or Warlord)

Dark Eldar
As fast raiders, the Dark Eldar emphasise mobility and striking power. Armies should be limited to 24AP.

4 Warband (Warriors)
2 Riders (Jet-Bikes)

Plus: Warband (Warriors, Grotesques or Incubi); Riders (Hellions or Jet-Bikes); Hero (Wytches or powerful Archon/Archite); Beasts (Warp Beasts); Cleric (Haemonculus); Magician (Dark Warlock)

Like the Space Marines the core of a Necron force is its infantry.

6 Blades (Necron Warriors)

Plus: Cleric (Powerful Necron Lord); God (C'Tan); Blades (Warriors); Riders (Destroyers); Lurkers (Flayed Ones); Warband (Wraiths); Hordes (Scarabs); Behemoth (Stalker or Monolith)

(All pictures taken by, and copyright, Kaptain Kobold)


  1. I realise I'm late to the party, but I love this post.

    When I was adapting HoTT to 17/18th century warfare, I used Shooters for more mobile horse artillery etc, so maybe Vindicators and Basilisks - "on-table" artillery would be appropriate?

    As for Spears, how about elite infantry trained to defend/assault in depth and with plenty of AP and AT weaponry?

    1. It's never too late :)

      The idea of using Shooters to represent short range artillery is one I considered, but it does create the problem that in HOTT such troops are foot and are also bad-going friendly. So it doesn't suit the mobile artillery vibe very well. And I don't intend tweaking the rules to fit - Epic 40K has to fit HOTT, not the other way around :)

      I did some provisional lists for the Tau once, and made their infantry shooters to represent their almost total reliance on it as a tactic - it made them totally different from the oher 40K races. I've also considered it for some of the Imperial Guard infantry support weapons. But allowing some troops to shoot (aside from obvious long-range artillery) opens up a great big can of worms as to why other elements can't shoot.

      As for Spears, it may work for certain types of infantry. I just haven't come across anything that really justifies it. Remember that, for example, all of the different Space Marine types are absorbed into Blades - I don't get bogged down too much in differentiating infantry types.

    2. Maybe the Tau should be Spears - their pulse weaponry is equally effective against foot and tanks, and let's face it, if anyone is going to have mastered defence in depth / leapfrogging assaults, it's going to be those industrious little bluebys.

      The Shooter thing is something I had too, as I say moving HoTT forward into a predominately missile-based era. Does the warband/shooter swap not solve the bad going issue? I figure the foot problem can be explained with them not being real tanks like Behemoths, Knights etc.

    3. I rather like the idea of the Tau as Spear. Good call. If I ever assemble the figures to do a Tau (more likely a Tau-style) army I'll try it out.

      The Warband/Shooter swap doesn't solve the bad going thing - Shooters still fight at full factors in bad going; it's only the movement rates which have been swapped. As for them not being 'real' tanks, so are a lot of other things which are still classed as Knights or Riders. I actually use Knights to cover a range of different combat styles, from the shooting attacks of Land Raiders to the close infantry assault of a Gorgon or Chimera. So short range artillery tanks also fit quite happily there.

  2. I shall continue to ponder the Shooter conundrum... how far can Dark Reapers shoot in the fluff?

    Actually, speaking of Aspect Warriors - would you use Warp Spiders as Blades, Warband or Sneakers? High Armour: Blades. Nifty warp jumps for demoralising the enemy: Warband. Strategic warp jumps for bypassing the defences of fortresses and generals: Sneakers...

    1. "would you use Warp Spiders as Blades, Warband or Sneakers? High Armour: Blades. Nifty warp jumps for demoralising the enemy: Warband. Strategic warp jumps for bypassing the defences of fortresses and generals: Sneakers."

      I am happy to abandon chunks of the fluff in order to get the Epic stuff to fit into HOTT, so in the case of the Warp Spiders I'd just look at them and decide what I want them to be :)

      There aren't many Sneakers in use in the games I play, so that would be a strong possibility.

    2. That's what I was thinking too, and for pretty much exactly that reason!

  3. Why can't Shooters be such heavy weapon carrying foot sloggers as Devastators or IG Heavy Weapon Teams?

    1. If they can shoot, why not tanks? Or titans? Artillery shoots because it is assumed that it fires at exceptionally long ranges. For everything else normal shooting range is base to base contact.

    2. I understand that, but the range of, say, Space Marine Devastators, matches the ranges of most tanks, which is a wildly longer range than most foot troops. I do see a functional equivalent in some of the examples, even if others do not. However, I do appreciate the extreme abstraction used in HOTT, and am going to use some of my own Epic minis to try it out. I'll just have to tweak some of the rules a bit to add a bit more ranged combat for units that absolutely need it, such as Devastators and Dark Reapers(as shooters) and most Tanks(optional with a 200p range, but at the cost of +1AP). Also, a troop carrying capacity wouldn't hurt to reflect that ability in actual Epic games (which this is trying to emulate), but again, at a cost increase in AP.

      And the example you used of Titans is flawed, as most Titans shoot just as long of a range as most artillery.

    3. "Also, a troop carrying capacity wouldn't hurt to reflect that ability in actual Epic games (which this is trying to emulate)"

      Ah, that's where we differ. I'm not trying to emulate Epic game. I'm playing HOTT using Epic figures, classified in a way that uses the HOTT rules with no (or very minimal) changes. In other words the Epic fluff has to fit the HOTT rules, not the rules change to fit the fluff.

      If I felt I had to add in various changes to give elements ranges, troop-carrying capacity and various other odds and ends then I'd say that I was no longer playing HOTT and I'd come up with something different.

      (If you give tanks a shooting capability at +1AP, how does that affect the rule that you can't spend more than half of your points on elements costing 3AP or more? Do all shooting elements kill Knights that have just moved into contact, as they currently do?)


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