Thunderdome Format Rules

datetime January 3, 2014 1:07 AM

As promised, here are the rules for the Thunderdome format, taken from the event posting for last month’s event. Hopefully someone will find it informative. 🙂


1.0 – Event Rules

  • 1.1 – Thunderdome List Construction Rules
    • Thunderdome is a multiplayer format that supports anywhere from 4 to 8 players at a time.
    • Each player’s army consists of only three models: three Warcasters/Warlocks (hereafter  referred to collectively as “Casters”) from the same faction. There are no warjacks, warbeasts, solos, units, or anything else in play.
      • Warlocks use the mechanics for Focus instead of Fury– they gain their full Fury value at the start of the turn, and overcharge instead of transferring.
      • Ignore Pacts and Contracts when constructing your pool.
    • Each Caster choice can only ever bring one model to the table. No Halfjacks, no Keg Carrier, only one Coven member, Goreshade has no feat, etc. Yes, this makes some casters a bad choice in the format.
    • The Casters are considered to share a battlegroup.
  • 1.2 – Additional Rules
    • Game Board: The board is a circle 3ft in diameter. The outer rim is divided into eight deployment zones; each player chooses a deployment zone through democratic elbowing, and may deploy models up to 3″ from that zone’s board edge.
    • Friendly Neighbors: Take note of the players who deploy in the spaces adjacent to you. You cannot damage or otherwise affect that player’s Casters in any way until that player has killed an enemy model. (In other words, you’ll need to walk a bit to find your first victim)
    • Combat Has Consequences: Models cannot be healed (exception: models with Tough can still heal 1 point on a successful roll), cannot be repaired, and cannot regenerate power fields in any way. Once damage is inflicted, it cannot be removed.
    • Spite Turns: Once all of a player’s Casters have been eliminated, that player continues to have turns. Whenever that player’s turn comes up, he may select one model anywhere on the board and place it anywhere completely within 3″ of its current location. That model’s controller may then turn that model to face any direction. If the owner of that model attempts to influence your choice of where to move that model in any way, you may instead place that model anywhere on the board and turn it to face any direction of your choosing. You are encouraged to put it in the most precarious and/or disruptive location you can possibly think of, and then smile coldly at the folly of the model’s owner.
  • 1.3 – Timing
    • Warcaster Thunderdome is intended to be a very fast format. While there are no timed turns per se, players should be punished with badgering and verbal abuse if they play slowly or waste time strategizing. Plan on your opponent’s turn– when it’s your turn, GO!
  • 1.4 – Scenarios
    • Custom Thunderdome scenarios will be used. Thunderdome scenarios reward advancing toward the center of the board, and harshly punish hanging at the back.
    • All scenarios are played on a circular board 3ft in diameter. Utterly impenetrable walls separate each player’s deployment zone.
    • Players score a Skull for each enemy caster they kill or remove from play. The player with the most Skulls at the end of the game is the winner (even if that player was eliminated before the end of the game).
  • 1.5 – Player Responsibilities
    • Each player must bring his/her own dice, rulers, templates, counters, markers and other accessories. Players are responsible for having Front Arcs clearly marked on all models in their army.
    • Thunderdome strains the very definition of “purely for fun”. If you find yourself complaining about anything, you are doing it wrong.

2.0 – Specific Caster Modifications & Exceptions

    • 2.1 – Cryx
      • pGoreshade: No Deathwalker; feat does nothing.
      • Witch Coven: One FOC3 witch, no Egregore. CTRL centered on your one Witch.
      • Mortenebra: No Derelyss.
      • 3Gaspy: No Vociferon.
    • 2.2 – Cygnar
      • Darius: No halfjacks.
      • 3Nemo: No Finch.
    • 2.3 – Khador
      • Old Witch: No Scrapjack.
      • 3Butcher: No puppies.
    • 2.4 – Menoth
      • Reznik: Can wrack other casters (because wracks are awesome), but wracks are incorporeal and purely decorative– they have no game rules.
    • 2.5 – Retribution
      • none
    • 2.6 – Cyriss
      • Directrix: No servitors.
    • 2.7 – Mercenaries
      • none
    • 2.8 – Circle
      • Kromac: Can change forms normally (only one model is in play at a time).
      • Cassius: No tree. CTRL is centered on Cassius.
    • 2.9 – Legion
      • eThagrosh: Can’t spawn a lesser warbeast.
      • Bethayne: Can begin melded or unmelded; decide at deployment, and then she remains that way for the entire game.
    • 2.10 – Skorne
      • Zaal: If you can figure out a way to get the Kovaas into play, be my guest. 😛
      • 3Makeda: No ancestral guardians.
    • 2.11 – Trollbloods
      • Borka: No keg carrier.
      • Hunters Grim: No pygs.
    • 2.12 – Minions
      • none

3.0 – Tournament-Specific Rules

We usually play Thunderdome in single games just to kill time, but if you’d like to run it as a full-fledged tournament, here’s how I suggest handling list-building between rounds:

  • 3.1 – Caster Pool:
    • Each player will bring a pool of FIVE Casters with them to the event.
    • Uniqueness applies— your pool can only include one version of any named character.
    • Each round, each player selects three casters from their pool to play that round.
    • A caster can’t be selected for the 2nd time until all other casters in the pool have been played once, and so on.


Here’s an example of the “list selection” table that will be on the score sheets, and how it might look after four rounds:

Caster 1st Use 2nd Use 3rd Use
pCaine 1 3 4
Kara 1 3 4
Siege 1 2
pHaley 2 3
pStryker 2 4

Every caster needs a 1st use before you can go into the 2nd column; picking Haley and Stryker in round 2 “frees up” the three casters you used in round 1, letting you splash over and take Siege again.



5 thoughts on “Thunderdome Format Rules

  • lordbubonicus

    Hey Spud. Any update on getting the score tracker and scenarios added to this. I really want to give it a try.

  • captainspud [Post author]

    Whoops, sorry– I totally forgot about that. @_@

    I just added them as downloads at the end.

  • lordbubonicus

    Thanks a lot. The scenarios look like fun – I love the idea of people yelling at each other to determine activation order 😀

  • niceas

    it goes without saying, but you might want to mention models like Kaya2, Makeda3 and Grim2 in that they don’t get their addon models since you did so for others.

  • Captain Spud [Post author]

    Good catch. Makeda was already on the list, but I’ve added the other two.

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