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I am going to start gm-ing a Deathwatch game soon. I think I am reasonably clear on the Horde rules, but one thing I couldn't find is how many attacks a Horde gets per round.

Do they get as many attacks as the base creature? That doesn't seem right, e.g. if it was a creature that only gets one attack per round. Or do they get as many as the first digit of their magnitude (again, this could be quite low) or their full magnitude?

The paragraph "Hordes Attacking" on page 360 of the basic rulebook states:

Melee: A Horde will attack all adjacent enemies that are in close proximity. [..] if there are five Battle-Brothers in close proximity of a Horde all will be attacked.

So lets assume only one Battle-Brother is facing a Horde of 25 Chaos Heretics. A single Chaos Heretic would usually get one attack per round, right? There is only one Battle-Brother adjecent to the Horde of 25 Chaos Heretics. Do they only get one attack? The attack can not be parried or blocked as stated in the rules paragraph, but still only the one attack seems a bit wrong.... Am I missing something?

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Yes, hordes do get only a few attacks, but those cannot be blocked or parried and they have a damage bonus that makes hordes more dangerous than the single members.

The rules as you read them are correct. A horde will get as many close combat attacks, as a single horde member would get, against every enemy close enough to the horde.

If there are only a few enemies in close proximity, this may seem like a drawback. After all, even if only 5 or 6 members of the horde could have attacked if they were single participants and not a horde, that would be better, right? No. Hordes do get a significant damage bonus (see the following paragraph, "Damage caused by hordes") and cannot be blocked or parried. That advances a mob of insignificant enemies to a single "horde" of some significance.

Example: 25 cultists attacking a marine with knifes will... bounce. 25 times. A horde of 25 cultists crawling over the marine stabbing him will get one attack that will sting.

Rulewise, 25 attacks that can be blocked or parried doing 1D10+3 damage against combined armor and toughness of 16 will be in vain. One single horde attack at 1D10+3 +2D10 horde bonus has a real chance of doing damage.

Hordes are dangerous. But hordes only make sense if the participants are weaker than the Space Marines. It would not make sense to have a horde of Hive Tyrants, when each of them could rip a Marine to pieces.

To get a feeling for hordes, I'd suggest you get a marine and 25 chaos cultists and play the combat through. You will probably need a smoke or coffee break afterwards. Then you get the same marine and a horde of 25. You will see that the combat is much less dice rolling for a much better result.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much, your example was very good! I understand it much better now. \$\endgroup\$ – Elsi May 1 '15 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that if the Horde is composed of creatures that would individually have multiple attacks, due to multiple weapons or Swift Attack or Lightning Attack or Multiple Arms (e.g. Genestealers), then the Horde makes that many attacks against each adjacent Marine. And the damage bonus applies to every attack. Genestealer Hordes are extremely dangerous, since each adjacent Marine will suffer 4 attacks per turn, with damage bonuses, none of which can be parried or dodged. \$\endgroup\$ – Hydrargyrum May 9 '16 at 3:51

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