Thoughts on a 2 vs 2 format

We are four players in our group, with only two factions. And, let’s be honest, watching people play is way less fun than playing yourself. Of course, it would be preferable to have the remaining players buy their own factions, but it will take some time for me to convince them and even more time for their armies to be painted (and we play only fully painted models).

So what to do in the meantime? I was thinking about a 2 vs 2 format to keep everybody engaged. I have the following prerequisites, though:

  • Together: All four players should play at the same time.
  • Collaborative: Every two players should share a faction.
  • Timely: The game should take (roughly) the same time as a 1 vs 1.
  • Independent: Players sharing a faction should not end up discussing every single move.
  • Equitable: A player should not (routinely) have to (feel forced to) step back in favor of her team member.
  • Competitive: Even if they share the same faction and cannot attack each other, players should somehow compete to spice things up.


Let’s start simple: We make two (smaller) lists per faction, each led by its own hero. Models in those lists are “friendly” to the other list.

Allies share their cypher deck (literally), ARC pool and void gates. Story-wise, they represent distinct interest groups in the same faction, that are being sent into battle by the same warcaster.

I am not sure, yet, how the Cypher deck would be built. But it would have to be built together by the allied players.

Of course, every player would decide individually, which cypher card to discard. This should not be discussed with the ally because where would be the fun in that?


Activations between factions are alternating, with the addition, that activations between allies are also alternating. As a consequence, a game should have an even number of turns per round, so that all players get the same table time. Since skirmishes have 3 turns and primary missions have 5, our reference should be mid-sized “Sortie” missions with 4 turns instead. However, in contrast to sortie missions that have 11 units per list and 2 heroes, in order to have lists of equal size, every list in 2 vs 2 should have 5 units and 1 hero, summing up to 10 units and 2 heroes per faction.

Since faction players are alternating, each player gets two turns per round. This way, the number of turns stays the same as for 1 vs 1.


I feel like every player needs to have her own agenda in order to be independent of their ally. This will also lead to everybody accepting, that players make their own decisions, that are not necessarily completely in line with their ally. Furthermore, this will promote competition between otherwise collaborating allies, spicing things up.

I am taking inspiration from Gloomhaven here, an otherwise collaborative game, that grants every player their own battle goal. This selfish task should not be communicated to the other players. In Gloomhaven, these goals lead to seemingly erratic behavior that routinely endangers the group as a whole. An intriguing dynamic that I would like to catch in a 2 vs 2 as well.

This idea is similar to secondary missions for Warcaster, however, agendas should be different in two ways: They should be kept secret even from allies, and they should be risky to achieve. A player only wins, if their faction wins, and if they have successfully achieved their agenda. A player loses if their faction loses or if they did not achieve their agenda.

I don’t have a fully worked-out collection of agendas, yet, but the following ideas are examples:

  • Invader: Be the first ally to score an enemy’s home objective (the one granting 3 points).
  • Scrapper: Be the first ally to destroy an enemy warjack.
  • Reserved: Always have at least one unit in your reserves at any point during the whole game.

There should probably be at least 10–15 different agendas. Every player would draw two before the start of the first round but after deploying and choose one. Players may choose (unbeknownst to them) the same agenda as their ally! Agendas cannot be shared with anybody at any time (this would spoil the fun).

I am planning to further flesh out this sketch and try it out soonish. What do you guys think of 2 vs 2? Any (critical) feedback and ideas are welcome!

Fleshing out further


  • Invader: Be the first ally to score an enemy’s home objective (the one granting 3 points).
  • Scrapper: Be the first ally to destroy an enemy warjack.
  • Reserved: Always have at least one unit in your reserves at any point during the whole game.
  • Gatecrasher: Destroy at least one friendly or enemy void gate every pulse round. A friendly gate must be collapsed by removing ARC from it in the ARC allocation phase, not by putting units into play.
  • Glorious: Be the first ally to kill an enemy hero.
  • Selfish: Never play a cypher card on an ally model. Never channel a fury through an ally model.
  • ARCumulator: Use every possible opportunity (including Cypher cards) to allocate ARC to your models or void gates. Allocate to friendly models instead if all your models are full.
  • Furious: Have at least one model with the ARC Relay rule in your list. Deploy a model with the ARC Relay rule whenever possible. Play a Fury Cypher at every possible opportunity.
  • Coward: Deploy your hero at the beginning of the game. Your hero has to survive until the end of the game.
  • Traitor: Manage to roll blast damage on friendly models at least once every pulse round. Kill at least one allied model with a blast damage roll in this game.

This is a very soild start for team matches.

Gatecrasher could be an agenda take out all opposing void gates by the end of the round?

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I am not super experienced in the game yet, but Gatecrasher as you describe it sounds a tad too hard to pull off. After all, gates are ARM 5 and most gates I saw so far had at least 2 ARC on them. It feels like one would have to focus exclusively on taking out gates in order to achieve the agenda and even then it would be hard for factions without access to Nullifier. But please correct me if my impression should be wrong.

Also, if your faction goes first, there is a very easy counter for the other faction by just placing a void gate with 1 ARC at the end of their last turn of a round.

However, I like the general idea. How about the following modification?

  • Gatecrasher: Destroy at least one friendly or enemy void gate every pulse round. A friendly gate must be collapsed by removing ARC from it in the ARC allocation phase, not by putting units into play.

Note the friendly/enemy part. This gives you the option to collapse your own gates as well, which is simple, but may mess with your ally’s plans.

I love this idea, especially the allies having secret objectives. Makes them like political rivals: on the same side and never dare outright fighting, but trying to stand out politically.

Keen to see where it develops, let me know if you can do with help.

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The agendas are also my favourite aspect. I really hope they make for a fun gaming experience.

You can actually help with brainstorming agendas :slightly_smiling_face:. I already added some new ideas to the first post. The challenge after the initial brainstorming will probably be to come up with a good comparable set of agendas that are varied and challenging enough. Picking an agenda should always be a tough decision.

Here are my new agendas. Any further ideas?

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I will think a bit more and suggest some agendas once I get my head around the philosophy

You mention choosing agendas: I was wondering how you’d feel about randomly assigning them. I feel this is a fun anarchy format, and random missions would make sure people embraced that attitude, bringing varied enough lists to cover their bases

It also could be interesting to have 2-3 agendas, and whoever completes the most beats their frenemy / rival

I thought about random assignment and am generally for it. However, it restricts the design scope for agendas. After all, if you don’t have any weapons with Blast damage, getting assigned the Traitor agenda would mean an automatic loss.

I did not think on the implications this would have on list building, and you have a valid point that it would probably lead to varied lists. With regards to Traitor that would mean every list would need Blast damage.

I am not convinced, though, that it would be good for the game to require players to have varied lists. I feel like it would be more interesting if you could still skew lists towards a certain goal (and then see it hampered by your ally!).

Well, but at this point it is mere speculation. We will just have to try out both I guess :wink:.

Interesting idea. The question that immediately comes to mind is: what does it mean to not complete an agenda then?

At the moment, I am thinking about a ternary win/loose system:

  1. Defeat: Faction lost or agenda failed.
  2. Pyrrhic victory: Faction won but agenda failed.
  3. Victory: Faction won and agenda succeeded.

How would that translate to multiple agendas :thinking:? Would any agenda failed lead to an outcome other than victory? Would failed agendas translate to -1 on the sum of chosen agendas to increase the risk of taking too many? Because what would hinder me otherwise to just take all?

I have written up my first draft for the 2 vs 2 “Hidden Agendas Mode”. Comments are very welcome :slightly_smiling_face:! Once I have incorporated some more feedback, I will publish it in a dedicated thread.

Edited to add:

Use the following link for a PDF version:

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Love it: very slickly made too

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After playtesting, we split the 2 vs 2 mode and hidden agendas into two individual set of rules: