Hey there everyone, Xethik here with part one of three of a guide to wound allocation. For most experienced players, I don't think this will be that new, but for new players or players that have shied away from this for a while I have a feeling this may be massively helpful. This part is just going to be the basics of wound allocation, the abuse and disruption of it will be later articles. So, let's get started.
What wound allocations means is you declare which models are taking which wounds, before you attempt to save and ignore any wounds. In both the Shooting and the Assault phase, wound allocation occurs. However, they are treated somewhat separately than each other, so we'll start off with the shooting phase.
In the shooting phase, one player (the attacker) shoots at a defender, rolling to hit and then rolling to wound. It is now the defenders turn to allocate his wounds. What is important to note is that you must wait for all of the shots to be fired before attempting to save. This means all "special weapons", normal weapons, and blast/template weapons have rolled to hit and wound. You may receive a lot of odd wounds, some of them disallowing certain saves and others allowing saves as normal. An easy way to differentiate between the two and keep wounds tracked is to use your dice. You could have the number facing up be the AP value or use different colored dice, as long as it is clear to both you and your opponent. Now, wound allocation begins.
Before you go and declare which models are taking wounds, you should mentally think about your complex model groups. Models are in a group if they have identical wargear, special rules, and the same stat-line (I believe the name does not matter. Can anyone confirm? For example, Assault Terminator Sergeants are not in their own group.) What I mean by this is even though you have 10 Space Marines, one could have a Meltagun, another a Missile Launcher, and a third could be a Sergeant. So, you have four distinct groups. Your meltagun marine, your missile launcher marine, your sergeant, and then seven normal Space Marines. These are your wound groups. Now that you have those sorted, you need to allocate your wounds. In this situation, every model must receive one wound before you start giving them a second wound, and you need at least two wounds on every model to give a third. Simply put, you have to give everyone in the unit a wound, and then you start over from the beginning, giving out wounds. Be sure to keep track of different types of wounds during this phase, you don't want to forget how many AP 2 wounds there are if it is going to affect your saves.
Now, models should have dice in front of them. Pick a model group, and then start making your saves in batches. All models in the same model group make saves together. That means your seven Space Marines will take all of their wounds simultaneously. There is no way to distinguish "who" in the group is taking what wound as this point, they are just collectively doing so. Repeat until all wounds are dealt with.
So, let's do an example. You have a squad of five Space Marines. One of them is a Sergeant, and one has a missile launcher. So you have three model groups: Sergeant; Missile launcher; and three Marines.
White dice are AP 5, red are AP 2.
Now, let's throw a single AP 5 wound on all of them, and then the extras on the regular guys. Then, with the red dice, we'll put one on the two "special models" and then one on the final group. It looks like this. (ignore the number on the dice)
In close-combat, there are very small differences. For one, Independent Characters are treated as a separate unit in the assault phase (until you check morale, etc.) and thus attacks towards an Independent Character cannot be put onto the squad he is in, unlike shooting. Also, wounds are allocated and saved at the end of each initiative step, instead of the entire unit at once. Keep this in mind when fighting close-combat, as perhaps you want to save some weaker guys to absorb the Power Fist hits at the end of the initiatives.
Multi-wound complex units can be... Complex. Rules state that multi-wound models that are the same must take away unsaved wounds that would kill the most number of whole models. However, if every model has a different profile, you would allocate each wound one at a time and would have to put a single wound on each model before adding an additional, just like above, and then roll your saves. It is with these models that wound allocation gets a bit fuzzy and abused, and it is in the next article I will go a bit deeper into this. However, it states that after rolling for saves, you must deal with instant death wounds first and they must go on an unwounded model first. So if you had a group of 3 Paladins, all of which are identical and you suffered three wounds, one of which caused instant death, you can't do a normal wound, then the instant death, and then a normal wound, removing one model and removing another. You have to do the instant death and then the other two wounds, meaning you would kill off two whole models.
I hope the diagrams help explain wound allocation a bit better for those of you who didn't before. Next two parts is where the meatier information is, so expect a lot more diagrams then.
Hope you enjoyed!