Wound Allocation In V5

Prefacing this with the acknowledged opinion that V5 Wound Allocation is stupid, counter intuitive, unnecessarily time-wasting and fiddly, and a change made almost certainly only so that it was something different from the system put in place by the previous Studio regime--we are nevertheless stuck with it. I understand players who simply choose to disregard it and assess casualties the old way, and frankly I tend to do so most of the time, too...but being less than diligent about enforcing proper V5 Wound Allocation has created multiple ways of playing this locally, several of which conflict--with fairly dramatic consequences. With Astronomi-Con only two months out, I have undertaken to get this right.

There seem to be two ways of interpreting the rule (and in fairness to the local gaming scene, in sorting through the forums to get the consensus correct answer on this, this is a common problem everywhere):

  • You split your targeted unit into as many different (by gear, stats, whatever) types as necessary and assess each Wound, one to a model at a time, *per type*.
  • You split your targeted unit into as many different (by gear, stats, whatever) types as necessary but assess each Wound one per model, only moving to specialist types when the basic type models have all received a wound.

The difference is small but meaningful, especially when only a few Wounds have been made (if there are enough inflicted Wounds to place at least one per model it doesn't matter): taking the book's five man Dev squad (page 25) as an example--what if, instead of the illustrated eleven Wounds (allotting at least two per model and three to one, pretty clear), the squad had suffered only three Wounds--two from bolters allowing a save and the third from a melta allowing no save? Do you assess the Wounds by the three types, as in 1) above, in which case a bolter armed target, a missile launcher armed target and the Sgt each must take a Wound with the melta wound being assigned by owning player's choice (probably the marine in the bolter armed group), or by model, as in 2) above, in which case one bolter armed marine is still going to get vaped, and either the sergeant or a missile launcher marine is still going to have to make a save, but the second bolter armed marine would get to take the last save, protecting one or the other (but meaning at least one type within the unit never gets allocated a wound)?

This really matters even more in larger squads with many more 'bullet shields' and fewer special and heavy weapon toters. It would matter in this example if there were a third basic type (bolter armed marine) model--as then, if 2) is correct, *none* of the other, specialist, types need face taking a save.

As it happens, 2) *is* correct. The rules specify that players must allocate one wound to each model in the target unit before a second can be allocated to the same model. They also specify that models with any differences in profile, etc, must be set out by type...but *do not* specify that this must be done first. Reading the Rules As Published, this latter requirement of setting out affected models in a target unit by type is *only* necessary if the number of wounds requiring saves exceeds the number of basic-type models in the unit, or if (for whatever reason) the owning player wished to allocate wounds to a type other than a basic model. Which would mean, for our example, 2) above is correct Wound Allocation. For an average ten marine tactical squad, six wounds could typically be taken before the owning player has to start dividing into types; for larger squads (orks being an excellent example), many, many basic type models can take an inflicted wound before needing to begin dividing into types, for Wound Allotment.

Your specialized models with better statlines or equipment, in other words, *do not* need to begin being assigned to make saves until the number of wounds inflicted on their unit exceeds the number of basic type models able to take those hits.