Thursday, August 18, 2016

If I Ran the Circus

I've been getting a lot done, but haven't had much luck getting myself to take pics or write about it. With the rumours of 8th Ed abounding, I figure I'll do something easy here to try and get some momentum going: Wishlisting! Note that I'm just going at the Core Rules here, and I would also do some big re-balancing of Codexes if I were actually in a position to implement any of this.

Overall Turn Structure: Add in "Start/End of Turn" Phases, and defined "Start/End of Phase" sub-steps.

Movement Phase: Pretty much the same, except that Running/Turbo-Boosting/Flat Out would get folded into the Movement Phase. No Models get moved in the Shooting Phase except to take them off the Board. Speeds things up, keeps the Phases more in line with their names.
- Add some Size Categories for Terrain. Mostly for LoS/Cover purposes, but might affect some Movement.

Psychic Phase: I think the basic mechanics are pretty sound.
- Change DtW so that each 6 rolled cancels one Harnessed Warp Charge, making it easier to Deny multi-Charge Powers.
- Make it possible to get bonuses to Deny Powers that don't target Enemy Units.
- Clean up the definition of "Psyker", since it's kind of a mess right now, with some counter-intuitive consequences.
- The rest of the fixes would come from changes to the Disciplines and Codexes.

Shooting: Snap Shots go away. Perhaps not 100%, I can't off the top of my head think of a better mechanic for dealing with Flyers, but other than that, any situation where you'd be firing Snap Shots in 6th/7th, you simply can't fire. Speeds things up.
- Wound Allocation completely changed. Defender simply removes the Models they want to, without regard to range or LoS. Simplifies and speeds things up.
-  Exception: When a single Attacking Unit generates Wounds equal to or greater than the number of Models in the Target Unit, in which case the Attacker may select one Model that must take one of the Saves on its own. They can do this multiple times if the Wounds from a single Unit are multiple times the number of Models in the Target Unit. For example, if an IG Platoon opens up and inflicts 12 Wounds on a SM Combat Squad, the IG Player may choose which Models take two of the Saves. You may choose the same Model more than once, but if it fails more Saves than it has Wounds, the excess are wasted. Balancing mechanism to cut down on MSU, still gives the Attacker some control.
- If a Unit contains multiple Armour Saves, Wounds must be divided among them as evenly as possible (after any the Attacker may get to assign) before rolling Saves. Simplification, also helps deal with "mixed" DeathStars like TWC/FenWolves.
- Cover Saves go back to a Unit-by-Unit basis. If half or more of the Target Unit is in Cover from the Firing Unit's PoV, the whole Unit gets Cover. If in mixed Cover, they get the Cover Save that the greatest number of Models would benefit from. Simplification. Also makes it easier for squishy Units like Stealers to get closer without losing Cover.
- Cover Saves for intervening Units are determined in part by the Swarm and various Bulky Rules. Basically, a Unit can only gain Cover from an intervening Unit if they're no more than 2 Size Categories larger than the intervening Unit. Add some categories for Vehicles and Terrain.
- Going to Ground and Jinking are declared after determining how many Hits are scored, but before Rolling to Wound/Penetrate. This leaves it as late as possible in the sequence without having to make exceptions for Vehicle Squadrons.

Assault Phase: Keep the Charge Sub-Phase the same, except Overwatch goes away, just like everything else involving Snap Shots.
- Units with Move Through Cover can choose to either ignore the 2" Charge Distance penalty for Charging into Cover OR ignore the Initiative Penalty for Charging into Cover. 
- Only one Pile-in Move per Model per Phase. Possibly go back to the 5th Ed Defender Reacts system where the Charging Unit doesn't get a Pile-In, and other than the Charge and that one Defender Reacts Move, Models only move after Combat Resolution. OR like AoS, where Units get to Pile-In as they Attack, but don't at the end of the Combat. Possibly mess with the distance of the Move as well, but the key point is that no Model in an ongoing Combat should Move more than once per Turn.
- Wound Allocation changed as per Shooting.
- Outnumbering factors into Combat Resolution. If one side has more Models than the other, they count as inflicting an extra Wound when determining Combat Res. If they have more than twice as many, they get +2, and so forth. Models with some version of the Bulky Rule count as the same number of Models they would for fitting in a Transport/Building. Walkers count as 5 Models if their Front AV is 11 or less, 10 Models if it's 12 or more.
- If an outnumbered Unit is Fearless or gets caught in a Sweeping Advance but not wiped out because of ATSKNF, it must make one Save for each extra point of Combat Res the Outnumbering side gained from their numerical advantage. Gives Hormies and Ork Boyz something to shore them up against DeathStars.
- EDIT: Add back in the ability to Charge on the Turn a Unit Disembarks from any Transport, as long as the Transport didn't Move first.

Morale: Morale Tests work pretty well. Haven't changed much in 5 Editions for a reason.
- Regrouping is really harsh on non-ATSKNF Units right now, tho. Change it so that a Unit that Regroups has their basic Move reduced to 3" for that Turn, counts as Moving for all purposes, regardless of whether they do or not, and suffers a 3" penalty to their Charges.
- ATSKNF just means that they auto-pass Regrouping tests and don't get wiped out by Sweeping Advances.

Unit Types: The biggest change I'd make here really is about ICs. ICs can only Join Units of the same Unit Type as them. Bikes/Jetbikes are counted as a single Unit Type for this purpose, as are Cavalry/Beasts. This takes out some of the DeathStar shenanigans.
- Bikes cannot gain a bonus Attack for 2 CCWs, nor can they use 2-handed Weapons or any CC Attack other than their basic profile if equipped with a Storm Shield or something else that keeps them from gaining that extra Attack. Basically, they need to keep one hand on the Bike at all times. Pushing Bikes more toward a firepower Unit.
- Jump Infantry can use their Packs in both Phases. And pushing Jump Packs up as Assault Units.
- Beasts/Cavalry only move 9", but can Run and Charge in the same Phase. Not as fast as Bikes/Vehicles, except when they kick it into high gear for the Charge.
- Add another tier between Monstrous and Gargantuan Creatures. The mid-level monsters wouldn't get the 12" Move or Stomp, and would only reduce Poison to 5+, but would otherwise gain all the benefits of GCs. There are enough MCs needing a boost that it's worth making a category for them.
- Gargantuan Creatures get AoS-style Statlines that degrade as they take Wounds.
- Some kind of buff for MCs against Vehicles in CC. A single Smash Attack is not enough.
- New Unit Type: Monstrous Beasts. MCs with 12" Movement, not slowed by Difficult Terrain. Things like Trygons, Haruspexes, and Giant Chaos Spawn need some help.

Vehicle Types: Heavy Vehicles ignore the penalties for firing Ordnance Weapons.
- Possibly bring back something like the Agile Vehicle Type, with less max speed than Fast Vehicles, but more ability to fire while moving slowly.
- Super-Heavy Vehicles modify the Damage Table instead of ignoring it. Each Shaken result stops a random weapon from firing this Turn. Each Stunned result does that and takes d6" off its Movement for the Turn. Weapon Destroyed: Certain Weapons are designated as "Main Weapons". It takes 2 Weapon Destroyed results to remove one of these. Immobilized becomes Drive Damaged, taking off d6" Movement permanently. Explodes still does an extra d3 HP.

Weapon Types: Change Salvo so that it gets the larger number of shots out to half Range, and the smaller number from their to max Range, regardless of the firing Model's Movement. Right now we basically only ever see Salvo Weapons on Relentless Units, and many of them (e.g. Grav) are badly overpowered on those.
- Grenades used in Combat by basic Models against MCs or Vehicles with a WS only hit on 6s. Grenades used by Characters hit based on their WS. Trying to find a balance that doesn't feel like an arbitrary limit, but still keeps Walkers from just getting Kraked to death. Also makes Characters a bit more Heroic.

Terrain: Just add a bit more detail back in. Include some guidelines on size values for Movement/LoS purposes.

Missions: Bring non-random Progressive Scoring into some of the basic Missions. Stuff like Border War from the AoS General's Handbook.

I think that would about do it for Main Rulebook changes. Again assuming that I had complete freedom here, it would also be a "hard" reboot, with completely new Army Lists for everyone (This is another point I'd take from AoS. Every Unit's Dataslate would be available as a free download.) I'd roughly double everything's cost to allow more granularity, benchmarking things against a 10 Point Guardsman and a 30 Point Tac Marine.

Hopefully I'll get around to taking some pics of my recent Modeling projects (Tauroxen with Blood and Skulls Industry wheels, DeathWatch, a bunch of Daemons), and talking about some of the Gaming I've been getting in (OFCC, the LoW Bash we did one Saturday, dipping my toes into AoS). Until then, y'all have a good one, y'hear!


  1. All stuff I agree with overall. I'd also make a few changes to vehicles as well. I think adding about 1 HP to every vehicle in the game would be about right. They are still currently too easy to kill.

    I really want to see your Tauroxes.

    1. Vehicle fixes like that are something that would come in at the Codex stage. During which I would also be cutting down a LOT on the offensive power level of the Game, which might end up solving a number of Units' durability issues.

  2. You sure have some good, well thought ideas here. I don't agree on everything, like two weapons on bikers but overall it's pretty spot on.

    I would like to see vehicles and MC being more like Monsters in AoS. The ability for a ten-point meltagun to one-shot any tank isn't a good games mechanic. I would prefer that you reduce the effectiveness of its guns and movement speed. Melta should still be more effective against vehicles but not that effective. The game favours wound based units at moment.

    I think a changes should be made to simplify the rule set and speed up the game. That include list building as well. I wouldn't mind the AoS approach here, with free dataslates and all the points gathered in a single book. This would of course mean that they would need to rethink the way we buy our units and find a way to move from unit plus upgrades and wargear cost to unit cost with free upgrades.

    1. Some of it, like the Bikers, is definitely subjective.

      The way large Monsters are handled in AoS is one of my favorite things they did with that system. I really hope that and the comprehensive keywording come into 8th Ed 40K.

  3. How did I miss this post?

    As with the other commenters, I think you've got a lot of valid points here. One thing I've seen suggested for vehicles that I like the idea of is giving them an armour save - since armour penetration at present is basically the same as wounding monstrous creatures, but with higher toughness values (think +4 toughness and you're about there) it seems fair to suggest that vehicles should also have a chance to save such damage.

    My only issues would be with your suggested wound allocation, which I don't think is currently a problem, and damage to superheavies, i think the bookkeeping with your proposed changes could be quite intensive (though I'm sure GW would be happy to make and sell damage markers for us ;) ) and there's no real justification for the reduced damage results anyway - you could perhaps say that all weapons on the flank hit by a shot are prevented from shooting if a penetrating hit is scored?

    My biggest issue at the moment is with balance, I think for two players who know the rules the game isn't necessarily that slow, but properly balancing units like terminators is way out, and even the latest codex reduction in points doesn't account for their toughness - it needs some way of allowing that terminators shouldn't fall to massed small arms fire, when actually that currently the biggest threat to them!

    1. You probably missed it because I post really sporadically, and so stuff gets lost in the shuffle easily :P

      The more I think about it since I wrote this post, and the more I get into AoS, the more I think Vehicles and MCs should just be folded together into one category. Get rid of AV entirely, give everything a Toughness Value, Wounds, and a Save. Then give both GCs and Super-Heavy Vehicles (and maybe some of the larger MCs/Vehicles: Riptides, DreadKnights, Land Raiders, etc) modifiers to their stats and abilities as they take Wounds.

      My personal experience, and a lot of what I've seen of other people's Games at Tournaments, has been that time is a significant, tho not omnipresent, issue. In 5th, I could reliably finish a 2K Game in 2 and a half hours, but in 7th, it's a struggle to finish an 1850 in 2:45.

      And yeah, there are a ton of individual Units that need fixing as well, for a variety of reasons. For Terminators specifically, I've seen a ton of suggestions that would help, including T5, FNP, 2 Wounds, and re-rolling Saves. Not all at once, of course.