Thursday, 23 March 2017

8th edition 40k rumours – a burning eye view.

Greetings all! See this thing I'm jumping on? that's a bandwagon right there! So here we go, we've seen some confirmations from GW this past day about what they're looking at for 8th edition, and we know it's going to be within the next year. Here are my thoughts on what's been said, and what I'd like to see happen!

"3 Ways to Play
The General’s Handbook has been one of the most popular rules supplements we’ve ever released. Who’d have thought letting people choose how they wanted to play their games and giving them a clear way to do that would be so popular…? It’s pretty clear from talking to a number of event organisers, that Warhammer 40,000 would benefit from the same approach. So we’ll soon be introducing the same 3 ways to play – open, narrative and matched play – to the 41st Millennium."

This doesn’t seem to be as much of a departure to me from the existing situation – it sounds like basically it’s 1 extra way to play that isn’t really extra at all. Open is essentially equivalent to the current unbound, matched play is basically current 40k using detachments, whilst narrative has the option of pitching unbalanced forces against each other in specific scenarios. Which you can already do, there are echoes of war mission still floating around for specific battles, and all you need to do is agree a different point limit for each force. I have no issue with it being a more official thing however, I think it’s good to sometimes take the competitive element out of the game and just see how well you can play and how much fun you can have.

"Army Selection
One of the things that comes up a lot is the idea that people should be rewarded for taking thematic armies. It’s a sentiment we agree with and so we’re looking at introducing Command points. A mechanism to reward players who structure their army like their in-world counterparts, with re-rolls and cool army specific rules throughout the game."

Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been the guy who went to a tournament and faced the unholy trinity of eldar jetbikes, a riptide wing and an iron hands grav/fire raptor detachment. Anything that discourages this kind of thing is a good step in my eyes – personally I think formations are a good way of encouraging it, but dropping allies altogether would be a bigger step to my mind! Or how about 10% extra points to spend if your opponent brings allies! 

We think the Move value should come back. No more default unit types. Every model should have cool bespoke rules. Not only would that be more fun, but it’ll mean you will only need to learn the rules for your models."

Yes, I was utterly fed up of my super fast dark elder being exactly the same speed as every other army out there when I played them. What I would really like to see however is the movement stat be incorporated into charge ability as well, so perhaps D6 + Move stat. This means faster units can charge further, but it also stops the ridiculous situation for example of a unit of hormagaunts racing 12” in the movement phase and then collapsing on the ground to fail a 4” charge.

Armour save modifiers. This topic comes up almost as often as Sisters of Battle… so we’re going to bring them back. Every weapon will have its place in your army and better represent how you imagine them working in your head."

Which one are you bringing back – armour save modifiers or sisters of battle?
Whichever it is I’m happy – I get intensely frustrated by this sort of thing, even more so listening to black libraries audiobooks, which give such vivid descriptions of what weapons do – in one I listened to recently a knight’s heavy stubber was reaping legionary lives like some kind of rapid fire lascannon!
All that’s left to hope therefore is that it applies equally to combat weapons!

"Combat Phase
Charging units should fight first. It’s just more thematic. So we’re hoping to work this out as well. It will reward tactically outmaneuvering your opponent. You can dictate the combats rather than being entirely 
(my emphasis - TBE) Initiative based. You control who swings first."

It would be nice if this was a combination of initiative and charging. As has been pointed out to me, you wouldn’t expect a guardsman to get the first swing in against a bloodthirster, even if he did charge first. Perhaps via the means of an initiative boost, +3 would be reasonable I think?

Its no longer all or nothing, and it affects everyone. We’re thinking of replacing break tests with a simple mechanic. Roll a D6, add that to the number of models your unit has lost this turn, subtract your Leadership and take that many additional casualties."

I like the idea in principle, but it does bring up the potential of tarpit units becoming a huge thing – especially if fearless is still around and grants Ld 10 – all of a sudden big units of anything (Imperial Guard platoon with a priest?) can tie up almost any combat option that doesn’t bring a high volume of attacks. I recently had a single marine in combat over 4 turns against 4 Fire Warriors and a drone. Eventually the marine brought down the drone and watched as the Fire Warriors failed their morale check and were cut down. It kind of felt right somehow, that whilst they were holding their own they were fine, but once that morale broke, that was it. Perhaps have a threshold, whereby if the test is failed by more than a certain amount then the unit breaks and flees regardless of how many models remain?

And now for my own wishlist

Five top changes I’d like to see (not including the stuff above).
  • 1.       A total rebalancing across the board of weapons – there are many at the moment that are just not reflective of their fluff – heavy bolters have neither the rate of fire nor the strength/armour penetration to justify themselves, and storm bolters are the same (ever assessed the damage output of a full unit of terminators with storm bolters? It’s not worth the 350+pts it’ll cost you I promise!
  • 2.       A rebalancing of the elite armoured units, or a drastic revision to their points. Yes, this is mainly looking at terminators, but centurions are equally as guilty in their own way and I’m sure there are other examples in the other factions. Terminators, even if they are allowed to strike first on the charge with powerfists (one of the exceptions I think should be made to that rule, unless my suggestion of +3I is accurate) are not worth the points they cost, and are ridiculously vulnerable to massed fire, whilst centurions are generally considerably more durable. The storm shield option for terminators drastically increases their durability to some fire but not others, and so this in my view should be a much greater cost for upgrade, provided the basic durability issue is addressed.
  • 3.       Cover. As it stands, cover is a huge black and white element of the game, and cover saves of 2+ are simple to achieve for many units. Conversely, those units that rely on cover for concealment are then over penalised by weapons like flamers etc that ignore it, and weapons like the baleflamer from the heldrake, or flamestorm cannons, or the bane wolf are just hideous, with the heldrake in particular having little to counter it. In a recent game I faced a Chaos Warlord on a bike, who had rolled up the shrouded boon before the game, and started things off parked in a ruin. Hello 2+ cover save, whilst T5 and a 2+ armour save meant there was little point shooting him until he moved. When he moved, he butchered my army thanks to his huge threat range. Conversely I’ve watched as a heavy flamer in a drop pod immolates entire units of scouts without recourse to any kind of save. I understand the idea behind ignores cover, but it’s far too readily available to units that shouldn’t be able to get it, Whilst the stackability (yes, it’s a word I made up) of cover saves means there are too many ways to manipulate it.
  • 4.       Flyers. Please please please stop giving flyers the supersonic rule, it has no effect whatsoever unless you happen to be playing 40k on a table the size of a car park. Equally, fliers have the potential to be an awesome part of the game, but can drastically unbalance things as they stand. There’s a reason why you don’t see stalker tanks in marine armies, and that’s because they have almost zero utility against ground targets. Yes, there’s a place for units with skyfire but don’t penalise them against other targets as well – the stormcannon isn’t so good it would be a must take in a normal marine army! I would also give all units the chance to hit fliers easier – if they forego movement to do so, +1BS should do it.
  • 5.       Assaulting from vehicles. Yes, I love that there are specific assault transports, however I don’t think that should exclude units assaulting from other vehicles either, however I do think it should be limited, so I’m happy for units to assault after having disembarked from any vehicle, provided it hasn’t moved, and they don’t shoot in the assault phase. Assault vehicles units can disembark, shoot and assault, but non assault vehicles it has to be a choice to assault rather than shoot.
  • 6.       Reserves. Ok, so here’s an extra one I’ve thrown in for you. Surely in the 41st millennium it will be possible for armies to coordinate themselves a bit better, though with some allowance for delay. I’d say roll for reserves from turn 1 (on a 4+), then on turn 2 that becomes a 2+, and auto arrive on turn 3. Allow assaulting from reserves but on the same basis as from vehicles (so no shooting beforehand) and if overwatch is still a thing then allow it at BS2.
So there you have it - my thoughts on the rumours and a few suggestions - what do you think? Leave a comment below - I will reply to them all!

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