Tuesday, March 28, 2017

40K: 8th Edition - Rules Extinctions

8th edition talk usually focuses on what's coming next to 40K...how about what we might see disappear?

Honestly, I don't know that anything is so OTT (over the top) that it should just get the heck out of town.  Some rules/mechanics may be annoying, frustrating or just plain "broken" (whatever the hell that means!).  They may give some armies/lists perceived advantages.  None the less, they are part of our game and in the end, are things we live with.  Improvement needed?  Sure.  What really matters is what GW decides is the balance between reducing the bloat, maintaining profits and keeping the game popular.  So what are some of the possible targets for extinction events?

Allies:  I like Allies as a concept.  It is particularly useful for narrative players.  I have an Iron Hands army, and AdMech is a perfect ally from a story perspective.  There are certainly other examples.  Daemons and Thousand Sons are a very story-driven pairing.  The issue that most of us have is the insane abuse of the Allied chart that allows totally incoherent combos.  Inquisitors with Daemons?  Eldar and Tau?  Being able to use the chart for game table advantage is not a player issue; it is a mechanic that GW has allowed to be twisted into Tzeentch-like forms.  I think Allies as we know them will disappear.  Command Points have been mentioned several times in recent weeks as a way to incentivize players with AoS-style Allegiance Abilities.  The interesting part of this will be to see if GDub ports over the Allegiance concept for the 20+ codices, and consolidates them into 3-5 major factions.  This would be a fine solution for me.

Armour Value:  This is a tough issue, but simple solutions are possible.  Would I like to see all Walkers (not Super Heavy one) become Monstrous Creatures?  You bet.  How the heck is a Ghostkeel a Monstrous Creature but a Contemptor Dread isn't?  Walkers are easier...now what do you do with actual AFVs?  Sorry, but a Leman Russ is not a Monstrous Creature.  The question, then, is how to make that heavy vehicle as survivable as that Ghostkeel?  One penetrating hit and the tank is toast.  One wound and the Ghostkeel (e.g.) is still fighting at peak condition.  Artillery in 40K is an interesting unit to look at for a solution.  Get rid of Armour Value.  Give vehicles a toughness value, a save and wounds.  What about the facing issue?  This would be resolved if we go to a AoS mechanic that resembles Rending.  Hits from the front would have no Rend, -1 Rend on the side and -3 Rend on the rear armour.  Getting rid of armour is possible...

"Unkillable" Units:  Sorry, but Celestine and Guilliman are essentially unkillable.  Throw in rerolled invulnerable saves, or 2++ with rerolls on 1s.  Obnoxious as hell, but part of the game.  I think this will disappear.  We need new mechanics in terms of rolls to hit and save, combined with single saves for every unit; no more 2+/4++/reroll/check for special rule/FNP all for a single model.  Some units in Sigmar are tough to kill, but it can be done.

"Free" Formations:  I don't think formations are going anywhere. They are not only an important part of the game, but of the business model as well...they sell plastic.  This being said, the Sigmar version, Warscroll Battalions, although similar, are different in a significant way...they cost you!  So yes, I think "free" formations will go away.  As well they should.  Reward those who stick to a standard CAD by making them cost free.

Complex Combat Charts:  Goodbye my old friends...I knew ye well!  Yes, those lovely rows and columns of plus this and plus that will no longer be a part of 40K.  What will replace them?  Unit/weapon specific rolls for hitting and wounding.  This, of course, assumes individual unit dataslates similar to Sigmar Warscrolls.  The issue with this happening is the limiting nature of specific weapons choices for specific units...we do love the power of choice, don't we?

Universal Special Rules:  Hold on.  Not all of them.  I do think, however, that changes in some of the base game mechanics will allow for a significant consolidation of the current 18 pages of USRs.  Talk about rules bloat!  This part of the rulebook alone could scare off most potential 40K players.

Fearless/Leadership:  I'm going to piggyback off a previous BoLS article and state Fearless gone, Leadership not.  Again, if we go with a Sigmar-style leadership mechanic for each dataslate, some units can be essentially Fearless, with a high enough Leadership value, while still being vulnerable if ripped apart enough.  No special Fearless rule, just a Leadership value that reflects the training/experience/fanaticism of the members of a unit.  Units won't break, just die glorious deaths...

 Movement Complexity:  There are SO MANY factors affecting movement now.  Talk of a movement stat is all well and good, but what about all the stuff that affects that number?  Terrain, movement related USRs (Fleet, Move Through Cover, Crusader, Skilled Rider, Jink, Vector Dancer, Hit and Run), unit equipment, unit/army special rules, etc.  Movement rules as they exist, are going to melt away.  Movement is certainly a part of the tactics of the game.  However, just because it's tactical, doesn't mean it shouldn't be easy to understand, especially for the next generation entering the hobby.

I'm sure the complexity of the rule set itself makes the task of modifying/simplifying the rules a monumental task.  Like trying to turn a Supertanker.  It can be done, but damn, it's hard work.  The above list is just a start of the things I don't just want changed, I want to see walk into the sunset.  Another consideration, or maybe a question, is whether any significant changes we see will actually change game balance?

Any rules extinctions you are anticipating in 8th Edition?

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