Thursday, June 16, 2011

Warhammer 40K 6th Edition: Part 2

Last time, I talked about some changes I'd like to see in the next edition of 40K. These aren't rumors or anything like that, this is me flexing my Game Designer muscles and just talking about the current state of 40K and what I'd like to see change in the next edition. In part 2 of this series, I'm going to focus on vehicles and how they factor into gameplay. Here are the changes I would like to see made in no particular order.

1. Mech is too good. In 4th Edition, transports were too weak. In the current edition the pendulum has swung to the other side and mech is king. We got some good stuff with 5th Edition like troops that assault a vehicle use the rear armor value. Also the unified damage chart is much better. I'm not entirely sure what the answer is to this. Is it as simple as a glance is only a -1 on the chart? Eh, that's too crazy.

Maybe we just need additional modifiers on the chart. If a vehicle is Stunned or Immobilized you gain a +1 bonus on the damage chart because the vehicle is basically a sitting duck. I like that a lot better. Of course if you happen to be sitting in an immobilized Rhino and someone hits you with a meltagun at close range you're in for a world of hurt. Vehicles do need to be weaker and there is nothing more annoying than rolling 4 or 5 Shaken results against the same vehicle.

Another issue I have is blowing up transports doesn't usually have much of an affect on the passengers unless they are rocking a poor armor save. I'd like to see Destroyed – Explodes results cause Strength 4 wounds on embarked troops and cause a pinning test like they do today, but they should also be upgraded to rending. This represents the poor SoBs who couldn't get out in time and gives Terminators something to be afraid of if someone pops a Land Raider.

The other thing I would like to see are vehicles scattering when they are blown up. We had this in 4th Edition and I'd like to see it make a comeback. Nothing is weirder than when my Stormraven comes crashing down and it dies on the same spot. I like how Ork Trukks can go flying out of the way, let's do the same thing with all vehicles that asplode.

2. Fix tank shock. The concept of tank shock is really cool. I take my cool bad ass tank and I run over the enemy and crush them beneath my treads. In the game, it's kinda dumb because you can never really kill anyone. There must be a lot of really annoyed tank drivers in the 40K universe.

  "We have Tyranids closing in on us sir," the corporeal reported. "What should we do?"
  "Run them down!" The Chimera kicked up the earth as it sped toward the incoming throng of hormagaunts.
  "By the Golden Throne! Corporeal, how could you possibly miss all of them? They're everywhere!"

The designers probably didn't want people trying to run over infantry the entire game and I understand that, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. With this one, I'm not so sure what the fix is. Maybe everything works like it does today, but tanks also inflict d3 Strength 5 hits against the unit. If the vehicle is fast, it inflicts d6 Strength 4 hits to represent the difficulty of getting out of the way. To avoid abuse, maybe you have to move a set distance that turn or you could only fire defensive weapons at the unit you tank shocked. That makes it a desperation move like it should be.

3. Make embark/disembark a separate action. This is a great point from dzer0 who commented on my first 6th Edition post. I'm really surprised I didn't think of this, because I always struggle with this. How many times do you disembark and you are stuck trying to figure out how to either move your vehicle or your troops because you have to do all of the movement at once?

He had a great idea. Make disembark/embark it's own action. Now I can disembark my troops, move my Razorback out of the way and then move my Assault Squad. Better yet, I can move my troops forward, drive another transport across the battlefield and have my troops hop in during the same phase. I wouldn't have to worry about positioning everything perfectly beforehand. This would also allow for better screening tactics with your transports and give players more flexibility when moving across the battlefield.

4. Rules for flyers. I of course would like to see rules for flyers since they seem to be the rage ever since the Valkyrie was released. Now we have the Stormraven, Razorwing Jetfighter, and the Venom. I think this is a sure bet just like the new edition of the game will still involve the rolling of dice. I wouldn't be surprised if Supersonic wasn't Games Workshop playtesting rules for flyers from the new edition.

That's it for today. I promise, my next post will be about the hobby and I'll either show some new scenery or miniatures I'm working on.

Till then,
–The Harrower


  1. Hey, thanks for the shout out!

    I think your idea to add rending to the damage effect of an exploding vehicle is absurdly good. Maybe this could also be tied to all models that get hit by the explosion outside as well to illustrate the flying shrapnel? Maybe it could also add some sort of pinning check with a negative modifier to your leadership if someone dies as well.

  2. Hey, no problem. I like the idea of exploding shrapnel and pinning tests. Makes a lot of sense and is a detriment to screening troops with vehicles which is a good balancing factor. You listening GW? :)

  3. I actually think that vehicles are mostly fine the way they are and alot of the tweaks they need to make are codex grounded. For example, Necrons and gauss weapons. They lost a lot of their punch with 5th, but with their new codex, they're getting it back. Also, I think with the current vehicle damage chart, players are ill-behooved to play heavy support choices like predators since a glance means they become effectively worthless most of the time.

    Adding rending to guys inside the vehicle...I'm on the fence with that. I can see the point, but in this sci-fi setting, mundane explosions are the least of their worries. They're wearing armor meant to stop the mini-rocket launchers we call bolters. Same for the shrapnel idea outside...if a bolter or similar weapon isn't going to rend, then shrapnel (and keep in mind it's because of shrapnel there is a strength 3 radius to worry about) won't either. (I know it's kinda tit for tat by mixing lore with game mechanics, but I think the bolter example is rather practical). You touched on passengers "with a poor armor save," and that's most of the game. I know Space Marines are popular, but all non-marine armies have 4+ or worse armor saves and/or are toughness 3. Out of the 16 armies 5 are marines. So slightly more than 2/3 of the armies have to really fear an explosion result.

    The pinning though is neat. I can imagine infantry getting knocked on their ass from the shockwave and shrapnel pelting them.

    Also, again practically speaking, I don't think they're going to nerf vehicles all that much if they do at all. The majority of players out there seem to be happy with the current setup, GW makes a lot of money off of tanks (Rhinos are 35 points to field, but $50 to buy), and, again, IMO, I think the core rules are fairly balanced already. Even with my Wave Serpents, I rarely, if ever, have more than 2 survive a full game.

    In either case, it'll be interesting to see what they do.

  4. One last thing I'd just like to add: cover saves. I wish they would do something with cover saves so we can see the return of units like Dark Reapers, or to not see a tank like a Vindicator get punked out because some guys are standing in a bush.

  5. @Farseer Frank I don't understand how you can consider sitting inside an exploding tank a "mundane explosion". There's only a smoking crater left of a tank that is made out of the best adamantium, ceramite, and plasteel armor in the 40K universe. But the dudes inside wearing armor that is only 1/10th as thick should be ready to rock!

    Sorry, I just don't see it. It's kinda pointless arguing fluff vs. rules, but suggesting infantry can survive being inside a tank designed to protect them from heavy weapons fire when it explodes is daft.

    Your Wave Serpents don't survive, because everyone is so worried about mech that meltaguns and anti-armor weapons are everywhere. A definite sign that the rules aren't balanced. How well would your Wave Serpents survive if I decided to give all my Assault Squads plasmaguns instead?

  6. Well, take into account stuff like Space Marine armor being designed to survive the hard vacuum of space, and that alot of the same weaponry that can cause one of these vehicles to explode won't pierce power armor, I don't think my point is that daft.

    In either case, all we're doing right now is arguing over an abstraction for something that's only meant to mimic real life. In the end, these same tanks which are made of the best materials that you referred to is the same stuff their armor is made from, and there are marines that can take a missile to the face without even flinching.

  7. @Farseer Frank Right, and a plasmacannon that normally can't do crap against a decent tank will wipe an entire squad of marines in one blast. Like I said, arguing fluff vs. rules is pointless. According to the Black Library, I should be able to have one squad of Blood Angels take on your entire army and have a chance.

  8. The Venom isn't a Flyer, You're thinking of the Voidraven. The Venom is the DE's small Transport.

    I agree with everything, except why GW are starting on the new edition. I've barely had any time with this edition.