Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Screw 7th Edition: Warhammer 40K 6.5

With 7th edition 40K looming on the horizon, my blood boiling and pocket book moaning, I have come up with some suggested rule fixin’s that will neutralize the need for such an obvious, insulting money-grab.  With a few minor tweaks, 6th edition could be pretty damn good.  (Of course there's no "perfect" version, and my personal ideas here are no exception to that.)  

Note that not everything I have some degree of disagreement with is addressed here, but I can live with the other aspects and/or don’t have a better suggestion.  Also note that I am not familiar with Apoc, Escalation, and all the other expansion texts that have come out.  As far as I’m concerned, those expensive hardback expansion rules are all good to go, as agreed upon by those players standing at the table that night or organizing the tournament.  Period.  No need to print yet another expensive tome just to get them all inside the same cover and collect taxes on them again.

In fact, my 40K 6.5 edition (let’s call it “40K Fred”) alterations could be issued as a thin, inexpensive paperback/ebook at a reasonably low price, thus no need to rake all GW’s loyal and already abused customers any further than we already have been.

1. Force Organization Chart: 

The golden rule here is, whatever those folks playing decide to do, that’s good for them.  If you want to go Apocalypse, Unbound, take whatever, that’s fine, go for it.  Barring that, I like the standard, balanced chart with its minimum 1 HQ, 2 Troops, but with the following standing order: 

     -- One (and only one, maximum) Force Org slot can be traded for another among all but the Troops categories.  Thus, you can decide to turn one of these into any other of these: HQ, Elite, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support. 

For example, you might decide you’re not going to take a 3rd Elite unit, but would like a 3rd HQ model.  Or you only need one HQ but want another Heavy choice.  You can trade one for one, as long as neither is a Troop slot.  (It’d be too easy to give up one of six Troops for something better.)  You need not use all Force Org slots to do this; you can take just one Elite and still take four Heavies (hell, you weren’t using that other Elite anyway, right, so why not?)

2. Allies:

While we’re at it, let’s alter the allies just a bit.  Actually, I’m not going to rehash an allies chart here, but I would alter it some.  I do like the allies contingent force org limits as is too.  My only changes would be:

     -- The chart needs reworking in general.  Mainly, I’d limit battle brothers to racially/historically sensible match-ups (for example, Tau being battle bros with Eldar???  I guess Tau just needed a friend?).  I’d also allow for Genestealer Cults, which would need some additional rules and minimum units, but would allow Tyranids to ally with guard, tau, and whatever else might make sense for infiltrating isolated planets.  (In fact, Guard could ally with just about anybody; I can see a storyline where they get corrupted or influenced by just about all the others.  Except maybe Necrons.  It’d take some desperate and evil forces to ally with them.)

     -- Battle Brothers CAN share transport vehicles.  How stupid is it that winning the battle might hinge on getting a unit of guardsmen safely across no man’s land but the marines would refuse to take them there???  Just dumb. 

3.  Ambush:

Assault units took several hits in the 6th edition.  Not only can you shoot at them first (which is fine, I like the overwatch rules), but when your sneaky assault units outflank or come off a transport they are required to stand around to be shot before doing anything else.  Terrible, and neutralizes the very things that some units where designed to do.  The solution: An “Ambush Roll.” 

     -- An Ambush Roll is an Initiative Check.  Units coming in from reserve or disembarking* from transports may attempt to assault in the same turn but must prove quick enough of mind and body to pull it off.  This is accomplished by an Initiative check.  If they pass, they may declare an assault as normal this turn.  If not, they cannot.
     -- *Units disembarking from transports must do so BEFORE the vehicle moves this turn.  If they disembark before the vehicle moves, they do so up to 6” from the hatch as their move and then act as normal this turn, meaning they can shoot/run and declare a charge, provided they pass an Ambush check.  If the vehicle moves before they disembark, they can shoot/run but not assault.  This does not apply to assault vehicles and open-topped transports (no ambush check needed for them). 

I think this is a good compromise for this situation.  It makes it possible that a unit won’t be able to assault, but doesn’t outright prohibit it.  Thus your sneaky assault units don’t have to stand by a full turn to be killed before performing the very job you brought them to do.

4. Challenges:

I’ve been struggling to find a better way to do this ever since it came out.  I think I have one here, adding a few details without trying to revamp the whole system. 

     -- The winner of a challenge (meaning they kill their opponent) adds an additional +1 to the total number of wounds for combat resolution when determining who won the combat round.  Thus a challenge between champions has some weight and a morale benefit for the winning side.

     -- Refusing a Challenge:  Sometimes a hero might wish to refuse.  It isn’t that he’s a coward and ashamed, it just isn’t a good tactical move.  After all, a greater daemon or avatar wouldn’t cower in shame from a lowly IG sergeant, they just wouldn’t want to waste their time with them.  However, the loud-mouthed IG sergeant might still convince them to take him on and him alone.  If a challenged character wants to refuse, both sides roll a D6 and add the characters’ Leadership scores.  If the challenger’s total equals or ties the challengee, the challengee cannot refuse and must fight him.  If the challengee’s score beats the challenger, he manages to avoid/dismiss the fight but at a minor cost: he now must act last in the combat, effectively at Initiative Zero.  He still gets to fight, but everyone else this round will act first.  (The Challenger, having proven the bravest and fiercest of the bunch, acts normally without penalty.)

5. Vehicle Damage - Glancing Hits:

This is perhaps with worst new rule in 6th edition, reducing your heavily armored tanks and walkers to cannon fodder to be taken down by basic infantry squads.  In 5th edition, a glancing hit slowed the vehicle but wouldn’t destroy it.  I have here a compromise between the two that I think works nicely:

     -- When a glancing hit is caused against a vehicle, roll a D6 on the following table:
Crew Shaken, 1 Hull Point damage
2 – 3
Crew Shaken, no hull point damage
4 – 5
Crew Stunned, no hull point damage
Crew Stunned, 1 Hull Point damage

     * Open-Topped always add +1 to the roll (thus pushing toward Stunned and HP damage).
     * In addition, AP 1 hits add or subtract one (+/-1) from the die roll to manipulate the result.

Thus a glancing hit always shakes or stuns the crew and there’s a 1 of 3 chance it’ll do a hull point as well, but it’s not automatic.  And the chart is easy to remember: 1 and 6 = hull point, 1-3 shaken, 4-6 stun.  And the most powerful weapons (AP1) get a +/-1 bonus.  BAM, easy-peasy!

And there you go!  FIVE measly alterations and suddenly 7th edition is unnecessary, as is gouging GW’s loyal customers for another $80 book!  It could be issued in White Dwarf or even as a light-weight pamphlet.  Although I do like the sound of this rumored changing objectives card deck thingie.  Let’s throw them all in the same issue of White Dwarf and be done with it, shall we? 

Now let’s play some Fred!

* * *

UPDATE Sept 20, 2014:  I have to say, after playing it, I do rather like 7th edition.  Though I think greedy GW could have just released a seven page update and accomplished the same thing without gouging their loyal customers.

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