TaKtiX: Warhammer

News, reviews, events, tactics and reports for Games Workshop's Warhammer & Warhammer 40K series of games and related lines.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Warhammer 40,000 - Mobility Matters

Back in the day (or, rather, back in 2nd Edition Warhammer 40,000), unit profiles had a little thing which told you how fast they could move. Your average trooper, such as Imperial Guard or an Ork, could hope to move four inches a turn and fire his weapon, providing it wasn't a "Move or Fire" weapon. Eldar were a little bit faster and, in turn, the Tyranids could really get a move on when it came to charging into an assault.

Now, things have got a little bit different. All units move six inches, some can elect to move a little more in the shooting phase and some get to move a little more in the assault phase. Ignoring special units that can charge an extra distance, when a unit is within twelve inches of another unit, there is the possibility of an assault while, under the old system, it was usually eight inches.

This would not present a problem if other parts of the game were changed to reflect the speed of the system. So perhaps you can understand my confusion as to why the ranges of weapons within the game have remained exactly the same - in fact, in most cases, the effective ranges of the weapons have been reduced down to twelve inches due to the "Rapid Fire" rule.


At Friday, April 21, 2006 11:39:00 am, Blogger Shakalooloo Doom said...

So that there's more thinking for the shooting player than just standing in one spot and firing. With a real scary chance that the enemy will reach you and tear you into strips of leather, you have to actually pay attention to your surroundings: use the terrain, have units backing each other up, hop into transports when the moment is right, etc.

Under the old rules, it wasn't unheard of to see armies just standing opposite each other and rolling dice as they both fired their mega weapons.

At Friday, April 21, 2006 11:27:00 pm, Anonymous Tim said...

I don't know, I think in some ways 3rd/4th ed has reduced mobility, or at least manoeuvring because if you move you can generally only shoot 12", or fire a limited number of weapons if you're a vehicle. The de-emphasising of terrain also does this, because it gives less incentive to reposition to get better fields of fire, etc.
If 2nd ed could be both sides simply standing and shooting (I don't think this happened all that often, though perhaps melee was undervalued) 3rd/4th ed tends to be one side standing stock still while the other rushes towards them.

I think standardising movement values without thinking it through properly was one of the worst things GW did. I can see why they did it, because it makes the game much more standardised and predictable - for example you know no matter what army your facing you'll probably get one good rapid fire volley in before they get into melee. But notice that it was one of the things they blatantly over-simplified, hence one of the first generic new rules introduced in 3rd ed. was fleet of foot. So now loads of troop types have that special rule for what used to be one of their basic characteristics. I can imagine the randomness can be annoying for players too; instead of knowing your eldar can run 10" or your hormagaunts 16"(?) they might go between 7" and 12", which could leave you in position or dangerously exposed and disordered.

There are other problems with the movement. For example, I find it's too slow, particularly in some scenarios where you have to cover a lot of ground (I think they took ambush out of the rulebook, but that was literally impossible). Another problem is that of trading off firepower against speed. In 2nd ed you could stay still and chuck out the heavy weapons fire, move a little (good for repositioning) and keep up basic weapon fire, or run and really cover some ground. In 3rd/4th ed you only have stationary, for long ranged fire, or moving for short range fire. Doing things like making mad dashes or advancing at different rates doesn't really work or at best is clunky.

Another thing I dislike is the way when you get within charge range of the enemy, suddenly your troops can move twice as fast! In all other GW games models can march or run, but not in 3rd/4th ed 40k. The silliest example of this I've seen is troops chasing vehicles. Vehicles = faster than foot troops, you think. Well yes, unless those troops get into contact with the vehicle, at which point they double their speed. So unless it's fast, the vehicle can't escape. It can only move 12", while the troops will chase 6" then charge 6". Just to rub things in, the vehicle won't be able to fire at all whereas the troops will be able to shoot with any pistols or assault weapons they have.

At Monday, April 24, 2006 3:54:00 pm, Blogger Shakalooloo Doom said...

Starting 24" distant, it takes assault troops the same amount of time to get into melee in 4th as it did in 2nd.

Whether two runs of 8 followed by a charge of same, or two movements of 6 followed by an assault of 12, that's three turns for the average hth trooper to close with his shooty nemesis. That's still three rounds of shooting. Or four in 4th, if you factor rapid firing into the equation. The only difference is that the defenders can't continually fall back, still shooting the same distance, and put off the aggressors' destiny indefinitely.

As for the random movemtn of the fleet rules: so what? The results of every other type of action in the game is randomised by some factor, so why should the most important part of the game - the movement and positioning of assets - be fully reliable, and able to be calculated with 100% certainty?

The movement rules are merely an abstraction anyway, and just as you can't guarantee that a trooper will pop a cap in his opponent's ass at a particular moment, neither can you guarantee that your effeminite xenos scumbags can skip gracefully along at full pace constantly.

The vehicle speed vs. trooper assault thing I'll concede, but then I've very rarely been in a position where a unit of assault troops would choose to chase down a vehicle that is so obviously a decoy and be lured away when there are much more juicy and valuable foot troops standing nearby.

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 7:46:00 pm, Anonymous Tim said...

Well I've, uh, had certain experiences with daemons that have made the troop/tank speed thing an issue for me. Combined with the appalling armour of certain tanks it can be a real pain...

I think you're wrong about the issue of troops retreating though. In 2nd ed you had three options - stand your ground and fire everything, retreat at normal speed and sacrifice firing heavies, or run away and not fire at all. In 3rd/4th ed you have two options - stand your ground and fire everything or fall back and fire any assault weapons with a range above 12". In both cases there's an option for retreating indefinitely. In 2nd ed. I think a greater number of assault units had faster movements too - genestealers at 6", eldar at 5" (did banshees move 6"?), ogryns 6", and so-on.

I suppose you're right about fleet though, a bit of randomness in movement is not quite such a bad thing; if your army chooses to run forward pell mell there's a chance they'll come in straggly or fall short in front of the enemy's guns.

I just tend to think the standardisation of movement, combined with the 12" rapid fire range has cut down a lot of the free-flowing aspect of the game. Instead of things happening at a variety of distances, all too often it comes down to calculating the pay-offs around that all-important 12" zone.

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:29:00 pm, Blogger MatGB said...

I'm not 100% sure on 6", but I am reasonably sure that it works, which is what matters.

Tim, d'you play many other non-GW wargames? Played AK-47 last night, in that, all movement is random, infantry are D6+2, vehicles are d6*2, makes for some interesting deadlocks. If you start in terrain, you lose 3" move, so sometimes you just don't move.

In theory, the current system gives advantages to transport vehicles, etc, especially for capturing, in practise, I'm still not sure.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 1:03:00 am, Anonymous Tim said...

No, I've not played any non-GW wargames. so I've got a bit of a limited perspective.

Transport vehicles I think GW have had a lot of trouble balancing. In 3rd ed. they were probably too powerful - hence the prevalence of rhino rush tactics. In 4th ed, they may have gone too far the other way.
It seems to me given the constraints of the game transports aren't flexible enough to work particularly well (but that said, I don't know if it's possible to make them work well, due to the scale and nature of the game).

As a guard player I've pretty much concluded that chimera transports aren't worthwhile, but that's a bit of an atypical example for various reasons (such as the fact guard generally want to get as far away from the enemy as possible...).


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