Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Something To Think About: Is 40k a Choppa Boyz Game?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months, you may have heard of a little thing called the Heretics rulebook. This, for those of you who don't know, is a supposed leaked first draft of the new 6th edition rules, and they have been out for quite a while. Now there is plenty of speculation on whether these rules are the real deal, partially real and completely and utterly fake, so I decided to download them and have a read myself. My verdict? The rules are FANTASTIC!!! It doesn't matter if they're real or not. They create a solid set of rules and make a game that's very fun, fair and balanced.
This is where I stopped to think however.

Only a fool would say that 40k is a completely fair and balanced game. It's a fact that some armies have better synergy than other armies, and that some rules are far more exploitable than others.

Now looking at the game as a whole, armies are divided into shooty and choppy (or excel at shooting/ combat more than the respective other). However, I feel that armies that excel at combat have an advantage when compared to units that excel at shooting.
Here's how I see it.
A combat unit has to be able to survive shooting until it gets into combat (which it is going to win). It can achieve this through various methods; transports, cover, deep striking close, screening etc.
A shooting unit on the other hand has to be able to kill the combat unit before it gets into combat, which it will lose. It can achieve this in only one way; shooting.

Now the combat phase is very much a trap. Once in a combat, there is only one realistic way of getting out; winning! Very hard to do this if you're not designed for it. Sweeping advances also make it so that if you manage to break away by losing there is still a pretty solid chance you'll be completely and utterly wiped!

The shooting phase is in no way a trap! If a combat unit doesn't like being shot at, all it has to do is find a combat it can join and jump in; BOOM no more worrying about shooting. And combat units are not useless in the shooting phase. Many of them are armed with guns they can use to soften up the enemy, before they completely massacre them!

Now I'm not saying that all shooting armies suck. As a Necron player that would be very depressing. What I'm saying is that, in the current edition of rules, there is a bias towards the combat phase instead of the shooting phase.
To return to the point I made at the beginning of this post. The leaked rulebook was fair and balanced in how the game was played. The turn sequence meant that combat units couldn't use the shooting phase to soften up its meaty close-combat treat. Sweeping advance is not unfair to low initiative units and is still fair to high initiative units. Models assaulting into ongoing combats get bonuses to help them beat combat units. Pistols are  not just extra attacks but can be actually used. Clearly I cannot actually post these rules due to legal reasons, but I can still talk about it and say how much Games Workshop needs to make the 6th edition rules more balanced, in the way that the heretics rulebook has done.

So that's my opinion on the game as it stands right now, and what needs to be done by this time in 3 months or so. Hope you all enjoyed it. Until next time!