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Eternus
15-10-2009, 11:00
Does the game seem to be favouring certain army types and dissuading the use of others? For example, heavy cavalry used to be seen as a supporting or hammer unit, now I am seeing entire cavalry armies (which I would expect to be the exception) and few infantry based armies of the same race. Also, the lengths people will go to to squeeze an extra power die into their pool of 50 power dice is unnerving.

I guess what I am saying is, due to army selection preferences being steered by what is perceived to be game winning capacity, are some aspects of the game being jacked up to the roof at the expense of others? Why are hardly any fluffy armies viable unless you don't mind a spanking? What direction should army composition be moving in, is it being skewed by the list choices, and should the balance be redressed?

Any thoughts?

TheLionReturns
15-10-2009, 12:21
I think this is a trend, particularly in magic and heavy cavalry, and IMO its all because of the culture of list optimisation. List writing is seen as a key component when evaluating skill at the hobby for most people.

If I could make one change to the hobby it would be for people to only evaluate their skill based on in game decision making, leaving list design as separate and closer to the fluff than the game itself. I believe this would result in greater variety seen on the tabletop and a better game for all.

I'm not sure this is something that GW can really address. Of course imbalances can be tackled and loopholes closed, but if people persist with looking to get every possible advantage in list design this would probably only reduce the variety seen further as I don't think a perfect ruleset is possible.

This is really something players themselves need to sort out by being considerate to their opponents and trying not to bring a gun to a knife fight and vice versa. The best way to tackle things is for those who run clubs and shops to encourage balanced lists and frown upon list optimisation for casual games. Sure run no holds barred tournaments as this can be fun, but have more balanced lists as the default position. Helps keep the game varied and accessible to new players.

Eternus
15-10-2009, 12:39
Many people say that well written scenarios are a great leveller in this, especially when they include list restrictions, but as you say, it's the current attitude that is the problem. People should want to play a fun and exciting game, but many people just seem to want to mash their enemy into the ground in a couple of turns - which is fun the first time, but gets old very quickly.

I have seen various people post about systems that rate the power of your army, and maybe skill should be determined by comparing the relative strengths of the armies involved - if an uber tournament list wins against a themed fun list that is nowhere near as competative, then it's far less of a victory than winning against an equally matched force.

Gazak Blacktoof
15-10-2009, 12:44
Manoeuvre, speed, psychology and magic win games.

As has been pointed out many times on the forums magic is usually used in overwhelming amounts or best forgotten. This leads to lots of magic being used.

Manoeuvrability and speed are generally too cheap in warhammer. Cavalry seem to pay for their resilience and combat potential but not their added speed. Skirmishers generally only pay a single point for their manoeuvrability and ability to move through terrain. Given how useful they are they should probably pay more for those abilities.

Psychology also plays a large part in how people build their armies. Fear and panic are major killers for slow units who must put themselves in harms way to initiate a charge and are out of the fight for a long time if they are ever forced to flee and make their way back to the battle.


I'm fortunate, my group likes infantry but a lot of armies I see placing well in tournaments, on the army list section of warseer, etc don't look like armies. Instead they consist of fear causing and immune to psychology wizards, monsters, cavalry, warmachines, and skirmishers, in what seems like an attempt to ignore as many of the fundamental rules of warhammer as possible

sorberec
15-10-2009, 14:44
I'm fortunate, my group likes infantry but a lot of armies I see placing well in tournaments, on the army list section of warseer, etc don't look like armies. Instead they consist of fear causing and immune to psychology wizards, monsters, cavalry, warmachines, and skirmishers, in what seems like an attempt to ignore as many of the fundamental rules of warhammer as possible

Doesn't this just reflect the fact that tournament play isn't the same as regular games?

If people are paying out a lot of money to go to a tournament (i.e. tickets, travel, accomodation) I'd expect them to be playing to win and to construct their armies accordingly. Therefore it's no surprise that armies that negate or ignore a lot of the more problematic aspects of the game (i.e. psychology, inability of ranked core infantry to do much) will do well.

Tokamak
15-10-2009, 14:48
If I could make one change to the hobby it would be for people to only evaluate their skill based on in game decision making, leaving list design as separate and closer to the fluff than the game itself.

This. Designing an interesting and fluffy army should become appreciated again.

This does not mean that magic heavy or cavalry heavy isn't okay, of course you can make fluffy list in that way, but that's not the main reason why they're being taken.

Enigmatik1
15-10-2009, 15:05
Doesn't this just reflect the fact that tournament play isn't the same as regular games?

Not really, sorberec. I think it more reflects the inferiority of core infantry (and infantry units in general) troops to other available options in most armies. It's a cause and effect scenario with inefficient or just plain terrible core infantry being the cause. The effect is people simply don't take it.

For instance, I pay 3 points per model more for Tomb Guard than Skeleton Warriors with HW/LA/S, and for that three points I get a vastly superior combatant. Needless to say, I don't field Skeleton Warriors in any of my lists for this very reason. I do and will field archers, but only for their ability to shoot.

The only army that I can think of off the top of my head that bucks this trend is Warriors of Chaos, which is why people don't mind putting Marauders on the table. :D That aside, I think Gazak is 100% correct.

Eternus
15-10-2009, 15:15
I play the units that I like, in as competative way as possible, but I don't select my units based on how competative they are, and damn the consequences.

Does this make me an idiot? I realise I have asked this question, and so will not take offense to a yes or no answer.

Besides, I know where you post! ;)

Enigmatik1
15-10-2009, 15:25
I play the units that I like, in as competative way as possible, but I don't select my units based on how competative they are, and damn the consequences.

Does this make me an idiot? I realise I have asked this question, and so will not take offense to a yes or no answer.

Besides, I know where you post! ;)


No, it doesn't make you an idiot, Eternus! :D I just really, really hate Skeletons (not visually, just in application). I use Ushabti in most of my lists, despite them being suboptimal in most cases because the models are the best in my range. I also hate the look of the Carrion and never field them. I try to balance my lists to be pleasing aesthetically and being effective. Skeletons don't make my cut because their woefully ineffective. Carrion don't make the cut because I think they look terrible (and I have yet to find suitable substitutes). I'm going to use a Reaper Minis Bone Giant in my lists once it arrives and the Bone Giant is considered one of the worst buys in my army. But damn, he's going to look awesome on the table sucking! ;)

I just can't reconcile how bad Skeleton Warriors are for being damn near 10 points per model. No more, no less.

Edit: Totally off-topic, but is that Mr. Sinister as your avatar, Eternus?

Condottiere
15-10-2009, 15:34
These are one-off games. If you had to construct armies for campaigns, and places where you don't get to pick your terrain, lists would likely look more balanced.

Eternus
15-10-2009, 19:48
No, it doesn't make you an idiot, Eternus! :D I just really, really hate Skeletons (not visually, just in application). I use Ushabti in most of my lists, despite them being suboptimal in most cases because the models are the best in my range. I also hate the look of the Carrion and never field them. I try to balance my lists to be pleasing aesthetically and being effective. Skeletons don't make my cut because their woefully ineffective. Carrion don't make the cut because I think they look terrible (and I have yet to find suitable substitutes). I'm going to use a Reaper Minis Bone Giant in my lists once it arrives and the Bone Giant is considered one of the worst buys in my army. But damn, he's going to look awesome on the table sucking! ;)

I just can't reconcile how bad Skeleton Warriors are for being damn near 10 points per model. No more, no less.

Edit: Totally off-topic, but is that Mr. Sinister as your avatar, Eternus?

It is. Just looks like me all gothed up. Not that theatrical make up is my thing though.
Probably one of my favourite characters - mean, cool looking and damn near indestructable! Would you believe looking at Sinister that I collect Vamps as well?

Entweasel
15-10-2009, 20:08
I think a lot of the metagame stuff has to do with the battles being "pitched battle" everytime as well. In previous eds, you rolled up the mission after you'd written your list, so if you concentrated exclusively on mighty characters etc. then it could be to your disadvantage. When I write a list, I try to make one I like that will be reasonably effective against all comers, and fun to play with and against. This means I am at the mercy of power gamers, but I've stopped being polite to people that want to destroy you in a friendly game - they get one game, and if they're a dick then I politely tell them that (not in so many words :)). These days I write 2 lists - a power list and a friendly list, and depending on who I'm playing changes which I take.

Gazak Blacktoof
15-10-2009, 21:00
I found the 6th edition scenarios interesting, but didn't find that they particularly favoured any units or armies that the pitched battle didn't.

Without altering any of the game mechanics I find that terrain makes the biggest difference. Several hills in the middle of the battlefield really messes up the conventionally favoured lists as they struggle to make use of their range (movement, shooting and magic) advantage, they also offer no further advantge to skirmish units.

blackjack
15-10-2009, 21:12
The player with better ranged firepower will generally want to sit back, the player with inferior ranged firepower will want to cover the no mans land as quickly as possible.

This means you field either fast moving units or ranged units.

The issue is not magic it is ranged domanince which can be achieved with artilery, bows, crossbows and guns as well as spells.

It is not Cav it is mobile force which can be achived with fast monsters, Flyers, as well as heavy cav.

A movment 4 block of infantry takes 3 turn just to cross the 24" no mans land and wont be able to charge an opponent (whom is a millimeter behind his 12" dep line) untill turn 4. This means a shooting or magic list has 2/3s of the game to blast away at infantry with no fear of repirsal. If you march block the infantry it will not reach the other side at all...

The use of block infantry in WFB is to break units wounded by ranged firepower after they have crossed to your side of the table and to stand up to mobile force units after they have also been weakened by firepower.

If you are playing a mobile force army (as opposed to a range dominance army) then block infantry have no role in your list as your force will be leaving them behind.

Condottiere
15-10-2009, 22:39
Since there's no fog of war, we have a really good idea what the other side has and where he's placed it, otherwise we would need light scouting forces to recce his position.

ewar
15-10-2009, 23:02
Not really, sorberec. I think it more reflects the inferiority of core infantry (and infantry units in general) troops to other available options in most armies. It's a cause and effect scenario with inefficient or just plain terrible core infantry being the cause. The effect is people simply don't take it.

For instance, I pay 3 points per model more for Tomb Guard than Skeleton Warriors with HW/LA/S, and for that three points I get a vastly superior combatant. Needless to say, I don't field Skeleton Warriors in any of my lists for this very reason. I do and will field archers, but only for their ability to shoot.

The only army that I can think of off the top of my head that bucks this trend is Warriors of Chaos, which is why people don't mind putting Marauders on the table. :D That aside, I think Gazak is 100% correct.

What you're forgetting is that 5 years ago, all you could hear people moan about was how cost inefficient elite infantry was - they couldn't kill enough core troops to warrant their price premium and that is why clanrats were always taken above stormvermin, dwarf warriors over longbeards, marauders over chaos warriors, HE spearmen over swordmasters... the list goes on.

This edition the pendulum has swung the other way a little bit - though this is starting to be corrected. I'm fortunate that my saurus spears are truly excellent core infantry, and much more offensive than my temple guard. I use the TG as an anchor and the spears as flankers.

People put too much stock in power lists, a rubbish player still won't win with one. A good player is wasting their time by curb stomping other gamers with a strong list - nobody wins.

Maybe its because I only play with friends, but shockingly enough we manage to have a good time by talking to each other to determine what sort of game we're going to play.

Is it a no holds barred cheese fest? Bring it on. Does someone want to try out their newly painted halberdiers? Maybe we'll give a new scenario a try and not go max out to kill the opponent.

Souppilgrim
16-10-2009, 06:47
A movment 4 block of infantry takes 3 turn just to cross the 24" no mans land and wont be able to charge an opponent (whom is a millimeter behind his 12" dep line) untill turn 4. This means a shooting or magic list has 2/3s of the game to blast away at infantry with no fear of repirsal. If you march block the infantry it will not reach the other side at all...

^ perfect summary. Infantry ends up being just support in a way, playing mop up for gunlines/magiclines.

Eternus
16-10-2009, 08:34
^ perfect summary. Infantry ends up being just support in a way, playing mop up for gunlines/magiclines.

Sounded a bit like our recent 40K tournament - some armies would just sit back and blast away the whole game, which is fine if you are being besiged, but otherwise, boring as hell, so get some objectives onto the table. Not much point sitting on the back line blasting away if you need to move your ass over to an objective to win, eh?

Fenrir
16-10-2009, 09:31
Dominant army types? Internet distilled ones, with "X doesn't work, so you must take lots of Y if you want to do well"

Eternus
16-10-2009, 09:46
Dominant army types? Internet distilled ones, with "X doesn't work, so you must take lots of Y if you want to do well"

Battles are won by a very small number of factors, and it's generally all about sound tactical manouvering, making sure you use the right units to engage the right enemy wherever possible, and luck. Luck is the only one that in my opinion you can't do without, I don't care how long someone has been playing - in fact, the longer I have been playing, the more I have come to realise that if you are unlucky enough, you will lose, regardless of other factors.

I think you can tell quite a bit about a gamer from their army selection, and where they come in the scale which has:

'I play for a laugh and don't care if I win or lose'

at one end and

'If I don't win I'll throw my army into the incinerator, and jump in after it'

at the other.

Tokamak
16-10-2009, 10:02
The player with better ranged firepower will generally want to sit back, the player with inferior ranged firepower will want to cover the no mans land as quickly as possible.

This means you field either fast moving units or ranged units.

OR large units.

Fenrir
16-10-2009, 10:03
True, true.

I normally take the units I fancy using for that day. Which surprises some when they emit the ol' "why are you using those? I've heard they are rubbish" line.

Eternus
16-10-2009, 10:11
OR large units.

Or resiliant units.

At least the one good thing about a combat army legging it across the field towards a gunline is that the army doing the shooting is generally kitted out to do that and not much else, and so hopefully should suffer in combat.

Who would have thought an entire category of armies in a game could all suffer from 'Tau Syndrome'?

polobuch
16-10-2009, 11:27
Manoeuvre, speed, psychology and magic win games.


sounds like a perfect description of the Wood elves, oder?

Eternus
16-10-2009, 11:34
sounds like a perfect description of the Wood elves, oder?

Or of Nottingham Forest Football Club's new motto for this season.

Tokamak
16-10-2009, 11:52
True, true.

I normally take the units I fancy using for that day. Which surprises some when they emit the ol' "why are you using those? I've heard they are rubbish" line.

I get that all the time. Then again, my army proves to be rubbish again and again.

Eternus
16-10-2009, 12:10
I get that all the time. Then again, my army proves to be rubbish again and again.

And do you still enjoy playing?

Gorbad Ironclaw
16-10-2009, 13:24
Does the game seem to be favouring certain army types and dissuading the use of others?

#Warning, rant ahead#

Certainly. For all that it's being seen as an 'army game' or 'massed combat' Warhammer have never (at least since 4th) really supported ranked infantry very well.

The limitations of ranked units build into the rules means that they suffer badly against any combination of manoeuvrable/fast/competent opponents. And they will continue to do so until Warhammer is redesigned to not make that kind of units suck.

Part of it is a fundamental problem of balancing static CR with killing stuff and how many units can't fight.
Your basic unit just isn't going to kill much of anything, we all know that. So they are standing around, waving there flag and hoping they can continue to count to three for as long as possible and that there opponent are fewer than they are.
That kind of works as long as you only have units of that type. They will class at the centre of the table and the odd casualty that will be caused might determine who wins this round.

But then you have units who depends on killing things to win combat. They are typically (much) more expensive than your basic infantry and so people expect/want more from them. Now previously a lot of them were not very good at there jobs as they simply didn't killed enough to win them many combats.
So they got balanced out a bit better. But because they are dice dependent and because they are generally more expensive they need a kill power that exceeds what static CR you can bring to the table. So the end result is that they will usually slaughter your basic infantry because said infantry unit only have a fixed amount of CR and no real way to boost it.

To make it worse the core of static CR, rank bonus, is something that can be removed with mobility. And mobility is the other big area where ranked infantry usually suffer. They are slower and less mobile than any other type of unit out there. So they are easier to either sideline and ignore or just engage with something killy in combination with taking away there biggest/only advantage.

Now you can negate that to some extent but you are still stuck with units that doesn't actually do much on the field. They still need support to reliably defeat enemy units, even of there own type. So the end result usually is that it's much easier to go with the types of units that can either do it themselves without needing support or who are fast and mobile enough to give mutual support to each other.


Another big issue is reliability. You can only apply your own ability as a game if your troops is actually doing what you want them to. So having troops run away, wander off in a random direction or just plain stand around and do nothing at a random roll of a die naturally makes them worse than troops who don't suffer from that. Sometimes you have other aspects that makes up for that, like being really cheap. But other times you have abilities like animosity and stupidity that will just flat out wreck your game without you being able to do anything about it.

And the low speed of most infantry just further aggravates the reliability issue. They generally don't have turns to waste not doing there job because they are too slow to make up the lost ground again. Or they will hold your entire army back and give away the initiative.

And of course it's a bit help knowing that your flank isn't going to suddenly collapse because that enemy units beat your unit. Or at least being able to accurately measure when that's going to happen.


On the whole magic thing that's very much a product of the system. With the way dice and dispelling works you either go big or you go home when it comes to magic. Dabbling in it rarely produce any results. And not even as in "not worth it's points", but as in "didn't got to cast any spells the entire game".
So that naturally pushes the game to a direction where the magic phase gets bigger and bigger and more and more powerful.


So yes, the core rules does encourage certain types of army build/units and it is in most cases not ranked infantry or indeed most 'generic' troops.

Your average human/orc/elf/whatever trooper is too vulnerable and too incompetent to really do much on the Warhammer battlefield and it's apparently designed to be that way in the core rules.

Now of course you can go against what's encouraged by the rules and play it in a different style and that can work just fine. As long as everybody is agreeing with that. It often takes only one or two who goes the way the game encourages you to and that will then have a big advantage on the tabletop for that to fall apart and people either becoming unhappy or changing there style.




Oh, and just a small note on fluffy armies. Warhammer armies are tiny. You have what, anywhere from a couple of dozen models to a few hundreds. That few models could be anything! Sure, there are going to be more Halberdiers in the Empire than Great Sword or Knights, but at the size of a Warhammer army it's certainly not out of place to see all of them be just elite troops. I'm sure there are more than enough Black Guards to make up a force the size of a Warhammer army, or indeed any other trooper.

Eternus
16-10-2009, 13:45
Oh, and just a small note on fluffy armies. Warhammer armies are tiny. You have what, anywhere from a couple of dozen models to a few hundreds. That few models could be anything! Sure, there are going to be more Halberdiers in the Empire than Great Sword or Knights, but at the size of a Warhammer army it's certainly not out of place to see all of them be just elite troops. I'm sure there are more than enough Black Guards to make up a force the size of a Warhammer army, or indeed any other trooper.

Isn't Fantasy generally considered to be an abstract representation of a battle involving much larger numbers of troops, which is why the movement of infantry units is done in such an rigid and unwieldy way? They might be a block of 20 Halberdiers, but they might represent a regiment of 200 Halberdiers?

Condottiere
16-10-2009, 14:18
If the list represents the entire army, then most are seriously unbalanced.

If it represents the main action for that battle, it's closer to the 40K model. Actual representation of battles probably have to wait for an fan adaptation to Total War: Medieval.

ewar
17-10-2009, 11:57
#Warning, rant ahead# snip

I understand your feelings to some degree, but I also think you're massively overstating the issue.

Even if you go to a tournament, the vast majority of armies will be made up in bulk of ranked units. The fact is, that a combination of normal and elite rank and file are actually quite hard to beat if played sensibly.

Will a unit withstand a double lance charge from Bret heavy cav? No. But then, they shouldn't be able to. It's up to the player to realise that and take appropriate measures such as a screening unit to take the charge, get killed and allow the counter charge in your own turn.

Also, spamming of huge numbers of rubbish infantry is also a good way to play the game - horde undead, horde skaven etc - just overwhelm through massed ranks of expendables.

Don't be so doom and gloom, there are many ways to play the game and all of them can win when done right.

Idle Scholar
17-10-2009, 17:31
It's a lot easier to play with a small number of elite maneuverable units, or with a magic or firepower heavy army as you don't have to plan ahead so much.

eidt: For example, you can probably afford two units of heavy cavalry for the price of one dragon and lord. The two units of heavy cavalry can potentially be more effective then the dragon but only if they can be in the right place at the right time which requires forwards planning.

Don Zeko
18-10-2009, 08:34
Gorbad, I pretty much agree. (today) I think that the best solution to this dilemma is actually a rethink of force organization, not a rewrite of the rules. If you gave every army some kind of extra-strength mainstay rule, which truly required you to take at least 2-3 units of fully ranked up infantry, then I think that infantry would make much more sense, because you would know that any given army will have troops on the table that your core infantry can conceivably bring to battle and defeat, which is often not the case with many core infantry choices at the moment.

Don Zeko
18-10-2009, 08:34
Also, it has the added bonus that core infantry perform surprisingly well for their points against the weaker stuff in VC and Daemon lists.

Gorbad Ironclaw
18-10-2009, 10:01
I understand your feelings to some degree, but I also think you're massively overstating the issue.

Even if you go to a tournament, the vast majority of armies will be made up in bulk of ranked units. The fact is, that a combination of normal and elite rank and file are actually quite hard to beat if played sensibly.


Oh certainly, it does read pretty angry/frustrated as I really do want to like fantasy but it's IMO in a very bad state at the moment. Hopefully this isn't quite as bad but my apologies if it still sounds overly negative. Despite what I'm saying I fully realise that you can play Warhammer in many different ways and get a lot of fun out of it. I'm just not sure it's for me any more and I would really like it to be.

You did mention some infantry that have traditionally done fairly well for themselves, Undead infantry and to an extend Skaven infantry. But they are not really your typical infantry unit either. With Skaven you get 2 point models that doesn't cause panic in anything else, are LD 10 (slight oversimpification but mostly true) and can pin down stuff so your magic and shooting can hurt it.
With Undead infantry you have infantry that are 100% reliable, cause fear and can come back/expand beyond there initial size.

Your average human/elf/orc can't do any of that. Take the new Dark Elf book and look at the Spearelves in there. Dead cheap compared to pretty much any other basic trooper of the same type. Yet they seem to mostly be seen/taken because they are cheap power dice, not because people actually want the spearelves.

So ranked infantry can work I think, but they have to do something else besides being ranked infantry. That just isn't good enough to make them an attractive choice.
I think it all comes down to it being too difficult for that type of units to do stuff, at least in the scope of Warhammer where they pretty much march forward and try to kill stuff.
But even if you take out all the elites and the knights and everything. Two perfectl average units WS 3 Str 3 4+ Save will have real trouble hurting each other. Most combats between such units would see one soldier die, combined.

That I think is the real problem. I get how most casualties in classical warfare was inflicted on a routed enemy but you need to be able to actually project force over an area of the battlefield to have an effect. And infantry have little force and little range.

I actually had some decent succes with a unit of Executioners with the Banner of Murder under the old DE book but that was also a unit of heavy infantry who had a charge range that was just slightly lower (on average) than most heavy cavalry.


Now I completely agree that the current style of army composition in general doesn't work. The system doesnt really do anything for the game, but I disagree with replacing it with a system forcing people to take more of X type of unit. Ideally you want a system where people want to take those units because they are a good choice. Or at the very least where they have choosen not to take that unit because of Y reason. Not because the reason was made for them by the core rules.


As far as the rules go I'd personally like to see a complete revision of them, probably kicking out a lot of stuff.
I'm playing around with my own system at the moment that only feature a to hit and some armour but not had time to do much with it(And a whole ton of other changes. It's not based on Warhammer rules really). It seems to function but it needs a lot more work and I just haven't had time.

Lord Anathir
18-10-2009, 19:31
ranked infantry used to have their place when monsters were weak enough to be broken with combat res by a unit of infantry... the game used to have a natural order: monsters kill knights, knights kill infantry, infantry break monsters with numbers. Now monsters are too strong and overpower full ranked infantry in the front, and they no longer have a role. Look at the last few army books and the monsters that have been churned out. stegadons, star dragons, varghulfs, steam tanks, treemen, hydras. If they were they were the power level of giants (who excell against certain targets but fail against others), then infantry would have more of a role.