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View Full Version : Some thoughts on where to go with Codex Space Marines in 6th



dreamwarder
03-10-2012, 23:02
Given that Codex DA is just around the corner Codex SM can't be far off, so I've been bending my thoughts towards what I think the design problems are with the current SM codex and what could be done to develop GW's flagship army into the next decade.

Putting aside gamerly thoughts of what's broken and what isn't for a moment, and going back to first design principles, I believe the greatest design weakness in the codex at the moment is that the force org chart and the chapter organisation from the background material don't mesh well together.

This seems to be a problem that GW designers are running up against more and more in writing army books, and Jervis seemed to hint at it in his recent standard bearer article on restrictions. Don't get me wrong, I love the force org chart. It's a great way to get a 'realistic' feeling army on the tabletop and curbs the worst excessess of those who only want to use the most badass units. However, when I read the background section of Codex: SM I see some great stuff about how a chapter is structured which doesn't seem to make it across to the tabletop. Couple this with a financial need to sell more models to people who already have a lot of models, and C:SM seems to have hit a wall which means the force org chart in the codex is stopping people from adding models to their armies. Also, in 6th it seems that large units have got quite the bump, and Codex SM are still one of the few factions that cannot field troop units larger than 10 models. So, how do we fix this?

I think the best place to start is the chapter organisation fluff. This is, after all, what marks out Codex-following Space Marines from the rest of their bretheren. If you want a 'defining feature' of this army, then the Codex Astartes is it. Therfore, the options in the force org chart need to be extensively redesigned to find a new synergy with what we know of the Codex Astartes.

The Battle company is the best place to start, as every chapter should have four of this type of company. A company of space marines is a lot of men - 100 to be exact, plus command staff and vehicles. This is a big army for 40k, but not so massive as to be uncollectable. There are quite a few battle company pics out there. 40k has been out for a long time, and most everyone has a SM army of some description. If I were GW wanting to sell more figures to existing customers as well as new players, I would want everyone to own a full battle company. Sure, that's potentially a lot of points, but in a world where there are Ork players fielding 120 Boyz at 2000-2500 points, and IG players fielding 200+ infantry at a similar points level, I would want the marine players to have their shot at a lot of boots on the battlefield.

I've been playing Marines a long time, and I'd say 40-50 guys is a minimum size army at 2000pts, depending on the codex you're using. With Codex SM I'd say 60 guys is desireable. Using the current force org chart, I can take a maximum of 6 Tactical Squads, with the option of 3 Assault Squads in fast attack, and 3 Devastator squads in Heavy Support. I could also add in 3 squads of termies or Stern/Vanguard in Elites with gives me maximum 160 guys, so I could get more than a battle company's worth out of my force org slots, but I wouldn't have much room for anything else.

If I wanted to actually make a battle company, then I'd need six tactical squads, two assault and two devasator. I could take a command squad with my HQ, then maybe a couple of dreads, a land raider and land speeder - at that point things are kindof feeling like a battle company, but it's pretty much barebones stuff vehicles-wise. Also, what about the support companies? What about 6th and 7th with their 10 Tactical squads each, or 8th which is all assault, or 9th which is all Devastator. Shouldn't I be able to field the full 10th company if I wanted to? Or the 1st? Shouldn't I be able to take a detachment of assault units from 8th if I need to flood the field with jump-pack troops? Or flood the line with Devastators from 9th if I'm fighting a siege?

So what about this. Lets get rid of the old 1 squad per force org chart slot paradigm completely and try something new. How about this for a force org chart for codex Space Marines.

HQ -
Along with the usual chapter masters and special characters, how about we introduce Company Masters as the next new thing. Sure you can still take your Pedro Kantors and so on, but how about a generic unit entry for each of the codex company masters - you remember, those cool titles GW dreamed up a while back - Master of the Arsenal, Master of the Watch, Master of the Fleets etc. Have each one provide an army-wide rules buff relevant to their company - Master of the Fleets plays around with reserve rolls for example. Master of the Arsenal gives limited special ammo to Tac Squads. That sort of thing. That way you can choose a battle company that buffs your play-style, and it's no longer just an art decision of what icon you want on their armour, it has a game-effect. You don't need one for every single company necessarily, just the battle companies will do. If you take the master of the 1st company it puts terminators and/or Stern/Vanguard in troops. If you take master of the 10th company, it lets you take more scouts.

Troops -
Big change here. Detachments. You can still take just one squad if you want, but you can also choose to take a Tactical Detachment.

A Tactical detachment would work a bit like an imperial guard platoon. The idea is that it represents a detachment from one of the two 'Tactical companies' - 6th or 7th. These are troops that are trained to act in a more co-ordinated manner with each other. You still have the option of buying just the one Tac Squad with Rhino or Razorback, which is 5-10 men armed as you choose, or you can take a bigger unit of 10-30 marines with a few restrictions. First, that each 'squad' in the detachment must be armed identically (all flam/missile or las/plas or whatever you want, just each squad the same). Second, that all three squads must take the same transport if they take any. Third, that the detachment can work like one big squad, or three squads of 10 that function like three large combat squads. Fourth (biggie) that since they are from a different company, any company-specific buffs don't apply to them. Fifth, you save a few points buying in bulk.

Fast Attack -
Detachments here also for Assault Squad units. Same principle, just you get up to three assault squads instead of tac squads. Similar restrictions on what weapons they have etc.
I would also be tempted to move scouts here from Troops as well, and have the 10th company master move them back to troops if you want them to be scoring. These could also be available as a detachment.

Heavy Support -
Again, similar idea. Take a whole bunch of devestators in one slot if you want, and if you have the points.

Elites -
Detachments of Terminators and Stern/Vanguard possible. Similar restrictions. 1st company master could make them scoring and/or shift them to troops

Other characters could have other effects (Master of the forge makes dreadnought detachments or thunderfire batteries possible perhaps? Master of the Apothecarium lets you embed apothecaries in other units?) There's a lot of potential here.

This could bust open the force org chart completely whilst still preserving the basic concept - making it serve the chapter/company organisation paradigm rather than making the fluff squeeze into the force org. It could also allow SM players to field marine blobs to challenge some of the horde armies out there, although points restrictions would still prevent these from becoming so numerous as to be game-breaking.

I dunno. I'm just thinking out loud really, but I'd be interested to hear what others think could be done to shake up Codex SM and break out of the straight jacket of the force org, without breaking the force org completely.

Maidel
03-10-2012, 23:14
Short answer. No.

Long answer - NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

To be honest what you are describing is what forge world just put into the HH army lists - large squads.

It fits in that period and marines arent quite a badass as they are now, but it wouldnt fit (in my opinion) in the current version of 40K.


Also, what you are describing is irrelavent because at the end of it, its still the points value that stops the army from being larger, not how many models you can fit into the force organisation chart.

Orcboy_Phil
03-10-2012, 23:29
I think the SM codex is the one best served with the current force organisation chart fluffwise. 6 Tactical squads, 2 Assault squads, 2 Devastator squads and a couple of squads from the first company or acsess to the companies dreadnoughts is a really fluffy force and fits into the force org chart perfectly. The only hangup I have with this arrangement is there's never enough HQ choices so you can fit the Librarian assigned to the company in the list or the Chaplin has gone AWOL.

Beppo1234
04-10-2012, 11:29
the vanilla marine codex is pretty much fully covered... on the next update, the only thing I can recommend, is that it steals even more from the other non vanilla codices lol. No, I don't really mean that.

Really the only thing I can see happening with the vanilla 'dex is a new unit. In the singular. Probably a tank, as it's the only thing I can think of that's not tapped out for marines. And maybe some new SCs in FC that have some interesting FOC bending capabilities.

Narf
04-10-2012, 12:53
What the marine codex might need, and it is only might, is the ability to buy squadrons.

You can do this already for landspeeders, however, if you could do it for predators, thunderfire cannons, landspeeder storms, and the stormtalons if would mean more mdoel sales for GW, more fluffy games for those of us who like epic, and also these units would not become overpowered.

Yes there could be 1-3 in a squadron, however, make is so they all have to fire at the same unit - unit might be dead, but they cant be as tactical as 3 independant choices.

Apart from that the marines codex already has ways to change FOC, biker lord = bikes as troops, Pedro = scoring sternguard, MotF = dread everywhere.

There is very little in the marine codex that needs an update, apart from maybe points (shace 1 per model from tac squads) and something like what happens above, in fact i can see marines just getting a WD update like Daemons did.

Haravikk
04-10-2012, 13:02
I'm not sure a focus on a battle company is necessarily a big thing, as what we want is more variety in marine armies since so many people are playing them, so making it as easy as possible to take an army that is tailored to how you want to play is the best thing. If everyone were playing with a battle company then it would mean everyone playing with largely the same force which I don't think is a good thing.


What I'd like to see for Codex: Space Marines is really just more of what 6th edition is, and that is a bunch of refinements. For example, if Scouts are going to remain as Troops (I hope so) then they need to be more viable, to encourage marine players to take them more often, since this adds variety to the otherwise uniform 3+ armour save army, and will make them more fun to play against and, depending how Scouts are made more attractive, hopefully make them more fun to play. It's something sorely needed anyway as currently AP4 weapons aren't quite justifying their cost, though you can get decent mileage out of them regardless.

There are tons of tweaks they could do with; personally I'd like to see Dreadnoughts tweaked, as the missile launcher option, is a bit poor and even with two close combat weapons the best a Dreadnought can do is 3 Attacks which seems a bit too low personally. Could do with some way of boosting it, possibly even part of the Venerable upgrade to justify its cost when taking a dreadnought with close combat weapon? Venerable should really just be a regular Dreadnought option, as I'd love to have a Venerable Ironclad stomping about! They should also be one of the most flexible units in terms of which slot you take them in, with Ironclads in Fast Attack, combat weapon + shooty weapon dreadnoughts in Elites and all shooting dreadnoughts in Heavy Support for example.

But ehm… yeah, I think tweaks are what's most needed. Maybe some new ways to create themed lists to fit the slightly more irregular chapters that also use Codex: Space Marines, ideally based on character options rather than special characters. The point is to get people taking as wide a range of the options in the list as possible, rather than playing lists that are too similar.

RandomThoughts
04-10-2012, 13:44
I'm not sure a focus on a battle company is necessarily a big thing, as what we want is more variety in marine armies since so many people are playing them, so making it as easy as possible to take an army that is tailored to how you want to play is the best thing. If everyone were playing with a battle company then it would mean everyone playing with largely the same force which I don't think is a good thing.

While I agree here, I disagree with some of the examples given:


What I'd like to see for Codex: Space Marines is really just more of what 6th edition is, and that is a bunch of refinements. For example, if Scouts are going to remain as Troops (I hope so) then they need to be more viable, to encourage marine players to take them more often, since this adds variety to the otherwise uniform 3+ armour save army, and will make them more fun to play against and, depending how Scouts are made more attractive, hopefully make them more fun to play. It's something sorely needed anyway as currently AP4 weapons aren't quite justifying their cost, though you can get decent mileage out of them regardless.

I've never encountered Scouts that didn't have a better cover save than their armor save, so unless you're talking about AP4 melee weapons or AP4 ignores cover weapons, that would have very little impact.


There are tons of tweaks they could do with; personally I'd like to see Dreadnoughts tweaked, as the missile launcher option, is a bit poor and even with two close combat weapons the best a Dreadnought can do is 3 Attacks which seems a bit too low personally.

Like Wraithlords (Eldar Dreadnoughts), Ord Dreads or all the other Walkers have more attacks.


But ehm… yeah, I think tweaks are what's most needed. Maybe some new ways to create themed lists to fit the slightly more irregular chapters that also use Codex: Space Marines, ideally based on character options rather than special characters. The point is to get people taking as wide a range of the options in the list as possible, rather than playing lists that are too similar.

Best way to do that is still good balance. If there are several equally valid builds in a codex, and from what I hear recent codices trend this way, than people will play all of them and there will be more variety. If there's just a halfway decent build in a codex, expect people to use that or change codex.

Beppo1234
04-10-2012, 13:51
What the marine codex might need, and it is only might, is the ability to buy squadrons.

You can do this already for landspeeders, however, if you could do it for predators, thunderfire cannons, landspeeder storms, and the stormtalons if would mean more mdoel sales for GW, more fluffy games for those of us who like epic, and also these units would not become overpowered.

Yes there could be 1-3 in a squadron, however, make is so they all have to fire at the same unit - unit might be dead, but they cant be as tactical as 3 independant choices.

Apart from that the marines codex already has ways to change FOC, biker lord = bikes as troops, Pedro = scoring sternguard, MotF = dread everywhere.

There is very little in the marine codex that needs an update, apart from maybe points (shace 1 per model from tac squads) and something like what happens above, in fact i can see marines just getting a WD update like Daemons did.

you don't really need that with the 2 FOC when over 2000 points. Once you move into full tank or aircraft squadrons, you should in theory be moving into the 2000+ range, where you can load up on 3 more FA, HS and Elite slots.

Haravikk
04-10-2012, 13:58
I've never encountered Scouts that didn't have a better cover save than their armor save, so unless you're talking about AP4 melee weapons or AP4 ignores cover weapons, that would have very little impact.
If they're all finding ways to bunker down and stay there then sure, but if people have more of them in their lists then that might not be so much of an option. Even simply seeing more of a marine army having to use cover would be a refreshing change.


Like Wraithlords (Eldar Dreadnoughts), Ord Dreads or all the other Walkers have more attacks.
Sarcasm doesn't help anyone; we're talking about a new edition here, so hanging on to previous edition trends doesn't help anyone either. I'm not saying it should be free, but GW should at least take the opportunity to consider the direction they want to take for all walkers in future, with the examples you've given following suit when they get their turn. Codex: Space Marines after all does tend to set the bar for everyone else; most books then choose to leap right over, but with this edition I'm hoping that doesn't happen.


Best way to do that is still good balance. If there are several equally valid builds in a codex, and from what I hear recent codices trend this way, than people will play all of them and there will be more variety. If there's just a halfway decent build in a codex, expect people to use that or change codex.
Exactly; I don't think Codex: Space Marines needs any major changes, just lots of little tweaks that make everything more equal so that (hopefully) there's nothing in any of the slots that's a no-brainer compared to the rest. The ideal sweet spot is where you take a look at Fast Attack and want close to everything in that section, but have to choose what's right for your overall style of play. The main thing I'm dreading is whether GW will try to shoe-horn in some new stuff at the same time, as that almost always upsets any attempt to balance their books as those new units invariably get all the attention. Here's hoping they go more for things like a proper plastic Sternguard and/or Vanguard kit, plastic Legion of the Damned would be a dream come true :)

RandomThoughts
04-10-2012, 15:17
Even simply seeing more of a marine army having to use cover would be a refreshing change.

Accepted. Although the recent trend towards a return of Plasma-weapons might also accomplish that.


Sarcasm doesn't help anyone; we're talking about a new edition here, so hanging on to previous edition trends doesn't help anyone either. I'm not saying it should be free, but GW should at least take the opportunity to consider the direction they want to take for all walkers in future, with the examples you've given following suit when they get their turn. Codex: Space Marines after all does tend to set the bar for everyone else; most books then choose to leap right over, but with this edition I'm hoping that doesn't happen.

Accepted. Even though this mostly highlights the utterly craptastic way GW updates their armies imho.

spaint2k
04-10-2012, 15:25
And maybe some new SCs in FC that have some interesting FOC bending capabilities.

I misread that as "that have some interesting FC bending capabilities" - not an entirely improbable phrase.

Konovalev
04-10-2012, 16:28
I only have 2 problems with the current Space Marines codex.
1. It is in nearly every case out performed by Blood Angels, or Space Wolves.
2. Internal balance

Generic chapter masters are an outright mess. There needs to be some incentive to take captains, tactical terminators, devastators, and whirlwinds over the other option in their slot.

Ventus
04-10-2012, 16:40
I agree with the balance between units in the dex so that everything is viable, but I would also like to see a return to chapter traits but expanded upon. IMO the 4th edition dex had the right idea - the trait system just needed to be fixed up a bit. This would add a lot of flavour back into SM and if balanced (along with units/slots in the dex) would be all the SM really need. Also a few more special characters and the odd unit such as the flyers added. Special characters should provide some extra goodies but not be the defining thing for a chapter such as Vulcan is now (I hate to have to take Vulcan to play Salamanders and if he leaves the battle field for a moment my troops can not remember how to use their weapons as effectively). There does not need to be a huge overhaul of SM or the edition of many new units.

Navar
04-10-2012, 19:58
Forgeworld called.

They would like their ideas for the Horus Heresy legion army list back.

Really this is very similar to that list.

The more I play this game the more I feel that Forgeworld is the True GW for people who have been playing for a while.

Maidel
04-10-2012, 22:47
The more I play this game the more I feel that Forgeworld is the True GW for people who have been playing for a while.

Erm.. well duh...

Forge World is definately the 'veterans' GW. Its just a shame they dont have any forge world battle bunkers.