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Kriegschmidt
30-05-2018, 12:56
Greetings.

Played three games of 8th now, and I use Earthshakers and (in bigger games) Colossus Bombards. There seem to be a couple of issues with explosive weapons - those that used to use blast templates. Disclaimer: I'm glad to see the back of blast templates as they were clunky, slowed the game down, caused disagreements, exacerbated climate change, funded terrorism, etc.

Basically, explosive weapons don't work at the moment. Let me lay out why:

Previously, the larger and more packed a unit (or army) was, the more likely it was to take hits from blast templates. Nearby units were also at risk. Scatter was mitigated by BS, allowing a realism of the gunner's skill. Higher density of models meant more were hit. The response was for horde players to spend hours spacing their models 2" apart: obviously we can't go back to that and 8th is overall great because it's smoother and faster. An important note here is that generally people *didn't want* to string out their large units as it lowered their impact and obstructed the army (as well as making gaming miserable).

BUT in 8th edition higher-model-count-unit armies now have a degree of immunity to damage. Previously, if you took a high model-count army, you had a choice: either take more damage from explosions or suffer tactically from careful spacing and movement. This is reflected in reality because a more spaced-out horde will have less impact when it gets into close combat and a tightly packed one is more vulnerable to explosions; all of this translated well into the game mechanics. However, in 8th edition the physics of explosions are frozen at a low-model-count level. There is a vacuum in the realm of higher model-count armies: they're neither more vulnerable to explosions nor have any penalty for moving to counter them (real or imagined).

In other words, there is now a direct link between higher model count and greater chance of success, which conflicts with the points/Power Level system that makes a higher model count army have less-powerful models than a lower count one.

On the flip side we have the opposite problem: explosive weapons get their full number of 'shots' against single-model units. Against vehicles I can understand this due to the target's size (although I'm uncomfortable with an Earthshaker cannon seeming to be the go-to tank sniper weapon in my army)... but against a lone character it makes no sense. The DX shots has clearly been used as a way to translate the randomness of Blast template hits (i.e. the blast radius covering more *models*) into something faster and easier, but this doesn't work with a lone character. They would previously have only taken one hit from the template; now they take everyone's hits. I'm aware that characters are protected by screening to an extent but undoing this protection through error or tactics should not result in negation of the laws of physics.

So here's what I propose, and this probably needs a bit of wiggling:

-Against characters with fewer than 10 wounds, an explosive weapon is limited to 1 shot. The damage factor (eg. Earthshaker D3) is sufficient to describe the impact
-Against vehicles, explosive weapons may only ever get their stated number of shots (eg. Battlecannon D6 shots)
-If targeting any other unit, for every 5 models in the unit (ignoring the first 5) you add 1 extra dice to the number of shots, up to a maximum of 3 extra dice. Eg.:
Battlecannon firing at unit of 1-9 models: D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 10-14 models: 2D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 15-19 models: 3D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 20+ models: 4D6 shots
(Bear in mind that those shots still need to roll to hit. So a Battlecannon against a 20-strong unit will still only get an average of 7 hits - perfectly reasonable for a large, more densely-packed unit)

To expand on the logic a little, spacing is still used as a mechanic for determining success in 8th edition. For example: spaced out with lots of guns increases likelihood of some models not being in range of a central target; spaced out and charging increases likelihood of some models not getting into Fight range. As stated above, players are no longer required to space their models because of blast templates, however this means there is a 'hole' in the spacing mechanism in the form of explosions actually shrinking in relation to the size of the target unit. If the spacing mechanism is altered for larger units in terms of taking fire, the realism of firing explosions into them must change correspondingly.

As for increasing the number of shots to correspond to the size of the target unit, there is already a precedent in the rules: certain guns do exactly this. My experience is limited to Chaos and Astra Mil units but of those:
-Leviathan Dreadnought grav thingy rolls more dice for larger target units
-demolisher cannon switches from D3 to D6 against units >5 models
-Fellblade cannon gets reroll on number of shots against units of >5

So there you have it. Thoughts and experiences?

K

Commissar von Toussaint
01-06-2018, 00:36
Wait, are you saying that the rule is that if the number of hits exceeds models, the extra hits are stacked up? :eyebrows:

That's just bad rule-writing. (I know, shocking stuff for GW.)

An easier way would be to say no model hit by a blast is hit more than once. That's clearly the intent.

As to loss of effectiveness against "dense" units, oh well. They use the term "meat shields" for a reason. If mass armies are getting into contact, bring more dakka, right?

Hellebore
04-06-2018, 02:31
IMO it should probably be a 2 stage process:

1: Roll to hit once. That Hit inflicts d3 hits.
2: Roll for blast. Xd3/6 rolled to determine how many hits are caused. They hit on a 4+. If Step 1 was a miss, they hit on 6+ instead.

Kriegschmidt
07-06-2018, 08:11
@Commissar: Except that that makes no sense in gaming terms. Spending 200 points on a smaller, elite squad or 200pts on a huge meat shield unit: the latter shouldn't require more points to be spent on guns than the former, or else it would cost more than 200pts. Like I said, larger units now escape the limitations of the points value system in this way.

K

bad dice
07-06-2018, 22:40
Greetings.

Played three games of 8th now, and I use Earthshakers and (in bigger games) Colossus Bombards. There seem to be a couple of issues with explosive weapons - those that used to use blast templates. Disclaimer: I'm glad to see the back of blast templates as they were clunky, slowed the game down, caused disagreements, exacerbated climate change, funded terrorism, etc.

Basically, explosive weapons don't work at the moment. Let me lay out why:

Previously, the larger and more packed a unit (or army) was, the more likely it was to take hits from blast templates. Nearby units were also at risk. Scatter was mitigated by BS, allowing a realism of the gunner's skill. Higher density of models meant more were hit. The response was for horde players to spend hours spacing their models 2" apart: obviously we can't go back to that and 8th is overall great because it's smoother and faster. An important note here is that generally people *didn't want* to string out their large units as it lowered their impact and obstructed the army (as well as making gaming miserable).

BUT in 8th edition higher-model-count-unit armies now have a degree of immunity to damage. Previously, if you took a high model-count army, you had a choice: either take more damage from explosions or suffer tactically from careful spacing and movement. This is reflected in reality because a more spaced-out horde will have less impact when it gets into close combat and a tightly packed one is more vulnerable to explosions; all of this translated well into the game mechanics. However, in 8th edition the physics of explosions are frozen at a low-model-count level. There is a vacuum in the realm of higher model-count armies: they're neither more vulnerable to explosions nor have any penalty for moving to counter them (real or imagined).

In other words, there is now a direct link between higher model count and greater chance of success, which conflicts with the points/Power Level system that makes a higher model count army have less-powerful models than a lower count one.

On the flip side we have the opposite problem: explosive weapons get their full number of 'shots' against single-model units. Against vehicles I can understand this due to the target's size (although I'm uncomfortable with an Earthshaker cannon seeming to be the go-to tank sniper weapon in my army)... but against a lone character it makes no sense. The DX shots has clearly been used as a way to translate the randomness of Blast template hits (i.e. the blast radius covering more *models*) into something faster and easier, but this doesn't work with a lone character. They would previously have only taken one hit from the template; now they take everyone's hits. I'm aware that characters are protected by screening to an extent but undoing this protection through error or tactics should not result in negation of the laws of physics.

So here's what I propose, and this probably needs a bit of wiggling:

-Against characters with fewer than 10 wounds, an explosive weapon is limited to 1 shot. The damage factor (eg. Earthshaker D3) is sufficient to describe the impact
-Against vehicles, explosive weapons may only ever get their stated number of shots (eg. Battlecannon D6 shots)
-If targeting any other unit, for every 5 models in the unit (ignoring the first 5) you add 1 extra dice to the number of shots, up to a maximum of 3 extra dice. Eg.:
Battlecannon firing at unit of 1-9 models: D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 10-14 models: 2D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 15-19 models: 3D6 shots
Battlecannon firing at unit of 20+ models: 4D6 shots
(Bear in mind that those shots still need to roll to hit. So a Battlecannon against a 20-strong unit will still only get an average of 7 hits - perfectly reasonable for a large, more densely-packed unit)

To expand on the logic a little, spacing is still used as a mechanic for determining success in 8th edition. For example: spaced out with lots of guns increases likelihood of some models not being in range of a central target; spaced out and charging increases likelihood of some models not getting into Fight range. As stated above, players are no longer required to space their models because of blast templates, however this means there is a 'hole' in the spacing mechanism in the form of explosions actually shrinking in relation to the size of the target unit. If the spacing mechanism is altered for larger units in terms of taking fire, the realism of firing explosions into them must change correspondingly.

As for increasing the number of shots to correspond to the size of the target unit, there is already a precedent in the rules: certain guns do exactly this. My experience is limited to Chaos and Astra Mil units but of those:
-Leviathan Dreadnought grav thingy rolls more dice for larger target units
-demolisher cannon switches from D3 to D6 against units >5 models
-Fellblade cannon gets reroll on number of shots against units of >5

So there you have it. Thoughts and experiences?

K

I don't think this would solve a problem. Appart from a few units there is really no incentive to ever go beyond the min unit size. So large units are extreemly rare. A lot of small units how ever aren't. This change would only promot that way of thinking further. The game just doesn't punish players for spamming a lot of min sized units. In fact if a army has good troops that come in small units. Its a good idee to spamm the hell out of those.

Commissar von Toussaint
10-06-2018, 00:15
@Commissar: Except that that makes no sense in gaming terms. Spending 200 points on a smaller, elite squad or 200pts on a huge meat shield unit: the latter shouldn't require more points to be spent on guns than the former, or else it would cost more than 200pts. Like I said, larger units now escape the limitations of the points value system in this way.

K

I don't follow you.

Let's say Unit A has 5 models and Unit B has 20. They both cost the same.

Assuming the points aren't completely jacked up, A likely has a higher toughness and/or better save than B. Thus no matter what the blast area is, it's going to take fewer casualties from the same amount of shooting.

The issue seems to be that dense units take the same losses as dispersed ones, which is unfortunate but an artifact of the way GW does its miniatures. In fact, there are a lot of such artifacts.

A bit of trivia from an old-timer: according to a strict interpretation of the 2nd ed. rules, not only did models have to shoot the closest or easiest target, they inflicted losses on those units from front to back as well. Thus a template had to be placed at a model the shooter could see (since all models blocked LOS). People trying to center the template on the unit were breaking the rules.

This made (some) templates less effective, but also made the game a bit more realistic.

Getting back to the matter at hand, the traditional way to "fix" a unit or weapon is simply to change either the point value or effect. Adding extra rules contingent on target unit size seems the least efficient way to go about things. 40k may need changes, but more special rules aren't among them.

Kriegschmidt
06-01-2019, 14:45
I don't follow you.

Let's say Unit A has 5 models and Unit B has 20. They both cost the same.

Assuming the points aren't completely jacked up, A likely has a higher toughness and/or better save than B. Thus no matter what the blast area is, it's going to take fewer casualties from the same amount of shooting.

Given the number of high strength/decent AP explosive weapons in 40k, the disadvantage to the punier unit isn't as great as the advantage it has in terms of its density being ignored by explosions.

In gameplay, explosive weapons simply can't earn their points back.

Although interesting point above about people taking minimum sized units - is that anyone else's experience?

mughi3
10-01-2019, 09:58
Well I do agree that without templates the number of models possibly hit by blast weapons is now comparatively ridiculously small(d6 for a flamer template? before most times I could get nearly double that especially with torrent) but your idea kinda goes into the "too complicated for 8th" direction. like the ridiculously low wound count of hull points in 6th/7th. they just need to up the dice rolls for all blast weapons to a minimum of 2d6 for former flamer and large blasts and d6s for former small blast weapons.

Commissar von Toussaint
13-01-2019, 14:52
Well I do agree that without templates the number of models possibly hit by blast weapons is now comparatively ridiculously small(d6 for a flamer template? before most times I could get nearly double that especially with torrent) but your idea kinda goes into the "too complicated for 8th" direction. like the ridiculously low wound count of hull points in 6th/7th. they just need to up the dice rolls for all blast weapons to a minimum of 2d6 for former flamer and large blasts and d6s for former small blast weapons.

Something people need to keep in mind is that the board is supposed to be representational. The actual little people running around are constantly doing stuff, even if their figure is frozen in position.

So the whole "open formation" thing was always a little odd. When a blast weapon (be it HE shell or flame-thrower) is inbound, the people on the receiving end won't sit there in a statuesque pose. They'll duck, or dive for cover, or spread out.

GW should have made that clear that these are abstractions and there's a good case that the nominal blast radius on a weapon does NOT mean it always hits the optimum. Maybe the shell digs into the dirt, or lodges in a stump.

My point is that we tend to overthink these things. Blast weapons offer some variation in terms of wide-area damage, but there's no guarantees in that respect.

If they don't seem to be worth their points, that's an easy fix.

Ironically, it's also the thing GW consistently gets wrong.