Here's some house rules that have been proving to be quite fun, and possibly an interesting look at what 9th edition might have in store (a few years from now anyway)…
- New rule "Strikes First" is a parent rule of Always Strikes First. Models with this rule strike ahead of normal Initiative order, but after Always Strikes First. Strikes First cancels out, while Always Strikes First versus Strikes First cancels, granting the Always Strikes First model(s) Strikes First instead.
- Halberds grant +1 Initiative against enemy units that charged your front in the current round of combat.
- Spears (Infantry) grant Strikes First against enemy units that charged your front in the current round of combat.
- Spears (Cavalry) grant +1 Initiative against enemy units that you charged in the current round of combat.
- Lances grant Strikes First against enemy units that you charged in the current round of combat.
These little changes give quite a nice improvement to how halberds, spears and lances working, making spears an ideal anti-cavalry choice, and bolstering their defensive nature, while allowing various cavalry units to strike first on the charge again. Not enough to make cavalry over-powered again, but means they're less likely to all be dead before they get their turn to fight!
- +1 to Hit at close range (within 25% of weapon's range).
This is to counteract one of those silly cases where you have a solid block of missile troops that can't hit the horde that's 1" away from it. It also gives a bit of an interesting boost to Wood Elves, who can close while firing, helping them get within the 25% range (9").
- Cavalry gain Stomp attacks.
Another slight boost to cavalry, as one of the things that cavalry did do is use their steeds to muscle into units and cause mayhem. Most cavalry units are already balanced relative to Monstrous Cavalry anyway as their mounts more often have a lower Strength.
- Inspiring Presence and Hold Your Ground (army general and battle standard) can't be used in Disrupted units unless the general or battle standard is involved in the same combat, or within line of sight.
This is an alternative to the myriad calls to remove or nerf Steadfast, and is actually plenty effective without ruining the purpose of Steadfast. Essentially it means that Disrupted hordes are liable to lose their general's Leadership and Battle Standard re-roll bubbles, which has a big impact on weaker hordes as opposed to elite ones.
- Magic Resistance works as follows:
- Magic Resistance test is taken on a D6, aiming to get equal to or less than the unit's best Magic Resistance value (they do not stack).
- Against successfully cast hexes or augments, the target unit must take a single Magic Resistance test to ignore the spell's effects (does not count as a failed casting).
- Against other successfully cast spells, all affected models will roll a Magic Resistance test to ignore the spell's effects, this may require the spell to be partially resolved (template placed etc.).
- Only spells that target single models may cause instant death regardless of Wounds, all other spells cause a single Wound only.
Basically makes Magic Resistance works against everything and cannot be ignored (as it is no longer a type of save). It doesn't unfairly nerf spells that happen to include a unit with Magic Resistance as a target, but also provides some measure of protection against all spell types. The no instant death clause is really an amendment to the über spells, which should only inflict single Wounds to begin with.
- Return of half Victory Points.
- If a unit is reduced below 25% of its starting Wounds (but not destroyed) then it will give 75% of its value in Victory Points.
Basically prevents your losing all the Victory Points for a Deathstar or super-Horde, just because you couldn't get rid of that last pesky model! This one actually balances the Chosen Deathstars quite a bit, since you can still get at least some of their massive points cost.
So uhm, yeah, these are a few rules that I've been using in house-ruled games, not always all at the same time, but they even out of the some of the more extreme rules issues in 8th edition. The spear changes are most fun, as they give a kind of rock/paper/scissors mechanic to spears countering cavalry, while also balancing the spears currently a tad too high cost (particularly with shields).
I have a feeling I may have forgot one or two, so watch this space