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Thread: The lack of initiative in 8th ed and creating more variety in melee

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    Re: The lack of initiative in 8th ed and creating more variety in melee

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellebore View Post
    I do like the idea of morale tests made by chargers second, although I see that as an entirely separate mechanic to the WS vs WS determination.
    I agree. It's a mechanic within a system. The reason I mention it is that the focus of the system determines the mechanics to get there.

    Based on my study of conflict, morale is more important than brute muscle or firepower. There are tons of examples of smaller armies beating bigger ones. Both GW universes buy into this with tiny elite armies fighting (and beating) hordes of chaff.

    Yes I was referring to the initiative meaning you can remove enemy models before they ever strike. It's one of the biggest problems with 40k melee at the moment - the units either have to be designed to get the charge first so they do their attacks, or survive a charge to hit back. It creates very polarising unit concepts.
    I agree.

    Stepping back a bit, what is the biggest factor in who strikes first in combat? It isn't speed or agility, its the range of the weapon. We all know this. A bolt gun will strike before a chainsword because it has longer range.

    The same applies in melee combat. A pole arm is going to strike before a dagger because its user has a good four feet of reach on its opponent.

    GW gets this exactly backwards most of the time. The old WHFB rule making great weapons strike second was not only awkward but completely false. If anything, great weapons should strike first. Whatever additional weight they have is incidental to the greater reach they provide - which is why shields stopped being used. GW's odd efforts to "boost" weapon and shield ignored this.

    If 40k worked correctly, there would be a similar dynamic. Pistols in melee combat would strike before everything else because they can reach farther.

    In my first draft of rules for Conqueror, I included a rule for weapon priority. It worked, but slowed the game down. And in truth, when two units are crashing together, who technically gets the first hit isn't that important, what matters is the aggregate result. A bunch of peasants with bill-hooks fighting knights may trip or maim a few of their attackers coming in, but the superior skill (and likely armor) of the knights will be decisive.

    Against more equal forces, however, who is charging (or to put it another way - the one with "the initiative") makes a bigger difference. Hence the (mechanical) morale bonus to charging.

    Especially when two characters fight. They're either so stacked with wounds and saves that they can generally come out the other side alive, or they're so stacked with attacks and damage that they protect their fragility by killing the target before it can strike.

    If it's not built to fill either of these roles, then it pretty much just sucks as a unit in the current rules.

    With simultaneous and modifiers, you can have a range of melee fighting styles rather than the current 40k options of glass cannon <- everything else is crap -> meat slab...
    This is a function of the degree of abstraction in 40k. It is so abstract as to be highly unrealistic. People can argue that the overall results are realistic (at least within the alternate reality of the game), but one has to get into a lot of convoluted arguments and creative writing to get there.

    One of the big giveaways to this is the fact that GW has clearly established weapon/equipment hierarchies that everyone would use if they could, and then puts caps on this because it destroys the game aesthetic.

    The silly thing is, it doesn't, it just changes it. I don't know how the current version works, but when I quit back in 3/4, pistol and sword were by far better than a simple boltgun in terms of combat effectiveness. What they lost in range they make up for in close combat killing potential - especially since GW shifted the emphasis of the game from shooting (which dominated 2nd) to melees.

    Instead of going with this and allowing players to uniformly embrace melee-centric armies, GW put all sorts of arcane rules that allowed some armies in some circumstances to max out melee ability. Others were compensated with insane amounts of shooting to try to offset the fact that firepower was now a secondary consideration in combat.

    Again, I don't play, but from the battle reports, there are clearly world-beating units out there that are basically required for armies to be viable. GW seems to be applying its usual patch and tape to try to plug the holes but the better solution would be to re-examine the system itself and make sure everything aligns.

    No, I'm not going to hold my breath.

    The upshot is as you say: people build armies to max out game mechanics and this in turn breaks the game and creates really odd storytelling situations as Maximums the Unkillable faces off against Blaythor the Human Blender.
    Last edited by Commissar von Toussaint; 19-05-2018 at 13:06.
    Want a better way to fight fantasy battles? Try Conqueror: Fields of Victory!

    Do you like Star Wars but hate the prequels? Ever wish someone came up with a decent story about how a decadent galactic commonwealth descended into chaos and civil war? Look no further.

    A proud player of 2nd edition 40k.

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