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View Full Version : What is the Warhammer's best special rule?



Commissar von Toussaint
10-03-2010, 02:39
Part of the process of criticism is to look at the good as well as the bad.

We've got the bad parts pretty well covered, and one of the most frequent targets is GW's preference for special rules. There is general agreement that there are too many.

However, not all special rules are bad.

My question is what is the best special rule?

To answer this, I think we should look at its applicability, brevity and clarity.

Basically, does it do what it is supposed to do, do just that, and is it impossible to abuse?

What's your favorite special rule?

shakedown47
10-03-2010, 02:43
Poisoned Attacks or Fast Cav.

Witchblade
10-03-2010, 02:56
Favourite = best?

Best in what sense?

Best for which unit?

Sygerrik
10-03-2010, 03:21
Common special rules?
Frenzy. It is quite simple what it does, it grants a huge bonus and a huge drawback, and it's never ambiguous how it works.

Army-specific special rules?
Cold-Blooded (though I don't play Lizzies and hate facing huge Stubborn TG blocks). It adds to the character of the army and is intrinsic to their functioning, but they pay for it. It's nice and simple.

Unique special rules?
Expendable! Slaves don't cause panic and you can shoot 'em all you like! It does what it says on the tin.

ZeroTwentythree
10-03-2010, 03:28
I've always liked Strength In Numbers.

It gives a morale boost when things are going in the rats favor, but as soon as their numbers dwindle or they're outmaneuvered (flank or rear) they're screwed and very likely to run away.

As a Warhammer Ancients player, I've always liked this as part of their "Warband" rule as well.

It really quantifies the group and/or horde mentality in a way that translates very well into game terms.




Expendable! Slaves don't cause panic and you can shoot 'em all you like! It does what it says on the tin.

I've always thought this should be expanded. There's plenty of reason to expect orcs (or other gobbos!) to blast away with shooting or magic into units of gobbos, vamps to cast and burn up units of zombies, and ogres certainly don't care much for most gnoblars.

duffybear1988
10-03-2010, 03:46
well in the current fantasy climate im putting my money on ItP.

Condottiere
10-03-2010, 04:01
Terror - solves a number of problems.

willowdark
10-03-2010, 05:07
Killing Blow. My Wardancer Highborn has beheaded nearly every "roughly man-sized" character he's ever fought, and it never gets old. That is a truly epic special rule.

Schmapdi
10-03-2010, 05:23
"Nobody Likes a Gnoblar" - genius that.

Necromancy Black
10-03-2010, 05:30
Fear or hatred. Both can add a lot to the game but hatred is better for having some drawbacks.

Stumpy
10-03-2010, 08:01
I agree with frenzy. The rules are simple, its fluffy, there is no rules-abuse, it gives a good advantage and a hefty disadvantage. Frenzy does exactly what it should with no iffs buts or maybes.

Peregijn
10-03-2010, 08:28
the slayer wapon rules.
fluffy and awsome

The Red Scourge
10-03-2010, 08:45
I really like how DE rxbs are better than ordinairy rxbs by being armourpiercing - while being the only race in the game using them :wtf:

Vermin-thing
10-03-2010, 08:53
Eternal hatred. Hands down.

Dark elf spearmen should NOT have 2 attacks for 7 points, but they do. :(

Angry Lawyer
10-03-2010, 09:24
It's blatantly "Fears Elves".

-Angry Lawyer

Condottiere
10-03-2010, 09:25
That may qualify as the most humourous and fluffy rule.

Angry Lawyer
10-03-2010, 09:52
Which adds up to "best".

-Angry Lawyer

Urgat
10-03-2010, 09:54
Yeah, it's hilarious, adding another fear-causing unit to the list. Makes averybody laughts too. Me, it's anything that ignores armour saves. I got none, and my opponents have way too many.

Novrain
10-03-2010, 10:35
Look Snorri, TROLLS!!!

Maelstorm
10-03-2010, 10:59
IŽd say hatred. My main opponent is DE, and he makes to-hit roll, misses all but one, re-rolls and hit them all...Annoying!

Otherwise IŽd say will of chaos. Saves them hounds^^

Deathjester
10-03-2010, 11:34
Daemonic:

Many special rules rolled into one nice catch all rule! Nice and tidy like.... there should be more rules like this!

Xzazzarai
10-03-2010, 11:36
I must say I love the Black Guards Warriors Elite special rule...

Perhaps only beaten by the Wood Elf dances.

Whistler
10-03-2010, 11:49
Immune to Psychology, hands down. Nulifies Terror, Fear, with the drawback of not being able to flee is pretty good me thinks. Unbreakable also springs to mind.

BigbyWolf
10-03-2010, 12:03
Fiery Demagogue...a rule so good, it's a secret!

Stumpy
10-03-2010, 12:58
And clearly his points cost reflects that rule, whatever it was! Must have been something good...

phoenixguard09
10-03-2010, 13:33
Best rule would have to be the one that is never remembered...

And I don't know what Deathjester is talking about. Daemonic is a blanket term for a special rule that says we pwn everyone else.

Gromdal
10-03-2010, 13:39
Unbreakable.

Simple and reliable rule.

Compare it to stubborn and you see the difference.

N810
10-03-2010, 15:04
"Cold Blooded" it's simple and efective.

"Life is cheap" can lead to some hillarious results
(do Skaven still have this one?)

Histeria
10-03-2010, 15:18
Yeah, Cold Blooded is great. Other good lizzie rules are "Arboreal Predator (Terradons treat woods as open terrain for movement purposes) and "Ultimate Predator" (Carno does D3 wounds instead of 1)

The SkaerKrow
10-03-2010, 17:53
Primal Fury gets my vote. It works well in relation to the army's identity and adds a new wrinkle to character selection. More interesting than just giving the army Hatred, appropriately chaotic for an army of Beastmen, and it isn't over the top in any way.

Yep, Primal Fury would definitely qualify as Warhammer's best Special Rule.

Jind_Singh
10-03-2010, 18:13
Animosity - love it!! ruins my games or makes my games, but either way it does something to the game!

danny-d-b
10-03-2010, 21:33
IŽd say hatred. My main opponent is DE, and he makes to-hit roll, misses all but one, re-rolls and hit them all...Annoying!

Otherwise IŽd say will of chaos. Saves them hounds^^

hounds don't have the will of chaos special rule

so doesn't save the hounds, just everything else

FictionalCharacter
10-03-2010, 23:15
hounds don't have the will of chaos special rule

so doesn't save the hounds, just everything else

yeah they do.

fast cav gets my vote, off the top of my head.

Maoriboy007
10-03-2010, 23:18
Eye of the Gods for trolls can be pretty insane.

Khalidas poison rules are pretty cool (both her own and the ability to take poisoned archers)

Commissar von Toussaint
11-03-2010, 01:19
By "best" I meant well-balanced, not necessarily powerful.

I can get behind frenzy - with a skilled opponent, it can really torture you.

ChaosVC
11-03-2010, 01:24
"Waaaggh!"

So fun to see the orcs make a sudden extra move and crush my lines.

ooglatjama
11-03-2010, 01:25
I like killing blow, not because it is fluffy or uber-powerful, but I like decapitating my enemies.

Stronginthearm
11-03-2010, 04:19
KILLING BLOW, its feeds my inner Bruce Willis

ooglatjama
11-03-2010, 04:36
KILLING BLOW, its feeds my inner Bruce Willis

It makes you a ghost?

Dantès
11-03-2010, 04:44
It makes you a ghost?

I think we're talking more 'Die Hard' here

Tenken
11-03-2010, 05:27
Cold-Blooded. Best. Rule. Ever. Period.

I start rolling ld tests and decalre "I pass" before my dice even hit the table. I'm almost never wrong. Also when I make an insane bravery test I get to say "cold blooded" in the rick james voice form chaelle's show. Classy.:D

danny-d-b
11-03-2010, 17:03
yeah they do.

fast cav gets my vote, off the top of my head.

my aplogies- must of missed it in my game last week!!!

Skyros
12-03-2010, 02:38
6th edition fusillade rule.

Raffazza
12-03-2010, 10:07
Tough to pick...

ASF for High Elves
Always march for Dwarfs
Poison
Cold-blooded
Hatred

Are probably the ones I consider the most useful...

scarletsquig
12-03-2010, 16:00
Troll puke.

N810
12-03-2010, 16:22
Shove in pants ?

Tae
12-03-2010, 16:31
[Referring to Skave slaves] I've always thought this should be expanded. There's plenty of reason to expect orcs (or other gobbos!) to blast away with shooting or magic into units of gobbos, vamps to cast and burn up units of zombies, and ogres certainly don't care much for most gnoblars.

I'm not sure of the wording in the 7th Ed book (as I don't own it) but does it still only refer to panic in other Skaven units?

If not, then you can end up with something similar to what happens in the O&G book when used in allied games. In that if one unit panics the rest of one half might be immune but the others wont. - E.g. some snotlings panic and run back through the lines. The Goblins think this is absolutely hilarious, however their Chaos Warrior allies (who aren't immune and have a re-roll!) occasionally find the prospect rather terrifying and are prone to joining the snotlings in flight.

Always amusing :)

yabbadabba
12-03-2010, 16:39
I am still thinking on 7th ed, but

Morgiana Le Fay + Frog spell + total power = big pile of off white dust and a whole load of pretty upset Vampire Lords looking for Princesses over the years :evilgrin:

That was either for the Total Power Card or the Crumble rule - both were ace.

Wintersdark
12-03-2010, 17:30
Hmmm. Well, I'd have to say:

In terms of purely my favorite rules to play with, having no bearing on the relative power or usefulness:
1) Killing Blow on characters. There's nothing more epic than a character-on-character duel where one Killing Blow's the other. Even if it was his last wound, it just seems so much more epic when it happens.
2) Animosity. While it presents a huge greenskin gimping factor. I still painfully remember losing out of my first place in a GT because of truly astoundingly bad animosity rolls in my last game. We were laughing so hard about it at the time, but *every* single important animosity test was failed, and my army just stood around or ran forward into a position where they'd be flanked and broken instantly. Cataclysmically bad. But, that said, if you can't deal with that you don't play Greenskins, and damn it, it was *funny*.
3) Fears Elves. It rarely ever comes up, but again it's so damn funny when it does.

Favorite rules from a rule-writing standpoint (IE: Most "well constructed" rules):
1) Frenzy. No doubt. Frenzy is awesome, but it's a double edged sword. Makes your unit much more frightening: Extra attacks, immune to psychology, but also leaves you very vulnerable to manipulation and is lost when beaten in combat. This is a really good example of how Immune-to-Psychology should work in general: You gain an advantage, but it's one you need to use carefully. Fielding frenzied troops isn't a no-brainer, and they need to be used with care or they can cost you the battle.
2) More broadly: I like simple rules. I like rules without "excepts"; rules that don't bypass other rules, etc. Nothing ruins a game more than when the interaction of special rules interrupts gameplay and it always seems to do so at a critical, game-deciding moment too. It's not that I'm stupid, or that I'm incapable of understanding rulebooks, but because I don't want to win because my opponent doesn't know all the ins and outs of my special rules and how they interact with his.

I'd MUCH prefer it if there were no army-book based special rules; that ALL special rules were in the main rulebook. I get that this is largely because of how GW works - army books are slowly released over time, and they want to progress the game. But it's frustrating to expect that every player buys every new army book to carefully learn their rules... then has to read all the FAQ's defining how they interact with all the other armies oddball, poorly written special rules.

Lots of special rules are not necessary to make the game fun. In fact, I'd argue that games would be quicker, cleaner, and more fun without most of them, because players could get more into the gameplay itself, without having to focus so much on the mechanics.

Battles should be won based on battlefield tactics and the love of the dice gods, not how well read (or how good at arguing contentious rules issues) a player is.

After all, everyone's met that guy: You know, the guy who goes out of his way to find poorly written rules that are either a benefit or neutral to him depending on how they are interpreted, then "generously" suggests just rolling a D6 to decide on how the rule should be interpreted. Of course, this means that 50% of the time he's getting away with screwing you...

Commissar von Toussaint
13-03-2010, 04:47
An excellent post. So good, in fact, tjat I wanted to excerpt it but couldn't bring myself to cut any of it.


Hmmm. Well, I'd have to say:

In terms of purely my favorite rules to play with, having no bearing on the relative power or usefulness:
1) Killing Blow on characters. There's nothing more epic than a character-on-character duel where one Killing Blow's the other. Even if it was his last wound, it just seems so much more epic when it happens.
2) Animosity. While it presents a huge greenskin gimping factor. I still painfully remember losing out of my first place in a GT because of truly astoundingly bad animosity rolls in my last game. We were laughing so hard about it at the time, but *every* single important animosity test was failed, and my army just stood around or ran forward into a position where they'd be flanked and broken instantly. Cataclysmically bad. But, that said, if you can't deal with that you don't play Greenskins, and damn it, it was *funny*.
3) Fears Elves. It rarely ever comes up, but again it's so damn funny when it does.

Favorite rules from a rule-writing standpoint (IE: Most "well constructed" rules):
1) Frenzy. No doubt. Frenzy is awesome, but it's a double edged sword. Makes your unit much more frightening: Extra attacks, immune to psychology, but also leaves you very vulnerable to manipulation and is lost when beaten in combat. This is a really good example of how Immune-to-Psychology should work in general: You gain an advantage, but it's one you need to use carefully. Fielding frenzied troops isn't a no-brainer, and they need to be used with care or they can cost you the battle.
2) More broadly: I like simple rules. I like rules without "excepts"; rules that don't bypass other rules, etc. Nothing ruins a game more than when the interaction of special rules interrupts gameplay and it always seems to do so at a critical, game-deciding moment too. It's not that I'm stupid, or that I'm incapable of understanding rulebooks, but because I don't want to win because my opponent doesn't know all the ins and outs of my special rules and how they interact with his.

I'd MUCH prefer it if there were no army-book based special rules; that ALL special rules were in the main rulebook. I get that this is largely because of how GW works - army books are slowly released over time, and they want to progress the game. But it's frustrating to expect that every player buys every new army book to carefully learn their rules... then has to read all the FAQ's defining how they interact with all the other armies oddball, poorly written special rules.

Lots of special rules are not necessary to make the game fun. In fact, I'd argue that games would be quicker, cleaner, and more fun without most of them, because players could get more into the gameplay itself, without having to focus so much on the mechanics.

Battles should be won based on battlefield tactics and the love of the dice gods, not how well read (or how good at arguing contentious rules issues) a player is.

After all, everyone's met that guy: You know, the guy who goes out of his way to find poorly written rules that are either a benefit or neutral to him depending on how they are interpreted, then "generously" suggests just rolling a D6 to decide on how the rule should be interpreted. Of course, this means that 50% of the time he's getting away with screwing you...

Shazarn
13-03-2010, 06:16
"Look Snorri, Trolls!"
The name alone is a win in my book and the added bonus of having all units move 2d6 straight for something squishy is just awesome. Also, it basically gives you the first turn roll. It just suits the army well and helps to fix their major flaw without being over powered

yabbadabba
13-03-2010, 08:27
I'd MUCH prefer it if there were no army-book based special rules; that ALL special rules were in the main rulebook. I get that this is largely because of how GW works - army books are slowly released over time, and they want to progress the game. But it's frustrating to expect that every player buys every new army book to carefully learn their rules... then has to read all the FAQ's defining how they interact with all the other armies oddball, poorly written special rules.

Lots of special rules are not necessary to make the game fun. In fact, I'd argue that games would be quicker, cleaner, and more fun without most of them, because players could get more into the gameplay itself, without having to focus so much on the mechanics.

Battles should be won based on battlefield tactics and the love of the dice gods, not how well read (or how good at arguing contentious rules issues) a player is.

After all, everyone's met that guy: You know, the guy who goes out of his way to find poorly written rules that are either a benefit or neutral to him depending on how they are interpreted, then "generously" suggests just rolling a D6 to decide on how the rule should be interpreted. Of course, this means that 50% of the time he's getting away with screwing you...
I have to slightly disagree. While I do think that the rules and special rules could be slimmed down a bit, I do think they are intrinsically essential to the character of WFB. Its one of the things that defines the game compared to others. What is more important is getting that interaction working the right way.
As for rules-lawyers and loop-hole knobs they are there in every game I have played unfortunately.
But I do agree with you on Frenzy :D

Condottiere
13-03-2010, 18:04
Special rules, besides miniature ranges, are intrinsic to differentiating armies; personal experience has shown me that if you want or need a specific army or component thereof to be used or behave in a specific way that's in keeping with the general, or specific unit theme, you have to add in those rules.

Of course, the responsibility lies on the designer to make them fool proof, coherent and balanced.

snottlebocket
13-03-2010, 18:32
Frenzy. It's a perfect rule. Between the extra attack and the mandatory charging they managed to perfectly represent the beserker warrior advantage and disadvantage.

TsukeFox
13-03-2010, 18:52
No no. Truely the best special rule comes from the skaven FAQ. " just make the base size
reasonable"

GuyLeCheval
13-03-2010, 19:13
Mmmm. Killing blow does me always think of Chuck Norris' roundhouse kick.
So it is great ;)

TsukeFox
13-03-2010, 19:30
Mmmm. Killing blow does me always think of Chuck Norris' roundhouse kick.
So it is great ;)

Chuck Norris once roundhoused kicked Bruce lee. The result chackie chan and jet lee

Wintersdark
14-03-2010, 03:20
Special rules, besides miniature ranges, are intrinsic to differentiating armies; personal experience has shown me that if you want or need a specific army or component thereof to be used or behave in a specific way that's in keeping with the general, or specific unit theme, you have to add in those rules.

Of course, the responsibility lies on the designer to make them fool proof, coherent and balanced.

I was waiting for this. It's a very common perception, but it's misleading. Armies don't need army book special rules to be differentiated - actual resultant play and theme is what does it.

High Elves and always strikes first? A great example. ASF should be a rulebook based special rule. All HE have it, but there's no reason for them to have a version of it in thier army book. After all, other armies have it here and there too.

Army books don't need special rules specific to them. The same functionality can be achieved through system wide rules, and as such those rules are easier tto change and rule conflicts are far rarer. New army book? The base rules remain the same, but it's the troops themselves, and which rules affect them that work to create an army's 'feel'.

You're better off with fewer, simpler and better understood rules thanany different variations on them, with the definitions scattered throuout all the army books; each more convoluted than the last.

Condottiere
14-03-2010, 06:12
That requires an omniscience on the part of the original group of designers, or at least a very disciplined approach to game design, something that hasn't been apparent to me during the 7th Edition run. While I agree that all rules should be in one book, and that army books can then pick and choose, a lot of rules become specific to one unit or army, and this reminds me of RPG supplements, where a sub setting, character class or environment has a unique set of rules that wouldn't be worthwhile mentioning in the primary rulebook.

While having special rules are one of the bugbears of this game, this is usually more the result of their imbalance or lack of clarity in their usage.

yabbadabba
14-03-2010, 10:21
I was waiting for this. It's a very common perception, but it's misleading. Armies don't need army book special rules to be differentiated - actual resultant play and theme is what does it.
High Elves and always strikes first? A great example. ASF should be a rulebook based special rule. All HE have it, but there's no reason for them to have a version of it in thier army book. After all, other armies have it here and there too.
Army books don't need special rules specific to them. The same functionality can be achieved through system wide rules, and as such those rules are easier tto change and rule conflicts are far rarer. New army book? The base rules remain the same, but it's the troops themselves, and which rules affect them that work to create an army's 'feel'.
You're better off with fewer, simpler and better understood rules thanany different variations on them, with the definitions scattered throuout all the army books; each more convoluted than the last. I was waiting for this too :D. USR's exist in 40K too and still there are army specific rules. USRs are a great idea, but as Condottiere said, its not about the army specific rules, its about the imbalance they create through their introduction. GW has been dealing with army specific rules for years and sometimes they do well, and sometimes they don't. This edition of WFB has a set of reasonable core rules, but some wildly variable army book designs - to me they are very competitive play focussed and far less background focus.

The key issue for GW is that they have a large table top wargame with a huge variety of variation in the core stat lines. When you add in the special rules needed to add the spice, it can, and does, through the system out and creates more problems than if the system was populated by 2-4 core stat lines.

Chaos and Evil
14-03-2010, 10:45
Special Rules add the spice that make the games 'wicked fun', IMO.

I believe Jervis refers to Special Rules as 'grit in the machine', too much and the machine sticks, too little and the machine runs too smoothly and ends up kinda boring.