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Rebuilding the game around "Actions" to allow tactical decisions?  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

So in 9th edition they have introduced "Actions" to 40k, which are all used for objectives ("a unit can perform an action at the end of their movement phase, and it finishes at the start of their next turn...")

I feel like this is untapped potential to make armies much, much more interesting.

What if everything was replaced with actions - Moving, casting psychic powers, shooting, charging, falling back - and the game was played by spending actions. The turn & phase structure would remain the same, and actions would be phase specific, so for the bog standard trooper things wouldn't change much:

All units would have 1 action per phase. These are to move, psyk, shoot, assault.

Units would also have bonus actions - which recharge each turn. These can be spent in any phase. All units would have 1 bonus action as standard, fancier ones will have more, or ways to regain them.

Warlords have more bonus actions, which can be spent by any unit on the battlefield - so you can choose between a frontline murdermachine or a leader who affects your armies efforts.

The goal of this:

Have special tactics require bonus actions. Splitting fire - bonus action. Throwing a grenade - bonus action. Moving and then charging - bonus action (I'd want ranges dropped as well, positions on the battlefield should matter - but that's another topic!)

Vehicles would only have bonus actions which are used for everything. These would be specific to the vehicle - EG a leman russ might have 1 action to fire the turret, 1 action to fire the fore gun, and 1 action to fire each of the sponsons, 1 action to move and 1 action to assault. It would start with 6 actions, so can do everything, but as it gets damaged it would lose actions - so can choose between moving or shooting a gun. With 3 actions at lowest bracket, it could move, fire 1 gun and assault, or move and fire 2 guns, or stay still and fire 3 guns. It becomes a choice of how to use its reducing efficiencty. BS and such wouldn't reduce with brackets, only action points.

It would mean more bookkeeping for bigger units, but would also promote much more tactical gameplay. Getting extra action points would be a stratagem.

You could even link it directly to wounds and price actions accordingly - a 15 wound model with 5 actions might just have 1 action per 3 wounds, so the actions don't need to be tracked in addition to wounds - they are the same stat.

What do you think?

12,300 points of Orks
9th W/D/L with Orks, 4/0/2
I am Thoruk, the Barbarian, Slayer of Ducks, and This is my blog!

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Made in us
Roarin' Runtherd

Honestly this could be, if done well, a major improvement, it would also finally give room for commanders to have a role closer to IRL where they could grant bonus actions or specific actions to a unit.
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

In the abstract, I'm not opposed to replacing various things in 40k with "actions.' However, I'm not sure most of what you've pitched really requires/warrants such sweeping changes. If movement, psychic tests, shooting, charging, and fighting all work basically the same but just so happen to be labeled as "actions," then that's kind of a non-change. You can save yourself a lot of work and paperwork by just not changing anything. If you really want to say "shooting is an action," then you can probably just label it as such in the main rulebook (although that gets slightly wonky with how "Actions" are defined this edition.)

The meat and potatoes of your suggestion, I feel, are the "bonus actions." Which you can introduce without having to label movement, shooting, etc. as "actions" as well. Like, if you want to prevent units from throwing grenades unless they spend some sort of command-related resource (a "command point" if you will), then you're basically describing a stratagem or possibly an order.

If you want to introduce a list of things you can do instead of the "default" thing in a given phase, I'm all for it. Like, if you want to create the option to lay down covering fire or go on over watch with the "Covering Fire" and "Overwatch" actions instead of shooting, that's fine. I recommend using a term other than "bonus action" for clarity. I've played 5e D&D, so I kind of know what you mean. But if you tell me that shooting is an action and that a certain HQ grants a bonus action, my expectation is that bonus actions let me shoot again; not that they let me utilize special abilities that I haven't previously heard about.

But generally, I'm on board with the idea of letting units do something other than shoot in the shooting phase, something other than charge in the charge phase, etc.

Not sure how I feel about a couple of the examples you gave though. Do I really want to give up using one of my special abilities (bonus actions) to have a guardsman throw a frag grenade? Split firing was a generally very well received change that fixed the issue of having the bolters in your marine squad shoot at a chimera instea of the guardsmen next to it because you wanted to use your meltagun. What special action or other options would I be missing out on to avoid returning to that old problem? Do I really have to spend 2 bonus actions a turn to splitfire a tactical squad that wants to throw a grenade?

The vehicle example is interesting, but I'm not sure the fluff and crunch line up especially well. I get that a leman russ with enough dead crew members might have to choose between shooting the big gun and the little guns. However, what you're suggesting also indicates that the weapons and movement systems of the vehicle are all still working. So it becomes a bit weird to think that all the enemy's damage is somehow sniping out tank crew but leaving the treads and guns themselves perfectly untouched. And there's a bit of extra weirdness for things like my fire prism that appear to have two separate cockpits for the big gun and the rest of the tank's functions. If we're assumign that I have to choose between moving and shooting because one of those guys is dead, it's a bit weird to picture the lone survivor of the crew climbing up and down the tank to switch between shoot mode and move mode for the rest of the game. Mechanically, it's interesting but not necessarily *better* than what we have now. Narratively, it has me scratching my head a little. So when you factor in the extra bookkeeping, I think the vehicle example is kind of a pass for me.

Now what *would* make sense to me to treat things like the "shoot twice if you didn't move" ability russes have as an action you do in the movement phase. Although I'm not sure that would directly improve the game so much as just give you the key words needed to have other abilities interact with "actions."

Sorry. I'm rambling a bit. I'm all for adding new action options to the game. I think you might be trying to make this a bigger overhaul than it needs to be, and I'm not sold on the changes to vehicles. I suggest giving more examples of what some new actions might be and how having those be actions (rather than stratagems or what have you) improves the game.

Made in gb
Dispassionate Imperial Judge

HATE Club, East London

I think this would massively streamline the game, and is also kinda required to move the game away from I Go, You Go. It's hard to do alternate activation unless the unit does it's entire move in one go.

Necromunda works well like this - everyone gets two actions when they're activated. Move and shoot. Or aim and shoot. Or move twice. Etc. Then their turn is over. You can add special actions, you can give bonus actions.

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