Switch Theme:

Balance of Strategy, Tactics, and “Optimization” in 40K  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in us
Dakka Veteran






A criticism of 40K is that it isn’t very strategic or tactical, and that most “decisions” you make are really optimization problems to be “solved.” I’m curious about digging into this situation with an eye towards whether or not things have changed over various editions of 40k.

For purposes of this discussion, it’s probably useful to discuss the terms strategy, tactics, and optimization a bit more - and what makes these levels of decisions “interesting” or not from a gameplay depth perspective.

In 40K, I feel “strategy” (however deep or shallow it might be) principally hinges on (a) army building (b) deployment; and (c) a general “gameplan” for victory. These combine, essentially, to pose the player with questions about how to best use their army and some of its key abilities (deep strike, infiltration, etc.) to achieve the mission’s objectives. I.E., how do you use your army to score points. I should stress that “objectives” can vary quite a bit from mission to mission and edition to edition.

“Tactics” in 40k has to do mostly with unit-level decisions about how to move towards objectives. Do you move towards objectives quickly on the open, or slowly through cover. Do you hold out and delay for turn, and hedge your bets that you can sprint to the objective on a later turn. It has to do, principally, with aspects of position and maneuver and use of terrain and obstacles. Do you setup some units to screen and block others from being charged. Do you use vehicles to block LoS for advancing units. Etc.

“Optimizations” have to with decisions where there is, for lack of a better term, an ideal “solution” given a desired outcome. I think a lot of 40K comes down to optimization decisions. What is the ideal / optimal firing order for your units to ensure that you disable the biggest enemy threats first or deal the most possible damage. What stratagems do you employ now to leverage the most impact in a given turn. These are generally things that, in theory, can be solved with math and probability.

So then - what makes a given decision “interesting” ?

What attracts me to 40K (and some editions over others) is when you are faced with interesting decisions. And I feel decisions are interesting when there is ambiguity in the outcome of a decision, or when there are a few layers of considerations such that there is no optimal “right answer” because, ultimately, what is right will lie beyond your control. Which is to say, unforeseen consequences, the choices of your opponent makes, and other factors prevent you from making a clear optimal choice.

There is a fine line between ambiguity and “arbitrariness.” Too arbitrary and it can make careful thought irrelevant. Not ambiguous enough and it slides back into being an optimization decision. It’s a tension in the game design.

Given all the above, I want to highlight some cases where I think decisions are more interesting in some editions vs less interesting in others.

(1) Deep striking & scattering. Deep striking is, I feel, part of your strategic level play about how you use your forces to accomplish the mission objective. Where you place deep striking is critical. In older editions, the fact that deep striking units could scatter makes for more interesting decisions. Where you place a unit and how “risky” or aggressive you are in placing it was a serious consideration. If you got too greedy and scattered onto enemy forces, you could lose the whole unit! There was more nuance and “good ambiguity” in the placement.

(2) Difficult terrain & random move distances. Similar to the above. With movement in difficult terrain been variable, you can’t calculate with certainty how close you’ll be able to get, for example, to an objective or within range of an opponent. When you don’t move as far as you want, it an force you into a sub-optimal situation and can even prompt re-assessment of the overall “plan.”

(3) Must shoot the closest enemy unit (from 4th edition). This added a level of tactical nuance and interplay between your units and their relative positioning. By forcing an opponent to shoot at a certain closer unit over another, added a level of decision making to your force movement.

(4) Assaulting & random charge distances. This is a case of randomness that I actually don’t like that much, because on one hand, a very lucky roll (11 or 12” charge) can enable an assault unit to grossly outperform. Conversely, an unlucky roll can leave a unit stranded in the open. This is a case where core unit functionality is potentially undermined. Imagine if when you made a shooting attack you took 6” of the range of all weapons and then added a 2d6” instead. It’s a bridge too far IMHO.

(5) Variable game length - this is a risk-reward element that ties into the overall strategic level of the game. It the forces the player to at the very least consider contingencies. If you press early on an objective, and the game goes long, can you hold it if it’s an exposed spot? If you wait to move, and it ends early, will you miss your chance? Is there a middle solution to hedge your bets? It injects a bit of a strategic gamble element to the later turns of the game.

Obviously, my examples above highlight a preference towards older editions - but even then sometimes older editions swung too far (but newer editions swung too far the other way). Deep striking for example was, IMHO, overly punitive when you lost an entire unit due to an insanely unlucky roll. That doesn’t feel very ‘fun’ or fair. I think therefore many of these design topics there’s a middle ground to strike.

I’m curious what others think!


Want a better 40K?
Check out ProHammer: Classic - An Awesomely Unified Ruleset for 3rd - 7th Edition 40K... for retro 40k feels!
 
   
Made in us
Veteran Knight Baron in a Crusader





I don't think uncertainty/randomness makes the game interesting against other players. I love to play WHFB 8th edition "against myself" because there's so little influence I as a player actually have. Some target priority with shooting, the general movements, sure, but as soon as things are in charge range it plays itself out entirely. Random charge rolls, random to hit rolls, to wound rolls, save rolls, random Leadership results, all out of my hand! No more decisions to be made. It's great.

When I play games against other people, I expect that me and the other player will be making decisions. The more randomness/uncertainty (deep strike scatter, assault random distances, Ld test to shoot, difficult terrain, variable game length - or the worst possible example, turn by turn initiative rolls in Age of Sigmar!) the less decisions I'm making. At that point it's just me and the other player chatting while the dice tell us what the models are doing.

I think modern 40k is somehow the worst of all worlds. On one hand, you've got "precise" deep strike, terrain with set modifiers, free target priority sans some pretty hardline binary cases, which are all good things.
On the other hand, you still have random run/charge distances, you have "I spend this command point to roll a dice to see if I do a thing", you have psychic powers which may or may not happen and usually when they do they do a random amount of damage (if they do damage), you have prayers which are hugely impactful but can also whiff, and you've got lethality tuned up so high that if you whiff a roll your opponent crushes you back (unless they also whiff). That's the core rules. Then, per codex, you've got random rate of fire weapons with random damage (to the credit of the random ROF weapons, there is in most cases a core way of interacting with that - the Blast rule).
9th ends up feeling worse, for me, a lot of the time because it does do away with a lot of the stuff that would normally frustrate me in older editions but then it sneakily added back new, even more infuriating ways for my decisions to mean nothing.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/23 01:40:46


 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





(1) Deep striking & scattering. Deep striking is, I feel, part of your strategic level play about how you use your forces to accomplish the mission objective. Where you place deep striking is critical. In older editions, the fact that deep striking units could scatter makes for more interesting decisions. Where you place a unit and how “risky” or aggressive you are in placing it was a serious consideration. If you got too greedy and scattered onto enemy forces, you could lose the whole unit! There was more nuance and “good ambiguity” in the placement.

(2) Difficult terrain & random move distances. Similar to the above. With movement in difficult terrain been variable, you can’t calculate with certainty how close you’ll be able to get, for example, to an objective or within range of an opponent. When you don’t move as far as you want, it an force you into a sub-optimal situation and can even prompt re-assessment of the overall “plan.”

(3) Must shoot the closest enemy unit (from 4th edition). This added a level of tactical nuance and interplay between your units and their relative positioning. By forcing an opponent to shoot at a certain closer unit over another, added a level of decision making to your force movement.

(4) Assaulting & random charge distances. This is a case of randomness that I actually don’t like that much, because on one hand, a very lucky roll (11 or 12” charge) can enable an assault unit to grossly outperform. Conversely, an unlucky roll can leave a unit stranded in the open. This is a case where core unit functionality is potentially undermined. Imagine if when you made a shooting attack you took 6” of the range of all weapons and then added a 2d6” instead. It’s a bridge too far IMHO.

(5) Variable game length - this is a risk-reward element that ties into the overall strategic level of the game. It the forces the player to at the very least consider contingencies. If you press early on an objective, and the game goes long, can you hold it if it’s an exposed spot? If you wait to move, and it ends early, will you miss your chance? Is there a middle solution to hedge your bets? It injects a bit of a strategic gamble element to the later turns of the game.


1) This now becomes your ability to open up a hole for deepstrikers to arrive where you want them. You now play a risk at dropping into a terrible spot if your opponent has good backfield coverage and you fail to crack it.

The old system was too random.

2) Lots of detritus helps create an interesting battlefield to cross.

The old system was too random.

3) I don't necessarily disagree, but...

The old system was highly punishing to some armies and not others.

4) This now becomes a planning issue. Do you go for the average or wait in cover to get an extra move in to make sure you get a good charge?

With no pre-measure the old system was sort of similar in effect.

5) Set turns gives you a way to plan turns. And with the second playing scoring at the end of the game the decision making becomes more complex on turn 4, because you need to know how you'll stop them before you get to turn 5.

The old system rewarded the guy who was willing to gamble the "last" turn would be the actual last turn with a 50/50 shot.

   
Made in es
Grim Dark Angels Interrogator-Chaplain




Vigo. Spain.

TL;DR "Old randomness good new randomness bad"

If I'm playing agaisnt my opponent I'm playing agaisnt him, not again the dice. The amount of luck I accept are the actual dice rolls for combat and shooting resolution (And the amount of rerolls actually works agaisnt the definitude of those rolls). Everything extra feels wrong. If I'm playing more of a simulation game that uses better random systems to put me in the place of a general in control of an imperfect army in an imperfect battlefield thants good. But that has never been 40k. The use of randomness by GW is normally abysmall, so I prefer a more clear approach to stuff. The game feels more gamey, but I'm actually playing it, not letting the game decide itself like old WHFB.

Old editions had different rules, better rules, worse rules. But in general all the randomness that we have left behind has been for the better.

Like deep striking. A rule that was only used when people could negate the bad outcomes to a point were it was worth it. And thats the thing many people when they talk about old rules never mention. All those "Things were better! We took risks back then!" fall flat when you remember how people actually played them outside some ultra casual garage hammer enviroment.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/09/23 02:17:15


 Crimson Devil wrote:

Dakka does have White Knights and is also rather infamous for it's Black Knights. A new edition brings out the passionate and not all of them are good at expressing themselves in written form. There have been plenty of hysterical responses from both sides so far. So we descend into pointless bickering with neither side listening to each other. So posting here becomes more masturbation than conversation.

ERJAK wrote:
Forcing a 40k player to keep playing 7th is basically a hate crime.

 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




NE Ohio, USA

 Galas wrote:
TL;DR "Old randomness good new randomness bad"


Correct.
Because when old randomness triggered it had things that occurred. You're shot scattered for better/worse, your deep-strikers landed off target (how much worse this was for them was generally determined by how risky you were willing to play it concerning your intended LZ), your reserves fail to show up,the chaos dread went bezerk & did its own thing, the Orks.... did all sorts of Orky things! What sort of damage was just inflicted on your vehicle? Etc.

New randomness? Is mostly just determining how many shots something fires, how much damage each shot does, or in some cases both. There's still a bit of effects randomness, but its just a fleeting nod to the past.

 Galas wrote:
Old editions had different rules, better rules, worse rules. But in general all the randomness that we have left behind has been for the better.


As flavor has been bleached out of the game during actual play I disagree.

 Galas wrote:
Like deep striking. A rule that was only used when people could negate the bad outcomes to a point were it was worth it. And thats the thing many people when they talk about old rules never mention. All those "Things were better! We took risks back then!" fall flat when you remember how people actually played them outside some ultra casual garage hammer enviroment.


Yes, too many of you are risk adverse in games. It's one thing if you just opt not to do the risky thing. That's fine, you don't have to deepstrike into incredibly risky ranges, etc. But when your playstyle is pandered to it robs everyone else of the option to take those risks.


   
Made in us
Gore-Soaked Lunatic Witchhunter







 Galas wrote:
...Like deep striking. A rule that was only used when people could negate the bad outcomes to a point were it was worth it. And thats the thing many people when they talk about old rules never mention. All those "Things were better! We took risks back then!" fall flat when you remember how people actually played them outside some ultra casual garage hammer enviroment.


I think it's swung way too far the other way in 8th/9th. Deep Striking has gone from "so risky it's not really worth it outside of a few niche edge cases" to "so reliable it's always worth using to guarantee your alpha strike units are invincible until they get to fire", and in neither case has there been any meaningful way to interact with the mechanic outside of filling the board up with bodies so there's nowhere to land. Sure, the technical features of the rules are different, but I don't think adding a perfectly optimal solution you always use adds to gameplay decision-making much.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Daedalus81 wrote:
...1) This now becomes your ability to open up a hole for deepstrikers to arrive where you want them. You now play a risk at dropping into a terrible spot if your opponent has good backfield coverage and you fail to crack it...


Which in practice is extremely punishing to armies that can't cheaply fill space, and irrelevant when you consider the existence of Deep Strikers with longer-range weapons, who just get their invincible guaranteed alpha strike for no cost.

...2) Lots of detritus helps create an interesting battlefield to cross...


Which would be great if any terrain slowed anyone down at all, or if you didn't have armies consisting entirely of Move 16" units that are completely unaffected by terrain, or if you couldn't just use the aforementioned perfectly-reliable Deep Strike to skip walking.

...3) I don't necessarily disagree, but...

The old system was highly punishing to some armies and not others...


Eh. On one hand target priority's always felt better to me with a "get out" clause (ex. Mordheim's "if you're up a floor in a building you can shoot whoever you like"), but on the other hand every version of 40k's been punishing to some armies and not others. I think it's the desire to burn the game down and start over every few years that does it, they have to change enough to justify it being a new edition, which often makes them change things they didn't need to change.

...4) This now becomes a planning issue. Do you go for the average or wait in cover to get an extra move in to make sure you get a good charge?...


This one's been broken more by damage creep than the actual mechanics. Go back to, say, 4e, and if you wait in cover to get an extra move there's a chance you'll still be there to charge next turn. In current 40k if you park a melee unit close enough to the enemy to get shot (or charged itself) it'll never survive long enough to get to melee.

...5) Set turns gives you a way to plan turns. And with the second playing scoring at the end of the game the decision making becomes more complex on turn 4, because you need to know how you'll stop them before you get to turn 5...


I actually agree with you on this one, random game length was dumb. Sensible objective-based games that aren't built to run to time and then score tend to feature a sudden death VP state (hitting 16 points in Crisis Protocol, for example) rather than trying to take the worst of both worlds from end-of-turn scoring and end-of-game scoring.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/23 04:17:40


Balanced Game: Noun. A game in which all options and choices are worth using.
Homebrew oldhammer project: https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/790996.page#10896267
Meridian: Necromunda-based 40k skirmish: https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/795374.page 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Mezmorki wrote:

(1) Deep striking & scattering. Deep striking is, I feel, part of your strategic level play about how you use your forces to accomplish the mission objective. Where you place deep striking is critical. In older editions, the fact that deep striking units could scatter makes for more interesting decisions. Where you place a unit and how “risky” or aggressive you are in placing it was a serious consideration. If you got too greedy and scattered onto enemy forces, you could lose the whole unit! There was more nuance and “good ambiguity” in the placement.

Old deepstrike wasn't amazing. Having a random chance to straight up not be allowed to use a significant portion of your army (or to have them end up so far away that they couldn't contribute) wasn't exactly fun. My opponents and I never lost squads of terminators to DS mishaps and went, "Oh hey! What great game design! What an enjoyable experience!" At best, the person losing the squad would manage a hollow laugh while their opponent gave them a sympathetic grimace.

Plus, the risk/reward was kind of all over the place. My warp spiders had to start off dangerously close to their target in order to shoot with their 12" guns, and every inch of distance I put between them and their target added to the likelihood they'd scatter out of range entirely. My swoopins hawks, on the other hand, had relatively long-ranged weapons and could be much less risky. And then you had drop pods that just let you ignore 99% of the deepstrike risk entirely.

I think current deepstrike has a lot of room for improvement, but the old method was far from perfect.


(2) Difficult terrain & random move distances. Similar to the above. With movement in difficult terrain been variable, you can’t calculate with certainty how close you’ll be able to get, for example, to an objective or within range of an opponent. When you don’t move as far as you want, it an force you into a sub-optimal situation and can even prompt re-assessment of the overall “plan.”

Okay, but "re-assessment" usually just boiled down to, "Well, I guess I don't get to use that unit this turn. Guess you'll probably kill them on your turn because I couldn't get close enough to shoot/charge." Again, just because it was less reliable didn't mean it was more enjoyable. And it was especially punishing to slower, footslogging melee armies.


(3) Must shoot the closest enemy unit (from 4th edition). This added a level of tactical nuance and interplay between your units and their relative positioning. By forcing an opponent to shoot at a certain closer unit over another, added a level of decision making to your force movement.

I think there might be a way to ressurrect some version of this, but I haven't loved any of the suggestions I've seen for it. If you bring this back, you have to find a way for it to be enjoyable. You shouldn't be frustrated by it or find yourself ignoring options in your codex because your tactical marines' lascannon will never be allowed to shoot at the ideal target.


(4) Assaulting & random charge distances. This is a case of randomness that I actually don’t like that much, because on one hand, a very lucky roll (11 or 12” charge) can enable an assault unit to grossly outperform. Conversely, an unlucky roll can leave a unit stranded in the open. This is a case where core unit functionality is potentially undermined. Imagine if when you made a shooting attack you took 6” of the range of all weapons and then added a 2d6” instead. It’s a bridge too far IMHO.

Yeah, random charges embody a lot of the core problems with these other random mechanics. Basically, it's not fun to fail the charge, and you probably don't feel like you had much control over that unpleasant outcome when it happens. Needed a 3" charge and rolled snake eyes? That's probably not a tactical blunder; it's just randomness injecting frustration into your experience.


(5) Variable game length - this is a risk-reward element that ties into the overall strategic level of the game. It the forces the player to at the very least consider contingencies. If you press early on an objective, and the game goes long, can you hold it if it’s an exposed spot? If you wait to move, and it ends early, will you miss your chance? Is there a middle solution to hedge your bets? It injects a bit of a strategic gamble element to the later turns of the game.

Meh. Could take or leave variable game length. For squishy (read: non-marine) armies, this basically just created a chance for me to randomly lose the game at the last minute due to factors beyond my control. Like, I know that my scoring units are going to die the turn after they expose themselves to stand on an objective. Oldschool game length said that the game was most likely to end on turn 6 rather than turn 5 or 7. So I played the game around that assumption. If the game ended on turn 5, I lost because I played squishy space elves instead of chunky power armor dudes.

Also, with random mechanics in general, they tend to create a lot of extra dice rolling that frequently ended up either not mattering or mattering in a way that was more frustrating than fun. So speeding up the game and removing arbitrary frustration is a point in favor of using such mechanics sparingly.
   
Made in us
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM






Mira Mesa

I agree with all the sentiments that the old randomness is best left behind. I think the point that extra randomness also drags the speed of the game down is important to echo. Randomly failing prerequisite events like moving through terrain or target priority suddenly means I have to re-evaluate my plan for the turn. This is not a good thing. I already did the planning for the turn and took my calculated risks. Hell, I planned for likely points of failure too. It's not only frustrating, it just takes a lot of time.

In current 40k, randomness is mostly limited to combat resolution and charge distances. You can plan for pretty much everything, and by the time catastrophic failures occur there isn't usually anything left to do about them until next turn. The 5-10 minutes spent at the start of the turn don't need to be redone. My turn is the sum of time spent executing the game.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/23 07:01:18


   
Made in it
Gargantuan Gargant




Italy

I think randomness should have an impact. I mean I would hate the game of averages as the best player and the best list would always win then. I like having some odds to win against a much better list, assuming both players are equally skilled. Can't do it if every result of the dice is near the average, and unfortunately with massive dice rolling and tools to enhance the results or get access to re-rolls it's way too easier to play the game of average or even above the average.

Things that were totally random like Flash Gitz's AP or the old SAG I'm glad they're gone though.

I missed the mishap on the deep strike instead, I've always hated that mechanic and I think deep strikers should take some risks.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 DarkHound wrote:

Randomly failing prerequisite events like moving through terrain or target priority suddenly means I have to re-evaluate my plan for the turn. This is not a good thing. I already did the planning for the turn and took my calculated risks. Hell, I planned for likely points of failure too. It's not only frustrating, it just takes a lot of time.



I disagree, that's a very good thing. Players should have plan B and C in mind.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/23 07:14:35



 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Blackie wrote:

I missed the mishap on the deep strike instead, I've always hated that mechanic and I think deep strikers should take some risks.

Sure. What risks should they take, and how are those risks enjoyable when things don't go the way you hope? I'm all for risky deepstrikes, but those risks shouldn't boil down to, "Roll a d6 to see how annoying this rule is."


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 DarkHound wrote:

Randomly failing prerequisite events like moving through terrain or target priority suddenly means I have to re-evaluate my plan for the turn. This is not a good thing. I already did the planning for the turn and took my calculated risks. Hell, I planned for likely points of failure too. It's not only frustrating, it just takes a lot of time.



I disagree, that's a very good thing. Players should have plan B and C in mind.

Okay, but in the case of flubbing a difficult terrain roll, the rules didn't really support giving you the option to execute a plan B or C. If your footslogging unit rolled snake eyes on dt, they basically didn't get a movement phase. And if that meant they couldn't get in range to charge or shoot their guns, they were just sort of stuck there. You could Run in the shooting phase to scoot them around a couple inches, but that's not exactly a thrilling opportunity to exhibit tactical cunning.

And if your lascannon devastators fail their target priority test (to shoot at a unit of their choosing instead of the closest enemy unit), plan B is what? Put 100 points of lascannon fire into the cultists screening your preferred target?

Saying that players should be quick on their feet and able to adjust their battle plan on the fly sounds nice and all, but I'm not sure 40k really supports that at the moment. Randomly losing your movement phase to some craters doesn't create a lot of interesting decisions. It just makes me want to avoid playing with craters.
   
Made in it
Gargantuan Gargant




Italy

A) A unit killed for a failed deepstrike is enojying for the opponent! I'm not discussing how it should be implemented but deepstriking is a very powerful special ability and it should be risky, like overcharging plasmas for exmples.

B) Plan B is to have other units that put pressure if one squad failes the charge and alternatives to those devastators to deal with tanks/monsters of course, maybe something that can outmaneuver the screeners.

Putting all the eggs in the same basket (a single powerful ranged anti tank unit or a single unit of melee specialists) should be a gamble, not a reliable way of listbuilding. Game would be way more tactical is players are forced to consider plan B or C since nothing is guaranteed.


 
   
Made in us
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM






Mira Mesa

 Blackie wrote:
 DarkHound wrote:
Randomly failing prerequisite events like moving through terrain or target priority suddenly means I have to re-evaluate my plan for the turn. This is not a good thing. I already did the planning for the turn and took my calculated risks. Hell, I planned for likely points of failure too. It's not only frustrating, it just takes a lot of time.
I disagree, that's a very good thing. Players should have plan B and C in mind.
You totally missed my point or you're being purposefully disingenuous. You can't plan for every result of every difficult terrain test. You also don't have infinite redundancy. It's a BAD thing if I spend 10 minutes making a plan for the turn, hit a 1/6 that bricks my movement (which I know will cascade into further failures), so I have to spend 10 minutes remeasuring and planning, only to hit another 1/36 to fail target priority at a critical point and have to spend 10 minutes recalculating my shooting phase. It makes the game take longer for no benefit. It feels bad to play and wastes both players' time.

I'm not even talking about events which render the game totally unworkable. That's a whole other issue. These kinds of tests create the possibility that you hit a 1/36 and lose the game through no fault of your own. Or even the extra turn randomness: as Wyldhunt said, plenty of armies, by design, had to dive objectives and lost if another turn was rolled. The whole game comes down to a 50/50 for some factions unless it's a significant mis-match in other areas, such as player skill.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/23 07:58:05


   
Made in gb
Killer Klaivex




The dark behind the eyes.

To my mind, models should not need to roll dice to fulfil basic functions like moving (including Advancing and Charging). Other games have these as functions of a unit's movement (e.g. Charge = Movement x1.5, Run = Movement x2) and I honestly don't see why 40k needs to be different.

Similarly, units should not have to roll to see how many shots their guns actually fire. It's just a pointless waste of everyone's time.

To put it another way, randomness is generally used to resolve model v model interactions or else to force risk vs. reward decisions.

The old Deep Striking rules are an example of the latter in that they allowed a unit to arrive in an advantageous position with no opportunity for the enemy to shoot them first, but in exchange you couldn't guarantee which turn they'd arrive and there was additional risk if you placed them close to other models or terrain.

Now, as others have already said, it's fair to say that the old rules were too punishing (the risks involved in deep striking were often excessive, relative to the reward). However, the new rules have removed risk and randomness entirely - meaning it's more reliable to parachute down onto a battlefield than it is to merely walk through it at a slightly faster pace.

This is just one example but I think it illustrates a big part of the problem with the randomness in 8th and 9th, in that much of it seems entirely disconnected from valuable abilities - so that models are punished for trying to perform the most basic functions, but not for attempting risky manoeuvres.


Wyldhunt wrote:

Old deepstrike wasn't amazing. Having a random chance to straight up not be allowed to use a significant portion of your army (or to have them end up so far away that they couldn't contribute) wasn't exactly fun. My opponents and I never lost squads of terminators to DS mishaps and went, "Oh hey! What great game design! What an enjoyable experience!" At best, the person losing the squad would manage a hollow laugh while their opponent gave them a sympathetic grimace.


See, this is one of the things I would think Mortal Wounds would be well-suited for. You could use something similar to the old deep striking rules, except that if a deep striking unit lands in terrain or in enemy units it takes some Mortal Wounds and is shunted into the nearest unoccupied space, rather than being killed outright.


Wyldhunt wrote:

I think there might be a way to ressurrect some version of this, but I haven't loved any of the suggestions I've seen for it. If you bring this back, you have to find a way for it to be enjoyable. You shouldn't be frustrated by it or find yourself ignoring options in your codex because your tactical marines' lascannon will never be allowed to shoot at the ideal target.


Might it be better to do this as a form of cover rules (similar to how shooting through units in 5th granted the units behind them a 4+ cover save)?

So you can shoot at whatever you want but if you're shooting through other units then you'll incur a significant to-hit penalty or something. Probably with exceptions for Vehicles, Monsters and the like (which are usually too large to hide in this way).

It would help keep the options in the hands of the players and might also encourage more movement (to help get an angle past screening units).

 the_scotsman wrote:
Yeah, when i read the small novel that is the Death Guard unit options and think about resolving the attacks from a melee-oriented min size death guard squad, the thing that springs to mind is "Accessible!"

 Argive wrote:
GW seems to have a crystal ball and just pulls hairbrained ideas out of their backside for the most part.


 Andilus Greatsword wrote:

"Prepare to open fire at that towering Wraithknight!"
"ARE YOU DAFT MAN!?! YOU MIGHT HIT THE MEN WHO COME UP TO ITS ANKLES!!!"


Akiasura wrote:
I hate to sound like a serial killer, but I'll be reaching for my friend occam's razor yet again.


 insaniak wrote:

You're not. If you're worried about your opponent using 'fake' rules, you're having fun the wrong way. This hobby isn't about rules. It's about buying Citadel miniatures.

Please report to your nearest GW store for attitude readjustment. Take your wallet.
 
   
Made in us
Shadowy Grot Kommittee Memba






I have an extremely difficult time seeing how increasing the amount of randomness in a game system increases the amount of decision-making that you as a player get to make.

I can see some types of randomness like deep strike scatter introducing a 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' element but the main problem is it was so massively cheapened by the fact that it included a 'your whole unit is instantly wiped out' and deep strike was perma-broken for like 60% of units that used it (melee units) for the entirety of third through 7th edition.

Other things, like damage tables that include results of 'your target instantaneously ker-splodes' and 'your unsaved wound does basially nothing' also definitely definitely do not increase decision-making.

thats not always a bad thing imo. Some of us want a more casual, goofy game experience where the rules are a system to 'see what happens' and not every game is a chess-style battle of wits where you have to execute a rigid battle strategy every game.

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





My two cents about difficult terrain tests and deep striking:

Most of my 40K battles were played in 3rd with Cityfight rules at my friend's home. The ENTIRE board was filled with buildings (most intact and just a few ruins) so you had to make a LOT of difficult terrain tests with your infantry.

How did it all work out? Did I lose a battle because of a failed terrain test? Or did my opponent? No, not a single time.
Every time you get lucky there are also incidents where you fail.

Who managed to wreck the tank treads of his Land Raider on a bush? Yes, I did. My opponent did as well and it was a good reason to have a laugh at that ridiculous situation.

I had the habit for deepstriking my two NL Raptor squads on roof tops. Very often they landed perfectly and proceeded to wreck tanks moving in alleys below them with their special weapons in ONE turn. This was a VERY powerful ability and to make it even more reliable would have meant that the Raptors were too cheap compared to their offensive capabilities.

Later I played a mono Nurgle list in 5th. The WHOLE army arrived via dangerous deepstriking rules! If you don't like it, don't play the faction. Period.

So you might ask me now how often did my GUO fail the deepstrike? Once and as punishment the opponent was allowed to place him on the battlefield which meant he didn't contribute at all. But what about my Soul grinder in the same battle? He landed PERFECTLY at the board edge (balls of steel! ) and wiped the opponent from an objective with ease.

Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes not. It's a game with dice after all and to try and make each faction play the same sucks the joy out of it.
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





I may have a narrower perspective on this, but I come from a group that has tweaked the rules since 5th to play our own rule set. I haven't played any edition since, but I still have some observations.

Random charge/assault distances. Makes little sense to me, unless the range is narrowed. Random movement in difficult terrain makes complete sense though. How sticky IS that mud? We roll 2 dice and choose the higher for each 6" increment of difficult terrain. If we call it very difficult, just roll 1 die. Sometimes we have extremely difficult terrain such as a swift river or razor wire and we roll 2D6 and use the lower result. Unknown variables like this should be in a wargame, whether it's a historical recreation or a sci-fantasy romp.

I've seen many say there is a great deal to becoming a good player in modern 40K. I don't doubt that, but it seems to have turned into more of a 3D collectible card game than a wargame, emphasizing auras, stratagems and other ways to boost the performance of units and relegating classic tactical maneuver to secondary status. That is completely viable if that is what someone wants in a game. It is absolutely not what I want in a war game.

Deep Strike was too punitive in the past, so we found the solution was to decrease the risk, not remove it entirely. I find it strange that an airborne or teleporting unit can land with absolute precision but must maintain an arbitrary distance from an enemy unit. Sure, it's an attempt to balance a game mechanic. It's just a bad attempt.

The removal of vehicle facings is a terrible idea. Some believe that too many arguments arose and it doesn't add enough to the game to bother with at the scale of models involved. Removal of facings because of this is like punishing everyone for the sins of outliers. This game is the perfect scale for facings to matter if you want actual tactics to have any relevancy when dealing with vehicles. Shooting at some hormagants dashing between buildings with your Russ's opposite side sponson while you clamber through trees is an abomination to any war gaming much less common sense.

The fact that GW made vehicles giant meat sacks indistinguishable from monsters was a poor move too. That at least could be mitigated somewhat if facings were still allowed with variant armor saves and so forth, but no. Sorry folks, vehicles don't act at all like animals. At all. GW said they are both large so they are the same. Duh. Again, if the game isn't concerned with any intuitive mechanics or realistic interactions and finds other ways to challenge the players, that is perfectly fine if that's your jam. No thank you. And please, spare me the railing against realism since the game has fungal hooligans, killer robots and magical space elves. That isn't and never was the point.

Having a breakdown on AP for close combat weapons may make sense but again, on the company-ish level scale that is 40K I find it unnecessary. We prefer power weapons vs not with a few wrinkles in between; no need to bog down the game in minutia.

Armor facings are not minutia.

TLDR - everyone needs to decide what is important to their own playing experience and go from there. Sometimes it depends on factors beyond their control, whether it be common opponents, financial or geographic constraints or whatever. It's up to each person to to make the game enjoyable enough for themselves or move on to something else. It is after all, just a game.

   
Made in us
Veteran Knight Baron in a Crusader





Sorry folks, vehicles don't act at all like animals. At all.

I have a heldrake, a maulerfiend, and a venomcrawler that disagree!
   
Made in es
Grim Dark Angels Interrogator-Chaplain




Vigo. Spain.

I have to say that right now the differences between starting the game in a transport, on foot, or in deep strike are quite balanced. Each option has his pros and cons, and normally it depends of your lists, how are you gonna play it, and what unit it is.

Look for example DG terminators, you see them both played in DS and on the table, and the same goes for many more units.

If someone believes that in 9th starting in DS is always the right choice they should play more 9th. In 8th it was always the right choice, of course, but that has been fixed. For me it took a couple games to readjust and I had a ton of games where I was thinking "I really should not had put those units in DS, I need them NOW and I can't even fit them on the table when I want them"


 the_scotsman wrote:


thats not always a bad thing imo. Some of us want a more casual, goofy game experience where the rules are a system to 'see what happens' and not every game is a chess-style battle of wits where you have to execute a rigid battle strategy every game.



This I agree with. One can admit that randomness makes for a worse "game" but it can make for a better experience. But you, as the game designer, need to know what experience you want to accomplish. And as players we need to acknowledgethan many people want completely opposite things from a game like 40k and the direction of it.

Personally, I would like my Warhammer more goofy and random. It can be that and still a much better game than what it has ever achieved to be.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/09/23 17:40:57


 Crimson Devil wrote:

Dakka does have White Knights and is also rather infamous for it's Black Knights. A new edition brings out the passionate and not all of them are good at expressing themselves in written form. There have been plenty of hysterical responses from both sides so far. So we descend into pointless bickering with neither side listening to each other. So posting here becomes more masturbation than conversation.

ERJAK wrote:
Forcing a 40k player to keep playing 7th is basically a hate crime.

 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





Rihgu wrote:
Sorry folks, vehicles don't act at all like animals. At all.

I have a heldrake, a maulerfiend, and a venomcrawler that disagree!


DINOBOTS! MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!
   
Made in us
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM






Mira Mesa

 Galas wrote:
 the_scotsman wrote:
thats not always a bad thing imo. Some of us want a more casual, goofy game experience where the rules are a system to 'see what happens' and not every game is a chess-style battle of wits where you have to execute a rigid battle strategy every game.
This I agree with. One can admit that randomness makes for a worse "game" but it can make for a better experience. But you, as the game designer, need to know what experience you want to accomplish. And as players we need to acknowledgethan many people want completely opposite things from a game like 40k and the direction of it.

Personally, I would like my Warhammer more goofy and random. It can be that and still a much better game than what it has ever achieved to be.
I think the narrative rules, particularly the campaign books and White Dwarf supplements, fit this perfectly. Set aside Crusade rules if you don't like them (though I think they're the best thing in 40k since Cities of Death), since you can play the campaigns without them. The campaigns introduce a variety of battlefield twists that occur either at the start of the game or progressively during it. I've had one similar 5e Dawn of War escalating deployment, where you split your army evenly into 3 parts to deploy one, while the second comes from reserves on your table edge on turn 1, and the last third on turn 2. Just last night we had a progressive one, where you roll 3d6 each turn and any doubles, triples, or result of 7 cause a bunch of penalties for the rest of the game. We hit -1 to saves, everybody loses ObSec, and you can't perform an action if you moved.

Beyond that, the missions themselves, particularly the Epic missions from the Charadon books, have really interesting bespoke rules. My favourite has been Rout on Okharium, where the defender deploys in the middle and is fleeing from the attacker through an artillery barrage.

Anyway, all of that is to say I think 40k is going in exactly the right direction. A tight, balanced core rule set benefits everyone, and the narrative players can add on their special effects and rules. Player choices and strategy have mattered the most in 9th edition. Then layering wacky events on top of that adds more depth, as it creates more challenges and puzzles (though not necessarily fair ones). Or, for more casual players, just more variety and surprises.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Annandale, VA

 DarkHound wrote:
You totally missed my point or you're being purposefully disingenuous. You can't plan for every result of every difficult terrain test. You also don't have infinite redundancy. It's a BAD thing if I spend 10 minutes making a plan for the turn, hit a 1/6 that bricks my movement (which I know will cascade into further failures), so I have to spend 10 minutes remeasuring and planning, only to hit another 1/36 to fail target priority at a critical point and have to spend 10 minutes recalculating my shooting phase. It makes the game take longer for no benefit. It feels bad to play and wastes both players' time.


All the combat mechanics in 40K are exactly the same way so this complaint makes no sense. You can just as easily flub a shooting attack that you expected to eliminate a key unit and then have to 'spend 10 minutes recalculating [your] shooting phase'. Would you prefer if combat was perfectly predictable too, or is this dislike for randomness just really selective?

In any case, most games nowadays are also moving away from this idea of being able to plan for 10 minutes, then mindlessly execute 30 minutes of gameplay with perfect coordination and no opportunity for the enemy to respond or for it to fail or in any way force you to adapt. It makes for dull gameplay.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
And on that note, I find 9th Ed really leans too hard in the direction of everything being driven by listbuilding, with the turn structure being a part of that.

The core design paradigm of very simple core rules, with complexity coming from the codices, means that the core rules offer less opportunity for tactics, and more of the decision space comes from the army composition. And if my army composition makes for a bad match-up, it's a real struggle.

So, I put together a list, I build a strategy around that list, my options on the board are based on stratagems and abilities derived from that list, and I basically just play the list as conceived. Optimizing units typically isn't that hard (no more tough decisions like whether to reposition a unit that can't move and shoot, or how aggressive to be with Deep Strike); it's more about checkboxes like screening out deep strike and looking for optimal matchups. And on any given turn, I'm basically figuring out how to do the most damage or score the most points this turn, and then I just do it.

I understand the subjective dislike for randomness- not everyone is looking for Clausewitzian friction. But the combination of list-based strategy and the IGOUGO pendulum swings means I've seen a bunch of games play out the same way, both players taking their 30 minute impulses to execute pre-arranged plans as best they can.

If people want to feel like they're fighting the opponent more than fighting the dice, I'd really like to see more interactivity, and more opportunity for reaction and counterplay.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/09/23 19:14:05


   
Made in es
[DCM]
Secret Inquisitorial Eldar Xenexecutor






your mind

Sustained fire dice… good.

D3 damage weapons? Less so.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 catbarf wrote:
 DarkHound wrote:
You totally missed my point or you're being purposefully disingenuous. You can't plan for every result of every difficult terrain test. You also don't have infinite redundancy. It's a BAD thing if I spend 10 minutes making a plan for the turn, hit a 1/6 that bricks my movement (which I know will cascade into further failures), so I have to spend 10 minutes remeasuring and planning, only to hit another 1/36 to fail target priority at a critical point and have to spend 10 minutes recalculating my shooting phase. It makes the game take longer for no benefit. It feels bad to play and wastes both players' time.


All the combat mechanics in 40K are exactly the same way so this complaint makes no sense. You can just as easily flub a shooting attack that you expected to eliminate a key unit and then have to 'spend 10 minutes recalculating [your] shooting phase'. Would you prefer if combat was perfectly predictable too, or is this dislike for randomness just really selective?

The difference is in what the randomness adds to the game. Having randomness in attack resolution makes it less obvious how your units clashing will pan out. Without it, I'd be able to look at your rhino and say, "Okay, I need exactly X dark reaper shots to kill that unit." And by extension, those who are good at mathing things out would be able to glance at two armies and pretty much figure out how the game is going to go at a glance. Thanks to random attack resolution, I can't estimate how many dark reapers I'll need to kill your rhino, but the dice might fail me thus leaving your rhino alive to score an objective or charge one of my shooting units thus changing the flow of the game. The randomness in attack resolution adds uncertainty in a way that makes the game more interesting. Plus, it lets the dice serve as arbiter in deciding whether my ninja space elves are badass enough to kill your power-armored transhuman rather than making that question a binary "yes" or "no." Thanks to randomness, sometimes my banshee will kill your vanguard vet, and sometimes your vanguard vet will kill my banshee.

Rolling snake eyes while trying to move out of a crater doesn't really do that. It adds uncertainty, sure. But not in a way that many of us find satisfying. Like, your space marines got stuck trying to walk up a pile of dirt. Why? What about this crater was so daunting that your superhuman space knights in Iron Man suits couldn't figure out how to walk out of it? And why were they suddenly able to do so without issue on your following turn? The randomness here detracts from the story rather than adding to it. Compare this to the current rules for difficult terrain that just says, "Yeah, you're going to move less quickly through difficult terrain, but you're not going to get stuck moving a single inch." So narratively, the randomness isn't doing us any favors.

And then mechanically, that flubbed difficult terrain roll basically translates to, "You're not allowed to use this unit this turn." It adds uncertainty, but it doesn't add interesting decisions or interesting story telling. In fact, it retroactively takes away decisions from your experience. You chose to move your unit out of the crater towards the enemy to bring their weapons into range? The difficult terrain roll means that you don't get to act on that decision. And, as you can imagine, this can be frustrating. Frustration isn't a thing you should be trying to add to your players' game experience.


I understand the subjective dislike for randomness- not everyone is looking for Clausewitzian friction. But the combination of list-based strategy and the IGOUGO pendulum swings means I've seen a bunch of games play out the same way, both players taking their 30 minute impulses to execute pre-arranged plans as best they can.

If people want to feel like they're fighting the opponent more than fighting the dice, I'd really like to see more interactivity, and more opportunity for reaction and counterplay.

This I can agree with. However, randomly failing a difficult terrain test (or losing a unit to deepstrike or failing a charge) doesn't really create more opportunity for reactions and counterplay. So I find your objective agreeable, but adding randomness for its own sake doesn't seem like the way to achieve that objective.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 amanita wrote:

Unknown variables like this should be in a wargame, whether it's a historical recreation or a sci-fantasy romp.

But why though? The italics on the word wargame make me think you're suggesting that the random stickyness of mud is self-evidently a good thing to represent mechanically. For me, just how sticky the mud is is on the list of things I could roll for but don't want to. I don't want to roll for each guardsman in my army to see if their stomach is disagreeing with them that day. I don't want to roll to see how many bullets in my stubber are duds. I don't want to roll to see how many of my guardsmen wear glasses and how many of them lost their glasses in the last fight. And I don't really feel like randomly determining mud viscosity every time I walk through it. Abstracting it to, "Hey, you move a couple inches slower through this terrain because it's some amount of sticky," is preferable.


The removal of vehicle facings is a terrible idea. Some believe that too many arguments arose and it doesn't add enough to the game to bother with at the scale of models involved. Removal of facings because of this is like punishing everyone for the sins of outliers. This game is the perfect scale for facings to matter if you want actual tactics to have any relevancy when dealing with vehicles. Shooting at some hormagants dashing between buildings with your Russ's opposite side sponson while you clamber through trees is an abomination to any war gaming much less common sense.

The fact that GW made vehicles giant meat sacks indistinguishable from monsters was a poor move too. That at least could be mitigated somewhat if facings were still allowed with variant armor saves and so forth, but no. Sorry folks, vehicles don't act at all like animals. At all. GW said they are both large so they are the same. Duh. Again, if the game isn't concerned with any intuitive mechanics or realistic interactions and finds other ways to challenge the players, that is perfectly fine if that's your jam. No thank you. And please, spare me the railing against realism since the game has fungal hooligans, killer robots and magical space elves. That isn't and never was the point.

I'm going to try to resist the urge to break down this portion as the removal of armour value isn't really inkeeping with the topic of random mechanics. But I disagree with pretty much everything you've mentioned here, and I'll happily defend my stance in a thread regarding that topic. XD


Having a breakdown on AP for close combat weapons may make sense but again, on the company-ish level scale that is 40K I find it unnecessary. We prefer power weapons vs not with a few wrinkles in between; no need to bog down the game in minutia.

Armor facings are not minutia.

"Deciding whether your bullet gets through the metal wrapped around my infantry unit on a 4+ vs a 5+ is unnecessary minutia. Now deciding whether your bullet gets through the metal wrapped around my vehicle on a 4+ or 5+, that's important!" ;D


TLDR - everyone needs to decide what is important to their own playing experience and go from there. Sometimes it depends on factors beyond their control, whether it be common opponents, financial or geographic constraints or whatever. It's up to each person to to make the game enjoyable enough for themselves or move on to something else. It is after all, just a game.

In all seriousness, I agree. And if you're having fun with your group's homebrew rules, more power to you. Happy gaming.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 vipoid wrote:

Wyldhunt wrote:

Old deepstrike wasn't amazing. Having a random chance to straight up not be allowed to use a significant portion of your army (or to have them end up so far away that they couldn't contribute) wasn't exactly fun. My opponents and I never lost squads of terminators to DS mishaps and went, "Oh hey! What great game design! What an enjoyable experience!" At best, the person losing the squad would manage a hollow laugh while their opponent gave them a sympathetic grimace.


See, this is one of the things I would think Mortal Wounds would be well-suited for. You could use something similar to the old deep striking rules, except that if a deep striking unit lands in terrain or in enemy units it takes some Mortal Wounds and is shunted into the nearest unoccupied space, rather than being killed outright.

Sure. That seems like a good way to go. You could even tie the risk of mortal wounds to how close you land. So landing 12+" away from enemies results in no mortal wounds. Landing more than 9" means you roll 1d6 per model in the unit and take a MW on a 1. Landing more than 7" away means you take MW on a 1-2. Something like that.

I'd also be all for creating more interceptor/auspex scan type rules to the game. Like, if we were to move away from stratagems and towards guard-style orders, you could have an order to let a unit shoot at enemy units when they arrive from reserves. Something like that. So just how risky deepstriking is is based on how many resources your opponent wants to invest in guarding against deepstrike.


Wyldhunt wrote:

I think there might be a way to ressurrect some version of this, but I haven't loved any of the suggestions I've seen for it. If you bring this back, you have to find a way for it to be enjoyable. You shouldn't be frustrated by it or find yourself ignoring options in your codex because your tactical marines' lascannon will never be allowed to shoot at the ideal target.


Might it be better to do this as a form of cover rules (similar to how shooting through units in 5th granted the units behind them a 4+ cover save)?

So you can shoot at whatever you want but if you're shooting through other units then you'll incur a significant to-hit penalty or something. Probably with exceptions for Vehicles, Monsters and the like (which are usually too large to hide in this way).

It would help keep the options in the hands of the players and might also encourage more movement (to help get an angle past screening units).

Sounds good to me. Definitely something I'd be willing to try out.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/23 22:38:07


 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Annandale, VA

Wyldhunt wrote:
Rolling snake eyes while trying to move out of a crater doesn't really do that. It adds uncertainty, sure. But not in a way that many of us find satisfying. Like, your space marines got stuck trying to walk up a pile of dirt. Why? What about this crater was so daunting that your superhuman space knights in Iron Man suits couldn't figure out how to walk out of it? And why were they suddenly able to do so without issue on your following turn? The randomness here detracts from the story rather than adding to it. Compare this to the current rules for difficult terrain that just says, "Yeah, you're going to move less quickly through difficult terrain, but you're not going to get stuck moving a single inch." So narratively, the randomness isn't doing us any favors.

And then mechanically, that flubbed difficult terrain roll basically translates to, "You're not allowed to use this unit this turn." It adds uncertainty, but it doesn't add interesting decisions or interesting story telling. In fact, it retroactively takes away decisions from your experience. You chose to move your unit out of the crater towards the enemy to bring their weapons into range? The difficult terrain roll means that you don't get to act on that decision. And, as you can imagine, this can be frustrating. Frustration isn't a thing you should be trying to add to your players' game experience.


From a narrative perspective, all I can say to the idea that a unit just getting bogged down in unknown terrain for no particular reason is somehow unrealistic is 'go read some AARs'. That kind of stuff happens all the time in warfare; from false contacts to immobilization to plain old friction. Sometimes troops just don't do what you expect them to, particularly in unfamiliar territory with short sight lines.

From a mechanical perspective, I don't see anything particularly unique about a difficult terrain roll compared to any other test with possibility of failure- your unit is just as worthless if you have it walk out of cover unimpeded, target the enemy, and whiff all your shots. That isn't adding interesting decisions or storytelling either (and I mean, if you can tell the story of how your squad somehow missed every shot, why not how they got spooked by a ghost contact on auspex?), and can be plenty frustrating too. Any mechanic with a chance for failure may inevitably be frustrating if you fail severely. That's just the nature of the beast as far as randomness is concerned; a game designer shouldn't be trying to coddle players by removing all chance of failure. As long as you have the choice to mitigate that randomness (avoid difficult terrain, don't DS close to the enemy, prioritize likely-successful shooting), assuming greater risk in the hopes of gaining an advantage is on you.

Like I said, I recognize that the sort of experience most 40K players are going for is a game, not a wargame, and they want their challenge to come solely from the opponent. That's why I think more opportunity for reaction and counterplay is a better approach for 40K as it currently stands than adding more chance for failure within an uncontested turn. But if you look at something like Epic or BFG, the possibility for a unit to fail to behave as you expected is a key part of the game, and removing those mechanics to avoid frustrating players with a low tolerance for risk would make those games worse. FWIW I'm not a huge fan of difficult terrain tests and am plenty fine with games that just have you halve movement in terrain; my point is more that if you take the 'frustration is bad' principle to its ultimate conclusion you get a deterministic and, IMO, very dull game.

(Also, not to put words in your mouth, but I usually see a lot more wailing and gnashing of teeth over target priority tests or difficult terrain tests than I do over random advance distances and random charge rolls, despite the latter I find being by far the most impactful of any of these mechanics. And if you can't rationalize a unit getting bogged down in cover, what's the rationale when you roll a 2 on a 4" charge and sit there twiddling your thumbs?)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/23 23:02:18


   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





There's a difference between terrain always bogging a tank down and sometimes bogging a tank down. Tanks are made to handle difficult terrain. Only in exceptional conditions or driver screw ups do they falter.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







The nicest version of the dangerous terrain test that I've seen so far is in Wyrd's The Other Side, because of a combination of factors.
Part 1: The dangerous terrain test is a random test (the game uses card flips for random tests)
Part 2: The other player performs the card flip, and gets to use any of their card flip manipulation rules that they want to use on it.
Part 3: For the most part, most of the time, you can avoid the random element by moving cautiously.

Which gets you the really nice result: Why did something terrible happen? Maybe it was bad luck, maybe the other side (or someone else) helped make that area more dangerous.

--

As a Chaos Demons player, if you told me "You can deep strike within 6" if you're willing to make a D6 roll for each model in your unit, for each 1 the unit suffers a mortal wound"... The troops are cheap enough that taking 14% bigger units won't be an issue, and there are enough multiple-wound units that won't care. Not to mention, all of the things with more than 10 wounds which would just laugh at "Roll a d6 to avoid losing a single wound".

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




 catbarf wrote:

From a narrative perspective, all I can say to the idea that a unit just getting bogged down in unknown terrain for no particular reason is somehow unrealistic is 'go read some AARs'. That kind of stuff happens all the time in warfare; from false contacts to immobilization to plain old friction. Sometimes troops just don't do what you expect them to, particularly in unfamiliar territory with short sight lines.

I'm not saying that no one ever gets stuck in a hole in war. I'm saying that super soldiers getting stuck in a waist-high hole seems pretty odd and doesn't contribute to my enjoyment of the game. Rules that give you a flat penalty to your Movement when walking through difficult terrain are preferable (to me) to difficult terrain tests because the former acknowledges the fantasy of fighting on movement-hindering terrain while the latter can basically prevent you from using your units. Like, if you're playing Star Craft, you probably don't want some of your selected units to randomly not do what you tell them to because it's realistic to have static on the coms or whatever.


From a mechanical perspective, I don't see anything particularly unique about a difficult terrain roll compared to any other test with possibility of failure- your unit is just as worthless if you have it walk out of cover unimpeded, target the enemy, and whiff all your shots. That isn't adding interesting decisions or storytelling either (and I mean, if you can tell the story of how your squad somehow missed every shot, why not how they got spooked by a ghost contact on auspex?), and can be plenty frustrating too. Any mechanic with a chance for failure may inevitably be frustrating if you fail severely. That's just the nature of the beast as far as randomness is concerned; a game designer shouldn't be trying to coddle players by removing all chance of failure. As long as you have the choice to mitigate that randomness (avoid difficult terrain, don't DS close to the enemy, prioritize likely-successful shooting), assuming greater risk in the hopes of gaining an advantage is on you.

The big difference here is that that a difficult terrain test, assuming it has the potential to matter at all, has between a 1/6th and 5/6th chance of screwing you over while shooting tends to involve rolling a lot more dice. If my guardian blob fires 40 shots and doesn't manage to inflict a single wound, it challenges my suspension of disbelief, but it's also extremely unlikely to happen. My chances of rolling snake eyes on a dt test are 1/36, and I might not even need to roll *that* badly to be prevented from using my unit for a turn.

Plus, see my point above about randomness in attack resolution creating uncertainty that is beneficial to the game. Knowing that my banshees might flub their attacks against your marines makes the game more interesting. My banshees not being allowed to attack your marines because mud is frustrating and anti-climactic and reduces the number of interesting decisions I get to make. There's also something to be said for the visceral feeling of getting to make an attack and having it fail (especially if it fails due to defenses my opponent has invested in) versus not being allowed to attempt that attack at all.

Flubbing a round of shooting is not the same as flubbing a difficult terrain test.


Like I said, I recognize that the sort of experience most 40K players are going for is a game, not a wargame, and they want their challenge to come solely from the opponent. That's why I think more opportunity for reaction and counterplay is a better approach for 40K as it currently stands than adding more chance for failure within an uncontested turn.

Agreed. Difficult terrain tests are a great example of a chance for failure that results in an uncontested turn.


But if you look at something like Epic or BFG, the possibility for a unit to fail to behave as you expected is a key part of the game, and removing those mechanics to avoid frustrating players with a low tolerance for risk would make those games worse. FWIW I'm not a huge fan of difficult terrain tests and am plenty fine with games that just have you halve movement in terrain; my point is more that if you take the 'frustration is bad' principle to its ultimate conclusion you get a deterministic and, IMO, very dull game.

If you take any sentiment to an extreme, you're likely to end up with a bad game. I'm saying that some of the specific examples being discussed in this thread add frustration to the game and don't add enough benefits to offset that downside. Difficult terrain tests and oldschool deepstrike weren't worth their downsides, basically.


(Also, not to put words in your mouth, but I usually see a lot more wailing and gnashing of teeth over target priority tests or difficult terrain tests than I do over random advance distances and random charge rolls, despite the latter I find being by far the most impactful of any of these mechanics. And if you can't rationalize a unit getting bogged down in cover, what's the rationale when you roll a 2 on a 4" charge and sit there twiddling your thumbs?)

As I've said above, random charges are also a bad mechanic, and I'd be all for making advance distances a flat value rather than a random one. It's fairly rare for an advance roll to make or break a turn, but it's kind of lame when it does matter and you roll a 1. To me, this says that removing the randomness of advance rolls would probably be good game design.

EDIT: It's also maybe worth mentioning that a lot of terrain in 40k used to qualify as "difficult terrain." Ruins, trees, and craters, for instance. In my experience, those terrain features tend to make up a huge portion of the average gaming table's terrain, and utilizing them is pretty important for any army that relies on cover to survive. So when someone says, "Oh just avoid the difficult terrain then," we're probably not talking about avoiding the small patch of craters off to one side of no man's land; we're talking about avoiding most of the terrain on the table.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/24 00:24:42


 
   
Made in it
Gargantuan Gargant




Italy

30 minutes to make a plan for the next turn, or even 10? I'm not sure we're playing the same game.

It takes me 0 seconds to do that, I'm thinking while rolling my saves and 40k isn't too deep. When it comes my turn I know exactly what to do even if I didn't thought about an actual "plan" during the enemy turn.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Galas wrote:
One can admit that randomness makes for a worse "game" but it can make for a better experience.


This is exactly what I believe. Playing the game of averages isn't fun. I think randomness should be predominant in a dice based game (roughly my ideal concept of the game is based on 50% randomness, 30% list building, 20% decisions), it's the endless dice rolling that should be addressed, which annoys/bores the players and slows down the game, while it's in fact a tool to limit or even remove randomness.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/24 07:04:40



 
   
Made in us
Insect-Infested Nurgle Chaos Lord





In My Lab

See, I don’t think a full half of the games should be decided purely on dice.

If I play perfectly and my opponent plays like garbage, should they really still have a coin flip chance of winning?

Clocks for the clockmaker! Cogs for the cog throne! 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





I've still had plenty of "Warhammer moments" in 9th. Removing easy rerolls for characters was a good move.

Balancing randomness is key. Remember those crazy tables Daemons had to roll on in 7th? Or the mandatory rolls on the boon table when CSM killed a character? Those were great fun for the rare random wtf moments, but most people actively avoided them. Yay, I got +1BS on my BS7 character!

While turning a character into a spawn is fluffy it can be totally unfun for many players - competitively or otherwise.


   
 
Forum Index » 40K General Discussion
Go to: