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Made in gb
Tzeentch Veteran Marine with Psychic Potential




dorset

While i am an old player of 40K, i went into remission the back end of 4th and never played again until 9th edition. I understand the Universal Special Rules were implemented and removed form the game during that time, and they seem, in theory, to be a good idea, or at least not a bad idea. however, form comments on threads here on dakka i get the feeling the playerbase did not like them.

what was wrong with them? were they a bad idea conceptually, or did they screw up the execution? surely, having "deep strike" and "feel no pain" rules built into the core game seems a less wordy way than the current version where everyone gets these unique abilities that have the same rules text added to the datasheet, with the same wording on each. I mean, deep strike and feel no pain are still the preferred terms to refer to these abilities , even though no one actually has rules called that anymore.

so, what went wrong? why are USRs so badly thought of? im geniunely curious if it would not be a good idea to bring them back in some limited form.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 11:53:32


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Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka







Good idea in theory, but over time GW's implementation went downhill.

When they first arrived in the BRB, there were a couple of pages of them, and they were ones I think most people would agree with having a common rule - Deep Strike, Infiltrate, etc.

By the end of 7th, though, there were a heck of a lot of USRs in the core book, both for units and for weapons (all in one list, going by the mini-rulebook for 7th I've got), some of which weren't all that Universal at all.

In addition, I've seen people mention USRs that apparently just said "You have these two other USRs", though I couldn't see any in the aforementioned mini-rulebook when I scanned through.

If implemented with some sense and some restraint, combined with some thought about when to just use the name, and when to quote the full rule on the datasheet, I do think USRs would be an improvement for 8th/9th. I do have some caveats on their usage, though...

A, Before implementing USRs, implement a KEYWORD system for weapons, so some weapon USRs can be hung on those keywords.
B, Before beginning work on the next cycle of codexes, look at all existing books for special rules where minor variants appear across at least n different books - this is your determination of what is actually universal.
C, Allow space in both the core rulebook and each Codex for an appending including all USRs in full.
D, Where there is space on a datasheet, include the USR in full. If there isn't space, refer to the appendix in the 'dex.
E, Try to write the USRs so there can be some variation if needed - Deep Strike (n"), for example, or Feel No Pain (n+)
F, Once these USRs are agreed, don't start including variants of them unless there's a very good reason for it. If you have to do something like that, have a second rule present to modify the core USR wording.

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 Kanluwen wrote:
This is, emphatically, why I will continue suggesting nuking Guard and starting over again. It's a legacy army that needs to be rebooted with a new focal point.

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xerxeskingofking wrote:
so, what went wrong? why are USRs so badly thought of? im geniunely curious if it would not be a good idea to bring them back in some limited form.


In my opinion it wasn't USRs themselves but a combination of things.

For instance monstrous creature was a collection of USRs and if you didn't know them you had to check to see what USRs it had and then go look them up

Some USRs weren't worded the best.

And finally some were the same as an other but slightly different. Can't think of an example right now, sorry.

I think a couple USRs could come back very easily. Like for Tau you have "manta strike" for deepstrike. Well just slap deepstrike in brackets next too it to show the generalized name for it. Keeps the flavor best also gives you a USR to tie the rule very easily into a rule your opponent also probably has

I just don't want GW to go overboard with it again.
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut







Some friends and I are going back to 4th edition.

Here's some examples of my issues with the 7th edition USRs:
The ZEALOT USR have a unit the Fearless and Hatred USRs. Okay... why not just have the units have Fearless and Hatred?

The Missile Lock USR was never used on anything throughout the whole edition until it randomly popped up on a Dark Angel flyer, and then was never seen again. Why is it in the Rulebook under "universal" rules if only one model has it?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 12:28:07


 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




I think USRs can work if you can completely define the rule space with say 12 (and certainly no more than 20) terms - and then every unit can just have those labels a necessary.

By 7th however you had about 100 USRs and the system was hard to learn - or even just remember - unless you played regularly. (And this wasn't the end of rules by any means, unit specific rules abounded.)

Rules like Deep Strike, FNP were fairly intuitive.

But unless you play a lot, it was easy to be confused as to the differences of say Fleet, Hammer of Wrath and Furious Charge. Or say Crusader versus Zealot, Rage versus Rampage, Preferred Enemy versus Hatred. What does Soul Blaze do again? We spent a lot of time pouring through the rule book checking up which rule meant what.
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut







The biggest problem is GW forgot their abstractions.

"This guy charges good" was abstracted by a whole ton of rules. Furious Charge and Hammer of Wrath essentially abstracted the same idea!
   
Made in fr
Regular Dakkanaut




USR are like stratagems today : it's good, until it becomes bloated with redundancy and slight differences.
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

USRs were great but poorly implemented. USRs which granted other USRs, multiple USRs that essentially did the same thing but slightly different (this one gives you +2 attacks and +1 to hit when you charge, this other one gives you +2 to hit and +1 attacks on the charge) but had had completely different names, etc. instead of following a logical progression (hey, heres an idea, how about you just make that two separate USRs, one could be called, I dunno "Flurry of Blows (X)" which gives you +x atacks on the charge and the other "Martial Expertise (X)" which gives you +x to hit on the charge, or something like that where the X is the corresponding numerical modifier that you get), etc.

Like everything GW touches it became a bloated mess and the intended purpose of USRs (that is, a quick reference shorthand you could use to describe common rules and abilities without necessitating players to have to reference their rulebooks to check what they do) never really materialized because it became too confusing for players to track. I think the real downfall of the system was that GW tried to pack too much information into a lot of them, where one USR could potentially impact multiple things at once, etc. instead of treating them as basic building blocks that could be combined together to achieve the same effect.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 13:49:19


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Same thing that's wrong with all of GW's rules: Implementation.

USRs are fine, and should be used to cut down on needless bloat and constant revisions, exceptions to exceptions, and slight variations of rules between Codices or even between units within a singular Codex.

But expecting GW to pull that off is, well, optimistic to say the least.

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Other Wargames use USRs just fine, like Lotr or Oathmark. GW just used them badly in 6th/7th Edition.
You wouldn't need loads of them or can keep it pretty simple with rules that are in every Codex (deep strike, reroll 1s to hit, flamers) or at least very common (transhuman, feel no pain, -1damage, ignore attrition modifiers, infiltrate). And once you slapped more than 5USRs on a unit you should realize you did something wrong. Just look at the mess Primarch datasheets in HH are (Mortarion in 40K is not that much simpler, though).
   
Made in ch
Warped Arch Heretic of Chaos





Nothing normally. Just gw doing GW things.... as others pointed out. During 6th and 7th they fethed them up.

and yes, when i have USRS that refer to USRS, that further Refer to USRS, then something ain't right.
the 6th edition rulebook had 11 pages with USRS...
11. atleast the german one.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 14:53:14


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 Daedalus81 wrote:

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First of all, USR's, even at their worst, aren't as much bloat and overhead to try and remember than the pile of stratagems we have today. Even at their worst, I'd rather take USR's than the situation we have in 9th.

Secondly, the number of cases where one USR connects to other USR's was pretty minimal and the complaints are overblown. How many are there? Zealot? That's easy - unit as fearless (and easy one to remember and very common) hatred. Might need to double check rules for hatred. But if you're using a zealot unit you probably have that on recall. What others USRs led other USRs? Does anyone even remember?

The biggest complains in my opinion, was that the list of USR's was just not presented concisely. The descriptions were too wordy and included extraneous fluff detail. They could've broken USR's into some clear categories (e.g weapon/attack traits versus unit abilities) to make the list easier to navigate.

In defense of the critics, they did seem to start off in 7th by saying "let's round up every special rule from every codex and call it a USR and throw it in the BRB." There was a lot in the BRB that didn't need to be made a USR.

But still, flaws and all, I'd rather take the bloated messy USRs than the bloated messy unit abilities and strarategem menagerie.




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3rd through 5th there was the issue of codex wait times being in excess of a decade for some factions, and GW were pretty lax with their updates.

As USRs changed and were updated so the older factions became inconsistant. Templars for instance became a shooty faction when favoured enemy changed from 3+ to hit in melee to reroll 1s, Dark Eldar had a rule called 'feel no pain' that was bore no relation to the FnP special rule, rage changed from a penalty to a bonus, old rules were inaccurately described (i.e. any time rending was described as on a 6 to hit), and so on.

Putting all the rules in a book meant that GW could just ignore inconsistancies rather than deal with updating them and dealing with cases where players didn't have all the (free) updates.
Paid updates on the other hand...
   
Made in gb
Killer Klaivex




The dark behind the eyes.

There's nothing wrong with USRs.

However, as others have said, there was an issue with GW padding out the list of USRs with a lot of pointless crap.

- You had stuff like Zealot, which just gave a model two other USRs.

- You had various USRs that were almost identical to other USRs but with a very minor difference.

- But perhaps the worst offenders were the USRs that existed just to waste everyone's time. Fear was a great example, what with 90% of armies having some sort of morale immunity (or rerollable Ld9/10 or whatever). But the absolute peak of the fetid mound was Soul Blaze! If a unit takes an unsaved wound from a weapon with Soul Blaze it gets a Soul Blaze counter. And at the end of the turn, there's a 50% chance that a unit with a Soul Blaze counter will take a wopping d3 S4 AP5 hits, oh no! As you can imagine, weapons with this USR wreaked endless havoc on the poor, defenceless Imperial Knights, Fliers, Wraithknights, TWC, Necron Wraiths etc. that dominated 7th.

 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:

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 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.
 
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

ugh, I forgot about soul blaze. What a fething useless slog that one was.

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Well I definitely didn't forget about Fear. Yikes, was that useless most of the time. Even at a -2 modifier.
   
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chaos0xomega wrote:
ugh, I forgot about soul blaze. What a fething useless slog that one was.


Whenever 8th and 9th has rules that read like: "roll a D6, on a 4+ the unit gets D3 mortal wounds" I'm reminded of Soulblaze and think to myself: GW, you should have learned from this, rolling dice to roll some more dice is still not enjoyable
Overall the amount of pointless rolling has been reduced though, which I like. There's still a lot of rerolling, maybe more than before, but at least that usually has a purpose in the game. Unlike any weapon or effect in 3rd to 7th edition that wasn't AP2 or S6+.
   
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The problem is GW. If they implement USRs, they will do so badly, inconsistently, and with lots of bloat. If they drop USRs in favor of expanded per-datasheet rules, they will do so badly, inconsistently, and with lots of bloat.
   
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Fort Worth, TX

My problem with USRs is that, eventually, they stop being universal. Armies start getting their own minor variations of the same USR, or have other rules that otherwise change/ignore the USRs.

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The forum has a search function. Check general discussion and proposed rules for mentions of USR and USRs and universal. It's been argued to death.

All USRs would have to mean is applying generic terms when possible and copy-pasting those terms when possible. It does not have to be in the main rulebook and every datasheet can have the rule listed in full.
   
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Killer Klaivex




The dark behind the eyes.

chaos0xomega wrote:
ugh, I forgot about soul blaze. What a fething useless slog that one was.


It was also just disheartening to see rules like that because it would be in lieu of other, more interesting rules.

And it was even worse with random Warlord Traits. 'Oh goody, my Warlord's weapons have the Soul Blaze special rule this game. That's almost as useful as 'Your Warlord can reroll the dice when attempting to pick his nose.''


 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 de
Longtime Dakkanaut





xerxeskingofking wrote:
While i am an old player of 40K, i went into remission the back end of 4th and never played again until 9th edition. I understand the Universal Special Rules were implemented and removed form the game during that time, and they seem, in theory, to be a good idea, or at least not a bad idea. however, form comments on threads here on dakka i get the feeling the playerbase did not like them.

what was wrong with them? were they a bad idea conceptually, or did they screw up the execution? surely, having "deep strike" and "feel no pain" rules built into the core game seems a less wordy way than the current version where everyone gets these unique abilities that have the same rules text added to the datasheet, with the same wording on each. I mean, deep strike and feel no pain are still the preferred terms to refer to these abilities , even though no one actually has rules called that anymore.

so, what went wrong? why are USRs so badly thought of? im geniunely curious if it would not be a good idea to bring them back in some limited form.


USRs don´t have a bad reputation. The problem are GW´s modern 40K rulebooks as they are only good to fuel dumpster fires in winter.
   
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Macon, GA

USRs was at the peak of GW's policy of not listening to players, and it shows quite literally. Things that would make good USRs are things that players quickly come up with shorthand for. Feel no Pain hasn't been an official rule in what, five years now? But we all know what it means when we say "five up feel no pain." Damage Reduction is quickly becoming the shorthand for Duty Eternal and the like. Exploding sixes is cribbed from other games, but most people know what it means.

I feel like you could come up with a list of a dozen or so USRs just based on the organic way players eventually talk about the game.

Now, if you want to give GW a small amount of credit, I think that one thing 8th/9th edition implemented which was nice were super basic universal rules. Things like Fly, combined with a speed stat and some key words for infantry, bikes, etc. basically replace a laundry list of unit types. Even defining things like Aura, Blessing, Malediction, etc. helped. Now, it's easy to point out that other games have been using keywords for years prior, but hey, small victories.

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 Tannhauser42 wrote:
My problem with USRs is that, eventually, they stop being universal. Armies start getting their own minor variations of the same USR, or have other rules that otherwise change/ignore the USRs.


Thats actually how they should work, USR are rules everyone has access to.

Lets take a very basic example like Deepstrike, every army can deepstrike at 9", but then lets say you want to make the trygon able to deepstrike closer, you could then give it a rule (not a universal one) that allows it to use its deepstrike ability but at 3" for example. (Tho ideally you'd just have variables to your USRs , so "Deeptrike(9")".

USRs don't mean you can't have more than these rules, just that the core of your game should use them.
   
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Annandale, VA

 Tannhauser42 wrote:
My problem with USRs is that, eventually, they stop being universal. Armies start getting their own minor variations of the same USR, or have other rules that otherwise change/ignore the USRs.


As others have pointed out, that's a GW thing through and through. There's no need for continuous one-upmanship or inventing new and unique rules for its own sake. A coherent and planned ruleset should have consistent ways of representing similar effects, with some inbuilt flexibility for varying magnitude.

9th Ed has a bunch of USRs already, GW is just loathe to call them that. Unit type keywords (eg INFANTRY) and weapon types are, functionally, USRs. You know that Rapid Fire means double shots at close range and Assault means you can advance and shoot without needing the full definition written out every single time like they do with Feel No Pain or Deep Strike.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 16:24:22


   
Made in ca
Longtime Dakkanaut





Biggest issue for me was a data card telling you what rules you had, but not what the did. Even worse, they weren't in the dex- you had to look in another book to find them (the BRB).

This meant that every single dex printed under the USR system was an incomplete book. I hated it.

Fortunately, this would be an easy problem to fix if they decided to revisit the system.
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka







Given GW's patchy history on consistency in printing things, only having them being printed in the BRB does mean that the wording for, say, Deep Strike doesn't randomly appear differently in Codex A & B than in Codex Y & Z...

Admittedly, a competent studio wouldn't have these issues, but this is GW we're talking about.

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 Kanluwen wrote:
This is, emphatically, why I will continue suggesting nuking Guard and starting over again. It's a legacy army that needs to be rebooted with a new focal point.

Confirmation of why no-one should listen to Kanluwen when it comes to the IG - he doesn't want the IG, he want's Kan's New Model Army... 
   
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The way I tend to describe this to people is that when GW decided to remove USRs they didn't actually remove any mechanics (e.g. melta weapons still have 'bonus within half range', it's just written out in text on every weapon's entry instead of just having one 'melta' keyword), and they immediately started to have the exact editing problems Dysartes is talking about where a bunch of rules that you'd expect to be the same actually weren't. (They've cracked down on that a bit in 9th, but they've also started to slowly introduce keywords again.)

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In responding to Dystartes' concerns RE: editing if USR's appear in multiple books, allow me to quote Dystartes:

 Dysartes wrote:


If implemented with some sense and some restraint, combined with some thought about when to just use the name, and when to quote the full rule on the datasheet, I do think USRs would be an improvement for 8th/9th. I do have some caveats on their usage, though...

A, Before implementing USRs, implement a KEYWORD system for weapons, so some weapon USRs can be hung on those keywords.
B, Before beginning work on the next cycle of codexes, look at all existing books for special rules where minor variants appear across at least n different books - this is your determination of what is actually universal.
C, Allow space in both the core rulebook and each Codex for an appending including all USRs in full.
D, Where there is space on a datasheet, include the USR in full. If there isn't space, refer to the appendix in the 'dex.
E, Try to write the USRs so there can be some variation if needed - Deep Strike (n"), for example, or Feel No Pain (n+)
F, Once these USRs are agreed, don't start including variants of them unless there's a very good reason for it. If you have to do something like that, have a second rule present to modify the core USR wording.


In particular, note recommendations C and D. Note also that the bold for emphasis is not in fact mine, but was present in the original Dystartes quote. Personally, I think Dystartes' list of recommendations for the successful implementation of USR's is spot on. It was so good, I almost didn't post.

Regarding the editing issues on

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 18:32:14


 
   
Made in ca
Preacher of the Emperor






Someone who has better memory can confirm or deny this for me, but wasn't the Land Raider's super-incredible ability to let you charge into combat straight out of the vehicle due to a USR called 'boarding ramp' or something to that effect?

I know the rule itself existed back in 5th edition but I can't remember if it was USR or codex level. All I know for sure is that for a good long while Sisters and Grey Knights were too clumsy to run out of that front door, until they fixed it with an FAQ years later to confirm that only Sisters couldn't do it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/18 18:45:26


   
 
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