With all the fun of Games Workshop’s new rumour policy exploding in their faces, I’ve been enjoying thinking about the rumours for the next edition of the Warhammer 40,000 main rules that are expected to land next year. While this won’t be a discussion of those rumours I’d like to put some of my own thoughts forward on the game and the things I would like to see. I’m hoping that I can put forward these ideas in a concise and easily understandable format. Firstly, there’d be an automatic win for anyone playing unpainted Dark Eld……. What? What do you mean that’s not balanced? It’s more balanced than anything Mat W……. Oh, alright! I’ll go back to being serious.
And we’re off. I think the first thing we need to do in order to move forward is to consider where we have come from. We can therefore learn from the mistakes of the past and hopefully all arrive in a better place. Way back in the dim and murky past that was 3rd edition vehicles were king. Every man and his cybernetically altered Dachshund threw down with tanks. Come 4th edition tanks were nerfed into the ground so no-one ever took them. We come to 5th edition and the enter the world of Mechammer, most armies mechanise their squads. In my own Dark Eldar force all my squads are mounted on transports, they give them the mobility for taking objectives as well as striking the enemy in a place and at a time of my choosing.
There are certain armies that struggle against the Mech heavy environment, especially among the older Codexes. Orks have by far the weakest anti-tank in the game, at least at range and hitting a moving vehicle can be quite a challenge. The way that glancing hits work makes it harder for the Necrons to use their auto-glance to good effect. That will probably be rectified in their new book though.
With a new edition of the game arriving we are pretty much guaranteed that the way things work is going to be changed. I have no doubt that the new rules will be pretty much finalised, however I don’t think that should limit our discussions. Therefore I share my thoughts about how I would like to see things, I would ask that you bear in mind that this is my opinion and you are therefore free to disagree. I also think GW are likely to hose vehicles so we all have to go out and buy more troops to pad out our armies… but that’s another topic.
I like the way that the Force Organisation charts work in 40k, it does an admirable job of balancing the forces we face and limiting others. I’m not too much of a fan of the current trend for certain characters to make units move from their normal slots to troops. In many cases this comes across to me as a little unbalancing as you get powerful units and remove one of their balancing factors (the limited number of units you can take) and make them the core of your army. You can see this in the fact that I have yet to see an army of Grey Knights that doesn’t have Purifiers as Core.
What I think could better achieve a mechanised balance is adapting the FOC to something similar to the Platoon system used for the Imperial Guard. Rather than the HQ, Elites, Troops, Fast Attack, Heavy Support we move to Infantry, Mechanised, Armour or something similar. Within each of these sections we have access to the standard FOC areas. For Infantry for example you have access to 1-2 HQ choices, thus fulfilling the need to take an HQ, all normal options for retinues etc exist. Then you have 2+ options for Troops. These troops would not have access to any transport options but would have their maximum squad sizes changed to allow you might want more of them. Instead of 10 you could get 15 for example and therefore add in an extra member of the squad to take a special or heavy weapon. You could also have 0-3 Elites and Fast Attack covered in here for flavour.
In the Mechanised Platoon we would see maybe a 0-1 HQ choice that provides an option for a character and retinue with a transport and then maybe 0-2 Troops choices that also are allowed transport options. This would mean we still are allowed to take more troops and the focus on them as the core of the army is maintained, meanwhile we can also take some dedicated transports, but the battlefield will not be flooded with them. I can’t think off the top of my head of a Fast Attack unit that takes a transport so they would probably survive as options within an Infantry or Armour Platoon dependent on if they are Jump Infantry or units with an AV.
Our Armour Platoon would therefore consist of the options for armoured Fast Attack and our Heavy Support choices of the tank and anti-tank varieties. I think you could also change-up the meta game by only allowing 2 types of Platoons within an army. Although that might take things too far and hurt things like the combined arms nature of armies such as the Imperial Guard, although it would certainly serve to restrict the number of vehicles and the games where you end up facing a parking lot.