Not everyone lives on the blogosphere like I (and many others) do, so in case you haven't heard, the last 24 hours have given us some very strong suggestions about the direction that 8th Edition 40k will be taking. Here's a LINK to the Warhammer Community article where this is coming from, for you to peruse yourself.
We've already had some hints that there will be a rules delineation for 30k and 40k, though these are currently still rumours from solid sources rather than a design team interview providing the information. Regardless, I think it safe to assume that some change will be coming to the ruleset that 30k operates under. Even if a 'legacy' ruleset is instigated, I think it is HIGHLY likely that we will see modifications to some core mechanics that alter how the game plays. I think we are going to be looking at either major or minor modifications, and I wanted to give some thought to that today.
If we presume that legacy rules are unlikely to occur than 30k will be pulled kicking and screaming in to a brave new world along with 40k. From the information provided on the Warhammer Community page, several of these will have big impacts on how 30k plays, and some much less so. On the other hand, perhaps only the most convertible concepts from these will be applied, in order to minimise the impact on existing publications that proscribe 30k rules.
Lets have a look at what we know seems to be coming and how they would impact 30k, and how easy they would be to implement.
This is the biggie for me regarding 30k and what we know so far. It seems that charging units will get to strike first in combat, rather than empirically in initiative order. This is obviously far reaching for 40k as well such as for Orks and Nids, but in the Astartes Stalemate that is 30k this becomes HUGE.
One of the great pleasures of 30k is that anyone playing the Legiones Astartes is operating from a mostly generic toolbox, with flavour added through Legion specific rules and Rites of War. So even if you are the charging unit, on the whole it will be an initiative 4 stand off with everyone smacking everyone simultaneously. IF charging units do get the drop on opponents in 8th edition, this makes close combat heavy armies like Space Wolves, World Eaters and even Ravenguard MUCH more potent, as it will reduce the incoming return attacks and thus increase the survivability of units.
This as a whole will make the game more tactical, and personally I think it would be a great boon to the fluff and flavour of 30k. Additionally this will not require a re-write of any of our fancy red books or great big black leather ones, so its an easy to implement.
A change to combat resolution seems likely, with a mechanism similar to Age of Sigmar on the cards. This simply changes combat resolution from a 2D6 roll compared to Ld - wounds taken overall. To a D6 roll + models lost overall compared to leadership.
In the current rules if you rolled too high you would have to perform an initiative roll off and see if you were swept by your opponent. In the Age of Sigmar mechanic you lose additional models based on how far you rolled over your leadership. For example, if you lost by 6 dead models and you rolled a 6, 6+6 = 12. if you are leadership 9, you would lose 3 additional wounds.
This would remove 19 man squads being swept from the table because they lost a single model and rolled poorly and being swept. And having played Age of Sigmar, at least in that game, this mechanic works very well.
HOWEVER, there are a lot of legion specific mechanics which operate specifically on initiative for combat resolution and sweeping advances (looking at you Emperor's Children). So this would have to be addressed, again, with a re-write.
I like this mechanic, but I am dubious as to whether it will be incorporated into 30k.
The news seems to be that units will get a fixed movement stat, rather than a standard stat across types of model (e.g. infantry, cavalry, monstrous creature etc). This has limited impact on a marine dominated landscape, but does have implications for the human and mechanicum armies in 30k.
I struggle to see this one being implemented, not only because it requires book re-writes, but also because it will have such minimal impact on the game as a whole that the effort seems barely worthwhile. The major modifications that would need to occur would be to humans and mechanicum AND perhaps legion specific units or wargear such as terminator armour. Not to say it won't happen, but it seems a leap in a relatively homogenous meta.
Shooting and Armour Saves
This is an interesting concept that I cannot make my mind up on. It seems a return to armour modification based on ranged weapon strength is on the cards. Simply put some weapons will reduce armour saves by either a set amount (say +3) thus reducing a 2+ save to a 5+ save, or will modify armour depending on the difference between the strength of the weapon and the toughness of the unit being hit.
I favour a set modifier over a SvsT concept as the whole point would seem to be a simplification of the game, and having a SvsT to wound table and a SvsT to figure out armour save modifier table would not add simplicity (at least to my mind).
I think on the whole, I prefer the current AP system to these two proposed mechanisms. However GW could come up with a way which is superior, I'd rather not be pessimistic at this point. My preference for AP is its simplicity, its a simple check to see if AP 2-6 or AP- ignores your armour. Additionally, the AP value mechanism works very well when it comes to armour penetration and damage.
Again, as this deals with the intrinsic characteristics of weapons, and 30k has a LOT of unique weapons, this would require a re-write of entire weapon sections. This would be relatively easy to remedy however, with release of reference charts with the alternative profiles on them, so not as complicated to integrate as movement characteristics.
This is all the concrete evidence we have so far of what 8th Edition will bring for 40k, and how they might alter how 30k is played, or how likely it might be implemented when considering the practicality of such a move.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on what you think of these rule changes as a whole for 40k, but also specifically how they may change 30k.
Just to be clear, I am in favour of all the above rule changes, barring save modifiers and I think they will work really well with a re-vamped 40k rule set. I am considerably more dubious about most for 30k though.
Well done for making it this far if you did :)