Fixing WHFB – Turns

This one has been a long time in my mind. It will likely be the most controversial of my thoughts on fixing Warhammer Fantasy as it’s a big change to a fundamental mechanic of the game.

Part of the issue with all Warhammer games (both Fantasy and 40k) is the amount of engagement a player has when it’s not their turn. Most players, I’ve noticed, often tend to hit a state of attention deficit during their opponent’s turn. People will start chatting with other people around the area, messing with their phones, or even wander off to do other activities – like grabbing another slice of pizza etc…

The only aspects that a player interacts with the game when it’s not their turn comes down to rolling reactions to the other player’s actions and removing dead models from the board. None of these things involve a high level of tactics. Do you let spell X go, cause you are saving dice for spell Y later? Do you Stand and Shoot or Flee? These are not really engaging. The only engaging phase in the entire game is close combat as both players roll, but there is still few choices going on.

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Fixing WHFB – Combat Resolution and Fear/Terror

So I’ve been thinking about combat resolution in Warhammer Fantasy lately. It’s really changed since the old 3rd edition that I started with. The old rules were vastly more interesting to what we have in the modern game, but were a bit more arcane.

After winning in a combat you could do a ‘wrap around’ back in the days of yore. The entailed taking some rear ranks of a unit and placing them on the flanks of the unit you are fighting. You could also widen your frontage with this maneuver. It made sense thinking of ancient battles. If a block of ancient warriors began to beat their enemy they could surround them to finish them off.

But as with most game vs. reality debates, it did trespass on easy to play rules and slowed the game down.

That’s the issue when trying to simulate realism. The more accurate to reality you get, the more unplayable the game will become. Imagine rolling for every model as if they were from your favorite RPG game. You’d be lucky if you finished a turn of combat before the day was done, although you’d get some fantastically realistic results… 🙂 Continue reading

Fixing WHFB – Multiple Wounds

Short one today on multiple wounds in Warhammer Fantasy. The rule is essentially that if wounded after save attempts, that wound will multiply by the multiple wound rule (2, 1d3, 1d6, etc…). I’ve always felt that this is a bit much. It only really penalizes things on the board with more than 1 wound. Basically that’s anything over man-sized (or Orc sized) and characters. The big issue I have with this is the random element is too high for kill potential. Most monsters are relying in high toughness and a mid level armor or regeneration for defense. Characters typically are low toughness and high armor and good ward saves for defense. Larger than man-sized infantry typically get the short end with a middle ground of save and toughness.

The big issue with these defenses if that you get one shot (or maybe two with Wards, etc…) to save the wound. When dealing with singular wounds this system generally works well – but when you are dealing with wound multipliers, it’s save or die.  This is compounded when looking at weapons that are extremely high strength like cannons which allow no armor saves. Continue reading

Fixing WHFB – Magic

Well, this is it – the big one.

Magic changes in 8th ed. Fantasy have been disliked by many. The system itself isn’t a terrible one per se, but it does have a few subtle flaws that cause it to be vastly overpowered.

It was also considered overpowered in 7th edition too. So what changed? First of all spell casters used to add to the power pool. Depending on the levels of casters involved, each would add a certain number of dice to the power pool and defense pool when it’s your opponent’s turn.

8th edition turned this on its head and made it dependent on a random roll – casters don’t directed add. This is unfortunately heading in the direction of lazy game design that Warhammer games have been rapidly embracing. Winning or losing on random rolls is not good game design. Sure rolling dice is part of it, but there should be a level of expected outcome. It’s why games have stats to begin with. Otherwise we would just play ‘who rolls highest wins’. Continue reading

Fixing WHFB – Charging

One of the big complaints I saw around the various Fantasy boards  back when 8th edition was in its infancy were the changes to the charge distance. 2d6 + your movement was the new norm, and many people HATED it.

Me? I was pretty ambivalent to it for the most part. I can see what the benefit of the change was vs. the old 7th ed. charge distance. Dwarfs – the red-headed (literally for some obvious units) step-child of the charge distance would go an amazing 6″ on the charge back in the old days of 7th, whereas an Elf unit would prance along with a mighty 10″.

In short (especially for the Dwarfs), some races would almost always get the charge and others never got the charge. 8th edition helped change that. Now Dwarfs can charge across the field of battle and perhaps even get the drop on those pointy earred bastards written about in the Book of Grudges. Continue reading

Fixing WHFB – Initiative

Initiative is rarely talked about in regards to problems with Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It’s worked great for years, so what’s the problem with it now?

Simply put – it’s the new charge rules in 8th ed. It used to be in the previous editions that a successful charge meant that you got to attack first. Didn’t matter what your initiative was, that was the pay off for getting the charge. Nowadays it’s almost a waste of time.

You gain +1 combat resolution for a charge, which can help, but most of the time you will win your combats based off other factors (raw stats for Weapon Skill, Strength, Toughness, Saves, Attacks, and yes Initiative; Static combat resolution for races like Skaven; and tactical prowess for getting things like flank charges). Unfortunately most combats are won by sheer stats alone. Continue reading

Fixing WHFB – A beginning

So as promised, I am going to start a series of posts on how I think Warhammer games should be tweaked to make them a bit more fun and to balance them out. This is the first for Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

The main goal here will be to keep the game as intact ‘as published’ as I can while suggesting a few changes to make the game a bit more dynamic – hopefully adding to the balance of it while adding entertainment value at the same time.

The biggest issues so far as I can see with both members of the Warhammer franchise is having too many auto-win things. This can be as simple as auto includes for certain units or auto kill type effects up to the worst offenders : auto win armies / effects. Continue reading