Friday, January 14, 2011

The Last Turn Scramble

A number of the people that have given up playing 8th Edition have cited the fact that the game has been dumbed down in that there are no points awarded for having enemy troops fleeing on the board at the end of the game. Obviously this is a change from 7th edition and is an example of how the game has been bastardised.

To the detractors this means that you have the ability to flee all charges in the last turn with impunity as no victory points are given up.

This is potentially true for the player who went first and is charged at the bottom of the last turn by the player who went second. They are not required to make an attempt to rally their troops and as long as they stay on the board they are okay.

For those that flee at the top of the last turn (i.e. the player who when second), they do have to make a rally attempt and if they fail would flee a second time. In their case this means a failure to rally will result in an average combined flee move of 14” for foot (16” for Skaven, 10” for Dwarfs) with the potential to go 24” (26” for Skaven, 22” for Dwarfs). That is a fair chunk of real estate.

For those troops with the Swiftstride rule it is even more dangerous. On average a failed rally test will result in a combined flee move of 18.2” with the same potential 24” range.

So fleeing is not without risk. This risk can be greatly amplified if the non-fleeing player has fast elements in his list that can make a secondary charge once the “with impunity” unit has decided to flee. Remember this secondary unit doesn’t need to complete the charge; it just has to be within its maximum charge range of the fleeing unit. Very cheap units are ideal for this e.g. Harpies, Furies, Eagles, single Fiends, cheap characters on fliers.

A lot of people have cottoned on to this recently and you are seeing a change in list design to accommodate these elements. For some however the requirement to change is just too much!

For those that look back on 7th with rose tinted glases, harps strumming in the background, strains of “Kumbaya” ringing out around the campfire – we used to get a similar situation occurring then – just that the boot was on the other foot. Whoever went second would attempt to engage in the last turn points’ scavenge by picking off small vulnerable units knowing that they would face no return fire. Anyone made to panic would immediately yield full points as the owning player had no opportunity to rally their troops. Was this anymore “realistic”?

The only way to really address this problem is to take a leaf out of 40k’s book and introduce variable game length. If you don’t know with certainty when the game is going to end then “cynical” fleeing is far less attractive. But I can bet the naysayers wouldn’t like that either. Again it means adapting…..and learning a skill other than estimating the difference between 11.9” and 12.1”.


  1. Great post! I agree. I have played WHFB since 1997 and think 8th edition is the most fun and accessible edition yet. The games are shorter and more action packed. In 7th edition you could have a full game with almost no close combat action just sniping, positioning and maneuvering. I think GW have brought fun into the game again.

    One thing that has been debated endlessly on the swedish tournament scener where I am active is the power of magic as many see it as over the top in 8th. I think it was much worse in 7th. No longer can you have the extreme discrepancies between PD and DD. In fact, you risk to get little out of your 400+ points mage if you roll bad on the PD-roll. Personally I no longer field a level 4 mage since I have played so many games without getting back on my investment. Roughly one or two magic phases will be hosed due to bad PD-roll. One will be hosed by your opponents Dispel scroll. So you will have a few magic phases where you can get the Big Spells off. Well... if you are unlucky your mage might be dead by then. Magic is strong, but not over the top.

    I like 8th edition a lot. It has made me slowly go away from 40K and fully focus on Fantasy again.

  2. "there are no points awarded for having enemy troops fleeing on the board at the end of the game."
    I've played a 8th ed few games now and this is something we missed completely in the rules when switching over from 7th. We've been counting fleeing units who didn't rally in their last turn (or who fled in the last turn and so didn't get a chance to rally) as victory points for the opponent.

    Oops :)

    I agree with you, it adds some cynicism when you know that you can flee for free in the last turn - but there is always risk involved.

    I've played a few WFB games with variable turn lengths (start rolling in turn 6, games ends on 5+; turn 7, game ends on 3+ etc.).
    I think I prefer this, though sometimes those extra turns can make the game drag on some.

  3. What if you've spent the last 4 rounds locked in deadly combat with the opposing armies general & unit. Every round is tense. They finally break in the 6th and don't rally. They have 2 figures left out of the 25 starting size, and one is the general. By these new rules the unit is neither dead or fled, so you get *no* points for it or the enemy general? (well, there's always the banner)

    That sounds a little unfair, no?