Monday, August 15, 2011

"House Rules" Discussion

In the latest Unseen Lerker there is a great article on house rules by Andrew Chesney. These aren’t so much house rules as the rules that are being used at the events run by the Unseen Lerker team. I thought it might be worth looking at them to see if they are worth copying for local events.

It is important to put this in the context of the UK scene. Over the last six months there has been a transition to a single “Battleline” scenario, so this has a critical impact. Secondly, I’m a firm believer that “less is more” in that if at all possible I like to play Warhammer as close to out of the book as possible as this reduces the number of conflicts and makes a TO’s job easiser.

So here we go:

1. No Special Characters

We already play this. It would be great to allow SC but until the real offenders – The Masque, Thorek and Teclis – go it is easier to have a blanket ban.

2. You May Not Enter A Building On the Turn You Reform

Again we already play this and have since last December’s NZ Masters. The “dirty reform” lets you enter a building on Turn 1 and was abused most in the “Watchtower” scenario. Essentially you reform into a long line and then move your normal move into the building. This gets around the rule that prohibits you from marching into a building. Check back through the “Fantasy” entries on the blog and you’ll find a wider discussion. I’ve seen it create enormous bad feeling in games and it is one of the few things I am willing to categorically label “an unintended consequence” of combined rules mechanisms.

3. Any and All Buildings Have a Maximum Capacity of X Models

This one is one that we haven’t implemented here. I can see in an environment where you have Watchtower could be beneficial – ever tried to remove 40 Bloodletters with a Herald? The question is where do you set the model limit? My own thoughts are around the 20 models but I believe then you should probably drop Watchtower as it forces people to take a unit JUST for that scenario. I think that favours some armies over others. Is there a possibility that GW wanted buildings to have a finite capacity? No. The rules were specific in 7th Ed and they have taken them out for 8th. I think finite capacity would improve the game but is it necessary? I don’t know.Thoughts?

4. Post A Reform All Characters Must Be Placed In Front Rank If Possible.

As it stands characters must be deployed in front rank but there is no requirement to put them there post reform. This has led to some players deploying three wide then reforming 5 wide but leaving a vulnerable character in the second rank. Legal? Yep. Dirty? Yes, I think so. Again I think this is more likely to be “an unintentional consequence” rather than a deliberate rules mechanism. I’d be happy to implement this.

4. When a Character Joins A Unit He May Not Move More Than Twice His Normal Move.

I thought this was a rule. I always play that the character can’t be placed further than twice his move distance. Others?

5. With A Big Spell – Gateway, 13th Spell, Dwellers, etc – Character Only Takes Single Wound.

I play Skaven. I have removed characters with 13th Spell and I have lost games when my Grey Seer, BSB etc has been “Dwellered”. I’m not convinced this rule is needed but I’m willing to hear opposing viewpoints. To me it is a fundamental change to the game and as such I subscribe to the “less is more” philosophy. I’m not sure how this type of spell is any less skilful than throwing 6+ dice at Mindrazor?

6. Units That Are Fleeing At The End Of The Game Give Up Full Victory Points

Fundamental game change and one that I’m not comfortable with. There is no possibility that this was an “unintended consequence” so you’ve got to think they meant it that way. Personally I don’t have a problem with the rule as written. Again like to hear thoughts?


  1. With 6 I would say that if the unit is fleeing they give up half points would be a viable option. But that at the end of the game, both sides are given one last chance to rally the fleeing troops. I would be something that people would have to trial to see if it affects the game in any major way.

  2. 1. Fine
    2. Yup - just a rules oversight anyways
    3. No - Well when it comes to the watchtower scenario it forces a change of thinking. Rather than what do i do when they get in the building. What can i do to keep them out!! yes 40 bloodletters is impossible to shift. But can i sacrifice a unit to delay them moving in . Sure can.
    4. I thought an FAQ cleaned that up...??
    4b) ok
    5. Well I think it stops you bunkering everything in a unit. I actually like it. I told Neil off for putting two characters in a unit. Just screaming to be Dwellers. Again i think its a change in mindset.
    6. I think theres a case for those who can't rally on anything but a double 1. As they are effectively dead. but apart from that.. no not really


  3. Well as to 3 I understand the reasons behind it but it just doesn't balance between several races.

    As you say it's fine for say chaos which can put a damn tough unit of 20 in there which will stil be a nightmare to dig out and they'll be happy with a unit of 20.

    If you're a goblin or skaven general though there's not much chance of you even having a unit of 20 or less in your army and if you do it's chance of holding a building against an assault is slim.

    As for number 4 the only situation I could see this coming up would be with say Tretch Craventail and his "Stay here I'll get help" special rule (he can go 3d6" so potentially more than double his movement) but as we don't allow SC's it's not an issue.

  4. I would be very happy to see something done along the lines of point 6. As it is a lot of games tend to be five turns long with a 6th turn consisting of "Well, no point charging, you'll just flee. No point shooting those guys and trying to force a Panic check, fleeing units don't give up VPs". Half points for fleeing units sounds very good.

    I dig on point 5 but also appreciate your counter - seems to make Mindrazor-esque buffs an even better option. Is PIt of Shades counted as a 'big spell' too?

    Point 4 - I don't get it.

    Point 3 - I like that some players don't think around this. So 40 Bloodletters + Herald are in the building? Excellent - one less thing for me to worry about while I pick apart the rest of his list. I think the bigger issue is a giant unit of something dirt cheap holding it which you are probably never going to shift but maybe don't hurt your opponent so much to have in there.

    Points 1 and 2 - cool. Sounds good. Pity about Special Characters though - some of them look quite fun (for both sides).

    How about the IF on three 6s but still miscast on two 6s? I've played it in a small event and found it worked wonderfully (saw lots of miscasts, only a few IFs, put the kibosh on massive castings of the big spells).

  5. hmmmm

    1) As 8th progresses, the blanket ban on SC might become less and less "necessary" as the rules/army books are becoming more fantastical. I look to Storm of Magic as the intent for 8th edition (and some of the rules for it seem really cool and "normal hero combos" that make the SC's look silly). Also with the move from "more magic items" to "more special characters", for the sake of list variety SC's might become necessary....woot another chariot spam SOrc big un shrunken head army...vs Oh wow up against Grimgor Ironguts and his Black orcs. More so if we continue to do the campaign weekends instead of tournaments (which I am a fan of).

    2)Makes sense and I like that we do it in Welly.

    3)Max capacity in buildings is problematic for reasons discussed. 20 Chosen vs 20 gnoblars hmmmmm.

    4)thought that was the case anyway

    4b) YES, YES and YES. No cheesy "ooo my mage in in the 2nd rank" BS

    5) How about a 4+ LoS! instead. Still get a chance survive, but still all or nothing to counter the "deathstar" tactic. However, if your entire tactic is based around your lvl4 surviving = no back up plan = poor list design = not my problem you put all your eggs in 1 basket.

    6) 1/2 points for units that can only rally on double 1's would be a minor tweak that I would consider supporting if play tested in 8th.

  6. 1) fine
    2) pretty much the standard now
    3) Its only a problem if the watchtower scenario is being used, then you get the 20 chosen vs 20 gnoblar problem. Without watchtower I like this rules change.
    4) Yep, never seen that before, but definetly wrong.
    5) Like your point about Mindrazor. I can see how people who lose their characters to dwellers can complain as it is silly that no matter how large the unit they are in they have a 50/50 chance of dying (with s3). But for the argument about dreaded 13th, if you have 20 or more troops with your character you are pretty safe from it. However if you do put your character out by himself or in a small unit, your probably going to lose him. There are ways around it. But maybe I'm just biased. My solution is to allow ward saves generated by magic resistance only. This a) makes people actually take MR and b) you can't really complain as you have the choice to put MR on them. Anyone got any thoughts to this?
    6) Stupid 7th Ed hangover. If 7th didn't exist no one would bother questioning this. Its a silly hangover that some people need to get over, like the LOS issues. Theres nothing wrong with it.

  7. I too subscribe to 'less is more' approach.

    1. Don't use this one. Such a shame, to cut out much of the colour of Warhammer from the game. There is nothing those SC's have that is not counter balanced by thier excessive price and sacrifices made to the overall balance of the list. Teclis, for example, still needs to meet the casting value to get the IF, right?

    2. Yup, never seen anyone pull that move on me. The guys I play with are gentlemen and scholars.

    3. Don't use this one. Seems a deliberate move by GW to remove a limit, if you read the wording they explain how all the extra models try and make room. Probably to encourage larger unit sizes. Not possible to ignore unit in Watchtower scenario as Fujin suggests, as victory is decided by who controls the tower. My thinking on scenarios is to make you take a list that can deal with all 6 in case you roll it. 40 Bloodletters are not impossible to deal with. Expect it. Some scenarios favour some armies over others. If you start limiting Daemons on watchtower, there is no way to make up for their weakness in say Battle for the Pass, or Blood and Glory.

    4. Pretty much played this way anyhow, think they were cleared up in a FAQ.

    5. Don't use this one. Big spells necessary to enforce balanced lists, particularly character loaded 'deathstars'.

    6. Don't use this one. This is an army balance issue - armies with swiftstride units are more likely to net the points, whereas ponderous slow armies are less likely to. Part of having a balanced list is having units which can more easily run down fleeing troops.

    We have a lot of fun playing the rules out of the rulebook, don't see a need for changing anything like this. Part of the fun for us is adapting tactics to overcome tactical disadvantages.

  8. G'day,

    1. Special Characters: I don't like Special Characters, partly because of balance issues for some, but also because the notion that Grimgor, Teclis and Thanquol turning up to every little skirmish seems wrong to me; it's like having Rommel as the only German General of WW2. Having said that, I think it's gotten to the point where you might only ban specific Special Characters, rather than all of them. Probably only half a dozen or so (Teclis, Kairos, Masque, Thorek, Skulltaker, maybe the Blue Scribes). I would prefer a Special Character ban, but could live with them in a tournament.

    2. Cannot Reform and enter a building: Fantastic, keep this rule.

    3. Preset Building Capacity: I would prefer that 40 models don't cram into an outhouse and claim the building rules, but I would not like to see them stopped from using it at all. Given a choice though, I'd prefer to see a building limit ban. I know that you should try to control the space around the Watchtower to keep those 50 Marauders or 100 Night Goblins out of it, but some armies (like my humble Dwarves) lack the mobility to do this.

    How about a building limit, determined by the TO, and any unit that exceeds that can 'occupy' the building, but spills out of it, and gains none of the building rules? Effectively, it occupies the building's location, but rules-wise, the building is assumed to no longer exist. Combat, movement, shooting and magic would affect the unit as normal (as it's outside the building, or some of it is). Once the unit moves or is destroyed, the building 'reappears' on its original location. Mark buildings with a matching piece of fabric, move the model while the 40 Dwarf Rangers stand on it, then replace it when they move off.

    4a. Characters in Front Rank After a Reform. Yes, this is the way it should be played.

    4b. Characters and Unit Movement. Yes, keep it that characters may not move more than double their move after joining a unit. No free extra move for you Thane Oakenshield!

    5. Big Spells and Single Wounds. I've lost at least one game to the 13th Spell, but would prefer to not see them nerfed. These spells appear to be the in-game counter to the deathstars, and are about the only ones, except another deathstar. Keep them as is. Besides, there's no easy fix for Mindrazor, which is worse in my opinion.

    6. Fleeing Units. I'm not sure why they aren't worth VPs. I agree that it's not unintended, but I cannot see the logic in it, and the reason why they changed it from 7th. As a Dwarf I lack the units to chase and harvest those easy VPs (my Gyro is normally dead, killed for that reason), so that's a major source of points for this army evaporated. I would like to trial 1/2 points, just to see how it effects the game. Given the 100 points to win rule, it could change games, but in a good way, as units that would otherwise flee on Turn 6 now might actually fight.

    One thing I think that should be considered is LOS through forests. I've tried to shoot in bush/forest in real-life, and you really can't shoot 'through' it. I'm not suggesting a change to the LOS rules. Rather, I think that us gamers imagine that the 3 tree models marking the forest are actually 103 models (plus undergrowth) and we're applying the TLOS rules on that basis. Makes it harder to cannon things through the forest (exception for Large Targets maybe), but the realist in me would like to see this happen.

  9. I had a big post but it got eaten, so quick thoughts on main issues:

    If you get rid of the god awful Watchtower scenario (get rid of them all tbh, but thats a different discussion), buildings and the stupid rules that accompany them become relatively moot as I agree with Fujin, you just ignore the unit inside. They can lead to some terrible points denial though.

    Big Spells can go either way I don't care too much....

    Fleeing units: I love this change for one single glorious reason: Gunlines are gone!!!!! HOORAY!!! you just can't guarantee you will kill everything with shooting, so people are only using it as support. It makes games so much more interesting...

  10. So what do you guys call it when you're not playing warhammer anymore?

  11. Hehe I wish blogger had a 'like' button or a +1 or something...

  12. RE: Charlie

    I think it's called ETC

  13. There's a real mix of views, isn't there.

    The one suggestion I like is the 1/2 points for units that are fleeing and can only rally on a double "1".

    However not sure it is worth changing core rules for - citing "less is more" philosophy.