Monday, May 14, 2012

8th edition Rules Change Redux - Charging

After being accused of being all kinds of a GW fanboi for my rosier assessment of TLOS, I’m going to be on top of my game for the next rules change review.

No rosy glasses with this one….just the facts, the cold hard facts.

One of the great skills of 7th Edition was the ability to be able to judge the difference between (x-1).9” and x.1” where x = charge range. If you could do that 9 times out of 10 then you were a tactical genius –especially because if you charged you got to go first, could potential kill all opponents before they hit back etc.

The measurement of charge distance including the inclusion of any wheels was one of the biggest sources of conflict in the game – and not in a good way. I was reasonably good at estimating distances but unlike a lot of people I didn’t necessarily think it should be the most important skill in the game. The risk around getting it wrong had all sorts of flow-on effects and was a prime encourager of shooty-avoidance lists (if you don’t engage you don’t get it wrong).

Fast-forward to 8th Edition and the charge mechanism has changed completely. First, striking is now initiative based rather than who charged. Second, you measure from the nearest point to nearest point between units – and you can agree before the charge as to the distance. Finally, the charge distance is now random.

This has changed the dynamic from one where being able to estimate to the millimetre is less important than knowing the chances of successful charge completion and more importantly focusing around the risk of various scenario outcomes and how you manage or mitigate this.

To me, this is a massive improvement in the game. First, because it has cleared up a massive source of tension and second because it encourages skills that I think are more relevant.

So a massive positive for me. I am struggling to find any downside.

Rules Change: A+


  1. We Dwarfs still strike last "HMPH!"

    1. Sigh. Yep. Um. Nope that sums it up really. Everyone improved under 8th edition. So Dwarfs remained the same.

      Don't worry come our army book we will have cannons riding gorillas (with beards) and wielding pistols and slayers driving death cabs and runes that eat wizard! YEAH!

    2. Yeah but now we actually strike back thanks to Step Up meaning that unlike 7th people cant charge us with impunity.

  2. What would make the charge mechanic better would be if charging in you get a +1 to I just to get through the idea that they know that they are getting ready to attack/charge and they have that burst of speed to get the drop on the opponent, doesn't change too much but makes the basic mechanics of mirror matches in terms of initiative more important to get the charge off.

  3. Can't agree more. This change and pre measuring were massive improvements.

    In addition to the above I would like more defensive/offensive bonuses to charging. Spear/shield walls, int bonus to charging can with spears/lances, etc.


  4. You can prove anything with facts...

  5. Definite A from me.
    It removes that main source of argument especially with a wheeled charge.
    It moves the risk to dice probabilities and you need a back up plan in case your charge fails.
    The measuring to the closest point and then having a unlimited charge path (subject to one wheel) is a bit weird especially when impassable terrain is in the way but it keeps things simple.
    To Shadowdancer - you do get the +1 CR for charging which I think can be quite a large reward at times.


  6. In mechanics terms the change is good. No more arguments over wheeling, distances, etc.

    In gameplay terms it's okay, there's just not as much incentive these days to be aggresive and make charges. +1 for the combat res is not much of a bonus for completing the charge, I would have liked to have seen a bonus on initiative for the first round for the chargers. For some armies there is absolutely no reason to charge, they can sit back, get charged, strike first and not have to bother with any manouevring. I don 't know if this falls under the charging umbrella, or is more of a general combat thing, but I don't see this as an improvement.

    Good for smoothing out rules arguments, not so good for game dynamics. Grade C from me, should have been much better.

  7. There is a few obvious reasons to charge.
    Overrun - Only the charger receives this and only on their charge. If you have good situational awarness this is a huge advantage and effectivly gives a free move. Its intimidating when that unit of monstourous cav charges 17" and then overuns another 9" to appear behind your lines...
    Choosing your fights - The ability to gang up on an opponent is still invaluable. Bringing more numbers to bare and overwhelming a tough opponent before they can react is still game winning
    Impact Hits - obvious rule is obvious
    There is a whole lot more reasons to execute a charge just as there are as many reasons to receive one.

    I am happy the difference between a bad general and a good general is no longer 0.1"

    1. "I am happy the difference between a bad general and a good general is no longer 0.1"

      That's what their mistresses say too.