Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The differences between warhammer fantasy battle fourth and eighth ed. (old post) Dec 2011
The last article was about getting back onto the painting wagon this one is about the differences between Gaming in Fourth ed WFB and Eighth Ed. Apparently there were radical changes between 7th and 8th ed. but I didn’t play any of the intervening editions so I can’t comment on the intervening rule sets.
The most obvious difference is the internet. But wait you say that’s got nothing to do with the game. I would disagree, sure the internet was around but not accessible as today, nor the quality or quantity of information was available back then to the casual gamer.
Social networking and email is now also apart of our daily lives and I would be hard pressed to find a day that I don’t have one piece of either social media or email regarding table top wargaming. Don’t ask me how many I get for my other hobbys. We have unimaginable (from those days) informational access.
For example the Beasts of War fortnightly “On the table” gives you the latest in wargaming miniatures in hd video. Thousands of forum posts on hundreds of forums on any army you want to play or play against. Another trend is hd battle reports so you can watch how your army’s or your next opponent army plays out, thanks to youtube and other sites like miniwargaming dot com not to mention images, painting guides and tutorials.
Not to mention GW having a set of FAQs online for all the current armies and rulesets. Lastly the internet has provided more shopping opportunities for the discerning purchaser.
One of the biggest changes on the gaming board is that you need a minimum frontage of 5 for a rank now instead of four unless the unit is on “monster” size bases (40mm +) in which case its 3 frontage. On the plus side you don’t have to have a complete back rank just 5 (or 3 for monsters) to get the rank bonus.
A frontage of ten for infantry and six for monsters is considered a horde which means you get an extra rank attacking in support… But wait you say only the front rank can attack… not anymore…
Models in the second rank can make one attack (even if they have more than one attack on their profile) in support of the front rank. Spears still get an extra rank as do high elves spearmen which mean a horde of high elf spearmen in 5 ranks when they don’t charge.
Unless your playing high elves it is down to initiative to see who goes first even on the charge. Again unless your army is high elves two handed weapons still go last whatever your initiative.
Guessing has gone
It certainly speeds up the game, makes war machines more accurate and devastating from what I’ve seen. It also affects charges which will get its own section.
Charging now goes further… maybe…
In the old days you just have to know roughly how far your 2x your units move. After measuring, now you roll 2D6 infantry or 3D6 (take the best 2D6) for Cavalry and flyers and add their base move meaning charges go a lot further basic human infantry averagely go 11 inches, cavalry go 14-6 inches depending on your cavalry. Theoretically… I’ve seen infantry needing to roll 4 inches and fail. You also resolve your charges one at a time which means you get to see if your first charge has worked before declaring your next charge.
Losing your rank bonus is harder now in combat resolution.
Charging a unit in the side or rear was awesome right? It still is… if… your unit big enough infantry and cavalry need a unit of at least 10 in two ranks, monsters (40mm base) need 6 in two ranks. Skirmishers can never disrupt and can never reform to get ranks. This is a massive difference as characters on monsters don’t disrupt anymore, other than looking cool I’m not sure if there is a point to character ridden monsters other than being large targets. Don’t get me wrong I like this rule it makes the larger units harder to break. Also if you have more ranks than the enemy you become stubborn which means even if you do lose the combat your break test is tested on the unmodified leadership, but disrupted you lose this nice little ability. I was going to complain that Skaven don’t lose their bonus to leadership from rank bonus when disrupted which again massively different from 4th ed however Big Mike pointed out the skaven have a new FAQ which corrects that (Woot when Im playing high elves boo hiss when I go back to skaven).
Even if you need -11 on a 2D6 leadership test a roll of 2 (Double ones on the dice) the unit stays (this has happened to me and then next turn when they didn’t make insane courage I failed to catch them by an inch, bitter oh yes)
Character ridden monsters, Cavalry and single chariots aren’t as good as they used to be.
What use to happen is that the cavalry got their charge off, charging in head on, there by going first, murdering the front rank and the unit receiving couldn’t fight back, lose the break test and get run down by the cavalry right? Not anymore… The cavalry might not go first as mentioned above, they are not (usually) going to out number the unit they are charging (unless it’s a single monster model with or without hero) which will make the receiving unit stubborn for the break test and more than likely not break and even if you do wipe the first two ranks out before the receiving unit has its go the rest of the unit will step up and attack back which then makes it most likely that your expensive cavalry unit will be ground down in the subsequent close combat phases. There certainly is a place for cavalry but it’s not the game winner that it used to be.
What it’s not a straight up fight?
4th ed days where we only played pitched battles. Now with this new 8th ed Pitched battle is only a one in six chance of occurring. Which means you should be prepared mentally and have a flexible army list to accommodate the various scenarios. Well four of them are pitched battles variations the two that you have to have watch out for is the tower and blood and glory. Having to assault (or keep) a Tower presents all sorts of tactical problems. The rules are substantially different for assaulting buildings. Having an unprotected general and or too few units and standards makes your army tactically fragile.
Skirmishers can only skirmish
I’ve mentioned this else where but I thought I would repeat it as in 4th ed skirmishers could reform into a normal unit but not any more if they have the skirmish rule they must skirmish.
Shooting at what?
Shooting has become harder, big targets don’t get bonuses to hit, though single models are not harder to hit. Large targets don’t get bonuses to hit them when shot at. But they can not claim cover modifiers either. Not that tomb kings care either way.
Magic is where now?
Magic has moved to after movement instead of being the last thing of the turn. I’ve been caught several times jumping to shooting or even close combat and missing the magic phase. The magic phase is completely different using dice instead of cards to determine the winds of magic. Im not going to go into the magic phase other than read the rule book. Oh well, its kinda exciting an excise in psyching the opponent out, and a lot more random and total power has a downside to it… ranging from losing your wizard levels to losing your wizard and the unit he is with.
This has change significantly. Unit champions are no longer part of the character allowance, the come out of whatever their parent unit comes out of be it core special or rare, and can’t have magic items for the most part there are exceptions, as always. You can now have only 25% Lords and 25% Heroes. Heroes can only have 50 points of magic items Lords 100 points of magic items. This I feel makes them less likely to be tooled killing machines. Mages have had their combat stats dropped completely, though that might have happened in 5th I’m not sure. What this means generally is that that in reasonable small games say less than 2000 points you are only going to get one lord type and one or two hero types and youre never going to be able to fully tool them up with magic items, though there are again exceptions to the rules (as always) horde armies seem to be able to do it, but not the elite armies. It also de-emphasises the importance of characters in general (pardon the pun)
Magic items have gone through a revamp as well you are only allowed one magic item of each type, weapon, armour, arcane, talisman, enchanted and banner, though if you have a magic standard you don’t get any other magic items for your Battle Standard bearer. This linked with the character rules means most characters will not be good at everything.
The killing blow rule is new models with this rule insta-kill with no armour saves when rolling 6 to wound on infantry models no matter how many wounds they have left. Heroic Killing blow does the same for monsters.
Poison rule is new models with this rule insta-wound when rolling 6 to hit, armour saves as normal.
Ouch that hurt
A roll of six to wound will always wound even if its strength 1 vs toughness 10
Terrain or it’s a shrubbery with big sharp pointy teeth.
Terrain doesn’t slow models down instead dangerous tests kill models on a roll of a one. Not to mention the fact a lot of the terrain is now magical and can have serious effects on the game by casting spells or worse and particularly the woods where you do not know what whackiness you get until you actually touch the woods. There is about 50 different pieces of terrain and if you see the word mysterious stay the frak away… just saying…
Breath weapons only work once per game.
Mmmm pie plates
Templates hit everything underneath them. No rolling anymore.
Fast cavalry have a vanguard move, free reform and can fire on the march. As well as feigned retreat.
Stompy stomp stomp
Stomp (1 hit) and Thunderstomp (D6 hits) add damage at the end of the combat.
Fear and Terror not so scary
If a unit fails its fear test it has weapon skill 1 meaning if the opponent has WS3 or more the unit is hitting on 5s. Terror is only if you are being charged or charging by a Terror causing creature if you fail, the unit flees.
Types of unit
There are more unit types monstrous infantry for example who get the stomp rule and can have up to three supporting attacks (if they have the extra attacks in their profile.) Monstrous cavalry gets even funner… impact hits…
Even losers of combat can now reform, assuming they stay, they must make a Ld test at the same negatives that they lost combat with and they can combat reform.
What used to be called unmodified saves is now called a ward save (which is an unmodified save) to be taken after a failed armour save which means for characters who can have armour saves there are two chances to not take the wound normally. Of course there are things that ignore armour and ward saves both.
There is always a chance you can fail a test a one always fails and taking stat tests and your stat is 6+ a six will always fail.
Look at me
I’ve found a reason to take a character on a large monster, the inspiring presence rules gives a general 18 inches for inspiring presence. That means units within 18 inches get to use the generals superior (theoretically) leadership trait.
Look to your shield men!
If you are using an ordinary hand weapon, and shield in the close combat phase then you get a 6+ ward save. This rule does not apply to units equipped with anything other than a hand weapon. The rules specifically say that you can not swap your special weapon to the hand weapon and shield even if you have them. Lance armed cavalry can use it in second round combat, when charging as they have to go to hand weapon in second round of close combat, or first round if charged.
The game is better I feel. Whilst there are some rules needing clarifications (as there always is) it is a much superior game to what it was way back then. Tactically there is much opportunity to try different things. Cavalry, characters and monsters do not rule the field anymore; however they do have their place on it right next to the poor bloody infantry.