When it comes to games, I like fiddling. It is why, in Real Life, I am a games designer. I enjoy it that much.
So, I started thinking about comments people were making on forums about the ‘Sigmarisation’ of 40k. Not that I think this is in any way an immediate plan for Games Workshop, but if they did try it… what might it look like?
As a first crack, I came up with this.
Tactical Squads are the backbone of any Space Marine army. They hold ground; provide fire support and charge into bloody melees, as the ever-changing theatre of war dictates.
|Missile Weapons||Range||Attacks||To Hit||To Wound||Rend||Damage|
|Melee Weapons||Range||Attacks||To Hit||To Wound||Rend||Damage|
A Tactical Squad has between 5 and 10 models. All Tactical Squad Marines are armed with a Bolter. One Marine may be armed with a Flamer, Grav-gun, Meltagun, or Plasma Gun instead of a Bolter. 1 Marine in every 10 may be armed with a Grav-cannon, Heavy Bolter, Lascannon, Missile Launcher, Multi-melta, or a Plasma Cannon instead of a Bolter.
Sergeant: The leader of this unit is the Sergeant. A Sergeant makes 2 attacks with his melee weapons rather than 1.
Grav-gun/Grav-cannon: If a grav-gun or grav-cannon hits a unit, the unit will suffer Wounds if they succeed in their Saves rather than if they fail. If they fail a Save against a grav-gun or grav-cannon, they will not lose a Wound.
Meltagun/Multi-melta: If a meltagun hits a unit, it will cause D3 Mortal Wounds. If a Multi-melta hits a unit, it will cause D6 Mortal Wounds. If either weapon attacks a target that is within half its Range, then the Mortal Wounds caused are doubled.
Plasma Gun/Plasma Cannon: If a plasma gun or plasma cannon rolls a 1 To Hit, the unit firing it must make a Save or suffer a Wound.
Supreme Fire Discipline: If the Tactical Squad does not move, each model may make an extra attack with its Bolter.
KEYWORDS: ADEPTUS ASTARTES, IMPERIUM OF MAN, DARK ANGELS, TACTICAL
The first thing that becomes clear is that, if I were Person in Charge of Things at Games Workshop, and I wanted to follow the Age of Sigmar system, I would be looking at getting rid of a lot of the equipment available to Tactical Squads – that is just way too many options for a game of this nature. When it comes to special weapons, you really just need something to hurt hordes and something to hurt tanks. And that is about it. Same with heavy weapons.
The next thing I would be vacillating on would be Saves and Wounds. I have a feeling these guys should either be Save 3+ and Wounds 1, or Save 4+ and Wounds 2 (like Stormcasts). The latter makes them more like present 40k (not necessarily a goal, mind) in paper, but with the change to the Rend system I am not convinced that is a good thing, especially when the Deathwing make an appearance.
I went with 2 Wounds for now, to represent their general toughness (as opposed to Toughness), and I kept their Save to 4+ rather than 3+. This was partly to put them in line with Liberators (their nearest equivalent) but also because we are going to have to be very, very careful with the spread range of Saves when (if!) we add more units to the game. Again, something to watch during play.
When I was messing around with this, I did originally tone down the ranges of the guns, but that would favour close combat. That is the next thing I would be looking at during playtesting, and it would need a close look at how the dynamics of battles unfold. Too much range leads to static units, and that is not very interesting. Too little makes close combat monsters king and can lead to the ‘clumping’ of units on the table which cuts down on general mobility as well.
In terms of how weapons actually work, you cannot try to replicate what they do in 40k precisely, and I have probably erred too far in that direction as it is. What you want is to create a general impression, an overall feel, of how they function. For example, the first change I would probably make is to just say that if a unit with a plasma weapon rolls a 1 for it, it suffers a Wound, no Saves. It is just easier (and works well enough if Marines keep Wounds 2).
Using D6 Wounds, we can bring together both Krak and Frag for missile launchers, which is a nice way of maintaining a single stat line for the weapon with no special rules. It is not an awesome anti-tank weapon in 40k, so the low To Wound works, and the D6 damage means you either used a Krak round on a tank or Frag against troops. The only oddity here is Rend -1 against hordes, but it is a small enough issue that I am happy to ignore it.
I have assumed all Sergeants will be veterans, but have not (yet) added their weapon options – it is a complication I don’t think Age of Sigmar needs but, on the other hand, I have plenty of units myself that are armed with Power Swords and Fists… I think people would want to see the option, but it makes a Warscroll for Tactical Squads (one of the game’s most basic units) very long.
As I said before, if I was Man in Charge, I would be hacking out weapon options left, right and centre on this unit. Still, you work with what you have.
Bravery is an issue here. I was going to put it straight up to 10 – or maybe even say Marines ignore Battleshock altogether (though I think that would be better on the Deathwing). Needs playtesting.
Finally, I lumped Supreme Fire Discipline in. This is a very Dark Angel thing and, to be honest, is probably better as part of a Battalion Warscroll. However, I was initially thinking that this rule (called something else) should be standard to all Marines. Perhaps the Dark Angels (as part of a Battalion) get to make an automatic ranged attack against any enemy unit that charges them?
Anyway, that done, the Tactical Squad will need something to drive around in…
Rhino armoured troop carriers are the mainstay of every Space Marine Chapter’s vehicle pool. With an optimal balance of armour, transport capacity and manoeuvrability, the Rhino allows the Space Marine to swiftly redeploy, rush squads into positions of strategic advantage or conduct surgical strikes on the enemy line.
|Missile Weapons||Range||Attacks||To Hit||To Wound||Rend||Damage|
A Rhino is a single model. It is armed with a Storm Bolter.
Heavy Armour: The Rhino ignores all damage from weapons that have Rend -.
Repair: If a Rhino loses its last Wound, roll a dice. On the roll of a 6+, the Rhino ignores this damage and is kept on the table with one Wound left.
Transport: The Rhino may carry a unit of up to ten models. One of these models may be a HERO from another unit. While inside, the models may not make any attacks or be attacked. They may leave during any Movement phase by moving normally but if they do so, the Rhino may not move at all. Models may enter the Rhino just by moving into contact with it but, again, the Rhino may not move in the same phase if they do so.
KEYWORDS: ADEPTUS ASTARTES, IMPERIUM OF MAN, RHINO, DARK ANGELS, TRANSPORT, TANK, VEHICLE
I gave a fair bit of thought to vehicles (probably a lot more than I should have done as, you know, I do have a job and all…), and I started by considering Land Raiders. Even if they have a Save of 2+, they are going to get brought down by Bolters…
Now, that need not be a huge issue if we approach it right. I was going to say that the Heavy Armour rule (which would be common to all tanks) re-rolls Saves against weapons with Rend -. This is already done by some units in Age of Sigmar. However, it still felt a bit off. That might be something to do with other vehicles (just an Armour rule, perhaps?), and being able to ignore all Rend – seems like it could work in 40k. One issue, of course, is that infantry won’t be able to punch a Rhino to death, but some might consider that a good thing.
The Repair rule is very simple and translated from 40k almost directly. Won’t pop up often but it gives a nice durable feel to the Rhino which is what the original rule was meant to represent.
Finally, the Transport rule. Now, it has all sorts of loop holes as it stands but if we were to just have Tactical Squads vs. Tactical Squads (and those are the only units we have dealt with so far), it might work well enough. As we start to add more units, things are going to have to get added and adjusted there. Something to worry about later.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts on some initial tinkering. I have absolutely no intention of doing the full Codex or converting other Codexes, this really was just a thought experiment. However, I can think of all sorts of funky things we could do with Masters and Apothecaries to add synergy between units. From the perspective of a games designer, that could be a lot of fun, and all sorts of rules are popping into my head (must resist!).
I think that this could indeed work as a game, especially if you were prepared to leave out some of the weapons and equipment options available to units.
But that way lies madness…
Well, that has gone and done it. A few people said they liked this idea and I could not stop myself. A whole bunch of more units have been added. You can download them here: Dark Angels.