Tuesday, August 9, 2011

WHFB: More Thoughts

Some pretty good comments I felt responding to warranted a post of its own.  So here goes...

Icebone wrote: What would you deem as a good solution to the disparity between close combat heroes/monsters and magic users? Making magic more expensive/close combat heroes cheaper or what? 

I'm not a game designer/developer and I don't fancy myself one, either.  Most of the 8th Edition magic is pretty balanced actually.  It's a handful of spells that are a bit too powerful and throw off the balance.  So I see the solutions as follows:
1.  Nerf the spells in questions with errata to lower their power.  I don't like this option, but it requires the fewest changes.
2.  Make monsters and monstrous mounts auto-pass all characteristic tests.  Give characters Look Out Sir! saves from all spells that currently ignore it except ones like Death Magic snipe spells that explicitly exist to kill characters.  These changes would be good for the game, but would require errata that changes too much of the rule book to be practical.

Vilicate wrote: Monsters in general don't suck, just character ridden monsters tend to be overpriced. 

Totally agree.  I was a little loose with my language but you hopefully got from the context of my article I was talking about ridden monsters.
It just sucks when it's clear the GW marketing department is begging you to bring a fighty general riding a monstrous mount, but the Design department says no way.


  1. Question:

    Given that 8th edition is catching A LOT of shit for being "lol random" and having tons of matchup issues, would you explain how is better than 7th?

  2. 7th Edition was too far the other way. If you didn't have the best wizard on the field, you weren't ever going to cast a useful spell. If your unit didn't have the best charge distance from what it was lined up across from, it wasn't ever going to get the charge. If my unit could do enough kills to wipe out your front row, I knew I would never lose combat.

    There was just too much inevitability. You could look at two lists of equally experienced players and know with 90% certainty who was going to win.

    The problem with 8th isn't that it's too random, its that its too high risk/high reward. Either your magic phase goes really well and you blow people off the board GG. Or it goes horribly and your L4 dies and you will auto-lose. Wargamers want to minimize risk, so forcing them to play high risk high reward tactics just feels wrong to them and feels "random."

    I am starting to feel like I would like to try to play test the game without the uber spells of each lore, just to see how it plays without the highest risk/highest reward things left out.

  3. Nike: I think you're analysis of 7th vs 8th is spot on, but to answer gx1080's question from my own experience (and granted, I did not play much of 7th edition - law school and all that) but 8th is a more exciting game. I always felt like games of 7th (and even 6th) were just a grind and often dull. The pace of 8th is better and the games are more entertaining. With that, I don't mind the high risk/high reward tactics. Recall the SAS motto: Who Dares Wins.

  4. Thanks for the reply. I feel both your solutions are a bit hard-handed; giving that sort of an immunity would be strange and fidgeting with power level of spells just for a specific target is also likely to lead to odd results. I think you are right that it is not really possible (nor likely) that any change to this can be introduced during this edition.

    As for 8th edition compared to 7th, it does contain a lot more dynamic interaction for the gamers with much more interesting development of the game. The grind comment is really fitting for the previous two editions, the inevitability and inertia ruled the game and, beyond the deployment, not the decisions of the actual gamers.

  5. Just my two cents here regarding ridden monsters vs. wizards. I've noticed in the 8th edition games that I've played the ridden monster characters tend to be a good foil to the wizards' offensive spells. Once the big guy hits the squad which the wizard is inevitably hiding in, the wizard can no longer cast direct damage spells, which seriously limits their killiness. Coupled with the rider/monster dealing enough wounds per combat phase to tie or at beat the opposing squad, you've pretty much tarred up their caster for the entire game. Cannons can still be a problem, but clever use of terrain and ward saves can still counter the worst of it.

  6. From reading your blog I get the impression that you don't like restrictions very much, but maybe you should take a look at the restrictions from a Danish tournament called Giant Fanatic:


    In short, the rules try to limit the effect of magic by not adding your levels to a cast, making the max number of dice for a cast 5 (even for Dark elves), and making mindrazor only granting +2S. Besides this a lot of monsters gets a 100 points discount and limits warmachines to one of each max. They also do a lot of individual army restrictions in order to try and make each army have a good chance of winning, even against a Dark Elves/Skaven/Deamon/Vampire force.

    The tournament is arranged (and restrictions designed) by Asger Sams Granerud, considered to be one of the top European players in the ETC tournament.