Monday, 21 March 2011

40k Alchemy: Lost At Sea!

Today's title has two meanings. I wanted to upload this sooner, but life conspired against me. So here it is...

Any object can be broken down into components. These components can then be rebuilt as something new. Tabletop games have a shedload of components, and the best thing is they can all be understood by humans with no need for formulae. Therefore, these components can be made into many things. It's a similar concept to Expansions, but on a smaller scale. This is 40k Alchemy, where I transmute existing rules into other weird and fun things. And the best thing is, anyone can do it!

Transmutation The First: The Naval Battle

Ideas used: Spearhead, the Attack Move, Flyers

The Rules:

Naval Battles can be played on a standard 6x4 board. Scenery is not necessary, or even normal (although you could use hills as islands and suchlike)

Each player builds an army out of 5 unit types: Attack Boat, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battleship, Bomber. You cannot have more air units than you have sea units, but this is the only rule on army building.

Flagship: When choosing an army, nominate one of your naval units as your Flagship. It gains +1BS and +1 to all armour facings, to a maximum of 14.

The Units: Various units will be represented by entries from the Dark Eldar and Ork Codices. However, all basic points costs are modified to universalise BS within the fleet. In addition, there are certain upgrades that MUST be taken (points costs of these not listed in base costs).

Attack Boat (40 points): Trukk, must take Reinforced Ram.
Destroyer (55 points): Raider, must take Shock Prow and Disintegrator, may not take Fields of any kind.
Cruiser (100 points): Ravager, must take Shock Prow and Disintegrators, may not take Fields of any kind.
Battleship (120 points): Battlewagon, must take 4 Big Shootas
Bomber (145 points): Voidraven, may not take upgrades

All units are BS3 by default, and may buy Targeters for +10 points to become BS4. A Flagship with Targeters is BS5.

You'll notice some upgrades are worthless in this environment. Take my advice and don't buy them.

Ranged Weapon Changes: Weapons are classed as either Anti-Ground or Anti-Air. Anti-Ground weapons only affect ground units and Anti-Air weapons only air units. Weapons are classed as follows:

Anti-Ground: Big Shoota, Disintegrator, Lobba, Kannon, Zzap Gun, Killkannon
Anti-Air: Rokkit Launcha, Dark Lance, Void Lance.

The Killkannon now counts as a Big Gun along with the Lobba, Kannon and Zzap Gun. The cost of all Big Guns is modified as follows:

Lobba: 10 points
Kannon: 30 points
Zzap Gun: Unchanged
Killkannon: 25 points

Gameplay: The game is played using the standard 40k rules, with the following exceptions:

Immobilised: After one game turn of being Immobilised an Immobilised ship will sink, and count as destroyed. Immobilised Bombers count as Destroyed at all times.

Bombers: Bombers make Attack Runs like Flyers in Apocalypse. During each new attack run the Void Mine is replenished and may be used again.

Game Length: The game lasts until all enemy ships are sunk.

And there's your introduction to 40k Alchemy. These rules are not set in stone so if I have missed something or there are still problems I can go back and fix them. All these rules are in a state of flux. See you next time.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

It's the Movement Phase. Should I Attack?

The Movement Phase has seen a gradual shift in recent times. Previously, all you did was move in it. The possibility of attack was there in the form of Tank Shock, but that did one of two things; make someone flee or politely ask them to step aside. It didn't do any damage whatsoever, in fact it was far more likely to do you damage.

Go a little forward, and Phil Kelly writes the newest Ork Codex. This Codex contains the BigBomm, an attack made on a unit moved over by a Jetbike unit. We'll come back to this.

5th Edition. Ramming. An attack proper for vehicles, although Ork Trukks could do it too with a Reinforced Ram, which also temporarily boosted front armour. Again, that's important.

So, Dark Eldar, by Phil Kelly. A large fuss is made over Pain Tokens, but in a way it's not the most significant mechanic in the book. Nope, that honour goes to the prominence of the Movement Attack. The Raider and Ravager could both ram with incredible power, being fast and having go-faster sails giving them S10 in many cases (I'm aware against some things this is likely to kill you too, but that's part of the fun). Ramming becomes viable for Raiders, who before had little use with no Lance once it delivered its Troops.

That BigBomm from before? It simultaneously gave birth to Bladevanes (an attack made on a unit passed over by a Jetbike) and the Void Mine, which is a blast attack with similar scatter. These two units are much more important than Ramming for two reasons. It opens up new possibilities for players, and new choices. Caltrops can be used if you don't need Heat Lances. Should the player shoot or move, which is more accurate and protects the Reavers at the expense of power.

The other reason is more significant in the long run. The Voidraven paves the path for more bomber-type units, fighters and dropships already covered by the Razorwing and Valkyrie. More types of flyers promotes the appearance of more in the future. The upcoming 'Summer of Flyers' will hopefully give me a model so I can use these innovations, but I'd like to see it go further, in the form of Spinneresque new rules for units like the Marauder, Nightwing, etc. Flyers in 6th in some way seems a possibility.

And all this spawned from a little Orky helicopter, that really shouldn't be working, written up four years ago by Phil Kelly (by now the fact that he is my favourite Codex author should be apparent). It wouldn't surprise me if a look in other Codices now and in the future give little inklings of what is to come.

Next time, I exploit the Attack Move by...staging a naval battle with Dark Eldar, as well as showing off the malleability of the 40k system.