Tuesday, May 8, 2012

6th Edition Wish-Listing Month Week 2: The Shooting Phase

For "wish listing month" week two, we here at FC40k are looking at some ideas for changes to the shooting phase.  I have played a lot of different game systems with varying shooting mechanics. I am not a game designer, but I do think other systems do have some interesting features that 40k could use for inspiration. First let's review some basics.

Ultimate Combi-weapon?
As famously stated, don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Simply stated, modern warfare is fought at range. However, playing a game of WH40k is far from any kind of real warfare simulation. And really, the fluff we love encourages epic close combats between heroic characters. For the most part, I thought 5th edition did a good job balancing ranged and close combat. Certainly, every army (except Chaos Daemons) could build a "shooty" list. As a Tau player, I relied on a good shooting phase to even have a chance at winning. Unfortunately, a lot of my games could be summed up like this:

For 6th edition, my wishlist items.
Wishlist #1 - Base cover for area terrain to 5+.   But, use MORE cover than the 25% eyeball test from 5th ed.
Wishlist #2 - Improve Rapid Fire shooting to full range.  Or make some sort of AOE suppression fire rule.
Wishlist #3 - Add pre-measuring.   Seriously, modern weapons should have range finders.

Other ideas from alternate games.
Here are some Pros/Cons from other game systems that I am familiar with.   I don't think all of them would work in 40k, but for consideration purpases it could be interesting.

Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition
Pros: Stand and shoot can be deadly, higher strength weapons reduce armor saves, pre-measuring
Cons: Ranged penalty modifiers stack up quickly

Pros:  Shooter and target movement modifiers, very straightforward cover and LOS mechanic
Cons: Tokens or booking-keeping required to keep track of modifiers

Pros:  Aiming bonus for standing and shooting, cover saves determined from base sizes, not actual model (no modeling for advantage), rules for multiple shots (RoF), all unit/models can split fire
Cons:  Very short ranged weapons, stealth is generally over-powered

Pros:  Overwatch (2nd edition, Space Hulk), wounded models suffer penalties to shooting
Cons:  Wounding/incapacitated rules hard to translate to larger scale

Deathwatch RPG
Pros:  Fluff actually represented in rules, bolters are awesome
Cons:  Shooting mechanics feel slow and clunky

Here's hoping for the best edition so far for Warhammer 40k.  Oh, and a 6th edition Tau Codex....


  1. I miss overwatch! Back in the day (I was an oldtime player from RT days) placing a stationary shooty unit in overwatch, in-cover was a great way to mitigate not having CC units. And units who were out of position to shoot anything during your turn could be the key stanglepoint unit during your opponents turn with overwatch!

  2. Overwatch might be coming back with 6th, but it's a sketchy rumor. Absolutely agree that pre-measuring just makes sense, and the more terrain the better. I have a mental block that prevents me from ever understanidng rapid fire for some reason.

    Tzeentch daemons can be fairly shooty, but it's mostly through spamming Bolt of Tzeentch in Flamer and Horror squads, along with Warpfire and maybe a Soul Grinder.

    Shooting in Black Crusade, like Deathwatch, is still a complicated affair, with something like a half dozen different ways to shoot a bolter with appropriate modifiers.

  3. Totally agree with your wishlist, kinda silly to have to guess at range, they can travel millions of miles in space but they have to guess at how far they are shooting. I just hope that they don't rearrange the shooting and assault phases, that would make no sense. I am running at you with my .357 an I am not gonna fire off a few rounds before I bash you in the skull with the butt of the gun? Have to say I love your graphics. Debating bringing my Tau up to GS tonight, but will stick with the Knights until after the team tournament.