Monday, 5 December 2011

Just Maybe....

I was rather amused to find a sewer dweller pondering on how the new Beastmen models might be improved.

The basic approach was to take all the existing rules for each of the models, change them to make them over powered, give each of them a ward save and cut the points cost of the model.


This got me thinking about what makes an army list.

From memory the WAB rulebook has a break down of how each figure is points costed. And I presume that there is a similar formula at GW for generating points costs within army books. Though at times it does seem rather arbitary.

The new Beastmen monsters are a case in point. No doubt there is a reason why they are 275 points, based on the atributes and special rules they have. And if one takes them in isolation, they may well have attributes and special rules that justify the cost.

However, where this falls down is that like all monsters they are vulnerable to cannon and to shooting, and in the context of the army there is nothing to create a problem for the opposing player when deciding target prioties... perhaps chariots, and maybe Minotaurs... but let's face it if you are sitting opposite a Beastman army with the new gribblies coming at you, and you have a cannon, you are going to shot the gribbly first. Which makes them pretty much worthless, regardless of how much they cost.

Which got me wondering if perhaps something else is going on in the design process.

Suppose that the designers have asked the question, how many Jabberslythe's are there in the Warhammer world? And based on that assessment, they then ask the further question, how likely is it that a Jabberslythe would be attached to an army?

In other words they are approaching the design from an angle more akin to how someone designing an historical army list would approach the task.

Obviously the Empire steam tank is a notable fly in the ointment of this thought exercise. The fluff tells us exactly how many of them there are in the world. And on that basis they should probably be costed in order that they only appeared in very high point games, Similar to the Slaughtermaster in the old Ogre book. In order to have one, you had to have a Tyrant, and that effectively meant that you had to be playing at over 3000 points in order to have a level 4 caster.

Are Slaughtermasters really more rare in the Warhammer World than Steam Tanks?

Perhaps they are. Or perhaps the designer was making a point that an Ogre army should be led by a Tyrant.... and no one bothered to point out that the Empire doesn't have a Panzer Division, or a plethora of Pope mobile's.

So perhaps the reason for the costing of the Beastman gribblies is that in fact they are not very common. And perhaps the reason Beastmen choose not to take them along when they go to battle, is because they are actually not very good, and tend to draw fire which means they get killed easily.

Ok it will not stop Beastman players wishlisting a 2+ ward save to shooting, and the ability to regenerate wounds for killing enemy troops with a menhir, or any of the other hairbrained new rules they were cooking up in the sewer. But it is surely a more healthy and rational approach to enjoying the hobby than grubbing around comparing models across army books.

Because let's face it. You can make your Beastman gribbly as badass as you want, but no one is going to play those rules, because in 9 out of 10 cases homecooked rules of this kind are designed for one reason, to make your army win.

Changing the subject....

The missus asked me what I wanted for Crimbo.

Which was odd because on the day she asked me, I happened to notice that Island of Blood was being sold at a knockdown price in a local shop. So providing we can get our act to together, and she gets her Kindle, I may very well be donning ladies knickers and starting a High Elf army.... yes I know I hate High Elves.... but hey! A lady can change her mind, and at my age I can justify support stockings on the grounds of health.


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