[WFB] Eighth Edition Readthrough Review, Part One: in which our Hero encounters the Fear of Change.

A reliable source who’s just had his new WFB demo game said:

All units now fight in two ranks, if those ranks are ten models wide it can fight in three (only in the front arc).
Charge range is now the unit’s M stat plus 2d6″.
ALL combats are worked out in Initiative order unless someone has Always Strikes First or Always Strikes Last.
Charging gets you +1 combat resolution instead.
Outnumbering your opponent in close combat makes you Stubborn.

He also says the Common Magic Items list is extended, but doesn’t say how. I really hope there’s some stuff in there to manage and manipulate those changes, because otherwise the first book that does have those capabilities is going to stonk the present range into the middle of next week. Hopefully the Common Items give everyone equal access. I can dream.

Anyway. Chumbalicious said, on the matter of random charges and having your line broken up ready to be flanked into oblivion:

I can dig that. I think, though, with the Cauldron and your high I you can ward off flankers just through sheer number of attacks. Fast cav don’t break ranks and you have to be US10 for normal units to do it.

The randomness of charges is why I’m just going back to Skaven SAD. All my shooty can blow up blocks and monsters while I throw out 2 dirt cheap slave units for people to run into.

Fantasy isn’t my game of choice but I’d like to give this edition a try before throwing in the towel.

From the Dark Elf perspective, striking before most everything in charges does have some appeal – I don’t especially care about rank bonuses since I don’t deploy anything in depth apart from Spearmen, and Chumby’s suggestion of big 10×3 units is quite appealing for them (although how I’ll fit those on my board is beyond me…).

From the Undead perspective (I can’t quite get away from thinking like a Vampire Counts player), those high-Initiative fightin’ Vampires and Vanhel’s Danse Macabre remain the saving graces of the army, without which it doesn’t have the ability to strike hard, fast and first and win the close combat it’s built towards, and will simply be torrented to death. If Fear has been nerfed (by removing the ‘win by one, auto-break the enemy’ clause), the Vampires might be a bit stuffed.

I’m just not sure I can get over a central mechanic (charge distances having a random component, for those who’ve just walked in) that punishes you for getting stuck in – it seems as if dictating the game and controlling the field are going to be matters of moving reliably, keeping the line together, and daring the enemy to charge you, rather than committing to a charge which you can win but may not reach.

I also really, really don’t like the idea that rolling badly for your charges can cost you the game. I already have problems with leadership tests and pursuit/fleeing rolls being the decider in many WFB games – there’s a reason I played Undead for all those years, that reason being the elimination of a random factor and the achievement of more control over the game in progress.

A good player is one who eliminates as many random factors as possible and establishes certainties, or near-certainties. That unit has Magic Resistance 3 – it is unlikely they will be debuffed or killed by spells. That unit is Unbreakable – it will not run. That unit starts on +9 to combat resolution, whether it charges or not, and causes fear – it is not likely that it will lose combat, and it only needs to win by one point to break the enemy.

It’s seeming more and more like the eighth edition plays itself and you’re just along for the ride, and that’s not my idea of a good time. There are some things that are appealing, like the actual tension between ranks and files with something to gain from both, but I immediately start seeing downsides to that as well.

(It screws low model count armies like whoa, as the horde will be able to net full rank bonuses and full fighting ranks quite nicely and torrent elite opponents to death, in more ‘oh hai there, probability has just won you this game’ nonsense – although that does mean a block ten wide and at least four deep, which means trouble with mobility, so at least there’s some tension there.)

Being such a Negative Nancy about the new edition is going to make it hard for me to test it with any sort of objectivity (now that I’ll be going in with preconceptions), but once I’ve distracted myself with a meeting and some evidence mapping (my last teacher training assignment is due a week today and still has some rather gaping holes in it), I might feel well enough to attempt my own demo game this afternoon. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Also, I kind of miss my Vampire Counts. I have a strong aesthetic/thematic attraction to melee-biased armies with core competencies that are simply missing and which a competent player with a proper army can take to bits, it seems.

3 thoughts on “[WFB] Eighth Edition Readthrough Review, Part One: in which our Hero encounters the Fear of Change.

Add yours

  1. >Having had the demo game and a flick through the rulebook, so am I.Most of the rumours I've heard have been true, but incomplete, with other key points (the ones that actually balance the changes, or at least look like they have the potential to do so) missed out.I'll write up my demo experience at some point before the release, although it'll have to wait for at least a week (silly qualifications that need finishing, pshaw!).

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