Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Did You Do, GW?

Let me preface this by saying I am not complaining, lamenting, or anything else. Honestly, I don't really know what my feelings are right now and I kind of just want to talk about it as the gravity of the situation hasn't quite set in. As many of you know, Escalation and Stronghold Assault are out. Escalation isn't the cause of my bewilderment, it's just some data sheets carried over from Apocalypse and implanted into normal 40k games, the points costs of the units will limit these being used for the most part. But what really is throwing me for a loop is the Stronghold book.

There's a lot in there. A lot.

Dreadbeard had his copy of Stronghold at the shop today and we perused it and played a test game. Unfortunately, rules questions started popping up left and right. Like what happens when a wandering Vortex template encounters models on a multi-level ruin? Is the template on the ground floor? Seen from above like a barrage? Hits everything regardless of level? Chosen by one of the players? Who knows? There were many other little questions about rules interactions that came up, but we tried to work through them as best we could.

What concerns me most about Stronghold isn't the D weapons (which are brutal and awesome) or the Void Shields (which are pure win), but it's something a little more innocuous. Mainly, a little section under the Obstacles section that you can buy as an upgrade for pretty much any Fortification. I'm speaking of Walls. Yes, Walls.

According to the book, walls are purchased in 6" sections for 10pts a pop, up to six sections per Fortification. What makes me raise an eyebrow, is that they don't give a height. You could theoretically, make them 10" tall and have a 36" long line of walls that block line of sight. Kind of neat right? Yeah, probably. That's a cheap way to avoid getting your models shot off the board on Turn 1 and can make up for bad terrain availability (especially at tournaments).

Where we start getting into the weeds a bit is that since you can buy 36" of wall per Fortification, and some Fortifications are actually a group of many Fortifications, the amount of walls you can bring really start getting absurd. With the Void Relay Network one, you could bring 252" of wall. 21 feet of LOS blocking terrain. You basically build a labyrinth on your half of the board. I don't know how to feel about that, and I hope I am just misunderstanding.

I did think of two ways to build the labyrinth and still forge a raging narrative. A) You play some flavor of Chaos and model up a Daemon Prince to look like a Minotaur as a throwback to old mythology, or B) you do up the maze to look like inside the Webway for Eldar or Dark Eldar.

In conclusion...

I guess I don't have a conclusion. Not until this sinks in. 40k changed today, and I don't know what that actually is going to mean going forward.


  1. I have to agree. I haven't read the books yet but from what I can tell the recent releases (including formations, mini-dexes and dataslates) will mean that we have to re-examine what we need our lists to do and how we construct them at a fundamental level. I'm actually quite excited by all the new options and what may come in the future. But I'm not buying anything for competitive play until the dust settles!

    They make a good point over on 3++ though - the victory conditions haven't changed, so scoring objectives is still the way most games will be won!

    1. Don't get me wrong, I love all the options that have been coming out. I just am worried that there are some real rules headaches coming soon and that there are some really silly exploits waiting to happen. It's a very interesting time to be playing 40k.

  2. I imagine the walls will follow the rules in the 40K rulebook, which says they provide 4+ cover for models behind and act as difficult terrain yet can be fought across in melee if units are in base contact on each side. Doesn't mention blocking line of sight so I will assume they don't until told otherwise.

    I'm much more concerned about the impact of D weapons, and their uneven distribution. Wouldn't be so bad since most armies can buy an Aquila Strongpoint with its D class gun, except that all buildings are automatically destroyed by hits from D class weapons on a 2+. Will an Aquila Strongpoint with multiple void shields now be a must have bit of space marine kit just to compete with the Eldar titans?

  3. It was never really a problem before, since the BRB walls were placed as terrain not purchased as part of an army. Also, if a wall blocks LOS, you can't charge a unit behind it since you must be able to see a unit to declare an assault on it.

    The D situation is going to be interesting, I know everyone is using the Revenant as the poster child for D weapon wild cards, but the points required to bring one are crazy. Not to mention that it is AV12. If your army could handle Wave Serpents, you shouldn't have that hard of a time with a Revenant.
    I'm also curious if this release was supposed to feel a little uneven, so as to make the updated IA books more appealing to a wider audience.

  4. Stronghold Assault is more of a game changer than Escalation. As Spellduckwrong points out Revs are 900 point av 12 targets. even the big tanks and such will be dealt with by standard codex stuff.

    I am still of the opinion GW wants you to play 40K as a narrative based game in a local club with your mates as it were. suppliments like this gives you the tools to do so.

    I for one actually will still buy a titan soon just because.