Kirb your enthusiasm!
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Posted by Rick Andrews
There are several things in the 5th Edition ruleset that are good for the game, and some that are...not as good. With us at the doorstep of 6th, basically killing time until it shatters our dreams of a balanced and fun tabletop wargame, let’s discuss some of the key aspects of 5e, and see if we can separate the wheat from the chaff, determining what we should keep and throw out.
To open: True Line Of Sight.
For some people, this is one of the key problems with 5th Edition, or indeed the single worst thing about it. It’d be very easy to simply dismiss those people as idiots and move on, and that’s indeed something I spend a lot of my time doing.
The more rational of us, however, realise that, to some extent, this is actually something that has featured in 40k since the very beginning, and is in fact an important feature in the immersion of the game. There’s a lot to be said for getting down to table-top level and studying the board from the perspective of your models - without doing this, I would even go so far as to say that you may as well be playing a 2-dimensional game, such as when you play on Vassal.
My Hobby experiences have been varied over the years. I’ve used a great deal of things to proxy models, and a great number of unpainted models - but this has never cheapened the experience for me in the way it would have not to use actual 3-dimensional pieces of terrain, even if that be simply lumps of polystyrene, books under a mat as hills (once or twice sans mat, in fact) or crudely constructed and misshapen lumps of other material, or simply rocks from the garden. never, however, did I use the horrific practice in 4th of abusing the Size Category rules to have circles of string representing Size 3 barriers, totally blocking Line Of Sight to everything behind smaller than a Titan.
Perhaps these people should be castigated or even castrated for doing this, but they were following GW’s direction, and lazy/cheap/both. Unpleasant it may be, but criminal, no.
That said - this is the kind of thing people would have to deal with more and more without TLOS. Battlefields look better with well-modelled and painted terrain. Perhaps you didn’t expect an aesthetic argument from yours truly, but I like to see two beautifully painted armies clash over a great looking tabletop as much as the next chap. The spectacle is ruined when players don’t invest in their tabletop appearance itself as much as in their army’s.
Those who play me regularly could be forgiven for putting comments with winky faces and calling my hypocritical - after all, I don’t even own the majority of the terrain I use in games. Those who pay attention however will be aware that I don’t have a games table of my own, and that I invested considerable time in exploring options in buying terrain to host a tournament, before the advent of 6th killed my enthusiasm for putting my money where my mouth is - if this ruleset sucks like I fear it will, I’m not going to be keeping all the hobby things I own at present, so adding to my thousands of pounds of collection is hardly high on my agenda.
Size Category terrain also doesn’t actually mesh with the rules well. For years, people bitched about the absence of the Thunderhawk, and now GW has seen fit to give us flyers. Flyers on rather large stands that keep them high above the table - so high, in fact, that the vast majority of terrain features won’t act to shield them in any way from incoming fire. This is part of a phenomenon called ‘balance’ - perhaps you're familiar with it? By reintroducing size category terrain, we encourage those players that use extensive flyer wings (no pun intended) to redefine things to protect their Night/Doom Scythes as they approach. Elysian Fields of Size 4 terrain screening the Valkyries as they move effortlessly to their destinations before dropping a crapload of Meltaguns and Shotguns on things.
Perhaps it’s elitist of me to basically say that players who want cover for their Flyers should invest in GW’s rather neat terrain kits - but then, I’m not saying that. Build your own f**king terrain if you’ve a problem with GW’s prices. Use one of the many alternative companies out there - yes, most of their stuff is crap, but unless you’re needing enough to supply an event, then you can certainly afford the time/money to get a single board up to a proper level...and TOs, for the love of the Emperor - if you resort to string and felt circles that get called forests despite a conspicuous lack of trees (cough, cough, piss off ETC, cough) then GTFO and stop harming the hobby you profess to be helping.
TLOS looks better, it helps to encourage players to WANT to play the game (cool factor) and it is FAR more immersive to look down at the table and see whether or not your troops can see through the windows of that ruin to fire a couple Missiles at the approaching Carnifex without simply getting smushed to paste because ruins block LOS under a simpler system. Having to actually work on positioning your models rather than simply scooping them up and into their new positions encourages tactical play and actually thinking about the game you’re playing, not being a moron. Unless you have a medical reason why crouching down is a problem for you, or sitting down beside the table, then I’m sorry, but I can’t see a reason why TLOS is an issue for you. My troops can see yours, so they can shoot them. Simple as it gets. If I’m too stupid to point my models at their prospective targets in my movement phase, well then tough titty, I deserve no better than to not shoot with them, and the same applies to everyone else. More abstract =/= better.
Stick Or Twist: True Line Of Sight