40K Op-ed: Sportsmanship, Cover and 8th Ed.

BlackBlowFly here to talk about how good 8th is and how it (and us) still have a ways to go on the road to perfection.

Hi y’all it’s BBF here to talk about Warhammer 40k and the new edition.

Pictured: all of us – eventually…

It is the Rules, or Us?

I’m a really big fan of the new Edition and feel like Games Workshop did a lot of things right to get the game back on track again where it needs to be. The game lost the rules bloat which is something many of us really wanted. If you’re new to 40k what I can say is that’s really good for you – the last edition was terribad in many many ways, especially from a competitive point of view. One thing I’ve noticed is that with the simplicity of the new rules set there are unfortunately new ways to abuse the game and from time to time it still happens. Even if you are a totally casual player everybody (and I mean everybody) has a limit wherein there is a button that can be pushed that transforms your Bruce Banner state of mind into the Hulk. Maybe you have not been pushed all the way to the Null Zone yet, hopefully you never will, but just because you never experienced doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. I’ve seen casual players go totally bonkers just because of one silly thing an opponent said during a game.

I swear I can see your Land Raider through the arrow slits!

Let’s Talk Cover

Here is an example to consider. The last edition cover saves were really crazy – for example certain units had a 2+ re-rollable cover save such as Ravenwing Black Knights within certain proximity to the Dark Shroud. All that is gone now and at best all you can get is +1 to your cover save. Cover is so much simpler now and that’s a good thing, right? The answer is yes it is but on the flip side it opens the door for abuse. If your unit is not completely in hard cover now they get no cover save at all. It might not seem like a big deal at first but in retrospect there are certain types of units such as super heavies that can produce a prodigious amount of fire power completely eradicating enemy units in a single turn.

So you might decide to hide your units behind line of sight blocking terrain to avoid the pain but then it happens – your opponent tells you they can see a pin point, it could be the very tippy tip of a banner or an antenna. You walk over to their side of the table to see for yourself and your unit is completely hidden BUT still they insist they can see that one infinitely small microscopic point. You know they are totally full or crap.

So what do you do?

Know When to Hold Em, Know When to Fold Em

If it’s a casual game my advice is stop, pack your army and walk away… but what if it’s a tournament? There are two options – roll off or ask for a third party to check. Well good luck with that, I have heard some people say you’re just not looking hard enough or even they that can somehow see around a bend… do you remember the movie Wanted, LOL.

There are two solutions to this type of numbing play style – GW could change the rules for cover OR we can just take it upon ourselves to just say no. I opt for the second option. Stand up for yourself. At worst just say NO walk and take the loss, let people know about it. If someone wants to win that bad and they pull this kind of underhanded tactic it’s not going to get any better. Ask yourself if it’s really worth it. If it were me I’d contest it but if the opponent is adamant I will walk away.

~So this is one example how the new Edition can be abused – have you had any other experiences of super abusable rules in 8th?

  • Doug Crawford

    Get the TO there is always people who try this crap.

    • Zingbaby

      Yeah man, it’s the people, it’s always the people (us). You can’t write rules tight enough to keep people from just being terrible people.

      • violencejack

        As someone that has played both 40k and Warmachine (the game meant to be tight and clear for competitive play), you’re right … people always find a way to be ridiculous.

    • Keith Berry

      I am his League organizer and his opponent called me over as a third party to judge this situation. No matter how silly it is, the rulebook goes OUT OF ITS WAY to note that any part of my model only needs to see a part of your model. I was able to see a part of his Custodes spear tip from the tip of his opponent’s barrel, thus qualifying line of sight.

      • Sniddy

        That’s the rule – but I hope that player enjoyed their last game, unless its hardcore tourny players – I pulled that kinda stunt at my local I’d be told to pack my army and go

  • ellobouk

    Don’t line of sight rules still ignore weapons and banners?

    That being said, I do agree that the cover rules in 40k need work. I’ve played ‘hide the squad’ before, but that’s not my issue with cover (if in doubt, get an independent party to check it if you can, and hiding from a super heavy is hard when line of sight is drawn from any point on the model), my issue is that you have to be IN or touching the cover to benefit. So my unit hanging around behind a wood gets nothing, implying it’s easier to shoot through an entire wood than like, a third of a wood.
    8th also puts the emphasis on ‘actual’ cover for vehicles and monsters, meaning you’re encouraged to model certain forms of scenery in ways less conducive to gaming (base COVERED in trees rather than base with a few trees for example), rather than allowing us to simulate the effects of a stand of trees, or a hill that might actually be taller than an inch.

    Cutting the rules bloat from 40k was mostly a positive step, unfortunately, cover is not something that works great without bloat. a tabletop is not an accurate representation of a warzone, and treating its visual representation as a literal one doesn’t always work in the interests of the game.

    • Tshiva keln

      As all terrain is symbolic rather than an accurate depiction as you say, I personally play you can shoot into and out of cover but not through it. That wood is dozens of trees, not three, and buildings have more rubble etc than just a wall.

      • ZeeLobby

        It’s the level of abstraction 40K used to have, and it made terrain much more impactful and easier to build for those with limited time/skill/budget.

      • Muninwing

        pre-5th this was the exact rule. it mattered what the terrain was, not how it was built.

        really, it worked better.

        i honestly think that getting rid of the worst abuses (which are probably mostly in SCs) of the rules, going back to a less complicated and less free-for-all soup-style army creation, and getting rid of the worst of the confusion would best be served not with 8th, but with going back to 4th… just importing the rules straight from 4th, modifying the vehicle rules (theywere rolling exploding deathtraps in that edition), and having fun.

  • bad mood

    Ive made it a habit to quickly discuss before a game how each piece of terrain offers or doesn’t offer cover and what we can agree upon what constitutes to seeing a model. “Just a tiny edge” usually doesn’t come up that way. Yes, an opponent could still change their mind mid game, but it helps in my opinion.

    • ellobouk

      body or body parts count, cloaks, banners or weapons don’t usually works for me. I mean, it did take my friend almost an hour to deploy half of his grey knights against my guard, but that’s because nobody likes a charge of the light brigade to happen to them… and baneblades have a nasty habbit of killing dreadknight grand masters…

      • Jeremy Larson

        Well, if he actually PUT the NDKGMs on the table in the first place, that was basically an invitation. It would have been rude NOT to kill them 🙂

  • Karru

    My group uses the 5th edition Cover System in terms of how to gain it. If over half of your unit is behind cover, you get your +1 to cover saves.

    I highly dislike the cover save in 8th since it makes little sense and forces the table to be COVERED in LoS blocking terrain. While some people say “Well duh, of course you should use more terrain instead of a planet bowling ball”, but before people start making this comment I am just going to point this out:

    I have quite nice collection of terrain from earlier editions. This terrain was ranging from forests to ruins, rubble and wrecks. There’s also various LoS blocking terrain pieces. Problem is, in 8th, a lot of these terrain pieces are “useless” since their footprint isn’t large enough for unit bigger than 15-20 if they hug each other.

    8th edition terrain needs to be 75% LoS blocking terrain and rest nothing but large based terrain if you actually want protection against enemy shooting.

    • zeno666

      Same here. Area terrain and all that.
      GW’s, as usual, didn’t think this one through. More shooting from vehicles (without facings…), And less terrain (no area)…
      Streamlined game? LoL

      • Griffin

        They thought it through completely and the goal of the rule is to sell more terrain…

    • ZeeLobby

      Makes sense. TLOS was added to simplify the game, but imo it causes too many issues, and creates a lot of instances like template arguments that GW removed to avoid.

    • HeadHunter

      If you’re trying to get a unit of 15-20 in cover, then yes, you’re going to need a pretty large piece of terrain. That’s sensible.
      A platoon doesn’t blob up just to get behind a wall or in a forest – there are plenty of weapons that don’t care about cover and bunching up is a *guarantee* that someone (or several) will be hit. Civilians seem to look at this situation quite differently than soldiers would.

      • Karru

        Of course they don’t, but imagine the logic in 8th edition.

        A platoon runs into ruins, but due to sensible spacing, they don’t all go inside so that a single explosive knocks everyone out. Some take cover outside behind rubble or broken walls.

        In 8th, no cover for the entire platoon since not all are inside cover.

        The problem isn’t that I can’t fit 15-20 guys into one piece of cover, the problem is that I can’t USE cover like it was supposed be used, AKA something you stand behind. You NEED to be inside the cover with the whole unit in order to gain your cover save.

        • HeadHunter

          I agree – but the abstraction is that some of the unit can be easily hit because they are not in cover. Typically, when such a unit takes casualties, the player will assign them to the units that aren’t in the cover, so that the unit will get the bonus next turn – right? So it’s not as illogical as it might seem.

          • Karru

            But you seem to forget that this forces players to do big changes to their terrain collections.

            Not everyone used big templates for their trees for example, or bases for their ruins. In both cases, you can never gain cover from either one, excluding the Ruins if it has some sort of battlements or floors that you can physically stay on.

            That’s where logic flies out the window. And before you start using the “Now that’s just a problem on your part, it is easy to give buildings and trees a base, either imaginary one or just blonk one down. Problem solved and everyone’s happy.” That’s not the problem here, the problem is that with a super, ultra simple change you don’t even need to do that! You can just say, “If at least 25% of the model is obscured from the attacker, ignoring weapons, base and wings of the model, the defending models are considered to be in cover.” Done, one sentence and the problem is gone. No need to change anyone’s terrain collection and everyone is happy.

          • Kabal1te

            That’s a fine idea until the WAAC player argues your dude is only 24% obscured and doesn’t get cover. Which is what the rules try and avoid. The benefits of cover don’t make cover worth much anyway which for me is the bigger issue with the cover rules

  • Rainthezangoose

    “8th edition is amazing and perfect but *insert glaring flaw in the new system*”

    Seriously this is about half of all articles made by this site xD

    • ZeeLobby

      With good reason, but hopefully chapter approved fixes some of them. Lack of good terrain rules in a game where most weapons can shoot across the table and are effective is kind of an issue. It forces them to build in turn 1 assault mechanics to make assault viable, and snowballs into a game of who won first turn.

      • Muninwing

        there’s something to be said for that oft-forgotten part of the game where you set up your firing lanes and use the channels down visible paths to command your opponent’s movement.

        well, not really anymore. now it’s just about first-turn shenanigans, spamming units that everyone agrees need a nerf, throwing down that SC with the worst rules exploits, and letting your list win the game for you instead of being good at actually playing the game.

        • ZeeLobby

          haha, perfect summary.

    • HeadHunter

      How about reading it as “even with these ‘glaring flaws’ 8th Edition is *still* better than 7th.”
      Unfortunately, there are people who think complexity somehow equals fun. For those players, I’d recommend “Living Steel” by Leading Edge Games (or anything using their Phoenix Command ruleset). That should be all the “fun” you could ever handle!

      • Karru

        To be fair, even a piece of cr*p with glitter on top is better than 7th edition. Of course, that does not mean that 8th edition is great by any stretch. It is good, but suffers from a lot of problems and is rolling fast towards rules bloat that makes 7th edition’s look like a joke.

        • HeadHunter

          For me it’s how quickly the “you won’t need a pile of books to play!” has changed. First by not making a mini-rulebook (the primer doesn’t count as it omits all the scenarios etc. so we’re forced to tote a massive book that’s 60% fluff), the Codex, the Index if there are units that weren’t included, Chapter Approved, etc…
          Yeah, I’m starting to think the only thing that will keep 8th from getting bloated like 7th is if they break another campaign promise and release 9th.

          • Karru

            Yep, and the hilarious part is going to be future Chapter Approved books. What are they going to do regarding changes for old points when the new Chapter Approved drops? Are those going to be included in the book? Are they going to be placed in an FAQ? Are they going to force people to buy both?

          • Muninwing

            i predicted this…

            the new changes are not any less compact, they are just making you look at what’s there turned in a different direction.

            in the 80s in the US, there was a new kind of house that became popular — the split level. it was supposedly better on space, but looked nicer too. it was really just what happens when you take a one story (ranch) and build it higher out of the ground so it looks more like a 2-story house (like a colonial). what would be your finished basement appeared to be a ground floor, sometimes with the garage being part of it. it looked fancy… but it was actually less house for more money.

            that’s 8th, in a nutshell. it’s got half of the same issues that GW likes to ignore, dressed up the rules to look different but not actually solve anything, and in general it’s lost much of the flair and panache and replaced it with needlessly simplified mechanics that save too little time for what was lost in the change.

      • Muninwing

        7th had its issues. most were in formations and detachments. some was in the new psychic phase not really working as intended.

        instead of fixing them, we got more detachments and more easily abused psychic smite. we got rid of formations, in exchange for soup. we got rid of the easily organized and completely sensical USRs in exchange for the keyword system (its own complexity) and the countless variations of certain rules due to a lack of centralization.

        that’s not reducing complexity. that’s ignoring problems.

    • Matthew Pomeroy

      The game itself is pretty abysmal, but people making noise about it may get things done for the next edition and the ones after that. it may take them 13 or 14 editions to “get it right” but eventually they will get a rules set that is good enough (granted players wants change over time, a game like 8th would have been DoA in the 80s) they always seem to flub by fixing some older problems and replacing them with new problems. People who actually do care about 40k do have the right to complain just as much as the folks who love it get to praise it, but everyone is fooling themselves if they think 8th is the “final” edition of 40k, its the same thing every edition, some love it, some hate it, some just wait for the inevitable next edition.

  • The lack of meaningful movement phase and the lack of meaningful terrain rules are what kill 8th edition for me. I play it in our annual campaign, but I have almost no excitement for 40k and haven’t had much excitement for 40k in… probably almost a decade. Because of the bad rules.

    • el_tigre

      I think if you haven’t been excited in ten years it may be time to just take up knitting or something, 40K may not be for you. You could be Kniticus, that’s still pretty cool!

      • I enjoy the social aspect and I enjoy painting and the lore. Fact of the matter is, gaming communities won’t deviate from what is popular even if the rules are abysmal. So I have to make due.

        There is also nothiing on the market to really offer a replacement other than for the sake of playing different. The mantic game’s models look like trash, and Infinity is great but is skirmish scale.

        • el_tigre

          I’ve found a lot of good in Space Hulk and the like, still 40K enough to scratch the itch and get other hobbyists playing but it cuts out all of the rules nonsense of the mothergame. Definitely misses the big battle side of things though, I do wish they’d bring back epic and maybe warmaster, simpler and better balanced systems that still allow you to toss a space marine company and …. co. at your opponent if that’s what you want from your wargames.

        • Zingbaby

          Replacement for what I wonder? …8th is really an excellent game, but like every other edition of 40k it has flaws – they are glaring now because they are so few! …7th was the book of flaws (and some rules). The rules don’t get in your way anymore, it’s worth giving some serious attempts at least.

          • I’ve been giving it serious attempts. The game doesn’t feel like a battle anymore it feels too much like a board game. I hated 7th edition too because that was the edition of grab your free points and max out on those.

          • Muninwing


            it feels more like a board game.

            and it doesn’t have to. and it never did this bad.

            this is debatably worse than the freebie grab.

  • HeadHunter

    “Pack your army and walk away” is indeed good advice when confronted by such players in a (so-called) “friendly” game.
    In a competition, carry a laser pointer. If someone says they can see the unit, make them prove it. If they can’t get the dot on the target from the firing position, they can’t shoot it. There’s no truer way to determine line of sight and it’s incontrovertible.

  • Timmy McMurderbug

    My tendency is to ask for my opponents input during movement. Especially if it’s something important like elite infantry or a heavy vehicle. I’ll confirm, fiddle and sort through LoS stuff while I’m moving, that way there’s no questions when the heavy gauss cannons say hello.
    Of course, I’m also the kind of opponent who, when he’s moving his Long Fangs, will volunteer that position puts him out of sight of my Destroyers, if that’s what he wants.

  • GrimBarker

    It doesn’t matter what edition of what game you are playing: people are going to try to keep their models alive. My preference would be: if you are near cover, go ahead and take the crummy save if it makes you feel better: but at the same time, so what? If you lost a game because you did not get a +1 to your cover save, you were probably going to lose anyway. As per the usual, “I haven’t liked this game in 10 years” bolony, good thing the internet is around so you can tell everyone every day for the next ten. 🙂 On a side note, why not just give everyone a 6+ fnp (maybe it should be 5+) if there is cover within 3″ of the unit, but if you use the fnp it is 1 harder to hit until the next shooting phase (because your unit is operating like scaredy cats and trying to avoid bullets: for shame!)

    • Kabal1te

      This hits on my biggest issue here. In this edition unless you have a 3+ or better save to begin with, cover is meaningless. And even then it doesn’t mean a ton. my dark eldar virtually never see a save vs the high ap weapons people use, cover or not.

      • LankTank

        I disagree. We have seen with the reduced ap overall the rise of the 5+ armour. So a 6+ in armour going to 5+, yeah boi!
        Ive only just run the other day deepstriking 3x nurgle tree with renegade nurgle possessed getting a 1+ armour and charging after advancing. They actually made it to combat!

        • Kabal1te

          Yea but on the counter side of that, Marine plasma spam (which I see a lot) and Las cannon spam means your 5+ armor never sees a save and with me having to resort to dark lance spam in turn to actually hurt things this edition means I make my opponents 4+ armor never see a save. It is very rare cover matters in most of the games I play in.

  • KingAceNumber1

    I get the idea behind taking your toys and going home if someone is being sh***y, but… can we stop promoting scooping as a solution to every disagreement on the tabletop? It’s a game between two thinking entities who have the capacity to reason. Work it out maybe?

    • What if they are insistent?

      • Andrew O’Brien

        Then play with someone else. For some, the point of playing is to win. For others the point of playing is to have fun. If you cannot achieve your goal with the your opponent, find another opponent.

        • HeadHunter

          While I agree with the intent of your final sentence, if someone feels the only point of playing is to win, then maybe games aren’t the right thing for that person. It sounds like you’re saying “games aren’t supposed to be FUN!” or that one player’s enjoyment is less important than another. If there’s a winner, someone else has to lose – and I don’t think we’re going to get some eHarmony player finder that pairs over-competitive dickwads with masochists who only have fun when they are being defeated.
          If winning is the only way someone can enjoy a game, then that person is called a “poor sport”. We try to teach children about that in kindergarten.

          • Andrew O’Brien

            I believe every individuals fun is as important as everyone else. With that said, I believe each individual is responsible for their own fun and not each-others. I like to have fair honorable competition because that is what I enjoy, and while hopefully others enjoy that to, if they don’t want to play that way then we won’t play together. If someone enjoys super strict cut-throat game play, I don’t believe they are wrong for doing so nor do I believe they should change. I do believe they and I should not play together because I will not enjoy it.

      • KingAceNumber1

        How often does that happen, though? Especially in casual play? I get that the idea of “that guy” is still a very real construct, but I honestly cannot tell you that I’ve (in 8th) had an opponent who was -clearly- in the wrong just insist that they were correct, even with third party opinion, so I can’t tell you what to do in that situation.

        I think the danger is -assuming- your opponent won’t want to work it out and walking away from the game. I’m also more sensitive to this topic as we have been attempting to politely handle a player in our group with a consistent and pervasive scooping issue, but that’s because he doesn’t like losing.

        • I’ve had it happen twice. The first time my opponent kept doing it every turn until I gave in and it cost me the game. I decided from then on I will just quit before I agree to this kind of BS again.

        • HeadHunter

          I’d rather not waste my time trying, to be honest. Someone who’d pull crap like that in the first place isn’t likely going to be swayed by reason and has already soured my enjoyment.
          As I said before, I’m not about to plead for my fun. If someone can’t behave in a respectful and honorable manner towards their opponents, I’m not going to be an enabler. Packing up and walking away is the kind of “tough love” that can lead someone to self-reflection more effectively than anything else.
          If they won’t change or don’t get it, then they won’t have anyone to try and abuse.

    • HeadHunter

      If it gets to the point where I think I won’t have fun, then yes, I’ll scoop. Maybe the other player will start to wonder why nobody will play against him and he’ll benefit from self-reflection.
      But if it gets to that point, it’s already beyond “working it out”, because the other player has shown that they are unwilling to be reasonable. I’m not about to plead for my fun.

  • Jared Jeanquart

    I take “line of sight” with a grain of salt, personally, and go by base, the bulk of the model, and the intention of the person who placed the model. When someone puts a model behind something, I ask “are you trying to get cover or to block line of sight?” and have the conversation then Instead of trying to “gotcha” him later.

  • EnTyme
  • LOL, you don’t want to ask for a Judge/TO? Seems, odd.

  • Billy Billstoner

    The standard formula article. First add “This is the greatest edition ever and I love it but it has a problem” next add a phrase that completely contradicts the first .ie. “Alpha Strike, Cover Saves, Everything wounding everything, Special rules bloat , Stratagems” Finally add some unwieldy or impracticable solution.

  • The answer to this one is easy:

    Use a piece of string.

    If you can’t thread it perfectly, then you don’t have clear line of sight.

    • Jennifer Burdoo

      Laser pointers are quicker.