So over the weekend, the first firsthand reports from physical copies of the 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy book started to trickle in. One of the little changes described was premeasuring being allowed at all times. It seems minor but this is a huge shakeup for both WFB and Games Workshop.
Now pre-measuring has been around for years in Flames of War, and other game systems before that. But for those of you who are strict Games-Workshop players, you may not quite get just how big a change this is, coming to the tabletop near you (unless you played War of the Ring).
The main difference in premeasuring is not at all tactical, but psychological. What it does is add a layer of certainty and data to both sides that did not exist before. This accomplishes 3 main game design goals, rather elegantly, and in my opinion heightens fun.
1) Total information is available to both players. In a complete change from the WFB and 40k past, both players now know at any time the exact distances between any units they wish to know. Yet another layer of data is now the player’s responsibility, and with it, the ability to translate that into concrete tactics. All manner of things can now be calculated, such as number of turns to reach a certain point, accurate ranged weapon and flying creature threat radiuses, and so on.
2) The removal of subterfuge and surprise. Players won’t have to deal with fishy movement, dodgy deployment and the like. With exact pre-measuring, its just impossible to be over the line, or move that extra inch, without the other player seeing it right away. On top of that, the level of “oops, I didn’t realize I was within longbow range” incidents goes away. If you are getting pelted or charged, you knew it was coming. The removal of an entire layer of potential errors or outright shenanigans is to commended, but it leads to the even more important third point:
3) The focus on personal skill. Often with incomplete distance information, and the ability for players to fudge distance (accidentally or not), games often come down to critical actions mid to late game that are decided by fractions of an inch, which can often lead to feelings of something being not quite right, or just plain old bad estimation or bad luck on eyeballing what you thought you could do. In general, these feelings tend to be the big fun-sinks that can drain the positive experiences out of a tabletop match. With pre-measuring the onus on victory is firmly back on the player’s shoulders, and there are no excuses. Sometimes its just wonky dice, but if its not, then more often that not in a a pre-measuring system you were just outplayed, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Its how we learn, and become better wargamers.
~I’d like your thoughts on the effects on pre-measuring on WFB, and your experiences from other game systems as well. this would be a great time for you Flames of War junkies to dive in and let us know how it makes your gameplaying experiences as opposed to the old hidden distance systems.