40k: My Love Hate Relationship with Vehicles
I’ve got some beefs with vehicles in 8th edition – and a big silver lining.
I love 8th edition. It is a breath of fresh air and exciting gamers worldwide. Vehicles perhaps received the biggest update from previous editions – now unified into the standard statline with everything else. That’s both a boon and a burden for the game. Here’s some of my beefs and compliments on the new rules philosophy of vehicles.
I could take him – maybe…
Level Playing Field Means More Vehicles
The full spectrum of vehicles have been normalized. The removal of things like super heavies and the vehicle damage table have brought every vehicle in the game closer to each other in overall performance. In earlier editions many classes of vehicles were considered taboo for standard games. In 8th if someone brings a single Baneblade or Lord of Skulls to a decent sized pickup game – I would feel like I could take it down. That gets more vehicle models off the shelf and on the tabletop – A boon!
I Miss Armor Values
Now I’m happy to not have to deal with the overly complex system of Armor Values, Firing Ports, entry points and all the rest. Vehicles had gotten out of control in the rules department and needed a shave. That said in 8th every vehicle is essentially a directionless flying saucer that could drive into battle backwards. I enjoyed the tactical challenge of vehicle facing mattering a little. I enjoyed how facing affected both the vehicle owner’s and foe’s tabletop behavior. Even 15mm Flames of War has a simple two armor value system for vehicle’s front and rear arcs. Something as simple as a re-roll to wound or +1S for any attacks on vehicles that come from their rear 180 degree arc would bring back some of that tactical flavor.
Looks who’s back!
Utility Vehicles are Useful
With most armored vehicles having about 10 wounds – the days of the rolling coffin are over. Sure you can blow up a Rhino if you focus some firepower on it. But you do have to pay attention and harsh language wont blow it sky high any more. This is opening up the glory days of armies with lots of cheap transports who can now get their occupants into the fight, then drive around causing problems for the foe mid-late game.
HIT DA GAS! I’m coming for you Land Raider!
Vehicle Assaults are Unbalanced
A corollary to the previous point. I like that vehicles can now fight in assault. It gives one unified set of rules to cover everything from a Furioso Dread gloriously kicking butt (COOL), to an Ork Buggy running over a Ratling (LOL!). But the increased survivability of cheap vehicles means you will be seeing lots of very cost effective jamming up of pricey tanks. Land Raiders just shouldn’t have to give up shots to pull out of combat from an ever charging Tau Tetra. I really think something like the Steel Behemoth rule that allows a vehicle to fall back and still fiee should be applied to any vehicle with 10 wounds or more remaining. Alternatively allowing an bonus to overwatch fire on charging vehicles might also put this tactic in check. It’s one thing to hit a squad of Howling Banshees screaming into your hapless squad in blurring pirouettes – but how hard is it to hit a Necron Monolith floating towards you?
Go ahead and charge me. You’ll just die tired.
Fly May be Undercosted for Vehicles
Fly is a big red line dividing vehicles into two board categories – can be jammed up, and can’t be. The ability of vehicles with fly to flit away and return fire with no ill effects is potent. Add to that – the fact that most flying vehicle are fairly quick and can reposition while passing over intervening models. This makes Storm Ravens, Tau, Eldar and some others very, very good. When fly gets combined with very high durability like Necron vehicles with Quantum Shielding – things can get out of whack real fast. I’m uncertain of the current point values, but it feels like some vehicles with fly are bargain priced, or maybe it’s the other way around with the non flying tanks being overpriced.
Overall I think all of these can be dealt with by FAQs, and some point tweaks. It’s very early in 8th Edition and the first codex hasn’t even arrived. I have high hopes.
~ What’s your take on vehicles so far?