Warhammer 40K is always changing, sometimes that really is for the best. Let’s talk bad rules we’re happy are gone.
Warhammer 40,000 has been through a lot of revisions over the decades. While we are officially in the game’s 9th Edition there have been a host of smaller, though sometimes major, tweaks and changes to the game (anyone remember version “3.5”?). Rules get dropped and added all the time. It’s a fairly common practice among older players to bemoan favorite rules that have gone away, armor facing, blast weapons, etc. we grognards love to talk about how things were better “back in the day” after all. Not all rules are missed however, and for some, it’s very clear why the game dropped them, and never looked back. Today let us take a look at some rules 40K ditched for the better.
Vehicle Targeting Grid
This one was from way back in the early days of 40K. This was a rule for shooting vehicles. Basically, you would have this clear plastic targeting grid that you would line up with a cut-a-way diagram of the tank you were shooting at and rolled to see which part of the tank was actually hit. Each tank had its own diagram and you could hit weapons, armor, tracks, or even crew for special effects.
While this idea seems cool on paper and added a level a detail in the game not seen since, it was super clunky and time-consuming. This was also an idea that worked OK when the game was small and had only a few types of vehicles and only a few vehicles in each game. Today with hundreds of types of tanks and sometimes dozens of vehicles in a single game… well we’d be playing all day. I mean if you thought vehicle facing was too complicated, this would have killed you. 40K got rid of the targeting grid pretty early on and the vast majority of people wouldn’t go back, while there might be a game that it works for, it isn’t 40K.
Getting CP From Having More Detachments
This one is a pretty recent change. 8th Edition introduced the modern detachment system. As part of that was the idea that the more detachments you took, the more CP you got. This was a… flawed idea to say the least. While it might not have been super complicated it paper, it led to all kinds of complicated builds with people trying to figure out exploits and workarounds to get extra CP. Possibly the worst offender was the Loyal 32 (and a handful of similar other options) where you took super cheap units for mostly no reason other than getting the extra CP. 9th did away with this rule, instead going the opposite way with detachments costing you CP, and the game was better for it.
This wasn’t so much a rule as an exploit the rules allowed. Basically, some earlier editions of the game had rules where models in units could only be taken as casualties if they were visible to the shooting unit. This was designed to add a level of realism to the game and make it a bit easier to hide units. It was meant to work so that if for example, a unit was hidden behind a wall and one model was visible only that model could be killed, not the whole hiding unit.
Unfortunately gamers being gamers they found a way to exploit this. By proper positioning, a canny person could make it so that only certain parts of the target unit, normally sergeants, heavy or special weapons or characters were visible to them. This was often done by moving your own tanks (Rhinos were a favorite choice) to block LOS to the rest of the enemy unit. Then when you shot the unit the other player had no choice but to assign the wounds to his valuable unit members. Luckily this exploit and the rules that made it possible have gone by the wayside. Good riddance!
This is a pretty recent one coming from 7th Edition. Basically Unbound armies were armies where you could… take just whatever you wanted. At first, this sounds pretty cool, whatever crazy toys you want to use you can. And in a narrative setting or for some wacky fun game it is fine. Heck, you were likely going to do it anyway. However in any kind of attempt to have a balanced or competitive game it was a major issue. Not only did it remove having to make difficult choices (an issue with the current system as well) but it meant you could pick the best options from many armies. This was soup on steroids, and it hurt the immersion of the game to see different rival factions in the same army for no reason. Luckily 8th dialed this back, allowing more allied freedom of choice than most earlier editions, but with reasonable constraints.
Weight of Fire Rules
These rules came in a couple of different forms in older editions of 40K. Basically, they boiled down to: if you did enough hits/wounds to a target you could choose where some of those were allocated or what models had to take the saves. This was normally based on some sort of ratio of wounds to number of models in the target unit. Again you can kind of see where they were going with this, as it gave you a chance to snipe out heavy/special weapons and added some bonus to having lots of minor attacks. However this ended up adding a lot of extra time to attacks, you had a whole extra level of math to deal with to see if the rules triggered and then had to roll some separate saves. It also just wasn’t a whole lot of fun. No one likes losing the coolest parts of their army and it was a double downer when the only member of your ten-man squad to die was the one caring the plasma gun- and no one else could pick it up. This is another rule we are glad has gone away.
Let us know which rules you are glad are gone, down in the comments!