For a good reason too.
I’ve been playing a lot of games of 40k and Age of Sigmar lately. As much as I like both systems, I’m a tinkerer by nature so my mind is always looking at ways systems could be improved. The current edition of 40k, even with how it’s been streamlined and a lot of the bloat cut from it, feels like it’s still a shaggy dog of a system.
AoS feels like its several years ahead of where the designers want 40k to be, but are too afraid to do. Partially this is because of a fanbase that hates change and perceives streamlining as ‘dumbing down’. The rest is due to the legacy and traditions of the game, which seem to be holding the game designers back.
So here are 5 suggestions on how 40k could be made better by borrowing some ideas from its gaming cousin. These are all suggestions for Matched Play this time around – Narrative Play and Open Play may get their own focus in the future.
The first thing I noticed about Age of Sigmar was how everything was more expensive. My 1500 point Daemon army in 40k was a little over 2000 points in AoS. This doesn’t mean you can’t build a hoard army, but as a general rule, armies are smaller in size. It’s something 40k could do with a dash of.
With fewer models, each unit has to do more, which makes you think more about placement and movement. It makes objectives even more vital. It makes each unit matter more, rather than being a disposable bit of chaff. Competitive players complain about there isn’t much that can challenge an Imperial Guard/ Titan soup there days. I can’t blame those players because they will always optimise. But maybe if everything were more expensive in the first, then there wouldn’t be the options to tailor a list of its kind for almost every faction.
An additional fix to go in addendum with the above and a way to resolve the issue of 40k being one big soupy mess right now. Allies, whilst a very cool idea, is quite broken in Matched Play right now – and as an avowed lover of the detachment system right now, it’s a crying shame.
That some factions get a disproportionate advantage over others due to simply having more armies to choose from is an unbalancing force.
Alongside that, the ability to mix and match with very generous limits on what you can take thanks to the detachments rule, has now been abused to create the wonderful Loyal 32 or Aledari Soup. It can get quite annoying to see the same net lists over and over again.
Now whilst the AoS faction idea isn’t perfect (my Seraphon are still waiting to be able to ally with a faction that isn’t Stormcast), by putting a hard cap of about 20% of your total force being allies, with severe restrictions on what your allies can be composed of and how they affect your force, it ensures the worst possible abuses are kept to a minimum.
Add in my prior suggestion and you would be less likely to see cheap command point farming detachments or un-fluffy combinations put together because the various armies rules start pinging off each other in ways the designers never intended. Sure, it wouldn’t eliminate the practice entirely, but it would make it a lot harder.
Something AoS does far better due than 40k; it makes elite armies feel truly like the bad-asses they are. You’ll have a smaller army than your opponent, but wounds wise you will be on a more equal footing due to the number of wounds on each of your models.
To stop elite armies from being drowned in bodies though, multi-damage weapons carry over. Combat truly feels brutal and tough fighters can truly make a mark against a more numerous foe, even as they go down swinging, as any Gobbo player who has encountered Beastclaw Raiders will attest!
Now I can see why the game designers of 40k didn’t apply this broadly – it would weigh the game even more firmly in shooting. Which is why I would apply it to combat only, to give it a boost that it is currently lacking. I can see the arguments against it, but 40k has gotten pretty bloated anyway, so why not just add an extra rule to at least give assault armies a chance?
Oh god. AoS does this sooooo much better. So much better it made me momentarily me talk like a 90s teen. Duuuuude.
Joking apart, whereas the 40k rules designers have gone back and forth over what to do with character targeting, updating it in almost every yearly FAQ in an attempt to make it not exploitable by WAAC players (http://lxg-blog.blogspot.com/2013/06/what-is-waac.html)*. Whereas AoS ties it to an exact unit size and has written it in a very clear form that cannot be misunderstood by players wanting to do so.
Is it fair to ask of this change, given its so minor compared to my others so far? Given the 40k rules written have had 2 years not to un-fuck it and haven’t so far, then yes.
The promise of the new format data sheets in this edition of 40k was that everything would be on the datasheet that that you needed to play the unit. It lasted for a while…before the designers decided to ignore it, or at the very least be selective.
More recent codex data sheets seem to have what the designers THINK, you should equip your units with, leaving other options if there are too many to the big list of shooting and melee weapons in the back pages of every codex. Which you could argue saves space for more cool stuff in codex’s that are already chock full of other rules and reduced repetition.
But why do they apply it so arbitrarily? In AoS, it’s not an issue, even with any army with as many models as Stormcast Eternals to list every option and rule the model has, all the better to save time having to flip through the army book trying to find them.
So what did you think? I know I could probably do at least another one of these, so there must have missed something. Let me know on our Facebook page!
*Though to be fair, the problem was created by GW rules writers poorly writing the rules in the first place.