Drop the command re-roll stratagem
Today I have a controversial suggestion to help improve your games of 40k. Drop the command re-roll stratagem. We don’t need it, and while it seems great it stifles our enjoyment of the game.
The addition of stratagems to the game changed the way we play it, perhaps none more so than this one. No longer were players plagued by double 1’s for charges, or failed wound rolls for important lascannon shots. However recently I find myself questioning its place in the game. I believe the landscape of 40k would benefit from dropping the command re-roll stratagem.
Firstly, there are plenty of other options for re-rolls already in the game. Almost every army has access to ‘captain’ and ‘lieutenant’ equivalents who bring with them auras to re-roll hit rolls, wound rolls, or both. When armies bring multiple auras to the table their damage output is already high, so when you add the option to re-roll a key dice you couldn’t otherwise influence without a command re-roll that damage output creeps higher and higher.
The command re-roll contributes to the growing ‘First Turn Advantage’ problem. In recent months, it has become clear 8th edition is becoming more and more a game of who goes first, wins. Games Workshop has even introduced the new Prepared Positions stratagem to help combat the issue and reduce the number of games that are decided after the first player turn.
Your opponent can re-roll an important dice every phase of the game. So, it’s no surprise they manifest their most powerful psychic power, hit home with their biggest gun, successfully make that charge, and smash you over the head for maximum damage when you fail your save.
Removing the command re-roll allows more chance for any of those things to fail or do less damage. Moments when something important doesn’t quite go right are healthy for the game. They create opportunities to turn around bad situations or put unexpected pressure on an opponent. This ebb and flow is key to creating a fun and exciting game for both players.
Finally, command re-rolls are eating up all your command points when you could be spending them on much cooler (if less efficient) stratagems.
It is a sad truth that spending 2 command points re-rolling a failed charge dice and a damage 1 lascannon shot is more efficient than using a cool stratagem like Preliminary Bombardment to grab random pregame mortal wounds. However, knowing your enemies are running for cover as you rain down high explosives on them before the game begins is MUCH cooler and much more satisfying!
If you play a game without command re-rolls both players get to play with a lot more of the cooler toys in their arsenal. Auspex scanners are dusted off, tank commanders start crushing foes under their tracks, and suddenly lots of underused, fun stratagems see play.
Try playing some games of 40k without command re-rolls yourself and let us know which underplayed stratagems you’d like to see more of.