Where we discuss the big questions in wargaming.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time morale checks actually mattered in 40k. I’ve certainly made the checks at the end of turns, but rarely do I find it having any kind of effect on the games I’ve played in my long history of playing. Not that I should be surprised or that its entirely a fair criticism – the Leadership characteristic has always been mostly unused in my games of 40K over the years, coming in just below the usage of the initiative stat if you were a Tau player.
The designers of 40k certainly did away with the Initiative stat for the purposes of speeding up gameplay, so I have to wonder, especially given how there are so many ways to either negate or ignore leadership these days, why they didn’t do the same?
The key problem with it in this edition is rooted in how easy it is to ignore. The basic stratagem that allows you to ignore morale wouldn’t be an issue in itself, were it not for how many armies are effectively immune to its effects of morale tests anyway (Elite armies due to low model counts, all flavours of Space Marines due to ATSKNF, Ork and Necrons due to high leadership, Tyranids) or can negate it to the point of being a non-issue (Certain Imperial Guard and Drukhari Traits, Chaos Daemons, Sisters of Battle, Ad Mech) or are just immune (Imperial Knights, certain builds of DeathWatch).
Which makes trying to play an army that takes advantage of decreasing an opponents Leadership an exercise in frustration, especially when so many of the army effects like Night Lords and Dark Angels require you to be close and put all your eggs in one basket to pull off such tactics.
So to remove all this confusion, perhaps play a game where morale tests aren’t taken at all. It may not lead the occasional victory dance as a fluffed leadership roll wins you the game, but then the chance of the happening is so low, you probably wouldn’t miss it anyway.