Friday, June 29, 2012

Broken In 6th: Fortifications

by SandWyrm


Someone has been kind enough to share their early copy of the 6th Edition rulebook with me, so I immediately looked up the rules on Fortifications. Ruh Roh Shaggy!

The Aegis Defense Line


So for 50 points (less than a stock Chimera) plus some upgrades, you can plop down one of GW's Aegis Defense Line kits for your infantry to hide behind. For another 50 points, you can add the Quad gun that can shoot normally at aircraft.

Obviously, it's a great way to boost your defensive capabilities. Instead of the standard 5+ cover save, you get a 4+. If you Go To Ground behind it, you can boost that to at least 3+ (I've heard 2+, but can't find anything in the rules yet to confirm that). Not bad at all.

But is it too good?

Let's consider some issues:

Problem 1: It's Too Big

I actually own an Aegis Defense Line kit, having originally bought it for the autocannon bits. So I pulled out the box and clipped the walls off of the sprues so that I could see how big it is on the field. The only rules for deploying it state that the walls have to remain in 'base to base contact' with at least one other section. So...


You can make a wall that's 29 inches long. That's slightly over 40% of the standard 72-inch table width. If you're playing at NOVA or Adepticon, that's more than enough distance to completely wall-off the space between the area terrain on your side. It's also long enough to deploy an entire IG platoon with 3 full squads and their heavy weapons behind.

My Blood Angel jumpers just found something great to hide behind when going second! Actually, there's something better, but I'll get to that later.

Problem 2: You Can Take More Than One

Wait! What?

Yep. You can take one fortification (of any type) for every 'primary' detachment that you have. So if you're playing a 2000 point game and take 2 (non-ally?) detachments for your army, you can take 2 of these and simply wall-off 80% of your side of the table.

Why would Guard gunlines take Chimeras now? Just sit and hide behind this wall and use the points you save on more heavy weapons!

I also see this kit being VERY popular with skimmer armies. Since you can force terrain tests on enemy ground vehicles while hopping over them yourself.

And That's Not All...


The Skyshield Landing Platform? It's 75 points and everyone on it gets a 4+ Invulnerable (not cover) save. Plus it's pretty tall. So if you have Broadsides, Obliterators, or Long Fangs in your army, this kit will be the perfect place to put them so that you don't have to worry about the LOS-blocking terrain on your side of the table. Sorry MVB...

At least it's a bit easier to get on top of it now. Going up just counts as crossing difficult terrain, and you don't have to be next to a leg or anything.

And The Bastion?


It's 75 Points without the top-gun. Nuff said. Same problems, height-wise, as the Skyshield. Plus you can put a gun on it in addition to your regular shooty troops.

The Fortress Of Redemption?


It's 220 points before upgrades. Each section is an AV14 vehicle, basically. Are you ready to face two of these across the table at 2000 points? Would that be fun more than once or twice for kicks?


Conclusion

These rules/costs are so obviously broken that I really don't think they'll be a problem for competitive play in themselves. After a few months of experimentation, TO's will simply ban fortifications and that will be it.

The problem is, these fortifications will be the only way that some armies have to deal with Flyers. So if the fortress guns aren't available, what will that mean for balance there?

Dunno yet. I'll keep reading.

56 comments:

  1. Go to ground behind a defence line is definitely +2

    ReplyDelete
  2. The fortress is massive. Good luck deploying that beast on a terrain cluttered board.

    Skyshield and Aegis Defence Lines are definitely the winners here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hell, good luck keeping it in one piece after trying to haul it to the game shop every week. Considering that, I don't think my bastions will even be leaving the house...

      Delete
    2. You deploy fortifications before terrain

      Delete
  3. actually, it seems that many missile launchers are getting new types of shot to shoot down aircraft. this almost certainly means the FaQ will grants other armies the option to upgrade some units with Skyfire special rules as well. I am expecting stuff like Hive guard to be able to target them at normal BS for a small points increase.

    regardless, i do agree that the fortifications are broken though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think there's another way for TO's to ban terrain like that and also provide AA for armies that need it...

    You put an AA terrain in each DZ, but disallow users buying one. both sides get it, its at least something to help shoot down fliers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think in the end, fortifications are something that is cool for the home hobby, and for pickup games.

      They can also be a pain in the arse for TO's. I think maybe TO's will need to go ahead and allow Forts. At least for a while. Let people find out for themselves how much it can affect the game.

      I think we're going to find tourneys going to either 1999pts, or just calling 2k w/single FOC. I think allies will be ok. esp. if you play Marines or IG. 6th is going to be a good time to be imperial. Or at least, 'counts as' imperial.

      Delete
    2. That's an interesting idea.

      The least unbalancing option would be to give each player a single Aegis defense line glued to a base in a box shape (12" x 8.5") and a skyfire gun in the middle. In the case of NOVA, it could replace the low bog terrain that usually in the middle of your deployment zone.

      Delete
    3. Wandwyrm,

      Yup, and you could easily model something equivalent for a thematic board. It isn't perfect, but it would be better than letting people abuse a 3 foot long aegis lol

      Delete
    4. Re single AA in deployment zone... If I have the Necron flying circus or some other list with a large number of flyers, that single AA mount will be #1 priority for everything not in reserves. If it's still there when reserves arrive, it will go down very quickly.

      While useful, I don't know that that is going to be the ultimate answer. Meta will evolve. Tau will make a come back using marker lights on flyers and then rail gunning them out of the sky.

      Flying nids will jump across the board and kill Tau.

      Marines will find a way to counter everything. That's the beauty of the game.

      Delete
  5. You are so nuts and purely negative. Wow. Why do you even try? Nothing is broken before we have a chance to play it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to debate this, but first I checked your blog.

      http://shotdownmind.blogspot.com/

      Here's some nice tidbits:

      "Now we find ourselves in the end times of our glorious Fifth Edition and it has never been darker brothers! Xeno scum attack from all directions and the Emperor, like Fifth Edtion - is fucking dead."

      And...

      "Don't read the 6th edition rulebook and constantly compare it to how it differs from 5th. We will all need to keep an open mind. 5th edition is only relevant up to the next CoC in Sacramento and then it is as dead as dead as dead, it's fucking dead and it won't mean anything to anyone. So find your niche within 6th and dig in deep."

      (There's lots more crazy where that came from, go look.)

      Who talks like that?

      Yet it seems so... fake. So contrived. Like you're just filling up space on a page. Same with the comments. I find that interesting. Certainly it's not like any blog I've ever read.

      But at any rate, you don't seem capable of a rational back-and-forth. So I won't bother. Your biases are clearly more extreme than mine.

      Delete
    2. Hey SandWyrm. Stop attacking the trolls. You were trolling a bit with the negative tone of your article. Someone took the bait.

      You don't need to attack him because his writing style is different. Some people like the hyper-dramatic, thematic style.

      it's not my cup of tea. It's also not really the preferred style of most of the blogs I link to.

      Delete
    3. (shrugs) I prefer a certain level of sophistication and experience in my trolls.

      The high-school fanboys really should go somewhere else. :)

      Delete
    4. Here is the thing, though, I have been reading you guys for a while, but in the last six months, you have taken to more negative tones with GW stuff than any time prior to that. The guy got a little defensive about it and I think it is just as normal for people who have invested money in a hobby to get defensive as to get negative about stuff when they don't think it goes their way.

      I think there are some good talking points out there for people to look at negative side and I get it, but there is plenty to look at the other way too. I know you don't like it when people say "If you're going to be negative, then don't post", but as a person with a job and kids (as I assume you are), I do have to question why so much time here is devoted to the negative of anything related to 40k. When I met you at Adepticon in 2011, you didn't seem to mind it. What has changed?

      ... and if it isn't obvious by my tone, I am not trolling you, simply trying to understand the situation of another group of bloggers.

      Delete
    5. Dude sounds like a certain Republican extremist *coughRushLimbaughcough*

      Delete
    6. In defence of the recent approach here, we do have a lot of blogs in the community more or less accepting of the status quo. There's very definitely a space in our daily reading for a more reasoned criticism like this, and the tone seems to me personally to be about the right level of assertive.

      Delete
    7. @OST

      Thanks for the drama-free and heart-felt critique. I appreciate it. I'll reply in a new post.

      Delete
    8. Thanks Porky. I am making an effort to be more reasonable and less cranky sounding.

      Delete
  6. The defense line isn't too different from how I play my Kroot. Anchor them in forests and string them out to get 2+ cover for themselves and 4+ to my stuff behind.

    I'm not too worried about things that both players are free to do.

    There's also a really simple house tournament rule that will take care of the ridiculous 2 FoR lists. If you can't place a fortification on the table fully in your deployment zone without touching or overlapping an existing terrain piece, you can't deploy it. Period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of that too, and it's a good solution. But it won't be universal.

      I prefer the idea of a standard fortification being given to both players as Ian suggested. But that won't be universal either.

      Delete
    2. It would be if Adepticon or Nova end up going that way. It's defiantly what I'm going to push for in the HiveFleet tournament and the Indy Open.

      Of course more data is required.

      Delete
  7. My recollection is that Fortifications are placed before other terrain, so the risk of not having enough room to put something down is mitigated. I wouldn't be surprised if Fortifications were banned from Tournament play simply because you're not supposed to touch the terrain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since placing before terrain is unfeasible in a tournament environment, that makes my suggestion more valid. Instead of being an arbitrary rules change to alter balance, it's a necessarily rule change to facilitate the tournament.

      Delete
  8. "Hello, Battlefoam? I need to request a custom cut-out for a...Fortress of Redemption. I'm taking it to NOVA this year and I live on the west coast!"

    Lol!

    Point cost for forts seem low considering the benefit(s) they confer on the field. I guess it depends on how 'fragile' buildings/forts are in 6th.

    What can be said is that anyone who took the plunge and purchased an Imperial Strongpoint for 90 bucks USD scored one for the Razorbacks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My question on the fortress has to do with assaulting from one section to the other. Base to base isn't calculated since everyone is in but if no IC challenges are there. How to you know that my power weapon at a higher I was closer to your hammer and thus you have to put the wound there first.

      Also, if you haven't played with the sky pad, tracking troop locations under it is a royal pain in the butt! If I were to buy one, I'd build a custom hill under it to block LOS and make under it impassible. Otherwise, you really need a template to place under the pad so that you can remove the pad to measure and then ensure that it goes back exactly as it was.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I HATE fighting around that thing. It needs a base so that you can remove the pad and put it back easily when you need it.

      Either that, or just say (another custom fix) that troops can't go underneath it at all. They can only cross to the top, over, and down the other side. While LOS would be unaffected if you're firing past it.

      Delete
    3. I'm not gonna dive into assault yet. It's REALLY complicated now and it's gonna take a while to digest it all.

      Delete
  9. What are the actual lengths of each Aegis defense line piece? I'm thinking of scratch building some Eldar-ish defense lines.

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    Replies
    1. There's 4 long, and 4 short pieces. The long pieces are 5 and 1/8 inches long. The short pieces are 2" long.

      Delete
  10. I approve of these fortifications. They're a big help for the non-marine armies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't deny that. But they also help the Marine armies, albeit not as much.

      My big worry though, is that they'll encourage a more static sit-and-shoot game.

      Delete
  11. Oh NOE!!! Not a way to make foot armies viable... the shame... it's not like many of us are used to having 4+ cover from everything ... oooooh wait...

    So that giant fortress is 220 with no upgrades? Does upgrade mean gun? Or what, you're paying a landraider price for an immobile autocannon? I *hope* that thing can shoot at fliers.

    For simple math's sake, let's say each one is 250 after the upgrades you take... so 500 points of fortifications. Out of 2000. Soooo a fourth of your army is a building? Cool. Let's assume 150 for each mandatory HQ, and an average 150 for each of those 4 mandatory troops. 900 more, so, what... 600 points to spend on units other than basic stuff? Be my guest.

    Basically you will have 3 types of armies - stand and shoot, mobile shooty, and assault oriented.

    Stand and Shoot: Yes, you'll buy an aegis line. You'll get cover from it. Huzzah!

    This army is the most likely to make mass use of these kits, since, go figure, they want to stand still and shoot.
    If going against one, expect a fort. If you are one, you'll have one of your own. Even footing? I think so.

    Mobile shooting: So basically you can just zip behind that 29" line and attack them from the rear? Cool. Good thing you're a mobile army and have *always* used tactics like this.

    Assault army: So basially your shooting is usually there for laughs (barring anti tank, which either won't be shooting the infantry behind a line, or will blow the crap out of one of the buildings), so you'll ride/jump/fly/laugh over those lines and do what you always do - assault the crap out of a shooty army.

    Anybody know where I left my easy button?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Aegis and the Bastion can both take a Quad gun or a Lascannon. Which, relative to each other, are pretty fairly costed.

      The Fortress has a lascannon turret, an option for more heavy bolters, and also has a missile launcher that shoots Large Ordnance Barrage Blasts. Maxed out, it would cost 260 points.

      "Basically you will have 3 types of armies - stand and shoot, mobile shooty, and assault oriented."

      In theory, you'll have those 3 army types. But I think that the only mobile shooty armies that you'll see will be those that are skimmer based. Ground vehicles won't be moving much unless they're dropping off assault troops. They'll move laterally, sure. But with their new vulnerability to assault and their being easier to hit, I don't see anyone pushing armor into mid-field like we used to. And Aegis lines make more sense now for shooty Guard than sticking everyone in Chimeras.

      Which is all a plus for realism, certainly. But I think that the Aegis lines and Skyshield are under-costed by about half. So it's going to cause balance issues. Especially since we still rely on LOS-blocking terrain for balance, which can now be seen over easily if you buy the right kit.

      Delete
  12. GW has done f*cked us again !! OH NOEZ !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whatever. Did you even read any of this?

      Delete
  13. Aegis Defence Line has to form a rectangle, I'm told.

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    Replies
    1. Not according to the rules I'm looking at on page 114. Just says the wall sections have to be touching at least one other section when deployed. The pic is of an Aegis set up in a square, but the rules themselves don't limit you to that.

      I do wish that was the rule though.

      Delete
  14. I imagine people using them heavily for a bit and then dropping off to a trickle. How many armies benefit from not moving the whole game?

    I agree that these do seem a little ridiculous and I'm not looking forward to the time it will take me to form tactics for dealing with something which I think will end up mostly unused.

    ReplyDelete
  15. So open to abuse, and yet so intriguing at the same time. Fortifications may prove an absolute blessing for certain armies we don't get to see a lot of these days, such as Fire Warrior heavy Tau. It also raises the possibility of some very entertaining trench warfare style games. I suspect you're right though. We'll soon see the fortification rule banned from tournaments entirely. Much in the same way that the crazy terrain rules from Warhammer 8th are given the cold shoulder as well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I haven't seen the rules, but it would be silly if the defence LINE had to form a square/rectangle.

    I'd have to see how it interacts with other rules, including terrain and objectives, but it doesn't strike me as unreasonable. An immobile shield line in your deployment zone is all very well, but not a lot of help if you need to advance in order to secure objectives and/or engage the enemy. True some gunline armies (IG/Tau) may find it rather useful, but it's only a 4+ cover save unless they go to ground - i.e. what we were used to and no better than ruins.

    How big is the Skyshield Landing Pad? I find it hard to see how it could be high enough to make LoS blocking impossible without itself causing a significant LoS 'shadow'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a pic of the Skyshield on a GW Realm of Battle Table in this post from a couple of years ago. It's tall enough to fit a Chimera under. Not sure about a Russ.

      http://theback40k.blogspot.com/search/label/Ard%20Boyz?updated-max=2010-05-31T01:55:00-04:00&max-results=20&start=20&by-date=false

      Delete
  17. On the plus side I have done a .pdf template to make your own 'Targus Assault Blockade' out of foam board for buttons, I should put it on line now everyone will want one. I do look forward to all the xeno versions people can model for the landing platform and honored imperium etc. I can't wait to see home made version on Tyranid skyshields and Bastions. If nothing else it's a reason to be creative and bypass falling into the trap of buying them, if your that way disinclined.

    ReplyDelete
  18. OMG ALLIES ARE BROKEN!
    OMG FORTIFICATIONS ARE BROKEN!

    Why not chill out, play a few games and keep a level head. I am sure these elements were not added on a whim and serve a function. Give it some time before you label things as broken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe I can tell you primarily why Allies and Fortifications were added to the rules. They were not added on a whim.

      They were added to sell more models.

      I firmly believe any game balance is coincidental. If everyone gets them, it must be balanced.

      Delete
    2. Um, sorry, hadn't realized someone had already made this point before I posted below, but I have to say I agree with you entirely Farmpunk.

      Delete
  19. Personally, I'm really excited about how these will change the game. I welcome disruptions, in general, to the current "power army" status quo.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Those are quotes from different authors.... lol? Many people write differently. Few are as negative as you are about the game of 40k. You are negative about, everything. My blog is negative about... nothing? Do you know nothing of espirit de corp or pumping up your troops for war? its hard to get people to play in a 5th tournament after 6th comes out. get real dude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You say it yourself, many people write differently. You don't like his writing style in the same way he doesn't like yours. Doesn't mean he should stop writing though.

      Only being positive isn't necessarily a good thing. The first image in my mind was someone sitting in a corner with his fingers in his ears muttering "gw can do no wrong. gw can do no wrong. gw can do no wrong."

      I'm not saying this is you. I don't know you and I haven't read your blog.
      It's just the first thing that came to mind.

      Delete
  21. Balance and fairness are false concepts to start with. Nothing here makes and sense out of "broken fortifications...." What sillytalk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Balance and fairness are false concepts to start with."

      What do you mean by this?

      Delete
  22. Something else that occurs to me. I have no idea how much influence GW's merketting strategy actually has on the design process, but 50pts for a fortification strikes me as being more about selling scenery than game balance.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Remember that you can attack fortifications. Look at what happens to a unit inside a building when it gets damaged. Glancing hits cause wounds with no cover saves, penetrating hits are far worse than what happens with vehicles. If it explodes you'll probably lose the unit. Yes you can shove three units of long fangs on top of a Bastion and get great visibility but I don't think they'll last very long.

    As for the Aegis, it's not like it's area terrain. Plunging fire would decimate infantry on the other side and fliers can easily see over the top.

    I can see some areas for abuse - Tau with a fortress using JSJ would be a pain - but since you can only take one in a normal game I don't think it's so bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forget attacking the bastion, I'll just start lobbing grenades into the sucker. That unit on top just took 10d3 S4 hits? What? Yeah, way to have the "tactical advantage".

      The more I read, the more I'm liking these new rule additions. Fliers are hard as crap to knock down, unless you bring some AA guns, which are easily accessible to every army out there. Nids can't manually fire them, but all of our flying MC's can do strafing runs during the movement (even against said flyers), and still shoot at another target (or psych it, depending on what floats your boat).

      Fortifications provide amazing hard cover (easily getting a 3+ for your sit-and-shoot units). However, assaulting them allows you to grenade the crap out of enemies inside, and attacking the fort itself has severe consequences for the models inside.

      Transports are far more vulnerable to enemy assault (making forts the better armor), but every single vehicle in the game got a speed boost. Making transports better at *brr br brrrrrr!!!* transporting units! And then acting as mobile fire support after.
      I also find the new Hull Point mechanic intriguing, and I am insanely excited to see it in action.

      In short, I am excited. Legitimately, incredibly excited. I think this game has, by and large, changed for the better. I'm sure there will be a thing or two that doesn't sit well with me, because no system is perfect. But I have yet to see something in the rules that really, truly scares me.

      Delete
  24. Well, after having a few 6th edition games under my belt, both using and fighting against the aegis defense line.. I can say I don't think it's nearly so large a deal. I waited until it could be tried out before commenting, thinking I would give it a fair shot. I have. Jump troops make a mockery of the line.. and the line itself tends to invite people to put lots of juicy assaultable pieces in to be slain outright.
    It has proven a bit more difficult to just sit and shoot them out of the aegis, but why would I take that handicap on in the first place?

    ReplyDelete

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