Saturday, September 8, 2012

War Zone traits and my idea on them.

Warzone Traits

The game has many pages to read through and as so often happens, many people do not read all the interesting extra material the game book offers.  This is exacerbated by people who never buy the actual large book.  By not doing so, they miss out on a ton of information, fluff, and possibly context with which to view the game.

One of the more interesting ideas is the Warzone traits.  Newer players do not recall a lot of the older missions that had interesting Warzone effects.  I’ll recap just three of the more interesting ones as examples, from the past.  These aren’t their official titles or descriptors but veterans will recognize them:

  • Gravity variation where the units would either move faster or slower on any given turn because of a fluctuating gravity well.

  • Warp flux, that would allow ONE unit to deep strike every round (Necrons loved this one since it allowed some builds to actually deep strike two units every round!)

  • Odd Deployments of all kinds, but the one that was “oddest” is the triangular deployment that is now a staple of 6E.  there were others though, like the “L” shaped deployments and even the 18x 30 deployment scheme.

All these variations created challenges that went outside the normal missions.  In fact the “normal” missions in 3E and even in 4E weren’t that normal.  There were blockade running missions where one was trying to get off the board and the defender always went second and deployed in a column on the board.  There were missions where the objective was simply to control the table quarters against intruding units with whatever you could.  And so on.

In 6th Edition, they sort of collected a lot of those variations and added them as possible Warzone Traits, which are traits that sort of define the world you are on and its peculiarities.  Some have significant impacts, while others are merely interesting.  I used the Low Gravity Warzone Trait at a tournament I ran recently to see how that would go and was surprised that armies that seemed like it would create an advantage for lost and armies it might have created an apparent disadvantage for won.  In other words, the Trait made for very interesting choices by the players who were used to doing things ONE way and probably had their geometry down to a science and now were forced to both evaluate threats differently and also to consider the threat they now presented as well.

One thing I enjoy about 40K is the variety you can have in missions.  While we used only book missions and elements for this tournament, many TO’s have gone well above and beyond in crafting missions that essentially require players to create more considered and all comers type lists.  This social engineering is as common as rain in the Great Northwest.  The Warzone traits are worth a read.  On the surface they won’t all seem balanced in certain matchups, but if your goal is to mix things up and have a more interesting story told on the battlefield you might want to consider taking a gander at them and even making your own.  My imagination went crazy after reading that section of the large rulebook.

One idea I had and would love to hear ideas from are Race specific Warzone traits.  Here is how it would work:

When the pairings are made, the two across from each other would roll off to see which races planet(oid) they were fighting on and then randomly select one of three Warzone trait for that Race.

Here’s a fun example:

Orks
Breeding Season in OrkTown.  When fighting on such a planet at such a time, the spores of the ork breeding grounds are nothing short of problematic for all involved.  It is no wonder ork parenting leaves everything to be desired, as the miasma of it challenges even the hearty orks and their lung capacity at times.  Targeting and seeing are difficult.
Fighting on this planet causes all units to have the Stealth Special rule.  In addition, all area terrain is treated as infested with spores, and entering area terrain therefore will cause a unit, at the end of the movement phase to roll a toughness test or have their BS and WS reduced by one as the spores literally explode all around them causing them to find great difficulty seeing or concentrating on anything but hacking and wheezing as they inhale baby orks by the cloud full.

It’s a ‘ard knock Life.  The orks are known for their barbarism and Darwinist approach to life in general.  Starting at extremely young ages, the Orks are taught warfare and cunning as chief skills for advancement.  Orks are often shipped to “Ard Knocks school” which are barren planetoids where they send their children to essentially forced to form survivalist camps and play war games against each other.  The most astute (read:  surviving) children return home better for their experience.  Such camps are invariably hostile environments. 
At the end of every phase, when entering any area terrain, you may be attacked by young orks who have made this their home.  Though they are no match for your forces, they can still inflict damage with their stubborn youthful aggression.  Make an LD test.  Success means you’ve imposed your will on the yapping little runts and they run, causing no effect.  Failure means they make an effort to defend their hovels, doing D3 STR 3 automatic hits to the unit before being hammered into dust.  Vehicles and units embarked on them are not affected and never roll for this.  Even aggressive little runts don’t stand a chance against tanks and are smart enough to know it (just barely).

Fixin’ ta’ waaaaaaagh:  There’s a lot of planning and building to do when you are getting ready to burn the galaxy under the weight of your impressive green girth.  It is the massive buildup of concentrated Psychic Energy going on in such preparation and building areas that is the most telling sign to the Astronomicon that an invasion is imminent.  The machines of War the orks use, which work inexplicably despite their complete lack of mechanical soundness and engineering incongruity, are held together by the power of their psychic belief and this can be a dangerous place for any Psyker to attempt to be.
Psykers do not have the option of using the Primaris Power of their Discipline.  It must be rolled randomly.  In addition, latent psychic powers are ignited in those who did not know they had them.  Any HQ’s that did not start the game as Psykers are considered Psykers for this mission, with one Warp Charge and will roll randomly on the Biomancy chart for their Psychic power.
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Fun things like this could really add some fun and variability without screwing one side or the other too much.  Just have to balance it out and make it as fair as possible (in tourneys).  In casual games…well…  Fairness can take a back seat to entertainment.  =)

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