Saturday, August 14, 2010

The cover system for 40K is terrible

So I played a game yesterday with my friend Adam and he was using Tyranids vs. my Blood Angels.  The game was really fun and we went to 7 rounds.. ending up with a draw at the end.  One of the things that came up during the game was when 13 Gaunts were behind cover and 12 of them weren't.  Now I don't know about you guys, but I find it extremely.. extremely frustrating when something that looks completely unrealistic like that gets a 4+ cover save because the rules say so.  All his gaunts were wildly spread out, maintaining the bare minimum of 2" coherency just so they can milk that cover rule.  Not only did it look visually unappealing, but the rules looked really written.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the cover system in 40K at all.  The fact that everything fits under the 4+ cover category is mind-boggling stupid.  Now I'm not saying this just to get at his Gaunts, I would say the same thing about my Space Marines if they were visually unappealing and taking advantage of such rules.  I mean, look at current 8th Ed. Fantasy.  They have soft cover and hard cover that reduces your BS by -1 or -2 depending on what type of cover you're in.  Does it reduce the number of possible wounds you can inflict?  Yes.  Will it work in a system like 40K?  That's debatable.

In my opinion, the vast majority of the cover saves in 40K should of been 5+, with anything better than that being 4+.  It's far more realistic than having half of your wounds being cut simply because the units you're shooting at says so.  What do you guys think?  How do you think the metagame will change if the majority of cover saves are 5+ instead of 4+?  How would the game change if we switched to soft and hard cover?  You tell me.


Thor said...

I'm not sure the BS modifiers would work. I know 40K does its best to stay away from modifiers as a general rule, at least penalty modifiers. I'd be down for a hard and soft cover rule in terms of say a 4+ and a 5+ though. Things like infantry should give a 5+ whereas area terrain would be a 4+.

The prevalence of 4+ saves is rather overboard. I mean, I love it for my Orks, but even still I recognize it as just too easy to claim a 4+ save. With such easy to claim cover, weapons like plasma guns, melta gun, lascannons, etc, have almost become obsolete. However, if the majority cover save was a 5+ then at least you still stand a reasonable chance of getting the result you want instead of a 50% of negation.

Unknown said...

I think that if you had to allocate the wounds to the models in cover it would be more fair that way models out in the open would not get a cover save while only the models in cover will get a cover save.

eriochrome said...

The cover save rules do have graded catagories on page 21 just the 4+ list is much longer. Probably intervening units should be 5+ though.

Anonymous said...

Cover is one of many badly written rules in 40k the more I play it the more it turns me off. Gonna take Warmachine/Hordes out for a spin due to the sad sate of 40k.I mean how many armies are almost unplayable?Outta of the 4 codexs I own only one has a sold chance of getting a fair game.

AbusePuppy said...

The 4+ cover save is there to balance out other factors, like close combat and TLOS. The fact that the situation was "unrealistic" seems rather silly, since there were probably a million other unrealistic things on that same battlefield you glossed over ("My trooper sprints with all his might, moving almost twenty feet, because he knows that the incredible hundred-foot range on his gun isn't enough to reach the enemy!")

The 40K cover system is designed to be quick and simple, not super-accurate. If you had to worry about which models exactly were in cover and roll separately for them, etc, there would undoubtedly be far, far more arguments over whether model Y was in cover or not and so forth, not to mention having to sit and watch as your opponent tries to fiddle his whole squad into cover and spends ten minutes moving a single unit. It's the same reason cover modifiers to BS and armor save modifiers were dropped from 40K (though they remain in Fantasy and Necromunda)- to speed the game up. Marines always hit on a 3+ while shooting; you don't need to figure out if you're at long range, or whether you moved this turn, or what cover they're behind, etc, etc.

>.I mean how many armies are almost unplayable? Outta of the 4 codexs I own only one has a sold chance of getting a fair game.

Necrons, Daemonhunters, Chaos Daemons, Dark Angels? Did you just get massively unlucky and pick three of the worst four codices in the game, or what? Because every other book can build a very strong list (and even DH can, if you're willing to go down the "I am actually an Imperial Guard army with two or three DH units in it" route.)

Anonymous said...

Deamonhunters,Tau,Eldar,and SM while Eldar is not "dead" its is filled with useless units. Yes you can win with Tau but waiting till the end of the game to just grab objectives is not my idea of a fun game.

Mister Disco said...

I like the idea that aj had as far as allocating is concerned it makes it a little bit more complicated but I think it would be a much more reasonable system than what is in place now.

Big Jim said...

The rule as you pointed out is asinine. The initial hits should be allocated to the larger of the two groups, so thirteen would get cover saves and twelve wouldn't. The problem is that makes too much sense, so GW will never adopt such a rule.

GW has over simplified 40k to aid in their obsession to lure in the under 18 crowd.

To hit modifiers for shooting would work just fine, (just like they do in WFB) and wouldn't take any longer than making a bazillion cover saves.

My group hasn't used cover saves in two years, we house ruled shooting modifiers and moved on. It has sped up game play and brings value back to having a good armor save.

Thems my two pennies worth.


AbusePuppy said...

...Tau, Eldar, and SM are all fantastic books that can make some of the strongest armies in the game. (Admittedly, Tau and Eldar really only have one army each that they can build, but they make up for it by it being a _really good army_.)

>To hit modifiers for shooting would work just fine, (just like they do in WFB) and wouldn't take any longer than making a bazillion cover saves.

*shrug* If it works for you that's cool, but I'd have to disagree. Having to spend the time to do the "Okay, I'm BS3, but -1 for long range and -1 for stand and shoot but +1 for a large target and +1 for my special fancy gun so I hit on fives. *roll* Okay, four hits." "Wait no I have a standard that gives -1 to hit." Etc etc. It's one more incremental level of complexity that, on its own, is not particularly daunting but when added to the huge, messy pile of rules that is 40K, gets to be a problem. Same reason they simplified the mixed armor rules via wound allocation.

Unknown said...

Reduction in BS is far more effective in my mind, and would actually streamline the process removing additional "cover saves". The only aspect where there would be need for the "cover" save is against blast/template weapons.

There are allot if problems I have with 40k rules in general. Coming from a historical gaming background and looking to explore 40k for its rich environment and painting opportunities the rules almost feel backward, more akin to Donald Featherstone rules of flinging rubber bands at models and knocking them down to get kills.

I think the 40k rule system could do with an injection of common sense and some more refinement.

But thats my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Same here. The Cover saves are too good.

Frank said...

I would tend to agree that cover saves are largely overpowered and over abundant in the current game. While I doubt that going to a WHFB style BS reduction style would really work the same, mostly because the games should have some differences, it wouldn't increase the time as much since you would have less saves to deal with in the end (ie. currently if you shoot with guns that ignore the targets armor in cover then you still have to roll saves which takes time opposed to just hitting on 1 or 2 less). This isn't the 40k style though so I doubt that they would ever do it.

As for the Codex's. A player can be competitive with anything I played in a tounament locally with Necrons, one of the 'worst' codex's around, and had a 2:1 Win:Loss ratio over the course of 8 weeks. Some of those losses were even due to missing games due to work. While I agree there are weak codex's around I think you can manage by using their strengths as well as trying to exploit weaknesses.

MarcusZ said...

Actually that BS -1/-2 softcover/hardcover system is pretty much exactly what 40K had back in 2nd edition. At least if I remember correctly.

So, yes, it does work in a system like 40K ;)

Necunoscut de Prahova said...

4+ can be failed so realible! Is not bad and is predictable. 5+ would give some shifting and will make tyranids and daemons cry in some areas. Rest should be in transports anyway :)

If you do not have the means to kill units in cover than you are doing something wrong.

Big Jim said...

AbusePuppy, I didn't say it had to be an overly complicated modifier system like WFB.

Here is what we did:

-1 light cover/intervening models
-2 heavy cover like woods/ruins
-3 hard cover like buildings/bunkers

They do not stack, so you are only subject to the worst modifier. It is simple and speeds up play.


Anonymous said...

I reckon the negative modifier to BS could work well. It works fine for WHFB and the average age of 40k players should be above 6 so simple subtraction shouldn't be all that hard. ;p

My only question is blast weapons. What happens to them?

HERO said...

Blast weapons the way it is now is fine. They're not as wide spread as ballistic weapons.

Ming said...

You can always agree to changes in cover save values before the game...and use battle appropriate cover. Home many real battles occur in forests...not many...most are in open ground surrounded by buildings, rubble, walls, fences. We sometimes use snowdrifts (5+, difficult). Cover is all part of the game regardless.

Unknown said...

Everything isn't 4+ cover - read the rules. P21 defines 4 grades of cover from 6+ to 3+.

If you choose to ignore that or simply have no variation in your terrain that isn't the fault of the rules.

HERO said...

ex·ag·ger·a·tion   [ig-zaj-uh-rey-shuhn] Show IPA
the act of exaggerating or overstating.
an instance of exaggerating; an overstatement: His statement concerning the size of his income is a gross exaggeration.

Doesn't change the FACT that the majority of the cover saves in 40K is 4+, and that it's very easy to get ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't play much 40k, but when i do i pretty much play it as each model has a cover save as per its position. So if you wan to shoot at my models that are not in cover, then there is no save. Even if my unit is split up, there is still no save for the ones that aren't in cover. It just seems most fair.

Anonymous said...

I think there is too much 4+ cover in 40k. We often set some of our cover as 5+ just so there is a difference.

I would prefer the WHFB cover system. It will never happen though because GW want to make 40k really simple so as to get more teenagers playing.

Jericho said...

My first reaction to 5th edition 40k was the giant facepalm over the cover system.

You don't get to stack cover with armor or invulnerable saves, so for many armies it's completely useless. For other armies with crap armor, it's a free upgrade to Carapace for no good reason.

Armor/Invulnerable interaction is fine, as there's a guaranteed minimum to your save. Cover really should be a to-hot modifier. The "4+/5+/6+" element of it probably should only apply to templates.

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