Monday, May 14, 2012

40k is a Shooting Game? Pt. 2

First off thank you all for the particiaption in the last post. There were some good thoughts but this is one I wanted to address directly as it King does a good job at stating why he perceives the games as slanted toward shooting. This is naturally open discussion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I'm not cutting or slamming TKE. I felt I should point that out as, while I'm sure TKE knows it, I wanted to make sure other readers did too.

TheKingElessar wrote:

Vis-a-vis a shooting game, however, I have to disgaree that the two are perfectly balanced in the core rules. The fact that you hit vehicles on the Rear is poor compensation for hitting them on 4+ or 6s virtually any time you catch up to one you haven't already damaged, only getting a single strike from Grenades, Melta Bombs not being AP1, and then the myriad issues with time constraints, distances, blocking, bubblewrap, and the fact that (barring Kharn) it will always be easier for skilled shooting units to hit and thereby have a chance to inflict damage than for combat units* - there are a great many more limiting factors to inflicting melee damage than shooting damage.

Is the gap as wide as perhaps it is sometimes asserted? No. However, if hyperbole is the only way to get people to pay attention to the debate long enough to see for themselves the inequality, then I have no qualms with that.

* - For anyone who doesn't already realise, this is two-fold: the fact that you can hit on a 2+, and often with a re-roll built in, shooting, but can't in CC; but also because shooting rolls to hit are based only on your own ability without the comparative process for Weapon Skill. A Shooting unit will always be exactly as good at hitting in any circumstance, but a combat unit is inherently less reliable, despite the variation being small and unusual, but they also variably take damage BACK, a much more important factor as they can hit things that kill them much more easily than they'd like.

First I think there is a bit of a disconnect between how we're viewing the balance. Initially TKE points to combat vs. vehicles and shooting vs. vehicles to show the game is slanted toward shooting.

I'd point out that the example is skewed. In armies designed for CC (such as Nids/Daemons) you have units with mass attacks to make up for the difficulty hitting/damaging a moving vehicle. In armies designed for shooting they provide more shots. In generalist armies such as marines you'd find that the difference for shooting vs. combat is pretty minimal (approximately 3.1% for 10 grenades vs. 1 melta gun) to achieve a destroyed result. Granted if you have two melta or the unit moved less 6" or less the number shift and they shift again with a powerfist in a squad. Either way that doesn't seem obviously slanted toward shooting as some people would indicate.

TKE points out that the core rules favor shooting due to no comparitive stats and that you can do it without also taking damage. And on the surface that's a solid arguement. I'd assert however that the while the core mechanics could be seen to encourage shooting over combat that the codexes shift it. And since 40k isn't just a rulebook game but instead is a multisource game I'd still disagree with shooting being significantly stronger than combat. I'd also assert that people's belief in MSU has also pushed the idea that shooting is king because when you use minimum sized units they obviously don't hold up outside of transports.

In regards to the note regarding the always hit based on your stat TKE points out what would be an HQ or super special unit choice (i.e. vindicare). It's a little silly as outside of the vindicare most HQ's that can shoot would do better in CC properly equipped than whatever they're shooting opponents with. While base stats to hit are better than comparison stats to hit the difference lies in the number of attempts to be made in the two phases, combat and shooting.

Bear in mind I'm not saying that CC is always better. There are going to be situations where shooting is better and situations where combat is better. And all units generally swing one way or the other. The three units that are true generalists that come to mind are Shoota Boyz, Grey Hunters, and Chaos Space Marines. These units generally produce the same results from shooting as from combat. Combats numbers are significantly higher (once you include charging + assualt weapons) but that is leveled out by losing some models.

The myth of 40k being a shooting game is heavily based upon the lack of terrain throughout 5th, general meching up, the advocation of MSU, and the hyperbole spit out by a very vocal member of the 40k community. However, how many truly MSU have won a major event in the last few years. Especially the general track? Take a look at the lists that win. They have a CC component and have a method of dealing with CC units outside of shooting.

Those are my thoughts on it. Let's discuss :)