Rules Suggestions- Close Combat

Al_Weeks

Gang Hero
Honored Tribesman
Dec 22, 2014
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I thought it best that we take a step back slightly and look at what we are trying to achieve with Close Combat, and assess how the various suggestions meet that.


So far there are two threads:


1) Make it easier to get into close combat (how much easier we make it is up for debate and playtest, but there does appear to be a wide consensus on this).

2) Make Elite close combat fighters more survivable in CCW.


So point 2 is what caused me to go off an explore the odds of various fighters duking it out.


Suffice to say that the Toxin Juve missile appears to not be as reliable as first imagined (especially if the target starts upping its armour or investing in weapons with parry). However the defenders WS has no bearing on the match up still (other than increasing the likelihood of the reaction attacks connecting).

Looking at our Stimmer and Death Maiden, they are both absolute machines that can reliable take out each other on the charge (the stimmer a bit more so, but it’s splitting hairs at this point). The exemplify the problem.


So going back to the proposed solutions (and illustrative examples of what they could be:


a) Introduce a few simple new modifiers for high WS fighters to add to their defence as well as positional modifiers to reward tactical play:


My suggestions for a starting point for this are as follows:

· Elite Dualist – If a fighter has a WS of 2+ then all close combat attacks made against them suffer -1 to hit.

· Test of Skill – If a fighter has a higher WS than their attackers then they gain a single parry against their attacks (this is in addition to any parries they have from weapon traits or skills)

· Defended Obstacle or High Ground – If a defender qualifies for one or both these criteria then there attacker suffers -1 to hit

· Pinned Defender – If the attackers target was pinned and forced to stand up when the attacker engaged them, the attacker gains a +1 to hit for their attacks. In addition the Defender counts has having turned to face for any reaction attacks they make.

· Turned to Face: If a fighter had to turn to face to make reaction attacks then they suffer a -1 to hit.

· Assists – Each assist gives the attacking fighter +1 to hit

· Interference – Each interfering fighter gives the attacker -1 to hit.



Summary:


I like this as a first pass approach mainly because it doesn’t change the system, secondly it specifically addresses the issue (high WS fighters don’t have enough defence), thirdly apart from the Elite Dualist all the modifiers are situational, aka parries can be ignored by either the power trait (if the defending fighter doesn’t have a power traited weapon) or universally by the entangling trait, Defended obstacle rewards clever positioning and pinning a fighter before a charge matters.


There are two concerns with this approach, the slight concern of ‘too many modifiers’ but I feel that another think this system does is raise the stock of close combat weapons with positive to hit modifiers (such as the iconic chainsword).


The second concern is that this won’t do enough to stop the melee elites on rounding each other. (Aka punished the weak too much and the strong not enough.

First of all I think it does have an appreciable impact as my analysis has shown but I agree it is less than more radical systems, however with more radical systems (especially once we factor in the increasing availability of armour etc in the house of books, and as campaigns progress) we want to avoid making models too tanky. I think at its core melee should remain ‘more decisive than shooting, and charging should matter'.



b) Introduce a comparative WS table:

As I’ve written a fair amount already, this is essentially a more extreme version of the above. It does more to increase the survivability of elite fighters, but on the other hand it does risk making medium to low WS fighters even worse than they already are, it may solve one problem and cause another. I would also suggest that this system keeps the modifiers for positioning, pinning and assists/interference as described above.

However it is a big change and without changing statline is quite counter intuitive at first and thus will slow the game down and lead to a fair few mistakes at first.

Its potentially even more punishing on mediocre WS fighters than the first suggestion.

c) Make combat a series of alternating attacks:


I’ll assess this on the two most suggested approach I’ve seen (but I think it stands for other approaches).


AADADA (aka charger gets one attack plus their charge attack, then it alternates back and forth one attack at a time)


So I don’t think this addresses any of the core rationales raised about combat above.

· It doesn’t take into account the defenders WS, aka high WS fighters have no additional defence in this system over lower ones.

· It places even more value on accurate, high impact weaponry over more attacks and lower damage weaponry (death by 1000 cuts), which is already the 'best' approach to CCW.

· It devalues to a point having lots of attacks. A high attack fighter who charges gets no more attacks before the defender gets at least one reaction attack than a basic 1 attack scrub who charges (+1 attack).

· It is a much more ‘spikey’ system, so as stated above, accuracy and high impact become even more valuable.



AAADADA (aka attacker gets the difference in attacks then it alternates back and forth one attack at a time aka 5 attacks vs 2 = 3 attacks initially).



· I think this has the same issues as the above, but it does give high attack models a little bit more of an advantage, regardless of a charge or not.


This approach also has the disadvantage of slowing the game down (and it will slow it down more for some than others), and I don’t think it solves the problems that it sets out to, and introduces some new ones (that don’t have obvious solutions other than re-assessing the value of extra attacks beyond a certain point and the cost of high damage weaponry).



Right that was a lot, I hope this at least sets out my thoughts clearly on each approach and I have concerns with all of them.

I know there are other suggestions like using the initiative stat and sacrificing reaction attacks for defence, but they seem secondary to the three main suggestions (maybe they provide the perfect solution when combined with one?).

I'll admit I'm bias on this, I would like the first approach to work, because it is the simplest, but I appreciate it may not meet the objectives.

Both of the other solutions are more radical changes (which we all acknowledge, although which one is more radical, is up for debate).

Anyway I'm gonna step back from this topic for a bit and concentrate on some others.
 
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Thorgor

Of The YAQ
Oct 12, 2015
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If you want to keep the stat as-is (i.e. you don't want to replace WS 4+ with WS 3) but still want to use a comparative table, then you could make do with some modifiers:
  • if the defender's WS is at least 3 points above the attacker's, the attacker gets -2 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is otherwise greater than the attacker's, the attacker gets -1 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is at least 3 point below the attacker's, the attacker gets +2 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is otherwise lower than the attacker's, the attacker gets +1 to hit
You'd then get this table:
A\D6+5+4+3+2+
6+4+5+5+6+6+
5+3+4+5+5+6+
4+3+3+4+5+5+
3+2+3+3+4+5+
2+2+2+3+3+4+
 

Al_Weeks

Gang Hero
Honored Tribesman
Dec 22, 2014
513
533
123
Bristol
If you want to keep the stat as-is (i.e. you don't want to replace WS 4+ with WS 3) but still want to use a comparative table, then you could make do with some modifiers:
  • if the defender's WS is at least 3 points above the attacker's, the attacker gets -2 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is otherwise greater than the attacker's, the attacker gets -1 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is at least 3 point below the attacker's, the attacker gets +2 to hit
  • if the defender's WS is otherwise lower than the attacker's, the attacker gets +1 to hit
You'd then get this table:
A\D6+5+4+3+2+
6+4+5+5+6+6+
5+3+4+5+5+6+
4+3+3+4+5+5+
3+2+3+3+4+5+
2+2+2+3+3+4+
I mean that's a lovely table. It seems the most 'balanced' of the tables suggested. And the logic is worded clearly.
 

Jayward

Ganger
Aug 4, 2020
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Okay, so there's been a lot of posts since I last read this thread and I've only really skimmed them, but it seems like the aim here is to reduce the lethality of Close Combat? (Assuming that steps are taken to make it easier to actually reach melee)

A house rule I saw here ages ago in a different thread that I've always wanted to try: no free CdG from a Fight Action. Without it, you actually need to roll a 6 to take someone OoA in melee. Even if you are rolling 4 injury dice that's only a 51.8% chance to take someone out of the fight.

The chance to get a Serious Injury is high, sure, but without auto CdG that's not an absolute death sentence. Someone else can mosey up and CdG you, but that's another activation. If you wanted to make it a bit harder you could change the wording of CdG to include a clause that the target fighter is not within 1" of another fighter from its crew. (So having someone protect their buddy).

Of course, this suggestion doesn't make Reaction attacks any more likely, but it could mean that a fighter survives to recover and fight next round. And Escher now have a Chem that heals a Serious Injury as an action, so maybe they can even make a comeback in the same round.
 

Casualty

Ganger
Dec 14, 2016
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Portland OR USA
Jayward, thinking out of the box- I like that thinking.

BUT...you're right. Eliminating Coup de Gra doesn't make reaction attacks more likely, and the change will simply slow down what is already a forgone conclusion.

I'm still liking:
A. +1 to hit modifier if the opponent has equal or better WS
B. +1 modifier if the opponent has a melee weapon.

These modifiers make sense, and both reflect a melee guy's ability to defend him/herself.

And then use the 4 or 5 other to hit modifiers that are already in the game. (assists, interferes, broken, change facing, barricade, high ground)

This scheme surgically increases all melee fighters' survivability in close combat, and doesn't reduce anyone else's current survivability... at all.

All on it's own, the defensive bonus for merely having a melee weapon has another tangible effect. It will result in many players making their fighters more balanced in shooting and melee. For the first time, a player will spend a few points for that melee weapon on many of his dudes, and there'll be one less special weapon on the roster. That, all by itself, will take some of the emphasis off of the overwhelming shooting game that the majority of players are experiencing.

The comparative chart doesn't do that.
Alternating attacks don't either.
 
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Heart of Storm

Gang Champion
Mar 8, 2019
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Does that solve the core problem though? It makes it nigh on impossible for Juves and gangers to land a hit on a melee specialist champion but a stimmer or Corpse Grinder throwing a bucket of dice is still going to land enough hits to near enough guarantee a kill on the charge against anything they run into
 

Jayward

Ganger
Aug 4, 2020
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And a WS5+ Juve hitting anyone equipped with a melee weapon becomes literally impossible unless improbable shots apply to melee or 6 become an auto hit.

A 4+ Ganger would need a 6+ to hit more or less anyone.

I forget the technical term for it but you're trying to level outliers by lowering everything equally, which won't work. The best things are still the best, and everything else just gets much worse as a consequence.
 

Heart of Storm

Gang Champion
Mar 8, 2019
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^this flat penalties harm average fighters more than good fighters, our concern here is the "whoever charges, wins" situation, making gangers and juves completely non-viable in melee wasnt the intention.

And reducing a stimmers chance to hit by a third means nothing if they were overfilling by more than that amount initially, a stimmer with paired weapons throws what, 10 dice on the charge? 12?

I still think part of the solution is removal of WS2+ in base statlines and changing how paired weapons work, that way its only models like Death Maidens and Stimmers suffering the same effect as the proposed combat penalties.
 

Casualty

Ganger
Dec 14, 2016
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Does that solve the core problem though? It makes it nigh on impossible for Juves and gangers to land a hit on a melee specialist champion but a stimmer or Corpse Grinder throwing a bucket of dice is still going to land enough hits to near enough guarantee a kill on the charge against anything they run into

Most folks agree that Corpse Grinders will need to be fixed anyway, so let's not use them as an example.

Increasing odds of surviving a charge, and increasing odds of reaction attacks are two of the core goals for this close combat as it stands right now.

Making it EASIER for anyone to hit on a charge is the opposite of what we want to do for close combat.

As it stands right now, a stimmer charging a death maiden OOA's her 80% of the time. With those two modifiers in the same situation, the Death maiden's chances of going OOA drop to about 60%. THAT'S A 20% MORE SURVIVABLE DEFENDER. That's 20% more likely to reaction fight back....

It's not a good idea for a lone juve or ganger to charge a melee elite without having the high ground, paired weapons or some friends to back him/her up. Lesser melee models need to charge when the conditions are good. But yes, single juves/gangers are going to have a hard time hittng an elite....and likely are going to suffer when the elite delivers the reaction attacks. There's no getting around that. The last time I checked...that's the way it's supposed to work.

Most of the time juves and gangers are going to charge each other. This system also helps those same juves and gangers with melee weapons SURVIVE getting charged by each other or an elite.

There is no perfect solution, but it's the best thing I can put together at this moment....
 
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Casualty

Ganger
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^this flat penalties harm average fighters more than good fighters, our concern here is the "whoever charges, wins" situation, making gangers and juves completely non-viable in melee wasnt the intention.

I still think part of the solution is removal of WS2+ in base statlines and changing how paired weapons work, that way its only models like Death Maidens and Stimmers suffering the same effect as the proposed combat penalties.

Removing WS2 and fixing paired helps charging juves and gangers how?

The above scheme will save -FAR- more juves and gangers in melee than it will kill. And at the same time, it will subtly take some edge off the shooting game as well.

If you can reason out your position and back it up with some math, I'm all ears, BELIEVE ME.
 
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Galtarr

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^this flat penalties harm average fighters more than good fighters, our concern here is the "whoever charges, wins" situation, making gangers and juves completely non-viable in melee wasnt the intention.

And reducing a stimmers chance to hit by a third means nothing if they were overfilling by more than that amount initially, a stimmer with paired weapons throws what, 10 dice on the charge? 12?

I still think part of the solution is removal of WS2+ in base statlines and changing how paired weapons work, that way its only models like Death Maidens and Stimmers suffering the same effect as the proposed combat penalties.
Paired weapons double base stat not double all modifiers. I.e. a stimmer with paired pulverisers get 2*3A +1+1+D3 on charge which is 8A +D3 which is still alot. I.e. not 2*(3+1+1+D3). It clearly says double attack characteristic where elsewhere it says adds n attacks

Personally, I think intention was that Paired should read 'Attacks characteristic is doubled instead of usual +1 on charge'. So 2*(3A)+1+D3. That's still 7+D3. Which is still crazy high, so possibly moot.
 

Petitioner's City

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Nov 15, 2017
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Honestly I feel we being too punitive to the average fighter here - like basically stimmers and death maidens (and tooled up leaders) will still eat up other fighters, due to how much they can attack, but if we apply modifiers we might make them nigh impossible to hit - that's not good, either.

It will have the danger of making games more frustrating if most of a gang can't hit the whirling cycle of doom that is the stimmer or death maiden or Escher leader with two power swords and spring up or Goliath leader with X or orlock leader with carapace and y....

You know one of the lessons I wish gw had kept from oldmunda was lower stats at start. It would be nice if champs only were 4+-esque like gangers, and it was their special abilities (gang hierarchy and lead by example and starting skills) that made them just worth the extra 30 credits or so (which honestly those three bonuses already are worth it - just see enforcers with their supposedly poor starting stats, but who are pretty much oldmunda fighters!).

I wish no fighter other than the leader started with above-average stats. It would mean all this headache wouldn't be so needed...and would reduce shooting across the board too, since only leaders would have a 3+ starting stat on shooting and/or close combat.

If stimmers and death maidens and champions were all 4+ starting and 1 or 2 attacks, would we be having this headache?
 

TopsyKretts

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You can't guarantee D3 attacks for stimmers. The community is pretty much divided on what the probability of failing the roll is (1/6 or 1/3):
 
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Heart of Storm

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Removing WS2 and fixing paired helps charging juves and gangers how?

The above scheme will save -FAR- more juves and gangers in melee than it will kill. And at the same time, it will subtly take some edge off the shooting game as well.

If you can reason out your position and back it up with some math, I'm all ears, BELIEVE ME.

They don't, a juve or ganger still has the same chance of killing a melee specialist on the charge as they always did. Buffing average fighters was never the intent.

The goal here is to stop specialists one-shotting each other on the charge, your changes do that for sure, but they have the fringe effect of applying the same effect to average fighters.

Let's scenario it, an Escher juve with a Stiletto knife charges a stimmer, she gets two attacks, hitting on a 4+

With your changes applied she gets a penalty for fighting an opponent with equal or better WS, and a penalty for fighting an armed foe making her hit on 6s, with her two attacks, rendering a melee juve (and remember juves only have access to pistols, melee and grenades) a next to zero threat, as opposed to something an opponent does need to be careful around.

Nerfing WS and paired won't save a Juve if they're charged by a melee specialist, a stimmer will always flatten a juve if he gets the charge off and that's how it should work, but it might stop him one shotting a death maiden or other specialist as skills like parry etc become more relevant.

Unless I'm missing something here?
 

Thorgor

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Oct 12, 2015
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That is smooth! Assuming you mean negative (-1) modifier. Great motivation to purchase and equip more melee weapons. Gunlines beware!
Meh. I don't think this would to much.
Either the fighter has a low risk to be charged or is not worth protecting and it will change nothing for them.
Or the fighter is worth the extra protection and they'll get the cheapest CC weapon available just to avoid the penalty.

How many ranged fighters have you given swords just in case they may be charged?

If the goal is to limit the proliferation of special weapons, then there are more straightforward (and efficient) ways to achieve that.
 

Casualty

Ganger
Dec 14, 2016
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Look, I auto-support the removal of all WS2 and BS2 from the start of the game. Once that was done, only a single modifier or a simple WS comp chart would fix the rest.

If I neglected to say that before, then I'm saying it now. I don't have all the existing stats memorized, so currently how many models are we talking about adjusting wih such a change?
 
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Heart of Storm

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Death Maiden, Stimmer and some of the Corpse Grinder dudes, plus whatever new champions get brought out in the new "House of..." books