N18 Underhive Ruleset - when "Beta" is better than the final product?

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
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Saint-Petersburg, Russia
I was looking through my starter box ruleset and comparing it to N18 core rulebook wondering if I had a fever dream in which I was reading that you could pass through fighters in Underhive ruleset, or if it was actually true. Shockingly, Underhive ruleset is a lot more solid that what we have now - despite being written hastily! (release was a mess, check interview with Hewitt)

In Underhive you could move through friendly fighters, unlike current rules.

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In Underhive reinforcements help you resist bottling.

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In Underhive there was this example picture which explained the thing perfectly. Not in the modern ruleset! My group used to mess this one a lot.

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Lasgun had a short range of 16" instead of 18" which pushes it a bit too far in terms of pinning reliability.
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Escher lasgun was cheaper than laspistol, not the other way around!
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Grenades cost twice as little! Makes sense now that in dev interview they recommended taking frag grenades as goliath. Would never bother with that for 30 cr per pack, especially when grenade launcher is another ~30 cr away. Speaking of which...
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... grenade launcher was unwieldy and 140 cr. At first I was thinking that this was an obvious typo, but now that I'm thinking about it, maybe they were factoring in how broken Blast is?
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Old blaze was better worded. A fighter could not be on fire and keep shooting/fighting or hacking consoles...

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Old toxin was pretty broken, but at least much more insteresting than current S4 weapon which ignores wounds.

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All in all, I don't know how, but GW has managed to take early draft of rules (which still looks solid compared to what we have now) and make it even worse in hardback "compilation". This is atrocity.
 
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This is actually the version that was dead on launch, the "N17 boxed version" (only included Escher & Goliath, only ZM/2D, no campaign etc.). Even though I got it at launch, I never played a single game of it. The N17 Gang War version is the first one I played after 2017.

There are other parts of N17 Gang War version that also deteriorated in the transition to N18. Some of the scenarios mysteriously lost key information like how many objectives to place. Very small changes that is hard to find, and people have been confused and asking about it since.

In general, N18 introduced huge amount of micro changes, however most had very minor impacts on actual game play. Like interacting with certain objects within 1" instead of B2B.
 
Keep in mind the lasgun had 2 different profiles in that book, you're only showing the 16" short range one.
The big problem with original toxin was that it ignored armour saves.
 
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(Almost) all books always include multiple profiles for the same weapon yes. Nobody knew what the correct short range for a lasgun was. Looks like the community was divided on the issue back then:

Looks like the lasgun had 3 different short ranges in November 2017: 12", 16" and 18" :LOL:
 
It's the only one in the book. The other is on the character cards which had so many errors it seemed safe to assume the book version was more reliable.
I can rephrase it:

Almost all books have at least one case of multiple profiles for the same weapon.
 
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I've always assumed that a lot of stuff was dropped in order to format things neatly to a page - no other explanation makes sense given they probably just copy/pasted it to start out with.

The big problem with original toxin was that it ignored armour saves.
The other problem was that it was pretty broken, with (iirc) a 66% to send a T3 fighter OoA outright.
The whole toxin debacle is, imo, a great illustration of the dev's understanding of their own rules. They first refused to accept that toxin didn't allow saves. Then they caved and changed the wording of armour saves "because some players misunderstood". But the wording of toxin *still* ignored this revised wording. So they had to completely rewrite how toxin worked. Third time lucky I guess.
 
IIRC the update that toxin didn't ignore armour saves was actually sneaked in to one of the quick-reference sheets around 2018. That's the first time it was in 'official' print. Before that, it was rumoured to be answered on facebook by GW.
 
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This is actually the version that was dead on launch, the "N17 boxed version" (only included Escher & Goliath, only ZM/2D, no campaign etc.). Even though I got it at launch, I never played a single game of it. The N17 Gang War version is the first one I played after 2017.
Wait. Are there enough differences between the two 2017 publishings that they are not the same edition? I thought that while Gang War expanded on the boxed set's rules, it didn't make huge changes to them -- that, in effect, the boxed set's rulebook was like an excerpt of the Gang War book, but that it was in effect the same "edition," with notable changes not really happening until Necromunda Rulebook in late 2018.

Please say that no, both the boxed set rules [November 2017] and the Gang War rules [November 2017] are just the first only covering a section of the second, and not two different rule-sets. Right?

Two incompatible editions in the same month of the same year under the same name would be ... dumb.
 
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Yeah sure, the two versions released in November 2017 are completely different and incompatible with each other. The gangs are different (not the same fighter types), costs, stats, skills, weapon profiles, weapon traits and scenarios (the ones in the boxed version didn't have scenario rewards and therefore completely useless in Gang War system).

I think 10-20 pages of core rules and ZM rules was still applicable until November 2018 with the N18 edition (which also changed, updated and invalidated all of the Gang War content).
 
The core rules were the same, but the gang lists were different. In fact, the Underhive rulebook *was* the rulebook.
Although each Gang War book tended to pick one or two rules and stealth-errata them.
So really, things were no different in 2017 than they are today with the House books.
 
If you want to be really strict, the boxed game even came in two separate formats. One version was the "build your own gang" style using costs and stats from the book. The other format was "use the pre-made fighter cards" style which had conflicting costs, stats ++.

The total number of editions (or versions) of Newcromunda/Neomunda (from November 2017 and onwards) can be summarized like this:
  • 2017-11: Boxed game (pre-made fighter cards) - a dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: Boxed game (rulebook) - another dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: N17 (Gang War system)
  • 2018-11: N18 (The two compiled rulebooks)
  • 2020-01: N20 (Book of ... system)
Note that each book in N20 appears on the surface to only update individual gangs. But in reality, these books make several changes to the core game, and as such updates the entire game to a new version, incompatible with N18 in several aspects.

Inbetween N18 and N20 you could argue the books of 2019 deserve a separate "N19" tag. While not completely game changing, these books expand but also make minor changes here and there to various rules.
 
If you want to be really strict, the boxed game even came in two separate formats. One version was the "build your own gang" style using costs and stats from the book. The other format was "use the pre-made fighter cards" style which had conflicting costs, stats ++.

The total number of editions (or versions) of Newcromunda/Neomunda (from November 2017 and onwards) can be summarized like this:
  • 2017-11: Boxed game (pre-made fighter cards) - a dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: Boxed game (rulebook) - another dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: N17 (Gang War system)
  • 2018-11: N18 (The two compiled rulebooks)
  • 2020-01: N20 (Book of ... system)
Note that each book in N20 appears on the surface to only update individual gangs. But in reality, these books make several changes to the core game, and as such updates the entire game to a new version, incompatible with N18 in several aspects.

Inbetween N18 and N20 you could argue the books of 2019 deserve a separate "N19" tag. While not completely game changing, these books expand but also make minor changes here and there to various rules.
I think you're really trying to stretch it, using inconsistencies/typos in the Underhive set.
The way I see it there's been three editions - N17, N18, and N20, with arguably a 'mini-edition' because the starter set had gang rosters specific to the starter set.
Besides that's all water under the bridge now, Underhive and Gang War is no more.
GW stealth errata-ing stuff by just reprinting it differently has been standard procedure since the game was created, and that won't change because Andy Hoare said in an interview that that's what they're doing.
Personally, I despise the practice. But it is what it is.
 
  • 2017-11: N17 (Gang War system)
  • 2018-11: N18 (The two compiled rulebooks)
  • 2020-01: N20 (Book of ... system)
Yeah, these were definitely distinct editions, looking at them as a librarian. I remember exploring that early in the year [and before that, at the end of 2018]. GW didn't help with their naming conventions:
N95 - Necromunda
N03 - Necromunda: Underhive
-- [This was a subtitle used to deliberately separate the two editions with ease. Had they maintained that common method, the whole "N95 N03 N17" notation wouldn't even be needed, but...]
N17 - Necromunda: Underhive
N18 - Necromunda: Underhive
N20 - Necromunda: Underhive
But I admit that I was working with the hope and or assumption that the boxed set's rules and the first "rulebooks" from Gang War 1-3 were all one edition. And I still hope that they might be because:

  • 2017-11: Boxed game (pre-made fighter cards) - a dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: Boxed game (rulebook) - another dumbed-down demo version
  • 2017-11: N17 (Gang War system)
"Dumbed down demo" doesn't mean a separate edition, if it is explicitly noted as a simplified section of the rules. If the rulebook in the box is part of the rules in Gang War 1, rather than completely rewritten and altered in Gang War 1 and replaced, then it isn't a separate edition, but rather a partial excerpt. So it may still be only three editions over four years [I hope].
 
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There were many differences in cost between the boxed game Escher/Goliath and their Gang War counterparts. Their only saving grace is that both books were published at the same time so it was easy to only use the Underhive RB for the core rules and pretend the rest never existed. Gang War also introduced Juves and a more extensive (but still far from complete) trading post that was absent from the boxed set. Skills were also different.

Maybe boxed set Escher wasn't as different from GW Escher as HoB Escher are from GotU Escher, but it's a close call.

Pre-printed fighter cards from the boxed set were also different yes, but nobody cared about them and they were pretty much a complete waste of good paper and ink. The boxed set version was dead on arrival anyway, as it was a very limited game system (2D only, Escher vs. Goliath only, skirmish only). The only reason I don't count it as a separate edition is because I don't think it deserves to be remembered at all.