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9th Age Thoughts from first v1.2 game

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Discussion' started by Lawot, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. Lawot

    Lawot Active Member

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    My regular Orcs and Goblins opponent and I played a game a few days after the 1.2 rules came out. There was a lot we liked, and some things that left us scratching our heads. Overall happy with it and excited for some new potential. I thought I'd put down a few thoughts here:

    As many of you know, Magic has been pretty seriously reworked. Overall, I'm on board. I think that the system for Magic introduced in 8th edition was far too random. Not that random is a bad thing, but I think that different armies should get to engage with magic in more or less random ways, and the sheer variability of Magic took so much of the strategy out of the game - maybe you'd invest tons of points in Magic and roll 3 Power Dice all game long; maybe you'd invest just a little and still get to nuke the enemy for the win, or blow yourself up for a loss. The new Magic system remains the most random part of the game, but it narrows the possibilities by a lot, making Magic a more useful strategic tool. Not only does it make for better balance, it makes the game way more fun to play, as far as I'm concerned.

    There are no more templates in 1.2! I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of this. It most definitely allows for more clarity in determining hits, and takes out those moments when you're both trying to look straight down over a template and determine whether both these guys can be hit, or whether it's just your opponent's shaky hand. That said, one of the things I love about a tabletop game is its physicality - moving physical models around on a physical surface brings a satisfaction and intellectual engagement that are different from playing strategy games on a computer, or strategy games that are totally abstract, like board games. That, and when a catapult hucks a big rock through the air, it's going to hit something, and I like that a template could scatter onto a nearby unit and do some unintended damage, much like a real catapult.
    So all that's mostly just preference. In terms of gameplay, however, the new "Area Attack" rules that replace templates do function a little differently. First and foremost, I haven't run numbers on this, but it seems like rolling to hit with BS has made war machines far more accurate - their "long range" penalty only kicks in at a really long range, and they never really move, that's the two big ones right there. In addition, Area Attack war machines now have many more viable targets. Templates were more effective against small bases (more models under the template) and large units (less likely to scatter entirely off the unit). Now, a war machine does a number of hits per rank, limited by the number of models in that rank; the result is that a 2x5 formation of Saurus, a 2x5 formation of ranked-up Skinks, and a 2x5 formation of skirmishing Skinks all take the same number of hits from a given weapon. Furthermore, a catapult now has the same odds of hitting a lone Skink Priest, or a Skink Captain on a Pteradon, as it does of hitting a giant block of infantry.
    This seems like something that needs correction, to me - the idea of a catapult, cannon, or practically any other war machine nailing a single person from across the battlefield - especially when that person is moving, even flying! - is that level of absurd at which we say, "yeah, that shouldn't be possible in the game, either". So maybe we don't make it impossible, but we do slap on some penalties for shooting at single models that aren't Gigantic, and for shooting at things that moved in their previous turn.

    Force Organization
    I like the new idea for creating force organization categories for each army. I do have a couple of issues with it: first, having some units count in multiple categories based on their equipment seems clunky, at best. And maybe I'm just unhappy with it because it was difficult enough to create a spreadsheet that would automatically calculate my points when we first made the switch to a base cost/additional model cost system. Now, trying to come up with a way that I can have some numbers duplicated some places and not others is...well, daunting. I say, if a unit can fill two very different purposes, split it into two units in each category. It wasn't necessary before, but if this is how we're going to limit categories, then create Miners who have guns, and Miners who don't. And if players want to use their Core and Characters and more fully take their army in a certain direction, allow it! So I'm fine with the Taurosaur counting towards the Thunder Lizard category instead of the Characters. I think it's a step too much for characters mounted on Alpha Pteradon and Rhampho's to count in two categories.
    Second, it seems to me that this way of limiting choices in an army is much more effective at limiting certain builds, which means that the game designers, more than ever before, are making choices about what kind of strategies can be played, and how extreme someone can go in a certain direction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does put an added level responsibility on them - if you're going to make it outright impossible to go full-bore in a certain playstyle, you'd better be sure that's an appropriate choice.
    Overall, though, I think the new system is a big improvement. The Core-Special-Rare was smooth in some ways, but having a tool to limit units by their role, rather than a simple, general "power level", seems like what we need to get a better grip on balance. It also opens up intriguing possibilities for the future, for special rules or characters that can change the numbers for these categories - a Southlands list would consist of higher Jungle Guerilla percentages, some kind of beasty character might bring fewer Guerillas and more Thunder Lizards; etc.


    Well, I wanted to write out some thoughts on the SA themselves in the new edition, too, but I'm running out of time in my morning, here. I'll have to leave it at that for now - I hope that's helpful for someone!
    Seraphage likes this.
  2. Pinktaco

    Pinktaco Vessel of the Old Ones Staff Member

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    I played at the Herford tournament this weekend.
    Cowboys remain amazing.
    Jungle Guerilla units (skink hunters, Pteradons) performed great as well.
    TGs where sh1t.
    Magic was tbh nor worth the heavy investment. 810pts (405 old pts) and most off it didn't do me much good.
    I've now changed the list and will try if I should have 2 or 3 cowboys. Currently my lidt includes 3.

    Scaiman unit performed okay. Other RnF troops hurt it's an interestingly balanced unit, since it can do flank charges to break steadfast and remove monsters, chariots and medium units.

    My Taurosaur ran over my opponents full saurian warriors spear unit in one go. 7 impact hits, 3 stomps + 2 wounds from the Taurosaur. My opponent was furious lol.

    Overall the Taurosaur can do a ton of damage against infantry. No surprise.

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