I have always thought that special rules is something not to be used in a miniature game. I played 40k for a long time and really had my head stuck in the sand. But the amount of special rules for lowly guardsmen or termagaunts was extremely much for low point miniatures in the later codex’. I felt like I spend more times in the rulebook than on the table top.
Then along came DZC. The basic units in the army were basically the same but still small differences in the stat lines made for entirely different gaming experience. The Sabres had the armour – the Hunter the speed. With fairly small differences you got an entirely different gaming experience. But lately I felt that DZC have startet with lots and lots of special rules. I started to write my standard whining post but thought that this time I would motivate it.
Beware. It’s a long one…
…and a little whiny…
Before I present my data I need to describe what I have done. I have counted the amount of positive special rules that I think are important and positive to the unit’s effectiveness. I have removed some rules I think is bad for the unit (special rules that gives the unit a distinct weakness is a good thing for me as I’m not used to it from 40k – it gives the units lots of characters and a weakness to exploit in the game of DZC (aka Rock, Scissor, Paper, Lizard and Spock) and I have removed special rules I feel do not do so much.
Ignored special rules
Special rules are the ones in the stat lines that are fairly standard. To sum it up, these are the ones I have removed because they provide a negative effect on the model straight of and thus not something I would like to discuss because I think they are amazing;
Lumbering, Call it in, Arc caster, Living weapons, CA, Cloud formation, Tech killer, Frag, Reckless abandon.
Besides the above I have also removed the following rules as I consider them part of the basic games, all armies have standard access to them or I just don’t care;
Arc, SC, FM, Area, AA, Alt, RW, SA, Mass, Command, Old ones upgrade, Walker, Gate, Sinister cargo, Weapons team, Active counter-measures, Sub terrain, Pass save (not on inf) 5+ or worse.
As you see this is a highly subjective list. Command units have crap loads of special rules but they are in my opinion equal – i e all of the armies have them “equally”. Mass is another good example – I have ignored Shaltari’s gate rules for instance, and it might be something other want to consider but as all Shaltari units have it I felt they were not needed for this analysis. Passive save is something people want to include – fine but I felt that Passive 5+ or worse on standard vehicles/aircrafts are such a intricate part of the standard units that I felt they should be ignored in this case.
On the other side you have several special rules many people feel should not be included. Skimmer I have included which I suspect many will not. But it is a special rule valid only for certain situations. Highly subjective. Demolisher I include as a special rule. It is because it defines an special advantage to a unit that have serious game effect. But I think most people consider it part of the basic game as much as the Walker special rule. I wanted to include the pesky Evasive in my list and so I thought it fair to include the Skimmer bonus as well. So I assume lots of people will have an opinion on this. But this is my, subjective, list. If you want to make your own and answer my post please feel free – I would love to get your input.
In some cases I have decided that a special rule are warranted to count as several special rules because it’s complexity or that it contains several other special rules. So I have taken some consideration to the complexity of the special rule as I think simple special rules are “better” than complex.
I have also included fast roping I saw now. I’m lazy so I’m not going to redo it. Let’s just pretend fast roping is a special rule that UCM players always use and that it us just as effective as Dispersed formation.
Before I made this study I had a highly subjective opinion. After this study I will still have a highly subjective opinion but I will try to argue for/against my subjective opinions based on my list to answer the following questions.
Theory 1. At the start there was almost no special rules.
This theory is why I started out with DZC. All rules were in the stat. So let’s see how it goes.
Theory 2. Special rules inflation in the releases.
My basic idea here is that newer units have gone away from the original formula of “same, same but different” that we saw initially and in the early releases. Also I think they have more special rules.
Theory 3. Newer units have better special rules.
Again rather subjective. But I want to base my opinion on a bit more than…well…nothing.
Theory 4. More than 10 units have special rules they could go without.
This is also pretty self explanatory. I want to see if there are units I can think could just remove a special rule and they wouldn’t give a damn.
Theory 5. Special rules are better than stats.
This has a basis in my opinion that special rules are harder to put points to and thus should be judged harder. In case of doubt the points should be set higher. Special means special and if everyone is special then no one is.
I think most academics seeing my list of theories would cry…Let them. It’s just a game, dammit.
Pre-word before the list
So I have divided the list into different departments. First original rulebook stuff. Then the next waves. And last the current experimental rules. So I consider it three waves (only two for the resistance). So I will present my list for each faction from then basic rulebook first. I’m hoping the charts are pretty self explanatory. First are the units. Then the amount of special rules. Last the special rules I consider part of that unit.
Wave 1. The basic rulebook-stuffy
|UCM unit||Special rules|
|Praetorian||2||Dodge, fast roping|
So the UCM have an average of 0,57 special rules. And most of them are rather basic. I don’t think it is much to say. That fast roping…
|Scourge unit||Special rules|
|Despoiler||2||Demolisher, plasma burst|
|Corsair||2||Demolisher, plasma burst|
|Hunters||3||Skimmer, Demolisher, plasma burst|
|Slayer||3||Skimmer, Demolisher, plasma burst|
|Desolator||1||Eye of the storm|
The Scourge clock at 1,43 special rules in average. The plasma burst is of course highly debatable if I should include it but then again. If we don’t see it on the tabletop I can argue that it could be removed for no loss what so ever.
|PHR units||Special rules|
0,75 special rules for the PHR. I overall think the PHR have a good balance here. Special rules are where they should be with demolish on walk on units, Scanning array to make Ares more adorable and so on. There is little wonder to why PHR are the most popular faction.
|Shaltari units||Special rules|
|Ocelot||2||Awesome power, demolisher|
|Yari||3||Scout, skimmer, through cover|
|Coyote||2||Eject, pass 4+|
|Braves||3||Warsuit, airburst shells, DF|
|Firstborns||3||Warsuit, incapacitate, DF|
The Shaltari enter the same as Scourge with 1,43 special rules in average. Both the Skimmer and Side effect are something we could argue for and against for. I included Side effect to take some of the army´s unique overall special rules into effect.
Overall we see in average around 1 special rule per unit and many of those are considered part of the basic game. No onder since they have been there from the start. Now the next wave becomes a bit more difficult I would say:
Wave 2. The First Expansion
|Snipers||5||Dodge, Evasive, DF, Sniper, Precision small arms|
|Ferrum||3||Drone connected, new drones, drones does not give KP|
|Fireblade||2||Smoke launchers, Flame|
The next wave average on 2 in special rules. That is 4 times as many than the original rulebook. And some of them are pointless. Snipers could go without both Evasive and Dodge without any problems. It would even fit. DF means they spread out for cover. That’s it. It would be enough. For the Ferrum I have increase the amount of special rules. The drones and their ability to spread out and not award Kp are vital parts of the Ferrum’s special rules. At the same time it costs points. 160 or so. The Ferrum’s ability lies in the standard rules though. With both AT, AA and toughness it is an amazing unit and it is understandable I see more of it than what I see Sabres in UCM armies.
|Destroyers||4||DF, pass 4+, Blast their way in, tough|
|Annhilator||3||IF, Demolisher, Transition|
The Scourge end up at 1,33. The Destroyers are a bit much to me. Remove DF. For the rest the specal rules feel motivated and overall I pretty happy with this wave to Scourge. Stalkers and Ravagers really show how unit’s without special rules can change the entire army’s feel without special rules.
|Apollo||4||Transition, Short hop, Through cover, Air drop|
|Erebos||2||Through cover, EM disruption|
|Hades||4||IF, Strafe, Black and repair nanomachines|
|Mercury||3||Scout, Scanner (incl skyhammer missile IF)|
With 2,67 in average special rules the PHR wanted to start to compete. The new units compensated the other armies effective units with lots and lots of special rules. The Hades got 4 special rules (the sad Nemesis only get 1). On the other hand. Special rules doesn’t help either the Erebos nor the Angelos a fat lot. Apollos was well recognized by the last Invasion winner though.
|Dreamsnare||2||Through cover, shield boost|
|Firedrake||2||Thorugh cover, auxillary gate|
|Totem||2||Shield, lightning reflexes|
|Tarantula||2||Climber, Gravity cannon|
1,67 for the Shaltari. And most stuff are very usable to the army. Again we see that some special rules are unbalanced and how unfair it is to consider the Firedrake’s auxilliry gate only one special rule. The Totem’s lightning reflex is also extremely good. Many of the special things lies in the combined stuff. The Dreamsnare’s special rule shield boost only comes into effectiveness when it is together with other units. And at that point their passive save becomes better than 5+ which warrants another special rule according to my list but is not included.
Then we have the big one. Resistance;
|Resistance units||Special rules|
|Leviathan||3||Hovercraft hard to hit, may disembark and shoot, Barrage|
|Kraken||2||Hovercraft hard to hit, may disembark and shoot|
|Hellhog||3||Strafe, focus fire, transition|
|Rocket techhnical||1||Focus fire|
|Battle bus||2||Firing ports, focus fire|
|Alexander||3||Demolisher, Devastator, Toughened shells|
|Thunderstorm||3||Hovercraft hard to hit, may disembark and shoot, Demolisher|
|Veterans||2||Dodge, Combined fire|
|Freeriders||4||Scout, Evasive, DF, Bikes|
|Marines||2||Dodge, fast roping|
Average special rules. 1,5. Again there are some things that comes into play. I have stated the hovercrafts as having 2 special rules. One for getting a skimmer bonus and one for letting units get off and shoot. The second part could be considered part of the embarked unit’s advantage but I included it on the Hovercrafts instead – thus lowering the amount of special rules in the army. Again we see that many unit’s effectiveness doesn’t lie in the special rules. The Lifthawk, Cyclones and the Gun wagons are example of effective units because of their equipment and stat. In other cases we see a unit is entirely dominated by special rules like the Freeriders.
Wave 3. The current experimental rules
|Hazard||3||DF, Hazard, Focus fire|
Ucm goes down from 2 special rules to 1,5. Note that the Phoenix doesn’t have any special rules worth mentioning as very special. The Hazard suits have the DF and I think no one would have noticed if it had disappeared as they have the suit to protect them from falling masonry. Both the DF and Evasive rules feels like additions “just because” without someone asking “Do we really need it?” on many units.
|Eviscerators||3||DF, Tough, 4+ pass save|
|Screamer||5||+1 to search obj, +1 acc, reduce CQB, halve point, evasive|
The Scourge final wave is on average 2 which is the highest of the Scourge three waves. Besides the Screamer the Scourge is fairly balanced of special rules. The Screamer is way to special and are just an excuse to use the Raider anyway so in my opinion it should be re-designed completely. The Raider should have much less MF and shot and DP to fit the army and not be ten times better than the very weak Tormentor.
|Valkyrie||4||Evasive, Dodge, Jump jet pack, Jump in jump out|
|Medusa||9||DF, Dodge, Evasive, Focus, strafe, IF, Levitated, Drone com, White nanomachines|
Average of 4… I blame the Medusa. For 90 points she is insane. For 100 as well… there is just no point in having any Ares as long as she exist. And we will see her more than Ares because of her special rules. Evasive 2 and removal of DF are two things to start with. Or keep DF and decrease her speed from the way over the top 9″ to MF of 4″ or so. I just don’t like a unit that can stand in the center of the table and the opponent sometimes must ignore the unit because he need to actually kill something he have a chance to kill. Like a 150 pts tank created to survive nuclear bombs or something. You know…weaker units. Clearly they could skip a lot of her rules and She’d still be valid. People would just have to start positioning her right instead of just in the center. Use cover and attack – that sort of thing. Removal of strafe would be nice, levitated is something she could do half a meter over the ground so remove that. Dodge…well she will most likely never enter a building so let’s ditch that to make absolutely sure she will not end up in CQB except in extreme cases. So left could be DF, Evase 2+, Focus, Strafe and White nanomachines. People would still very much take her but just not use her always as the main tank of each freaking PHR army.
Valkyries are a unit adding much needed mobility to the PHR. Still. Evasive is just stupid to include. If it ain’t going to be used then it can be removed. Besides…aren’t they scout as well? I missed that. In contrast the Nemesis saw several games in latest Invasion and that is with only one special rule. Well done, Hawk. Extremely well done indeed.
Do I mention that Snipers Evasive could go as well? They have soft cover in buildings. Let’s use that. If a tank see them shooting and it shoot back having a cloak will not help if the AT shot goes through the wall in front of them bringing a large chunk of the wall down on the snipers. But two special rules are only 2.
|Gharal||4||Skimmer, flame, demolish, pass 4+|
|Pungari||2||Ignore soft cover, Subservient|
Another third wave that have the highest special rules. Although only at 2 in average. This time I feel the rules are relevant though. Gharal is a HQ and I can understand the need for his special rules. Also, they are all basic special rules. Overall I like this wave.
|Attack ATV||4||DF, chem (count as two), evasive|
|Scout ATV||4||DF, Evasive, Disruption arrays, Enhanced targeting arra|
|Sappers||2||Demolish, endless range|
Stefan have tested all the new Resistance units against me and while attack ATV are not something I consider so dumb I would rather give them and Scout ATV active countermeasures and remove DF. The Attack ATV’s have a special chart which is awkward and why I count their chem-rules as two special rules. With active counter measure they could have no evasive as well (goes for both version of ATV’s). If you want to protect them – by them a transport to soak the fire. Evasive and DF is just another word for “Do not use transports in Dropzone commander” and that is never a good thing for a game that wants you to use transports.
The Scout ATC have many special rules. Again I missed scout, I see. Dammit! Oh well. But what makes them horrible are the range of countered 36″. Come on, Hawk! In DZC ranges should be low! Not extremely high. Removal of DF, Evasive and the range would mean they need a Kraken to be useful. That is a good thing. We’ll see what happens.
Sappers. Well they are special. Freaking special but mostly so because of their limited weapons. I feel much more confident bitching and moaning about the DF and evasive units so I claim the Sappers are a cool addition although highly varied in their effectiveness.
So that is that for part 1. Next time I will ad another chart where I judge units on “best” “average” and “weak”, see if the units have more or less special rules and discuss the theories and try to “prove” or “disprove” them. I hope you enjoy this long rant. I will post it now but go through spelling errors later.
Again. Because I’m lazy. And it’s late. And my wife told me to clean up or else…