Gw Grognard: The Good Old Days of 40K

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, here talk about 40K stuff and things that I miss about old timey 40K.

If you have been reading this article for almost any length of time you know that I occasionally pine away for days long done. I get all misty eyed when I think about the days of 3rd and 4th edition 40K. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with how good at the game I used to be, especially compared to now. So this week I think I’ll take a stroll down memory lane and talk about some of the old rules that we used to play that were mission specific that I wish they would bring back.

Deployment order determined by battlefield role

This seems simple but it added a depth to the game. Depending on the mission, you and your opponent deployed your units in a particular order depending on the mission and the battlefield role of your units. For example, if you played a mission that was described as a recon type mission, you may be required to deploy you fast attack choices first, then troops, then elites, heavy support and lastly HQ. There would also be times when certain troops types were the only ones allowed to start on the board. I think that bringing this back could easily bring some variety to the missions and make people really think about their army list choices and deployment.

Targeting Restrictions

In the past there used to be some limitations on what you could shoot at. The basic rule was that you could only shoot at the closest target. Now there were some exceptions. If you passed a leadership test you can shoot at something farther away. Vehicles and monsters were also available targets no matter how close or far away they were. this lead to some interesting scenarios where you would run a unit or tough monster/vehicle forward to soak up shots so your better units can be safe from shooting. Not sure if this would work nowadays but I always thought it was a pretty good rule.

Night Fight

I think this old rule would go a long way to helping with some of the first turn issues. The way this rule worked, or at least one version of it, was that when you declared a target you roll 2d6 and multiplied it by 3. This was the range that you could see your target. If you didn’t roll high enough, “oh well” you wasted your shot. You could use something like a searchlight to see targets but that just meant everyone could also see you normally, but sometimes it was a risk you had to take. I think this rule would help a lot of armies out. Even with the smaller game area, the average distance will still be around 21″ so you could still be relatively safe when the sun goes down.

That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think, and what old rules do you think could be brought in line with the new edition, in the comments section below. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.
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Rob Butcher
Rob Butcher
1 year ago

One problem many players have is that they play competitively at the exclusion of everything else. The rules for “night fight” are in a skirmish scenario for “Shadowspear” (2018 with the infiltrators) which we’ve played through several times. It does though feel very much like a WW2 game; playing without night optics or infra-red targetting system.

The current GW model of competitive missions works at a very basic level so is accessible for most players at home or in a tournament – limited terrain, dropped items that caused too many disagreements (scatter dice and templates), trying to limit the silly excuses people have for their interpretation of rules or lists. BUT looking at the pics of the Atlantic City Open it seems that even this basic level wasn’t achieved.

Some of the recent changes are making W40K better than ever to field specific troop units. Look at the third edition book and IG Codex. Getting the basic IG infantry into Tanith cost 10 pts for each squad per special ability – often your squad of 40 pts was tabling at 70 pts so never came out for any serious competitive play. Now those same rules are on the datasheet and free. BUT they are still more sorted to the narrative Crusade or KillTeam format rather than a big game. I did play 2000 points of Tanith Light Infantry vs CSM and got a draw purely as the enemy couldn’t kill enough. During lockdown the chimeras and leman russ tank finally got built – seventeen years after that battle.

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