So the Warpath beta rules from Mantic Games dropped onto the interwebs yesterday and I’ve had a chance to read them and the army lists. It is interesting to see that two main concepts have moved from their Kings of War game to the sci-fi rules and how they just don’t really seem to work.
As with Kings of War there are no models removed from a unit just wounds marked which contribute to higher and higher modifiers to Nerve tests. While this works in KoW it seems odd in Warpath. One annoyance in a mass combat ranked unit fantasy game is the constant need to remove models and redress the formation. I can’t ever recall this being a problem in 40K and it has the opposite effect in Warpath. You will always be moving 10-20 figures for a unit until it is removed from the table and while this makes sense for a fantasy game where one typically uses movement trays, in a sci-fi game with a unit spread out over an area it means you have to constantly move the same number of minis over and over again. Your game doesn’t speed up as it goes on it stays about the same until you start to lose units.
It seems odd to say it but while I don’t mind IGOUGO in a mass fantasy game it really seems antiquated and a step back for a sci-fi game. I suspect that this might be my fondness for Void showing itself but fantasy mass combat is about movement and strategy at a larger scale and sci-fi games always, again IMO, seem to benefit from the fluidity and surprise that alternating activations can bring to a game.
Warpath uses the same system that Kings of War does and also has the same “cut to the bone” simplicity that those rules have. I don’t mind simple rules. Games do not have to have a complex rule system to give players a wealth of tactical options but the Warpath rules seem barren while, oddly enough, the Kings of War rules seem refreshingly simple.
I suspect that this reaction is based on the reactions to the “competing” games in the market. Warhammer Fantasy seems overly complex and unruly. 40K on the other hand has a lot of rules but the setting seems to demand them and having a trimmed down version of the system creates the sense that the rules are lacking.
I was rather looking forward to these, especially since I have a mountain of Orks to test them with, but I don’t see that they really offer an advantage over the 40K rules and those rules don’t really interest me. I think that this is one case where Alessio’s mania for simple is not the real solution.
I am still quite interested in the Kings of War rules though and I am slowly building up a stock of miniatures to use with that game. Trading and selling my old 40K figs as it happens :-)