Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

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ARC'Thunder
Shas'Vre
Posts: 846

Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#1 » Apr 17 2017 09:01

Following a wise comment from Kakapo42 I've decided to open this thread as a hub to collate and discuss feedback for the Tau Pathfinder Kill Team rules, and the Shadow Wars ruleset as a whole.

In this thread, I ask that we discuss our feedback and criticisms in a professional manner—this is certainly a standard set by our forum rules, but keep it in mind doubly so for it might be seen by, or relayed to, GamesWorkshop proper.

I will start us off by identifying a few issues from other threads that need addressing. I want to get this thread started now, so I will update and reorganize the lists in short order, and as the thread progresses. If any other mods are up to the task of collating or listing some of these issues before I can, please feel free.

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ARC'Thunder
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Re: Shadow Wars: Feedback, Rules, FAQ

Post#2 » Apr 17 2017 09:02

Tau Pathfinder Kill Teams: Feedback, FAQ, and Suggestions

Known Issues:
  • Pulse Carbines: a limited range combined with a mediocre BS leaves Pathfinders defenseless against other teams. Additionally, the traditional underslung grenade launcher is not represented in the rules.
  • Drones: a disconnect between rules and narrative means drones aren't represented as jetpack models that are clearly hovering.
  • Stealthsuit: like drones, the stealthsuit lacks any jetpack representation.
  • Ion Rifle: it's traditional profile has been completely altered with a lower Strength, and completely lacks it's alternative fire blast shot.
  • Rail Rifle: The rail rifle trades mobility (via the Sniper rule) for a minimal increase in range, a large hike in points value, and lacks an armor modifier comparable to similar weapons from the traditional tabletop.
  • Burst Cannons: As a heavy weapon, the Recon Drone and Stealthsuit continually have to choose between moving and shooting. This, combined with a limited range, impacts their usefulness in-game.
  • Miscellaneous Gear: a lack of access to the miscellaneous gear found in other kill teams (Red Dot Sights, Telescopic Scopes, Camo Gear) combined with a mediocre base BS means Pathfinders are often outranged and outgunned by other teams.

FAQ
  • Gravity Wave Projector: when does the movement reduction from the projector apply during a model's movement? If a model starts outside of the radius, but will move into it during it's move, must it reduce it's movement value at the start of it's movement or during it? How does this reduction mid-move affect models who are charging through the radius?

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ARC'Thunder
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Re: Shadow Wars: Feedback, Rules, FAQ

Post#3 » Apr 17 2017 09:02

Shadow Wars: Feedback, FAQ, and Suggestions

[RESERVED]

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Peregrim
Shas'La
Posts: 93

Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#4 » Apr 17 2017 10:32

Here's some changes I would make in no particular order. I'll try to include justifications for the changes I want to see as well as potential criticisms of them.

  1. A Tau Pathfinder kill Team consists of 3-10 models, and may include an additional 1-3 Drones. (Drones no longer count against team size)
      Pro: More room to expand team during campaign; more flexibility in team construction; support drones no longer count against the number of combat models we can bring.
      Con: a team of 10 Pathfinders + 3 recon drones would have a lot of firepower.
  2. Change the Pathfinder Shas'ui Attack stat from 1 to 2.
      This appears to be an oversight; the pathfinder Shas'ui has 2 attacks in WH40K.
  3. Add a secondary weapon profile to the Ion Rifle: S7, Dam: D3, Save Mod -3, Ammo Roll 8+, Small Blast, Unreliable. Same range and range modifiers as the current profile.
      Pro: Currently missing the alternative fire mode described in the weapon's entry, grants access to high-impact weapons outside of spec-ops.
      Con: Possible tweaks to weapon profile needed (perhaps reduce damage to 1). As the only access to high-impact weapons, ion rifle becomes a must-have for Tau specialists.
  4. Change the Pulse Carbine's range profile to Short: 0-12" Long: 12-24". Grants a +1 To Hit modifier at short range.
      Pro: Equivalent changes to range and hit modifiers made to comparable weapons (such as the Radium Carbine), grants same basic range as most other factions, with same basic range - pulse accelerator drone becomes an interesting variant of telescopic sights available to other factions.
      Con: +1 to hit modifier at short range means supporting fire overwatch may unfairly punish factions which rely on charging into melee but don't have rules which ignore pinning, overlaps with pulse pistol's niche.
  5. Add the following rule to all Tau Drones and the Stealth Team Shas'ui Special Operative:
    Jetpack: A fighter with a jetpack treats all terrain as open ground for the purposes of movement, but can’t end its move on impassable terrain. In addition, a fighter with a jetpack never suffers falling damage.

I'll add more to this later.
Last edited by Peregrim on Apr 18 2017 11:43, edited 2 times in total.

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ARC'Thunder
Shas'Vre
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Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#5 » Apr 17 2017 10:35

Excellent work, Peregrim! This is precisely the kind of post I'm looking for.

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 1210

Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#6 » Apr 17 2017 11:34

Peregrim wrote:Here's some changes I would make in no particular order. I'll try to include justifications for the changes I want to see as well as potential criticisms of them.

  1. A Tau Pathfinder kill Team consists of 3-10 models, and may include an additional 1-3 Drones. (Drones no longer count against team size)
      Pro: More room to expand team during campaign; more flexibility in team construction; support drones no longer count against the number of combat models we can bring.
      Con: a team of 10 Pathfinders + 3 recon drones would have a lot of firepower.
  2. Change the Pathfinder Shas'ui Attack stat from 1 to 2.
      This appears to be an oversight; the pathfinder Shas'ui has 2 attacks in WH40K.
  3. Add a secondary weapon profile to the Ion Rifle: S7, Dam: D3, Save Mod -3, Ammo Roll 8+, Small Blast, Unreliable. Same range and range modifiers as the current profile.
      Pro:Currently missing the alternative fire mode described in the weapon's entry, grants access to high-impact weapons outside of spec-ops.
      Con: Possible tweaks to weapon profile needed (perhaps reduce damage to 1).
  4. Change the Pulse Carbine's range profile to Short: 0-12" Long: 12-24". Grants a +1 To Hit modifier at short range.
      Pro:
      Con:
  5. Add the following rule to all Tau Drones and the Stealth Team Shas'ui Special Operative:
    Jetpack: A fighter with a jetpack treats all terrain as open ground for the purposes of movement, but can’t end its move on impassable terrain. In addition, a fighter with a jetpack never suffers falling damage.

I'll add more to this later.

1. The con isn't really true though. Where would it have more firepower than other teams that don't include melee fighter? The Recon Drone hardly adds firepower with its BS2 and the Pulse Accelerator Drone is just there to equalize our range to the range other teams have...and only insufficient since others simply often add 12" to their range with a Telescopic sight + reduce ours by 4" with Camo gear while we struggle to add 6" to our range.

2. Is a nice thought but ultimately wouldn't change anything so it's not really needed. Since you have to compare WS in hand-to-hand combat in SW:A another attack won't do much for us. Sure getting the 6 is nice, upping us to a Combat Result of 8 but that's only really interesting against non-fighter. We would still lose against the kind of fighter we are losing against now in melee and would just win a bit more likely against other shooty fighter in melee.
Actually those other shooty fighter would only need a 4+ to beat a Tau who rolled a 6 (WS3 plus 1 for charging...we shouldn't think about charging when we have such potent Carbines once in range). So what's again the point of having such a change? To make it more equal to the regular 40k profile? Meh I can live without that. It's not 40k after all.

3. Agreed, I fear though it might replace the Rail Rifle completely in a list. Unreliable is very weak. It rarely happens to roll a double 1 on your ammo check. Even more rare than regular 40k gets hot. And a small blast is way more reliable to hit than a regular shot.
Having access to a high impact weapon would be really helpful though!

4. Agreed. It might sound too strong with its S5 Mod -2 compared to the AM Vets but only if you look at it i a vacuum. Vets also have BS4, access to 4+ armor and can currently buff their BS to 5, reduce cover by 1 and increase their range to 36" while being almost completely immune to ammo rolls with their basic weapons. So I think it's fine actually.
A shame that we have to take away the close range characteristic to make Carbines look good on the paper.
Another approach would be to give Tau the chance to get close more reliably (Scout move = one run move for free before the mission begins, -2 after running instead of -1 due their light armour, access to Tau Camo gear that doesn't just reduce range but also gives -1 to hit that stacks with cover modifier, etc. ....any of those would be helpful)

5. Agreed. Might be a bit strong on the Stealth Suit but it's a Spec-Op after all so he is allowed to be strong. We just have to be careful that he doesn't become an auto include due guaranteeing a win.



Anyway, may I ask what's the point about making Suggestions here? Do you plan to collect them and then post them on the warhammer 40.000 facebook page? Because if that's the case then let me tell you that it'd be much more efficient if multiple people would post their thoughts instead of just one big collection of thoughts.
GW wants to see whether a lot of people have issues with rules or not. They don't want a community do their work. Almost no company in the history of balancing games ever took a really thought out list from a community and said "hey that's great work, we're going to do it that way!". It's their game, their work and they want to do the stuff. :D

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Rizzle
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Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#7 » Apr 18 2017 03:29

Thanks for getting this ball rolling, Arc'Thunder.

I've been having this same discussion with friends locally as we plan a weekend of Shadow War, with the goal of ending up with a Pathfinder rules set that is both true to the established fiction and not obviously weaker than their peers. It may be helpful to set out a few assumptions from that fiction:

  1. Pathfinder teams are expected to suffer high attrition rates whilst performing vital work for the Greater Good.
    Ultimately, the list ought to represent a plucky team operating largely on daring, against terrible odds.

  2. Experienced fighters generally change role, for example the survivors of a Pathfinder deployment becoming a Stealth Team.
    Tau don't field 'veteran infantry' units, though the teams they do deploy adapt quickly to the environment of their warzone.

  3. Tau combat doctrine does not generally support individualism (though Pathfinders and Stealth Teams are a noted exception)
    Individuals laden with kit aren't a typically Tau solution.

  4. Tau are defined by their combined arms approach to combat as an expression of the Greater Good
    More than being 'a shooty faction', or their specific range of engagement, or their high tech tools, it's the mutual cooperation that makes a Tau force feel Tau even across different game systems

In isolation, the published list gives some of this flavour with drones carrying key wargear, Supporting Fire, markerlights and the Bonding Knife Ritual. These are nuanced and recognisably Tau tools.
Where it largely falls down (as we are discussing!) is in providing a challenge to other lists.




I completely agree with your first point Peregrim. Bringing the team up to the 'codex' 10+3 means that Tau aren't punished for having key wargear outside of the miscellaneous kit lists. As it stands, every telescopic sight analogue we take is a warm body with a gun we don't.
Allowing the team to be a little bit larger also allows us to keep individuals weaker, fitting in with the assumption of high attrition rates.

I'd add the following too...
  • In any missions that allow Ork Boyz kill teams to field additional models (such as the Raid or Hit and Run), add a fighter with the Drone role to the random number of models that take part in the mission for a Tau Pathfinder kill team.

...and further clarify the Drone role. Something along the lines of "cannot be chosen during the Advance step, nor be nominated to replace a dead leader" alongside any mobility tweaks.

For giving +1 at short range for carbines:
Pro: Emphasises the pulse carbine as a firefighting weapon with a high rate of fire, and the Tau Pathfinder kill team as a best able to engage at medium ranges.
Con: It eats up much of the design space currently occupied by the pulse pistol, and may unfairly punish low model count elite forces oriented towards hand-to-hand. Right now, the pulse pistol is a really appealing upgrade to make small fireteams better able to land Supporting Fire and halt charges.




Arc'Thunder, is it it worth expanding the pulse carbine 'known issues' to note that the weapon has a specialism in short ranged suppressive fire depicted in the 40k rules, the sculpted model and the fiction? Or rather, one of the game's iconic pinning weapons is thoroughly mediocre at this task despite Shadow War's greater focus on this aspect. :nice:

For the FAQ, I would like to ask if it was intentional that Drones have fallen to I2 from their codex value of I4 (and the Recon Drone to W1 from W2) when similar values have been retained - the Eldar Exarch at W2, for example.
It's not a deal breaker, but I3 or I4 would go a long way to reflect both jet packs and their resilience to small arms fire in boosting the chance of ignoring pinning.
I am completely comfortable with Tau having a fear of heights. Drones falling off building so easily is a comical image, though.




In addition to the 10+3 change, these are the other minor tweaks I will be testing:

  1. A fighter selected at the target of a markerlight gains no benefit from camo gear for the remainder of the phase.
    Issue: Camo gear punishes the midrange weapons of the Tau team disproportionately. 50 points buys enough for a team of 10 to limit Tau firing to 14". The standard counters other shooting lists use (extreme range weapons, telescopic sights or both) aren't available, and the currently available tool (pulse accelerator drone) costs a full fighter and careful positioning just to break even.
    Pro: Provides a costly tactical counter to camo gear, requiring the full shooting phase of a fighter. It fits the fiction of Pathfinders being experts at providing firing solutions on hard targets to their comrades.
    Con: This change assumes that the access to long/extreme ranged weapons remains limited. If the rail rifle gains range, accuracy or mobility then this tweak would be less justifiable.

  2. Add the following to the Bonding Knife Ritual: If a fighter is already entitled to test to recover from pinning, they can instead add one to their initiative for this test.
    Issue: With native I2, Tau are very vulnerable to pinning from even small arms fire from long and extreme range.
    Pro: Encourages careful position even under the 12" aura of the Shas'Ui, providing a minor reward whilst exposing the team to additional risk from follow-up moves, templates and sustained fire weapons. It reflects the team being dauntless in dedication to the Greater Good despite otherwise being poorly suited to intense combat.
    Con: I don't see a drawback here, other than not recognising the issue exists, so long as Tau firepower is deliberately limited in range and accuracy.

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Kakapo42
Shas'Vre
Posts: 855

Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#8 » Apr 18 2017 04:33

Rizzle wrote:[list=1][*] Pathfinder teams are expected to suffer high attrition rates whilst performing vital work for the Greater Good.
Ultimately, the list ought to represent a plucky team operating largely on daring, against terrible odds.


[*] Tau combat doctrine does not generally support individualism (though Pathfinders and Stealth Teams are a noted exception)
Individuals laden with kit aren't a typically Tau solution.


I thought I'd quickly throw up a couple of counter-points to these two, especially the first. Virtually every major source of background material (at least those ATT generally holds in high regard) states that, as a rule no Tau unit or force is expected to suffer high attrition rates whilst performing vital work. The Tau still have a relatively small population, and thus can't draw on an endless supply of warm bodies for the meat grinder like, say, the Imperium or Orks can, so they always seek to preserve Tau lives wherever possible (which is one of the main reasons why Tau military units will readily withdraw to fight another day rather than get bogged down in a quagmire, and why drones are so readily employed by the Fire Caste). Even in Battlefleet Gothic, where (Kor'vattra) Tau fleets explicitly ARE meant to operate largely on pluck and daring against terrible odds, you're generally discouraged from fights of attrition, and the Pathfinder background description in the 6th/7th edition codex (which presumably was the inspiration for mentioning high attrition rates in the short introductory blurb for Pathfinder teams in Shadow War) states that while Pathfinder teams do suffer high attrition rates, this is entirely due to circumstance and the increased susceptibility to good old fashioned bad luck that their missions bring with them rather than any planned expectation.

Furthermore, while individualism is, to an extent, not supported by Tau combat doctrine, being laden with kit is supported by it, with background material often putting an emphasis on how well-equipped Tau military units tend to be. Thus, while individuals laden with unique equipment may not be very Tau, a team loaded with high-tech gadgets for all manner of concievable situations is entirely fitting, especially for the kinds of special operations that Shadow War is meant to represent given that Tau generally tend to use technological solutions for unusual tactical challenges.

Ultimately this leaves us with two possible 'visions' for a Tau kill-team in Shadow War: an elite unit of capable fighters loaded up with a massive arsenal of high-tech gear to level the playing field against their meaner, tougher, faster and stronger adversaries in addition to an intelligent use of mutual support to win the day, and a more spartan force with a simple uniform equipment load-out going up against formidable odds with little more than cunning and elan. Both could be compelling ideas for a Tau warband, and both should ideally be supported in the rules as building options (by selecting a smaller starting force and spending more on wargear to get the first version, and spending more on bodies and less on equipment for the second iteration), but unfortunately by most accounts the current rules don't really cover either well enough, though they come close to the latter.

This discussion is intended to identify solutions to that problem among others.

In regards to carbines, an idea stuck me the other day as a possible way of representing the underslung grenade launcher. What if a successful hit from a pulse carbine inflicted a temporary penalty on the target's initiative? I figure it could be a good way to reflect the disorientating effect of the photon grenade's blast, and a flat -1 penalty for either the remainder of the turn or just the remainder of the shooting phase could be simple enough, but I wonder if this might be too powerful or how much it would help with some of the more glaring shortcomings of the Tau list.

Either way however it is some fuel for the fire. Let's keep up the good discussion here everyone. :)
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BillyBones
Shas'La
Posts: 41

Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#9 » Apr 18 2017 09:02

I have an idea for the carbine to better represent it's pinning ability, as it uses photon grenades to pin, these grenades in turn blind and disorient the target rather striking him down using sheer force. To represent this ability there are two options, either give the carbine another profile with small/large blast, S1 AP- with rule that model that is hit is automatically pinned (even those that can be only pinned by high strength weapons and they can't test early to recover), the other option would be just to add this rule to the regular shot. To counterweight the effect it could be bought as special ammunition.

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Vay
Shas'Ui
Posts: 820

Re: Shadow Wars: Rules Feedback and FAQ

Post#10 » Apr 18 2017 09:57

- BC should not be a heavy weapon. A Heavy bolter which more than doubles the range is a heavy weapon. It also is only on an operative and a drone who can choose it.

- We could use a heavy weapon for Tau. A drone platform with a FW being our specialist would work. That gets you SMS and Missle. And that moves RR and IR to basic weapons. SMS and Rocket are on the right range for Heavy. Our pod would be like the Eldar gun platform.

- Drones should be gear. Gear that has a model, like they always have been.

- PC should have a grenade launcher standard. Upgrade to frag/EMP.

- A battle suit should have been our operative. The stealth suit could have been our specialist as well. Look at chaos for how that would work.
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