I have been watching a lot of 40k battle reports online the last couple of weeks, as well as playing a few games, some of which I mentioned before. One thing that struck me is that we are only a month into 7th edition and there are already a ton of variant rules people use, be they different mission tables, different victory points or others. I have been thinking about which ones I have actually used in my games and compiled some I think are not that bad. Then I decided to just go for it and see what I could come up with.
1. Additional Escalation rules for Lords of War:
Escalation added two additional rules for Lords of War that did not get ported over to the new 40k, but which would actually help balance super-heavies even more. Note that I do not think that they are terribly over-powered in the new rules with the changes to D weapons, but some people are still firmly on the ‘Nay!’ side, so this might be a way of convincing them. Now that the Stompa and Gazzie are also included in the Ork Codex as Lords of War, they might gain more acceptance too. The two rules were:
Impending Doom: This rule simply gives a side without Lord of War +1 to Seizing the Initiative. Elegant and it adds another chance to avoid being blown off the table by a Titan in turn 1.
Through Attriction, Victory: Every three wounds or hull points you knock off a Lord of War gives you a Victory Point, in essence making a Baneblade worth as much as a Primary Mission objective, but only for the opponent. Again, you are going to focus your fire on it anyway, so might as well make it worth the effort.
Given that both rules come from a published GW supplement and only affect games featuring a Lord of War, I think they are neat little additions that do not unbalance the game, but might add another layer to it.
2. Maelstrom mission cards:
I personally love the new maelstrom mission cards as they add so much to the game by having you continually gain points instead of only scoring them at the end of the game. They also reward mobile armies that can quickly move around, a play-style that I prefer and which I find makes for more interesting games than two people just camping in their deployment zone and rolling dice to see who shoots whom off the table first. However, there is a slight problem with cards 62 (kill a psyker), 63 (kill a flyer) and 65 (kill a building or gun emplacement) as they ask you to destroy a particular type of unit that your opponent might not have in its army. 61, 64 and 66 are easier to fulfil, as they ask you to kill the Warlord, a character or a vehicle/monstrous creature respectively, though this might also be impossible to do depending on the state of the game, though if you have already wiped out all enemy vehicles and monsters or all characters, you might be winning anyways. My suggestion is that these cards can be immediately discarded and replaced (or re-rolled) if the opposing army has no such model at the time you draw them, instead of at the end of the turn. This helps you score straight away rather than being stuck with a pointless card for a turn.
3. Summoned creatures:
This is a home-grown one to fight summoning spam armies and is inspired by the summoning sickness mechanism in Magic: the Gathering. Basically, in Magic, a creature cannot attack or tap on the turn it came into play as it is ‘summoning sick’. So in 40k, this would probably translate as: A summoned unit may not shoot or run in the turn it came into play, nor does it count as a scoring unit until the beginning of its controller’s next turn. This avoid overrunning objectives in Maelstrom missions or last-minute summonings stealing a game. An alternative or addition would be that summoned units never gain the bonus Detachment rules, so in a Combined Arms Detachment, they would not gain Objective Secured, for example.
4. Coherent advantage:
A major bone of contention about the new rules is that the fact that you can add multiple detachment provided you meet the minimum requirements for each one of them makes Unbound redundant, as you can easily accommodate 6 Elites, Heavy Support or Fast Attack choices in a 2000 points army by paying the ‘tax’ of fielding two HQs and 4 Troops choices, even without including Allied detachments. Add to this the fact that Imperials can add ‘free’ Knight or Inquisitorial detachments and things can escalate quickly. So the following rule might help there: A coherent force under the leadership of a single commander is able to respond quickly to changing tactical circumstances, whereas an army lead by multiple commanders might waste time squabbling or responding to conflicting orders. The force having the lowest number of detachments, including allied detachments, knight detachment or inquisitorial detachments, gains +1 to the roll to pick table sides and the roll to seize the initiative.
Again, what do you think? What kind of house rules do you use? Would you give these ones a go?