Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reader Mail: Vehicle Damage In M42

The Postman, Vincent Van Gogh
SandWyrm here. OldDryAsDust sent me an interesting email about his thoughts on Vehicle Damage in M42. I think it's worth discussing.

OldDryAsDust Said:
"I've been following with interest the work you guys have been doing over on the M42 project, and I've been thinking now and then how one goes about solving the problems with vehicles in a system with roots in 40k.

i just had an idea that I wanted to put out there, and see what you guys thought; it'll sound a bit weird at first, but I think it might help some...

How about you treat vehicles like units? just hear me out: each vehicle is a 'unit' with its wounds allocated between different 'models' - for example, weapon models, movement models, passenger models. each vehicle therefore can vary with regards to the number of 'models' (wounds essentially) in each of these areas. Hits to the vehicle is allocated in a similar fashion to the shooting system you described: attacker says which bit they're aiming at, hits over the total 'models' in that system are allocated by the recipient.

i know talking about models in this regard is a bit clumsy, I just wanted it to be obviously similar to how things work with units.

ok then, how do this simplify things? well, you can easily vary the way vehicles are affected by damage, by giving them more wounds in certain areas. Single weapon vehicles could be thought of as having a lot of ablative armour around those big guns - i.e. lots of wounds in the weapon system of the vehicle's 'unit', making it a little harder to take out that gun. Transports could choose to allocate wounds to passengers instead of vital internal systems (This feels like an interesting tradeoff to me...). Heavy tanks can get really heavy by having lots of redundancy in all of the systems. Plus in my head it makes it simpler to figure costs for vehicles out from how flimsy they end up being wound-wise...

you could also change it so that penetrating hits get allocated by the attacker and glancing by the defender or something. I think it could give you a vehicle system that isn't too wildly different from how everything else works, which is one of the things that bugs me in 40k..."

SandWyrm's Reply:

Well first off, I'll invite you to jump in and take part in our discussions. We can always use a fresh viewpoint on our ideas. But on to your points...

Stelek over on YTTH was suggesting something similar a while back. Maybe a month or two ago.

Games Workshop's Leman Russ Battle Tank
To some extent, it's going to be conceptually difficult for us to get too specific about vehicles. We don't have our own miniatures, and part of our mission is to encourage the use of anyone's miniatures. So selecting, say, a Leman Russ Battle Tank from GW, and making a bunch of specific rules about it might be a bit limiting. Whereas if our tank description is more general, other manufacturers could offer alternatives that won't break the bank.

After all, a Leman Russ is very similar in concept to a real tank from history, the M3 'Honey' Stuart. Both have main guns. Both have 'Sponsons'. But the M3 has them up high on top of the tracks, while the Russ's are down low and to the side. So if we're too specific, then nobody could make something unique yet similar. They would have to EXACTLY copy the Russ. Which, let's face it, isn't a very well designed tank at all. If I started up an IG-like force again, I would use modified Stuarts or other tanks with actual (gasp...) suspensions and more realistic proportions to their guns.

M3 'Honey' Stuart From WWII
So if the rules say weapon X is in a sponson, and is targetable in some way, then the guy with the converted Stuart is in for an argument about what a sponson is, where it should be located (for LOS purposes), and whether his version of the tank is actually gaming the system for advantage.

Whereas, if we're more general, we can allow for such creativity more easily. We can also provide a list of 'approved' models for tank X that can include every model that we find to be appropriate for competitive play.

I mean, do you really want to always have to buy THIS (IMO) crappy, expensive model to have air support (when we get there) for your Knights? Or is it better to write more general rules that would allow you to go buy a Forge World Vulture or some other kit that has compatible weapons?

The New Games Workshop 'Stormtalon'
Now, that's not to say that we couldn't allow targeting of more general things, like turrets, engines and such forth. I'm imagining a tank gaining Evasion bonuses for specific system that you want to damage. Such as:
  1. Turret: +1 Ev
  2. Tracks: +1 Ev
  3. Engine: +2 Ev
The tank (or whatever) becomes harder to hit, but penetrating hits that don't kill the tank damage something specific. Like knocking out the turret weapons, tracking the tank (bogged), or knocking out it's engine (permanently immobilized). This could potentially be added later, once we are further into testing.

For right now though, check out my last shooting article for how I see tank damage working currently. Which is very consistent so far with how we'll handle infantry. Both armored and unarmored.


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