Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Steamroller 2012

We're now encouraged to talk about SR 2012, and there's a lot to talk about. I'm not sure how much of my utter disappointment I can convey in writing, but Privateer Press: Redo please, for the love of GOD, REDO!

(Remember, these are proposed changes, so nothing is final)

There are three changes I actually like (and a couple I'm indifferent towards, like flags becoming 50 mm like objectives), but a mile long list of ideas that should be returned to Games Workshop from whence they came. It's a classic mistake to complicate things in a complicated game, but I'll get back to that later. The list of positive changes:
  • Player 1 has a seven inch deployment zone.
  • There's a new deployment type (like Radial, only more interesting)
  • Killbox is removed as a scenario, and added as a "complication" in other scenarios.
Pushing back Player one an additional inch makes a lot of sense. The new deployment type looks interesting, without being as different from the usual deployment as Radial scenarios, and Killbox being an addition to scenarios (instead of actually being one) seems like a really good idea. Sadly there's a ton of changes that simply shout: We panicked!
  • Character restrictions.
  • Stupidly complicated scenarios.
  • Reduced time limits (can be worked around).
  • Stupidly complicated additions to stupidly complicated scenarios.
The first thing I'll mention is the introduction of complications. Complications are additions to the regular scenario, and there are currently two in the book: Killbox and Reinforcements.
Reinforcements are additional models in your list, that can arrive in the maintenance phase of your second turn (and any turn after that), and be placed within three inches of the "Reinforcement line", which is twenty inches in either direction from your right table corner.

Arriving beasts can be forced outside a control area, and arriving Warjacks are allocated three free Focus. This means that in a fifty point battle, when you hold your opponents flag, you get a fully loaded Nightmare to the face, and it has Prey on your models.

Reinforcements are additional points, meaning that any scenario using this complication will be larger than normal games (you will need to design your lists with this in mind, and bring the extra models). The amount of reinforcements are proportional to the size of the battle, but it's complicated, completely unnecessary, and it means an entire section of a table will be unavailable to certain types of models, depending on the type of reinforcements chosen.

Scenarios with the Reinforcement complication, also allows for a second time extension, meaning that timed rounds become really bloody stupid, since most games end in round three anyway. It's complicated, and we don't need more complications!
Complicated scenarios
Are you going to remember fifteen lines of special rules, that lists what happens when your caster get's within three inches of the objective, because I'm not. It's already hard to win on scenario, and just about every change I've seen, makes it dumber and/or harder to do so.

We've got markers bouncing around the table, using the rules of least disturbance which nobody remembers, to move into zones, that won't matter unless the game goes for at least six rounds. You can also bounce them another way, which is impossible to actually survive because of enemy troops, where the game only needs to go five rounds (assuming you roll really well on the distance they can bounce), while you keep your enemy away from it.

It's possibly the dumbest scenario I've ever seen, with the one exception: if tiebreakers are control points. It's piss easy to get a control point, but it's nearly impossible to win on control points, since you need FOUR to win, and it takes at least two rounds before you can begin scoring.
Time limits
This is all kinds of stupid, but at least we can run "relaxed" tournaments, which are actually slower than they are now. The problem is, that the time per game can swing by as much as 42 minutes.

This will make it a damn sight harder to coordinate tournaments, since you need a break between rounds, and you need to take the variable time into consideration. If we don't run relaxed tournaments, we'll make it seriously hard for newer players to participate, which is something I think we should avoid at all costs.
Character restrictions
I guess I could live with these, but it's still a unnecessary complication without benefit (possibly making variation even less likely, if people field their main list in every game, except where they see a massive advantage in doing otherwise). Players have been fighting over this one for weeks, and I doubt I'll sway a single opinion, but I'm thoroughly against Character restrictions.
It's a copy-paste of the worst ideas Games Workshop has produced in the last ten years. It adds complications in a game where most people struggle to keep up already, and it adds almost nothing interesting to the game itself. It makes the game require more models, and makes it harder to be a tournament newbie.

It's a classic case of company panic, where they think they need to do something new and interesting every year, instead of working with what they've got: Tweak the placement of objective markers, tweak the deployment zones (done), tweak scenarios, but for the love of god don't panic and think up new shit you have no time to test.


  1. I agree with you on most counts, despite the hyperbole.

    SR11 was/is great because it is simple and effective, even though it does have those silly ball-game scenarios.

    Reinforcements and special abilities in some scenarios are the absolute worst of the bunch though, because you can't easily fix them with appendix options. Or maybe you can, but that means that the pool of scenarios is very limited.

    DM2012 will indeed be interesting if they do no change some of the stupider things in this new format ...

  2. You know me, I can't resist a good rant, and I get carried away :D

    I heard our local Press Ganger is opening a discussion, so we can formulate a "Danish" consensus on the rules.

    I'm just warming up, so I can unleash the rage (, 1:35 minutes in).

  3. It sounds really lame. Complicating the game is a really bad idea, and the char restrictions is as well if you ask me. If this game is supposed to be super competitive, you shouldn't have to have a good and a not so good list at tournaments. You should have two good lists imo, as it's already hard enough as it is, to cover you ass against bad matchups without the char restrictions.