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This started in another thread, but it's better here....
In a nutshell, I think Flamers in WH40K are grossly underpowered because of the way the rules handle them. I'm referring mainly to the man-portable version carried by the Imperial Guard, but some of this applies to bigger ones.
The standard Flamer template doesn't reach 12", the distance from which most units can charge the squad with the Flamer in it. So because of turn-based movement, an enemy can charge straight into close combat with the Flamer never coming into play. This is silly. In the real world, even a tank isn't going to barrel straight into a high-pressure stream of flaming jellied petroleum. That junk burns incredibly hot, and it sticks and flows down into openings in armor. A creature with a hide tough enough to resist the heat will still have all its sense organs charred. Yes, WH40K isn't the real world. But the Orks and Eldar and so on are supposed to be additions to reality, which means fire is still supposed to be hot.
A flamethrower can halt or disrupt a charge far better than gunfire. Even units that aren't directly hit can be scattered or pinned down. My suggestion is that Flamers have a special rule. If one is not fired during the regular shooting phase, then it may fire one burst at a charging enemy after the enemy has moved the first 6" towards the Flamer, and before the second 6" to complete the charge and engage the squad in close-combat. That one shot with the Flamer would be handled as normal, including any test to see if the enemy breaks before completing the charge.
Maybe the Flamer should cost a few points more. But maybe not, because people seem to think of it now as only a poor man's Meltagun suitable only for giving to suicide drop squads.
Where to start? First of all I should point out that the best part of your thread was the fact that you didn't grumble at the shape of the template, or the strength of the flamer itself. Nor were you particularly anxious about the points cost of the humble flamer. In fact you even went so far as to admit that if the flamer was made any more potent then its points value would increase dramatically. This is the age old problem in 40k and I would suggest that perhaps you have stumbled upon part of the reason for their limitations right at the start.
For example, why is a Lascannon a Heavy 1 weapon? Simple, if it was an assault 5 weapon it would be unbelievably dangerous and would easily be worth several hundreds of points no matter what the ballistic skill of the grunt firing it. The designers of 40k have been forced to very carefully build some quite surprising balances into the rules to make the game enjoyable instead of realistic. and to keep those pesky lascannons cheap enough to actually equip your units with
Why can't characters carry heavy weapons? Simple, an Autocannon that hits on a 2+ and infiltrates and can't be shot at? Hello?!?
I think that while the changes that you propose are logical they would also alter the mechanic of the game enormously. At the moment using flamers is a careful technique, moving your troops up to about five and half inches, firing with the flamer and then assaulting, they are an offensive weapon with limited defensive roles and because of their carefully designed limits they are cheap to use in games of 40k and personally I like them cheap and limited and would resist turning them into something more powerful than they already are.
Oh, and rep for you for presenting the thread so well.
The flamer is a conumdrum.
To expand upon your "it messes with your senses even if you survive" how about make it pinning with -1?
Then while its still only got a 8" range but when it hits it bloody hurts.
Best bit about this is flamers can still stay cheap as dirt.
I'm inclined to not give the flamer any abilites that mess with the normal sequence of play. Not saying your idea is bad - jsut that it could easily lead ot unforseen difficulties for future proofing.
Thus by building its abilites into the weapon that work in shooting is preferable as its jsut another ranged weapons - not some hybrid deal.
Remember, grenades are thrown but they are counted in the assault move - not as seperate weapons.
Well thank you so much, Magic Pink Cow.
I completely agree that it would alter some of the game dynamic. But I think that could be okay, depending on how it was balanced and how it plays. I think it would encourage the opponent to target the Flamer guy first, as would happen in "real life" (whatever that is). The combat lifespan of the average flamethrower-carrier in WWII was something like thirty seconds. Those fuel tanks might as well have bullseyes on them. For that matter, if the model with the Flamer is killed, he could explode on a d6 roll using a small-ish template. Lighting up the men around you is one way to achieve balance, and all too true.
I feel like the charge into close-combat is a bit too powerful anyway. The turn-based system in its present form is one way of simulating combat, but the idea that certain weapons can't be fired at something running headlong at you bothers me. I'm not saying there should be an extra shot at a charging enemy. But a model with an unused attack and a weapon that is in range at the halfway point of the charge (generally 6") should be able to use those attack(s) at that time. That might include bolt pistols or other weapons also, particularly if the enemy charges more than 12" total. I think it's more realistic, but yes, it does change the dynamic. But change is good, right? It's not like people haven't had to alter tactics before when new rules came out. To support my point, I'll mention that flamethrowers were one of the primary defensive weapons in WW One precisely because of their ability to repulse a charge by masses of determined troops.
Last edited by Rev. Engineer; November 9th, 2007 at 14:26.
The latest revision of the rules, they got rid of a lot of extranious rules. It seems that GW wants the rules to be as simple and playable as possible. Throwing in another rule would counter that. Thus, it would never happen.
As to targeting the flamethrower wielder first, there are -very- few units that can target specific targets. This is, thus, nearly impossible. Target whoever you want, people can still take that little mook out with the lasgun instead of their dude with the heavy weapon. (It's assumed that you shot the guy with the flamer/heavy weapon, and another from the squad picked up the weapon and kept shooting.)
While I would, personally, LOVE to have that free shot against Dark Eldar charges, I have to say no to it. Adding new rules that make the game more complex than it already is...not a fan. I prefer my game to last a couple hours, not an entire evening, when playing 1000 points.
I think the flamer should have a special rule that causes a unit to take a morale check. In say in the World Wars when portable flamers were used, units that were hiding in the trenches would usually run in fear of the flames. Fire is a potential factor in causing fear. Especially when your own house is on fire, most people will panic and run.
For rules wise, i'd have to say that if any unit was being attacked or assault with the flamer's template, they would have to take a morale check after wounds were dealted, or fall back. For fearless units, i guess they wouldn't mind being afraid of a little fire, after all they are fearless. As for what happens if the unit falls back to far away from the assaulter's range of assaulting. Well its a risk to take, flame them or assault.
"DID WE JUST SIGN UP FOR A SUICIDE MISSION, RICO?" "YEAH WE JUST DID, WHEN WE ENLISTED" LOVE THE IMPERIAL GUARD, JOIN TODAY!!
Oh, you mean a Psycannon on a Brother-Captain? I've got one of those.an Autocannon that hits on a 2+ and infiltrates and can't be shot at?
In all seriousness, the flamer has always struck me as one of the many ways a player must suspend disbelief while playing Warhammer. In reality anyone coming at a unit with a flamer would be toasted as soon as they got in range, and anyone charged by a unit with a flamer would be pinned at the least as they tried to avoid the deluge of flames. It's just another spot where game balance shines through over realism.
Huh, I thought they did the inferno cannon on the hellhound flamer justice(or at least a little better)
If they would make the flamer have a range like that(not quite so far, but maybe even 6 inche) it would make the flamer much more viable, without making it too pricy points wise.
W/D/L Eleventy trillion billion/NONE/ NONE - I am STILL rulezor!
WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
Rev. Engineer, you have identified a flaw in the rules for all weapons, not just flamers. The fact that whether it be because of range or line of sight, an enemy can run into view and assault without you getting a shot off. The solution is simple and already exists in Warhammer fantasy based. It is call "Stand and shoot". Look it up in the warhammer fantasy based rulebook. It would completely solve this problem, and I don't know why it hasn't been put in 40k. Btw the reason I am being more open minded now is because this thread is about rule reforms and not about whether or not a flamer is currently a pratical choice for a line squad.
what do you call a lasgun with a laser sight?
The problem is that Stand and Shoot works much better with the rules for Fantasy then it does for 40k. In fantasy, the majority of ranged weapons are almost an afterthought (not counting artillery, which isn't even an issue here). You can kill a few guys with them, but for the most part close combat will always be your meat and potatoes. Wood Elves are the exception to the rule, but even there you have a solid core of close combat units.
In 40k, however, shooting really takes center stage for a majority of the armies. Imagine the balance issues, then, for the few armies ('Nids, Templar, Etc.) who rely on Close Combat to do the majority of their damage. For those armies, the only option is careful manouvering. On the flip side, imagine the boost armies like the Tau or Necrons would get. No longer would they have to fear being assaulted in hand to hand, so long as they pulled off some good shots.
I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I was honestly looking for it when 4th edition was first released. But as the rules currently stand, it creates more balance issues then it solves.