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So the steam tank is possibly the most devastating weapon in the imperial arsenal. In fact, the stank may be the sole item in the empire book that makes it a competitive army.

Well I play empire, and I love empire, and I'm here to tell you that the steam tank is

AN ABOMINATION

Why? Because it does massive amounts of S6 impact hits? Nope. Because It's T6 10W with a 1+ armor? Nope. Because its unbreakable? Still nope. No, the Stank exemplifies terrible design because it breaks one of the fundamental rules of the game

THOU SHALT NOT CHARGE THAT WHICH IS NOT IN THINE FRONT ARC.

This rule is what makes this game fun. Unlike 40k, in which you just put as much firepower on the table as you can and then roll dice, Fantasy is a game of maneuver, because you have to position in order to be able to charge what you want to charge. This opens up opportunities for your opponent to chafe etc. In short, counter play. But the Stank makes maneuver useless. There is no outmaneuvering a tank, it can go wherever the hell it wants, when it wants, and deliver a bajillion S6 hits when it lands. When something like a chaos spawn breaks these rules, it is tolerable because the spawn is a limited threat- it can't kill much.

But the Stank can. Oh god can it kill.

In short, I would like to see the tank significantly reworked in the next empire army book. The destructive power is fine, but it's maneuverability is not, if anything it should be LESS maneuverable than a block of infantry, rather than more.
 

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Drill Sergeant
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THOU SHALT NOT CHARGE THAT WHICH IS NOT IN THINE FRONT ARC.
A lot of things in the game can do this. Snotling pump Wagons can do it. Squigg Hoppers can do it. Mangler squiggs can do it. Skaven doom Wheels and the Hell Pit Abomination as well I think. Random movement is a bit of a git, you're right, but if you know it's there you can prepare.

People have complained about my Pump wagons for the same reason. They move a unit past them, thinking it can't charge and then they take 2d6 str5 armour ignoring impact hits from a bunch of snotlings. Ignorance of other peoples armies is the real killer.

Not that I would mind the STank being less manoeuvrable. It's not exactly the most graceful of looking things.
 

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Benevolent Dictator
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I agree with you, to an extent, but it's not the SteamTank's problem, as Borak has pointed out. The "Random Movement" rule in general is where the problem lies, if we're talking about game design from a genuine standpoint. The idea that Random Movement means not only a random move value, but also the ability to charge in a 360d arc, is the real issue here. They could have said that Random Movement can only move towards their front arc unless otherwise noted.

In terms of design, you have Restrictive and Nonrestrictive rulesets. Games like 'Dungeons and Dragons' lean more towards nonrestrictive. You can do just about anything you want, and the rules are there as guidance. Games like 'Checkers' are very restrictive, you can only move a certain way, and the mechanics of the game mandate exactly how it is played.
Obviously, Warhammer's 100 pages of rules are very restrictive. They do this so that Special Rules have more emphasis, because they allow you to bend or break the standard game. That's why to me, it would make more sense to heavily restrict Random Movement, and then have a second rule, or a secondary set of circumstances (like Independent Character) which allows a model to charge in any direction.

But in game terms - no, the STank isn't what makes Empire competitive. Don't underestimate a well played Empire army. Demigryphs are the real winners here, but so are Inner Circle Knights, Hold the Line, and mobile sources of unit-wide Hatred. STanks are good. Very, very good. But they will usually only comprise about 20% of the average army, at most, and are a danger to themselves. They're not as hard as you think to take out of the fight. This coming from someone who has a list with 2 of them in it.
 

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I'd have to go with cap on this, well played empire always give me nightmares, the upside down bathtub is annoying but an iron daemon can generally sort that out, and looks way cooler doing it too.

Now light councils with the backup garden shed on wheels on the other hand... *walks off shaking head and muttering...*
 

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I agree that it is Steam Tanks, Demigryphs and Inner Circle Knights. In fact, my current army is build around these three kinds of units -- 1 steam tank, 1 unit of ten Inner Circle Knights, and 2 units of three Demigryphs. Back this up with a level 4 wizard, a large block on infantry, a Great Cannon, and a Hellblaster (along with some other assorted characters like a Grant Master with Runefang), and you have yourself a nice list.
 
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