Friday, February 24, 2012

Special Operations Killzone: Explained –TEAM BUILDING

This series of posts, apart from getting the gears engaged as we spin into AdeptiCon and the Killzone events featured therein, is designed to offer insight into the machinations that formed Killzone into the hearty and robust mechanism that it is currently. More than simple promotion of the game itself, this series hopes to present a kind of RaI blueprint for how we got from the broad (and largely unmanageable) Kill Teams dynamic suggested in previous 40K editions and loosely suggested in the contemporary Battle Missions book (ahem: see bottom), to last year’s Special Operations: Killzone ruleset, and finally to the extraordinarily fun, rounded dynamic that we have conjured for AdeptiCon this year. 

This first installment covers some ground that might already be familiar to enthusiasts of Joe and Skarvald’s timely and sporting blog (Wolves for the Wolf God. Go check it out if you are unfamiliar), but the topic is worth visiting once more. Although the series might cover some expected territory, the idea –simply- is to discuss what on earth we were thinking.

For those of you not versed or familiar, there are a number of basic restrictions that act as the foundation for a standard team -250 points. These restrictions are essential and act as the leveling skeleton upon which all teams are built. There are a few simple guidelines that I will not discuss here for practicality’s sake –so please have a gander at the larger ruleset for the whole picture.

This first set of restrictions act almost exactly as they did in the original version last year. 

Standard Restrictions: a team may select a limited number of models with the following attributes:
0-2 models with a 2+ armor save
0-2 models with 3 wounds
0-2 models with 3+ invulnerable saves
0-2 models with Jump Infantry designation
0-2 models with Bike/Jetbike, and/or Cavalry/Beasts designation

So a valid team could have two Chaos Terminators, two Raptors, and two Chaos Bikers… and so on. This mechanism helps curb potential abuses and also keeps the spirit of Special Operations teams appropriately aligned –genuinely spec ops stuff, prepared for all situations. Likewise, these characteristics stack, so a TH/SS Terminator fills both a 2+ armor save and a 3+ invulnerable slot.

That solved the basic problem of potentially imbalanced team structures, but there was another lingering issue with armaments and upgrades. Thus the inspiration for a second set of restrictions intended to remedy a very complicated and troublesome problem; we wrung our hands about this one for weeks and weeks and weeks during the revision process. Previously, we had suggested that there could only be a limited number of weapons upgrades for participants in any given “squad”; however, this left quite a few armies with basic troops choices that already enjoyed a kind of MEQ upgrade equivalent (looking at you Eldar Fire Dragons). Without heavy redaction to each and every weapon option in each and every codex, our first stab at remedy would be ineffectual.  

I think Joe gets credit for this one.

Weapon Restrictions: Killzone teams identify four basic type of non-standard and limited weapons. In any mission, a team may field the following number of non-standard weaponry:
0-3 Template - designated Template
0-3 Incisive - with AP2 or lower
0-3 Suppressive - with 3 or more shots
0-3 Heavy weapons - designated Heavy.

Once again, these characteristics stack, so a Lascannon fills both an Incisive and a Heavy slot. Likewise, models with variable weapons and weapon types count 1 for each available or potential characteristic (thus a Chaos Obliterator tallies 1 Template, 1 Incisive, and 1 Heavy regardless).

In this manner, we have addressed only the kind of weapon on the table, and thus circumvented the weapon upgrade consideration entirely -no more need for exhausting and encyclopedic examination of weaponry options for every single codex and sub-codex. The basic pricing of a basic weapon for any given race still operates in relation to all the others (for better and for worse), and in the same gesture potentially formidable weaponry takes the proverbial knee before upsetting all semblance of balance at such a limited points value. Result.   

With those basic guidelines, you have the heart of the matter.

p.s. Zone Mortalis… really? I’m tempted to believe, though not inclined toward vanity, that someone out there is paying attention. I mean...


Scott said...

I just told Matt this morning that you should totally sue Forge World. I'll sign an affidavit if you need one.

Brian said...

@ Scott. Quite right. My suits are preparing a Cease and Desist letter imminently. Ha!

Son of Dorn said...

Seems like a compliment to you guys. It didn't have to have a name that resembled yours at all. Sounds like a polite nod your way for all of the hard work.

Da Masta Cheef said...

I figured that whomever it was that won the Sin of Alacrity board was giggling maniacally this morning...

fullborer said...

props on the elegant simplicity of the weapon category solution. I had wondered a bit about that.
is there a similar mechanism for special-effect HtH weapons?

as for the Zone Mortalis - the discussion around the virtual water-cooler today boiled down to;
"yea, they're nice, but the Kill Zone tables at Adepticon were better." I nodded sagely.

Big Jim said...

Yeah the new system is simple and too the point!

As for Zone Mortalis, nope not gonna do it! I will say this, it looks like fun on a whole different level than Killzone.

HOTpanda said...

I cry every time I see the word Adepticon...Another year about to slip bye in a river of tears. Here is to hoping I can make it out for 2013 and if that comes true then Kill teams is where my weapons will be.

Thanks for the insight and cannot wait to here more about the thought process that you guys put into the game. Cheers

Brian said...

@ Son of Dorn. Absolutely. I am flattered.

@ Da Masta Cheef. No kidding, right. I wonder how that guy is doing... I had asked that he send an email or an update or some report on how the board was working for him. Alas. I have heard nothing.

@ fullborer. We haven't included a hth equivalent only because the game seems to monitor (dole out) those a bit more carefully. Thank you, also, for the kind words. I think you know we have something special in mind this year as well...

@ Jim. amen.

@ Panda. Wipe that tear from your eye. 2013 is your year! ha.