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[Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown

 Post subject: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:12 pm 
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I wanted to spell out the differences from 9.2.1 in a separate thread so here we go. I tried to incorporate ideas from the people who participated in the special rule/stat threads. The army list will be out later today or tomorrow.

  • 9.2.1's Tyranid Swarm rule (what allowed in-game reorg and enforced synapse range) is gone. A limited form of reorg will be allowed (see Hive Mind below) but synapse range will be abstracted out to be just the presence, or lack their of, of synapse creatures (again, see Hive Mind below).
  • 9.2.1's Relentless rule (+2 to engage and rally) is gone. The initiative will be a flat 1+, the Hive Mind rule will grant a bonus to rally to Synapse Swarms with synapse however.
  • 9.2.1's Expendable is staying, but will be clarified to incorporate Grot rule FAQs. Only Gargoyles, Hormagaunts, Meiotic Spores, Raveners, Termagants and Tyrant Guard will have it:

    Quote:
    Expendable
    A formation does not receive a Blast marker when a unit with expendable is destroyed, this includes the extra Blast marker from the first casualty of a crossfire and for units destroyed for being out of formation after a move. If an expendable unit is hit by a weapon with disrupt it does not inflict a Blast marker.

    If a formation is comprised completely of expendable units then they do not benefit from any of the rules above.

    Expendable units killed in an assault count for the purposes of working out its result (see EA 1.12.7).

  • 9.2.1's Mobility is staying, will some additional clarification.

    Quote:
    Mobility
    Tyranid armored vehicle and war engine units do not take dangerous terrain tests. In addition, Tyranid light vehicle units count as infantry for the purposes of terrain (see EA 1.8).

    Fortification terrain features such as minefields or razorwire, and special terrain features such as lava flows affect Tyranids normally.

  • Spawning is staying but is being renamed to Swarming. I'm breaking it up for clarity into the following:

    Quote:
    Brood
    Units with Brood (X) (brood units) are placed in the army's off-board “swarm pool” when they are destroyed. These units may be returned to play via swarming for a number of swarm points equal to “X”.


    Only Gargoyles, Hormagaunts, Raveners and Termagants will have Brood now. Hs and Ts will be Brood (1) and Gs and Rs will be Brood (2). I'm going with E&C's/Tiny-Tim's suggestions on this and limiting it to only to the small stuff.

    Quote:
    Synapse
    Formations that contain at least one unit with Synapse (a synapse unit) may return brood units to play from the swarm pool via swarming.


    Essentially just a place-holder special rule like brood. I'm only including it for clarity.

    Quote:
    Swarming
    After a formation with at least one synapse unit regroups or attempts to rally it may swarm. Roll a number of dice based on the following modifiers:

    The formation is not broken +1D3
    There are no enemy units within 30cm +1D3

    The total rolled is the number of swarm points available to the formation. Brood (X) units in the swarm pool may be returned to play for a number of swarm points equal to “X”.

    A formation may only return units to play if it started the game with that type of unit. For example, if a formation began the game with Termagants but not Hormagaunts it could return Termagants, but not Hormagaunts, via swarming.

    All units returned to play in this manner must be placed within 5cm of a unit from the formation that was there prior to swarming. These units may not be placed in enemy zone of control or in impassable terrain. Not all of the swarm points available need to be used, but any leftover are discarded.


    9.2.1's d3 mechanic for after regroups and rallies is staying for the moment. Given the number of units that got Brood taken away I want to see how this affect the system before the mechanic is tinkered with.

    Brood (X) was brought back on Zombo's suggestion as only 4 units have Brood and all of them are infantry.

    I'm also running with E&C's idea here. Rather than write a special rule that ties to the army list I choose to just limit what can be spawned back to what was in the formation at the start of the game. The army list will enforce what formations can spawn back what now.

    Finally, chaining of spawn units has been disallowed, as summoning does the same thing.

    Quote:
    Augmented Swarming

    Some units are noted as having Augmented Swarming (+X). Units with this ability add a number of swarm points equal to “X” when their formation swarms.


    Basically a helper rule for the Dom, Node and Tervigon.

  • Regeneration is being added for the big stuff, a good amount of people thought a simple 1DC in the end phase was good enough so that's what it'll be:

    Quote:
    Regeneration
    War engine units with regeneration can regain lost damage capacity points. Each unit with regeneration regains one damage capacity point at the beginning of each turn's end phase.

    Regeneration cannot be used by a destroyed unit nor may it increase a unit's damage capacity beyond the starting amount.

  • Finally, Hive Mind is an army list special rule. What I mean by this is that it is directly tied to the tourney scenario and army list (akin to the Necron/Eldar Garrison rules).

    It incorporates Tiny-Tim's "brood not counting for the purposes of formation strength during tiebreak" idea. This simplifies the tiebreak process immensely and keeps all those tiebreak spawning shenanigans out of the game.

    It also enforces poorer initiative and the inability to capture objectives when a synapse formation looses synapse (goes out of synapse range), as well as gives a bonus to rally for synapse formations with synapse units (in synapse range).

    Finally, it also allows a limited form of swarm merging. This was kept as it was the only real conclusive poll that Neal ran back in February. I went with his suggestion of basing it off the WE transport rules. Namely, the activating swarm can absorb a leaderless swarm at the end of its activation. I think that was the simplest method and the one least open to abuse.

    Quote:
    The Hive Mind
    The Hive Mind of the Tyranids is a single coordinating sentience. Its influence is projected through synapse creatures that communicate with their lesser kin via a form of telepathy. Under the control of synapse creatures the slave organisms act in perfect unison. However, should the synapse creatures be slain the basic creatures revert to their anomalistic behaviors until other synapse creatures can exert control over them. This is represented by the following rules for Synapse Swarm, not Independent Swarm, formations.

    Synapse Swarms ignore brood units for the purposes of determining formation strength during tiebreak.

    A Synapse Swarm with no synapse units has an initiative of 3+ and may not capture objectives.

    A Synapse Swarm with at least one synapse unit ignores the -2 modifier for being broken when it is attempting to rally. Additionally, it can absorb other Synapse Swarm formations with no synapse units at the end of its action. The formation must have one unit within 5cm of a unit from the formation(s) being absorbed. The units and blast markers of an absorbed formation become part of the formation. An absorbed formation is considered completely destroyed for the purposes of tiebreak and the Break Their Spirit victory condition.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:40 pm 
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I really don't think the absorption is necessary. It was needed in 9.2.1 since formations without synapse were removed, but now it just feels more like clutter than anything else.

I really think Meiotic Spores need a note to allow them to use Expendable when in a formation of their own.

I also don't see the need for the "no -2 when rallying". I always forget modifiers like these.

Given that all the Augmented Swarmings are (+d3), do we need the customisable brackets? I know it futureproofs us, but for now can't we just have the D3 as part of the rules text?

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Quote:
Expendable

Mostly Fine.

Unique note for Meiotic Spores needed as Zombocom notes.
Quote:
Mobility

Fine.
Quote:
Brood

Fine.
Quote:
Synapse

Fine.
Quote:
Swarming

Fine.
Quote:
Augmented Swarming

Fine.
Quote:
Regeneration

Fine.
Quote:
The Hive Mind

Ignoring the -2 for being broken is likely overpowered.
Allowing the absorbtion of other formations is unnessesary, and screws with the basic mechanicus of the game.



=========================================================================================

Now, I wrote "Fine" for most of those. But that's in consideration on their own, in an abstract vacuum.

In total, you have eight different special rules.



Kill four of those, and then IMO you'll have a workable army list.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:37 pm 
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I think that's a bit harsh E&C.
Brood, Swarming and Augmented Swarming are the same rule. Synapse is a placeholder to key to the Swarming and Hive Mind rules. If you really wanted they could be rewritten as 5 special rules which is on the high end but not completely unacceptable (Necrons have 5).


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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:42 pm 
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Quote:
If you really wanted they could be rewritten as 5 special rules

Fine; 8 separate rules is simply too many IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:59 pm 
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I'd echo most of what E&C said. Expendable, Regeneration and No Contest are fine in isolation IMO.

But wow, it's a lot of special rules. Also, you can quibble about how many names you give them but the number of rules changes is... high (to put it mildly). I think it's triage time. Might Swarming be the biggest, most complicated and inelegant special rule in the whole game? By comparison, Hit and Run has numerous rules changes but they are simple, instantly remembered and yet add a huge amount of flavour to the army's strategy - very elegant). I'm not convinced swarming is in the same league, but could it ever be?

By the way, it's also not immediately clear if a formation can add units that were not in the formation to begin with (as opposed to unit types). It might be obvious if you know the history of the rule, but it needs to be clear to a new player. As it is, you say "return to play" which implies only killed units, but the unit type clarification doesn't make sense in that context.

Absorbing: adds unnecessary complexity IMO. If there were no other special rules in the list, fine, but it's just making things worse.

The combination of expendable, swarming and hive mind is interesting. It is hard to inflict blast markers and hard to reduce formation size (and thus doubly hard to break formations), and even when you manage to break them they will be straight back again next turn. It starts to look like it's breaking your first rule: fairness to the opponent. I'm worried the combination is too much, but if killing the synapses is sufficiently achievable for all opponents it could be fine. Bringing Expendable under Hive Mind and tying it to the presence of synapse units (rather than the presence of non-expendable units) would make it a little more elegant IMO and with a clear message: "to stop Tyranids, kill the synapses". In fact if brood units and expendable units were the same they could share a single "brood" tag and it would be another small but much needed simplification, as well as tie together all the synapse rules.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:19 pm 
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I'll echo arkturas that it's not 8 special rules. Brood, synapse and augment swarming are all only keywords that are properly part of the other rules. Eldar have 5 rules, and although it is noted as being too many, I think that if any army warrants special rules it's the Nids. Expendable also shouldn't count as it's now in 3 different armies (Orks, Chaos, Nids) and is more a NetEA general specialist rule than an army specific rule.

So you got:

- Swarming
- Mobility
- Regeneration
- Hive Mind no -2 on rally

For Army rules.

Additionally you have the Hive Mind rules for army list/GT scenario, which are absolutely necessary to make a list work, but which IMO isn't really special rules as they're more about the interaction between Swarming and GT tie breaker.

Let's compare it to Space Marines: Marines have ATSKNF, Nids have Swarming. Swarming is more complicated, but ATSKNF is pretty far reaching and is wordy even if the principle is simple. Nids are more complicated, but this is IMO defensible as it gives Nids a lot of their character.

Nids have Mobility. No comparison.

Nids have Regeneration. Marines have Void Shields. Void shields is actually the more complex mechanic.

Nids have 1+ init but 3+ on synapse-less swarms. Marines have 1+ init, but 2+ on Navy formations. Nids are slightly more complicated, but not significantly so. It also adds a lot of character (kill the synapses!)

Nids have -2 rally. No comparison.

In total Nids are slightly more complex, but as the rules are written with Space Marines and Imperial Guard as a baseline I find that totally acceptable. Overall they create a nice feel for the differences in the Tyranid way of warfare - an overwhelming number of bugs with cohesion and control only in the immediate area around synapse creatures, where the Hive Mind can excert its will fully.

Final point: I'm uncertain about absorbing swarms and effectively +2 for rallying broken formations. I like the feel, but I got no clue whether that's worth the extra rules or is overpowered.


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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:30 pm 
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I'd agree that the Absorbing the +2 to rally when broken can be safely culled.

I don't think it's fair that broken 'nids with synapse away from the enemy automatically rally. No other army can automatically rally from broken.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:45 pm 
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zombocom wrote:
I don't think it's fair that broken 'nids with synapse away from the enemy automatically rally. No other army can automatically rally from broken.


I think it's fair given the fluff on synapse creatures and the hive mind. The tyrant doesn't have to yell and shout at his troops to gather them up, the hive mind reaches through him and crushes the will of all the critters in the swarm, forcing them to do its bidding.

Not saying it's not totally broken though.


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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:46 pm 
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It can easily be rephrased as fewer rules though of course, e.g. the "Eldar Technology" rule is really 3 different rules thrown in one (Lance, Holofields and Webway), and was originally 5 rules in one (pulse and spirit stones).

You could cut it down to three I think:

Xeno-Biology: Equivilent to the Eldar Technology rule, lists all the new unit special rules (Expendable, Regeneration, Brood(x), Synapse, Augmented Swarming) as well as Mobility as an army wide rule

Swarming

Hive Mind as the "army list rule"

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:06 am 
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zombocom wrote:
It can easily be rephrased as fewer rules though of course, e.g. the "Eldar Technology" rule is really 3 different rules thrown in one (Lance, Holofields and Webway), and was originally 5 rules in one (pulse and spirit stones).

You could cut it down to three I think:

Xeno-Biology: Equivilent to the Eldar Technology rule, lists all the new unit special rules (Expendable, Regeneration, Brood(x), Synapse, Augmented Swarming) as well as Mobility as an army wide rule

Swarming

Hive Mind as the "army list rule"

This is what I mean about quibbling about how names: you can call Hit and Run one rule if you want, just as you can call Hive Mind one rule if you want, but it's actually two game rules:
consolidate full move
move & shoot in any order

Same with Farsight, it's actually two rules:
retain twice
no -1 for retain

Then Holofields and Lance are an additional two.

I don't really care how the rules are grouped and named, but I am interested in the number of changes to the game, how easy are they to remember, do they serve a useful purpose, and do they give a consistent feel to the army. The Eldar rules are numerous but, with Spirit Stones gone, IMO they all give an Eldar feel, they are simple and easy to explain to an opponent, and all fit together into a consistent theme. Fair enough other armies have less elegant rules (void shields), but they have nowhere near as many. I think it's a mistake to look at armies with lots of special rules, armies with complex special rules, and conclude it's OK to have an army with lots of special rules AND some complicated rules.

I actually think the 'Nids special rules are quite close to having a consistency of theme for the Synapse effects at least, but the brood/expendable/synapse interaction ruins it. IMO it's worth sacrificing some "accuracy" (if that makes sense) for simplicity and elegance. If it's possible to merge brood and expendable, it actually makes more sense to me to have:

Hive Mind (mainly the effects of Synapse):
1. swarms with synapse don't receive BMs when units with the Brood ability are removed from play
2. units with the Brood ability don't count towards formation size in a tiebreak [BTW it now makes a bit more sense for this rule to be in the Hive Mind section].
3. swarms with synapse get +2 to rally [if this is necessary]
4. swarms that have lost their synapses have -2 initiative
5. swarms that have lost their synapses can't contest objectives

Xeno-Biology (or just keep them seperate):
1. AVs don't take dangerous terrain tests
2. LVs count as infantry for terrain
3. WEs regain one point of damage in the end phase

Swarming:
Lots of rules here

So that's 8 rules changes not counting Swarming, which is an entirely new mechanic whose interactions with lots of rules need to be explained. By comparison, Eldar have 6 plus a new but simple mechanic (webway).

I think the above organisation has a more coherent feel to it and I also think it's fine to have eight rules changes for an army like Nids, because although numerous they are quite simple changes. But 8 rules changes AND swarming is just too much IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 am 
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there is a significant difference between "+2 to rally" and "ignore the -2 to rally for being broken" as one effects unbroken units shedding blast markers, and the other doesnt.
personally though, i'd rather see the rule become "formations with synapse treat the -2 to rally for being broken as -1 instead" as it's a halfway blend, and makes things more interesting while not being quite as big a bump

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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:48 am 
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Kyrt wrote:
This is what I mean about quibbling about how names: you can call Hit and Run one rule if you want, just as you can call Hive Mind one rule if you want, but it's actually two game rules:
consolidate full move
move & shoot in any order

Same with Farsight, it's actually two rules:
retain twice
no -1 for retain

Then Holofields and Lance are an additional two.

To be fair, "And They Shall Know no Fear" is the same sort of deal - rules inside Special Rules... <shrug>

I think it's just necessary to realise this isn't 40K with "simple rules"

Kyrt wrote:
I am interested in the number of changes to the game, how easy are they to remember, do they serve a useful purpose, and do they give a consistent feel to the army.

Agreed.

Kyrt wrote:
Hive Mind (mainly the effects of Synapse):
1. swarms with synapse don't receive BMs when units with the Brood ability are removed from play
2. units with the Brood ability don't count towards formation size in a tiebreak [BTW it now makes a bit more sense for this rule to be in the Hive Mind section].
3. swarms with synapse get +2 to rally [if this is necessary]
4. swarms that have lost their synapses have -2 initiative
5. swarms that have lost their synapses can't contest objectives

Actually these could all be reduced further to:

1. Brood units do not contribute BMs to a swarm if a synapse is present and do not count towards formation size in a tiebreak during assault.
2. swarms that have lost their synapses are -2 initiative and may not contest objectives


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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:37 am 
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If you want to see a game with special rules creep, have a look at Warmachine. I never know how my opponents army works. Never.

In epic the rules are at least based on what army he plays, and not one entirely new rule per unit he fields.


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 Post subject: Re: [Tyranid Special Rules] Breakdown
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:23 am 
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The question comes do we want a flavoured list or a bland list. The EUK list went through a difficult K.I.S.S. process that cut back the special rules to the bear minmimum. This left a list that some see as bland.


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