|Courtesy of 2d6.blogspot.uk|
Continuing on with the Fantasy articles, here's the easy one- Shooting! As far as the main Shooting rules are concerned, you now shoot in 2 ranks- other than that, there's not really been any changes.
However, that is significant! I don't think it will change the way that players build armies, but it has changed deployment and the usefulness of small shooting units, because they now have a smaller footprint on the battlefield. For example, My Empire Armies have always relied on detachments for effectiveness- and that meant Handgunners. I used to field them in 10- so to get the most out of them, they had to be deployed 1 rank by 10 wide- that's quite a space, and it meant that my battle line was more spread out than I wanted with obvious weak links (the Handgunners) which I never could quite cover. Now, they deploy 2 ranks by 5- meaning that my central units are a whole 5 " closer, so they can now support each other! Wood Elves, Dwarves- anyone that uses small shooting units to draw the enemy on, and disable the odd rank, has benefited hugely from this change
|Courtesy of Westgamer.com|
It also means that it is a hell of a lot easier to bring full weight of fire to bear at close ranges with these units- your LoS for the unit is no longer stretched across 10", so you can more reliably get all of your shots into a unit at close range.
Skirmishers can still march and shoot, as can fast cavalry- this is a bit of a hindrance still to Outriders and the like, because their weapons don't allow them to take full advantage, but it does mean that Skirmish units can be a really useful harassing element in your armies- more on this in the Scenery post
Another quick note- Breath Weapons now only work once per game, so once you've used them they are gone. I like this, because it means that Dragons/ Hydras and the like spend more time getting into combat, rather than running around the back of the enemy board edge breathing viciously on them!
OK, the final bit to mention under Shooting is War Machines. Now, these have once again been tweaked- stats have changed mainly. A few important things to note- shooting at a War Machine now uses the toughness of the machine itself, and the armour save of the crew- so they are much tougher to take out than previously. If they are ever forced to flee, then the unit is destroyed (so no more random crew running around)- however, they no longer Panic (they do, but it prevents them shooting in the next round)- all in all, War Machines are now tough to take out, outside of combat.
So, shooting is now "the same but different". War Machines need to be taken out in combat to be reliably taken out of play- which means that fast units, flyers, tunnellers etc have much more of a role to play in the game. Shooting units are easier to get effect out of, and don't hinder your lines- I think that gun-line armies are still a no-no (they always look great on paper!), but shooting can whittle a few ranks off an enemy unit, or cripple cavalry flankers. With the increase in unit size, I am finding it rare indeed in 8th Ed that shooting completely wipes out a unit- however, I have used it reduce the 2nd rank of cavalry unit to less than 5 men (meaning that they don't negate ranks), or to give me a Steadfast advantage in an ensuing combat next turn. It remains a vital part of a battle plan, but not the winning element- that still is, and should be, combat!
That's it for the Shooting part of these articles- Comments, as always, are welcome.