Tuesday 5 July 2016

Games Workshop - Dreadnought Attacks FAQ

Undoubtedly many of you have seen the faqs being issued by Games Workshop via their Warhammer 40000 facebook page. Generally, I'm delighted that GW are providing faqs for their publications in this manner. It's something the game has needed for a while, and will continue to need as the complexity of the rules and force organizations continues to grow.

Think you're a nerd? My daughter has this on her baby-grow!
However, scrolling to the end of the latest Space Wolves faq, I was met with a surprising and somewhat disappointing 'house rule' for the number of attacks on a Dreadnought stat line.

Before I start complaining bitterly (and believe me, that's what this article will most likely devolve into - feel free to jump out now) let's reminisce a little. Back in the days of 5th edition (actually, 4.5 edition if you had that dodgy pdf download rulebook - does anybody else remember that?) times were simpler. They were heady days of 500 point battles, modest miniatures collections and making the attempt to use whatever you had that was actually painted.

Back then, Dreadnoughts and their equivalents were a pretty big deal on the battlefield. There's only so much you can fit into a 500 point CAD that can even glance a Dreadnought or stand a decent chance of wounding a monstrous creature. Many times these battles culminated in a miniature 'clash of the titans' as Dreadnoughts, Carnifexes and Talos Pain Engines tore eachother apart in the middle of the field. In these clashes, there was only one possible outcome. One combatant would be utterly destroyed; the other would stagger away, horribly damaged, but usually functional enough to be the deciding factor in ultimate victory.

The point I'm trying to make is that, in a one on one scrap, these things were relatively balanced and that made them tense and exciting. The dreadnought would lumber forwards, chipping a wound from the Carnifex with it's assault cannon. In return, perhaps the Carnifex would glance the Dread with it's bio-plasma. Who would get the all important charge? And would it be enough to seal the fate of their opponent? Much trepidation and nail biting ensued as the dice were rolled and the fate of the vanquished party was sealed!

Now, with the sudden enhancement of your average Dreadnought, these types of battles are no longer so balanced, nor, exciting. Four or five power fist attacks will make mincemeat of most monstrous creatures and your average walker stands even less of a chance. A Space Marine Dreadnought charging into a Carnifex or Helbrute looks almost comical as the Dreadnought emerges victorious with perhaps a couple of scuffs to his paintwork. Meanwhile his 'towering opponent' is just a pile of scrap metal (or gooey Tyranid chutney).

Changing the balance of a unit within the game (even one that is considered to be underpowered) can have far reaching consequences. Maybe in these days of super heavies and D-weapons, these types of things are insignificant. But, for me at least, this change damages the cinematography of the game. It takes away what should be an exciting and fluffy tabletop moment; and for that reason alone, it can only be a bad thing.


  1. Feel your pain Ed. (ork walker player)

    1. Really like your Bad Moon walkers Greg, nice and vibrant!

    2. Thanks Ed! I need to put some contrast on them. Get some chipped up black bits and checkers :)

    3. A bit of checkerboard really brings those Ork vehicles to life, apparently it's not that hard to do either.