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Detachment system
Just Tony
What is your feeling on the Empire Detachment system? I'm personally mortified that the countercharge ability even exists, let alone that you pay no points for it. In my mind anything that breaks the normal turn sequence should at least cost something. More in a bit, very short break at work.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
HidaSeku
In the 6th edition army book, it was completely broken. If you were not prepared for counter-charges, it could easily take the non-Empire player by surprise. If you knew exactly how to deal with it, it still was a powerful tool in the box for Empire players.

In the 7th edition army book, it was very much toned down, although similar. The detachments still had most of the ability to help out the main unit. I think these are the best rules for detachments, although I don't remember them exactly. I just remember it was enough "bonuses" to make it worth it without it being over-the-top.

In 8th edition, it was so watered down that hardly anyone even used them. Especially with the increases in unit size. I tried to get it to work for me but more often than not I found it a waste. There were some cool elements like sharing the warrior priest hatred and prayers, but it hardly worked as well as I would've liked.

In total, I like the Empire Detachment system. I faced it many times in 6th edition before playing Empire and it made a very bland man statline into a professional soldier. I thought it captured the feel of strategy overcoming men's weaknesses in a world filled with large scary beasts. When I started playing Empire myself at the end of 6th but mostly 7th and 8th I found it a fun option to mess around with. All in all, I like it, as I've both faced it and played it and found it an interesting addition to Warhammer.

To note, at least in 6th and 7th, the base troops DID cost more to account for the detachment system. They usually had a quasi-Goblin statline for double the points. Not sure if the cost for detachments was considered in 8th.
 
Just Tony
As far as points costs, your Empire troops were, what, 5 or 6 points each, but had better leadership and initiative, and didn't fear certain non fear causing armies. I think there's a drastic difference. Plus, how can you put a price on breaking the game mechanic like that? You basically make ANY charging unit start at -5 or -6, depending on how banners go. That's not including the fact that the detachment then gets to go first in combat. Oh, almost forgot the ability to stand and shoot with a unit that isn't IN the combat. It seriously gives you two options: spread a battle line out that can't possibly be flanked and only a few armies have the people power to do that, or stay on your side and not charge. Given the Empire army has handguns that add D6 to their range on the first turn they shoot, cannons, access to every magic lore AND arguably the best knights in the game, I fail to see how that would work out for the opponent.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
Just Tony
Also I don't think the Empire needs the Detachment system to set it apart. It has artillery, every type of ballistic troop besides blowpipes and thrown weapon, Steam Tank, in fact you have pretty much a flavor of every army in that one army. Take into consideration that Bretonnian Men At Arms were the same stat line as Empire troops in both Ravening Hordes AND the prebook from Annual and the same cost with no sort of special rules benefit. Now tell me again how the Empire troops pay for what Detachments do.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
HidaSeku
It sounds like you are referencing the 6th edition Detachment rules, which like I mentioned are completely broken. The telltale sign is the +D6 range for handguns, which went away with 7th edition. I will definitely agree with you there that the 6th edition detachment system was broken and incredibly frustrating to face.

If you would like, I can try and pull from my old books the various point costs of foot infantry in 6th or 7th and try to show what the cost of the Detachment system is. If memory serves me right (which, most likely, will not Grin) it's about 1 or 2 points per model. So, a unit of 20 infantry with a detachment of 10 will be paying 30 to 60 points for the detachment ability. Whether that's overpowered or not is completely dependent on which edition. In 6th edition I think it was overpowered. In 7th edition I think it was about right. In 8th edition I think it was underpowered. Just my two cents!
 
Just Tony
Wait, your average Empire infantry unit is root 5 pts. plus 1 pt. for shield if you so see fit. So a ten man detachment is somewhere between 50-60 pts. and you claim that they pay 30-60 for this ability? And how do you quantify the ability to go out of turn sequence, GUARANTEE eliminating enemy rank bonuses AND the +1 for flank attack? Assuming banners on both sides, the Empire player is +5 before a single blow is struck. Add in whatever comes from the stand and shoot reaction of the OTHER detachment. And on top of it, the combat detachment comes first. You could easily get a unit to autobreak point before they roll a single attack. How do you put a value on THAT? More importantly, is there anything comparable in any other army?
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
HidaSeku
The 30-60 points is for the main unit + the detachment, so it'd only be 10-20 points for the 50-60 point detachment.

Empire infantry have the same stat-line except Ldr as a goblin, which is 3 points, so figure +1 point for the higher Ldr (which is still only 7) and lack of animosity, and then +1 point for the detachment system.

I agree that the detachment system is very powerful if used right, and was completely overpowered in 6th edition.

Some comments on the detachment system:

a) stand & shoot with supporting 10 man detachment = 10 shots, hitting on 5s, so averaging 3.33 hits, figure ~ 1-2 wounds with saves dependent on the unit. So against cavalry, maybe 1 wound goes through, against infantry, 2 wounds go through. Hardly game breaking to have a unit take a wound or two before entering combat.

Cool countercharge with 10 man detachment - obviously the game winner right here. Adds +5 combat resolution right off the bat as long as the parent unit can keep 3 ranks. What I've found, though, is that if the enemy is smart or numerous, they'll just charge the detachments first. This negates all of the benefits of the detachment rules and now the quite-squishy empire troops can't hold up against the close combat onslaught they find themselves in. This can be through just charging the detachments and waiting to charge main units, or by outnumbered the enemy (so one unit charges the detachment while another charges the parent)
 
Just Tony
Yet if the Empire player is smart enough, they will stagger their line to adjust for such a tactic. Add to the fact that as cheap as State troops and Militia are, you can stretch damn near the length of the field. Also how do you expect high points cost armies to outswarm Empire? Won't happen.

Also I do see that the shooting detachment isn't as bad, but it still breaks the game mechanic. It's no different than when the Anvil of Doom became basically a shooting attack, taking away any chance of dispel. How many points would you pay to keep the opponent from dispelling your spells?
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
Geep
I've always liked the Empire detachment system- it's an interesting gameplay quirk that you must account for. If you don't expect it it's a problem, but once you know about it there are plenty of solutions.

My usual solutions were; charge the detachment and parent unit at the same time- you could even do this with one unit if they were positioned right; Shoot the detachment dead- they're only T3, poor save and few in number; Hit from an angle where the detachment can't help out.
Not every race can do all of these, but pretty much every race has an option.

I should point out- from 5th to 7th the only Empire player in my gaming group never bothered to learn his own rules, and never lent any of his stuff out (for good reason- he wouldn't have seen it again). He used to state that the parent unit could counter-charge in the same way a detachment could- and that's what he did. I couldn't show him evidence against it. This made things much nastier, but the methods mentioned above still worked.

It's no different than when the Anvil of Doom became basically a shooting attack, taking away any chance of dispel.

This was needed. Did you ever play Dwarfs during the previous book? Since the Anvil was the only caster, and not even a powerful one, it was always going to be the target of every enemy dispel die- they had no other use! This made the Anvil absolutely useless- I only ever saw it successfully cast when the opponent managed to botch the dispel with double 1's.
As a shooting attack it really became little different to other artillery- which is a bit dull, but it at least did something!

...it still breaks the game mechanic

Game mechanics are broken all the time. It's often what's used to spice things up a bit- even abilities which should be obvious, like Wood Elves being easily able to move through woods, is breaking the game mechanics of how difficult terrain works.
 
Just Tony
As for your first point, I guess it all comes down to what armies can bring what. At 5-6 points per model, only a few armies could hope to outnumber or even match numbers with Empire, and even then they'd be handicapping their army to do so. I know my Elves had shooting to take care of things, but I also know that my troops were very pricy. And lets be frank: there is usually something scarier in an Empire army than a detachment until you get into combat.

The only time I see the AoD not getting a single spell off is if your opponent is running the mage council list. At that point, they are such a point sink that they handicap themselves where it matters: combat resolution. I've personally seen the Anvil get spells off, but mage solid lists in our meta died a fairly quick death.

I concede the third point slightly, but the sheer volume of mechanic breaking actions should at least raise an eyebrow. If it didn't, then the 7th Edition books must have been a renaissance for you.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
Geep
You don't need to outnumber the Empire to be able to double-charge the parent unit/detachment. Options include:
-If you make a unit slightly wider than usual (easiest for Orcs or Chaos) you can charge both the parent and detachment with a single unit.
-Deploy in a refused flank fashion (easiest for fast armies, or armies with lots of expendable things, like Elves or Skaven). Over the whole board the Empire will outnumber you, but you have the numbers where it matters.
-Hit the flanks/rears (easiest for an army with lots of flyers- again mostly elves, but also Bretonnians or Chaos).
Every army has some options, and it's down to the player to make it work. It's one reason I really liked this rule- it required actual tactics from the players, rather than just number crunching to predict results.

In the end your average Empire guy is a standard, low skilled, low armoured human- they die in droves. Once you work out ways around the detachment rule things are usually easy.

The worst Empire army I've ever faced was a 'themed' list for Helmgardt- almost nothing but handgunners, cannons, mortars and magic. A single Greatsword unit with powerful combat character stayed back, just in case anything managed to weather the shooting. Going by the book's terrain generation rules it was easy to practically guarantee two hills in your deployment zone. Most opposing armies were gone by turn 3 against this list. By comparison I loved facing Empire with detachments, even if that opponent did stuff the rules up in his favour.

The only time I see the AoD not getting a single spell off is if your opponent is running the mage council list. At that point, they are such a point sink that they handicap themselves where it matters: combat resolution. I've personally seen the Anvil get spells off, but mage solid lists in our meta died a fairly quick death.

Most in my group had at least two mages and a dispel scroll- and that was enough to neuter the anvil. Magic items also existed- I don't remember details, but I remember most armies had items to boost their dispel ability. Many ran much heavier magic lists, such as the VC, and that just made the anvil a joke. You don't need to stop every casting attempt from the Anvil to make it bad, just make it too unreliable to be worth its points- which is easily done. I only rarely saw it pop out as a surprise factor in tailored games, since most people dropped dispel ability when facing Dwarfs.

I concede the third point slightly, but the sheer volume of mechanic breaking actions should at least raise an eyebrow. If it didn't, then the 7th Edition books must have been a renaissance for you.

The detachment rules were the one concession the Empire had against regular rules (as far as I remember anyway). Every army had at least one 'thing', which really wasn't so bad- it's usually what gave them flavour. As came up in an earlier thread, Wood Elves probably pushed a little too far on special rules, but I still loved their 6th ed book for how it captured their play style.
I liked early 7th ed, but it quickly broke. Things like ASF on elves should never have been. Detachment rules are fine compared to that.
 
Just Tony
Geep wrote:

You don't need to outnumber the Empire to be able to double-charge the parent unit/detachment. Options include:
-If you make a unit slightly wider than usual (easiest for Orcs or Chaos) you can charge both the parent and detachment with a single unit.
-Deploy in a refused flank fashion (easiest for fast armies, or armies with lots of expendable things, like Elves or Skaven). Over the whole board the Empire will outnumber you, but you have the numbers where it matters.
-Hit the flanks/rears (easiest for an army with lots of flyers- again mostly elves, but also Bretonnians or Chaos).
Every army has some options, and it's down to the player to make it work. It's one reason I really liked this rule- it required actual tactics from the players, rather than just number crunching to predict results.

In the end your average Empire guy is a standard, low skilled, low armoured human- they die in droves. Once you work out ways around the detachment rule things are usually easy.

The worst Empire army I've ever faced was a 'themed' list for Helmgardt- almost nothing but handgunners, cannons, mortars and magic. A single Greatsword unit with powerful combat character stayed back, just in case anything managed to weather the shooting. Going by the book's terrain generation rules it was easy to practically guarantee two hills in your deployment zone. Most opposing armies were gone by turn 3 against this list. By comparison I loved facing Empire with detachments, even if that opponent did stuff the rules up in his favour.


I should wait til I can diagram this one to illustrate my point, but...

Your average 20 man regiment of Empire troops is 100-120 points, with free company detachments clocking in at 50 pts each. So with a 5 man front on each regiment, you could spread a front across pretty much the whole board at 1,500, leaving tons of room for cannons, mages, and other stuff to encourage a standing army to get moving. Now picture each detachment staggered back 3 inches from the picket line. NOW you see why I question the double charge thing. This leaves tons of room for detachments to countercharge a flank when you charge, and not much you can do as far as choosing your charges. Hell, move the entire staggered picket line forward a full 8 inches on your first turn, and you damn near guarantee that the opposing player will be forced into the kind of charges that illustrate the point I'm making. Now take into account that Bret M@A cost the same as those troops and get NONE of the benefits. THIS is pretty much my entire problem with detachments in a nutshell. Add insult to injury and spread some skirmishing archers as detachments as well.

Geep wrote:Most in my group had at least two mages and a dispel scroll- and that was enough to neuter the anvil. Magic items also existed- I don't remember details, but I remember most armies had items to boost their dispel ability. Many ran much heavier magic lists, such as the VC, and that just made the anvil a joke. You don't need to stop every casting attempt from the Anvil to make it bad, just make it too unreliable to be worth its points- which is easily done. I only rarely saw it pop out as a surprise factor in tailored games, since most people dropped dispel ability when facing Dwarfs.


If I ran Bretonnians against the typical Tzeentch or Lizardmen Slann list, my magic phase would be shut down completely. Should that then necessitate my Damsels being able to cast in another phase to cease reprisal?

Geep wrote:
The detachment rules were the one concession the Empire had against regular rules (as far as I remember anyway). Every army had at least one 'thing', which really wasn't so bad- it's usually what gave them flavour. As came up in an earlier thread, Wood Elves probably pushed a little too far on special rules, but I still loved their 6th ed book for how it captured their play style.
I liked early 7th ed, but it quickly broke. Things like ASF on elves should never have been. Detachment rules are fine compared to that.


Black powder weapons adding +D6 inches to range of the first shot just because. That'd be the only other one I can think of at the moment, but that'd be enough by itself.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
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