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Classic Hammer » Warhammer Fantasy » Rules Development
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Spears/pikes upgrade
One thing Iīve seen a lot of people complain about in 6:th & 7:th edition of warhammer is that cavalry was too good, while I donīt generally agree, as they had an uphill struggle unless joined by a character or being Khorne chosen Knights, we implemented a small house-rule for our current games of 6:th edition.

If cavalry or monstrous infantry charges a unit (on foot, to the front), which is armed with either Spears or pikes, then the chargers doesnīt gain any strength bonuses from non-magical equipment in the first round of combat.

What this means is that cavalry will really struggle against spear & pike armed units to inflict more wounds than their basic combat resolution of +4 (ranks & outnumber), it also means that units armed with handweapon & shield isnīt automatically the best defensive option (parry rule).

So far this has worked really well for us, however we only use the Ravening Hordes lists, so the only 2 attack cavalry is Chaos Knights, but even they struggle against basic Empire spearmen (unless joined by a character or getting a flank charge) under these rules.

It also rewards a player for charging from the flank or rear with his cavalry, which it should imo.
Just Tony
I can be on board with this one. It's a sticky wicket when nerfing something or buffing something that you swing the pendulum too far the other way, with this rule it feels about right.

EDIT: After some thought while machining some bearing caps, I realized that the pikes have tons of anti-cav rules as it is, no need to amp them any more. The spears, however, I'm on board with.

Ohhhhhhhh, here's an idea: an official site House Rules sticky. Once we come up with a house rule for 6th/5th/whatever, sticky up the House Rules post and update it with each rather clever addition we come up with.
Edited by Just Tony on 19-08-2015 16:40
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
What I'm 90% sure we are going to do for our upcoming 6th ed campaign is the following:

Any Unit that may normally equip spears for +2 pts/model (Orc Boyz, Saurus Warriors) may instead choose to upgrade to equipping pikes for +6 pts/model
Units that are ALREADY spearmen (Dark Elf Warriors, High Elf Spearmen) may upgrade to equipping pikes for +4 pts/model

All Goblins, all Wood Elves, High Elves' Lothern Sea Guard, and all Tomb Kings are all excluded from this option (although all the rules for hiring the actual Dogs of War Pikemen unit from Tilea remain unchanged for these armies)

To keep a small incentive for choosing the mercenary Pikemen unit from Tilea, and to reflect the High Elves Spearmen's "Fight in an Extra Rank" rule, pikes fight in 3 ranks instead of 4 unless you are using the DoW Tilea Pikemen unit or High Elves. All other rules for pikes are as they appear on page 57 of the 2004 Annual book under "Pikes"
Edited by MattyFenby on 12-08-2020 15:00
Just Tony
After the last clutch of games I've played I really don't think High Elves need any other bonuses to what they got. It's damn difficult to budge HE Spearmen with cav as it is, so they seem about right.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.

I would respectfully argue that this is NOT a bonus for HE, but instead just maintaining their relative cost/value.
I would say of course HE spearmen are great because they can fight in an extra rank relative to DE (& everyone else).

BUT, they pay 4 pts/model for that. DE spearmen are 7 while HE are 11.

If both decided to upgrade to pikes under my rule, and there was no way to account for those extra 4 pts the HE spent, it would be a HE nerf. They would have identical units but at 11 and 15 /model.

So my intention was NOT to give them any extra bonuses, only to give them what theyve already paid for. (everyone fights in one more rank than they can with spearmen). I want there to be a good reason why someone would pay 15 pts/model for an elf pike instead of just grabbing up some Tileans for 10/model.

My final argument is that under you guys' rule, HE spearmen are buffed for free (along with all other spearmen). Here, everyone gets what they pay for.
Just Tony
It's more about me basically cooling to the idea completely. Cav simply isn't as effective in the games we've played as net hyperbole suggests, and making them even less viable seems wrong. Don't misunderstand I have no problem house ruling stuff, I just have fallen out with this one.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
As in, you don't even use you guys' Spears buff from above anymore?
Just Tony
I don't, and I never really did. I figure I'd be supportive if other people wanted to, but Ashley and I never instituted them. That's just our gaming, though, and we're not dealing with three attack Chaos Knights either. You feel free to use what you think will work.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
I see. Well, originally, we were aiming to copy that rule. But then we looked at the DoW Pikemen and we were like woooooah where has this been. Then I thought, why are pikes not just equippable weapons like everything else? Then theres no need to make any kind of house rule for spears, and it allows everyone that rock-paper-scissors option for anti-cavalry without forcing them to burn a Rare slot on Tileans any time they think a big Cav or Monstery army is coming. Originally I was thinking for +4 pts/model because that's what a great weapon costs, but then I compared pikemen to empire spearmen who have identical statlines save for the weaponry and I realized that it should be 4 points in addition to whatever it costs to equip spears.

When I looked at the TK book I saw that their statline is kind of more like Goblins than anything else, and they equip spears for +1/model like Goblins so I ruled them out. Wood Elves don't have the option to purchase any weaponry for any of their rank and file units (and all their weapons are magic) so I left their only option to be DoW as well.

I feel like it makes sense that pikes would be purchasable the way Great Weapons or other things are since the Tilean Pikemen are already purchasable. Without any House Rules added if you take 16 Tileans that can fight in 4 ranks youre burning a Rare slot but you get em for 160, which is a pretty cheap and effective counter to cavalry/chariots/monsters.

Under my system pikes take a slight nerf and can only fight in 3 ranks but they become an Equipment option for Core:
Empire Pikemen cost 10 pts/model
Orc Boyz with Pikes cost 11 pts/ model (t4)
Saurus Warriors with Pikes cost 18 pts/model (cold blooded, str4 t4 front row has 2a)
Dark Elf Warriors with Pikes cost 11 pts (ws4)
High Elf Pikemen cost 15 (ws 4, fight in 4 ranks)
Tilean Pikemen cost 10 (Rare Unit, fight in 4 ranks)

This feels balanced to me and within the spirit of the game so barring some sort of exploit I havent thought of (which is highly possible) I think I'm gonna push to make it legal for pikes to be equippable weapons in the campaign im doing with my buddy
Edited by MattyFenby on 12-08-2020 20:58
Just Tony
Like I said, do what is right in your campaign. Are you going to let every army run handguns? Repeater crossbows? I mean, you set the precedent that armies should be able to run other armies' equipment, so will I see a Chaos Warriors Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower?

Pikes are a Dogs only thing because without them you really have no reason to ever run a Dogs army. Empire does literally everything a Dogs army can do but better.
Edited by Just Tony on 13-08-2020 10:32
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
Im not going with the slippery slope argument because pikes feels different to me than a species-specific weapon. Every army ALREADY can run pikes (except for bretonnia) so you could already see chaos warriors with tilean pikemen and dark elves with tilean pikemen and orc hordes with them, the issue here is whether my orc army needs to have humans in it every time i want to run pikes. I think just this one weapon is a focused specific addition to the generic weapons page. I also dont mind not having Dogs be a real army, weve never collected any of them, so i really think this is the direction were gonna go as long as i havent entirely broken the game.

I really do appreciate your advice and the way youre naturally looking to find the broken parts of this for me. I also understand that my buddy and i have barely played any games so trusting the internet that the meta is cavalry heavy might have blinded me from just letting us play 30 games first and THEN worrying about what needs to be switched up. If cavalry doesnt end up being that scary we may find that this is mostly moot and the only time we need pikes is in a rare situation where Tileans suffice anyways. I mean, just last night over on the other warhammer site you guys advised AGAINST running cold one cavalry and AGAINST running a stegadon monster and the advice made sense, so pikes would kind of be a waste of points against the army im bringing to my next game. I guess we will have to see how things are looking as we play a few games and get closer to the campaign (which may be monster heavy.)
Edited by MattyFenby on 13-08-2020 10:17
Just Tony
Getting some games under your belt is the best first option. Snyggy has extensive experience in a meta that may see the need for buffs. Mine simply leads me to feel otherwise. Getting games in also gives you a "feel" of balance within the system so when something misaligns, it leaps out at you.

Hopefully I don't come off as pushy with opinion or advise...
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
Not at all; I appreciate candid feedback.

Regardless of whether we have pikes we are going to have a lot of fun during our upcoming campaign and we will be using the forum for help on lists and battle reports and stuff.
Edited by MattyFenby on 14-08-2020 17:49
Right now, pikes are a rare choice when pulling a dow unit. Making them a lot rarer than an equipment choice for a core unit. pikes are great. I tend not to use many of my dow units in other armies, so i think of them more as a race/army specific weapon
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