Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Imperial Guard Codex: Good and Bad

So I finally picked up the new Imperial Guard Codex, and had a chance to flip through it. I haven't read it from cover to cover, but I have read enough to get a pretty good feel for it. Some of the changes in it I like, while others...well, annoy me. I can usually live with changes that are made for balance reasons, so long as they make sense in terms of the background. One thing that annoyed me in the Space Marine Codex is that every infantry model/unit can get a transport vehicle...except techmarines. I can't see any reason (balance reasons or other) why they shouldn't. I can't help but think it was an oversight.

I haven't read it in superfine detail, so here's my first impressions. If I got anything wrong, please let me know--I'd rather be wrong about some of the changes I don't like!

1. Grenadiers - you can still get them (as an upgrade to veteran squads), but they are armed with lasguns, not hellguns. This in itself doesn't matter so much. But what I would have liked to see is the ability to get carapace armor for my infantry and keep them within the normal organization (buy them in platoons with command squads, etc). As it is, you can only get them in single squads.

2. Orders and Vox-casters - The concept of orders seems pretty cool, and I look forward to trying them out. The ranges seem a little short to me, but they make a certain amount of sense--if you have to shout orders across a noisy battlefield, your range will be limited. Which leads us to radios...I mean vox-casters. The entire purpose of these devices is to allow communication over large distances, so they should increase the command radius of an officer, provided that both the command squad and the squad being commanded each has a vox-caster. You would think so, but no. They allow a re-roll if the leadership test fails. This leads to situations like this:

Despite both of these squads having vox-casters, and despite the vox-caster guardsmen being practically close enough to shake hands...they're too far away to talk because the voxcaster in the infantry squad is just out of range of the officer.


Forgive me, but that's just stupid. If I was writing the rule, I wouldn't allow a re-roll, but make the orders radius unlimited (or at least extended). If this is unbalancing, then raise the price of the vox-caster. To 100 points, for all I care...just make the rule make some sense.

I suppose it could be argued that vox-caster ranges would be limited on the battlefield because of enemy jamming etc. Maybe. But if so, jamming also makes radio communications more difficult to understand--so the rule on re-rolling a failed leadership test doesn't make sense either.

Anyway, I hate this rule and I find it very frustrating. I couldn't care less about it "hurting" the effectiveness of the army--it's the fact that it doesn't make sense to me that I find it annoying.

3. Sergeants - Apparently these days Sergeants are stuck with pistols. The only exceptions are Stormtrooper Sergeants, who can get hellguns or bolters, and Veteran Sergeants, who can get shotguns. Shotguns but not lasguns? I could live with sergeants not getting exotic things like stormbolters, etc., despite many of my models being converted to have them. What I find baffling is that they can't get lasguns--the "universal" weapon of the Imperial Guard. That just makes no sense to me at all.
My five sergeants relegated to the shelves due to their illegal armaments...


All in all, it's nice to see an updated codex, and I'll enjoy trying out some of the new things in it. But some of the changes irk me. Since I only play friendly games anyway, I'll do what I usually do--ignore them. With my opponent's consent, of course. In practice, I'll probably allow sergeants to carry lasguns if not bolters/stormbolters, and I'll probably follow the vox-caster rule as written, but grumble about it a lot.

8 comments:

Alan Hoch said...

I agree that the load-out options changing (e.g. sarges can no longer take certain weapons, et al) is a pain, but it happens for every codex rewrite. More annoying for me is that you can no longer take a true drop troops army and an all air-cav force seems iffy to me.

sovietspace said...

This is a good write up with some interesting points mate. I do agree that the Sergeants with no Lasguns is especially annoying. And your picture illustration of the 6'' orders is just hilarious!

However, on the whole, I think we've come out with a really good codex, so I'm taking the rough with the smooth :)

Chicago Terrain Factory said...

Not that its good, but its nice to see that I'm not the only one loosing a few sgts in the new codex. Good news is that I think my converted stormtroopers from the old EDT list may make a return as carapace vets!

suneokun said...

I've been spending so much time converting my catachan veteran sergeant to gunner Harker and building myself a sly Marbo I hadn't noticed... I think the tradeoff for a ten point less Ld8 Vet Sergeant with 3 attacks every turn is a real bonus. You lose a few lasgun shots - but the ability to have 30 guardsmen in a single unit with 3 sergeants supporting the single 'stubborn' commissar - all in the front row and not a single one able to be singled out ... that's nice.

Add in a priest for a reroll to hit or a Straken for furious charge across the board....

I'm not complaining.

As for voxcasters, the previous rules were broken and gave EVERYONE ld9 rerollable Guardsmen 'castles' with a commissar enforcement ...

Those days are over. Time to exploit the new characters - they are a lot of fun!

I personally can't wait to combine a 'gunslinger' penal squad with the 'FIRE BY RANK' command and watch those Eldar fry!

Darkwing said...

"You lose a few lasgun shots - but the ability to have 30 guardsmen in a single unit with 3 sergeants supporting the single 'stubborn' commissar - all in the front row and not a single one able to be singled out ... that's nice."

Sure, that is nice. But at least give me the *option* to field a sergeant with a lasgun, even if I have to pay points for it.

I'm fine with changing the rule for vox-casters, but change it to something that makes some real-world sense!

My complaints have little to do with a given rule's effect on how powerful (either more or less) my guardsmen are, but rather whether they make "sense."

Darkwing said...

One more thing: You can get 5 infantry squads in a platoon, so that's up to 45 guardsmen, 5 sergeants, and 1 commissar in a single unit.

ducki3x said...

I was amused to see in the miniatures gallery of the codex that there was a sgt w/ a boltgun - and it was built with bits from the new new catchican command squad, no less. Even the studio's got some sgts to retire, apparently...

Tristan said...

Agree with your vox-caster thoughts and disagree with the carapace thoughts - carapace shouldn't be available to the average foot slogger, though I think the platoon leader should be able to upgrade to carapace.