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Subject: Burn, Baby, Burn! rss

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Mark
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Can we talk?

If you are exactly like me, you've spent the last 17 years trying to figure out why Games Workshop changed the iconic Heavy Flamer rules in 2nd Edition Space Hulk? Why mess with perfection?

Remember, the 1E Heavy Flamer came with 6 large templates. Each shot flamed an entire section, and killed models in the flamed section, each on 2+ results on a 1D6. Then, the section was on fire and impassible for the following player phase. The 1E Heavy Flamer burned'em, and blocked'em. Some scenarios even had reloads. The rules were/are so good they were/are repeated in the later 3rd and 4th Editions. Simply perfection!

BUT, Second Edition changed those rules! Gone were the six big, section filling templates. Replaced by 12 smaller templates that only flame one square each. Instead of 6 single shots, the 2E Heavy Flamer can squeak out as few as one template, or blow out all twelve! They kill each target on the same 2+. But, as targets are eliminated, the HF can Chain Fire into adjacent hexes in the LOS of the wielder, including squares that were blocked by the now dead target(s). It can continue to hit newly visible squares out to a max of 12 squares. And/or double down with templates to block a square, or squares, for the following player turn. There's nothing bad about any of that. But, it always seemed so needless to change the original rules. Why mess with perfection, right?

Those seemingly ineffable rules changes caused such a ripple in MY personal Space-Time Continuum, I didn't bother to even to play 2nd Edition. Much less own it. Nuh-unh. Don't mess perfection on MY watch.

Not until a few months ago when my completion-ist inner Daemons saw a mighty nice used 2E copy on ebay, did I be bothered to acquire said offending version of my beloved Space Hulk. So, a new (to me) 2E joined my 1E (with both expansions) and 3E+4E Space Hulkapalooza.

After playing a few more games with 2E, two days ago, at the FLGS, I was driving home. Basking in the warm afterglow of barbecuing an entire corridor full of Genestealers. Suddenly, It hit me! I had THE epiphany! I know why they did it! Stay with me, I'm gonna get all existential on ya'll.

Second Edition Space Hulk was a one-off release. I think coinciding with new plastic Terminators. GW probably never planned to release expansions like they did with 1st Edition. In fact, they kind of seem to be out of the "expansion business." They probably didn't even have the go ahead to include in the 2E box more alternative weapon models and rules to match those in previous expansions (like Third and Fourth Edition later did). Plus, the unique dice in 2E might not have supported other weapons types. However, they also didn't ignore the existence of the OTHER iconic Terminator Heavy Weapon, the magnificent Assault Cannon.

Don't you see! Those dang fools quietly and surreptitiously combined the Heavy Flamer and Assault Cannon rules! That's why the 2E rules seem like Heavy Flamer Lite, but can clear a corridor like an Assault Cannon on steroids. It combines a modicum of the lethality and path blocking ability of a 1E Heavy Flamer, with much of the offensive firepower of a 1E Assault Cannon (using the optional Full Auto rules). No wonder it is so wonderfully good on the offense. It ain't no slacker on defense, either.

So, there. You bear witness to the answer to a question that has plagued mankind for near 2 decades (OK, maybe this one kind man). You're welcome.
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Kevin O'Mara
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Very interesting insight! I always did wonder why they made the change.
 
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Toco
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hehehe, exactly the kind of questions i'm wondering about too all the time
 
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David Damerell
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General_Warhammer wrote:
Very interesting insight! I always did wonder why they made the change.


Interesting, but I'm not convinced. I tend to feel the 2E flamer rules (which I prefer) discourage offensive use and this is a good thing.

Firstly, the 2E flamer can be easily used to block a side entrance to a room or t-junction in a corridor. This is a really strong ability, potentially closing off a Stealer offensive for the entire game. (Yeah, you're sacrificing the flamer marine. Marines are cheap [1].)

Secondly, there's no holy grail of offensive use. With the 1E flamer you can fantasise about filling a room with 13 Stealers and baking the lot. With the 2E flamer, you'll never get a result like that, so you concentrate on what you can get done.

Thirdly, it's more reliable. With the 1E flamer, there's a 1 in 6 chance the chap closest to you laughs it off and, inevitably, comes and eats your face. With the 2E flamer, the odds are only 1 in 36.

Fourthly, the "one map piece no matter how big" effect in 1E gives me quite a degree of cognitive dissonance.

[1] I know trying to make sense of GW lore is a futile endeavour, but the only explanation I have for what we're told about Terminators vs. their complete expendability is that they're cannon fodder being lied to to build esprit de corps. Every Terminator thinks they're the elite of the elite and their armour has been passed down for generations etc etc, but actually it's mass-produced from pot metal and they're tipped out of the clone vats by the million. Once the idiots in the big suits have done the dying, the professionals in the Imperial Guard mop up.
 
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Mark
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Oh, ye of little faith...

Let's examine the evidence...

First, let me set up a straw-man argument that can ONLY prove my point...

In the now epic-in-my-head battle at the FLGS, my "offensive" Heavy Flamer was leading the charge around the infamous Suicide Mission corner. Leading because my idiot sergeant in the big suit had already done some dying! Waiting around that corner? Why, a corridor full of just the meanest mob of poorly painted plastic genestealers anyone's ever seen! Can you stand it?

Now, let me reiterate this is NOT a comparison of the relative merits of the two different Heavy Flamer rules. NOT gonna go there! This is about how the 2E Heavy Flamer rules have a bit of Assault Cannon saucy panache.

To even get to the corner, a 1E Heavy Flamer must flame (and block) the corner section. Not so the 2E HF. Like an Assault Cannon, it can move into the corner section and send the evil GS hiding there to Hive Mind Hell. Once around the corner, the 1E HF could only kill two genestealers in the next section. And, yes, it MUST kill the genestealers with EVERY 1-in-6 die roll with no do-overs. Or, die at the hands claws of surviving, smoldering, still quite deadly genestealers.

2E HF? What'evs. It spews death down the corridor just like an Assault Cannon. Flaming the whole dang thang, toasting a ton of genestealers (with do-overs for the pesky ones that refuse to face their fate). And, with the Heavy Flamer's ability to block the intersection, and any closer square. For 2 AP's, that corridor is reliably cleared of 'Stealers. It just did what an Assault Cannon can do, too. But, more AP efficiently.

Yes, there are differences with the Assault Cannon (no move and fire, no Overwatch, shorter range). Yes, insidious genestealers can refuse to line-up nose-to-tail in adjacent squares, leaving lame, shamefully gamey, waste-of-ammo empty squares between victims. And, yes, the 2E Heavy Flamer goes through gas like a speeding minivan. But, according to "official" White Dwarf documents, it ALWAYS comes with a Reload. Unless, the scenario says it don't (which would call into question that scenario designer's competence and loyalties).

There! Irrefutable proof that the Second Edition Heavy Flamer channels the Machine Spirit of the lost, but not forgotten Assault Cannon. The 2E Heavy Flamer (and I) are indeed, "offensive."




And, I say again, I am NOT claiming the 2E Heavy Flamer rules are superior to Space Hulk's iconic original Heavy Flamer rules. Nor, the Assault Cannon, either. All I am saying is 2E HF rules combine goodness from both. That can't be an accident. It smacks of intelligent design. If somebody had pointed that out way back when it mattered to me most, it might have been a game-changer. Thanks for nothing ancient, notional GW designers.
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Bryan Ruhe
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ZombieMark wrote:
Assault Cannon saucy panache


Worthy of painting across the side of an assault cannon.
Well-done!
 
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Brian Hall
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ZombieMark wrote:
Can we talk?

If you are exactly like me, you've spent the last 17 years trying to figure out why Games Workshop changed the iconic Heavy Flamer rules in 2nd Edition Space Hulk? Why mess with perfection?

Remember, the 1E Heavy Flamer came with 6 large templates. Each shot flamed an entire section, and killed models in the flamed section, each on 2+ results on a 1D6. Then, the section was on fire and impassible for the following player phase. The 1E Heavy Flamer burned'em, and blocked'em. Some scenarios even had reloads. The rules were/are so good they were/are repeated in the later 3rd and 4th Editions. Simply perfection!

BUT, Second Edition changed those rules! Gone were the six big, section filling templates. Replaced by 12 smaller templates that only flame one square each. Instead of 6 single shots, the 2E Heavy Flamer can squeak out as few as one template, or blow out all twelve! They kill each target on the same 2+. But, as targets are eliminated, the HF can Chain Fire into adjacent hexes in the LOS of the wielder, including squares that were blocked by the now dead target(s). It can continue to hit newly visible squares out to a max of 12 squares. And/or double down with templates to block a square, or squares, for the following player turn. There's nothing bad about any of that. But, it always seemed so needless to change the original rules. Why mess with perfection, right?

Those seemingly ineffable rules changes caused such a ripple in MY personal Space-Time Continuum, I didn't bother to even to play 2nd Edition. Much less own it. Nuh-unh. Don't mess perfection on MY watch.

Not until a few months ago when my completion-ist inner Daemons saw a mighty nice used 2E copy on ebay, did I be bothered to acquire said offending version of my beloved Space Hulk. So, a new (to me) 2E joined my 1E (with both expansions) and 3E+4E Space Hulkapalooza.

After playing a few more games with 2E, two days ago, at the FLGS, I was driving home. Basking in the warm afterglow of barbecuing an entire corridor full of Genestealers. Suddenly, It hit me! I had THE epiphany! I know why they did it! Stay with me, I'm gonna get all existential on ya'll.

Second Edition Space Hulk was a large, but on off release. I think coinciding with new plastic Terminators. I think. GW probably never planned to release expansions like they did with 1st Edition. They probably didn't even have the go ahead to include in the 2E box more alternative weapon models and rules to match those in previous expansions (like Third and Fourth Edition later did). Plus, the unique dice in 2E might not have supported other weapons types. But, they also didn't ignore the existence of the OTHER iconic Terminator Heavy Weapon, the magnificent Assault Cannon.

Don't you see! Those dang fools quietly and surreptitiously combined the Heavy Flamer and Assault Cannon rules! That's why the 2E rules seem like Heavy Flamer Lite, but can clear a corridor like an Assault Cannon on steroids. It combines a modicum of the lethality and path blocking ability of a 1E Heavy Flamer, with much of the offensive firepower of a 1E Assault Cannon (using the optional Full Auto rules). No wonder it is so wonderfully good on the offense. It ain't no slacker on defense, either.

So, there. You bear witness to the answer to a question that has plagued mankind for near 2 decades (OK, maybe this one kind man). You're welcome.


Interesting thought, Mark. I somehow hadn't seen this before.

I always wondered about the change from 1st to 2nd, and usually chalked it up just to Bass and Colston having different design preferences than Halliwell and Murphy for the HF. Or I'd try to find logic based on the removal of the marine timer allowing more time for HF planning, so the HF was given more versatility.

But the idea of purposely making it more Assault Cannon like is definitely interesting, and makes sense.
 
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