Assault - Tweaking the Weapon Skill Chart

Monday, April 1, 2013

One thing I regularly screw up when working out assaults is the Weapon Skill or 'To Hit' chart. Why? I  guess I assume it should more closely follow the Strength vs Toughness chart / number distribution. It would make more sense too, in my opinion. Maybe I'm overlooking something integral to the game's balance, but I can't for the life of me understand how they arrived at the current Assault (WS vs WS) to hit chart. If you can offer some insight, please do share. But it seems to me that this chart is skewed. The best you can do is 3+ to hit even if you are WS 10 striking WS 1, and the worst vice versa is 5+. Yet shooting, many units/models can attain 2+ to hit regardless of who they are targeting.

My point is, many models are in their element when they assault -- I truly believe Lilith vs a guardsmen should be able to hit on 2+; and no, I'm not sure the guardsmen should be able to hit her so easily... 6+ at best if at all possible with such a huge number spread (WS 9 vs 3). On top of the weird distribution of the WS chart, there's also things like Overwatch and random charge length which discourage assaults. Would it really hurt the game if the Assault phase followed a more even distribution when striking blows in close combat? I don't think so, as it's already more challenging to get your Assault units into close combat in 6th edition. To be fair, I think this WS chart has been the same for past few editions, but I've always wondered about it and now with the other changes to Assault I feel like I have to mention it. I'd hate to see this game turn into nothing but a shooting phase. What do you think?


  1. While I understand your position, I actually disagree. I think if you switched the table to be more like the to-wound table, you would overvalue WS. Every unit with above average WS would gain an increase in defense and offense simultaneously, while anything with a low WS would see a decrease in both.

    I think the best case 3+ and worst case 5+ properly coincides with the nature of close combat. I figure it was designed around advantage vs disadvantage. If your less skilled than the other person by a little, he has an advantage, while your average. If you are really outskilled, he has an advantage while you are at a disadvantage. This way you can have WS mean something, without it being too powerful; you either gain an advantage or don't, never getting too out of hand.

    This system works great when thinking about troops vs troops in combat. It breaks down a little in characters vs troops, as you mentioned, because you would think lilith wouldn't be able to be hit by guardsmen. Perhaps their reasoning is that 10+ guardsmen all attacking one unarmored girl is bound to land some hits, and her dodge save is what makes up for the lack of help from her WS. The theory holds up nicely with character vs character though. For example, Lucious or some other space marine character (WS ~7) attacking lilith: The best human swordsmen can barely hit her (6s)? Makes more sense that his skill would enable him to land some hits, but she would still be at an advantage, as the system shows.

    Just my thoughts.

    1. Hey nelsonus, thanks for sharing your thoughts! You bring up some valid points that I hadn't considered, and it's true that balancing the Assault phase has a lot of other factors outside of the To Hit chart to consider, such as To Wound, Armor Saves, and now even the weapon's AP value. I agree that there is a fine line that must be met in order for the advantage to not completely swing the other way and overly disadvantage a host of other units. Mirroring the To Wound chart would throw things a little too far off balance; I envision a To Hit chart more along the lines of the first image in this post.

      I'm not sure if this would necessarily fix Assault and I'm not trying to overcomplicate or break this aspect of the game, but I am trying to justify the value proposition of close combat in this edition. Admittedly, I haven't had enough 6th edition games under my belt that have contained a fair number of assaults to say one way or the other -- most of those games have been shoot outs. So I may yet discover the "high reward" end of the "high risk" equation that is close combat. I suspect the true value of this game phase is not so much in the Attacker vs Defender match up, but in when to utilize it to control an area of the board.

    2. I definitely see your point. It seems like you need a perfect storm for an assault unit to do what its supposed to. There is just so many things that have to go right for them to even get into combat alive, and then there is added risk in the ensuing dice rolls, and more risk in being stranded in the open if you do too well in the assault.

  2. I totally agree with your assessment. I have thought that the WS chart should be changed. There are so many dedicated CC units out there that are too average when fighting. We can use the example of Lelith like you did. No Guardsman will ever hit her in CC, and if they do, they should need a lucky 6. Lelith should hit on 2's and allow her massive skill in CC shine.

    I believe this will help balance the game more as well. If my CC unit did what it was supposed to do, people would fear CC again like they did in 4th ED. Plus, shooting is already super powerful, especially against dedicated CC units, this could help balance the tables a bit.

    I for one would enjoy seeing a modified chart to help show the prowess some units have in CC.

    1. It just feels off-balance in its current state, especially when you compare it to shooting. The biggest part of this that trips me up is on pg. 24 where they attempt to explain the mechanic behind the chart:"... ; if the target's WS is equal or up to twice as high as the attacker's, he is hit on a 4+; ..."

      Up to TWICE as high and there is no negative, even odds. I don't know, that just doesn't make sense to me and I feel it shortchanges the WS stat and therefore close combat in general, along with all units that only have CC attacks. I agree that some re-working here would definitely help.