Sneak Peak at Upcoming Changes to Empire of Sonnstahl Army Book

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  • This article is the first of many in which the Rules Team Support group will be sharing some sneak peaks into the upcoming changes to the army books. Our intent is not just to let you know what to expect, but to also let you know the rationale and thought processes that went into those changes. So, without further ado, this is what you can expect to see for the Empire of Sonnstahl.

    Unlike many other armybooks, EoS was considered to be mostly at the targeted power level. The shooting-heavy lists were considered to be above the power level, and some other builds were considered to be below it. This led to a number of nerfs and buffs targeted towards the internal balance of the Armybook. Overall, though, the power level of the armybook was intended to remain the same. Below are a list of upcoming changes to the book - in no particular order. In the following descriptions, when I say "we," I mean The Ninth Age. Technically, the book was analyzed and amended by members of the Rules Team, the Balance Board, and the Army Book Committee.

    1. Detachments: We were looking for ways to help them overcome the problem of their special rules being negated simply by an opponent charging the detachment instead of the parent unit. We are leaning towards a design that will help larger detachments stay alive so the parent unit can help them out, as well as allowing the detachment to use some of the ranks of the parent unit towards combat resolution.

    2. Flagellants: We are looking to buff them to make them a more viable choice. They are gaining an ability that will allow them to always make their attacks, even if they are killed at a higher initiative. Also, clerical characters will be able to join them.

    3. Warmachines: Cannons and volley gun are moving from rare to special. There may be some game-wide changes that limit abusive gunlines, but we wanted EoS to be able to field some artillery along with other good troop choices.

    4. Orders: These are being slightly adjusted for better internal and external balance. "Ready, Aim, Fire" was potentially too strong, so it will no longer give the bonus to hit, but instead will give 6” longer range.

    5. Altar/Shrines: The Arcane Shield upgrade is being changed from Hard Target to Distracting to provide it better overall protection, while theForeseeing upgrade will now include mounts (so griffons and all-cavalry armies get better).

    6. Knight Commander: The rules are being adjusted to better support all-cavalry lists. He will allow for more upgraded knight units.

    7. Long Rifle is being nerfed a little bit to avoid abusive situations.

    8. Altar of Battle is getting a new upgrade option for barding, so a prelate can get a 2+ armour save.

    9. The Marshal with the Imperial Prince upgrade (i.e. with The Sonnstahl and also with full points available for other magic items) is considered overpowered and is being adjusted. However, the exact changes for this are not quite finalized.

    10. Militia and Heavy Infantry starting size/price adjusted to promote a wider variety of competitive builds.

    11. Steel Tank: Keeping in line with the reduction of warmachines and gunlines across the game as a whole, the steam tank will see a decrease in its offensive and shooting ability. Furthermore, the steam tank presented a conundrum in that those equipped to deal with it could easily knock it down several wounds (or destroy it) with little effort (aka those with alchemy) however those armies with no common tools struggled to do any damage whatsoever, making the steam tank too skewed of a match up. The solution was to tone down both the stats and points of the steam tank so that it does not contain so many easy, or alternatively, near impossible VP, for EoS match-ups to claim.

    There are some other minor changes, too, but these are probably the most important ones.

    If you would like to better understand the process used to analyze the army and devise these changes, you can listen to an excerpt of the Skype call between members of the Rules Team, the Balance Board, and the Army Book Committee. Please keep in mind that the issues and proposals discussed in those recordings may not always reflect the latest rules update you will see when we finally release the armybook, but we hope it will give you nevertheless an interesting sneak peek.

  • EoS_review_attachments

  • EoS_review_ReadyAimFireOrder

  • EoS_review_Warmachines

  • OnceBitten360
    My Youtube channel: OnceBitten360

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Comments 51

  • DJWoodelf -

    Am I right that the readyaimfire order will also increase the short range by 3 or does the 6 inch just come on top of the long range?

  • blaesus -

    I would agree with captain missing a good gun or crossbow. In case of Engineer - he is not a marksman, marksman is a guy who trains on regular basis and takes part in battles more often, I think that Engineer takes more time in laboratory/workshop.

    Flagellants... someone has to changes the rule for Flail... it kills Flagellants. I played few times now and won't take them anymore until there will be no change in cost/rules.

    Once Bitten - I have a subcription to your YT channel since few years. I am really glad YOU are the one of those responsible for 9th Age. ! Good luck!

    • oncebitten360 -

      Thanks, blaesus. I don't really do a whole lot other than trying to help with the communications between the 9th Age and the community of players, but I appreciate your support.

    • blaesus -

      Well, I work in corporation (american), the only thing that is the real problem is the communication between departments :) So do not underestimate your role. Creation of list of comming changes removes a lot of unnecessary questions and new topics on forum.

  • Fthunder -

    Was wondering if there is any reason that you couldn't give a captain or marshal a handgun or a crossbow? Seems odd.

    Also the fact that the master engineer is BS4 and the veteran light infantry champion is BS5.... Seems a bit crazy

  • Nopuiiidorl -

    No change to Reiters? They are to me a real broken unit.

  • Shubin Michail -

    Thak you very much for charing the discusson!

    For me the game design was always more interesting then games itself. It is magnificent to see such a complex system evolving.

    I got a question:
    Does fluff aspects are taken ito consideration on this stage of the desing?

    For me the proper answer to making the Steam Tank having 3+ armour would be "no, it is a tank!" =)

  • Wesser -

    Dont like number 5. "Make all-cavalry armies better"? Get those knights out of core

  • Martinux -

    It's just ace, what you guys are doing for the hobby with the 9thage project. This is just taking it to an extra level of transparency. Try to compare this with the way we have been living with GW''s way. After waiting 12 years in wain for a bretonia book, I can wait a couple of week to hear some sneak peeks from Equitaine.

    • GenghisCam -

      Completely agree. Great what everyone is doing. I have a ton of GW Bretionian knights. Looking forward to breaking them out again!

  • drakeavril -

    I would really appreciate it if captains can use their BS5 and carry a bow or handgun

  • DJWoodelf -

    1.-3. good
    4. making the order ready aim fire not be allowed for veterans would have been the better solution, but at least to OV combination is canceled
    5.-10. good
    11. hope the steel tank is still shooty enough

  • JonWilliams -

    Thank you. It's great to actually play a game system that is so interactive with the community.
    I think the steel tank changes are spot on. Has there been any thoughts in regards to not making them a one of a kind option? Mainly for selfish reasons as I have two models and want to use them both!!!!!

    • tiny -

      Its was discussed... Have a listen on the audio recording

    • JonWilliams -

      That was an interesting listen. It's great that so many people spend their time into making this. I think this is what will make the game fantastic. It may be a thankless task sometimes but without that dedication our community would be non existent.
      The Empire is difficult to balance. I don't like gunlines but with the current meta of monster heavy lists (3 armagedon spiders for example) cannons are the only tool they have to counter.

  • dreadmachina -

    Thanks oncebittne, lots of excellent changes!! Many of which I personally mentioned too. Thanks 9th age team

  • Bugman -

    Hey it's great to see the how's and whys. Would you consider doing this for all the army books?? Yes I know, a large job, but if people can read see the rationale behind it, it helps reduce the "they favour xyz" or "they never looked at "xyz" et al.

    Keep it up, your doing a fine job!!!

  • Fthunder -

    The loss of ready aim fire really gimps shooting if I am honest. Shooting armies were hardly ever taken in 8th because of them being mostly move or fire. Ready aim fire negating the penalty in 9th from -1 to -2 made them just about viable, now they are back to not being useable.

    edit: Just listening to the audio recording. I agree that veteran upgrade + ready aim fire was too strong, but that is one combination on a single upgraded unit. Surely instead of reducing the viability of all shooting in the army by reducing the power of the rule it could have been discussed that just veteran units were unable to be given orders or something along those lines?

    • DJWoodelf -

      Good idea. Veterans are that trained/drilled, that they already shoot quite simultaneous. Regulars need the orders to improve the volleys. Handgunners of EoS can now shoot normally in first shooting phase, which dwarfes cannot do.

    • Kholdaimon -

      Extra 6" range is not a downgrade in all situations, it is better on turn 1 since your handgunners are actually in range, which is a great boon since getting the first turn with artillery is a big advantage.
      It also increases short range, which means that there is a 3" range where there is no difference between +6" range and +1 to hit.
      With longer range also comes less need to move, which is a big deal, especially with handguns and crossbows.

      It is impossible to say whether Empire shooting will be good enough just from looking at it in a vacuum; Empire shooting wasn't bad just because of it's own rules, it also had to do with the other options in the list, their opponents options and general rules. The game got a lot faster due to random charge ranges and the overabundance of Monstrous Cavalry, tone down Monstrous Cavalry and shooting becomes better...

      All in all, I think it is way to early to say it really gimps Empire shooting.

    • Fthunder -

      Very true on the points about extra range. I suppose it would be a good boon in a pure Empire gunline. Now you can happily drop all your units, secure first turn, and either force your opponent to deploy far back, or guarantee you can shoot first turn. I think where I feel the loss is with the +1 to hit, is if you wanted to take crossbows or handguns in an all rounders type list. You could take a unit of handgunners in a list no problem, even if you were planning on pushing forward, as the -2 to hit from moving would be negated by the +1 to hit order somewhat.

    • Fthunder -

      The cumbersome rule could be counteracted slightly by a new Ready Aim Fire order. Currentlyif you moved and were at long range you could it on a 6. Now this is being changed to 6" range I think the cumbersome rule is too negative. Maybe ready aim fire could give extra 6" range and reduce Cumbersome modifier by 1, otherwise you are just going to get a lot of static gunlines?

  • Berghofer -

    Very interesting to see a glimpse of the process, I liked to get a feel for how things are evaluated. I look forward to a more stabil period in the rules, when 1.0 is released :)

  • Suddenwind -

    Nice Job people! EoS needed some fixes, now it seems more competitive.

  • Dim -

    Thanks for the hard work. I'll give some comments

    2) Flagellants: Not being scoring is a good reason to prefer imperial guard. So maybe giving standard would be a good start for their come back.

    3) Warmachines:

    We already saw

    cannon/ mortar rare & rocket battery/ volley gun rare
    cannon/volley gun rare & mortar / rocket battery special

    Now you propose everything in one slot in special, I am not sure it is going to give better diversity or achieve anything balance wise (3*cannons or 3*volley gun are possible)

    It seems a hard problem that is difficult to address with only assignements in special/rare slots and local limit of 3x same special and 2x same rare.

    Why not considering a global limit of say 4 warmachines per army as a global limit for list building in 9th Age? This way the actual warmachines you want to play would not be determined by *with what they are paired" and hardcore gunlines are prevented...

    Right now if you proposal is implemented, you really need to make sure all warmachines are internally balanced and that there role can be fulfilled by another part of the army. Otherwise you will always see the same 3 warmachines. For instance I am worried mortars will disappear from the tables if they compete with say, a cannon.

    • tiny -

      @global limit of say 4 warmachines: Its a general design principle of the RT that they want to avoid comp-like restrictions as much as possible. I think we will still see a number exceptions to this rule, but they try to avoid it as go to solution wherever possible.

    • Casp -

      I think its also important for the fun to not forget the fluff. If we can see 2 steam tank and 2 volley gun on a table for small battle; we loose really the character of the army. The real gunpowder expert are dwarf not empire. I know than the fluff will change .. but i still love the old one...

  • FireFlyFox -

    wow live updates.....

  • Feral'Hen -

    This first step towards transparency is greatly appreciated.

    • tiny -

      Its all a matter of time we have available. So far the development cycles were just to short for any kind of pre-release pipeline and generally the RT just does not have the time to explain its reasoning in depth, because if they took the time, they would have even less time for their main duties. That's why we now have a Rules-Team Support.

  • tulmir -

    Well, can't wait to see KOE (Bretonnia) book after 16 years. Keep up the good work gentelman

  • There Is No Spoon -

    Yes, I must say I would LOVE to hear the rationale behind some of the upcoming changes in WotDG. Our ABC does an excellent job explaining changes, but it would be nice for the RT to give direct feedback.

  • Iluvatar -

    Great post!
    It's a really good idea to share the design process in such a way, and prepare us players to the upcoming changes. Keep doing this, please!

  • javikhemri -

    Nice job! and thank you for the Sneaky Peak... I can't wait to listen Undying Dinasties one!

  • entreri -

    This is fantastic, thanks!

  • setrius -

    First of all, thanks for the Sneaky Peak

    Mmm… Maybe is my feeling but I think that the start of paragraph 3 and 11 are a little bit contradictory :S

    • tiny -

      Did you listen to the audio recording?

    • setrius -

      No everybody here have a good level of English, include me.
      Reading and writing more or less I manage but another thing is listening. Obviously....

      I didn't listen the audio recording :D

    • El Rey -

      They are moved from rare to special, but is combined with the WM already in special. So you can only have 3 WM as they are all the same choice.

    • Kpl.blutch -

      So ... 3 volley guns and a tank ... Great :D


    • setrius -

      Thanks, el rey by the explanation.

  • Kpl.blutch -

    3 volley guns in an army ??? What did I do ???

    • El Rey -

      ​There might be additional restriction not addressed in the sneak peak. It is after all a sneak peak and not reveal all​ peak. ;)

  • GIGRoundNPound -

    OB360! Great to hear from you good sir and thank you for all of the work that you and the team have put in!

  • Mr.Gobbo -

    Wow - you have Warwick Davis supporting the project (EoS_review_attachments) ;)

    Edit: And I REALLY appreciate this form of transparency - I think it will be well received by the community.

  • gommo -

    Thanks for the update. Sounds well thought. Can't wait for the green skins to get theirs