Issue 10 - FAQ about 2.0 and more rules spoilers

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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

  • We, Who Are About to Die (of Overwork) Salute You!

    (just kidding)

    Unlike last issues, which had its sole focus on the Second Edition Magic Items, this issue will have a collage of topics with a whopping 5 talking points. Also, they are not on the smaller end of brevity either ;)

    Here are the topics for this issue:
    • FAQ regarding the Second Edition
    • Wheel Measuring
    • Line of Sight and Troop Types
    • WDG update
    • DL update

    As always, we have a dedicated discussion thread for this issue. If you have any follow up questions, comments, feedback or just want to discuss the topics in this issue, please do it here: Issue 10 Discussion Thread

    As an reminder, the latest Scroll got released earlier this month. You can find it here: The Latest T9A Scroll is released!

    Furthermore, A Special Sneak Peak Preview regarding Deployment and Secondary Objectives has been published a week ago. Go take them for a ride!

    Besides this, arguably the most important news posts in the last few weeks, we have a MASCOT NAMING COMPETITION going on. For more information about our new fellow, check out this link: The Goblin Mascot Naming Contest

    Besides those, it is always worth it to check out the News Page ^^

    Lets kick off with the most important topic of this week, the FAQ about the Second Edition.

    Frequently Asked Questions regarding the update process

    FAQ regarding 2.0

    First and foremost, if you have not read the most recent news about this release, please read it first. You can find it here: The Ninth Age Second Edition - The Path Ahead AND this one An Explanation about the Projects Direction

    Many questions regarding the time table and why we are doing this are getting answered in there.

    Furthermore, we want to clarify something about the Second Edition. This is not a simple update as from 1.1 to 1.2 or 1.2 to 1.3. This is an update, which precedes any update we had before (maybe not the 0.8 update which introduced the Alpha Army Books), it is like a new edition for the Ninth Age (hence the name "The Second Edition").

    This "Second Edition" will try to fix as many fundamental issues the game has as possible without warping the identity of it (no, we do not turn this game into a Skirmisher ;) ). There are many fundamental problems, as simple as correctly measuring a wheel, to others as comprehensive as the magic phase or the recent trend towards MSU at a tournament level of play.

    There exist many different band aids in the current rules set which try to "fix" most fundamental problems. However, why not "simple" fix those problems instead? Why not use the freedom that we, as a community-driven project, have to make the best possible Tabletop Wargame ever?

    Furthermore, we want to provide all players, regardless of their skill level, with a stable and enjoyable ruleset for many years to come. We want you to be able to use your hard-cover BRB until it falls apart from love (or get worn down from excessive use ;) ).

    Besides this, there have been several questions regarding if there will be a balance or design update when the Second Edition goes live (starting with the open beta). Yes, there will be a balance AND design update. Each Task Team working on a specific book for this update comprises of the following members:
    • 1 Rules Team or Rules Team Advisor (voting right)
    • 1 Balance Team Member (voting right)
    • 2-3 Army Design Team Members (voting right)
    • All of the armies Army Community Support
    • 0-1 Rules Review Team member
    • 0-1 Conceptual Design Team member

    The update will contain the following aspects:
    • Design, redesign or update of the magic items for the Second Edition. More about the Magic Items you can read here: Issue 9 - A look at the new Magic Items
    • Designing an army-specific Racial Trait Spell or Attribute. For more information either wait for the next issue or read the background informations in the latest Scroll.
    • There are two different forms of redesigns in this update:
      • Type A: Up to X redesigns for units or special rules, to either fix their currently dysfunctional design or to adapt their design in a fashion, which allows to balance their powerlevel better, in a positive way. In a general matter, those have to STRENGTHEN the identity of the unit in their specific role. You can consider those as some form of "buffs" even though, some of those redesigns might not feel like buffs at the first moment, since the overall powerlevel of it might have stayed the same.
      • Type B: Up to X redesigns, which either make units or special rules weaker (so a true nerf) or significantly simplify their rules. Furthermore, those should get used when a unit makes other units obsolete, since it can perform to many roles at the same time and/or create designs for different units, so that they fulfil different roles. Those redesigns can also get used if the design of the corresponding unit or special rule can hardly be balanced by points.
    • Note 1: "Up to X" can and should be the same. While there are guidlines on how many redesigns of the different types can be done, it may vary between the books (when a book has an excellent internal balance and design it might not need a single redesign for example, while armies with the exact opposite problem might want to use the limit of redesigns). Furthermore, there can be a trade off between simplifying the book and get more leeway on other parts, such as [lexicon]magic items[/lexicon] or design reworks.
    • Note 2: Redesigns regarding units, items, [lexicon]special rules[/lexicon] or similar things, which correspond to the [lexicon]magic phase[/lexicon] or major core rules changes, which affect them heavily, are free.
    This means, while this update process already started in July, due to the heavy involvement of the ACS guys your feedback is heard, gets considered and is acted upon. If you want to have a first hand impression regarding the Second Edition update, @DanT himself, Marshal in the name of Sunna, made a post, where he explained his experience so far working with the different members. You can find it here: Dispatches from the front: a Marshal's view of the 2.0 update so far

    (it is worth the read and give that man a cookie like too!)

    Please keep in mind, that MAJOR change to armies will not happen in this update. Those are reserved for the full army book rework. So while the above list is rather long regarding updates for the Second Edition, please do not expect something like Bear Cavalry for the Dwarven Holds in this update ;)

    This is the rundown for the 2.0 release. There are some management related things going on, which should make our lives easier (so for the Management related guys), but since it doesn't affect the community at all, we didn't add it.

    So, off we go to the next topic, Wheel Maneuver!

    Changes for Wheel Maneuver

    Changes for Wheel Maneuver

    As mentioned previously, the Second Edition does not only look at the most fundamental and obvious problems (like Magic Armour for Plate Armour armies) but also takes a look at the smaller ones, which are not that obvious to begin with.

    One of those problems is Wheeling. Currently, without some advanced Maths or Engineering tools there is close to no way to know exactly, how far you wheeled. The problem is the arc length, which is nigh impossible to measure accurately with a simple metal tape measurer.

    Based on current rules, this is how you would be expected to measure a wheel, by measuring the arc length distance of the outer edge of a wheel:

    As we all know, that doesn't happen in game, with most common approach being to do small wheel straight measurements as part of a full wheel. Interestingly, this has lead to much creativity and many homebrew solutions to circumvent this complexity, such as cutting-edge wheel movement diagrams

    string method

    (and yes, even we, a project with great artists, have to use Paint from time to time ;) )

    or complex movement tray template design

    It is time for change. Change for good.

    Starting with the Second Edition instead of measuring the arc length, you will measure the distance between the starting point of the arc to the end point of the arc. If you are wheeling more than 90°, make a 90°wheel first and than make another one up to 90°.

    Here is a visual example, on what this rule change means:
    60° and 120° wheel

    L1 is the old distance necessary for a 60° wheel, while L2 is the new one.

    As previously, L1 is the old distance necessary to perform a 120° wheel, while with the new system you need to add L2-1 + L2-2 together, to get to the overall travelled distance.

    And here is the diagram, which is in the BRB explaining, what works and what not:

    For those of you mathematician and statistics lovers...

    90 degrees has been chosen as a good compromise between movement simplicity and accuracy of the measure: graph below shows difference between arc-length vs straight-line displacement.

    Overall, wider units get a little bit more mobile, if they want to do rather long wheels (so beyond 50°), which is capped at roughly 10% with a 90° wheel. However, besides this, it will make the game more fluid to play (no more messing around to know exactly, how far your unit can go after an wheel) as reduces unnecessary complexity.

    While this is a more minor change, the next one has a much larger influence in the game, Line of Sight and Troop Type Rules.

    Line of Sight and Troop Type Rules

    LoS and Troop Type Rules

    Line of Sights and Troop Type Rules are one of the most fundamental aspects of the game but have some of the most flawed as well. Flaws are either immersion-wise (why can I see, as a Bolt Thrower crew, a lone Wizard behind a Horde of Halberds?) as somewhat balance-wise (Cannons and Catapults vs any kind of Monster and the lack of possibility to protect them without a Line of Sight blocking terrain piece).

    The Rules Team has discussed this topic at great length and made new rules, discarded them, made even more new rules which then underwent intensive testing by the Playtester team over the last 4 months. In general they liked the change and couldn't find many situations where these changes have a negative impact on the game.

    With the Second Edition, the Line of Sight rules will change to the following:
    • A model can see the target, if you can extend a straight line from the base towards the target, which is not interrupted by Opaque Terrain or by the base of a model which has a EQUAL OR LARGER SIZE than BOTH the unit OR the target.
    As an example:

    We have three units A,B and C. All of them are Infantry sized Troops standing behind each other (so unit A, than comes B than comes C). With the 1.3 rules you would always be able to draw a Line of Sight from A to C. However, with the new Second Edition rule, this is no longer possible, since the interfering unit (so unit B) is not smaller than both unit A and C.

    On the other hand, lets assume unit A was a unit of Ogres. Since the unit of Ogres is a height category higher than both B and C, the unit can draw a line of sight to either units without a problem.

    Please note, that there are some exceptions to this rule, which we will get to later.

    Furthermore, there are changes to the Troop Type Rules, now named "Model Classification"
    • There are three sizes of Models in the game: Standard, Large and Gigantic. Each one of those has different rules attached to them, as you can see below
    • There are four types of Models in the game: Infantry, Beast, Calvary and Construct. Those have also different rules attached to them.
    • Units area ALWAYS a combination of the Size and Type rules. A Empire of Sonnstahl Heavy Infantry unit would have the rules: "Standard" and "Infantry" which would define their rules. A Highborn Elves Highborn Lancers unit would have the Standard Size and Cavalry Type.

    EVERY unit is a combination of "Size" + "Type" rules. Here are the full rules:
    Model Classification rules

    (Please keep in mind, that several names are still Work in Progress, such as "Construct", "Trample" (basically Stomp) and "Head over Shoulders")

    This basically means, that there are only three height levels in the game for units, Standard, Large and Gigantic. Since Cavalry falls under the size category "Standard", with the current rules they wouldn't be able to see over other "Standard" sized units, for example a Heavy Infantry EoS unit.

    To fix this immersion problem, the rule "Head Over Shoulders" (name still WIP) will be implemented. It basically means that when drawing a Line of Sight or checking for Cover, you count as one Size category bigger (up to Gigantic) than you actually are. However, this also counts against a unit with "Head Over Shoulders" when checking for Line of Sight or Cover.

    Furthermore, there is a second exception: Skirmishing units. Skirmishing units can never block Line of Sight, regardless of their size category.

    There are several rules, which interact with this change currently in an unintended way and thus get also an update with the Second Edition. The most obvious one is Volley Fire, which would simply not work with the current rules.

    Overall, these two changes are rather major. The Model Classification changes streamline a lot of things and make things overall clearer and simpler. Furthermore, it allows interesting combinations of Size and Type, which were not possible before.

    On the other hand, the Line of Sight changes are more fundamental, but strengthen the immersion and tactical depth of the game. Please, before you flame against this change, just test it for yourself and see, how much it influences you.

    Now, lets take a look at the WDG book and how it is going along:

    Warriors of the Dark Gods update

    WDG update

    While there were already a bunch of spoilers regarding the WDG book, this update won't contain any concrete ones :/ . However, there will be some design spoilers ;)

    The second iteration of the book got marked as "ready for playtesting" and got handed over to the BLT to price it and than ship it to the Playtesters to again, report how the book feels, how it plays, if it has satisfying gameplay, is it fun and more.

    From the last iteration many things have already changed, also a couple of things which got already spoilered (this is why we always said, that this stuff is still Work In Progress).

    For example, the Global Rules (aka AWSR), which contains the Follower and Outcast special rule got partly reworked. You can find the old (and now partly outdated) rules here: Issue 6 - 2.0 BRB and WDG Background + Rules Spoilers

    Instead of previous 2 spoilered Global Rules, we now have 5, where only two represent the old ones. Three of them describe the Path of our Warriors to either Perfection or Damnation, while one is specifically made for Barbarians.

    The last one is for our Wizard and Wizard like models. It implements a new resource to the army, so called "Soul Tokens" (name still WIP as always) which you can trade in for different effects. You can harvest those tokens in different manner, but overall it makes dying for your troops more bearable now ( :gwhistling: ).

    Otherwise, there are a lot of smaller redesigns here and there, sometimes to make things clearer, sometimes to make the intended role more clear. On other occasions the design got changed to fit the theme of the unit or even army better.

    There are also some other changes, which reduced the complexity of the rules (a one page rules description is maybe a hint, that it is maybe a little bit to complex currently).

    Besides those things, the Giant is also done (so the basic plain Giant). The respective armies can sprinkle now their specific flavour on him and can even add some army specific Giant items to him. For Warriors, the term (and rule) "Giant see, Giants do" really fit, both into the armies concept as in deepen the immersion from the Giant itself as his Barbarian buddies.

    However, before we start to trailing of into spoiler region, lets take a look at the Daemon Legions book.

    A Look at the DL book

    Eyes on the DL

    Generally speaking we cannot go into the most exciting spoilers just yet, as the RT have not given their initial review of the DL pre-Alpha yet - essentially because a lot of time is needed to hammer out the the last problematic areas for the Second Edition BRB and help the Task Teams updating the other 14 armies.

    That being said, we can share a the basic skeleton on where the book is heading. As we mentioned in the 7th Issue, there are 7 god-specific characters and one generic Character, which is basically a merge of all of the current Harbingers. Of these characters, the current design (subject to change) includes:
    • 4 Gigantic models - DL needn't worry about their glorious old Greater daemon models and especially their flair becoming obsolete. One of them is even on a 150x100mm base (and it is hungry for more (just beware that it doesn't explode ;) )).
    • 1 Large - In other words, stomp, and a little better at dodging cannons.
    • 2 Standard - While they might want to chill in units more often than not, they can also run around solo or ride fancy mounts.
    • 1 Mystic - This one is controversial, but the core theme is something truly unique to the army.
    Most of the currently designed Greater Daemons are not as straight forward as the current ones. They are specialised in their own regard while having a fundamental theme attached to their respective God.

    However, what all the Greater Daemons have in common is, that they interact with your own army, staying true to the army strength of "Support Buff Characters". The Buff they grant are different for each of the Greater Daemons, some of them increase the combat prowess, some give you utility and some interact with your Magic Phase.

    There is currently a check going on within the Task Team asking themself, if the chosen buffs are thematically fitting for the respective God or not.

    Meanwhile, in core, we know from the 5th BTS Issue that there are 4 units (all 25x25mm), with the following goal:
    • Hammer
    • Anvil
    • Anti-horde
    • Support unit
    Those units already use the changes to the Characteristics which results into no bland S4 AP1 unit ;)

    This leaves Special with 7 Unmarked and 7 Marked units. Regarding the Marked Units we will share concrete design concepts once the final Mark effects are given the green light by the RT & BLT.

    What we can say is during the last Skype session much of the tweaking revolved around ensuring maximum thematic flavor in the army, which is what a big part of the new Full Army Books are all about - fun, emotive design!

    On a design note, shared Marks has presented an extreme design challenge for both the WotDG & DL design teams given the sheer breadth of models covered, widely differing ASAW, and the ambition to make each thematically strong but relatively close in terms of power - but this is a mechanics-heavy discussion for another day...

    That's it for this issue!

    As always, if you want to discuss this issue, give us feedback (or just ask when the next issue will be released), here is the correct place to do so: Issue 10 Discussion Thread

    Your BTS Blog team!

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    I promised you, that I would get an Artwork in (even though it took a little bit longer :gwhistling: )

    "When four Kings abdicate their thrones, do you really have a Kingdom anymore?"

    I kind have a "blog" now: From Beer and Bretzle vol 2

    [ETC 2016 - ID] [ETC 2017 - WDG] [ETC 2018 - ID] [ETC 2019 - ID]

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Comments 17

  • Klingsoer -

    Really once more rebasing a greater demon ????? First I had to rebase from 50*50 to 50*100 now to 150*100. Some people try to get therer bases looking cool ...... Or (if I add everything up i come to 8) has the demon engine become a greater demon ??? And sadly nothing said in demons about beeing able to play mono still ....

    For the mian rule bool changes - ok los and wheeling are improving the actual playing slightly - wheeling approach that what if have seeing people doing anaways - so these changes are good but in respect more on the "maintance" side. Still good to have but far from revolutionary.

  • saint_barbara -

    Thanks for the read! Had fun!

  • Shane -

    Sounds great, keep up the good work!

  • MikaelO -

    Some Nice changes i must say !

  • Hombre de Mundo -

    Abolutely beautiful artwork :D

  • Caidhlaoch -

    I like what is shown so far. The line of sight rules make sense. But what about flying units such as Pegasus knights. How does that work in 2.0. And like others I'm eager to see more of the changes coming.

  • Dragus -

    Really dissapointing issue. Not a single piece of real information, only things we already knew, or nearly irrelevant. This makes the waiting even more disgusting...

    - Show the new magic phase.
    - Show something useful about the new army organization, special rules or things like that, of the new Daemons or Warriors of the Dark Gods.
    - Make public the final release date of the second edition.

    • tiny -

      You find line of sight and wheeling smaller details?

    • Mr.Chaotic -

      Uh, yes...this is isn't what the majority of players want/need to know.

    • Mikkel Aagaard -

      I must whole heartetly disagree! I find these rules changes a lot more interesting than some army updates or other.
      I think general rules changes to even out the playing field for all armies should be everyone's top interest :)

    • Casp -

      Well for wheel i agree.. this is not new, all people i know already calculate wheel excatly like that. But LoS it sa big change. @dragus you sound a bit impatient... Its good also to keep some surprise for the day of the release.

    • Dragus -

      The sight and wheeling rules, as important as they are, are not what hyped players are expecting. This sort of rules are a bit tecnical, and we look for something more spicy (as I suggested)

  • Casp -

    So cool :)
    Except the cavalry exception, who looks like a bug into the game design... Why not assume and create 4 size instead of 3 ? Would be really more simple, than create an special rules exception who do the same than a size level, but who are no really one... This will create lot of confusion i think.

    • lawgnome -

      What would the 4th size be? There are regular cav, monstrous cav, and monster riders. You would need 6 categories to handle all of these, which would make things weird. I think the cav rule is there because it is weird that a guy on a horse is the same size as an ogre. It just seems wrong.

    • Casp -

      Well lawgone it seem you missunderstood the new rule concept.

      There is actually 3 size: standard , large , gigantic.
      So old "monstrous cav" become "large cav" and old "regular cav" become actually "standard cav" . Except cav got this special rules, make them act like 1 size bigger (so i fact yes they have same size than a large infantry like ogre). (i dont know what is going on for large cav, will they considered also with 1 size bigger and act like gigantic ?)

      Why ? I guess because they are not large for the nested rules ( nb of rank, trample etc..) But its an exception.. and exception are really bad game design that creating confusion. Like round base.

      We could create a 4th size lets call her "tall" for the exemple, between standard and large. So old "regular cav" would become "tall cav" instead of "standard cav"
      But it would create 5 category that will certainly never or rarely be used "standard cav" "tall infantry", "tall beast" etc..
      Otherwise, simply remove your concept of nested rules in function of the size and just create 2 special rules (call them for exemple "big" "bigger"), "big" giving full rank 3 support att 3 dangerous terrain 2, and "bigger" 1, 5 ,3.

      Then we have
      - large infantry with special rules: "big" "trample(1)"
      - gigantic infantry with special rules: "bigger" "trample(6)" "towering presence (could maybe be merge with bigger?" "punny rider" "terror"
      - standard cavalry without any special rule

      I agree your proposition seems like an elegant game design solution but lot of the elegance is lost if there is an exception :/
      yes remove nested rules, will add 4 line into the AB profil.. But it will simplify a lot the game. Nested rules, add some complexity even if they are elegant. And when in addition there is exception to the nested rules, it create confusion.

    • Nicreap -

      Ya, we tried it without the exception.....KoE lost it's mind :P