Handguns vs crossbows - ideas to make handguns a better choice

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  • Handguns vs crossbows - ideas to make handguns a better choice

    Dear Marshalls
    There seem to be a general agreement that crossbows are the better choice due to them being range 30".
    I have gathered information of ideas to fix handguns and would like to see some discussion. Overall I think handguns should be the primary choice, be more mobile to support an advancing infantry line.

    1. Totally new rules for handguns: range 18" S4 AP2
    2. Special rule: First round shooting +6"
    3. Special rule: Ignore move or fire penalty for first shot.
    3. Special rule: ignore stand and shoot penalty
    4. Handgunners get light armor
    5. Handgunners can take shields.
    6. Handgunners gain - quick to fire.
    7. Handgunners get lighttroops.
    8. handgunners get bayonets - +1AP against charge.

    List will be updated with more ideas
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • To solve aproblem well, you have to know the causes well :

    If you use handgun vs crossbow :
    - You loose a turn of shooting due to shorter range while in the game you have 2-3 turns of shooting before the contact.
    - You have a better impact with AP2

    So you loose 33 % of efficiency (1rst turn) but you gain a little impact (1/6 more possibility to kill so around 16%)
    The simple way should be to reduce cost of hadgunners to 10-11 pts

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Mirdhynn ().

  • It depends on the enemy´s armor if crossbows or handguns are better. Range is not always the superior stat.
    There are deployments with less than 24" and there are oponents that start the game and can come into range of handguns. So the cheaper handguns may be 1-2 points cheaper, but not more.

    None of the upgrades for light infantry may be free, they already are a very good ranged unit, that benefit from additional rank and accurate without paying for this. (or at least realy minor points, because these buffs come from orders and parent/support rules)

    Bayonets for handguns is a nice idea.

    I would not include any upgrades in the vanilla handguns. But perhaps some buyable options for engineer that opens up some buffs for them (to be paid from the engineer for the unit he joins. Would open room for different upgrades, that are viable for different units
  • I think you walk a very fine line here. Overall I think both options are already valid, but I like Crossbows more as well. As long as they are the same points cost, you will always find something generally better than the other, as both share rules like "Unwieldy".

    So you'd need to make them more different, e.g. concerning mobility or special rules against certain troop types. The question then will be: What happens to State Militia, if you move Light Infantry into a more mobile shooting unit.

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  • @Smythen
    I read an idea for Dread Elves 2.0 (like deamon are reworked) could be their crossbow with range 18" S3 AP1, 2 shoot, quick fire
    So I'm not sure it's a good idea in the external balance :)

    And what thinking about pistol if your handgunner could march and shoot at 18" without penalty.

    But i love the idea to have bayonnet :D
    They sould be 2 hand weapon to negate shield + parry in CC.

    What do you think if order for shooting affect differently xbow, Long Rifle and handgun ?
    You should be able to impact both unit and character, depend in their equipment.

    Ready! Aim! Fire!
    - Target with Xbow gains Accurate
    - Target with handgun gains +6 range
    - Target with Long Rifle gain +1 Aim
  • @Dahou
    I think a handgun with range 18" would be just in between xbow and pistol. And with less close quarter capability than pistol armed troops.

    I like the idea of differentiating orders. THe order to the handguns could be any of the examples i came with.

    @DarkSky
    Militia play a different role as a chaff unit. (they were amazing when they had support unit), but IMO they played the part that should have been fr light infantry with handguns. But yes maybe militia should be reworked again after a change to handgunners.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Thanks for bringing up this debate :)

    Some thoughts:

    - It is important to consider the implications beyond our army book. Does the rules team wants handguns to be similar for all armies, and should we aim to change all army books accordingly?

    - A gentler solution might be to make a special rule. This would also add more flavour. But does the rules team want yet another special rule in a game of special rules?

    - The easiest and most boring solution would be a slight point decrease for handguns. 1-2 points per model.

    - Always remember the implications for other units such as militia. Important for handgunners to have their own role, rather than compete with others over the same.

    - Finally, remember that this game has seen a number of good ideas with unintended consequences. Best be careful to make changes that will disturb the force balance.

    The way forward?

    I would suggest going to the rules team and arguing that handgunners are not good enough and needs change. Then present them with three options from which they can pick the one they prefer. The three options should include a change to the handguns themselves, a special rule and a points decrease.

    Personally, I would also like a reason to bring command groups to light infantry, although this is not only a handguns issue. It just, guns, drums and banners belong together! Anyone who has seen The Patriot will agree :D

  • @Bloody MIsfire
    Pibes and drums FTW.
    Command for light infantry should just be free.period. (Actually for all empire troops)

    I believe we should avoid, bajonets as not to go too far forward in history.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Its a quite difficult question.
    The range will always be prefer in a situation where your ennemy and the scenario is unknow. the risk/reward will always be more positive for crossbow, even when handgun could be potentially better.

    So i beleived the first things to do, is to go back with 2 identics range. 24" for handgun and crossbow (i dont not like saying this, as i really need and love the 30" for crossbow. 24" will means, that our gunline would be really less efficient, and that we would suffer a lot against elves.

    But i beleive its a good start to find the right balance.

    So Handgun &crossbow long range = 24" would be the good start

    Then we have 2 issue to solve:
    -Internal balance how distinguish crosbow from handgun.
    -External how deal with army that shoot at 30"

    For the external issue, i would add a special rules:
    Light troops ignore any move penalty for their first shoot of the game. ( It dont solve tottaly the issue, elve could move back, and shoot again easily. But it reduce the negative impact of the 24" range. And well after all been beaten by elve at shoot dont seems to me abusive)

    For the internal issue, i would try something with order different.
    Keep accurate only for crossbow
    Bayonet could be then an handgun order ? +1S and Fight with extra rank

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  • Bloody MIsfire wrote:

    I think perhaps the most elegant solution is to give Empire handguns bayonet, which for simplicity's sake could be the same rules a spear.
    yea its the wrong century. But fantasy though.
    Support units allready fight in extra rank so its kind of useless, but for the AP.
    My vote still goes for more mobility.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Well mobility really break immersion of handgun in my opinion. Its almost a small canon.. really not mobile. And as said, mobility and shoot should be keep for militia.
    Bayonet dont worry me; i have seen in museum lot of extravagant weapon from all century. In a fantasy world seems good for me.

    Now the real issue, is the range. Unless we unbalance exageratly handgun and crossbow, to make handgun really better. The diference of range, will always make people choosing crossbow.
    Actualy balance isnt bad in my opinion, +1ap strong in many matchup its better. But i still take crossbow, just because in the few matchup where crossbow is better, handgun become complelty useless. But in matchup where handgun is better, crossbow is just less good, not useless.

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  • Smythen wrote:

    Bloody MIsfire wrote:

    I think perhaps the most elegant solution is to give Empire handguns bayonet, which for simplicity's sake could be the same rules a spear.
    yea its the wrong century. But fantasy though.Support units allready fight in extra rank so its kind of useless, but for the AP.
    My vote still goes for more mobility.
    Well... we have a tank :D Besides, some of the GW handgunners actually come with bayonets.

    Regarding fight in extra rank, my idea is that they would stack. Like HE spearelves. So fight in 4 ranks. Would not be as OP as one would think, since they could still only shoot in 3 ranks. Also, remember the extra agility of spears.
  • I usually take on of each.
    My point is that militia is not support unit. So we end up with static gunline.

    Why cant fantasy handguns be more mobile? A turn is a loong time. And minus one to hit is bad enough with a 4+ to hit human.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • Casp wrote:

    Actualy balance isnt bad in my opinion, +1ap strong in many matchup its better. But i still take crossbow, just because in the few matchup where crossbow is better, handgun become complelty useless. But in matchup where handgun is better, crossbow is just less good, not useless.
    This is exactly why I also prefer the Crossbow. However, I would say the Handguns are not that bad, that it is a real big issue for the book.

    Generally (more of a full rework kind of question), the unwieldy rule does not make a lot sense for me. I mean, this doesn't capture how a weapon like a Crossbow or a Handgun actually works. I would much rather like a rule like this:

    Pre-Loaded Weapon
    Shooting weapons with this rule gain: Quick To Fire, and ignore all negative modifiers on stand & shoot reactions. They can only shoot if loaded. If the unit did not declare a charge, it may declare a reload action in the Movement Phase. If doing so, the unit cannot move. (Additional rules for making clear, that a unit always shoots or not shoots as a whole and there are no "but only the first two rows fired, so the others could still shoot" scenarios)

    This would capture the fact, that with a loaded rifle or crossbow you can actually move and shoot quite easily, but also the fact, that you cannot move shoot and stand & shoot. Additionally it captures the easy way to wait until point-blank range before shooting at a charging unit. You also have some leeway in balancing in whether or not weapons are loaded at the start of the game. Unloaded means, you cannot just walk up and shoot when taking first turn, therefore I like that more.

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  • Im sorry but this is imho an example of Trying to make a realistic rule that will just complicate how the unit works. Excatly like unwieldy.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!
  • I never take handguns, because this extra range from the crossbows means a lot against many armies (elves for example).
    I wouldnt make more movable light infantry (this is for other armies without S4, like UD and elves), but if you want to use handgunnners again maybe is posible to bring back the 7th edition rule, that gave you 3d6 extra cm in the first shooting phase.
  • Litoperez wrote:

    I never take handguns, because this extra range from the crossbows means a lot against many armies (elves for example).
    I wouldnt make more movable light infantry (this is for other armies without S4, like UD and elves), but if you want to use handgunnners again maybe is posible to bring back the 7th edition rule, that gave you 3d6 extra cm in the first shooting phase.
    Why shouldn't it be for EoS also?
    Im not advocating options to play avoidance with empire, just an option to have mobile shooting able to play the support role in a combined arms approach. For instance the ability to move justs 4", and shoot 18" would sacrifice range for mobility, and let us play the parent support system better, without getting stuck in bad situations due to being static witht the support.
    and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, FREE command groups for EoS units. Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. Brace for impact should be changed to, or there should be an extra order: " Have at THEM!" The unit gain battle focus.
    For Sunna and the Emperor!!