To lead: I don’t think that there are significant functional problems with the Empire of Somnstahl army as it currently exists. However, looking over the various LABs, there’s a lot of discussion not about what does work but about what should work.
To that end I have a few questions about what people here understand to be thematically correct and enjoyable to play for EoS strengths.
Note that this isn’t meant to be LAB brainstorming thread months or years in advance of the actual LAB. At least to start, I intend this to be a conversation about theme and fun.
Topic 1: Should Empire of Sonnstahl focus on a particular model type?
The way I think about this question is by contrasting it with KoE. Should EoS be focused on infantry in the way that KoE is focused on cavalry? Should it be more combined arms, requiring a mix of models to be successful? Should it offer both infantry horde and combined arms play styles?
Topic 2: Should Empire of Sonnstahl support powerful single models, and if so, how much?
A lot (though not all) EoS lists have significant focus on Cowboys, either in the form of Griffon Marshals, Inquisitors, or Knight Commanders. Is this part of what you enjoy about EoS, or do you see it as a necessary evil to compete with a game in which single models are granted significant advantages over larger units?
This discussion could also extend to the Altar of Battle and/or Steam Tank.
If you like single models, do you think a greater focus should be available, or do you think current options strike a good balance between solo models and units?
If you dislike solo models, do you have any ideas about how to allow EoS to rely on them less?
Topic 3: Customization and Variety
Current differentiation between EoS armies largely boils down to unit selection and game plans. Do you feel that the current set of options are suitably varied in terms of thematically capturing the variety of troops that the Empire might muster?
For example, would a Vampire Covenent-style system, where different provincial origins provided different general and unit abilities, be of interest? Would you want some other way to capture the ostensibly vast variety of peoples and subcultures present within the empire?
As an example, here’s a comment which I essentially wrote approaching my own first topic with the idea that the army should be focused on infantry. Note that it doesn’t focus on specific rules or balance issues, but in general ideas about how to achieve my goal:
Realizing that my feedback was very critical, let me summarize more proactively what I think needs to happen to make EoS a genuinely infantry focused army:
Point 1: Orders may only target infantry units, and only effect infantry models in those units. If there is only a targeting and NOT a resolution restriction, the orders will inevitably be used to power up (mismatched if necessary) Cowboys rather than RnF infantry models.
Point 2: Infantry units need a source of consistent melee output regardless of their base stats. If you’re getting slaughtered by the bucketload and doing no damage back, it doesn’t matter how much static CR you get. If infantry are simply inferior in combat to cavalry, they’ll be taken as a token core tax and anvil, not as a tactical mainstay. It’s pretty challenging from a RnF standpoint to compete with the speed (picking fights) and durability (easy 1+ with plate) if we’re removing or restricting rerolls to hit/wound.
Point 3: Characters need incentives to be in units when they reach combat or you’ll continue to see the 3+ cowboy builds (e.g double inquisitor + KC; double Griffon + inquisitor). The discipline bonus isn’t inconsequential in an army with such poor baselines, but if - as is often the case now - units are just being used as a delivery service for the lone models, I feel that something has gone dramatically wrong.
Amusingly, Asklanders have a rule like this, in that their chiefs get Hatred and Battle Focus (on top of a natively better stat line and an infantry compatible mount option) when in a unit. Aside from the Knight Commander, there’s no equivalent in EoS.
Point 4: Characters in units need a way to not die and continue giving their abilities. This isn’t to say that a 300 point marshal should laugh off the attacks from a 600+ point combat lord, but if we’re frequently ending up with hopelessly outmatched generals/BSBs fleeing out of units to escape from melee threats or zooming around on flying mounts to avoid disadvantageous combats, we again aren’t accomplishing our stated goal of making the army infantry first.
Yes and no! Infantry blocks should be the main focus and most point efficient army builds should focus on them. But EoS should still be a mixed arms concept.
In my dream scenario, combined arms would be easier to play and the some units should be more specialized in doing their ecxact role. ex. cavalry being good at countercharging (being a support unit and having extra rules for better reaching flanks, could be a solution). And light infantry better at stand and shoot (ex. S&S counts for CR first round, enemy gets -1 to hit in CC if they are hit etc.)¨
Overall I believe the parent/support rules needs a makeover, to be much easier to acces and benefit from. Right now its really good when it finally works. But that is so rare, unless you are a master player.
Generally no, I like the lvl the slim book i s at. I do dislike that the tank is almost a must have, and that the arcane engines has so little CC abilities. and that the main buffs come from some fantastic cart... More power to the foot and mounted characters I say.
A few new units could be ok, but I really don't need them. And would definetely prefer them to be something I can use existing modelt for!
Variation could be very easily be put in with the characters, If orders, prayers, special abilities were just optional and with much greater variation. Main focus should be on buffing units.
Personally I'm really tired of trying to fit everything in the same bubble, so would like it to be more based on the individual chars and what they bring to the unit they are with (and the support units close by!)
Another way could be for the buffs to have longer range, so the characters could stay out of combat. (Empire of Danstahl; has this with the signal corps rules. But somehow I'm not convinced that flying characters is the way I wanna go)
Dream scenario would be to have lots of cheap characters supporting the units (that can't be used as chaff!).
This could just be integrated in the units themselves with special champion upgrades like in WDG, but with orders/specal training.
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!!
For Sunna and the Emperor!!