Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vehicle Squadrons: Yay or Nay?

At the outset of my fandex projects, I was determined to avoid vehicle squadrons.  Because of the imbalance inherent in vehicles themselves, I see Ordnance squadrons, like Basilisks, as much more powerful point for point than vehicles like Predators.  By getting heavy hitting, widespread, long-range firepower on cheap, disposable vehicles, Ordnance squadrons can be incredibly dominant.  The same goes for Monstrous Creatures as well, which led to the rise of Tyranid Godzilla lists.  In terms of the FOC, it also strikes me as odd that Heavy Supprt vehicles can be taken three to a slot where as Troops, for example, can only be taken 1 to a slot.

I want foot-slogging lists to be as competitive as mech lists, to allow players to have to rely on their skills as a general and list maker instead of how well they can exploit a typical build.  The point system is there to balance the discrepancies between certain types of units.

However, I find myself now going back and forth on the issue.  First and foremost, the squadrons are undeniably effective on the table top and many people enjoy playing in such a fashion.  There is also the idea that by allowing squadrons players can field armored company style lists.  Furthermore, because vehicles can die to a single hit, there is an argument to be made that many of the lesser armored vehicles need redundancy to remain effective choices.

To my few readers, I address the following questions: What are your thoughts on the issue?  What do you believe can be done to balance this?  Am I missing a vital component to either side of the argument or does the real issue simply lie with the core rule set alone?


  1. As a space marine player, the only thing I like in squadrons is land speeders. That way if I lose one to an immobilized hit, its only 50-100 points. I'd be pretty pissed if I lost a Russ like that, but that's just me.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Student Teacher. I should have mentioned that as a balancing factor against taking squadrons. Losing a 260 point Land Raider to an Immobilized result would be frustrating.

  3. Squadrons do have their own drawbacks - for instance, a chaos dread assaulted a battery of three hydras in a game I saw recently. Now as seperate unit entries the hits would have killed one of them. Instead, it wiped out the squadron (one exploded, two immobilised - which of course at the time or rolling counted as wrecked) Squadrons are good ways to add a large chunk of firepower to your force, but also a good way for the enemy to take out a large chunk of your firepower with one salvo.

  4. Here was me thinking mech was simply about making your melta go faster by sticking it in a plastic brick with tracks on it...

    Squadrons are weird in that they make sense yet don't. On the one hand, it's a logical thing to do. On the other hand...

    "Hey guys, I've lost my right tracks, go on withou...KABOOMandsuchlike."

    I personally think the Guard have the right idea, with the Platoon structure allowing multiple scoring units in one Troops section, but not forcing them all to stay in coherency. I may do some experimentation applying this idea to other armies. Hell, if it's good enough I'll send it off to RM.

  5. @Master Bryss
    You could explain your "Hey guys, I've lost my right tracks, go on withou...KABOOMandsuchlike" comment by thinking of it this way.

    A sentinal squadron is advancing on the enemy position. One breaks a servo in the leg, is immobilised. The other two advance. Being cut off without the support of his comrades doesn't sound appealing, so the pilot bails out. Maybe he heads back to base. Maybe he provides one man infantry support for his comrades. Either way, he wouldn't leave a valuable machine where the enemy could potentially salvage it and make use of it. So he lobs a couple of frag grenades in the pilots compartment and legs it. KABOOMandsuchlike, dead sentinal, rest of squadron moves on...

  6. @Ginge: You're in a tank. You have a large rotatable turret. You're maybe willing to give your life for the Emperor. Why not stay and do a last stand? Either scenario is possible.

    It does make sense for walkers to do that,I agree with that, but tanks...not as much.

  7. Thanks for your comments, guys. I think the issue is that the rule was written with squadrons like sentinels and land speeders in mind, but now are out of date with things like Leman Russ and basilisks being in squadrons. So in a sense, you're both absolutely right.

  8. It wouldn't be unheard of to abandon the tank. An immobilised tank is a big target. Without infantry support it's vulnerable, and if you leave infantry support with it you're sacrificing more military strength to this mini-pillbox that can't keep up with the flow of battle. Admittedly it's more likely to be destroyed rather than abandoned if you're pulling back than pushing forward...

    It is far harder to explain for a tank than a walker, but think of it like this instead. Squadrons allow several vehicles for one FOC slot, and can downgrade from Can't move or shoot to just can't shoot. There has to be a downside, and the immobilised upgraded to wrecked is it. It was designed for sentinals, but if your battle tanks want to reap the rewards of it, they have to face the downside too :o)