Thursday, 11 June 2015

Exploding Vehicles: How Do You Do It?

Hey there, everybody! Welcome back for another instalment. This week I want to know what you do when your vehicles explode in games of 40k.

The Thousand Sons face the onslaught from the enraged Blood Wardens

I had a ripper of a 1200 point game with my mate, Laurie, at club night the other night. It was his first game of 40k since the shift to 7th, so we went pretty light on the rules and kept it simple with old-style armies. Simple CADs all round. He used his Blood Wardens, a homebrew chapter of psychotic sons of Sanguinius. They faced off against my Iron Warriors, with Thousand Sons and friends. A question came up though when my Helbrute broke the "Maiden Battle Curse". One shot from his multi-melta penetrated and exploded his DC Dreadnought on turn 1! Reflexively (from his 5th ed days), Laurie went to the terrain box and pulled out a crater to put in place of the destroyed Dread.

Moving up the flank, the Death Company seek revenge.

In the BRB on page 76 it says that when a vehicle is subject to an 'Explodes!' result it is removed from the table. But in 5th Edition, when a vehicle exploded, it was replaced with a crater. I really liked this touch to the game. To me it doesn't make much sense for an exploded vehicle to just disappear. I think the crater sufficiently represents the flames and debris that would be left behind. In my mind it makes more sense to have a crater (or some other sort of terrain) to be placed than to have nothing. In a game that's all about 'forging a narrative', it's a bit on the nose. Are we expected to believe that these vehicles are being vaporised?! It's absurd!

A Warpsmith's work is never done.

There is one obvious difficulty with using a crater in 7th. You actually change the way the game works. When you place a crater, as opposed to leaving the space empty, you're creating a new terrain piece. You're interacting with the board in a big way by introducing difficult terrain that will slow troops, potentially immobilise vehicles and even cause a few sprained ankles on your jump troops. You're also introducing a new piece of cover-granting terrain, albeit only 6+. This can have a huge effect on the game. But again, to my mind, it makes sense. A wreck stays where it is, becoming difficult terrain and providing a big lump of LoS-blocking terrain, so it's not too big a leap to have an "Exploded" vehicle leave something behind.

 Can the Thousand Sons hold out to win the day?

Anyhow, what do you do? Do you put down a crater or something else, or do you just take the box off the table and leave blank space?

For the record: Laurie tabled me in 5 turns. 
It all went south as soon as he made it into combat.
"Maiden Battle Curse" refers to the curse suffered by all freshly painted models.
Generally they die a pointless death, having achieved precisely squat.


  1. I like the Maiden Battle Curse. Most of my 1000s of points of Blood Angels are base coated and washed but they are only granted a complete paint job when they excel on the battle field.

    Back to the topic, I think something should be left behind. Forging the narrative means the table top should be fluid as the game develops. The addition of craters and ruins is natural.

    1. Haha, I like the idea of rewarding your troops with a nice new paint job. It seems like a good way to get your army painted up nice and quick, too!
      I agree, I really like it when the game interacts with the battle field, leaving it looking completely different to how it began.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. I find that generally (in 7th), that a vehicle is wrecked instead of exploded. Because of that, I got a series of tea light/explosion markers to mark wrecked vehicles. They flicker and flash, and add a lot to the game.

    I used to enjoy the crater aspect too, but it's nice having the difference between a remaining vehicle, and nothing left standing.

    1. I know what you mean, I think I'm going to have to make up some smoke markers in the near future. I haven't decided whether I want to use tea lights or just painted cotton wool.

      I'm in two minds about the craters honestly. On the one hand I think the rules are the rules and should be played as such. On the other hand, as above, I like the battlefield to be fluid and represent the destruction. I think I might stick with craters unless my opponent has a particular objection to it.