One problem with the current cover save rules is that units with lower armor saves benefit more from the effects of cover than those with better armor saves. In order to rectify this, the following alternate cover rules are offerred:
Against ballistic fire, cover does two things: it makes a target difficult to see and hit and it offers some degree of protection itself. Using that as a conceptual model, the most accurate way of modelling cover would be to reduce the shooter's ballistic skill (BS), and if appropriate, increase the target's toughness (T), depending on the type of cover the target occupies.
Using that model, cover affects units as follows:
- Light Cover (smoke, hedges, etc.): -1 to shooter's BS (direct LOS weapons only).
- Soft Cover (woods, ruins, etc.): -1 to shooter's BS (direct LOS weapons only) and +1 to target's Toughness.
- Hard Cover (bunkers, trenches, fortifications): -2 to shooter's BS (direct LOS weapons only) and +1 to target's Toughness (+2 to target's Toughness against blast template weapons).
A BS less than 1 remains 1 (BS 1 essentially represents "area fire" or shooting in a general location, so it doesn't get much worse), and a toughness greater than 10 remains 10 (you can't get any tougher than steel!). Statistically, for most units, the above rules result in the same initial reduction in casualties as the current cover save routine for units whose armor save is worse than the applicable cover save. However, the overall casualty rate with these rules will be significantly less due to the fact that units still retain their armor saves in addition to the casualty-reducing BS/T effects cover provides. Note also that this method does not negate armor penetration values that defeat a model's armor save, indicating that if a model is ultimately wounded by a weapon, it is assumed that the full force of that weapon is delivered against the model!
Another, simpler method, would simply allow cover saves in addition to armor saves. Thus, a 6+ cover save would reduce casualties by a sixth, a 5+ save would reduce casualties by a third, and a 4+ would reduce casualties by half. This method retains the AP-negating benefits of the current save routine, but is statistically similar in results to the first method.
Either way, cover effects benefit all units equally, albeit both methods result in lower casualty rates overall.
A final caveat is that monstrous creatures' cover effect always occurs at the next lower category (or if the second method is used, saves at one number higher), as they can't rightly take advantage of the full effects cover provides smaller, more nimble creatures. In addition, if the first method is used, vehicles in cover gain only the BS advantage, meaning that if a vehicle is hit, it's hit and must rely on its armor to protect it. Cover effects during assault remain unchanged.
In an "IGO-UGO" turn-based game like 40K, the simultaneity of actual combat is somewhat difficult to model, leading to "unrealistic" events during a game that could never happen on an actual battlefield. For instance, the ludicrous practice of advancing a unit embarked on a transport, disembarking, firing with the unit, and then assaulting with the same unit without receiving fire from an entrenched enemy defender is possible with the current version of the rules!
One way of "bending" simultaneity is to allow "opportunity fire" or other limited reactions by the non-phasing player during the phasing player's turn. In 40K 2nd Edition, the concept of "overwatch" allowed the non-phasing player to shoot with a unit against any moving target in range during the phasing player's turn simply by witholding the unit's movement and fire in his own turn. The result was entire armies going on overwatch and decimating the enemy as it moved into range, which would prevent the above illustrated unrealistic tactic, but unbalanced the game quite a bit in actual practice. The following is a much more restricted form of overwatch, aptly named, "Modified Overwatch," which provides a degree of opportunity fire without unduly unbalancing the game.
During a player's turn he may attempt to give "overwatch" (OW) orders to any unit by passing a Leadership test for that unit (vehicles test at the "standard" leadership value for the army). If the test is successful, the unit may go on overwatch. If unsuccessful, the unit moves, shoots, and assaults normally for that turn (in other words, failing this test does not penalize the unit in any way, other than preventing it from going on OW).
A unit on OW that wishes to retain its OW status may not move, shoot, or assault in its own turn. A unit that performs any of the above actions at any time forfeits its OW status. Thus a unit on OW that is forced to fallback or move for any reason such as tank shock, loses its OW status.
A unit on OW may shoot at any single enemy unit that declares an assault against it in the enemy's Assault phase, prior to moving the enemy models into base to base contact (the enemy player must declare which units are assaulting and make their assault distance rolls, if applicable, prior to shooting with the unit on OW). An OW unit fires at full strength as if it were stationary. Enemy models which begin the assault phase out of LOF cannot be targeted. Enemy units or models in cover still retain the benefits of the cover when a unit on OW fires on them. Assaulting enemy units that are forced to fallback due to OW fire must fallback and may not continue to assault.
Once a unit on OW fires at an assaulting enemy unit, it loses OW status and is treated normally for the rest of the turn (i.e. it defends normally in any assault against it).
This rule does not unduly unbalance the game and simply defers firing until the enemy Assault phase, against only those units that declare an assault against a unit on overwatch. Thus, commanders defending a prepared position have some recourse against the "uberassault" tactics the current rules allow, but really do not gain much advantage otherwise, as the potential for wasting an entire turn of inactivity is real indeed if the unit on OW is not assaulted by an enemy unit!
The current rules for cavalry in 40K do not accurately portray the way "mounted infantry" is used on battlefields rife with high-powered, rapid-firing ranged weapons that would decimate any beast-mounted troops. The following rules replace the existing cavalry rules altogether.
- Mounted troops move up to 12" in the movement phase and assault up to 6" in the Assault phase.
- Mounted troops move through difficult terrain by rolling a die for each model that enters difficult terrain. On a "2-5," the model may move up to its full remaining movement through the terrain; on a "1" the model is removed as a casualty (no armor saves may be taken).
- Mounted troops may dismount/mount at the beginning of any Movement phase. To dismount, simply replace the mounted model with a similarly armed infantry model. Likewise to mount, replace the dismounted infantry model with a similarly armed cavalry model. It does not cost any movement for a mounted infantry unit to mount or dismount. For all intents and purposes, treat dismounted models as regular infantry while dismounted.
- Mounted troops may not embark on a transport.
- Mounted troops may fire ranged weapons normally (must remain stationary to fire rapid-fire or use heavy weapons).
- Any enemy unit that fires on mounted troops adds 1 to its ballistic skill (BS) and uses the toughness value of the rider when determining wounds.
- Mounted troops advance during assault or fallback 3D6".
The current rules for moving infantry units with heavy weapons have been out-paced by a greater emphasis on rapidly moving/shooting armies in the newer codices, leaving many units either stagnant if they decide to fire heavy weapons, or forcing them to sacrifice firing heavy weapons altogether in order to keep up with a general advance or to seize an objective. To compound this problem, moving a single model within a squad negates the entire squad's ability to fire heavy weapons, even though the heavy weapon model remains stationary. To rectify this unbalancing, unnatural restriction, the following "Universal Unit Consolidation" rule has been developed:
- Any friendly non-vehicle unit (i.e. any unit without armor values) that remains stationary during the player's Movement, Shooting, and Assault phases, and does not participate in a close assault during the player's turn may make a 3" Universal Consolidation Move immediately after the Assault phase has ended, before the opposing player begins his next turn.
- Universal Consolidation Moves may be made in any direction, ignoring Difficult Terrain considerations.
- Models may not move within 1" of an enemy model during a Universal Consolidation Move.
- Models must obey all coherency rules when making a Universal Consolidation Move.