Tuesday, June 2, 2009

'Roll to wound' makes no sense to me.

I am reading Warhammer 40k rules for the first time, and I am having some trouble getting into their mentality. Especially their 'shooting' rules. My only other tabletop wargame that I have played (and loved) was BattleTech, so when I am reading WH40K rules, it's inevitable that I will end up comparing them, or trying to understand them using BattleTech as an example.

In BattleTech, shooting, wounding and armour saves is just one roll. In fact, there is no save at all. It's either hit or miss. If you hit the enemy, the enemy takes a set amount of damage points. There is a random element as to which part of the Mech is hit exactly, but that is a different story.

In Warhammer, first you have to roll to check if you hit the target. Then there is the roll to wound where you check if you wounded the model, and then there is the roll to check if you can avoid damage due to armour saves. I am having problems understanding the 'roll to wound'.

If the enemy has successfuly targeted and hit your IG soldier, then how is it possible NOT to wound him? The rulebook says that it might be a flesh wound, but if that is the case, wouldn't a flesh wound still be a wound?

I am sure there is a rational explanation regarding 'roll to wound', and I would like to hear.


  1. Well, I've been rolling this notion around my head for a while and I've come up with this.

    The roll to wound is to see if the damage would be severe enough to prevent the model (assuming it's a 1 Wound model) from fighting any longer. If I get clipped in the shoulder from a lasgun shot, it will hurt but I'll still be capable of fighting, whereas if I get my leg sheared off at the knee by a bolter round, I'm probably going to be useless in combat from then on.

    Now, just because a model has taken a wound and failed his armor save doesn't necessarily mean he's dead, it just means he's out of the fight (although most of us like to imagine the enemy troops getting fabulously blown to smithereens). It's how I rationalize my Farseer fighting on and on even after 'dying' several times.


  2. I know what you mean, and that's how i have been visualising it in my head, but it seems to me GW wanted this to be a dicefest. An artificial way to increase the rolling of dice, just to make the game seem more exciting [not that it's not exciting enough].

    On the other hand, a miss in the 'roll to hit' could very well mean the very same thing. A hit that would not register on the soldier.

  3. As squirrel fish noted it is all about seeing if that hit is enough to stop the opponent from fighting. I can shoot that elaphant all day with my 22 but unless I hit him some place real important it is not going to do much he is just to big.

    In battletech terms if you shoot a light mech with a gauss cannon you are going to be doing internal damage. An assault mech will likely be just fine. 40K just uses weapon S vs T to account for this since the paper work for 50 to 60 models battletech style damage would be impossible.

    Did I hit you? (How good of a shot am I)
    Was the hit serious enough to stop you?(Vital Place or Nasty Weapon)
    Did your Armor get in the way?

  4. I understand, that it seems diffrent. But GW is taking into account that not all the models are the same. An IG man Is just a regular human with a bit of protective gear. But then there are three meter tall super human death dealers firing mini rocket proppelled gernades clad in inchs of cermeic plate. In gw mind the Str vs Tough is all important as a lasgun isn't going to kill a super marine, unless its a very lucky shot through the eye piece or in the throat. Also not everyone is a great shot everybody can miss. But there are weapons that don't even require you to roll to hit just put them under your firing template and your just rolling to wound.