In the 41st Millennium, morale plays a vital role.
Battles can be won and lost by the brave actions of a few stubborn defenders, or defeat caused by the panicked flight of key elements of an enemy force.
Morale has always been a part of Warhammer 40,000. In the past edition though, it did often seem that in a lot of games it could be largely ignored – so many units were immune to its various effects. Where it did apply though, you had to take a lot of tests – it was conceivable that a unit might have to take over half a dozen Leadership tests in a turn, which had the effect of bogging down the game.
The new Morale phase is simple, and only happens once per player turn, at the end of all your other phases. It will apply to almost every unit, and represents warriors fleeing the battlefield, dying from the psychic feedback shockwaves of their allies, or retreating with injured or fallen brethren. There will be very few units indeed that will not feel its effects.
The mechanics are simple – any units that suffered casualties in a turn must take a Morale test at the end of it. You just roll a D6, add the number of models from the unit that have been slain, and if the number is bigger than the unit’s Leadership, the unit loses the difference in additional models.
That’s it! No units falling back, no regroup tests – all that is gone.
You can see straight away, this will be pretty brutal and mean units that suffer high casualties in a turn stand to lose a lot more come the Morale phase if they roll poorly. Conversely, single-model units (like many vehicles) won’t have to test; as they are units of one, there are no other models in their squad to lose.
There are a few things that can help you out in this phase. A Chaos Dark Apostle, for example, allows all nearby units from the same Legion to use his Leadership. Or, you can use some units to make your opponent’s tests more difficult – the Hemlock Wraithfighter, as an example, decreases the Leadership of enemy units by 1 if they are within 12″ (which equates to one additional lost model on every failed test).
So, that’s morale.
We’ve run through all the phases of the game now. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some new background and lore in the new Warhammer 40,000, and then on Friday, we’ll take a look at Battle-forged armies.
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