Friday, December 14, 2012

Heavy Bolters, is there a point?

Quiet day here as finals begin for the University...  And it is a "No Change" period for IT, so more or less just sit tight and hope nothing major breaks...

Got me thinking about Heavy Bolters though...  Mind, I've been using them since RT, and in the ancient times they were certainly weapons to fear or at least respect.  150 points bought you the Imperial Army's 10 man Squad with 5 Heavy Bolters, I can't remember what the Squat Thunderers were, but I think they were sub 100 points for the 5 Squat Squad of all Heavy Bolters...  The change went from "keep firing until you miss or fail to wound" to 1 die for the rate of fire...  "Special" d6, jam on 1 face 2x1, 2x2 1x3, so 1-3 hits averaging in the 1.5-2 hits...  Oh, and it was Str 5 -3 save modifier, so the vaunted 3+ save Powered Armor (with flak in the old rules) went to a 6+ save...  Not so good if you were a Marine really...  Now it is Heavy 3, so three shots at least.  Not horrible, but then the 3+ to wound most things followed by the 3+ save or the 3-4++  cover save and in some cases then the FnP save...  I just do not see them killing enough really to justify a large points investment.

Yes, the new rules DO allow me to move and snap fire, and I can keep specific models not moving so Heavy Weapons overall are a bit better...  And on the odd chance they snap fire into something Charging me, that might be nice too, but...  Nothing to count on I think...

The Marine Scout one IS cheap(ish) and has the optional fire mode where they throw out a small blast template, wounding on a 2+...  So at least against a lot of things I CAN throw out a wound or so...  'course, most of the really nasty things like that also have good saves and multiple wounds and I get one HB/Squad there...  NOT so effective, might get me a snip kill combined with Sniper Rifles, but even then...  "Eh", in almost all cases the Missile Launcher is at least as good, mostly better.  So, "Neat", but still I'd consider it a failure...  I happen to HAVE a half dozen of the damn things, so likely continue to field them in my CF army, but...

For the IG the situation is similar, but...  In a HW Squad 5 points buys me either a Heavy Bolter or an Auto Cannon.  Heavy 3 vs Heavy 2, 36" range vs 48" and Str 5 vs Str 7...  I hate saying it is a no brainer, but the Auto Cannon just seems better all around.  Higher range, better Str so CAN actually pose a threat to vehicles heavier than AV 10-11...  Really only loses RoF, and that is I think OK given the extra 12" range and STR.

Sponson mounts I can see just to add weight of fire.  But, really?  15 points in some cases for a weapon that has to be fired at the same target as the main guns?  Eh might be an overstatement except for the Valkyrie/Vendetta with the Flier rules allowing 4 weapons to be fired as normal...  I guess if I have points to spare and need an anti horde option...

Otherwise, Marine Dev Squads?  Anyone actually field these?  I certainly wouldn't...  Long Fangs are not bad and I bring one or two HBs to allow them to split fire and take down Infantry targets and to be frankly "red shirts" for the rest of the Pack...  These are the first losses, nothing personal :-)...  On my Attack Bikes? Maybe, if points are short for the Armies it makes a difference, but frankly with the Multi Melta being an option, again why bother asking?

Got to say, the Heavy Bolter was one thing I was hoping would get changed with the new edition, but it remains more in the "why bother" bin.  Anyone else have anything I am missing here?

Rambling and caffeinated...

OTOH, LOVING the Google Nexus 7 tablet...  Easy to carry around and does almost everything I need to so on a mobile platform...