Tuesday, May 15, 2012

40k Kill points vs fantasy Victory points- The lesser of two evils

         Today I was hoping to write a little something to compare warhammer 40k kill points  and fantasy's system. I want to express how I feel about both these systems and show which one I think is a worse system. Both systems have their flaws and people often build lists around abusing these two systems. In 40k, people build kill point denial lists where kill points are incredibly hard to claim. Fantasy has tar-pit units that are incredibly large and can just die all day long and rarely break due to steadfast/ general ld/bsb reroll. Skaven are a clear example with their two point slaves.  Before I compare them, I want to break each one down and explain its weaknesses.
The Killpoints!
        We will start with kill points. Its the system I am most familiar with. Kill points in 40k work in a very simple fashion. If it is dead or running for the hills, you get a point. There is no kind of dead or almost dead. It has to be pure dead or running. Its kind of silly. A chimera with all its guns blown off and an immobilized result gets you nothing. A land raider is worth as many points as a commissar.  You can have a grey knight list of 3-5 kill points and mech guard lists with 16+ kill points. This system isn't balanced with the game at the moment. You often see people abuse this system by killing 1-2 vehicles or units and then running around trying to denial kill points. Its a great strategy, but really lame aspect game play wise. I have been guilty of running around after a kill point. It was actually my most used strategy with the old necron book. you kept everything else alive, but run the deciever all over the field sniping out key units or easy kill points and as people at the FLGS will say, this results in  a potentially really stupid game of cat and mouse.  To make this even worse, Marines excell at this game type because they don't get wiped out in melee and they rarely run for any length of time because of And they shall know no fear!. This wouldn't be so bad except that it reinforces the marine armies that are all really strong while hurting xenos codexs. Dark eldar are notorious for their kill points.

victory points!?...(That comes up when you google Victory points)
         Victory points! A system that has astonished bob and myself for the past few months. We have been getting more into fantasy (well bob was already entrenched and I am getting back into it) and we have been baffled by this system. We have had games where it seems like I am losing by quite a bit and win by a landslide and we have had games that nearly ended in tablings and came out to a draw. Victory point system is similiar to kill points. You have to completely wipe out a unit or have them fleeing at the end of the game. If they are dead or running, they give you points equal to the units. There are some extra things to earn you these VPs such as claiming standards or killing generals and more. This system says that 40 sword masters are not worth as much as 40 skaven slaves. It is an all or nothing approach. It makes the idea of chaff units and charge redirecters possible.  It adds an entirely new level to the game that isn't possible without point variations.

The comparison
 Now lets compare the two systems. both kind of suck in their own ways. 39 sword masters of hoeth=0 victory points, but 40 sword masters equal 500+ points. To make it worse, You see a lot more death stars in fantasy because of this system. chosen stars as they are called come with a 3+/4++ and can get a 3++ I believe. They get both and they are a hammer to top it off.  It gets kind of ridiculous. Kill points are almost no better. 10 paladins (2+/4+ Feel no Pain) are worth as much a 5 man dire avengers squad. Now you might be asking yourself why Kill points are better. After all,  that 500+ point paladin squad is worth 1 point same as the 5 man less then 100 pt dire avengers squad.  Its because Kill points are set in a world where they are easier to claim on average then victory points. Victory points are set in a system that has it to where everyone can get stubborn, high leadership, leadership re-rolls, and the average unit being 20-40 people. This results in it being very difficult to wipe out units. 100 slaves is 250 points worth of unit. These guys can be Leadership due to general leadership and Strength in numbers. To make it worse, they also can re-roll with that leadership 10. Make these guys into a bus (5 wide formation) and they are 20 deep and always steadfast. a single lascannon or battle cannon can claim a good chunk of kill points in 40k, almost nothing has that chance in fantasy short of crazy magic like infernal gateway and purple sun. You almost always have to kill 20-30 guys before you can start breaking people to get victory points.  Its why Kill points are a better system then victory points, especially since they are both all or nothing systems. If Victory points could be claimed at half for half the victory points, Victory points would be superior. As an all or nothing system, kill points is better.

         Example time! I played a game against bob where I lost 20 of 30 grave guard, a black coach, 20 of 30 skeletons, 35 of 60 zombies,, 2 5 man dire wolf groups, my black coach, 1 group of 5 hex wraiths and 3 of 5 hex wraiths in the other group. I killed teclis (general), 2 nobles, a 40 man phoenix guard, 25 man sea guard unit and that was it. he had 40 sword master unit left that I couldn't do anything against.  I had 1500 victory points with general and standards.  He has killed most of my force and claims a grand total of.... 430. That's right. A slug fest of a game ended with a 1000 point difference because he couldn't finish off units. He killed chaff which is meant to die and got my black coach all the way. The most fun game of fantasy I have had yet and the result is a massacre when it was a close game.


  1. Well, its a lot easier to finish off units in WHFB when the troops for the enemy's units aren't popping out of the ground like daisies all the time... Also, try playing Night goblins sometime, where the general's LD (on a lord) is 7. Wiping out a steadfast unit with that is quite easy actually.

    I wholeheartedly agree on the 40k KP imbalance though. In the annihilation scenario, the ONLY way my Orks can win is to table the opponent, and that never happens...

  2. A black ork general has of 10 and a bsb let's you reroll. steadfast that, and you have a tough unit

  3. I liked Victory Points a lot more when you could get half the points value of a unit if it was fleeing or had lost half its starting number of wounds at the end of the game. Points denial was still a thing that happened but at least there was some reward for trying and getting halfway there. I remember the first time I managed to kill half of Awesome Mike's Dwarf Hammerers and secure a draw based on that... wouldn't get that in eighth edition. It's 'wipe out or go home', and I've never liked systems that encourage you to completely hammer the other guy and lose as little as possible yourself.

  4. I think both systems could be easily fixed. Simply make both systems based on the point value of said model. I believe you should get points for every kill you make, an issue arises with forces that can resurrect kills, you could 'kill' dozens of models and the enemy could just raise them back. This could cause landslides when lots of low value models get massacred and it could add up to well more than the unit is worth, or if it got really out of hand more than the army is worth. I think as long as you are not doing capture points, or set victory conditions this is the best way to determine the winner. Most of the time the general who kills more and loses less won the battle as far as history is concerned and think it works for the wide world of warhammer (fantasy and 40k)