View Full Version : D&D Minis 2 Ruleset out - 4th edition preview

01-17-2008, 03:36 PM
I dug into the new ruleset just to get a feel for how 4th edition will play out. www.enworld.org (http://www.enworld.org) went a long way for me to see what 4th edition will offer, but the new mini manual helped solidify some of the concepts for me and give a taste for the new ruleset. D&D minis are definitely toned down from the RPG ruleset for the use as a fast action wargame, though, so rules within it may or may not translate to the RPG.

Here's the rulebook, a pdf freely available from Wizards:

Here are some of the concepts I pulled out of it that were interesting to me:

Attacks are always against either a Defense score (which is a combination of the three types of saving throws in 3.5) or your AC score. This means many magical spells and items such as wands roll an attack roll to hit, they just target a seperate DEF value rather than AC.

There are four types of attacks: Melee, Ranged, Close, and Area. Close attacks are like cones or burst effects centered on the caster, while area effects are fireballs and the like that create ranged effects centered from a point.

Abilities are qualities a character has that might make you subject or resistant to certain affects. Some abilities include your race, your alignment, your creature type, etc. This seems to simplify adjucation of which items affect which enemies, etc. Abilities also include any resistances or immunities the character has, so to determine whether some spell or attack injures an opponent, you need to look just at this list.

Alignment: Something we've had some interesting discussion about in these forums. You are either Good, Evil, or Unaligned. It's as simple as that. There are also factions that any given character is a part of, but this may be a construct for D&D minis that does not relate to the RPG, I don't know. Factions here include Civilization (cities in the 'points of light' concept for 4th edition), Borderlands (the rough areas between cities and the wild), the Wild, and the Underdark.

For D&D Minis, alignment only comes into play in ability effects, and which units you can use together in the same warband. An evil unit cannot be used in a band with a good unit and vice-versa. Unaligned units can be used freely.

01-17-2008, 03:44 PM
Flanking, invisibility, and other special abilities all work together to give you a "Combat advantage" against a foe. This basically puts together a number of rules in 3.5 that got confusing and required different knowledge to use. Combat advantage works like flanking in 3.5, where you get bonus sneak attack damage if you have any, and get a bonus to hit.

In general, they found a way to simplify the number of concepts needed to be understood to be able to play the game, and I fully welcome that approach if it is done fairly and balanced. So far, I am pretty impressed with the changes for D&D Minis 2.0, and look forward to play some skirmishes with these new rules, but the jury is still out for 4.0 itself, at least until next month.

01-18-2008, 03:07 AM
You call it a fast action wargame. How fast is it? I can't remember the last time I played any wargame and it took less than FOREVER to conclude.

01-18-2008, 05:14 AM
D&D Minis is pretty quick... I've only played a few games of it, but a full skirmish takes less than an hour.

Definitely longer than a game of magic, but it beats most miniature based wargames by a longshot.

01-18-2008, 07:34 AM
Dreamblade takes about an hour and I've heard, never had the pleasure of watching, that Star Wars Miniatures take about the same. The only other quick wargames I know of are the old but classic Two Hour Wargames product line.

01-18-2008, 07:41 AM
The Clix series is much the same from what I've heard as well (HeroClix, ActionClix, HorrorClix). I have played HeroScape too, which is roughly in the same category.

01-18-2008, 08:26 AM
I'm not a fan of the clix series. Mainly because BattleTech IP (beyond FASA timeline) was switched over to that system by the previous FASA owner, who started WizKids. I just think it is a sad end to the once glorious wargame. He still is getting my money though as I've purchased all of the MechWarrior Age Of Destruction and MW: Dark Age novels :o

01-19-2008, 03:38 PM
I'm excited by the new rules as well.

My impression, just for the playing of a mini game, is that factions weren't a necessity. I wondered at one point if Wizards was thinking, "How can we change the flavor without changing the game?" "I know, I know! Let's change alignments and call them factions, reprint everything, and rerelease!" "Excellent, proceed!"

Just a very minor whine. However, I will miss my delightful chaotic evil skull symbols. :p

01-19-2008, 07:19 PM
Just a very minor whine. However, I will miss my delightful chaotic evil skull symbols. :pWhen in doubt just visit the Wizards website to fulfill your lingering nostalgia. Here is a screenshot from their latest Ask Wizards article "current userbase VS 4E target demographic: is your business model out with the old, in with the new?"


01-21-2008, 06:12 PM
Change can be good, although I must say I prefer the layout of the old stat cards. The new ones are pretty, just liked the old ones a wee bit more as the newer model looks too, well, modern. :rolleyes: I like that old, crusty, musty, look to the older cards. Flavor. Spice. Whatever.

Nice pic. Thanks!

01-24-2008, 08:38 AM
Desert of Desolation cards are out:


Some of my impressions:

Very few cards are good or evil - Pretty much only the Devils & Demons. This will greatly reduce the limits on building armies, which was a big problem before. Not even the shadow assassin or Drider are evil.
It seems like the full attack concept is gone... very few cards have multiple attacks, and those that do (the troll and dwarf brawler) are just another form of attack or a special action. It seems that 4th edition gets away from the concept of multiple attacks in favor of making the primary attack more powerful.
I like how magic is rolled by the attacker, rather than it is in 3.5 where the target does a saving throw. This really simplifies the concepts involved without reducing any of the capability. Look at the halfling enchanter... His mental shock ability is as simple as a normal attack, but it can be enhanced with limited use special powers.
There are quite a few immediate abilities, which can be used out of turn (such as defensive bonuses). Adds some interesting flavor to the game.
Gelatinous Cubes and Umber Hulks are still cool.As far as D&D minis games go, I really like the direction they took. The game will move along pretty fast since by learning just a few rules you know what the majority of things do at a glance. In the previous incarnation, it took some rule lookups to figure out intricacies, and extra time figuring out exactly how an ability will work in a specific situation. Looks to be very little of that in D&D Minis 2.0.

As far as 4th edition goes, I was worried that by simplifying things you would lose some of the personality that monsters had in 3.5. But after seeing how they've been able to keep their personality in a much simpler format, I'm looking forward to the 4th edition RPG even more. Take a look at the Troll... He can bite, tear people with claws, and regenerate just as effectively as before... he is still vulnerable to fire and can reach pretty far with his long arms, but he can do all that without all the inherant complexity that comes from D&D 3.5.

01-24-2008, 02:44 PM
Speaking of the new cards, they look like they can be printed on those blank, prepacked, baseball card stocks. Has anyone tried yet?

01-29-2008, 12:36 AM
Now that i know those exist i certainly will.
I agree with the switch in focus being good. I really dont want to spend that kind of loot every year but im liking 4E a bit more as each bit of new info comes out.