Hello, I would like to suggest the changing of crossbows in AoF. Currently crossbows are a (30”, A1, AP(1)) and rifles are (24”, A1, AP(1)). This makes the crossbow a better choice in every way. In actuality rifles have stronger armor penetration than crossbows. Heavy crossbows could penetrate some armor but rifles had a longer effective range when it came to armor penetration. Some sources even show rifles having a longer effective range when it comes to accuracy as well.
Now, I am fully aware that this game is not historically accurate. I’m arguing that from a game point having pros and cons to rifles vs crossbows makes for more interesting tactical decisions. Rather than crossbow being purely better in every way. Having units with different kinds of weapons, I feel, is more fun as you’ll need to think positioning and when to bring the right tool rather than a weapon that can do everything. It allows for more creative decision making. It also gives better molding opportunity’s as you have to decide what you feel would be more beneficial.
From a game stand point, currently crossbows are almost always a better choice. Why take a rife when a Crossbow is only 5 more points (or 10 if you combine a unit)? You get better range and still have AP(1). I suggest changing Crossbows to (30”, A1). This would incentives more decision making when building your army list. Do you want higher AP or do you want longer range?
This change would make ranged weapons more like melee weapons when it comes to variety and decision making. Do take you take the 2x hand weapons for more attacks? The Great weapon for AP? Or the Halberd for Rending? This would make ranged units less bland and include just as much decision making as your melee units. Do you take the 2x Pistols for more attacks? The Rife for AP? Or the crossbow for longer range?
I won’t go into details about the point calculator but with the proposed change, both would cost the same for the upgrade to rifles or crossbows after rounding. I’ve tested this out with friends and we all agreed it made list building more tactical. The only problem I could see arising is long bows are already (30”, A1). Granted I don’t know of any units that can take both so it would serve more as a lore difference than a game one. In fact in Grim Dark Future Alien Hive Assault grunts have Razor Claws (A2) while Orc Marauders have CCWs (A2). Exact same stats just different names for lore purposes.
Though I feel the above would be a perfect fix. Here are some alternative ideas that might work as well.
Rifles could have rending added to them to represent their stronger armor piercing and crossbows could keep AP1.
Another option is some sources state rifles had greater effective range. The ranges on crossbows and rifles could be switched. This way both can have their better AP represented and would require the least amount of change to the army lists.
One last option would be to make rifles AP(2) to better represent their stronger armor penetration.
Now I know I’m inevitably going to be swarmed by people yelling at me about crossbows were better but rifles were cheaper, plate could stop a bullet too, so on and so forth. First things first, OPR, as I stated above, is not historically accurate. To have that we’d need different types of crossbows, rifles, rules for AP at different ranges, weather, ect. It would get really tedious and defeat the purpose of OPR. Also judging by the tech we’ve seen being used by the different races; we can assume that they are using at least the heavy arquebus, flintlock musket or some fantasy variant of these weapons. The Human armies can field a tank so they are clearly at a technological state of 16th or 17th century with some fantasy what-ifs thrown in. The Dwarfs also have some technologically advanced gear (such as the Sky-City Dwarfs). These weapons could let out some serious firepower at the time and could easily rip through most types of armor. If the Chivalrias Kingdoms could take firearms I could understand their very early guns not being effective as crossbows because those things were for more psychological warfare rather than killing people (not that they couldn’t).
Yes they did make “built proof” armor but it wasn’t as effective at some might think. It was heavy and very expensive. You probably weren’t going to be wearing a full suite of this stuff. Also a mass volley at close range or a direct hit could still do some damage or hit the parts that are not covered in thicker plate. Really just came down to how well it was made which honestly varied from suit to suit.
On average, the firearms being used by Humans and Dwarfs would have greater armor penetration and stopping power than crossbows. From an abstract standpoint used in table top games like AoF, giving rifles better AP would suffice. It would keep things simple as well as give more tactical variety to ranged weapons. I personally feel more variety is always beneficial to list building.