Monday 13 October 2014

7th edition, 1st impressions

On Saturday my gaming group turned out to watch a little experiment: our first game of Warhammer 40,000 seventh edition. The players for our little drama were Matt's Lost And The Damned (Black Legion primary detachment, Imperial Guard allies) and Tom dusting off his Valhallan-themed Imperial Guard for their first outing since the second edition. I was on hand to hold the book, look up rules and read out the Tactical Objectives as they were rolled (which, being me, I rather enjoyed). Dave and Ian drank Irn Bru and ate pasties.

In most regards seventh edition is a warmed over version of sixth, which could be a very pertinent criticism if I was of a mood since it replaced sixth after only two years. I didn't play much sixth, only a few small scale test games in the store on release weekend, but I didn't hate it. I liked a lot of the improvements but I didn't feel it went far enough.

Now GW has obviously decided its time to go far enough.

Tactical Objectives are the big thing. In this game we used a scenario special rule (which I now cannot find) where the number of Tactical Objectives decreased each turn: six on turn one, five on turn two and so on. The D66 table is nicely varied with the first eighteen all being some variant on “Hold Objective X” and the other eighteen vary wildly from things like killing an enemy character, destroying a unit, destroying a building or even manifesting a psychic power. Its random, either the roll of a dice or picking a card, and a lot of people seem to hate that.

I don't. I love it. Best thing to happen to the game since I've been playing.

Random is good because random was what the game was missing. What Matt describes as “that 40k feeling” is the sense that the game is moving forward not because of your actions or your opponent's but because of pure mathematics. This is a side effect of the game having largely uniform movement rates, no arc of sight issues and the almost-universal possession of ranged attacks. Introducing random charge lengths was a good step but, as I said before, was not nearly enough.

This is enough. This is great. The Tactical Objectives system forced both our players to change their plan at short notice and the Victory Points score was 11-13 with Tom taking the win. At several points Tom, who grabbed some objective markers early on, was forced to choose between keeping a solid defence on those markers or making a risky dash for one of the other rolled objectives.

I really want to try this out which means getting back to working out exactly what Orks I have lying around.

In other notes vehicle damage is more forgiving, unless you have AP1 or 2 and score a penetrating hit the vehicle won't be outright destroyed so Hull Points work rather more as they were intended last edition.

I like the Look Out, Sir! rolls for characters and that the definition includes sergeants. This game saw Matt's Chaos Lord flinging Cultists in the way of lasbolts as he stamped towards Tom's Infantry Platoon. The Guard kept up a hail of frantic fire using the Front Rank, Fire! Back Rank, Fire! order which eventually brought down the Chaos Lord just as he was entering charge range.

Medals all round. Can't wait to try this out for myself.

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