It finally happened! Last Saturday I finally got my mits on the newest Warhammer 40,000 rulebook, and I have to admit… I was rather disappointed.
Most of the book was background fluff, which is good for people just getting into the game, or for old vets like myself coming back and needing an update on what’s happened in the universe of the dark imperium; but not so great for the $75 price tag. Actual rules are crammed together on about ten pages, with the back of the book devoted to scenarios and promotions for codexes and game expansions. Honestly, it’s not surprising, but I think the 6th and 7th edition books at least offered more for the money. They were even chincy on the army photos this time, which has always been one of my favorite parts of the books. With all the reused artwork, and not costing them much to make, it’s starting to look like Games Workshop hasn’t change that much after all.
So what about the rules this time? Are they better? Are the worse? Well…
It’s a mixed bag. I would agree that the rules for 6th and 7th edition were bloated beyond enjoyability, but I don’t think they should have given it the Age of Sigmar treatment with a thunder hammer. Most of the changes have already been discussed on sites with better access to rulebooks, so I’m not going to make an itemized list. I will however post my thoughts on some of the more extreme things, and how I think they will change the game.
Removal of initiative
I’m on the fence with this one. Granted, initiative either made a unit combat gods, or it made them useless, but I think this is an area that could have been expanded upon as opposed to thrown away. Leaving close combats up to a round- robin with the players throws a little too much randomness into the mix. On the plus side, chargers always go first again, so that added back a little bit of a strategy element. A bit of give and take at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see how it holds up.
Or in other words, units no longer have to waste heavy weapon shots on fodder meat. This is a good change in my opinion, as it better represents squaddies giving covering fire to a heavy weapon specialist targeting a big baddie. It also allows a squad to deal with multiple threats at once. With the new amor rules I see this change as a good thing and hope there will be more like it.
Armor Reduction as opposed to Armor Penetration
I’ll be honest, I hated the AP rules. Some guns were incredibly powerful as a result *cough* plasma *cough* and other guns, such as high powered cannons, and heavy machine guns, were next to useless. The Armor Reduction rules, however, are nothing new, they’re old, brought back from the days of 2nd edition when Space Marine Terminators didn’t go down to a few guardsmen with super guns. I’m excited for this change, as it’s added a lot of tactical flexibility back into weapon choices. No longer is heavy dreadnought armor simply ignored because someone has a glowing sword. Now those units will still get some protection, even if it is reduced by the weapon’s power.
Vehicle Wounds and Toughness Values
Another change I’m a little iffy on. Not having to dance around with your tank to take advantage of armor facings is a definite plus, but now heavy battle tanks are somewhat susceptible to small arms fire. I suppose it is a lot simpler than 7th editions vehicle charts and structure points, while still accomplishing the job of ensuring a Land Raider doesn’t go down to a single shot from a missile launcher, but it’s one of those things I think simply needed some improvement. Like with initiative, I’m going to give it the “wait and see” treatment. In the long run, it probably will be a better system.
Removal of Templates
This one I don’t like. Replacing blast and flame templates with randomly determined attacks is one of those things that really is too simple for it’s own good. There was nothing wrong with the template system. If it was under the template, it was hit, if not, it wasn’t, and provided for a more accurate impact of explosions and gouts of flame. The new random D6 rule has neutered pounding battle cannons, earth shakers, death strike missiles, and other weapons of mass impact, while making rapid fire and straight shot weapons more powerful. Other than losing templates after games, I don’t recall this ever being a problem. It was a nice element and opened up tactical options that are no longer available. I hope GW brings this back in the future.
And that’s it. There are a few things left that might warrant a mention, such as multiple wounding weapons, or making every vehicle an assault platform, but, in the grand scheme of things, these are just additions (or subtractions) to elements that were already there. If there is enough interest, I can discuss those later. Command Points are also something that warrants a discussion, but as they are optional, again, I’ll leave those for another time, perhaps alongside the new detachment rules.
Now, I promised pictures, so here we go.
Not being a fan of the Ogryn models for Adeptus Militarum, and needing some heavy hitters that fit the canine theme of my inquisitorial strike force, I decided to get some skin wolves from Forge World and convert them up to represent a unit of Bullgryns.
Again, not the best picture, but good enough for a quick peak at one of my current modeling projects (oh yes, there’s more). As you can see, I’ve given them armor plates from dreadnoughts and cut up battle cannons. Provided storm shields for Brute Shields (essentially the same thing anyway), and gave them auto cannons for mauls (yes, they swing around entire auto-cannons). Given my inquisitor would likely be looking for an edge against all enemies, a little bit of genetic manipulation is small potatoes compared to summoning and bonding demons into service. Besides, everyone gives into chaos eventually. Sounds better than being eaten by bugs.
Here’s a better picture of the swinging one as he got a little cut off.
I wish I had more to show you, but these were the best pictures of the quick snaps I made. I think I have a photo box around somewhere, as well as a few spot lamps I need to pull out, but that will have to wait for another time. Until then, keep checking back for more photos and discussions of my modeling hobby, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of “The Last Chronicle of Azureden: A Deal in the Darkness” to support me and my work. You won’t regret it.
And before anyone asks, yes, I am still working on book 2 😉