Thursday, 29 May 2014

Considered first impressions of 7th edition

Ok so I've taken a few days to sit down and think about it, and have discussed it quite a bit with my gaming group. Here then are my first impressions of 7th edition prior to significant levels of playtesting.

First of all the presentation, the book itself seems far more like it's been thought about hard when compared to the old one, splitting down the book into related components so you have a single book with rules, a single book with background and a single book with hobby stuff means we aren't all going to get annoyed lugging the big fat book around to games because we were too impatient to wait for a condensed version. This also means that we're less likely to be annoyed at GW for having to buy that condensed version when we finally give up on the big book. Inside the book is organised better too, and I already find myself being able to navigate it quicker than the previous version, with the rules in a more legible order. And finally, the presentation of the book is a step forward, the box it and the psychic and objective cards are all ridiculously high quality, and I really don't mind paying extra for them for that reason. One last point before I move on - the case for the books is the perfect size for the current range of hardback codices, so if you'd like to protect them a bit more, swap out the dark millennium and galaxy of war volumes and stick a codex or two in there instead.

Moving on to the actual rules then, I was pleased to see lots of little clarifications of things I've seen argued about online, and lots of little logical improvements to the game that also help to make it quicker.

There are three main areas that stand out to me however, as being big changes that will significantly affect how we play our games.

The first and biggest of these is actually the pre-game sequence. Objectives are now placed before deployment type is rolled for, and before table halves are chosen. What this means is that there will be no more placement of objectives right in the heart of a tau gunline, daring the opponent to try and weather the firestorm. Instead I think we'll see a lot of games with 'come and fetch me' objectives strung along no-man's land. This will likely force armies into becoming more mobile, and equally I think we will see more transports and mobile firepower to secure these objectives. You might even get first turns where little happens beyond both sides running for objectives.

I think it's guaranteed that army composition will change this edition, which leads me nicely into my second major change.

Vehicles got more survivable.

Not in a big way, but in a significant way, in particular transports benefitted from the rules changes.

Exploding has now been relegated to a damage roll of 7+, meaning many vehicles will be immune from exploding to many weapon types. I've had this in my mind since doing my tactical post on devastators, so I ran the numbers to see what the odds now are for a couple of typical weapon types.

For a space marine with a lascannon shooting at a chimera, the chances of destroying it with a single shot are now 1 in 18, down from 1 in 9 under the previous edition's rules.

That's massive, particularly when only a single result on the damage chart prevents the transport from achieving it's primary goal - moving into position!

The third and final change is obviously the psychic phase. Powers are now more difficult to cast and harder in general to deny, though now at least that is a possibility for blessings and conjurations.

I think we'll see more psykers on the table in general, and tzeentch will become very popular in daemon armies. It remains to be seen though whether the general fear about daemon armies spawning vast numbers of reinforcements becomes an actual issue, so I'll keep my powder dry on that point for now.

Finally then, I asked my gaming group to answer a couple of questions on 7th, first of which was that aside from the psychic phase, what did they see as the most significant change.

Ruleset likely to limit gunlines.
Barrage is no longer a tool for pinning units en masse.
Everything scores.

And my second question was what changes they would be making to their list, if any.

Adding psykers.
Using fewer troops units.
Dropping bike command squad.

Till next time!