Tuesday, 5 December 2017
The New Necromunda - first game debrief!
Last week I had my first game of the new edition of Necromunda (thanks Tuck Shop!).
Headline: It's just as good, if not better than before!
Right, so last weekend Tuck Shop invested in the new boxed game, and on Thursday once I finally stopped foaming at the mouth in excitement I got to have a go. Neither of us had read the rules before that night, so I'm sure we absolutely must have got some things wrong, we'll pick that up as we read the rules in detail, but here we go.
1. Alternating activations.
Last edition, Necromunda followed the standard approach from GW in that each player got to do everything they wanted to with their gang before the next player took over for their turn. That's now gone, and in its place is a unit by unit activation system. Each player therefore takes it in turn to pick a fighter to act with, and has two action points to spend. There are three types of action, basic actions (such as firing a weapon) can only be done once per turn, simple actions can be done more than once (moving for example) and double actions take up both your actions (charging for example).
This works really well - we only played a 4 fighter per side game with some very basic weapons, but having to make tactical decisions about which fighters you activate in which order really provides depth to the gameplay, and because it's a skirmish level game I think it makes a lot of sense to work it like this too.
Added to this, the priority for activating fighters is determined at random as well, so just because your opponent got first activation last turn doesn't mean you're getting it this time. I can really see this leading to a lot of head scratching and deep tactical thinking as we get used to the basic game mechanics and our gangs develop.
Previously, the weapons available to fighters were all 'imperial standard' of one kind or another, so lasguns, axes, autoguns, stub guns etc. Whilst the Escher gang was largely equipped with las weaponry and knives, the goliath gang was hefting more of a varied diet of stub cannons (bigger versions of a stub gun that can knock your target backwards in addition to wounding them), brute cleaver (exactly what it sounds like) and the interestingly monikered 'spud jacker'. Fantastic. With a mix of imperial stuff sprinkled in the rules writers have clearly put a lot of effort into customising the weapons loadout of the gangs, not just to improvised tech but also into giving each house weapons more appropriate to their background.
I can't wait to get building my gang to see just what options will be available to the Orlocks (I understand February is the date that's slated for their arrival).
Combat wasn't exactly an issue last time, unless you ended up with a big rumble in the centre of the board. Using the more streamlined method from 40k it perhaps doesn't feel quite so in depth as it did before (we didn't see rules for fumbles or critical hits, though we might have missed them) but it does run much more smoothly with less accounting and more rolling dice. In some ways that's a good thing, though it was frustrating when my Goliaths were only rolling a single attack die and consistently missing their targets, in some ways I liked the fact that it was rare before to actually not hit your opponent.
I'm sure a significant part of my issue here in fact is that actually I was using the wrong models in combat. My real combat specialist (Spud Jacker and Brute Cleaver) got jumped on quickly by an Escher also equipped for melee and he was taken out of action before he could swing.
There were certainly plenty of other elements that have changed, but I was glad to see plenty of old favourites in there (including the ever popular jumping across gaps between scenery).
Is it the same game as before? No.
Is it still Necromunda at its heart? Oh hell yes.
I can honestly say that this is the most exciting thing to happen to me in the wargaming environment for several years. Bloodbowl and 40k 8th were exciting, and I'm still really enjoying them, but Necromunda takes me to a whole new level!