Thursday, May 29, 2014

Obligatory Article for 7th Edition and the Hobby Part 1

Greetings gentle readers,

For today I would like to jump on the same wagon every other 40k player with a blog is undoubtedly on. A new edition of the rules has dropped and both John and I have gotten copies of the rules. I am sure most of you have either acquired a copy or read one of the approximately 13 gazillion blogs that either leaked the major changes or provided links to someone else who did. With that in mind I don't plan on hitting the rules section too hard except in terms of discussing major changes. What I do want to focus on is the new format of the books, content in the books themselves, and our opinions on the books and what is in them. So, lets take a look at the new edition.

First of all I would like to impart this little thought to the world, Dark Angels make it on the cover of two editions (suck it Ultrasmurfs!). Yes it is on the cover of the case and not the actual books, but I will take the love where I can get it (since it ain't going to be in Codex form.....). 

Perhaps the biggest  change to the presentation of the rules is in the physical format. Gone is the weighty tome containing rules, models, and lore (and costing $100). Now we have three seperate books, one for each major section from the previous incarnations of the rule book. These books are housed in a handy case and are all hardbound.

We now have "A Galaxy of War", "Dark Millennium", and the very cleverly named "The Rules" (just in case someone wasn't clear on what was contained in that last book, it is the rules). "A Galaxy of War" contains the miniatures showcase while "Dark Millennium" gives us the lore.  Let us take a look at "A Galaxy of War" first.

Let me begin by saying this, if you were expecting a balanced representation of Imperial and non Imperial factions, you will be disappointed. The armies of the Throne get the lion's share of page space (38 full pages of photos to be exact not including the army showcase section). The Xenos races get lumped into a single section of 38 pages with Chaos, both Daemons and Marines, bringing up the rear section of the book with a robust 12 pages (que Chaos player bitching and moaning). All joking aside, that is a pretty pathetic page count for the arch nemesis of the Imperium. Those looking for new models will also be disappointed. One of my other major gripes is the formatting of some of the photos. The shitty single and double page, counter clockwise oriented photos from Warhammer Visions have snuck into this book. I hate that formatting with a burning passion. These gripes aside, GW as always has presented some beautifully painted miniatures. Let us now move on to "Dark Millennium".

The lore of 40k is maybe my favorite aspect of the hobby. I keep up with all of the army books as well as a lot of the Black Library novels. While my knowledge of the lore doesn't extend fully into the Rouge Trader era, I am fairly well versed with everything from 3rd edition on. So what has GW done with this new lore book?

In short, nothing earth shattering. If you were expecting a jump foreword in the story then you will be disappointed. In keeping with their previous "poofing" of the whole Eye of Terror campaign, the 13th Black Crusade has been unleashed with the intention of striking at Terra. Cadia is besieged as is much of the space around it. The Imperium us holding, for now. We do finally get a concrete and explicit status on just what the Emperor is doing and if he is alive or dead (the answer is yes). Turns out he is holding back the powers of the warp from making huge incursions and warp rifts while also shepherding humanity during our evolutionary transition into psykers (don't ask how). Much of the lore is identical to what was in the last book with a sprinkling of new material and the inclusion of odds and ends from various Codecies.  For longtime hobbyists there are some shout out mentions of old lore bits (Squats!). The artwork included is some of the best GW has ever produced in my opinion, but there are maybe three or four new pieces in the book. I did like the inclusion of the Pandorax Campaign background in the book. I had never read anything on that campaign so that was a pleasant surprise. The overall picture this book provides of the Imperium is very bleak. If you are a citizen of the Imperium and not someone of status or wealth, it sucks to be you. Monolithic and decidedly Byzantine bureaucracy for its' own sake pretty much sums up Imperial governance with a heavy does of "grim darkness". Overall this was a fun read.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the actual rules.

As previously stated, I will not be going into exhaustive detail on every little change that has been made to the rules. That isn't my schtick and others have done it far better and more exhaustively than I have the desire to. So the biggest change to game play is the addition of the psychic phase. This phase functions in a very similar manner to the Warhammer Fantasy Magic Phase. Generate power dice and dispel dice, attempt to cast, attempt to dispel, etc. Casting powers is no longer a leadership check, but rather a fixed amount of 4+ rolls needed to get a spell off. Conversely, 6+ are needed to dispel a 4+ roll, and all of the 4+ needed to be canceled out in order to dispel a power. Warp Charges are now the required number of 4+ rolls needed to get a power to cast. A lot of the power remain the same in terms of effect and cost from what I can tell. Daemonology is the newest lore to hit the 40k game, and it hits it hard. Divided into Sanctic and Malefic, Daeomonolgy centers around the summoning or banishing or Daemons. Basically everyone can take either of these lores. Power selection is also greatly changed. Now you get to mix and match lores and you only receive the Primaris power for free if you take all of your powers from one lore.

Outside of the psychic phase we have some tweaks to the way Flying Monstrous Creatures work. Gone are the days of "hits" forcing a grounding check. Jink also is now a active choice for a player. This is particularly useful in countering the first turn downing of anything airborne. The downside is Jink now forces snap shots on anything that chooses to make a jink. Shooting attacks are now divided into weapons. That is to say you shoot each individual weapon in a squad separately. This allows you to shoot your close range weapons first and not screw yourself into removing casualties to make the unit out of range. Characters no longer get Precision Shots or Hits. Vehicles are harder to blow up thanks to a "7" being needed on the Vehicle Damage Table. Excess wound from challenges now spill over into combat.

 In terms of game play, the biggest change in my opinion is the addition of "Unbound" and "Battle Forged" armies. The Force Organization Chart (FOC) now is broken into three versions, each with its' own benefit. Those benefits include re rolling on the Warlord Trait table and Troop choices being able to negate a unit contesting an objective. Also along those lines, basically everything can score now. The "Unbound" army selection method throws any semblance of organization out the window and lets a player take whatever he/she wants. Six new missions have been added along with a D66 table of random objectives to accompany them. In an interesting move, each piece of GW produced terrain now has an entry and special effect(s) for it included in the rules. Lords of War have wormed their way into the core rules, as have toned down D weapons.

I think that about hits all the major highlights of the shiny new edition. I encourage everyone to read over the rules themselves as what I have  mentioned is by no means the full list of changes. I would also encourage everyone to read over the Dark Millennium book if for no other reason than to re familiarize yourself with the current lore. You may be surprised at some things if you haven't read the core 40k lore in a while. That is it for Part 1 of this article. Next up I plan on giving my initial opinions on these books and rules. I will warn you ahead of time, expect blocks of text filed with ranting and expletives. On that cheery note, happy gaming folks!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dwarfs Are Squishy(?)(.)

             The post title is both a question and a statement. I have found that a lot of their units are quite squishy. While others are undoubtedly tanks. I am big into the lore of the fantasy world. I believe an army should perform as to how they do in lore. Dwarfs are supposed to be tough sobs covered in unbreakable armor. They are also supposed to excel in shooting and engineering and yet I find this not to be the case. I find them to be remarkably average on these fronts.
             Besides being a lore guy I also love core choices, maybe its just an 'ore' thing i dont know. I tend to bulk out on these choices and if I have my way they end up as half my army, the way it should be IMO. But the dwarfs core are really letting me down lately. I find that if you don't build them to be tanks they hardly last any longer than a maiden elf at a Slaaneshi orgy. Base heavy armor and t4 doesnt do enough to make them stick around. If you give them a shield the 4+ armor and parry save is nice, but then you can hardly kill anything. The WS4 is a wash as far as how long you last in combat. WS3 still needs the same 4 to hit that it does against other WS3s. The super parry is a really nice addition that does make the dwarves tankier than they were, but it only exists on the turn you are charged. A good example was when i was fighting my friend Colin in one of our weekly or biweekly battles. His skink cohort was butchering my dwarfs. Out of 5 attacks, at WS2 S3 they were regularly killing 2 and that's without poison. Or against Bob in this last Battle Report "Hooked On Phoenix Part 2 Hooked On Phoenix Part 1" His guaranteed ward saves on his Phoenix Guard made them damn near invincible and that was needing 4s to hit and anything buts to wound and no armor save vs the Hammerers, I would love to see the option for them to take gromril armor. My Hammerers die off real fast in combat without the ability to use the shield. As they are my best unit they tend to draw the enemies best unit which will almost always modify my armor save to a (at least) 6+ and the way i roll sometimes that might as well not exist.
Notice all the dead Hammerers right in the middle? 6+ armor save, meh I don't think so
              This leads me to take as few warriors as i can, i am steadily making the switch over to a longbeard force of core, now that their numbers aren't limited. Of course if you want your dwarfs to have any hitting power you give them a great weapon and there goes the shield and parry save and when that happens they melt as fast as the snows in March.
            I am not completely bashing the tankieness of the Dwarves as Ironbreakers are great tanks, I just find that one point of overall armor save and parry save makes ALL the difference in the world.
           Armor saves are definitely one thing I would like to see more like in 40k, where it was race specific armor values not blanket values for heavy armor. I think this would help a lot for a lot armies and units not just the dwarves.
Same unit of Phoenix Guard, with one dead, that about sums it up, those pansy elves killed off hammerers, ironbreakers and a good chunk of the warriors they are fighting in this pic, S4= dead dwarfs

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Rules MAGIC: Let the debate begin!

The Battle Lores

1. Random Power Dice and Dispell Dice?
B. While I like the idea of the Winds of Magic being random in intensity, I don't like the way you generate Power Dice and Dispell Dice in this edition. Roll a really high dice and a really low dice for Power and whoever is on the Dispelling end is potentially going to get rocked in the Magic phase.

J. I don't like that they are as random as they are, do it where they are linked, I don't buy the idea that the winds are strong for one side but not the other. Until they add some fluff explaining this I believe the two should be the same, or maybe +1 for every wizard level you have over the enemy or something.

2. Number of Power Dice Used to Cast?
B. Need that spell to go off no matter what? Well just throw all your dice at it! You are bound to roll a Irresistible Force! This needs to change.

J. Agree, they need to limit how many dice a level 1 wizard can throw at a spell, or any level for that matter, a quick counter would to go ahead and let the defender try to irresistibly dispell it, other wise certain spells are way OP. I would also like to see an automatic negative applied on top of the Miscast table, and the miscast table needs reworking to, to really make you think if it is worth throwing 12 dice at a spell. I also really hate that Irresitible Force= Miscast. Way too easy for this to happen.

3. Number of spells, who can take them?
J. I hate hate hate how they have limited most spells to being held only once in an army. I get it somewhat but it really limits the numbers of wizards you can effectively take. For my lizards rocking 3 skink priests eats up pretty much every spell, I can't take any more Heavens wizards. I know a lot of times armies are limited to what lores they can take, and when this happens it sucks. Just limit the OP spells to one per army but some of the basic magic missles, let all 5 of my wizards have at it.

B. I think a lot of this boils down to how magic works in the first place.

Fun while it lasted

 4. Max 12 dice?
J. I think the power/dispell pool need to be tied to the size of a battle. 750pt battle 12 dice, 4000 pt battle 12 dice, see the problem?

B. Not sure if tying them to the size of the battle is necessarily the correct way to fix this.

5. What lore, if you could take any, and use every spell, would you take? This can be an army specific lore.

J. I see this as an enemy specific question. But I am going to go with Heaven, with the broke ass Comet.

B. Agreed.

6. If you could take one spell what would it be?

J. The Maw from the Ogre book. 15 to cast I believe. place a round template, anything underneath takes a I test. You pass? congratulations take a S3 hit, you fail? take S7 D6 wound hit. Up-gradable to a large round template.

B. To be honest, I don't really have a particular favorite. I suppose I would take Okkam's Mindrazor. It has a high cast value (18+), but it is well worth throwing a ton of dice at. Until the start of the caster's next Magic phase, the targeted unit uses their Leadership instead of Strength when rolling to Wound in combat. It makes High Elf Spearmen, who can land a metric shite ton of hits, suddenly land a large portion of wounds as well. 

7. If you had ONE magic based rule you could change (in big rule book) what would it be?

J. The number/limit of dispell and power dice. I believe this needs to vary between battle sizes not be dependent on dice rolls.

B.  The number of dice that can be used per spell.

Old school. I have this set, somewhere......