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.....).
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.
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!