In a change to our usual programming of DZC I thought I’d look at the latest release from GW; the all new and improved edition of 40k. As is normal there was a mass of rumors on the internet, but in a moment that will surely prove my ‘geek credentials’ beyond doubt I quote Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 190 “Hear all, trust nothing”.
I managed to acquire my copy of this tome yesterday from my local independent store as a nice little pre-order with a happy £5 off to go with it, and I have spent a bit of time reading it both yesterday and this morning. I wanted to share some of my first thoughts and impressions of this new edition. So here we go.
Book: The first thing I wanted to go over was the composition of the book itself. It is a rather weighty volume, similar to current Fantasy rule book, but some 80 odd pages thinner. The rules make up 130 pages (about a third of the book), there’s 100 pages of background to the 40k galaxy and the races in it (it should be noticed that in some of the background there was a written mention of the Squats – but I wouldn’t get your hopes up) and the remaining 200ish pages are miniature pictures, extra scenarios, reference sheets and general fluff. The book is in full colour and there are lots of pictures, including some impressive pieces of pull out art and a nicely done space station made out of bastions, landing pads and a few other bits from other building kits. The rules are laid out in a similar fashion to the Fantasy rule book. The general framework of the rules hasn’t changed; it’s mostly small tweeks and minor changes rather than any major re-writes.
Movement: Movement hasn’t changed; most units move 6″ and you have to maintain 2″ unit coherency. The whole of the movement phase covers all of 2 pages. All rules for difficult, dangerous & lethal terrain are in their own chapter now.
Shooting: As said earlier there have been no major re-writes, but shooting has seen some significant changes. The first is that the effect of movement on a model’s ability to shoot is worked out on an individual rather than a unit basis. This means that you can move some models in a unit and leave the guy with the heavy weapon stationary (but still in coherency) to fire. There is also the option of snap firing. Any snap firing is done at BS 1, and a model with a heavy weapon (but not one with a blast/template) can move & shoot in the turn and snap fire. Running is done in the movement phase, but not even fleet models can run & charge in the same turn. Allocating wounds has also had a significant change. You allocate wounds to the models closest to the firing unit. This means the guys at the front are removed as casualties before the ones at the back. A small but potentially dramatic change. Characters in the unit get a “Look Out Sir” save similar to Fantasy. Oh and cover saves from units in the way is now 5+ not 4+.
Assault: The assault phase is similar to last edition. You declare and then resolve each charge, one at a time. The charged unit gets to make an Overwatch shooting attack against one unit that charges it using the snap fire rules. Charging is random (2D6″ – I think everybody knew that was coming). Characters can now issue challenges in the same way as Fantasy, which I think is a nice new addition. And that’s about it for the changes in assaults, everything else is pretty much the same.
Other Rules: Morale is pretty much the same, oh but Fear is back! Which coming from the perspective of the Tyranid player…WOOHOO!!!! And it’s the same as Fantasy, though Fearless and ‘And they shall know no fear’ are immune to it. There’s a 12 page long chapter of common special rules including Deep Strike, Fear, Gets Hot, Barrage and all the other little rules that make the game fun. It’s quite comprehensive; there are new rules, and slight re-wording of some old ones. Unit types are similar, although cavalry and beasts are now separate unit types with their own rules. Watch out for Eldar (inc. Dark Eldar) jetbikes and their fantastic 48″ total move. Jump Infantry, Cavalry and Monsters cause impact hits (known as the Hammer of Wrath) and Beasts get to move 12″ in the movement phase. There is also a whole page dedicated to Flying Monsters, and their funky new rules of gliding, swooping and smacking units they fly over. Again from the perspective of a Tyranid player I think the Harpy might become a regular in my army.
Weapons are similar; though Close Combat weapons now come with an AP value and there is a new weapon type (Salvo weapons). There is also a funny typo in that Boltguns are Rapis firing rather than Rapid. Lol. Oh and did I mention that grenades can thrown?
Psykers: Psykers have seen a significant change. They come with a Mastery Level (i.e. how many psychic powers they can use a turn), and although you ‘cast’ the psychic power in the same way as before, the target is allowed a Deny the Witch roll (on a 6 they resist the psychic power). You get a bonus to your Deny the Witch if they target unit contains a psyker. The Psychic Hood is different, but I wont spoil that. Psychic powers also have types; Blessing, Conjuration, Malediction and Witchfire.
Vehicles: The other big change is the use of vehicles. As some people may have heard vehicles now have Hull Points. At first I wasn’t too happy about this, I saw it as vehicles having wounds and I felt that this infringed on the Monstrous Creature rules. But now that I’ve read how it works, I think it’s a much better system. Essentially every time you score a glancing hit the vehicle losses a hull point, every time you score penetrating hit the vehicle losses a hull point and you roll on the damage chart which includes your crew stunned, immobilised etc. results. There are other subtle changes such as the amount of weapons you can fire (you can move your full speed and snap fire all of your weapons for example) and disembarking troops can be placed with 6″ of the transport, but cannot move any further. Flyers also have their own set of rules now, including a minimum move of 18″ and only being hit on a 6.
That is a brief summary of some of the core rules for the new 40k. Unfortunately my time has run short and I must go and work at life’s grindstone. Expect a second part to this post as there are still many other goodies in the new book.