Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Breaking News: Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chapter Tactics!

As a former journalist, I finally get to put on my old "press pass" and share a bit of breaking news and perhaps a spoiler: 

Games Workshop has been slowly releasing some teasers about the chapter tactics in posts on the Warhammer Community page on Facebook (and possible elsewhere.) I had only seen Raven Guard and White Scars up to this point but an article aimed at new players may have spoiled the future teasers and it included a graphic of the new Space Marine codex chapter tactics.

 
Chapter Tactics Matrix
Here are my thoughts:

Ultramarines: They received a very good tactic in the ability to add +1 leadership. Since players will be making a lot more leadership rolls, especially since you still need to test even if you win close combat and you’ve taken a casualty, this is a very useful but not over-powered ability.

White Scars: The darlings of the tournament scene got a smashing chapter tactic reminiscent of their old tactics with the ability to charge after they fall back. This could be game changing… However, they will be subject to another round of overwatch, but that seems to be a small price to pay for attacking first.

Imperial Fists: The boys in yellow got a very useful tactic with their ability to ignore cover bonuses to models obscured by terrain. Also, representing the Imperial Fists ability to sling massive amounts of lead at immobile fortifications and kill buildings, the Sons of Dorn can re-roll wounds against buildings – ensuring the death of said building.

Black Templars: The Black Templars are one of my least favorite chapters, but they received one of my favorite chapter tactics, the ability to re-roll charges! I think my Astral Claws force with lots of jumping assault squads may adopt this tactic…

Salamanders: The master artisans of the Salamanders received a very fluffy rule called, “master artisans,” that allows them to re-roll a single to hit and wound roll each time it shoots or fights. My Salamanders are pleased with this ability and is much better than the command benefit Vulcan He’stan confers to his subordinates.

Raven Guard: The most grim-dark of the loyalist armies got the shaft in their chapter tactic. An army themed around close combat got a bonus for staying away from their enemies… If the early rumors are true, they receive some bonuses similar to the old scouting or infiltrate rules, but their chapter tactics only benefits their backline units and does nothing to help them against units teleport striking in. I really want to build a Raven Guard army but this rule only seems to help scouts camping in the back of the table. I would have written the rule to allow an overwatch shot in the enemy movement phase if a unit teleport strike or advances within 9-inches of a Raven Guard unit.


Iron Hands: Almost matching their previous chapter tactic, the Iron Hands received a “feel no pain” save against wounds. I’m reading this rule to include mortal wounds as well, which is a tasty rule, however, not game breaking. Codex envy: Wolfen do it better.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Terrain WIP

Here's a quick shot of two of the terrain pieces I primed today.

A small building with a shielded top for sci-fi games and a Greek style monument for use in historical through modern and sci-fi games.



My two sets of terrain that I've been working on fit into one or both of those categories. The Greek pieces are really a part of my Old Hammer Ultramarines/any Greco-Roman 40k army like Blood Angels and the small building can fit in with any of my urban sci-fi/city fight terrain. Those table tops are my two favorites but someday I'll expand into a winter/snow setting and perhaps a chaotic realm, but for now, city fight and ancient Greece are my favorite flavors.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

First Game of 8th Edition Warhammer 40k

I finally got in my first game of Warhammer 40k 8th edition. Like I mentioned before, I've been on the road a lot and I haven't had much time for anything else in life, let alone gaming.

Luckily I got Monday off from my day job and played my buddy Ryan in a small 1,500 game with my Astral Claws vs. his mixed Imperium. It was his first game as well and we were both excited to get our dolls on the table top.

I brought: 1 Battalion
Captain
Chaplain in Termie armor
Tech priest
1 Tac Squad in a Rhino
1 Scout Squad in a Land Speeder
4 Rifle dreads
1 Shootie Termie Squad

Ryan brought a mix of Blood Angels, Primaris Marines and Guard - mostly just to try out the various armies he wanted to play.

We played Big Guns never tire on a Dawn of War map. It was a blast!

warhammer
Astral Claws - a good leader stands behind his men!

A good opponent always helps but I liked the game and had a great time. We both spent a lot of time with our noses in the rule book and indexes double checking stats and rules; but that's to be expected with any new game.

Normally, I'm not a fan of such simple games that 40k has become but there's still a lot of complexity within the units that makes it more robust than it first appears.

Going back to the unit specific movement stat is going to take a while to get used to. My termies only moving 5 is a bit of a surprise but I don't hate the idea. At least now the various terminator armor units have a more distinct feel.

The psychic phase is far more simple - and deadly. Ryan had only one psyker so I didn't get to test things out firsthand but I did not like taking mortal wounds on a roll of 5+. I'm considering taking a psyker myself now and except for my Grey Knights, I was going to skip psykers in my other armies.

The shooting phase is far deadlier as well, especially coupled with HQ units camping near the shooty units and granting those free re-rolls. My captain stayed nearly motionless the entire game and directed the fire of my rifle dreads from a safe spot behind his multi-wound brothers.

The new way HQ choices interact with units reminds me of the old Warzone rules. "A good leader stands behind his men," was the best quote to remind players to keep those valuable leaders "in cover" and behind their squads. Of course, if you think you can tank shots, by all means keep your bosses in front, but even with just one game under my belt, you won't be successfully tanking any fire in this edition.

The close-combat phase is the part I like the least. I know it'll take a while to get used to, but it seems the clunkiest of all of the phases. The you-go-I-go selection seems to actually slow things down and I imagine that keeping track of which units have been activated will be challenging in larger games. I don't care for the idea of players being able to fight half of a battle between units and then come back to it later in the phase. I think a lot of skirmishes will be forgotten in the frenzy of game play, especially in a tournament.

The morale phase is OK, but I think if you won a close combat fight, you shouldn't have to take a morale test. I guess it's slightly more realistic if you took heavy casualties that you might run away from the fight ... even if you wiped out your opponent.

Despite my nitpicks, I enjoyed my first game of 8th and  I can't wait for the next battle!