|Photos shamelessly stolen from Matt and David|
This past weekend David over on Zen and the art of miniature painting visited me in Cardiff. With Matt (find his twitter here) and Craig in hand the four of us went over to Firestorm games to play some long over due games of Warhammer 40k.
I'd like to say this was the first time we had all played 7th edition but in truth it was more than that. Craig hadn't played a game of 40k in about 16 years since he was a teenager; Dave hasn't played in over a decade (although he's played other games such as when he and I played Battlefleet Gothic earlier in the year which you can read about here); Matt played a game of 6th edition with me a couple of months ago but before then it had been 4-5 years since he had played; and then there's me, who has the most experience, yet only managed to get a whole 5 games played in 6th edition.
Now in one weekend I've managed to get in more than half as many games of 7th as I did in 6th, and I have to say it was a blast.
I played 3 games. The first was a 1000pt battle against David's Dark Angels. The second was a 500pt game against Matt's Orks. And the final game was a 2v2 match up; Craig's Eldar and Dave's Dark Angels, split 500pt/1500pts respectively, vs 1000pts of my Tyranids and the same of Matt's Orks.
|My second game against Matt, there'll be no battle report of this one. Just be happy to know I won.|
I'm not going to write up battle reports for these games, David is writing some up for our games so I'll leave that to him and you should keep an eye out on his blog for those. Instead I wanted to share a few thoughts on 7th edition.
A couple of caveats first though. As I've already mentioned I only played 5 games of 6th edition and obviously the changes from 5th to 6th were far greater than those from 6th to 7th, so in many ways I'm still absorbing the changes from 6th.
Also, we were all playing with 'starter' armies and by that I mean they were very basic, so there were no allies, no flyers or flying monstrous creatures, there weren't even any vehicles between us. This wasn't because of any rules or restrictions we had set for ourselves before hand but simply that we don't own or havn't painted these models yet.
This is no doubt a great way to start playing, keep it nice and simple and to be honest I think it made for some great games, however it doesn't make me ideally placed to comment on the rules associated with many of these miniatures, especially as these types of units were arguably effect most by the rules.
As such many of the nuanced changes in 7th are probably lost on me and so I'm going to keep this brief.
|I've only been a couple of times but Firestorm is a great place to play with some fantastic scenery|
The first thing I want to say is that every game was great fun. I immediately thought this in my first few games of 6th edition too. To me 40k had become stale, but 6th and 7th has freshened it up making it a great rule set to play with a bunch of like minded friends.
One of my favourite changes is the change to scoring units. I remember when they changed the rules so that only troops could score objectives. It was a way to get people to take more troops, to discourage people from taking bare minimum troop selections and to get people to take armies that looked like the fluff intended. Once again you saw Tac Marines, the troops that make up the majority of a chapter, on the battlefield again. And the change was largely welcomed.
In time though it was clear this wasn't a perfect solution, it took choice away from a game that's supposed to be all about choice, and soon, into every codex crept the ability to modify the force org, to take elite units as if they were troops, so now you could take that all terminator army, and every army would have lots of troops even if they weren't actually troops choices.
The change in 7th is quite an elegant solution to the problem and now I've see it, I find it difficult to understand why no one had thought of it sooner. Now all units are scoring, so take whatever you want, however troops choice are now better at scoring and will trump any other type of unit when it comes to taking objectives. So now we want to take troops choices rather than feeling like we should take troops choices.
|This is a pic from deployment on the final game.|
Looking at the Ork and Grey Knight books too it seems the ability to modify the force org is being removed too, which is fine as the rules for taking whatever you want are included in the main rules now under the rules for unbound armies, and by extension adds more value to bound armies.
The biggest change it seems to me is with the psychic phase. And to be honest I'm not sure what to make of it at this point. Part of me wants to say it's almost useless, I had real trouble casting powers but I'm not sure if that's just because I'm not use to it yet and haven't worked out the proper number of dice I should roll to cast a power.
Being Tyranids I have lots of Psykers. My 1000pt army has a Hive Tyrant, Broodlord and two single Zoanthropes giving me and addition 7 dice. Only one other player had any psykers and that was Dave who just had a librarian giving him 2 extra dice. I thought I'd dominate the psychic phase and perhaps that was my problem. I'm use to the fantasy magic system, it's a lot easier to weigh the odds in your favour when you're combining the dice together but when you need say two 4+'s it's a lot trickier.
In the final game, I found myself often in the position of having lots of dice but having only a few powers to cast, so I split my dice evenly, using 4-5 dice per power to try and force through powers and make it more difficult for the enemy to deny the witch. As it turned out that wasn't the issue, and in 3 turns I suffered perils for the warp 4 times and only managed to cast one power.
I find it interesting that the psychic phase is clearly influenced by the fantasy magic phase, yet it changes it in unusual ways. I don't like that when you suffer a perils of the warp the powers doesn't still work despite rolling high enough to cast it. I think here they should have borrowed from the old psychic system and said a double 1 or 6 suffers perils but on a double 6 the power still goes through assuming you've met the warp charge needed. I'm glad they didn't include things like irresistible force it's just jarring to me that when you need two 4+'s two 6's are bad. Even simply saying perils occurs on a double 1 and the power doesn't go through makes more sense to me.
As I say though I need to try it out more. I like that all the powers are in one place now and not spread out over several phases. That is definitely a welcome change.
|And from the other flank. Be sure to check back on Dave's blog for the battle report on this one|
One last thing, the final game we used tactical objects. It was great fun and made for an interesting game although I can see potential problems. First right off the bat we instigated a house rule that if it was impossible to complete an objective you were allowed to redraw it. Even after this one game I realised this house rule needs to be clarified and I'm not sure how best to do it. Obviously if you draw an objective that says shoot down a flyer and there's no flyers in the opposite army you should be allowed to redraw, and in this example I'm leaning towards saying you can redraw if there had been a flyer but it had already been destroyed by the time this card was drawn .
However, what if you draw an objective which you can complete at the time, but subsequently becomes impossible to complete? Should you be allowed to immediately redraw or should you have to wait till the end of your turn to discard it as normal? In our game for example, their side drew the mission to muster a psychic power, but before they could complete it their one and only psyker was killed. We allowed them to swap it out in this instance but I think it was leaniant for us to do so as they had had one or two psychic phases to try and get it.
Aside from that I can see how the random nature of the missions could cause very one sided games. I had heard this problem from people on the internet when 7th came out, so when after the first turn our enemy had scored 4 victory points with basically no effort and we had scored none, I began to worry. As it turns out our game was very close, on our second turn we immediately caught up and scored 4 or 5 victory points and the game ended 9-10 in the end, but I can see how there's a definite potential for one sided games.
Having said all that the objectives were very fun, and several times forced us to change our plans on the spur of the moment. Dave will be writing that battle report up soon, it was a good one and I'm looking forward to reading it myself.
I don't think I'd want to play every game like that, it did slow the game down, particularly where we didn't have the cards which meant there was a lot of paper work involved, but it was fun none the less.
That's all I want to say right now, it was a great weekend of gaming and has definitely reinvigorated my hobby spirit, so hopefully I'll have more painting and gaming progress to share with you soon.