The timing of the new codex was great…I just finished my grad school work and got all my exams written for school. After Friday, I can dive into the new book and get some games in. In fact, I have a game with my friend Mike next week, and it will be my last game of 6th edition! So let’s get on with the new dex…
I like the changes I have seen so far. To be more specific, the new Psychic phase, the list building (formerly know as Force Org) guidelines and the greater mission selection/objective options. I will discuss these in detail in a moment. However, a few minor rules changes to warm things up.
The subtle change in the First Turn rule will be interesting. It still has us rolling off to see who will choose the order of deployment. Now, however, the player who deploys first can choose to have first or second turn. Some are saying this adds a great deal more weight to the roll off, thereby adding more chance to the game. Most of the time a person chooses to deploy first because they want the first turn. The rules also state that it will sometimes be appropriate to roll off again after deployment to see who gets first turn. So there is flexibility, as long as the players talk to each other about it before starting to roll dice. This will be a recurring them in this post.
Another minor change is in regards to FMCs. They eliminated the ability for FMCs to choose to “jink” if shot at. However, the opponent gets to roll the die just once for a grounding check, and only after the FMC has taken at least one wound. So no more multiple grounding checks; only a single check at the end of a phase, no matter how many times it is shot at.
The third change is the change in the Vehicle Damage Table. Many are claiming this is the rebirth of the Rhino Rush and Mech Spam. I am not convinced. If you were killing vehicles by blowing them up with Autocannons before, then this might be a problem. But most vehicle deaths that I have seen have come from two sources; peeling of hull points or from AP1/2 weapons. This won’t change. Melta guns still have a decent chance of popping a transport. My Zoanthropes have a 33% chance of blowing something up instead of a 50% chance with a Warp Lance. Let’s not forget those twin-linked Devourers with Brainleech Worms. 12 shots at S6 still have a decent chance of wrecking a transport in a single turn. As the mechanical voice says in Blade Runner, “move on!”
As I write, I think that the major changes I mentioned earlier on may be a bit much to tackle in a single sitting. So let’s go to the mission selection process. We will cover Psychic Phase and List Building in a future installment. So mission selection; I am very glad to see the addition of the Maelstrom of War (MOW) missions. It is nice that each (MOW) mission is tied to specific deployment zone, rather than rolling randomly. With more options, however, it is even more important to talk with your opponent to determine the type of mission that will be chosen or rolled for; Eternal War (6th ed.) or MOW. This does not mean you can’t roll randomly for a deployment in MOW, just that figuring out things before you get to far into the deployment process will make for less grinding of teeth.
The Tactical Objectives (TOs) are awesome! So many options in addition to the basic scenarios. I also think that the plethora of TO cards will allow more opportunity for players to design their own scenarios but give them some structure to design around. For those who have stated that the TacObj cards add more randomness to the game…are you kidding? We already roll for deployment, who goes first, missions, psychic powers, e.g. As a friend once stated, it IS a dice game. A good player will adapt to the situation they are given and make a go of it no matter what the circumstances. I am really looking forward to my first game using the TO Cards! This is an area where communication with your is more essential than anything mentioned thus far. I would strongly recommend a house rule that says if you select a TO card that you cannot obtain, you get to discard it and select another up to your stated card limit. For example, if I pull the card for “Scour the Skys” and my opponent has no flyers or FMCs, I’m pretty much screwed. What if I pull “Harness the Warp” and I have no psykers in my army? If one player has just two TOs he can achieve and the other has none, the game is pretty much over once the player with achievable objectives gets even a couple of VPs. That being said, I am really pumped about the TO cards at this point…time will tell. For those traditionalist among you, it is great that the Eternal War scenarios are still available. Maybe some baby steps are in order; let’s see how this all works out. Some of you, of course, will be jumping in head first!
Finally, one of the uses I can see for a total of twelve available missions is a really solid linked campaign, using each mission in some mutually agreed upon order. A real narrative can be built, and a twelve mission campaign gives such an undertaking some real longevity.
Next installment we will talk about the new Psychic Phase and the massive changes to List Building.
Create, grow, feed, adapt