Saturday, May 6, 2017

40K: Templates Are Not Dead (Really!)

So you think templates and invulnerable saves are about to ride off into the sunset...not so fast!

Yes, dear friends, I speak the truth.  Don't use those templates for all sorts of creative alternatives to tabletop gaming.  Don't long for the days when your broken HQ had a 2++ save with a reroll on 1s.  Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which we can still see but never touch, important parts of 7th Edition history are still available for our viewing...and use on a regular basis.  GW has thoughtfully preserved this part of 40K for us in a museum known as Shadow War Armageddon.

Shadow War, the resurrected and revised version of Necromunda, has finally been made available to the masses.  The almost 200 page rulebook arrived in stores today.  So what does this do with historic preservation?  Well, taking a look at the tome today, what I see is 7th Edition 40K in a time warp.  Almost all of the key mechanics that we have dealt with in 7th for years now still exist in the Shadow War world.  Full disclosure here.  I am as anxious as most 40K players to leave the era of 7th Ed behind and start fresh.  But Shadow War is a welcome addition to my miniature gaming options, and I plan on playing it on a regular basis.  Think of it as comfort food while you're learning the Newhammer rules.

First, templates are used as well as the trusty old scatter die.  There are pictures of both on page 22 of the Shadow War rulebook.  Sure thing that I am thrilled with no more templates and scatter die in my regular 40K gameplay.  How many times have any of us rolled the scatter for a blast template, only to have it land harmlessly 8" from the intended point of impact?  I would rather roll hit and wound, and get to roll a D6 for wounds.  Bit that's just me.  I always disliked, when the bloody template did land on target, having to figure how many models were actually hit.  Hey, Charlie, take a look.  How many do you think I got?  4 or 5?  Wait...just 3?!  Nuff said.

Leadership as a game mechanic is still very much alive in Shadow Wars.  It is very similar to, but not an exact replica, on what happens in 7th.  Still roll those 2D6.  Still run for the hills if you fail.  There are still penalties if you are forced into close combat while running away, but you don't get auto-killed.  There is also the infamous "bottle test" that has been passed on from Necromunda.  Essentially, if you suffer too many casualties during the course of the engagement, you can "bottle out;" the game ends immediately and your surviving models retreat.  This affect your entire Kill Team...a bit more harsh than losing a single unit to failed leadership in 7th.  Fear and Hatred are also here,  as well as two things unique to Shadow War; Terror and Frenzy.

Some other holdovers...
  • Invulnerable saves:  These are also alive and well in Shadow War.  Termie Armour, Storm Shields, Mark of Tzeentch, e.g.  Several, but not all, of the factions in the game have some way to get an invulnerable save.
  • Stat Lines:  Except for the movement stat, everything from 7th is pretty much intact, including initiative.
  • Toughness/Strength  mechanic:  Still roll on a chart to see if your weapon can take down your opponent
Now you might ask why I am writing about this, especially as many folks I know are more than ready to toss their codex collection and deep six the 7th Ed Core Rule book.  One reason is I think many current 40K players will give Shadow War a go.  There are certainly reasons I will do so.  First, I am all in for a game of 40K that will take just 5-10 models to play and not last 3 hours.  Also, the rule set and game mechanics (for the most part) are familiar, so I won't need to learn something entirely new.  Lastly, I think many folks will give this a try because they already have the models built and painted that will be needed to put together a Kill Team right out the gate.

The bottom line is unless you have absolutely decided that you will never play Shadow War, keep those templates, those scatter dice and some of the models you thought you would never use again.  Give Shadow War a go, even if just once.  Might be something to try as you wait for those Newhammer rules to drop, and while you endure the inevitable learning curve that will accompany the "simpler" rule set that's on the way.

Will you be giving Shadow War a go?

1 comment:

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