Friday, May 30, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSION: Warhammer 40K digital edition

GW releases a new rules set, and H.O.W. gives its initial impressions. (Spoiler alert: the Tyranids take it in the nuts. Again.)

In an unprecedented move, GW released a new rule set only two years after the previous edition. Long rumored and heralded by a week's worth of leaks, the volume was made available for purchase over the weekend.

Having sworn off hard copy versions of their publications altogether after purchasing the monster-sized 6th edition tome (I don't need to carry a library around with me to play a game, thanks) I opted for the interactive digital edition. While the $70 price tag made me grit my teeth, it was at least cheaper than the print version by nearly $20.

Like most of GW's digital efforts, the book is capably assembled and easily navigable. All the bells and whistles we've come to expect from the previous entries are present; zoomable images, external links for purchase, 360 model views and cross functional links to reference entries, as well as bookmarks and keyword search all make a much welcomed appearance.

And while it's all well organized, I seethed at not having the option to purchase the rules alone, at a greatly reduced price. The image galleries are nice to have, but they are unessential, and frankly, I couldn't give a damn about the 100+ pages of fluff. Just don't. Effin'. Care.

It was long rumored that the new rules were simply "6.5", and that's basically accurate. With the exception of the addition of a new phase in the turn, most of the rules remain unchanged, and the bulk of the difference is made up of many smaller optimizations.

The addition of the psychic phase is exciting, and we're looking forward to using the new rules. If for no other reason, this is a boon simply because players will be less likely to forget to use their psychic powers each turn, now that there's a dedicated phase. I can't count the times Deet and I have been playing and cheated ourselves out of psychic powers because we forgot when they manifest.

There are also changes to universal special rules. Unfortunately for tyranid players, several of these affect our most powerful units, the winged hive tyrant and monstrous creatures. Smash now confers a SINGLE attack, and vector strike is also reduced to a single attack against ground targets. Oddly, sniping has been changed to remove pinning (I'm sorry, what?!) and reduce its effectiveness against vehicles by removing rending. (Uh...)

Characters also received changes in that they can no longer join units with monstrous creatures (goodbye nesting a prime inside a carnifex brood) and no longer have the precision shot or the precision strike rules. (WTF?!)

Several other minor changes were made, including the removal of falling damage rules, and ruin level specific damage from template weapons. (Now all models under the template, regardless of what level they are on, are damaged.)

All together, there are tons of small changes that should make the first few games interesting, and Deet and I look forward to playing in the coming weeks.


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