New Edition of 40k

That title should get those of you who see the Facebook updates going. . .

If you have been reading this humble blog, you will know that I have the odd 40k army here and there.  What you may not know is that I have not actually played 40k since 3rd edition.

Now, back then, I played the hell out of it (and had since Rogue Trader, Ambulls and all).  I had at least a small force of most of the armies (my combined Imperial force would literally cover a 6’x4′ table when laid out), I went to all the GW events and tournaments in Nottingham, did a bit of the ‘tournament circuit’ in the south of the country, and even wrote a bit for White Dwarf (the Flesh Tearers are ‘my’ chapter!). As well as 40k, I did Epic, Battlefleet Gothic, and even bought into Bombas Over da Sulfa River.

Then work came along, my regular gaming buddies moved away, and the 40k dropped off.  It was only three or four years ago I got back into some serious painting.  Since my heady GW-gaming days two editions of 40k have come and gone, so when ‘the girls’ decided to do their own armies, I looked forward to giving the new rules a spin.

Last weekend, Kat finished off a few units of her Battle Sisters force (called Witchhunters now, apparently), so we tried a couple of games this week.  She just had 600 points (two squads, a Canoness and an Exorcist), so I loaded up with some Orks (one big mob of Boyz, one big mob of Grots, a Mega-armoured Warboss, a Deff Dread and two buggies).  Kat could not quite believe our armies were even in points, but that is the effect Orks tend to have!

We played just two simple scenarios, one an Annihilation based on Kill Points, the other where we have an objective each in our deployment zones.  We drew the first game, and I (only just) won the second.

It was interesting to see the changes in the rules since I last played.  5th edition basically is still 3rd edition, but with some tweaks.

The most notable are the running rules, which my Orkses just loved (and I can imagine Tyranids going dippy about it too). While good for Orks, I am a little bit uneasy about this rule, as it a) makes shooting armies like Sisters a bit more vulnerable and b) makes upgrades like the Big Shootas in my Boyz mob a bit redundant.  In fact, completely redundant, I didn’t use them at all in either game!  Still, two games at 600 points is no way near enough to make a judgement on this.

The vehicle damage table has been compacted down into one table – I wonder if the hand of Jervis was not at work there, as it always should have been one table, and it is a far more elegant answer than seperate damage tables.  Oh, and I noticed that Rapid Fire weapons have been tweaked a bit so they now give two shots at 12″ even when you move – encourages mobility.

The big changes are in close combat, of course, but they were not that unfamiliar to me.  When I ‘left’ 3rd edition, they were just introducing some ‘playtest’ assault rules that have formed the basis for those in 5th edition. Still haven’t worked out all the ins and outs, but Fearless units now lose extra models in a failed assault (like undead in Fantasy, if I recall correctly), and it is a lot easier to fail a Leadership test when getting beaten back.  Power Fists no longer get the benefit of having an extra close combat weapon (and not many people will equip two Power Fists, I reckon), and if you shoot assault weapons, you have to assault the same unit that turn, rather than doing a u-turn and hitting someone else.

All fairly easy to cope with, and the flavour of the game does not seem to have changed much.  I suspect there will be far more close combat in this edition, so it will be interesting to see how my Dark Angels deal with things.

So, how did the games actually go?

Well, my tactics in both were the same – line the Grots up first with the Boyz immediatly behind, have the warboss somewhere in the middle, and the Dred and Buggies just off to the sides – and then send everything forward in one rolling green wave!  Not a huge amount of tactics involved but hey, we were just getting to grips with the rules.

In the first game, Kat learned the hard way that you do not advance toward a charging Ork force.  Her Canoness got caught in the open and quickly succumbed to the rampaging Deff Dred (the one with four close combat weapons, to add insult to injury – it has appeared on this site before).  The Exorcist tangled with the Buggies, destroying one with a missle and grinding another under its tracks, but not before a stray Big Shoota round knocked out its weapon, rendering it a little useless (it tank shocked my Warboss later in the battle and my Death or Glory failed, much to my shame).

The battle ended with the remaining sisters getting completely overrun by the Grots and Boyz, leaving me one Kill Point ahead when the game finished.

By the time we got to the second game, we were both a little more confident of our armies.  Perhaps a little too confident.

Kat decided to concentrate on thinning down Grots and Boyz before they reached her line (a good idea), but neglected to pay much attention to the Deff Dred climbing through an old ruined Imperial chapel.  She had trusted to her Exorcist to bring it down, but only rolled one missile at the critical time (in fact, one missile was all she got all night whenever she tried to fire this thing).  And that missed.  One round later, the Dred had thundered through the Exorcist’s side armour, leaving a smoking wreck.

Encouraged by this, the Warboss sought out the Canoness from among the flame-strewn battlefield.  Now, I knew the Canoness had a power weapon that could cut through the Warboss’ mega-armour and that she had the better Initiative, but I trusted to the Warboss’ high Toughness to see him through and his massive Power Klaw to squelch the gristled old nun into the ground thereafter.

What I did not know about was the Faith Point rules the Sisters have (never had them in my day. . .).  All of a sudden my charging Warboss is facing a Strength 5 power weapon and, with a series of good rolls on Kat’s part, he got butchered.

The rest of the game consisted of my Grot and Boyz mobs hitting the Sisters’ line, and power armoured girls getting torn limb from limb, as the game before.  Managing the Faith Point rules, Kat put up a stronger defence this time but, with that many Orks on her backline, the end was fairly inevitable.  The Canoness was the last to go down, literally surrounded by Orks.  If she had lasted another turn or two, maybe the game would have ended and it would have been a draw (the fight was just a little too far away from her objective for me to claim, and I had not bothered to keep a unit next to mine!).

But, ’twas not to be.

This weekend, I hear that Sandrine is going to be finishing the first few units of her Space Wolves (haven’t calculated yet, but there is probably 7-800 points there), and we’ll be having some games with them.  Orks vs. Space Woofs, Space Woofs vs. Sisters, Sisters vs. Orks again, and maybe some sort of three-way after (every man’s dream).

This is planned for next Tuesday, but we may get a game or two in over the weekend.  Knowing how to show females a good time, I am taking Kat and Sand down to Portsmouth this weekend in a sort-of-gaming-related-trip to see the Warrior and Victory, and generally pootle around the harbour looking at the Royal Navy.  Might inspire us for a few games of Victory at Sea instead!

Oh, and I did mean to take a few photos of these battles, but it was enough to try to remember the rules!  I’ll try to get some decent battle reports up here in the future.

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