First Games with the New 40k

Today, we had the local club round to try out the new 40k – and first impressions are good. Nay, excellent!


We opened the doors in the morning, and the first early birds immediately dived into the books, plotting their new forces.

We kicked off by pretty much ignoring the points, going with beginner’s forces of 1 medium-sized HQ and two squads. I walked everyone through their first turn, phase-by-phase… and after that, they were pretty much off and flying. There was the odd question here and there in their first game but, by the time they started putting ‘proper’ armies together, everyone had the core rules memorised and were just working off their unit datasheets.


This is an important point about the new rules, I think – after your first game, you will have the core completely memorised and there is a good chance that you will never refer to the main rulebook again for them. Ever.

They really are that simple.

That is not to say they lack depth – the datasheets (and some optional bits and pieces from the main rulebook) add additional rules and complications, and the club guys were quickly starting to figure out what worked for them, what didn’t, and what would be very tasty if they added it to their armies.


In the first round of battles, Tyranids came ahead by a good margin, managing a 100% win-rate – something they retained in the second round too (don’t read too much into that, we really were just learning the game and how the armies work under the new rules).


The Orks, especially, ran into serious problems when they received a Winged Hive Tyrant in the face, though a Leman Russ Demolisher completely flattened it by hurling a huge shell into its face in the third round of battles!


This really is a very good rules set, and I think everyone is planning to add more units to their forces, if indeed they are not starting brand new armies. The rules are just so easy to get to grips with that, like Age of Sigmar, they kind of become ‘invisible’ when you are playing, allowing you to focus on what is happening on the tabletop and clashes between great heroes and massive war machines, without stopping play every so often to consult the rulebook. You really will just be consulting the odd datasheet here and there, and the bulk of those you will have memorised in fairly short order.

The new 40k gets a big thumbs up from me, and I think the newly arrived Death Guard will be invading Ultramar pretty soon – watch out for the campaign!


How to Play the New 40k

The new 40k is dead simple. Like, really simple.

You can figure out the rules within maybe 5 minutes – within 10 minutes (at the most!) of playing, you will have them memorised. That is not to say it is without depth – quite the opposite. Like Age of Sigmar, the new 40k has very simple core rules, but layers complicaton and depth on top. Best of all worlds, really – newcomers get into the game quickly and without fuss, while veterans can endlessly tweak to get the results they want, be they narrative or competitive.

So, I am going to show you how to play the new 40k!


The mission you are playing will tell you who goes first and, unlike Age of Sigmar, you simply alternate turns. Go through each of the six phases in the turn, and then hand off to your opponent. Continue until the game ends.


Movement Phase

Pick a unit, move it. Units now have their own movement values and if you can Fly, then you can move straight over models and terrain. Keep your models within 2″ of each other and more than 1″ away from the enemy. Run (called Advance now) an extra dice worth of inches.

You can Fall Back, moving out of contact with an enemy, but you won’t be able to advance, charge or shoot.

And that is Movement done.


Psychic Phase

Pick a psyker, pick a psychic power, roll two dice and try to meet or beat the power’s Warp Charge value. Try not to get a double 1 or 6, as Perils of the Warp means your psyker takes D3 mortal wounds and, if he dies, all units within 6″ also take D3 mortal wounds.

Mortal wounds, you ask? Automatic wounds that do not need hit or wound rolls, and ignore all saves (including invulnerable!).

Deny the Witch is the same as unbinding in Age of Sigmar, except you can do it at 24″ range – roll two dice and beat the psyker’s own roll to stop the power.


Shooting Phase

No shooting chart, you just need to roll whatever your Ballistic Skill is – so, BS 3+ means you need 3 or more to hit something. Units can now split fire with abandon, and characters can only be picked out if they are the closest models (which is fair enough, as they can no longer join units). You cannot shoot at anything if an enemy is within 1″ of you.

There is a new wound roll table, but it is dead simple to memorise.

If Strength is greater than Toughness, you need 3+, if it is lower, you need 5+, and they are the same… 4+

That will cover you for 90% of all attacks. However, particularly strong or weak attacks extend the dice range, so if Strength is twice (or more) than Toughness, you only need a 2+. If it is the other way around, 6+. Everything can hurt everything else, it just gets really hard at the bottom end.

Once you wound something they get a saving through, but this can now be modified, either by a weapon’s AP score or terrain which gives a +1 bonus (there are obviously unit specific rules that add further modifiers, but these are the core rules being covered here).


Weapon types are still in, so Assault weapons can still shoot if you advanced (albeit at -1 to hit), Heavy weapons are at -1 to hit if you so much as wiggle a toe, Pistols can shoot at enemies within 1″, and so forth.


Charge Phase

If you have a unit 12″ away from the enemy, you can try to charge. They get Overwatch on you (6+ to hit, as before), then you roll two dice for the charge move – you must get within 1″ of an enemy model.


Fight Phase

Models that charged this turn fight first. After that, players alternate units, Age of Sigmar style. Models pile in 3″, again like Age of Sigmar, and they get to fight if they are within 1″ of an enemy or a friendly model that is within 1″ of an enemy.

Characters get a special pile in, a 3″ move to reach an enemy even if they did not start within 1″.

You get as many attacks as you have, well, Attacks, and these can be split between different enemies and close combat weapons if you wish. You hit with your WS (so, WS 4+ needs 4 or more to hit an enemy), and wounding is the same as for shooting.

After you have done your attacks with a unit, it can consolidate up to 3″, but this move must be towards the nearest enemy model and is not compulsory.


Morale Phase

A unit took losses? Roll a dice and add how many models it lost. If this total exceeds the unit’s Leadership, it loses additional models equal to the difference. Same as Age of Sigmar.

And that is not just morale done, that is the turn!


That is basically the game. There are a couple of extra bits and pieces covering Transports (dead easy, transports now have model capacity not unit, embark/disembark within 3″ – but not both in the same turn, and they can act normally after leaving), invulnerable saves (they act the same way as before, either or with armour saves), terrain (already covered, inflicts penalty to shooting), aura abilities (they affect the model generating them), and… that is about it, really.

So, you now know how to play the new 40k! Grab some Datasheets and get blasting!


New 40k: Dark Imperium – First Thoughts

Okay, I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to do an ‘unboxing’ review of the new 40k, but instead give you a nice, considered read in a couple of days. However, there is just so much stuff to cover that I think it will be better if I break it down a little.


What really inspired this was the opening of the box set – GW have done really, really well here.

At first, I thought they had cut corners, as if you pick up the box a certain way, it feels like they used really thin card. However, upon taking the cellophane wrapping off, you realise this is just a sleeve rather than the normal top-and-bottom box design. If you have picked up one of their ‘premium’ models recently (Archaon, Lord of Change, Triumvirates, etc), you will know what to expect.

What I didn’t expect was the packaging of components inside, which kinda reminded me of unboxing an iPhone rather than the usual GW way of cramming-stuff-inside. The above photo shows the presentation once you take the sleeve off. You get a kind of mini-box that contains all the plastics that come with the set, the Death Guard and Primaris Marines.


Taking that off, you get this, the hardback rulebook neatly nestled between two storage areas. I hadn’t been keeping up with any unboxing posts or videos, so this was a nice surprise – in the past, GW have packaging cut down softback books in their starter sets, with a hardback available separately. Here, you get the full hardback in the box.


Bound up with the book are separate booklets covering the Primaris Marines and Death Guard, along with a construction guide, transfers (covering four chapters) and a Z-type folding card with all the core rules.


Burrowing further into the box, the storage areas lift to reveal a bendy plastic measuring tool, dice (which are really nice dice, considering this is ‘just’ a starter set, and the bases (which include the new plastic flying bases for the Primaris Marines, first seen on the Kharadron Overlords).


The overall impression – this is a quality product. GW have done a very good job on the presentation, and I would give them an A+. This is how things should be done.

I also started going through the actual rules. Now, some caveats here: first off, be very wary of any reviews over the next few days that try to tell you what the game is like if the reviewer has not actually played it – there is a lot to process, and no one is going to be able to give you a decent opinion worth, well, anything, until they actually have a few games under their belts. That includes me.

Second, what is apparent is that while the core rules are simple, there is a great deal of interaction between units and a lot of new territory in the way units work. No one is going to be able to call themselves an ‘expert’ player with this rules set for a few months, regardless of their previous playing experience.

All that said…

I really like these rules!

They may take you 15-20 minutes to read (add another 5 minutes for army construction), but after that you will be able to explain the rules to a current 40k player in 5 minutes, with no exaggeration, and they will have them memorised within 10 minutes of playing. They really are that easy.

Which is a good thing – like Age of Sigmar, you won’t be ‘playing the rules’ or debating about what does which and how. You will just be able to focus on what is happening on the tabletop and what cool thing your models are going to do next.

The layers (and complications) come with the Datasheets for every unit, again, Age of Sigmar style.

This will open the game to everyone – casual players will find it easy to get to grips with, narrative players will be able to concentrate on action rather than rules, and competitive players will have all the tools they need to fine tune their armies and create synergies on the table.

Best of all worlds, then? Well, the truth is in the pudding, and I have the local club coming round this Saturday to get some actual games in but, at first glance, I am nicely optimistic.

Oh, and I managed to put all the Death Guard models together last night, with the (likely impossible) aim of having them all painted for Saturday’s games. My problem now is that they look very nice, are going to look better with the same colour scheme as I used on my Blightkings and, with a large Daemons of Nurgle force for Age of Sigmar already in my cabinets, it now looks like I am now doing a Death Guard army for 40k, which was completely unintentional (I swear!).

I’ll have some more updates on this edition of 40k very soon, so stay tuned!

The New 40k – Dark Imperium

Yup, my copy has just arrived, along with oodles of army books!


I have some games set up with the local club, so expect a review – likely this coming Saturday!

Hammer and Anvil: Mantis Warrior Style

The advent of the new 40k has turned my thoughts to new armies but, before I start anything new, I wanted to finish off two units that have been sitting on my painting table for way too long – reinforcements for the Mantis Warriors and the Badab War campaign.


Had some motivation issues getting these finished but, once I put my nose to the grindstone, they really were very quick and easy (they are Space Marines, after all).

While I already have a slightly over-sized Terminator squad, we have some boarding actions coming up in the campaign, and I figured some close combat hard-hitters would be ideal (and, looking at the rules for the new edition, i am glad I went with Thunder Hammers rather than lightning Claws!).


However, the Mantis Warriors are somewhat known for their fast strikes and sudden assaults (being successors to the White Scars, after all), and so I also added some Attack Bikes – a unit of three with Multi-Meltas should provide most armoured vehicles with a little trepidation, at least.


So, what is next for 40k?

Well, I have a little dilemma there…

Ignoring the fact that I really should keep cracking on with my Sigmar armies (the Kharadron Overlords are still in their boxes, though the Freeguild did get some work done on them this weekend), I really could do with adding the Tyrant’s Legion to the Badab War, and I have a hankering to do a brand new army for the new edition – I am thinking Craftworld Eldar (always good for a laugh), starting with a Spirithost.

Then there are the Horus Heresy models I put together this weekend, which got me thinking about doing both Space Wolves and Thousand Sons for a full-blown Prospero campaign…

Heroes of Order

Just a little clutch of models here, but interesting ones nonetheless – some new Heroes for forces of Order.


First up is the Lord-Castellant – I had a ‘spare’ from the Hammerhal box set and as the Hallowed Knights already have theirs, it was the turn of the Stark Hammers.


Then two Battle Wizards, which are needed to defend a city of the Free Peoples in an upcoming battle of the ongoing campaign.


I quite like the pose of the Bright Wizard – he started the battle looking all kinds of awesome, but now a Big Bad has got too close and he is just flailing to keep it back!


And then the Amethyst Wizard, all ready to start sucking the souls out of his enemies.

I need to get the actual Freeguild forces done (with a touch of the Ironweld Arsenal), but I have a feeling that I am going to be a little distracted by the new 40k over the next few weeks. We’ll see how it goes!

The Gargants get a New King

From almost the release of Age of Sigmar, I wanted to do a Gargant tribe as a complete, self-contained force, something I finished last year. However, there is a new sheriff in town now and the Gargant tribe has a new king…


The Bonegrinder Giant from Forge World!

Someone got this for me as a Christmas present, and I finally got round to painting it!


In terms of painting, despite being a large model, it is really rather easy. Its patchwork clothing might seem a bit of a bear, but you really just pick a colour and do the relevant patches – then move onto the next.


Then chase down the leather straps, skin, wood, details… and you are done!

Forge World models can sometimes be a bit of a pain to put together, with lots of little resin parts but, again, this was simplicity itself. The head, body and legs all come as one big piece of resin, then you just add the arms! The stone block on the end of the trebuchet-club is the finishing touch.

And just how big is this giant, eh?


Let’s just say the old king is feeling a bit inadequate!