Despite the doubters (including me) there is, indeed a brand new edition of our beloved game of toy soldiers. I'd just about got the hang of 6th edition and it's already out of date. Speaking of which I remind you that Blog Wars 7 will be the last 6th edition tournament I run (BW8 will be 7th edition of course). The new rules have been with us since Saturday but I've been away all weekend so only got my copy on Monday which hopefully explains the delay in getting this post up. In the meantime GW have been pretty busy and have posted FAQs for each army. I'll be looking at these in a separate post too so keep an eye out for that.
There's a lot to cover in the rulebook itself too so this review will be in a few parts. The idea is that I outline the main changes and point out a few subtle ones that you might've missed when you read through (without listing out every single change). If I don't talk about it assume it's stayed the same as 6th (that or I've missed it too!). That means you need to have a decent grasp of 6th edition to understand these reviews and I apologise if they're incoherent/bitty at times as they're a collection of my thoughts as much as anything.
Inside the book the order of things has been shifted around somewhat. This makes the core rules flow a lot better and I'm sure things will be easier to find for the most part even if it's confusing initially. Things feel like they're in the right place and often there's little boxes with special rules relevant to a particular section to save flicking back and forth. I'm sure it sounds pretty sad but the main thing that's been exciting about reading this book is how well the rules seem to have been written and how much has been clarified from 6th edition. It's not perfect but it's a few steps in the right direction. It makes 6th edition feel kind of rushed as if they had 7th in mind all along but rushed something out in the meantime. Of course, there's a lot of stuff that is a straight copy and paste but the subtle changes and clarifications should hopefully make it more straightforward to play the game.
As I've mentioned the Escalation stuff is now in the book so it's much easier to find the rules for Stomp, Destroyer Weapons, Super Heavies, etc. You may not like their inclusion in the game but at least you don't need to carry several books around. I'd be pretty pissed off if I'd bought Escalation though and it kind of makes Apocalypse unnecessary. Anyway, onto the rules and I'm basically going to be working through the book from front to back with the titles of my paragraphs corresponding to those in the book.
Something subtle to begin with. The rules for line of sight now say you trace them from any part of the firer's body (p.14) whereas it used to be the eyes. This will, of course, result in some daft situations were you can see one model's toes from another but at least it makes it easier to judge.
One great change as far as I'm concerned is a clarification on what order things occur in (p.17). In 6th a lot of things happened "at the start of the turn" or "beginning of the movement phase" but now, partly thanks to the reintroduction of the psychic phase, there's a lot more clarity about what happens when. Generally speaking it's up to you what order things occur in if they're all "start of the turn".
The Movement Phase
There's been a bit of talk about the 6" in ruins coherency but this was the same in 6th (despite what White Dwarf said), mind you it now looks like it's measuring base to base not head to base which makes a minor difference. Pivoting is formally clarified as not moving (p.18), whilst this was always the case, it still lead to arguments. Crucially pivoting is around the centre of the model so no pinching an inch folks!
The Psychic Phase
I'll be covering this in a separate post as it's new and warrants a more in-depth discussion. Suffice to say I think there's a lot of hype about it without people actually thinking it through. In general I'd say individual psykers in an army probably got more powerful but entire psychic armies are weaker (offensively at least). More on that in the dedicated post though. One thing to note is Psychic Focus (and Chaos Psychic Focus) on p.22 which gives you the primaris power for free most of the time.
Force weapons must now be activated in the psychic phase too (p.23) which may result in wasted warp charge if the psyker doesn't actually get to charge or doesn't cause any wounds. Still, it makes sense that it occurs this way. Generally I think the psychic phase is a good idea for making the use of powers more straightforward and cancelling even Blessings is a nice bonus for some armies. The new perils table (p.25) makes things more interesting too and we should be seeing more Perils occuring.
Beams no longer have the decreasing strength portion of their rules (as far as I can see) which is a bonus for those powers. Focussed Witchfire is potentially easier to achieve too making those powers more useful. Not clear how Deny works with this but I'd assume it's focussed even if you deny some but not all of the manifested warp charge.
Crucially, psykers can only use Witchfire from vehicles and even then only out of a fire point. That's huge for things like Farseers trying to use Guide etc from inside a wave serpent. With the psychic changes I think it's worth looking at the deathstars that relied on them again and I think they'll be much less effective now. I can see arguments about Open Topped vehicles as they don't technically have fire points. I know it's pretty obvious you can still fire Witchfire but some will argue the toss.
The Shooting Phase
Weapons are now fired individually in the order of the controlling players choice (p.30) e.g. all boltguns are fired together followed by a meltagun and then the missile launcher etc. This creates an interesting question about the Dark Angel ravenwing grenade launcher. In the past all shots were assumed to be simultaneous but that isn't written anywhere now. To me that means that the rad grenades will benefit the plasma talons but until I see it in writing it'll be a contentious issue I'm sure. Still, the new mechanic makes things interesting for deciding when to fire particular weapon groups. Cover saves are clarified a little with a model needing to be 25% obscured from at least one firer (p.37).
Bombs (p.42) have now gained the Barrage special rule which is a bonus as it means they can be used to snipe models particularly effectively.
The Assault Phase
Further, much needed, clarifications are given here with lots of discussion about how charge moves are made etc. Interestingly the question of can you charge something you can't hurt has been answered (p.47) and indeed you can which makes those Fearless gaunts great for stopping a Revenant, at least for a little while! Charging through terrain now just subtracts 2" from the roll which makes life more simple (especially when trying to combine it with Fleet) and Move Through Cover now works in the assault phase too.
Sadly the daft situation of the 1" turbo boost hasn't been resolved which I think is a shame but otherwise much of the rules are the same, aside for some minor clarifications.
The big changes come in the FMC section (p.68-69) where they now can't charge in the turn they switch from Swoop to Glide and only take one grounding test per phase. That's interesting really though as if you ground an enemy FMC they can still charge you in their turn so you might actually be helping them out by doing so. With the grounding test at the end of the phase, shooting them out of the sky isn't much use to you either, unless you can do it in the movement or psychic phase. The Dive special rule has been replaced with Jink which gives a 4+ save in exchange for Snap Shots.
Another excellent clarification is when a hull point is stripped or not. For example, immobilising a vehicle on terrain costs a hull point (p.73) but weapons like grav that cause immobile, don't strip a hull point on the first shot (p.76). Wings are officially part of a vehicles hull which you may think obvious but I've had several people try to argue this in games. On the subject of things with wings, flyers can now drop out of the sky if they're immobilised which is fun!
I'll mention it again later but Ignores Cover now officially effects vehicles too along with a clarification on how cover works with shots that cause damage effects without causing a glance/pen. Like FMCs are vehicle must choose to Jink for a 4+ save but can only fire Snap Shots if it does. This is done before any hits are actually scored too so you might do so unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, they've not fixed Ordnance on Leman Russes so they still can't fire their sponsons/lascannon if they fire their main Ordnance gun which I think is a bit daft. Interestingly though, walkers can now fire Overwatch with a 360 degree arc (p.90).
Assaulting vehicles is marginally more tricky with WS1 regardless of movement, unless of course their immobilised (p.78). The ramming mechanic has changed a bit too making for easier calculation of the strength and potentially improved utility (p.93).
Flyers are fairly similar apart from a few subtle changes. There's no longer a restriction on how many missiles you can fire, although you can still only fire 4 weapons (p.84). You can't repair a flyer unless you're in it either but I'm not sure many people were doing this!
The biggest changes in the vehicle section is to Chariots. For starters the model inside is destroyed with the chariot (p.86) and vice versa (unless you're a sneaky Necron with Ever-Living). The rider can now be targetted separately but the controlling player assigns the hits so could make use of an invulnerable save on the character to save the vehicle for example. Chariots can now be locked in combat too and can now take part in challenges. Seems a bit daft but whatever. They use their front armour in combat too which is great for those pesky Necrons again! Finally, you can't immobilise a chariot and they get to re-roll one of the dice when making charges (p.87). Overall they're just a lot simpler to use but it's not clear yet whether they're much better.
Conclusion (End of Part 1)
That'll do for tonight I think. I'm still wading through the book so there might be things I have to come back and change if I read a later rule that contradicts what I'm saying. Overall I'm pretty pleased with what I'm reading so far. There are still a few minor ambiguities but for the post part it seems they've made a real effort to word things thoroughly and cover those "yeah but what if" type questions that 40K players love to come up with.
More coming in Part 2 then as I work my way into Characters, Buildings, Army Selection and Terrain.