Thursday, May 29, 2014
The 7th Edition 40K Rulebook Review - General Rules (Part 2)
Following on from yesterday's post I'll be talking about Characters, Terrain, Army Selection and Battle Prep today. Please note I've skipped over the Super-Heavy Vehicles and Gargantuan Creatures rules here since they're effectively new to the book so warrant their own post.
Unless I'm missing something I can't see anywhere that says Characters (or indeed Independent Characters) benefit from Precision Shots or Strikes (p.100). Granted most of us forgot to ever use this rule but still, that's quite a big change all things considered. One less thing to remember I suppose.
Challenges are effectively the same, with some clarifications, but now excess wounds caused in a challenge will spill over into the rest of the combat (p.102). This limits the effectiveness of using a cheap character to minimise the effectiveness of an enemy unit with lots of combat killing power. No more throwing sergeants to bloodthirsters. Still, worthwhile to protect other characters for a phase I suppose. What's strange though is that if you've got a solo character challenging a character from a bigger unit, that unit can now hit the solo character (p.103). Again, this ruins an oft used tactic of challenging to minimise incoming damage. Makes sense though that the rest of the unit wouldn't just stand back and watch (honour aside of course).
The rules for terrain are still slightly ambiguous (p.108). For example, if a unit is "in" a ruin they get a 4+ save even if they aren't 25% obscured. Problem is that "in" is defined as a model standing on the scenery. How does that work with ruins without bases when you shoot from the back? Personally I'll play it that if the scenery is based they get 4+ and if not they just get 5+ but that's essentially a house rule. Otherwise area terrain is kind of gone. I say kind of because forests, craters (which are back to being 6+), etc are now called "difficult terrain" and being "behind" it gives a 5+ save. Some of these terrain pieces give a save if you're "in" them too. Confused yet? I can see why they've tried to clarify but they appear to have failed unless I'm being thick! What is clear is that whilst moving through Difficult Terrain is the same, charging is just reduced by 2" (as I mentioned yesterday).
Buildings are slightly different in that they now have hull points and are effectively treated like vehicles in this regard. The building damage table is similar with a few minor tweaks. Incidentally, buildings that explode do leave a crater unlike vehicles (p.111) and again, unlike vehicles, you can charge when you disembark from a building (p.110). There's also the stuff from Stronghold Assault that people probably didn't know about (myself included) such as the "Claim" system where players can make a building friendly to them by moving a unit inside. This allows you to use the guns on an opponent's bastion for example and you can continue to use the automated fire weapons after you vacate it (assuming your opponent doesn't hop back in).
Some of the Citadel scenery kits now have special rules associated with them e.g Manufactorum allows Gets Hot! armour save re-rolls. What I can't quite work out though is what to do about fortifications. The rulebook itself seems to think it contains rules for them: "Each fortification has a fortification datasheet that describes how it is used in the game" (p.130) and "if a Citadel scenery model can be taken as part of an army, then a points value for the model will be listed here (p.183). Sadly, though bastions, landing pads, aegis lines (i.e. things you can take as fortifications) aren't actually listed and none of the scenery pieces that are have points values. Seems to me that you'll need to use Stronghold Assault if you want to use any fortifications in your armies. I thought the new book was going to be a one stop shop but apparently not.
Finally, and perhaps most worryingly, buildings now appear to be scoring provided they've been claimed by either side. That means if you place an objective next to a derelict bastion and deploy a unit in it you can hop out and leave it there controlling your objective for you! Not so bad until you think about some of the massive fortifications being scoring!
Choosing Your Army
First it's worth noting the new nomenclature used by GW. Perhaps unnecessarily they've started to name things as particular Factions, e.g. Space Wolves Faction, as a means for referring to units from a particular codex. Pretty sure everyone could've figured this out without the wording change and most people use the term Race/Army/Codex instead. In general this section is pretty confusing. Unbound is straightforward, take what you like from where you like in whatever quantity you like. I'll be amazed if any tournaments permit this except for deliberate Unbound ones but it's nice that GW spell it out that in your own games you can actually do what you want!
What I can't quite work out is how many detachments you can legally have. There doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of allied detachments you can take. I think the intention is just one but I can't see where it's spelled out (please enlighten me if you can). In fact it seems that GW doesn't mind how many you take (p.126 paragraph two).
The types of allies have obviously changed quite significantly with notable examples being Tyranids being able to ally with themselves, Tau and Eldar being Convenience not Brothers. Basically all Imperial Armies are Battle Brothers (ignoring fluff such as Wolves vs Dark Angels) and everyone else is pretty lucky if they even have an ally of convenience. This isn't a big deal to me as I try to avoid allies in my armies but I can see some being pretty pissed off that they can't buff riptides with farseers. No more teleporting Farsight bomb either. Incidentally I'm going to look at all of the deathstars from 6th edition and see how they've been affected in another post.
The way allies treat each other has changed a little too with Battle Bros. now able to use transports for example. Interestingly Come The Apocalypse no longer requires the Apocalypse to come provided you can deploy them 12" apart.
Preparing for Battle
The huge shame about this section isn't in this section at all. The old book had a convenient summary of all the pre-game stuff and what order it occurred in. That no longer exists so you've got to root through the pages in this section to figure it out for yourself. One interesting change here is that I can't see any restriction on how many units you can place into reserve. I can hear Deathwing players rejoicing already (don't rejoice just yet though, perhaps I've missed it).
There's been significant changes to Scoring units with pretty much everything being scoring now. Interestingly, since dedicated transports take the "battlefield role" of their unit they can become Troops which I'm assuming means they get Objective Secured. This is a huge shift back in the other direction from 6th where vehicles couldn't even contest. Expect to see mech return what with the changes to how vehicles are damaged too. On the subject of scoring Big Guns Never Tire and The Scouring no longer make Heavy/Fast into scoring units (since they already are) and nor do they gain Objective Secured. In fact taking them in these missions is a disadvantage as losing them costs VPs. Total nonsense!
Whilst we're talking about objectives, the missions now state that they're deployed before you determine the deployment map in Crusade, Scouring and Big Guns. That's going to be annoying at times. Mysterious objectives are still there but now sabotaged is 3" range and causes D6 S4 hits (p.135), no more staying just outside the blast marker then!
Also in this section, first turn is now a choice after you've already deployed first. In practice I can't see many people opting to go second when they've deployed first but there may be situations where it's beneficial.
Finally, Night Fighting has been greatly simplified. Players only roll for it if one player wants it to be in effect (which is what happened a lot anyway as people often forgot). If it does occur it only does so on Turn 1 (no more forgetting to roll on T5 onward) and all units get Stealth. No more messing about measuring ranges to determine cover saves.
That'll do for this post then, I'm trying to keep them to a reasonable length! I have to say this post has worried me more than last night's as there's a few bits of ambiguity and nonsense I've found tonight whereas most of the stuff in yesterday's post was pretty clear and sensible.
There's some interesting changes here though. Scoring will be vastly different in 7th edition but it remains to be seen if this is for the best. Troops are still worth having but are far from essential now and I can see a lot of armies sticking to the bare minimum. Characters are a little weaker and frankly I don't see why they didn't just to away with Challenges since they've made them fairly pointless. The terrain rules, as ever, will be cause for debate amongst players. They've made an attempt to clarify things but in doing so have opened up more avenues of confusion.
Still, I'm generally a fan of 7th edition at the moment. My opinion might change when I get onto Daemonology but you'll have to wait for that. I'll be writing posts of psychic powers, warlord traits, special rules, etc. so keep an eye on the blog for those.