Friday, May 05, 2017

More Thoughts on the New 8th Edition 40K Rules

We've had another week of posts on Warhammer Community about what we can expect from the new edition of 40K. There's still some info on Battle Forged armies to come on Friday but I might not get chance to post at the weekend and there's plenty to discuss already.

Shooting Phase
We've already learned quite a bit about what's changing here. Things like weapon damage, save modifiers etc. They've reinforced that you decided to Advance (like old "Run") in the movement phase you can't shoot (interestingly they've not mentioned anything about charging after Advancing though).

Interesting that you can't fire if there are enemies within 1" although it seems like this is the criteria for being locked in combat now so we'll have to see how that works out. Shooting at your combat opponent with your pistol sounds fun though. They mention again about falling back from combat. Not sure I'm a fan of this mechanic really. Depends how it works out I suppose but I'd hope there'll be at least some penalty for it.

Nice that heavy weapons are a bit more useful now. Although, to be fair in the past you couldn't fire them at all when you moved so even snap shots were a bonus. Having heavy weapons in transports is a much more viable option now though.

Cover is the big deal here though. I think combining it with a unit's armour save is a brilliant idea. A Space Marine behind a barricade should be harder to kill than one in the open. It will be interesting to see how it interacts with 2+ saves though, can they be improved past 2+? I like that they'll also only let certain units benefit from certain cover. No more Wraithknights with a toe on terrain (looking at you Matt!). It sounds like a much more elegant system already but there are still a lot of questions to be answered. For example, it's clear that Ignores Cover weaponry will still be a thing but how with Markerlights work?

Charge Phase
The first thing to note is that you'll make all your charges across the table before resolving any of the fights. It's not that dissimilar to 7th but becomes more important when we get to the Fight phase. It's also similar in that you get a 2D6" charge. The wording of the text implies that you get to move that many inches regardless of whether you successfully get into combat though. Not sure if I'm reading too much into it there though. There's still Overwatch too.

You no longer need to actually get into base contact though. That seems a strange thing to change but perhaps it'll make more sense when we've got all of the rules together. It simplifies a few things like models that overlap their base but seems a bit off to me.

At this point having multiple Overwatch coming your way felt a bit OTT but it isn't really that different to now. Obviously if that first unit fails to engage then the second unit will still get hit with Overwatch but on the face of it, it isn't that drastic.

Fight Phase
This is the bit that was most important to me. I'm a massive fan of combat in 40K. The game can become dull when it's just two armies shooting it out. Having them getting stuck into a melee is much more dramatic. The initial info we got was worrying me that combat units would have an even tougher time than in 7th.

Again a reminder that the charging unit swings first. In some ways I like this idea because it makes melee units more effective. For example, Ork boyz will get to strike before marines when they charge. However, for some units it feels like a bit of nerf. I know Initiative isn't a thing any more but it made sense to me that Wyches would strike before guardsmen. I think just giving everything Hammer of Wrath would feel more fluffy. Not striking first as such but getting a bonus for charging at least.

It's interesting that you can drag other units into the fray too. I presume this is just how they're simplifying multiple combats (a lot of people still get it wrong) but it could potentially end up with a huge number of units involved, especially late in the game when units are bunched in the centre of the field.

The next bit is an interesting idea to add some decision making. You take it in turns to activate units. That sounds like you don't actually resolve a single combat for both sides and move on but rather you can jump around combats depending on what order you want to resolve them in. Still seems like charging units will strike first though so perhaps it's going to be fairly situational anyway. Clearly there's going to be ways around a lot of this with wargear and special rules but hopefully this doesn't end up too complicated.

I agree with the opening to this post that Morale is a bit clumsy currently. Having to take tests in several phases and most units passing them anyway makes the whole thing seem a bit pointless. Those weapons/rules that affected Morale felt pretty useless too. I mean, how often do you actually get to use Fear in 7th? Most things are ATSKNF, Fearless or something similar. Thing is, that feels pretty realistic to me. The majority of the armies have been fighting these battles for years so why would they suddenly be afraid when a couple of their squadmates die? I don't like the idea of things running away and regrouping. Always felt a bit daft.

Only checking once per turn is a big improvement. It's interesting that they say that very few units won't be affected. I mean, there'll be degrees of "affected" but still, good that it isn't such a bit hit for some armies compared to others. The new mechanic is simple too. (D6 + models lost) - Ld = extra casualties. It's worth looking at this in more detail though. First off, single models will never need to test e.g vehicles and MCs. Equally, units with smaller numbers and decent leadership are almost totally immune.

It's worth noting that Marines are now Ld7 though. Let's look at how they'll be affected then. Assuming you roll the worst possible result (a 6 for a change), that means the unit only needs to have lost two models to lose a further casualty. Even so, they'll be pretty resilient most of the time. Though it is worth noting that if you lost 8 of the 10 marines in a squad you'd be guaranteed to lose the other two. This is, of course, assuming that marines don't have some way round this. They surely can't get rid of ATSKNF completely? Perhaps it'll give some modifier to the roll.

Again, there's a lot unanswered but it seems like the Ld values will be slightly lower for a lot of units (Terminators were lower too). Not as profound an effect as it would be in 7th but still significant. I'm glad that falling back and regrouping are gone though. It does take a bit of the drama away mind you, having a unit fall back right up to the board edge (but staying in play) only to regroup next turn was entertaining.

A final note, and something they point out in the post, modifying Leadership will be a bigger deal than before. That opens up a whole raft of other tactics to explore.

Another intriguing set of posts from GW. I'm still in a bit of shock that they're doing this at all. Their community engagement throughout this whole thing has been unprecedented. It's certainly got me a lot more excited about the new edition than I would've been with salty rumours like we had in the past. It was difficult to know what to believe.

Of course, the issue now is that we're getting lots of info but not a lot of context. We don't know how a lot of the special rules will work or what ways there'll be to bypass some of the stuff they've already told us.

One thing that's struck me is there claim that they've redone the rules for every single unit in the game. That's a HUGE undertaking when you consider all the myriad armies, source material, weapons, wargear, special rules, warlord traits (are they still a thing?), etc. I'm a little nervous about this process really. Sounds like they've done a decent amount of playtesting but we never really got to find out how much they've done for previous editions to know if they've done that much more this time.

Interesting times though and I'm looking forward to what they reveal in the coming weeks. As a footnote, I'm disappointed there wasn't more in WD. I know it's the 40th anniversary edition but depending on when 8th actually comes out we might already have rulebooks pre-ordered, if not in hand, before WD lands on our doorstep.


  1. Playtesting: I touched on this in the comments on your last post, but the huge change in their playtesting this time around is less about how much they did, and more about the fact that they brought in people who know the Game inside and out (frankly, far better than the Devs themselves do) to help with it. The kinds of people who were able to spot the broken stuff in previous Dexes on their first read-through. That input alone will make a huge difference.

    1. I think that's an important difference. It might not be true recently but we used to play enough games to know the rules inside out. We quickly worked out the problems with previous editions even without rolling dice.

      Farming some of it out to some of the people who play more is definitely promising.

  2. Falling back has huge potential downsides. You fall back in your own movement phase and then can't advance, shoot or charge that turn (although there will definitely be some special rules that allow some or all of these actions after falling back). That means you could open that unit up for shooting and a further charge in your opponent's next turn, so you really should have a good reason to fall back (like opening up your opponent's unit to shooting from another unit).

    1. I don't see it that way. You get charged and rather than the unit that charged you being safe from shooting based reprisal you can leave combat so the rest of your army can kill that unit and save you. You might miss a turn but you also avoid another round of combat in your turn which may have resulted in you losing your unit. It massively outweighs the downside in my mind.

      That being said, we're still making a lot of assumptions so I'll reserve judgement until I've got the rules in my hands.

    2. It is all very much theorising in a vacuum. So many other factors to assess yet and without the rules in ours it is all speculation, as you say. I just hope my assaulty BA units are not even going to give things a chance to fall back haha.


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