Friday, 30 June 2017

Thoughts on 8th ed


So after a couple games and plenty of studying the new edition how do I feel about it? Well, it is certainly a lot of fun to play. I loved 7th edition even with it's flaws and there were times in the run up to the new edition where I didn't like the sound of where Games Workshop were taking the game that I love. But I did the right thing and waited and watched. I have not been disappointed.

Pros:

When I say it is fun that covers so much of the positive elements. It is always easier to describe the negatives than the positives and that is the problem. Both games that I have played so far under the new edition have been so much more enjoyable than the recent games of 7th. Part of that is because of how much simpler Games Workshop have made the game. The system works well for Age of Sigmar but I think it works much better for 40K. So much smoother and easier to get your head around. There are some slight issues with that but give them time and those issues or questions will be answered. For now, you'll just have to bear with me when I say that is is fun.

The armies feel a lot more balanced towards one another now. Previously I may well have rolled my eyes and slumped my shoulders had an opponent turned up to a 7th ed game with tyranids, craftworld eldar, thousand sons, blood angels... you get the picture. Certain armies were far too good. That isn't the case now. Every army and faction looks to play nicely with each other. Each unit is now a potential option, where as before you only saw the same few units being played. Now I don't know what to expect my opponent to bring to the table and that is a good thing.

The psychic phase is much better. I'm not going to get stomped just because my opponent brought a psychic heavy army (eldar, thousand sons and tyranids, I'm looking at you!) and I may as well not have bothered turning up. Now, the system for using those powers is straight forward and the powers have been brought down to a more reasonable level, although on some occasions I feel that powers are a little underwhelming in how they play.

Vehicles are a lot more survivable now. Wounds and an armour saves have really helped there. Previously I would be very cautious about my vehicles but no longer. Now I can zoom them around the table taking the battle to the enemy.

Six deployment maps and something like 13 detachments is exactly what the game needed. The new deployment lay outs can help shape the basics of a game a lot by the look of things. Some favour shooty armies and some favour those who want to get up close and personal. The detachments are something that I've been suggesting for ages. Rather than just the basic HQ and troops, now the required units could be fast attack or heavy support. The variety will certainly have a strong impact on what certain armies could take and make the games more than just a forgone conclusion again.

Command points are a nice mechanic and seem balanced. I'd like to see some more abilities become available as the game advances and army specific ones as codexes are released.

Much more cinematic. I'm one for using my imagination regardless of the games that I play. With how 8th works I can much more easily see in my mind how something works and how it drives a narrative game playing experience. Part of the problem is that most players view 40K as just a game and crunch numbers. They miss out on the cool bits in their head as they complain about things.

Characters now seem to be a lot better across the board. I used to take Typhus purely for fluff reasons but now he's a HQ option I'll always take. Especially as he's cheaper than a Lord of Contagion and better.

No more templates or scatter dice! For one it is something else that I don't have to remember to bring but it also speeds up game play. A welcome change.

Cons:

Not so convinced on the armour save modifiers. I find that a lot of weapons have been reduced in effectiveness because of it. Take Lightning Claws for instance. Previously they were AP3 and great for carving through power armour troops. Now they just give a -2 save modifier and doesn't seem to be worth the effort. I can live with it but it means that there are options that I probably won't bother with now.

Close combat seems to be making a comeback. A couple deployment maps are really geared for it and looking at some armies it is going to hurt when they come a' knocking. For a game that is all about who has the biggest gun I'd rather not see a return to over the top assault again.

I don't like the alternating combat system that comes from Age of Sigmar. It doesn't work for me. I'd rather the charging units go first but then the active player picks a combat and everyone fights simultaneously. I would find it a fairer then but I know that is just my opinion.

Re-rolls and then modifiers. Don't like this at all. Let me give you an example. A space marine with a heavy bolter hits on a 3+. He moved so he'll have a -1 to hit. Let's say that some effect gives him a re-roll. So, three shots fired and he gets 3, 4 and 6. Three hits. No need to re-roll so the modifier kicks in and only two shots hit but he can't now re-roll because that comes before modifiers. It needs to be modifiers and then re-rolls.

Too much negativity from the community. A lot of it is coming from players who liked 7th and don't want to change or they didn't like Age of Sigmar and think 8th will ruin the game. They won't even try it and that really gets on my nerves. If it's not that then it is the players who feel hurt because they army isn't what it was under the previous edition. They need to understand that the game is a whole new animal and that they must unlearn everything they new and instead, embrace the new.

On the Fence:

Games Workshop copied over the summoning rules from Age of Sigmar. In other words you have to set aside some of your points to try and summon anything. I hate this as it just feels like wasting your points. Since games are limited in game length anyway so if you just make summoning something you can do once per turn then where is the damage? As I stopped summoning under 7th ages ago anyway I just consider it a nuisance and put it in the grey space between pro and con.

Power levels over points is an interesting addition to the rules. It looks like most players want to play under a points system and I can see why as it more accurately reflects unit strength and balance but I'd like to be able to try a points level game or two just to see.

It looks like Games Workshop have sped up the game by introducing high levels of model death. A mix of armour modifiers, multiple wounds and mortal wounds sees lots of models being removed as casualties. This is part of the new game but I want my armies to survive dagnamit!

Death Guard:

Disappointed that there are units that I can't take as Death Guard. I guess that it is because when the Codex: Death Guard comes out we'll have our own versions, but for now I can't field terminators, bikes, raptors, heldrakes and most daemon engines without breaking the pure Death Guard legion.

Disgustingly Resilient is a nice approximation of the old Feel No Pain, but it is also a bit of a curse. No longer a 3+ armour save and then a 5+ FNP. Armour save modifiers are reducing our saves and if the damage causes multiple wounds we have to roll for all of them meaning we are still likely to lose the model. I see what Games Workshop are doing but it rubs me the wrong way a little bit.


And so...

Overall, 8th edition gets a big old thumbs up from me. I hope that it is going to change the direction that 40K has gone in the last few years and will draw in new players and reinvigorate established players.  Now is the time to seize the galaxy by the horns and take what is yours!

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