Monday, May 22, 2017

Less Than Week Left to Buy Your Ticket for Double Trouble 2

The title of the post says it all really but ticket sales for Double Trouble 2 will close at midnight this Saturday (27th May). If you'd like to come along you need to get your ticket soon then. You can find all the information for the event on the DT2 page

In case you haven't read about the event already, it's a 1,500 pt (2 x 750) doubles event but with a bit of a difference. Instead of picking an army in collaboration with your partner you simply pick a 750pt army of your own and show up. You'll then be paired up with a random partner and matched against another random pairing. In the subsequent games (there's three in total) you get another new partner and another random pair to play against. The idea is that you meet and play with 9 new people over the course of the day.

With a new edition of 40K fast approaching (DT2 will use 7th edition rules), it's a great time to meet some new gaming buddies to give you a variety of opponents to test out the new rules with once they're released.

Since you're only picking 750 pts there's also the opportunity to use a new army that you're fancying starting for the new edition or to dust off some old models than you think will get a new lease on life with the new rules. 

The last Double Trouble was a lot of fun and I was lucky enough to play in it too (I only play if the numbers allow) and I really enjoyed the experience of playing against a wide variety of opponents and having to quickly decide on tactics with my partner in each round. It's a great insight into how other people play the game and one that you can't really get from playing against them.

Please note the actual venue we're playing in is different for DT2

Did I mention there's also a generous raffle (entry to which is included in your ticket)? Last time the top prize was a Deathwatch: Overkill set and there were five other prizes to be won for a total RRP value of £350! The prize fund is based on the number of tickets sold so the more I sell I'll either add prizes or make them more generous.

Anyway, I really hope I'll see some of you there. If you've got any questions, ask me in the comments below or email me using the "Contact Me" link on the right. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New 8th Edition 40K Rules - Weapons, Datasheets, Points & Stratagems

In theory this post has caught me up with the information that GW has released but by the time it posts we'll have had another three days worth of stuff. I really need to get onto some stuff for Double Trouble 2. Hopefully later in the week because by then there'll only be a couple of weeks to go. Not long to get your ticket then if you haven't already!

Weapons Part 2
I'm reassured slightly that there'll still be some dramatic stuff happening if your dice are hot on those random shots and damage rolls. Especially with a twin-linked lascannon or two. Twin-linked returns to how it was the past. Basically a single weapon that fires twice the shots of the standard version. It'll be interesting to see how the cost of units with twin-linked weapons are adjusted to reflect this. Something tells me they'll generally reduce points so that you need more models to have a game of a decent length.

Anyway, firing twice as many shots is significantly better than just re-rolling. That makes for some massive damage potential. The twin heavy bolter example is interesting because it seems that AP4 is now a -1 modifier. It follows then that AP3 = -2. AP2 = -3 (as we saw with the lascannon) and AP1 = -4 (as we see with the meltagun). What we don't really find out is what happens for AP6 and AP- though. Will they also be AP0 like AP5 or will they give a positive modifier?

You've also got to wonder how twin-flamers will work. Just double the shots that still automatically hit? That'd be brutal.

Combi-weapons are certainly better (depending on how much we have to pay for them). They don't fit the fluff of limited ammunition for the combi bit but you have to make a choice between an accurate shot for one of the other or gamble that you'll get more damage from firing both. Question is, are they actually worth it? You'll be firing both at the same target so often you'll not bother with the bolter to get the melta a better chance at hitting a tank. Since you can now split off from your unit to do this, would you just be better taking a meltagun where available?

Speaking of which a meltagun is pretty much what I expected. A more reliable anti-tank weapon (in terms of damage) than the lascannon but with lower strength it has less chance of getting to do that damage.

As we already knew. There's no blasts anymore but it seems that weapons that used them will still be useful. A battle cannon won't kill more than 6 models in a unit of single wound models but will be significantly better against units of multi-wound models and hugely improved against a single MC. Your old blast could only cause a single wound to an MC but now you could potentially cause 18 wounds to an MC (or vehicle for that matter). The Leman Russ is looking pretty good right now.

Datasheets
This is the kind of thing we wanted to see. Actual rules and stats from units. It's a shame that the random person on FB didn't pick something more interesting than Rubric Marines but still, there's a lot to unpack. Firstly, special rules are gone. That's about 20 pages out of the rulebook already! I'm a big fan of (nearly) everything for a particular unit being on the same page. There'll still be some army-wide stuff but mostly you'll be able to open the book to the right page for whatever unit you're dealing with at the time. Hopefully this doesn't mean the death of the summary stats page at the back of the codex though.

There's mixed feelings about keeping the points and rules separate. Firstly, this isn't really a new thing. Up until the last couple of editions you had the rules early in the book and the points later. The latest codexes "simplified" this by having a reference page for all of the rules. They presumably though this would be easier but flicking back and forth through a book was a pain. It's promising that they're planning on updating the points to reflect how the meta changes. Besides, once you've picked your army you don't need to know how much it cost. What is strange is that the datasheet has wargear options on it. Why bother putting these on here if the points for them are listed elsewhere? Wouldn't it make more sense to remove this section to save space? You'll have to refer to your army list to see what everything is equipped with anyway.

Anyway, it's interesting that units can still potentially have two different battlefield roles. Opens up the possibility of thematic armies for things like Blood Angels and White Scars where assault troops and bikes respectively can be take as Troops.

I know Keywords are nothing new really but for 40K I think they make a lot of sense. You can easily group units together for things like how they interact with cover, how they're affected by special rules, what vehicles they can board.

Again, it's a shame that we weren't given a more interesting unit as an example. What we can gleam from this though is that Force weapons act differently. Swords are still the lowest in strength compared to axes, staves, etc but they now have better AP! With no Initiative any more you'd have to wonder how much they cost relative to each other because presumably they all strike at once now. You'd have to wonder how Force weapons compare to their Power weapon counterparts though.

Finally, interesting that models within the same unit can have different movement values. Does that mean coherency isn't a thing anymore? I know you could sometimes have characters in a unit that moved differently but had to remain in coherency but with templates gone you have to wonder what the mechanic will be now.

Points & Power Levels
Well, first thing that strikes me here is that the Ambush mission deployment looks pretty brutal if the defender is a shooty army and the attack is combat based! Starting pretty much in charge range looks nasty. Still this is a Narrative mission by the looks of the description.

I'm liking the idea of power levels. Points are all well and good but they're often a little meaningless and you end up spending ages deciding between two 5 pt upgrades to use up those final points. Just being able to pick units to a certain power level cost takes a lot of that nonsense away. Perhaps in my casual games we'll switch to this if the power levels seem reasonably sensible.

Onto some actual points and a tactical squad marine is now 13 pts (formerly 14) but a multi-melta is now 27pts (formerly 10). The rumours of super marines not withstanding, that certainly feels like marines aren't going to suddenly return to their status in the fluff as brutal fighters capable of taking on multiple lesser foes. Of course, we haven't seen how much anything else is yet so we've got no yardstick but it's interesting that they think 2,000pts will be a two hour game. If true, that either means higher points in tournaments or else the possibility of getting a fourth game into a one day event if you stuck at 1,500pts.

Sidenote: I'm in favour of the game being more streamlined but if it becomes too quick to play it will definitely lose some of its identity. Of course we can play bigger games but having shorter games has the potentially to make it feel less... epic somehow.

The big hammer drop here though is Summoning. No more freebie units. Instead you'll be using your "Reinforcement Points" to determine how much you can summon. Also worth noting here than Infiltrate and Deep Strike are still things that exist. I still hope they limit the units factions that can use Summoning (Keywords make this simple to do). You can make whatever fluff argument you like for an Eldar farseer suddenly summoning some Slaanesh daemons but to me it feels incredibly wrong.

There's a big question mark here about whether GW will actually try to keep maintaining balance by tweaking points for weapons/units but at least they're recognising the concept and allowing for the potential to balance things.

Stratagems
The term isn't anything new to 40K. They've been around in things like Planetstrike for a long time. I've never been a fan of them in that guise though as they're an extra thing to choose when selecting your army and more things to remember to do (and more importantly be aware that your opponent can do) during the game.

I'm reassured then that it sounds like everyone gets access to the standard three presented here but there'll also be some for each faction. Providing this doesn't end up with silly amounts I think it's a good mechanic that adds some tactical depth. Deciding when to burn your command points is a key thing to master in games like Space Hulk and I can see it being the same here. Use them early on trivial things and you might regret it when you need them for something more vital later.

Seems like a good way of rewarding people for creating armies that use fewer combinations of factions too and for adhering to FOCs with what they select. I like the Stratagems shown here. You can see that they'll be useful and the costs seem reasonable too. One point for the re-roll, which may not work out anyway, but two points for the Stratagems with guaranteed rewards.

Hopefully there'll be other characters besides Bjorn that affect the amount of command points you receive or how you'll use them. I'm fully expecting Warlord Traits to be a thing of the past (one less thing to bother with in pre-game) and Command Points/Stratagems seem to be a great replacement.

Conclusion
I'm really struggling to find fault in most of what GW is doing here. I'm still skeptical about their ideas of balance and every unit being useful but it all seems to be going in the right direction. The 8th edition of our beloved game is shaping up to be recognisable as 40K but without a lot of the baggage that has made it less fun to play.

Speaking of which, I really hope we get a post on the pre-game sequence (and that it's clearly mapped out in the new rulebook). This has always been one of my big problems with 40K. When it takes some armies about 30 minutes to even start putting models on the table it's easy to see why new players might be put off. If Warlord Traits are gone, Psychic Powers aren't random anymore, etc then maybe we'll get stuck into killing each other a lot sooner. That has to be a good thing.

With the amount of stuff they've already released, you'd have to think that the new edition is coming pretty soon. What they've said though is that every faction will be a getting a "Faction Focus" article in the run up. They're releasing them every other day at the moment. We've had four so far and there's something like 21 factions left (depending on how you define them e.g. are Skitarii and Cults just Ad Mech now?). That means another month and a half unless they either a) increase the frequency, b) merge some factions or c) aren't actually going to cover all of them. If everything stays the same we'd be looking at the end of June rather than the mid-June release I'd originally guessed.

Still, the smart money is on them announcing the date for pre-orders at Warhammer Fest and I'll be there so I can hopefully let you guys know what I find out!

Monday, May 15, 2017

New 8th Edition 40K Rules - Faction Focus

Seems like GW are releasing one of these articles every other day so the next one will probably be out before you read this. These articles are pretty light on meaty content but there's still some useful stuff to be teased out of (most of) them.

Faction Focus - Chaos Space Marines
You have to feel for CSM players. They got the first codex in 6th edition only to spend the rest of it feeling like they were screwed over by every subsequent book that came out. They're getting a similarly raw deal now. They get the first Faction Focus article but despite writing a lot of words, Frankie (off of Frontline Gaming), doesn't actually tell us anything of substance. Those units you don't use. They're good now they are. That's basically it.

Clearly GW have responded to the complaints about this on social media and all the other articles now have at least a couple of titbits of actual info in them. Poor old CSM players will have to wait (possibly until release day) for anything more useful.

Faction Focus - Astra Militarum
More of the same puff piece that makes you think your Guardsmen will be a forced to be reckoned with and that some rarely seen unit (here Rough Riders and Bullgryns) will now be a viable choice. There's some useful information thrown in here though such as Ratlings (and presumably all snipers) being able to target Characters.

We get some actual stats too. A Leman Russ will be T8, 3+ save and 12 wounds. It's interesting to compare this to a Dreadnought. Formerly AV12, 3HP it now gets eight T7 wounds with a 3+ save. Clearly the Leman Russ is tougher but with the new To Wound chart it doesn't seen hugely better than a dread. It'll be interesting to see if a Land Raider gets a 2+ save or higher toughness to correlate with the AV14 all round.

Orders are now automatic (cutting out a Ld test - more streamlining). First Rank, Second Rank seems similar to how it does now but for me the interesting thing is that Rapid Fire seems like it'll work in the same way it does now.

Faction Focus - Eldar
Again, more talking up of units with minimal back up. The snippets are interesting again though.

Phoenix Lords sound like they'll be cheaper and offer some army (or at least bubble) benefits. Oh and Asurman deals some mortal wounds with his sword. Good for him! Guide, Doom and Fortune are back but no word on how they work or how easy they'll be to cast. Sounds like both Striking Scorpions and Howling Banshees have had some love too. Still can't see how the Banshees will make it into combat though, even if they are really fast moving.

The last little bit is the Wailing Doom. We don't find out how many attacks the Avatar gets, whether he'll be more durable, faster or given a new model but we do know some things about his sword. Nothing that drastic here. It's what you'd expect from it really. Dealing D6 damage will make a huge difference when the Avatar is taking on a single multi-wound model but won't stop him getting stuck wading through a pile of weaker models though. At least Morale might help him there.

Sidenote: has combat resolution gone then? Do you just roll for Morale at the end of the game if you lost models? Can you still overrun units? Have they already told us this and I've missed it?

Anyway, as an anti-tank weapon it's pretty decent but isn't likely to be one-shotting anything substantial. Taking a chunk of wounds from an MC is a massive upgrade for the Wailing Doom (and indeed the meltagun) though.

Faction Focus - Chaos Daemons
Easily the most significant bits of info in this post out of the lot. It really seems like GW are trying to release more and more information in these posts. I mean, I'm assuming they schedule these posts like I'm doing with mine but it's interesting that they're getting more and more meaty.

I like the Khorne mechanic of what is effectively Furious Charge in this Initiative-less world. Interesting that it works in the first round of combat regardless of who charged too. Tzeentch giving a bonus to invulnerable saves isn't really that new but interesting that a LoC now has 4++ and 16 wounds (although we still don't really know how invulns work). I'm sure Daemons players won't be happy but I'm pleased that splitting Horrors are being dealt with too. Having a unit that always takes at least three turns to get rid of was stupid. You can still do something similar but you'll have to allow yourself some "Reinforcement Points" for this.

Sidenote: makes me wonder what other uses Reinforcement Points have. Tervigons spawing gaunts for example. What about things that weren't freebies in 7th?

Daemonettes sound similar to Banshees in that they're striking first the majority of the time. Having said that, I'd again wonder how they're going to get their alive though. Interesting that the larger the unit the better they are too. Maybe there'll be other things to discourage MSU for other factions too.

Nurglings are getting what sounds like FNP 5+ which isn't much of a surprise but makes me wonder if other units will be losing it. Interesting ot see what Mischief Makers does. Sounds like they can do some sort of Infiltrate move.

Obviously, the big deal for Daemons came in the Points and Power Levels post with Summoning no longer giving you "free" units. So far, Daemons seem to be the army that will seem the most different in 8th. No more spamming summoned units, no more piles and piles of psychic dice to buff a single psyker, no more silly combos of characters to make incredibly resilient units. Daemons had a long period of being a low tier army. Whilst I'm really not a fan, I hope they don't get relegated back there. It's early days though and I'm not going to condemn them yet (unlike a lot of people on FB). I still think Summoning will be a useful mechanic that gives you a tactical advantage in that you can bring in the right tool for the job and that having a pile of psykers on the table will still be advantageous.

Conclusion
This all reminds me a bit of the NFL in the offseason. The hype slowly builds for all of the teams so that you really start to thing your crappy franchise (the Bears) will have any hope in the season. Then the season starts and you remember they've still got a crap roster and won't be winning anything. I really hope I'm wrong!

One thing I do like is that Reece and Frankie are writing these posts. They know more about the current meta than it seems GW themselves do. Talking about things like Screamers with re-rollable 2+ saves is at least an acknowledgement of some of the problems with the game as it is now.

I really can't see how their claims of "every unit will now be viable" (or words to that effect) can be true. There's too many units for everything to be useful. Perhaps the gap between units will be smaller but I still reckon there'll be units that get spammed whilst others still don't get used. Maybe these will be different ones to what we see now but there'll still be more preferable choices in competitive play.

Still, I'm finding myself more and more addicted to these posts and therefore more excited for 8th edition. Good job on that at least GW. Sure I don't necessarily like everything they're doing but at least they're doing something! None of us really wanted a 7.5th edition that didn't really solve the problems of 7th. We didn't want AoS (as it originally happened) either. Despite the nay-sayers on Facebook telling you other wise, this isn't AoS for 40K. They've clearly learned a lot from how that went down with people. Actually involving the community in the whole process is a massive step forward.

Cautious optimism remains.

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