Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Last post we looked at the core rules and terrain, in this post we are going to take a look at army building and the missions through all 3 styles of play, Open, Narrative, and Matched play.  Once again, I'm going to thank my good friend and owner of Maxx Collectibles, Garth, for giving me access to these books so I can write this post and not be the last one(as is often the case).  Lets jump right in with...


Let's start with the battle forged army.  This army is build using the detachments provided in the rule book, or in the upcoming codexes.  Detachments will have a number of restrictions placed on them such as limitations on factions within the detachment, limitations on battlefield role slots, and benefits that are provided if all the restrictions are met.  For matched play there is a suggested limitation on the number of detachments an army should contain at different point levels, but other styles leave that up to you.

Now looking at the types of detachments and the restrictions of having a battle forged army, the matched play style bumps up the restrictions another notch.  All of the UNITS in your army, unless you have an "Unaligned" army, must share at least one faction keyword even if they are in different detachments.  Now this confuses me a little because there is no "Unaligned" faction keyword yet it is written in all caps and in the same font as "Imperium" and "Chaos", the 2 alignments they use as examples.  So what I get from this is that if you have a detachment that has "Imperium" or "Chaos" as faction keywords, then every unit in your army must have at least one common faction keyword.
This strikes me as a bit odd as it gives "permission" to have Tau and Nids as allies.  Open and Narrative play have no such restrictions because if you have Eldar and Slaanesh in the same army you either don't care or your Narrative is broken.

As I have mentioned these detachments several times, I guess I should go into what they look like in a little more detail.  Each detachment has an assortment of battlefield role slots available to it, much the same way the CAD did previously.  Although with 12 different detachments in the main rule book, there is a good amount of variety in ways to build your army.  For example, there is the Battalion Detachment, which closely resembles the CAD we all know and love.  It has a minimum requirement of 2 HQ units and 3 Troops units and has the option to include 1 more HQ, up to 3 more Troops, up to 6 Elites, up to 3 Fast and Heavy, and up to 2 Fliers.  While the Vanguard detachment has a minimum of 1 HQ and 3 Elites with an optional 3 Troops, 3 Elites, 2 Fast, 2 Heavy, and 2 Fliers, that means an all Dreadnought army for some people...

There are benefits to taking some detachments over others besides the different battlefield roll slots. The Battalion Detachment grants you +3 Command Points while the Vanguard Detachment only grants +1.  What are these Command points I speak of?  They are points that you can use to activate stratagems throughout the game.  The basic game has 3 standard stratagems, re-roll a die, interrupt the order of chargers attacking, or auto passing a morale test.  Many of the Narrative missions have stratagems specific to that mission which I will get into later.  These stratagems cost typically 1-3 Command points and depending on your play style have limitations as to how many times and when you can use them.  Matched play limits you to using each only once per phase.

Now that we have discussed the shape of the army, lets discuss the size of the army, because most of the time you don't want to fight an army that is twice your size in power level.  Now the open style of gaming is, as the name suggests, completely open.  Feel free to bring whatever you want and however much of it you can carry.  However be aware that if you are heading out to a local gaming store this method just aint gonna fly.  So GW has come up with 2 methods of limiting the size of the army, Power Level and Points.  Now points is a system we all know and love, each model, each piece of wargear and upgrade is worth a specific number of points and you build an army with a point "cap".
Power level is similar, but different.  Each unit comes with a power level, listed on their data slate, that increases as the unit increases in size but does not change with wargear changes or upgrades.  This is a real simple way to build an army quickly and get it relatively "balanced" for a quick start.  I actually really like this method of army building and I'll tell you why.  For a long time the idea of having a "sideboard" or alternate army lists available, in tournaments and events, has been talked about.  The idea being that an army would adjust it's weapons and/or units dependant on what it would be facing and that a tank wouldn't be missing a dozer blade because Dave over there really needed that Stormbolter.  This gives the game some tactical diversity so that you don't auto lose due to a bad match up because of how the meta in your area is sitting.  In the latest meta from 7th ed, the strong lists were typically Imperial Deathstars, Eldar, Tau, and Daemon summoning.  If you built a list that you could deal with all those lists, but don't have the stopping power to deal with big mobs, one bad match up against a Green Tide trashes your chances of winning an event.  There are several other games that employ ideas like this, Magic the Gathering, Warmachine/Hordes (I think).
With the Power level style, since wargear doesn't affect your power level, you are able to swap out wargear and upgrades on a whim simply swapping out models or magnetised arms to suit the enemy you are battling.  It would make checking and building army lists amazingly easier but it presents a problem in how to determine when and where unit changes can be made.  I think that it would be acceptable to finalise changes to a unit as it is being deployed.  That way as players alternate their wargear changes as they see what the enemy army has brought to the table, giving the game yet another tactical angle.
This does run into another issue, and I think is dependent on a very strict WYSIWYG requirement and a VERY clear understanding in "counts as armies".  In situations like that I would not allow simple swaps like "this dreadnought, that looks just like the other 3 I have, is actually an Ironclad."  If you want it to be an Ironclad, you have to do something to it, modelling wise, to make sure it looks like an Ironclad.
The biggest issue with Power Level is that some upgrades are more expensive than others for a good reason, they are better.  If points isn't an issue, then all armies will employ all the best wargear to the point where armies with the best weapons will have an advantage regardless of the expense of the upgrades.

Along with the army building restrictions, each play style comes with a couple missions designed to aid that play style.  The open play missions are very simple with very few special rules.  I won't spend any more time on these because of their simplicity.  They are great missions for getting people into the game or for shooting the shit with a buddy and having a handful of beers, but they don't have depth or balance for a great story or competitive play.

The matched play missions have not changed all that much.  The 6 Eternal War and the 6 Maelstrom of war missions see a return with some minor changes, mostly clean up and simplifying.  I have not compared the Maelstrom objective list so I can't tell you if your current set of cards is viable, but they seem to be pretty much the same.
The biggest change to Matched play games is the 3 new deployment maps that have been added.  Each of the 3 new maps (actually one is old) leaves the armies with a 18" space between deployment zones, as opposed to the 24" space practised by the returning 3.  I really like this as it bumps the assault armies a little, getting them a little closer right from the start of the game.  I think this offsets the Hammer and Anvil deployment where power shooting lists can avoid combat armies.  The maps are very unique shapes as well, 2 of them being a version of Hammer and Anvil and Dawn of War respectively where the deployment line points towards each other.  It's a little wonky, and I can see how it's going to be a bit of a pain in the ass trying to measure that out, but it's something different and I am ok with that.

Now we come to my favourite part, the Narrative missions.  These things bring back so many memories it give me chills.  For those of you who have played for a while, all the way back to 4th edition, you will remember that in the back of the rule book there were dozens of missions directed around narrative play.  They were not well balanced, probably not play tested, with deployment zones that would make a physics major weep, but the story you could weave with these missions were amazing.
There are 6 of them, and while I am not going to sit here and go over each one, I feel like I would be doing a disservice to "fluff junkies" everywhere if I did not talk about my favourite, AMBUSH!  The narrative behind this battle is that there is a column of army A making it's way along and it suddenly gets ambushed from all sides by army B.  Picture this, if you can.  The defender's deployment zone is a 12" strip that extends from the centre of one of the short table edges to the middle of the table and the attacker's deployment zone is everywhere else that's 18" away.  The mission then suggests how to set up terrain and what type of terrain to use.  As it's an ambush it suggests that the attackers deployment zone be dense with terrain while the defender's be a relatively sparse path to the opposite edge of the table.
In addition to a couple special rules like Dawn Raid, there are 6 dedicated Stratagems, 3 for each player, to use throughout the game.  The attacker can spend point to perform a "Preliminary Bombardment", while the defender can make a reactionary shooting attack with one of his units that was targeted.
The victory conditions are that the defender must try to get as many unit to the opposite short table edge as possible, once they make it there they can leave the table and have "Escaped".  Add up the Power level of all the units that have escaped and if the total is more than 1/3 of the starting power level, the defender wins.

That's it for this one folks.  I'll not spill the beans on everything, besides, I'm sure you've seen everything I've mentioned here on the interwebs anyway.
To say the least, I'm pretty excited for this new edition of Warhammer.  Looking forward to running, and playing in some new events.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

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