Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What The... 8th Edition 40K Is Actually... Good?

by SandWyrm

Ok, my head is officially spinning.

If you've spent ANY time on this blog, you've seen me constantly comparing 40K to Flames of War, as I used to consider the latter to be the gold standard for a well-designed, clearly written ruleset. While I considered 40K (especially the 6th and 7th Editions) to be the opposite.

But then Battlefront, a few months ago, completely crapped the bed with the 4th Edition of Flames, which I now consider to be all but unplayable. While Games Workshop seems to have completely redesigned 40K into an intelligently streamlined game that's actually a lot of fun to play!

I mean... The 8th Edition 40K preview copies came in to the local store, and the rules read well when I skimmed them. I watched some games between some guys testing out the rules. They were laughing and having fun, like back in the glory days of 5th, except that there weren't any silly rules arguments. Plus they said that just about every choice in the new books (all armies have finally been redesigned together, as in the 3rd Edition release) is useful in some way.

What? GW actually did this? Holy crap!

So tonight I cobbled together a couple of squads of Marines and a proxy Predator. I fought a small battle against an old friend who fielded a couple of tactical squads and a Dreadnought. And damned if we didn't have fun playing the game! Damned if every rules change that I learned about didn't make perfect sense! Nowhere did the system bog down into inane time-consuming mechanics. I haven't been this surprised by a 40K Edition since the debut of 5th. And... This is looking to be better than 5th. It's not really an evolution of 40k, so much as a new game that's set in the same universe. Tanks with wounds? How many times have we asked for that?

I mean the system has some things that I personally would have done a bit differently, but it all seems to fit together into a coherently designed whole. Which means that I can actually see myself playing 40K again. That's awesome!

So, with fingers crossed, I'll be lining up to buy my 8th Edition starter set this weekend. We'll see how I feel about the game once I can really sit down and study it. But man! I'm jazzed!


  1. What happens when a company like GW shifts their focus point, most people seem to be sold on the whole idea of 8th, so excited for Saturday...

    1. I'm still a bit suspicious about GW's focus, as the rulebook still refers to the game as a hobby, and puts ALL of the fluff in the front, and the rules in the back. But if it plays well, I won't care.

    2. True that, but I believe they are doing a rules extract that is just the rules (i.e the 8 pages), so I think that them staying in the same style for their main rulebook will be fine.

    3. The 8 pages are just the starter rules. There's a lot more in the actual big book.

  2. Cautious optimism about 40k at last?

    1. Yep! There are some potential stumbling blocks in the rules I skimmed (need to study them closer), but the core mechanics really do seem to be much improved.

  3. Is it really that different ? Does BS4 still hit on 4+ ? has movement changed ? what about the shoot move fight sequence ? Maybe I'm just not the audience...

    1. GW has gone to a "card" based system (if you can call a box on a rulebook page a "card").

      Each unit has a set movement value. There is no running in the movement phase. Infantry ignore most difficult terrain. You can run in the shooting phase D6". Charging is 2D6", with (if you get within 1" of the enemy) a 3" consolidation BOTH before and after you roll your attacks.

      Overwatch is automatic now. If someone charges your unit, that unit gets its full rate of fire, and hits on 6's.

      Characters are ALWAYS separate units, like in Kings of War. I love that.

      What you need to hit is right there on the unit card, with no BS conversions required.

      Marines still hit on a 3+, but heavy weapons can now fire on the move at a 1 point to-hit penalty.

      Vehicles have a high number of wounds, but their movement and to-hit values degrade with damage. When they die, they have a chance of exploding and dealing D3 or D6 auto-killing wounds to nearby units.

      Vehicles also have no facings, and are simply treated like any other model.

      There are no longer any templates.

      Plasma no longer auto-explodes on a 1+, unless you choose to "overcharge" a shot.

      Most vehicle guns get a random number of shots. For a Predator's autocannon it's 2D3.

      Toughness is now a chartless system where equal S/T = 4+, lower toughnesses require a 3+, and higher toughnesses require a 5+. If the toughness is double or more of the strength you need a 6+. If the Strength is double or more of the toughness, you need a 2+.

      So in theory there is no limit to strength or toughness.

      Weapons now have save modifiers instead of the old AP system (FINALLY!). Cover gives you a +1 save.

      Close-combat is now an alternate-activation system that works very nicely. Charges are resolved first, then you alternate activating each engaged unit with your opponent. There's lots of room here for hard choices, which I like.

      Leadership/Morale is a huge change. When a unit takes damage, you roll a D6 during the final turn phase, and add the number of casualties to it. If the total exceeds the unit's LD (Marines are a 7 now), you simply remove a model for each point that you exceeded your LD by.

      There is no theoretical maximum to LD either. Orks still base their LD on the number of models in their units.

      As my friend said, there are so many little changes and simplifications that you almost have to treat this edition as an entirely new game. Yet despite the simplifications, they've managed to retain the character of each faction. If that bears out in my study of the game, it will be quite the accomplishment.

      By the way, my little test game took about 30 minutes. The more average-sized game my friend played against some Necrons before that took about 90-120 minutes. That's a HUGE deal right there.


out dang bot!

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