Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Welcome back to Warhammer 40K 7th edition

I never played this, but apparently a rubber hose is an unwieldy AP2 weapon.

So, you're coming back to 40K after a long absence.  The last time you played was 5th edition, maybe earlier.  What's different?

Oh boy.  You'd better sit down.

6th edition was the biggest change 40K has had since the 2nd-3rd edition change, and 7th edition and newer army books took those changes further.  

Most is the same or similar.  Stat lines are the same, WS4 still hits WS3 on a 3+, power armor is a 3+ save.  But a lot is different.  If you're coming back to the game, take the time to read through the rules.  A number of things you may want to focus on:

  • Premeasuring - remember having to actually guess ranges for your artillery?  No more.  You can measure anything at any time.  So if you want to be sure your melta gunner gets within 6" of the land raider when you move the squad - you can measure it while you're moving to be sure.  
  • Movement by model - units still have to stay in coherency, but you can leave the guy with the Heavy weapon stationary to fire while others in the squad reposition.  No more one guy moves, whole squad counts as moving for shooting.
  • Army construction - this is a doozy.  It's the wild west out there now with ways to build your force.  The old force org chart (1-2 HQ, 2-6 troops, etc.) is still there, under the name "Combined Arms Detachment" and is still the default way to build an army.  But you can use all kinds of detachments, formations and add-ons willy-nilly.  A formation is a collection of units, often with special rules attached.  Detachments are collections of units or even of formations, often with special rules attached.  Newer army books have unique detachments they can use and various formations.  A common detachment that everyone has access to is the allied detachment, letting you bring a few units from another army to fight along your main force.  You can also buy fortifications.  There are many, many other formations and detachments, and crazy combinations possible.
  • 40K is bigger.  Big monsters are everywhere, and things previously only seen in Apocalypse games are a common sight.  
  • Unit types - review these.  There are often special rules inherent with the unit type. With 40K being bigger, be sure to review the monstrous creature, flying monstrous creature, flyers, gargantuan monstrous creature and super-heavy vehicle rules.
  • Shooting - review Snap Shot rules and Overwatch.  There are times when you can still shoot, but do so poorly, and some weapons are restricted.  You can shoot at units trying to assault you, but do so poorly.
  • Wound allocation - hit closest models first, keep hitting them until they die, then move to next closest.  
  • Assault - aside from Overwatch, some big changes:
    • Random charge distances
    • Many close combat weapons have AP values now, not "ignore all armor" like they used to.  Power weapons are not all the same, they have different effects and advantages depending on the type.
    • Challenges - characters can seek each other out in the fight.
  • Psychic powers - there is a separate psychic phase when you cast all your powers.  You don't take a leadership test to cast, you use psychic dice similar to how WHFB did it.  Want the power to go off?  Commit more dice to the attempt, but the more power you pour in the more likely  you'll have to deal with the Perils of the Warp.
  • Vehicles - have "wounds" now, called Hull Points.  Bigger vehicles have more.  A glancing hit removes a hull point, a penetrating hit takes a hull point and rolls on the damage table.  The damage table is more forgiving.  Still a chance to one-shot a vehicle depending on your weapon and the vehicle.
  • D-weapons - have a chance to just wipe you out with no save of any kind.  Super-heavy units have D-attacks, and they have started to creep into other places as well.  No matter how tough you make your character, there are things out there that can make them just disappear.

There are more, but I think those are the main things that would confuse a returning player.  Know that there are differences, adjust as you go and you'll do fine.  


  1. As much as I'd like to say that I'm coming back to 40k (even if only to justify expanding my proxy-Grymn Army), I just don't see it happening.

    A few of us in my gaming group are pondering going back to an earlier edition though, 5th seems to be the overall favorite currently...

    1. IMO, the 7th ed rules themselves aren't that bad, it's the individual armies and some of the units. I was playing around with using 7th ed rules with 3rd ed codicies, back when most units had maybe one special rule.

    2. Part of the problem with 3rd was that many of those single special rules were both really complicated, actually being several rules in one with ATSKNF being the most notorious example, and they tended to be 'special snowflake' rules that expanded laterally from the basic rules rather than simply elaborating on them.

  2. I left in 5th and came back for 7th and really enjoy the changes. I feel they bring a bit more "realism" to my futuristic fantasy battles.

    1. Yeah, there's throwing grenades, using grenades on MCs in combat, challenges, maelstrom missions, close combat weapon profiles, hammer of wrath, daemonology, and fluffy super-detachments.

  3. A lot depends also on who you are playing with and what you both are wanting out of the game. If both players are not playing to the same mind set then neither one will have fun more then likely regardless of which edition of the game. granted there are some rules in this or that edition that I liked or disliked but overall 7th is not bad rules wise.

    1. 7th is an improvement over 6th, at least core rules.

  4. a really welcome article! the Pilgrims have been languishing for the better part of 4 years with little attention. I've wanted to get back into the game-store 40k scene again. but 7th seems, pricey for books and the proliferation of Knights or other big-stompy death machines, i thought would unbalance the way things work and leave a much more cluttered/ less "realistic" table? do you feel like that's the case? or is that just my misconception. I guess my question is more, local meta for points scale, and use of larger units, than an actual question of the way 7 works.

    1. The release schedule was crazy for a while, with 7th coming out right on the heels of 6th and some armies with new books soon after their 6th ed books, releases for new armies like admech and campaign books, etc. No way to really keep up with it all, and I certainly didn't try. In our casual/semicasual group we haven't seen a lot of big stompy death, a wraithknight, occaisional imperial knight, we broke out a lot of big things for a megabattle but that was about it.

      We've been doing a lot of escalation leagues, 500-1000-1500 etc., sometimes things with other point levels, 1850/2000 is the usual top end we see.

      Dark Vengeance (Chaos/Dark Angels), Stormclaw (Orks/space wolves), and Deathstorm (blood angels/nids) all have mini rulebooks. Careful if buy a DV, make sure it's 7th, not 6th if looking for the rules. On their own, the mini books look like they're going for 25-30USD on ebay.


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