Saturday, July 1, 2017

Initial 40K 8th edition impressions

I've played one game of the new 40K so far, ran an intro event and have seen parts of several games.  If you have seen a lot of videos or cruise forums regularly (I don't) I'm sure a lot of this may be old hat for you, but here's my initial take.

Is it fun?  Yes.  Like any edition of 40K or any game in general, it depends on who you play with.

Does it feel like 40K? Yes.  Things generally do the kind of things you expect them to.

Are there some odd things?  Yes.  With any abstraction there will be some things that some feel go too far that way, and some odd rules interactions.  Given that so far they have limited the rules interactions, there are less of those, but that usually seemed to be GW's rules-writing weakness anyways - rule A is fine, rule B is fine, but confusing when A and B both apply.

Impressions - again, some are likely old-hat if you've read a lot elsewhere, I doubt I'm the first, and consider my limited experience at this point.

  • Multi-wound models (like 2 or 3 wounds each) feel fragile for their cost.  Great against small arms fire, and potentially a chance against things like demolisher cannons that used to kill them outright, but the mid-power weapons that used to bounce off or plink away one wound now has them often taking worse saves and a good chance for multiple damage from one hit to kill htem outright.  Add in a variety of ways to take mortal wounds (which bypass all saves, including "invulnerable" ones) and expensive, well-armored units seem like a bigger risk.  
  • On the flip side, those well-armored guys are very hard to shift out of cover.  Small arms fire against marines in cover faces getting through effectively a 2+ save.  Before depending on what you were fighting, well-armored units could consider cover an afterthought, but now it can benefit them greatly.  You want to use heavier weapons to dig well protected units out of cover, which does feel appropriate.
  • Things have a lot of shots, but that can be deceptive.  With twin-linking giving double the old shots, being able to fire multiple weapons even if you moved, etc. there are probably more shots heading downrange than ever before.  However for some units that comes with a price - if you're using Heavy weapons, in many cases you don't ignore that -1 penalty for moving and shooting it, so those marines are hitting on 4s, guard on 5s.  I think it can be easy to overestimate the effectiveness of mobile firepower (of course some units and weapons ignore that penalty).
  • Hordes seem to be a thing.  At least with the games I've seen, it seems hard to thin them out quickly, and there are currently a number of mechanical bonuses that encourage larger units, like for ork boyz and some tyranid units, where they get bonuses with 20+ models.  With some missions having control of objectives based on number of models within range of the target, that's another benefit for the living carpet.
  • Deep strike, etc. is very reliable, but also gives less benefit without additional boosts like Warptime letting them get closer.  There is less risk, but less opportunity to take a risk in hopes of a reward.  With the general 9" away rule, a few spread out units can deny a huge area.
  • Flamers are great on overwatch, but not if you charge from over 8" away (or outside of whatever the auto-hit weapon's range is).  Of course less likely to make the charge, but one possible way of getting stuck in with those multiple flamer units.
  • Vehicles seem pretty survivable compared to before, with a lot less worry (at least for those that start over 6 wounds) about a one-shot kill.  Facing them, you definitely need to focus if you want to bring them down.
  • Terrain - while the very basic rules has terrain all working effectively the same, the more advanced rules and types of games can have different things working differently (Cityfight, etc.).  Be sure to review that and discuss with your opponent.
  • No cover from other units, both friendly and enemy.  Can still block LOS, but no getting cover for your tanks from an infantry screen, etc.
  • Everything overwatches, including tanks.  Watch out for that Russ with three heavy flamers.
  • Can move out of combat, but can't move through other models, so possible to get surrounded/surround the enemy and trap them.
  • Characters charging into combat seems difficult.  Since you're not attached to a unit, you don't charge with them.  Seems like either the unit is in front and charges first, then character tries, but a) starts further away and b) may not have a clear path anymore with friendly unit in the way so may be left alone in the open to get shot next turn, or character is in front and risks getting shot up, and risks making the charge while friendly unit fails it, leaving him fighting alone.
  • LOS from vehicles, firing arcs etc. are gone.  So your sponsons can see through to the other side, etc.  This opens up some conversion/counts as opportunities while staying WYSIWYG without messing with rules, like making a Leman Russ with battlecannon in the hull and a turret with three heavy bolters.  Chaos and Ork players especially take note.
  • Focus attention.  Aside from the horde bonuses mentioned earlier, it can be worthwhile making sure a larger model gets taken down a step in effectiveness, or enough wounds are done to a unit to give it a more serious morale check.  
  • Hit modifiers seem to work poorly with things like overcharged plasma weapons.  Modifiers are done to the actual die roll, not the target, so it looks like an overcharged plasma cannon shooting after moving that has a -1 to hit will kill itself on a roll of 1 or 2.  Add in that it's per shot, and that plasma cannon that does d3 shots is likely to die if overcharging.  So think very hard about overcharging plasma while shooting flyers or other things that give you a to hit penalty.
Overall I've enjoyed it so far, and look forward to more games and trying out more missions.


  1. Yeah I forgot to mention the number of hits vs shots on the new twin linked rule, seems a wash to me aside from the occasional 'lucky roll'. My wartrakks twin-big shootas used to average 2 hits per volley with rerolls, whereas with 6 shots the other night I still averaged 2 hits per volley.

    1. I think for orks twin link changes are a wash, other than higher potential when you get lucky as you say. I think it is more effective the better your shooting is, so marines, etc. get more out of the changes. A marine with TL heavy bolter before was looking at likely 3 hits, now probably 5.

  2. Most exciting part:

    "This opens up some conversion/counts as opportunities while staying WYSIWYG without messing with rules, like making a Leman Russ with battlecannon in the hull and a turret with three heavy bolters"

    1. Yeah, I look forward to seeing what people come up with as this sinks in further.


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