Sunday, June 14, 2015

Space Marine Codex 7th edition Review

First of all- I feel like I should be doing this review on twitter- because the frequency of the "new" space marine codex release is so quick you'd need a web 2.0 social media client to keep up. Seriously- how long? Under 2 years. I guess this is the release speed for the 2000-teens attention span.


I don't totally dislike the new art. It's functional. It gets the job done. It's not as bad as some of the 3rd ed art, in my opinion. I'm not in the "it's totally shit" camp, but lets compare the starting point with what we have in 2015. Roll back to Rogue Trader and into 2nd edition.

Now what's the story in 2015- well it's in colour, but it doesn't quite have the same "omph"

I was actually hard pressed to find entirely new art. There are a lot of line diagrams, like Brother Alos there. And some very cluttered photographs. The best thing I can say about the photos is that they convey an idea of colour (mostly)

And there is the new "Khal Draigo"-the-ultramarine, art :p

So- lots of colour printing, not a whole lot of feeling.

So I got the limited edition, mostly for the markers and cards. I got the "Successor chapters" version because it is the only one that says "Adeptus Astartes" on the side. It's a nice matt black. It covers Ultramarines, Whit Scars, Imperial Fists, Salamanders, Raven Guard, Iron Hands ..and their successor chapters, which include luminaries such as Black Templars, Legion of the Damned and Crimson Fists.
There are 111 pages of fluff, guff, art, structural charts, diagrams, maps, photos of minis and stories. Then at page 112 you get your first actual rules.
Gladius Strike Force- new decurion style detachment-containing-formations. Nice
A wargear list. 
Then 58 unit entries. Wow. That is a lot of units. Each is a page has type/ name/ cost header, a photo of the model, more fluff/guff, a listing of the rules and a listing of the options. But most of the special rules are NOT on the page, rather there is a page reference. The digital copy will be awesome, this- you need to know all your special rules for your army.
And then- 13 formations.. which is good, flexible, maybe a lot compared to some codexes.
So from a content point of view. Yikes that is a lot. And I get that they would need a double page to add the rules in. So it's a compromise. I guess I'm getting the digital enhanced as well.

Rules Balance
There are a lot of rules here and this is just a first look ..but..
Dreadnoughts. Compared to Helbrutes at exactly the same cost.. base 4 attacks and get Chapter Tactics- which are good I might add, still 100 points. Bah
Assault squads and devastators cost the same as basic marines- you just get different upgrades- jump packs for assault cost 3/pts a model. Noice.
I would say, with a few exceptions, most units get a minor buff in close combat- cheaper power weapons on vanguard, more attacks on the dread etc, but maybe not enough to bring them up to meta./Eldar
It's formations where things come unstuck. They are YIKES.

Librarian Conclave
Use one psyker to cast any of your powers as long as within 12". Make those warp charge checks on a 3+ or 2+ if 3 are within 12". Zap! 

Landraider Spearhead
Ignore everything except wrecked if within 6" of another landraider. Re-roll to wound gargantuan creatures or penetrate armour.

Everything gets objective secured. Nice. Get another Tactical doctrine use. Nice. Seems balanced. 440 points in their basic equipment. Where is the problem? Take 2 of them in a gladius detachment...which of course means you are fielding a complete battle company (of 5 man squads- so really at half strength). .. and you get your razorbacks, rhinos, drop pods for free. You would also need an "Auxiliary" unit- which can be complied for about 165 point if you want 


Anyway, that will, no doubt produce the sea of vehicles we used to see in 5th edition. Mobile cover at best. I.. I'm scratching my head. Competitive, um, maybe? Sell a lot of mins. Probably.

Ash out

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Void Gothic I

First of All
There is a mini-con I am hosting 2 games at called Gamefest
It should be really cool. One game I am running is assassination force. It is basically a Mansions of Madness style 40k game. Room discovery, events, bad guys.

I am also running a new hybrid RPG I am calling "The Void Gothic"

Wall of text description follows

The flavour
In the far distant future, mankind reached the stars, reveled for 10 millennia, and stalled, stagnant in the limitless void. Magik and arcane practices has replaced science. Politics is a tinderbox fueling pointless wars of attrition, that then grind on between factions for centuries as the lives of millions are lost.
And amongst the outer reaches of the galaxy, beyond the light of the Astronomican, dark forces immeasurable by humanity, stir. Cimmerian gods stalk between the Halo stars, thirsty and laughing.  

The why
This is an attempt to bring the Warhammer 40k universe back from big brightly colored guns and powered armour shoulder pads to it’s roots- Star vampires, gothic imagery of John Blanche, the deep emptiness of space, warfare with a steampunk, space travel with runic flight manuals, aliens that invoke horror, not explode with a splutch by the hundred. Alien not Aliens. HP Lovecraft in space not Starship Troopers (the movie).

I have run several campaigns set in the 40k universe and feel the best combination is
  1. the “Paranoia” inspired impetus of the Inquisition,
  2. the suspense of good horror movies and
  3. the truly massive scale of the 40k fiction, especially Battlefleet gothic, which draws on Dune and other dimensions (warping space) to travel faster than light, rather than just hand waving and forgetting about the distances and physics.    

Roleplaying pants- other than that, none- although if you own star-wars dice you are welcome to bring them.
Each character will get plenty of detail. If you don’t know what an Electro-Priest is or a Drill Abbot or a Necromunda hive ganger, don’t worry it’s all in the character description. In fact, not knowing works well- characters in the 40k universe/canon often know every little outside their lot in life. And those with depth in 40k lore may jump to some bad conclusions about adversaries, because what happens on the 40k tabletop and what happens in the roleplay environment  are very different. The roleplay milieu is investigation, social interaction, exploration, exploitation, factions within factions, profit, risk, betrayal..  

For those that are interested- and as this is not particularly combat heavy it probably won’t matter a great deal- the system is “Starwars Age of Rebellion” rules at it’s core. Roll dice, get threat, fail, success, advantage in various combinations. Roleplay the results - if you cause threat or advantage you decide what narrative effect that has- the bad guy slipped on the stairs, your brazier you clubbed him with has created a pall of smoke around you making it hard to see you etc. So it’s a chance +skill based narrative game. The people, skills stats are from dark heresy, but surprisingly they mesh really easily into the AoR scale. Same same. Unknown Armies is helping by replacing the Corruption and Insanity rules which were pretty flat. And damage is based on Kult- so weapons do scratches, wounds etc in a cumulative pyramid until you go splat. Pretty abstract and again, meshes well with the dice results system. And tracked by filling in boxes on your character sheet. No number crunching required, no chart to look up.