Sunday, 15 June 2014

My First 7th Ed Battle Report

An arctic battlefield for our 7th Ed debut
My chum Dave found himself wife- and daughter-less for a couple of days, so invited me along to play 7th Ed for the first time.  Although I own an e-copy of the rules I had yet to play it - and Dave hadn't until this same day where he played his first game that afternoon, so we were very much learning as we went.

The big changes I wanted to try out included the amendments to the psychic phase, which have added more of a sub-game to how psychic powers work; the new Unbound Army rules which allow you to skip some army-building requirements albeit at a small cost; and the new Maelstrom of War missions, which have random objectives that vary as the game goes on.  In the end neither of us made Unbound armies but the other two new ideas would be tried out.

Double the basic missions to choose from!  We rolled Contact Lost, Maelstrom of War mission #2.

So we sat down with 1000 points of troops, Dave's hardcopy of the rules and print-outs of a 7th Ed summary to play a wee game

Dave's army was far larger than mine - as usual, Chaos Space Marines tend to be a small elite army and even more so when I love Noise Marines so much.  Best of all for Dave, the amendments to the allies rule mean that all Imperial factions ally at the best level so he could finally do what he'd always wanted to do - stick a jump-pack Space Marine psychic in one of his Sisters jump-pack units for flying telepathic burnination death.

The combo he only got to try once before, until he realised it wasn't legal in 6th ed.

Poor ol' Dave's luck didn't hold out early on, though.  My numbers were small but my firepower immense - each Noise Marine unit, if it stood still, could bash out 21 standard Bolter shots 24" as well as two longer-range armour-punching hits.  My very first randomly rolled mission was to kill his general and I did that (plus almost all his bodyguard) in turn one.  My mission was worth D3 victory points.  I rolled a 3; everyone always scores 1 point for killing a general; and I scored 1 point for killing the first unit of the game.  We had only played for 30 minutes and the score was 5-0 in my favour.

See Dave's unit up the top?..... No?.... Oh, I must have taken the photo a second too late.
Dave was no slouch, however, and what he lacked in long-range firepower he made up for in close-range misery.  My army was small so every model lost was more of a problem, and he took out the heavy-support Vindicator siege tank early on turning it into purple-pink scenery.

The jump-pack unit ponder an assault on the iceberg.
Dave slowly clawed points back as he rolled "seize objective X" missions and through weight of numbers did that.  He slowly whittled down my unit sizes, though unit wipes seemed beyond him. 

The Sorcerer and his unit find themselves surrounded on all sides.
He was very loathe to close into melee with my characters because while they were worth objectives to him, he feared they would slice through him - and he was proven right when I counter-charged a Space Marine unit.  With the aid of the blessing of chaos (and the Icon of Excess, the standard of my unit which gives them all an extra chance to avoid wounds) I proved impossible to kill.

The Chaos Sorcerer swirls his Force Sword again and again.
However, with most of my army caught in battle while several of his units were disengaged, he was able to slowly rack up point after point while I failed to break free.  Despite my huge initial lead, Dave pulled it back so when the game ended on turn 5 he was 6-5 ahead and claimed the victory.

More sisters perish in turn 5 but the game goes to Dave regardless..
So, reflections at the end of my first 7th ed game?  Well, Dave finally gets his jumpy Librarian of goodness and I'm in two minds about that - it does make sense in story and isn't really overpowered to give the Sisters a hand, but I'm still a bit meh about letting Imperials have huge numbers of viable ally combinations when everyone else has so few.  (And in fact some people lost combinations - I used to be able to take Imperial Guard allies as Allies of Convenience with Chaos Marines).  But as I said, the Sisters hardly become broken with it.

Random objective missions?  Something I'd pondered doing before, and a lot of fun.  The feel was of a more mobile game where players had to scamper about the board reacting to new victory possibilities rather than just camp down around the one objective to defend and stay still.  I'd be interested to play on a larger table, where the objectives are further away to see how it affects play.  I did enjoy that half of the list are dependable "Hold objective X" while the other half are a bit weirder.

First half of the list is a bit repetitive but it gets cooler after that.

Anyone can claim an objective?  Didn't play up hugely here, but with Unbound Armies it would be more interesting.  I'm still suspicious of removing the one big trick Troops have but I don't want to judge without playing.  Chances of an all-Dreadnought army in my future are high....

Finally, the psychic phase.   This proved enjoyable enough - a bit more involved than the old rules without being as unwieldy as the old 2nded Dark Millennium card system, which was my big fear.  It also looks like it'd still be OK to play through without any Psyker, again unlikely Dark Millenium.

Not like this.
Next time round I wanna try the Daemonology rules and see what it's like to summon some horrors from the Warp.  Nothing quite like a surprise Greater Daemon...

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