So we will read, discuss, and then maybe play test and tweak it. The plan is for me to cover a couple sections a post, roughly ten or so pages worth at a time depending on size. You see the 2nd ed rule books weren't really chapter or index set. There is a table of contents with bold sections for topics but little else. Given my goodie goodie nature and GW's rampant litigious nature I will only photograph at best two pages an update.
Well, let's begin with the first three sections comprising pages 4-13!
I'm not sure how readable this page is but... READ IT ANYHOW. Stop getting your palms hairy and damaging your vision to Daemonette porn. (Also try clicking for bigger.) The game is about playing with friends. Not being a try hard win at all cost type. Not an art project with a game attached. It's a game with lots of things to make a greater whole, with different folks liking certain bits more than other.
The included minis are 2-4 part plastics that are easily assembled. No glue is even needed! They give a little simple advice on taking them off the sprues and even painting them but it's not a hard sell. They want you playing quickly. PLAYING. With the quick start book you could be playing mini games within minutes of opening the box!
They even gave you a cardstock Ork Dreadnought so you could see how vehicles work in the game. Good stuff!
Next they show how to assemble the card scenery and the Thudd Gun template. After that they talk about the included dice and the specialty dice plus list what each die has on it which could be nice if you need to make your own with stickers. A quick guide to the RPG dice and how to get by without them though in a slower way than just buying a set of polyhedrals.
Next section is Starting the Game.
They go over the basics of what you are doing with the included minis and they intend games to be one army list per side though with multiple players controlling various units as an option. (Something few team games ever did. Probably should have really,) Point size is brought up with 1000 being Alan evening's game, 1500-2000 being a long afternoon or evening game, and 3000 being an all day affair. Which in reality is overdoing it but for new players it isn't exactly far from the mark.
Table size is recommended to be a 5 by 3 kitchen table as the minimum with 6 by 4 or 8 by 4 feet being ideal. Terrain is brought up and they encourage about half the table to be terrain which they say keeps the game fair and interesting.
While there is some encouragement to buy more stuff or to get tutorials from you nearest GW store in general they are clearly writing to people playing home games with pals. Some simple and cheap ways to get you by with terrain and even make your play space a touch bigger. It isn't the modern hard sell at all. It was about getting you gaming ASAP and encouraging you to expand and improve at your own pace.
Now we get into setting up the table with options for how to make the battlefield fair either by alternating terrain placement with limits to the amount in your deployment zone or for one player to set it all up, and then the other chooses which side he wants.
Again, more things to try to make a good and fair game. Which is more fun for everyone outside of the try hard power gamer who needs to make up for their micro penis or something. Who the hell wants to bother with a game if they just get crushed by bs?
The actual deployment zone is on the docket, with 12" open on each side, and 24" between forces. Meaning on average rifles are shooting at each other on the first turn unless you have lots of terrain and maneuver. You know, what makes it a FUN BATTLE. Watching your whole army die to Long Range guns is ass. This way normal grunts have a purpose. And also can get stuck in and make your camping wieners pay for being cowards.
Terrain set up is given a lot of text, with some options for random rolling and ideas on what sort of terrain you should have and in what quantities. Andy and Rick keep saying that you should have an exciting game. THEY CARE ABOUT THE GAME.
Deployment and Strategy Rating (SR) is up next. Basically take your SR and add a D6 roll. They even cover what to do if you have allies and their SR. Dudes can start in Hiding and vehicles at their Slow or Stop speeds. My only issue is here is that it kind of contradicts itself a couple of times as to exactly what the order is. Do you just use the SR? SR plus the roll? One paragraph says side with lowest SR must deploy first, while the previous one says "To determine which player deploys his models first and who has the first turn, different armies have what's called a Strategy Rating".
So if I am understanding it correctly:
1: Roll D6. Side who rolls highest chooses deployment zone.
2: Lowest SR then deploys.
3: Roll D6 and add Commander's SR. Winner goes first.
(A bit badly worded. We probably did this wrong all the bloody time I bet.)
If correct this means basically Space Marines with an SR of 5 will almost ALWAYS go before Tyranids with their awful rating of 1 since The Nids need a 5 to tie the Spammers' lowest possible roll of a 1 (which I presume would cause a reroll. It isn't mentioned unless it was on the quick start booklet.), and win on a 6. Plus the Marines get to see where the Nids are. Of course Nid players knowing this will generally start their bugs behind cover as much as possible.
So fairly balanced I guess. The bold bit is me rereading something that I bet a ton of folks missed. So even if you have a massively high Commander SR you still might not go first as it is just used to see who goes first. I LIKE THIS. It reduces the uber commanders a bit while still making them useful.
Mention of Infiltrators is brought up. Basically they can be placed in the Battle Zone provided the enemy doesn't have line of sight to them, and if behind cover or concealed they can start Hidden. If BOTH sides have em you roll off on a D6. Loser puts all of his down first.
A quick overview of the game turns in the simplest manner explaining why the game ends after four turns (usually) and we are ready to go. Ish.
The next chapter is Mission Cards. Victory is determined by Victory Points. (VP) You can get these based on killing and damaging units with the more expensive units being worth more than a smaller one. (This could cause Tryhard Scum to try to game things with how they build units but honestly it is probably more of a pain in the tuckus than it would be worth for NORMAL WELL ADJUSTED PEOPLE.) You also gain VPs through said cards. You can randomly choose, select them, and even keep the choice secret though they recommend not because they say it makes it more fun. I kind of agree. I have six missions, with two different colors in the deck. This could be one big group shuffle so there is a chance both sides would randomly get the same one or allow for both sides to secretly select. A fair setup really. Knowing the other side's mission can provide fun as you both try to succeed in your mission but deny the opponent and vice versa. Keeping it secret adds in some tension however. But the choice is YOURS.
Again I am ashamed to admit we never really used them. WE SHOULD HAVE.
They helpfully remind us that Spammer squads are worth 2 total VP per half squad as they tend to have their 10 man squads broken down into 5 bangers. And a tank would be worth 2 as well with clarifications as to what makes a tank destroyed. (Generally one point for knocking something under 50% status, and another one for wiping it out. Being Broken also counts as being eliminated.)
They are then a little cheeky about winning with highest VP counting all of the stuff and then basking in glory and that having a lot of VPs means you really owned your opponent. (1-2 is marginal, 3-4 good, 5+ LOL.)
Game length is brought up with a couple options, four turns being default. Options to play to time, score, or roll before the game for a variable 3-5 turn game are included.
So far I am generally impressed by the rules and the writing. It is a lot better than anyone gave it credit for. The wording is a little odd in some cases but its a light and accessible style, almost like a friend is teaching you the game instead of some dry Avalon Hill styled rulebook for nerdlingers.
Join us next time for Characteristics, Squads, Cavalry, The Turn, and Movement Phase. About 10 pages of rules overall. What other forgotten words or ancient memories will we discover? Forget justice! I want to find truth!
And I am slowly building up forces both to properly populate Advanced Space Crusade & Tyranid Attack as well as getting that Astronomican scenario some Orky ladz:
(Not shown: still sealed Rogue Trader blister pack of three Genestealer Hybrids. I only paid 20 bucks for it but part of me feels BAD about opening it. And some plastic Nobz I got online from a bitz seller.)