Lucky me, I ordered the Ultimate Bundle for GW's latest Edition and it was delivered this morning. Once I had the kids squared away and a few bits of business done, I was able to casually swan into my local GW, Signals Satchel over my shoulder, and ask if anyone else would like to have a look at the new rules. Small pleasures, and all that.
I have had a few hours to go over the book since then. Here are some quick first thoughts on what I have read so far:
1. Some of the changes seem to be essentially alternatives to previous systems, rather than improvements. Wound allocation, for example. In 5th, the way it was worked out was open to manipulation - I personally took full advantage with my Wolf Gaurd terminators, making sure everyone carried a distince load out. This new system - eliminating the closest models in both shooting and assaults first - is, at first glance, complicated. I expect it will become easy enough to do with practice but really, its still open to manipulation and is not really any closer to how a 'real' combatant would choose to do things or how 'real' combat works.
2. Its not all bad though. Some systems are brand new - flyers are a real thing now with real rules. There are also some interesting enhancements - close combat weapons with an AP value for example. This should work great for making CC units even more deadly. I'm not sure how it works when an attacker has two CC weapons, but I'm sure that will be ironed out soon enough.
3. Psychic powers could be awesome or could just really suck. The new powers are generally pretty cool. There's essentially a psychic power for giving/taking away every enhancement you can think of, (FNP, Counter-attack, and so on), as well as some flat-out destructive monsters and a bunch of gameplay/crowd-control effects too. It might be a tough decision to give up some of the Codex powers for a random one or two replacements, but there's definitely some good reasons to take a chance. BUT - any unit having the ability to resist psychic powers, with an even greater chance if there are friendly psykers nearby could just make the whole thing really frustrating. Yeah, Grey Knights are yet again going to be a real pain in the backside. The awesomeness of Space Wolf psychic poles and even vanilla psychic hoods is also somewhat reduced by this. And it stinks that Eldar, the most psychically advanced and attuned race in existence, can only choose from two disciplines. But Guard or Marines get to choose from any. Because humans are so sensitive to this stuff or something.
4. There's generally going to be lots more shooting in this edition. Overwatch and snap-shots mean that pretty much everything can fire everything all the time. MSU's and assault heavy emphasis of 5th could really be a thing of the past.
5. The Stormraven as a transport is now almost worthless. It used to be a fast skimmer that could move at high speed, shoot a high-powered weapon, and have a cover save. Now, unless it is nominated as a flyer, it moves at the same speed as a Land Raider but without the great armour or a cover save. If it moves fast enough for a cover save - no shooting. Not even with Machine Spirit.If it moves as a flyer it is still a viable gun platform but the benefit of Machine Spirit is pretty much negated. Other parts of the book lead me to believe GW wants more people playing on 6x4 tables, and possibly at 2000 points, so there is still the chance that having the ability to go flat-out most of the way across the table, then wait a turn before disembarking its passengers, then going to full-on flyer mode could still work. But on a 4x4 - might as well pony up the extra points for a Land Raider or save them with a Rhino and Predator.
6. Allies will be fun, buildings not so much. Well, maybe buildings, sorry, fortifications, aren't so stupid. I guess its just like having an extra vehicle or something with a big gun on top. My real objection is its a transparent attempt by GW to get us to hand over more cash for more plastic crap. And I swear, when some kid turns up with a f***ing ice cream tub he's not even bothered to spray black and tells me its a f***ing Fortress of Redemption, I'm going to ruin his life for him. Not his hobby. His life.
The inclusion of Allies, likewise, is a transparent attempt to get we poor fools to throw more money at Nottingham. 'Can't have Stormtalons in your Space Wolves/Blood Angels/Eldar army? No problemo - £27.50, thankyou very much! Codex balancing? F*** no! I work with Matt Ward!' Meh, well I have enough GW product to come up with dozens of interesting permutations before I need to fork out more cash.
So there are some very very early thoughts on the new game. I'm looking forward to limping my way through the first few games as we all get to grips with the new stuff and figure out what's broken from the old stuff.
On a side-note, the freebies that came with the Ultimate Bundle are awesome! The stachel from the Gamer's Edition is suprisiingly good - and it looks even better with my Purity Seal pin attached! Plus, my coffee tastes great from my Aquila mug! I'm looking forward to framing and mounting the print of the cover art and may even find a way to display the postcard prints of every cover art from every edition of the game! I am really not sure, however, what I am going to do with the certificate, thanking me for buying tons of GW stuff, signed by - a GW Marketing Executive I have never heard of!
I'm also not sure the guys at my GW store really appreciated me bringing all this stuff into the shop to show them, carrying it all in a Mantic satchel...