Saturday, 31 July 2010

First game with 8th edition (finally)

It seems a long time since 8th edition hit the shelves. The pre-order countdown, the buzz on the internet, the wait for the parcel to arrive, it all built up to an exciting wait for this old nerd. But then one thing or another seemed to get in the way of actually playing the game, until last night. Finally, the moment of truth arrived, my Chaos Warriors took to the field against an Empire army. The game was a straight forward pitched battle and we left out the terrain effect charts, we were just concentrating on the rules changes. Having read quite a few forum posts about how vicious and quick the new game was, I was expecting a bloodbath.

For my army I pretty much stuck with my old style of small blocks of warriors (12 strong) and slightly larger units of marauders (18 strong), with a unit of 5 knights and 5 marauder horse and a couple of characters, one of which was a sorceror so I could try the new magic rules. My only change from 7th edition was to bump up a unit of ogres to 6 strong, to see how monstrous infantry performed. The Empire army was similarly built along fairly traditional lines, though there was a horde of 40 spearmen to contend with and a big unit of 12 knights. The rest were fairly typical blocks of 20 melee troops or 10 missile troops, with some elite/special infantry in smaller blocks.

I like the new movement phase, it's clean and easier than of old, no problems encountered. Charges are much easier to resolve, the random element can seem a nuisance but it's clear that the game is no longer about getting the charge so this turned out to be less of a concern to me than I first thought it might.

The new magic phase is a blast (ha ha). The random winds of magic, the casting restrictions (or lack of), it just seemed more exciting. We both managed to get off  a handful of spells, but none caused massive casualties, even the much feared Infernal Gateway was not devestating. We both threw plenty of dice to cast, but not one irresistible force came up.

Shooting had a bigger impact, artillery are obviously much improved without having to guess ranges. I was certainly glad that my marauder horse were able to take out the cannon after it's first shot blew away 2 ogres and a chaos knight. Anti-artillery measure will definitely be uppermost in my mind when I make future lists.

Combat was more involved. I like the fact that the whole unit gets involved in rolling some dice, not just standing at the back of the unit to make up the rank bonus. In one combat between 40 spearmen and 18 marauders with flails, there were half a dozen casualties each side, but most of the other combats were much like 7th edition in style, with just 1 or 2 per side. This might have been down to the heavy armour saves of the chaos warriors of Tzeentch and the Empire knights, so more games will be needed before I can say too much here, but it felt reasonably balanced to me. I was pleased that my chaos knights still managed to carve a fairly bloody trail through the enemy, just at a slightly slower pace maybe than of old.

I really enjoyed the game, the rules seem well laid out and pretty logical, with less "fiddling" and guessing in game. The changes it will cause to my armies are minimal, though I have always collected infantry blocks as the core of my armies, with cavalry, shooting and magic as support elements, so maybe it's just a case of the current game designers having a similar mindset to my own. I can't wait to get more games in, trying out my other armies and moving on to the scenarios in the back of the book. I am one excited old nerd!

One last thing, this is the 100th post of the blog, so it seems fitting that it should be about the new version of the game I have played for nearly twenty years. It's certainly feels like the dawn of a new era. I have lots of ideas floating around in my head, on what to add to existing armies, starting new armies, getting my terrain collection painted up, etc. so there's plenty to do. Enough perhaps for another 100 posts......


Black Bard said...

Hehe, I hear ya! Book is on my desk, armies on the shelf and my wife and the rest of life has kept me busy enough that I can't seem to get a game in. Have heard more positives than negatives about it though, which is good, but have heard that the big units are the bomb. I plan on getting at least one marauder unit up to 40ish.
let us know what you think of the game after you try with large infantry blocks.
cheers, Bard

Hobby Horse said...

Large units of infantry will perform better than in 7th edition, though this is probably true of small blocks too. Much of this boils down to having a larger rank bonus than your opponent and/or proximity of army standard bearer. If you can overcome this, by disrupting flanks or destroying the army standard, then the large block is doomed. Getting your troops into favourable positions is just as important as it ever was, don't be fooled into thinking that bigger is always better (insert joke here).

Black Bard said...

Oooo that was left so wide open...will restrain myself from the Obvious one here =)

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