Warhammer 40k 7th Edition Rules: Part Two The Rules


40k 7th Edition

40k 7th Edition

This is for me the most important part of this set. As I’ve come to expect the cover art is deceptively good. At first glance it looks simple but as you look at it further suddenly more detail pops out. I probably studied this cover for about ten minutes. The title is embossed both on the cover and the spine and gives a clue to the attention to detail in this book.

Opening up the book had me giggling like a six year old.  I may have stroked it and muttered something about The Precious but that’s another system. I mentioned the clarity of the printing in the first part of my review but in the rules section it makes a huge difference. I can safely say that this is by far the clearest and easy to 40k rulebook to date. The contrast ratio is much better. Even in low light the words pop out at you. This is important when you’re playing a long game and you’re stressed and tired. Less mistakes and arguments from misreading the rules is always a good thing.

The rules themselves are well laid out and the index has worked for me every time so far. This is not the case with every game. This is a no frills book. There are a few pictures but generally this book is entirely focussed on how to play the game. I like it.

The rules themselves are iterative from 6th edition. Apart from the Psychic phase. That is new. I haven’t played Warhammer in a decade or so but I vaguely remember a time when the magic phase was all about countering your opponent and rarely did anything useful happen. That’s not the case. A Deny The Witch roll is not easy unless your psyker has been targeted by the power. Daemon summoning looks fun but I’m yet to try that. My mate intends to risk trying to get his Imperial Guard psykers to summon some Bloodletters in our next battle. I can’t wait to see if he fries himself and if I can get a lucky counter. Blessing type powers are much more difficult to counter and so multiple low level psykers across the board can be really useful. Probably the big winners in the new rules are Chaos Daemons. With Daemons being less likely to implode when summoning it makes the whole army list suddenly pop with potential. A Daemon Prince in a Chaos Marine army who is a psyker also suddenly seems like a decent points choice. I also put together a thousand point Grey Knight army where every unit contained psykers. That is a lot of potential fun in the psychic phase.

A few things have been tidied up. Cover and wound allocation seem cleaner and quicker. The cover rules also seems a lot easier to implement. One thing I can’t seem to see in the rules any more are the Bastion and Aegis Defence line. I haven’t bought some of the newer codexes so there could be something in one of those but no mention of points values in the rules (or I could be missing it). There are some ideas for special rules for specific types of area terrain. I like this. It adds character. Like the missions. Every battle will be different. It is a shame that the Tactical Objectives cards ran out so soon. I used a pre-cursor to those in a doubles tournament a couple of years ago and they really added something. Well done to the design crew for taking that on board.

There are plenty of other rule changes that I’m not going to detail here but I would say that as an overall system 7th edition is better than 6th. I guarantee that after reading these rules you’ll be looking at the psychic options for your army and how they can influence your tactical options. Despite the cost I’m glad I bought this set.


Warhammer 40k 7th Edition Rules: Part One A Galaxy Of War

Warhammer 40k 7th Edition

Warhammer 40k 7th Edition

If you haven’t seen the new rules it comes in three parts. This review is the part that I call The Pretties. Everything about this book screams quality. From the hard cover and awesome cover through to the very last image this book is high quality. The paper and printing quality are really good. The crispness of the images throughout this publication is just fantastic. The first section of this book introduces the artistic parts of the hobby in a really engaging way. I have to admit that I looked at starting a new army. I really liked the way that there was a great picture of an army and then it was followed up with some close-up shots and details of each unit. This gave me some really good ideas for my own armies. Both in terms of a theme and in documenting each unit.

There are some adverts for the digital editions (still no Windows mobile version for me) and other Black Library products like the awesome audio dramas they produce. Although these are present there are not too many and it takes nothing away from the superb quality of the book.

There is then a very small section on basic painting ideas before the pictures take over. Page after page of high resolution pages with no text just stunning imagery. At times as I turned a page and rotated a full-page spread I felt like a teenager again. This is seriously one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It was like picking up a Giger book and that is high praise indeed.

This book is going on my coffee table and is likely to stay there for a long time.


Warhammer 40k 7th Edition: The First Game

I haven’t bought the new rules yet but my mate has. I have to say that I like the three book format and that although it is a lot of money I can see why. The rules are sharp and crisp on the paper. It is a very easy to read book. The index works too. Believe me that is not always the case in a gaming system. For me the thing I most wanted to test out was the addition of the psychic phase. I used to remember my powers out of phase on a regular basis so this for me is a good thing. What better way to test this than to create a Grey Knights list. Unfortunately after building a fun looking list with nine psychic levels (gotta love psychic pilot) I couldn’t actually get to the case with the figures in without moving three large pieces of furniture. I cursed the building works for a while and then mourning my inability to get Mr Stampy in to the fray. I had a dig around and decided that Eldar would be fun to take on the Imperial Guard army that my mate does so well with.

I had to take a Farseer and I chose to have a single Warlock too. I also had an Autarch on a Jetbike with his bike mounted missile launcher because, well because I like it alright? I’m not going to bore you with the rest of my list. It wasn’t an optimal one and I will be changing it significantly.

The mission type chose was Relic. You get three victory points for having the relic under your control with minor objectives of Slay the Warlord, First Blood and The one where you score for being in the enemy deployment (my memory is failing me). You can win without the relic but with it is the easiest way.

I got first turn so I decided to go for it. I powered the Autarch on a bike with his Windrider guards straight in to contact with the relic and started shuffling back to a hiding place out of visibility. Very important with the number of nasty shots an Imperial Guard army can bring to bear. Then my first psychic phase. It was quicker than I expected and I didn’t once forget about powers on a psyker which is a first. I’m a convert and a fan for sure. The next time I play Eldar I will be adding at least a couple more Warlocks. They can make a huge difference. Not just to the unit they are with but the generated dice to help the Farseer.

I’ve played every version of the rules since Rogue Trader. Yes I am that old. This set of rules has several little changes which took a little while to process but in the first game we didn’t come across any obviously weird ones that made us scratch our heads and wonder how much catnip the designers were on.

I didn’t plan on buying the books. I had hoped for a boxed set with a slimline rules guide but on seeing the rules I want, actually I need a copy. I haven’t even had a chance to look at the other two books yet. It is in my opinion a faster and more flexible rule-set than previous ones and is well worth giving a go. If you are not sure, go and bug your local store for a rules demo game. The one thing that has always been true about GW stores is that the staff are always friendly and helpful. I’m fairly sure you’ll be swayed. It is going to be very hard for me to walk past GW without buying a copy tonight.


Death Angel Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games

I can remember playing the original Space Hulk when it first came out. It blew our minds. I’d never played a board game with tension like that before. For me it is about being Sigourney Weaver sneaking furtive glance at the air-conditioning ducts. Surprisingly Fantasy Flight have managed to get some of that feeling across.

If you haven’t played Space Hulk before and haven’t seen Aliens then most of my descriptions are going to be pointless. In basic terms a Hulk is a collection of ships that has massed together in the warp (a horrid place where physics is option and nasty demons come out to play). You get to play a Space Marine (two actually) which makes you a god amongst men and one of the greatest warriors in the galaxy. You have been sent to cleanse the nasty Genestealers from the Hulk before they reach a populated planet and start to subvert and control their population.The fate of billions of lives depends on your small squad. Game on!

This is the first time I’ve ever played a co-operative card game. I have to say that it was a genius idea. We played with four players and it is a difficult game. In four attempts last night we didn’t manage to win. We came close once before failing five rolls in a row and the remaining four characters all dying. I can’t wait to play it again. The interaction between the various characters is very interesting. We’ve found that all attacking in the same round tends to be somewhat of a bad idea. Also the support tokens are often best used on a character other than yourself. The game forces you to use tactics that are not usual in board or card games. I’m used to spending hours preventing my mates win games of Talisman even if I know I can’t win.

If you manage to do better than us and manage to beat the game you can make it even harder with some upgrade packs. It sounds like a bad idea to me but I’m fairly sure we’ll be getting hold of a pack or two.

I would recommend 4-5 players as any less and it can be quite complicated and confusing, not to mention significantly slower.

I can’t wait to play this game again.

The Express Diaries by Nick Marsh

I tend to read mainly ebooks these days. The hardback version of this book is lovely though. It has one of those ribbons to mark your page. Somehow that makes a book seem just that little bit more special. Something about the cover just screamed Call of Cthulhu at me. It was subtle but somehow familiar. I should have recognized the name Eric M. Smith. The map on the inside cover was clear and easy to read which is as nice as it is unusual. The little notes and sketches in the book added colour and yet m,ore touches that hinted to me that a role-player had written this book.

As the book starts out I thought that Betty Sunderland was going to be another Miss Marple and this just another murder on The Orient Express. Betty is mature and underestimated by those around her but that is where the similarities stop. Betty used to be an archaeologist and as the story progresses it seems a pickpocket and master lockpick and all round slightly dodgy character. For all that though she is lovable and endearing. The more of this book I read the more I realized that it would make a great Call of Cthulhu adventure. It just seemed that way, not just because of the content but because of the way the narrative worked. I wasn’t too far wrong on that point but I’ll let you read the book to find out at the end.

The growing insanity of all those involved is really well portrayed in this story and I particularly like the way that nobody is left untouched by the horrors. If you’ve ever played CoC you must read this book. I think this book will appeal to a wide range of horror fans especially those that like more of a suspense driven thriller. Don’t get me wrong though as there is plenty of gruesome action especially the skin flaying nastiness. This is a great package and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’ve already told a couple of my friends that they really must read this book.

Matt Forbeck Interview – Dangerous Games and Gencon

 How to Play is both the book that Matt Forbeck was born to write and also the culmination of a long and varied career. I’ve always wanted to visit Gencon but never have. I am however lucky enough to live out my Gencon fantasies vicariously and ask Matt some strange questions about it. That’s quite enough of my waffling. Hopefully you’ll enjoy Matt’s insightful and interesting answers as much as I did.

Q. You’ve been a regular at Gencon for a long while. Can you explain what Gencon is and what makes it so magical in your opinion?

It’s the largest gathering of tabletop gamers in the Western Hemisphere. In all the world, only the Spiele show in Essen, Germany, beats it, but that’s focused mainly on European-style board games. Gen Con began in the basement of the house of Gary Gygax, who went on to co-found TSR and publish Dungeons & Dragons, the first-ever roleplaying game, which he co-designed with Dave Arneson.

Today, Gen Con is where more than 40,000 hardcore alpha gamers converge in Indianapolis in the middle of August, to play games together and celebrate their hobby. I’ve been going to the show since I was a kid. This summer marks my 32nd Gen Con in a row and my 11th as a guest of honor.

It’s my favorite event of the year. It’s like Christmas and a class reunion with your best friends ever all rolled up into one. There’s so much geeky goodness rolling around the place that it recharges my creative batteries for another year every tim I go.

Q. Meeting which of your own gaming heroes has left you the most lost for words at Gencon?

I suppose I could say Gary Gygax, but I’d already met him twice before my first Gen Con. Honestly, Gen Con’s such a collegial place and game designers are generally so friendly that it’s rare to be that awed.

During my first Gen Con, though, I ran around and had everyone I could find named in my Dungeon Master’s Guide to autograph the book. One of those guys was Steve Perrin, who designed RuneQuest, one of D&D’s great competitors at the time. I had no idea about any of that, just that Gary had mentioned Steve’s name in the book. When I asked Steve to sign it, he gaped at me in horror. “You want me to sign a D&D book?”

To his credit, he did. He also wrote, “To Matt, always roll LOW!”

Q. What are your best and worst memories of Gencon?

Other than Steve giving me a hard time? Ha! I don’t have too many bad memories about Gen Con. There was the time when the gaming company I co-founded (Pinnacle Entertainment Group) was about to open its first show without any product because the truck with our books on it was still waiting in line to get into the building. I grabbed a few guys and led them out to find the truck, and I persuaded the driver to open his doors so we could grab enough boxes to make it through the first hour of the show. It was close, but we made it with minutes to spare.

For best memories, there are so many it’s hard to count. I’ve made so many great friends there, played so many wonderful games, debuted so many new games of my own. Still, I think my 33rd birthday, which fell on a Gen Con Saturday, was a highlight. My wife and I threw a party for me at Turner Hall in Milwaukee (where the show used to be) that packed in hundreds of people.

At the party, James Wallis gave Peter Adkison the first ever Diana Jones Award, and Tracy Hickman even showed up to claim his gaming hall of fame award, which he’d missed at Origins. The party was such a success that we turned it into an annual event for the Diana Jones Award, and we run it every Wednesday night before Gen Con officially starts.

Q. Participation games are mentioned at one point in your book (I mentioned it at last), what is your favourite and how did it work?

My favorite, if I can stretch the definition a bit, is True Dungeon. This is a live-action version of Dungeons & Dragons played in custom-built chambers inside a massive hall in the convention center. I’ve played it a couple of times during VIP events with other game designers, and we had an absolute ball. The last time, I brought my eldest son Marty along with me, and our party included Monte Cook, Mike Selinker, and Colin McComb, among many other brilliant people. The dragon at the end handed our heads to us, but we still loved every bit of it.

Q. In How to Play you name-drop a LOT of famous people in the gaming industry. At least some you know for real, but are there any there that were put in as wishful thinking on your part?

I know just about every one of the real people I put into the books. The only exception is Felicia Day, who has a cameo in the third book, which isn’t out yet. I’ve never met her, but I’ve had several near misses, as we have lots of mutual friends. She’s been to Gen Con before, too, but our paths just never crossed.

As for the rest, I’m happy to count most if not all of them as good friends. Again, that’s one of the reasons I love Gen Con so much. It’s a chance to get together with all my pals again for four or five days of fun.

Q. Author often include parts of themselves in to their stories. Was it strange to include you as a whole and named person in the story?

Yeah, it was really odd, and I honestly fought against it at first. The trouble is that I’m a big part of some of the things I wanted to show in the book. I still host the Diana Jones Award party every year, for instance, and showing that without me being anywhere near it would have felt, um, dishonest.

So I buckled down and put myself into the book. However, I asked Ken Hite if he’d mind if I used him as the hero’s mentor/friend throughout the tale, and he happily agreed. That meant I got to write Ken Hite dialog for three books, which — if you know Ken or his work — is just as much fun as you might guess. It’s hard to fake being as smart and erudite as Ken, but I had plenty of time to polish it up.

Q. Who is your gaming industry hero and why?

I have a lot of them. Jordan Weisman for all his successes. Greg Stafford for his pure dedication to his art. The top one, though, is probably Peter Adkison.

I met Peter after he founded Wizards of the Coast but before he published Magic: The Gathering. I watched him ride that rocket of a game and show courage, cleverness, and dedication every step of the way. He brought that company up from nothing, bought TSR up at bankruptcy — saving both Gen Con and D&D — and then sold it to Hasbro for somewhere around $450 million.

And then, when he could have just retired to an island somewhere with his well-earned share of that, he stuck around. He even wound up buying Gen Con from Hasbro a few years later, and I’ve told this to people many times. He’s the perfect fit. It’s like Santa owning Christmas. It’s just the right thing.

Q. Aside from the setting what do you think will draw readers in to the story of How to Play?

I think the intrigue of the murder mystery the story features is fun and involving enough for anyone, no matter if they give a damn about games or note. The characters are also interesting and sharp, and the development of the hero — Liam Parker — from aspiring game designer to industry insider in the space of the three books makes for good fun.

Q. Since the release of the book has anybody from the gaming industry asked you if they can be in the next books?

Ha! I think I covered a LOT of people in the first book. I had a few people tell me they’d love to be added in, but I do have one criterion. They have to have been to Gen Con in the past few years. For that reason, I had to pass over good pals like John Kovalic, Jason Blair, and Aaron Rosenberg, who haven’t been to the show for a long while. I had to explain to them, “It’s not a historical novel.”

Q. I like to end an interview with a Desert Island Discs type question. This time it is gaming related. You are stuck on an island with only one game (physical only as computer games would be cheating) and five famous people to play it with. Which game would you choose and who would you be playing it with?

Hm. I suppose it’s cheating to say I’d want to play The Worst Case Survival Game with five soldiers from SEAL Team Six?

In that case, I’d go with Fiasco, which is a great indie storytelling game with a lot of replay value in it. I’ll stick to famous folks I know are gamers, so Billy Campbell, Vin Diesel, Robin Williams, Stephen Colbert, and Wil Wheaton. If I had to go with designers I know and who have been to Gen Con in recent history, in the spirit ofDangerous Games, I might try Robin Laws, Ken Hite, Will Hindmarch, Wil Wheaton, and Peter Adkison instead.

Hey, I maybe need to figure out a way to make that happen!

Deff Skwadron by Gordon Rennie

I picked up this Graphic novel at the Black Library Live 2013 event. There was something primitive and enticing about this graphic novel not being in colour.

I love Orks in the Warhammer 40k universe. There is a reality TV show called Duck Dynasty that is about a family that made a lot of money out of duck calls. They have no idea of the social conventions of how they are supposed to act now that they have money and it makes for some insane and hilarious TV. Now imagine this is taken further and somebody has given guns and war machines to a primitive race and let them go play. This is how I see the Orks. This makes them fun to play and difficult to write about. I like the way a Smart Boy was used for the purpose of explaining things to the reader. This slightly smarter Ork was able to express why Orks do things that most people wouldn’t consider doing on a battle field.

Deff Skwadron are a unit of air support for their Boss. They get sent on some strange and usually suicidal missions. Surviving a mission is not expected and if a plane returns intact that is a sign that the pilot was not trying hard enough. These stories are highly entertaining and liable to cause a bout of miniatures purchasing. This is a must read for anybody who plays 40k or anybody that wants a good old violent laugh.


Sorry I may have got carried away there for a second.

Black Library Live 2013

This is my second BLL event. There have been some improvements in the organization of this event since last year. The email to all the customers the week of the event pointing to a survival guide for the event. The most useful part of this page was the advice about road works nearby. Given how much fun driving in Nottingham is at the best of times this was really useful. The other change I really liked was the quick grab pizza and seating area. It made it nice and easy to spend five minutes buying and eating some simple food so that we didn’t have to miss the seminars.

This year the author that made me buy was Andy Smillie. He is an eloquent young man who’s description of the Flesh Tearers in a way that seemed part Krav Maga and part Glasgow pub brawl all with well used chainsaws. Yeah, not much chance of me resisting that. The Sons of Sanguinius seminar with Andy Smillie and James Swallow  was really interesting and resonated really well with my hobbyist experience.

This year I was lucky enough to see a couple of seminars that included Dan Abnett. The man is as funny and interesting to listen to as he is fascinating to read. Hearing Dan Abnett and James Swallow talk about the Horus Heresy planning and brainstorming sessions was great as it showed what a collaborative effort the series is. The good news on that front is that at the moment it is estimated that there will be another twenty five books in the series.

Probably the oddest thing about the day for me was when Laurie Goulding was explaining the limits of what they will except in terms of sex and violence. When he said no torture porn I actually saw a couple of people scribble it down. I mean, really? You needed to be told that AND you needed to write it down to remember it? Wow! I don’t envy Laurie Goulding the job of managing the continuity of the whole 40k universe. That is some scary stuff. I’d rather herd angry internet kittens.

It was a fun if tiring event and as usual the staff at Warhammer World were excellent in helping the day run as smoothly as possible.

Chaos Space Marines Codex by Phil Kelly

A new codex (rules supplement) is always an exciting moment for me. When it is one that will make one of my favourite armies better than I do tend to get a little bit squee. Even before I opened this codex I was conflicted. The geeky reader and lover of pretty pictures part of me loved that it was a hardback filled with lots of shiny pages. The gamer geek part of me wanted a smaller and lighter book to lug around with me and more importantly one that is a little cheaper so that I can afford to buy more figures. I was always going to buy it though.

If you’re not an avid Black Library reader and can’t be bothered to read any of the Horus Heresy books but at the same time are fed up with listening to others talking about them then this book is quite handy. It doesn’t tell you everything but it does give you a brief overview of the most important  events (don’t trust that Horus bloke). This book also contains a page on the path of damnation and a paragraph each on the traitor legions/chapters. This is followed-up with a page on The Black Crusades and a timeline of The Long War.

The rules section starts with a couple of interesting things. The first is a Warlord traits table specially for Chaos. If you are not fully up-to-speed on the new rules it is simply that the leader of each army gets to roll on a table before the start of each game to determine a tactical or special rule benefit that they receive for that battle alone. Then there is the Chaos Boon Table. I love this table. All models with the Champion of Chaos special rule (all characters including squad leaders) have to issue or accept any challenge possible in close combat. To reward success and character that slays an enemy gets to roll on the Boon table. This could result in your Chaos Lord turning in to a Spawn or your Cultist leader becoming a Daemon Prince. There are a lot of other fun things somewhere in between. The rest of the rules section is taken up by the unit descriptions and an armoury section. This is all laid out well and easily readable and is finished with specific Psychic disciplines for Chaos Sorcerers.

The art section follows the rules and is quite stunning. It is hard to look at all those lovely models and not want to buy and model loads. The double page spreads in particular are really well done.

The final part is of course the most important part. The Army List. There are a lot of choices. A LOT of choices. To start with it looks surprising that there are only two choices but then you realise that by taking a Lord with a Chaos Mark you open up some of the Elites choices as Troops. I particularly like the way that it is possible to create an entirely close combat army using up every available slot. There are also plenty of options if you prefer to stay in your deployment and shoot the snot out of people. There really are a lot of choices. My one gripe is the points cost of the Daemon Prince as I think the amount you pay extra for Power Armour is just too much. Probably my favourite thing about this whole Codex though is that when you are using it for a game the Reference page at the back doesn’t just have stat lines and gun tables, it has the psychic powers, condensed Boon table and all the special rules in brief. This is very handy for old players like me that struggle to remember what rules are from what version of the game.

Overall this is a really good Codex and has cost me loads of money in figure purchases. Well done Mr Kelly and his team.

Warhammer 40000 6th Edition Rule Book (part two)

In the first part of this review looked at the rules section from the point of view of a first read through. This part will look at what else you get in the weighty tome.

One of the things I’ve always like about Games Workshop rule books is the fluff. I think fluff is probably doing it an injustice. It is obvious that a lot of work goes in to the background sections not just in terms of raw content but the continuity and big picture plots that play out over time. If you have read a lot of 40k background material before then you will find a lot of this familiar but I certainly read a couple of things that I hadn’t before.

This hobby is about much more than just the battling though and to that end there is a nice section on the hobby side. Lots of stunningly good pictures to salivate over. Ideas for modelling and terrain making, paint schemes and even army themes. It is all there to inspire and tempt and like Oscar Wilde there is no chance that I will be resisting. There really is a lot to look at and take in and I’ll be flicking through this book for months to come.

One of the things I really like about this book is the index. Yes, the index. Don’t laugh. Remember the old D&D one which had entries for other books? Remember the 90% other gaming books without indexes or even worse with ones that bore little relation to the content or anything you might actually want to look-up. It is so nice to actually find things quickly and get on with the game. Right next to the index though is something that had me bouncing up and down with delight though. Tables. Not just the hit/wound/vehicle tables, but all the basic stats for all the codex races and vehicles. I may even email GW and ask if I can have permission to photocopy those pages for personal use whilst battling. Really useful if you can’t be bothered (or are too old) to remember every stat in every codex.

Now to the negative. My beloved Tyranids. I originally thought the changes in the rules would be quite balanced for them, but one line in the codex FAQ has destroyed that. Let me explain. As an army Nids are not going to be great against flyers. I think there is only one ranged weapon above strength 6 that is not a blast weapon and that is the Rupture Cannon. Even that without Skyfire will need a 6 to hit and is therefore unlikely to take down a flyer very easily, oh and it is over 250 points for that model. So that Imperial Guard army with Three Vendettas fires nine TL Lascannons at it and destroys it. Now there is very little that can do anything against them. Even the Winged Harpy can’t hit another flyer because both the weapon options available are Blast weapons. That’s OK though because I can use an Aegis Defense Line with the lovely Icarus Lascannon so I can actually get rid of them. This is where that FAQ line comes in. Tyranids can never control the guns on fortifications and only fire them on automatic. This means they need a 6 to hit and can only fire at the closest target. As you are no doubt working out this means it is unlikely that they could ever be used for the purpose you buy them for. Tyranids are the ONLY race that this is the case for. One last thing. Detachments. Every army (except Nids) can take a detachment from other codexes to overcome some of their shortcomings.  Even Necrons can take a detachment to help out. Again Nids have lost out.

The upshot is that I have put my Nids away because any army with two or more flyers will be almost unstoppable against me. Where did I put that Chaos Codex?