After just two years of 6th edition, we have been graced with a brand new edition. Costing £50 ($85 US dollars) this is the most expensive edition yet (compared to the Hobbit rulebook it is the same price though). Consisting of three books, it's very similar to second edition in that respect. However that is where the comparisons end. Second edition was a rulebook, a bestiary and a weapons/war gear book. 7th edition comprises of: A Galaxy of War, a book dedicated to collecting models. Dark Millennium, a book describing the background and races of the 41st millennium and finally The Rules.
All three books total a whopping 480 pages. 48 pages more then 6th edition. Each book is bound with a hardback cover with a matt finish for the most part and a gloss finish for the illustration on the cover. I don't like the use of the Aquilla in the background of the Helbrute and the Haemonculus, they could have had their own army symbols. All three books are presented in a very nice, sturdy slipcase. This is a great touch and a neat way of storing the books and keeping them together.
A Galaxy of War is going to be a great first port of call for beginners. It has gorgeous, atmospheric photography of the eavy metal team's models. Sadly no new paint jobs, so don't expect to see anything new or exciting. You would think, that 144 page book on collecting Citadel miniatures would have some comprehensive advice on painting your collection... well, you'd be wrong. A total of four pages are dedicated to painting your models and two of those are adverts for the: Citadel paint set', how to paint Citadel Miniatures book and dvd and the iPad painting guides. Such a let down. After that the book goes into picture mode with no more text, very similar to the monthly Warhammer Visions. Since the beginning of Warhammer 40,000, every rulebook has had a colour section featuring pictures of the models, this is no different in that sense. In a way it's nice we get the "colour section" as a separate book.
The second book, Dark Millennium is, once again aimed at beginners. It's your introduction to Warhammer 40,000. It includes lots of art and plenty of information on all the races. However, if you have been part of the hobby for a while, then this book isn't very exciting. It has no new art. Everthing has been reused. Even previous editions had some new art. To make matters worse a whole section on the Pandorax incursion has just been copy and pasted from the Apocalypse Warzone book. I've already read that! They haven't finished with the copy and pasting yet though, the Appendix at the back of this book is the same appendix from the 6th edition rulebook. So you're getting all the same info on Daemons, Blackships, Abhumans, field dressing a lasgun wound, etc from the previous book you bought. I'm actually a little annoyed with this. Would it have been too much to ask to write some new stuff? After all we are paying a premium.
Finally onto the rules. For this section I'm going to recount my first game I played where I got to experience some of the new rules in action. This isn't a battle report, just think of it as highlights.
We decided to play a Maelstrom of War: Cleanse and Control. This uses Mysterious Objectives and Tactical Objectives. Mysterious Objectives have a randomly determined bonus generated for each objective when you're near one and Tactical Objectives are randomly generated tasks that allow you to score victory points.
I took 1000pts of Black Legion and my opponent took Necrons with Iron Hands as allies. Both lists were Battle Forged, which means they used the Force Organisational chart. One bonus to this is the ability to reroll your warlord traits. In 7th edition all armies can be allies. This means Tyranids can have allies. There are some pretty harsh rules to go with this but with careful planning and set up it doesn't have to be an issue. So you can now create the armies you always wanted to. You can have an Imperial Guard army with Genestealer allies as a cult uprising!
Unpainted models, don't judge me! It was a play test.
I took a Chaos Sorcerer in my force and choose Daemonology Malefic powers. Giddy on the power of the warp, I was really excited about the thought of raising Daemons. My Sorcerer is a level 3 psyker, so I got to roll 3 times on the malefic powers. Not only that because I focussed on just a single set of powers I get the primaris power for free as well as the force power for free. A total of 5 powers! My opponent's Iron Hand Librarian was level two and took powers from Biomancy (I thought the flesh was weak?)
You had one job...
My opponent set up first, luckily I stole the initiative. That was my first and only piece of luck in the whole game. I advanced my force forward and then dived straight into the psychic phase. I rolled a six for warp charge and added three dice (one for each level). With a total of nine dice I decided to cast summoning with six of my dice. Needing three dice to be four or higher I was feeling confident. Sadly I fluffed it and only managed two pass rolls. To make matters worse I rolled a double. usually it's only double sixes that suffer perils of warp, but if you're not a Daemon and you're using malefic then any double is a problem. Luckily, I escaped any harm by rolling a five on the perils of the warp table and passed my leadership test. With three dice left I decided to summon a Herald of Tzeentch using Sacrifice. I rolled my three dice and once again failed to roll any dice high enough to cast the power and I rolled a double again! This time I rolled a one on the perils of the warp! I avoided being dragged into the warp by passing my leadership test but I was wounded. Not a great start to my first ever Psychic Phase.
My opponent advanced with their Iron Hands and their Necron Wraiths. The annihilation barge turbo boosted across the board to secure a Mysterious Objective which turned out to be a scatterfield giving +1 to cover saves. The Iron Hands Librarian was out of range so the psychic phase was skipped. In the shooting phase 11 Necron Warrior's gauss flayers stripped all three hull points from the Helbrute who was shielding the Chaos Sorcerer. In the Assault Phase, Necron Scarabs charged the wounded Sorcerer. Luckily they weren't able to kill the Chaos model but the Sorcerer did manage to kill two whole bases of Scarabs using a force stave (+2 strength made him strength six, enough to instant kill the toughness three bases). Which was lucky, because I forgot to cast Force to charge my Force weapon in the psychic phase. Because the scarabs were fearless the sorcerer would remain locked in combat.
Turn two saw my force footslog it forwards towards the entrenched Necron line. No psychic phase for me as my Sorcerer was in combat. Shooting phase saw some running from the Cultists, the Forgefiend targeted the Annihilation Barge and failed to do anything. The Chosen failed to wound the Wraiths with bolt pistols and a meltagun. The Wraiths in their previous turn had uncovered a Mysterious Objective called a Grav Wave Generator which minuses two from any assaulter's charge range. To make matters worse the Wraiths were in cover which this edition of the rules means charge distances are at -2". So as my Chosen and Abaddon lined themselves up four inches away from the Wraiths, I actually needed to roll eight inches on 2D6 to reach them. Sadly I rolled a six so I was stuck in the open. The sorcerer did kill the last scarab base and consolidated into cover.
My opponent's response was brutal. The Iron Hands, Wraiths and Annihilation Barge moved into position and the rest of the entrenched gun line ready their sights. The Librarian cast Enfeebled on the Sorcerer who was now at -1 strength and toughness and then cast Haemorrhage luckily my Sorcerer managed to nullify the power. His luck ran out though, as the shooting phase started and the Iron Hands riddled him with bolter shells. My one and only pysker was dead and I hadn't cast a single successful power the entire battle. Just as I thought it couldn't get any worse my Chosen were burnt to a crisp from Immortal and Annihilation Barge Tesla Fire, my Forgefiend lost three hull points from the necrons with gauss flayers and the Wraiths chased down and destroyed a unit of Cultists.
With only Abbadon left, the next two turns saw him defeat the Wraiths and charge the Necron Lord who had advanced forwards with his Necron Warriors. Abaddon has to issue challenges and to his surprise the Necron Lord accepted. Abaddon only had one single wound left from his previous fights with the Wraiths so when the Lord opened his Tesseract Labyrinth I had to roll a one to avoid being sucked in. Sadly with my luck I failed and my last model was removed from the table.
Nothing went right for me in that game, however. It was the most random unpredictable game I had ever played. It was so much fun. My opponent and I had a real good laugh over the events. As the events were happening we were elaborating on them. The game was telling us a story as we were playing it. It was really immersive and we now have these models that have a character and a story, including the 41st Millennium's worse Pysker, Herpus Derpus the Chaos Sorcerer who had one job to do! I can't wait to see him make a return to the battlefield.
Warhammer 40,000 7th edition is the best edition ever released in my opinion and I've played 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. It's the first edition where you can create your perfect force. You can collect that force that you've read about in novels and not have to worry about the Force Organistion chart by taking an unbound army. The psychic phase isn't as scary as the knee-jerkers would have you believe because you have a chance of failing to cast and the enemy can nullify your powers.
It's loads of fun and I can't wait to play again.
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