Monday, 26 May 2014

Musings On The Horus He- Wait A Minute, Who Changed The Rules?

Ok, so it happened about two or three years earlier then we thought.... a new Edition of Warhammer 40,000. It's all over the internet (they have that on computers now), but I am not going to take the same approach as the other blogs, because it means changes for The Horus Heresy, and that's all I care about.

So, what does this mean for the HH gamer?

On Saturday morning, I found myself heading around to my friend Cat's for a game with him and another mate John. We set up the table, a nice cityfight board, we got some lists together, no allies, just straight Legion lists. I was running Raven Guard (for a change, pfft), Cat was using a World Eaters army with more terminators then I had tactical marines, and John had his awesome converted Word Bearers. John proceeded to pull out his brand new, limited edition 40k rulebook. He then said "This cost $360." Ok, now, for those playing in other parts of the world, that's Australian dollars, which is about $340 US dollars, or 180 Euros... Fuck me in the ass sideways with a pineapple!

$360 for a book the size of a DVD case....

So after getting over the shock of what 7th just cost my mate, we got to looking at the rules. Cue the standard "Dafuq, why did they touch that rule, and why did they change that? Were they high when they came up with this?" but, as I calmed down (admittedly some time around 12 hours later,) I got to see that some things were a little better. Now I don't care about 40-gay anymore, they pretty much lost me at the Eldar Codex, so we aren't going to go into that, besides, BOLS and Wargamer can give you all the knowledge you need about the changes to death stars.

So what do I care about?

What I do care about however are two things: my Legion, and Chaos Daemons. Why? Because they are Super Mario Battle Bros. with the Word Bearers. We already know of lists that summon 50+ models per turn thanks to the Malefic (Re: who even reads the fluff anymore, marine players, summon daemons to your hearts content) psychic powers. As a Heresy player, this is VERY worrying. But, before letting the hate flow through me, I realised something: We don't game like that.

You see, I think that 90-95% of people playing the Horus Heresy are playing fluffy lists and playing them for pure fun. My mate/Wadey's-man-lover Keepy has a Sons of Horus army that has 10 Justaerin in it... about the most expensive bloody unit compared to its actual usefulness of any unit in the FW trilogy! Yet he is building them, and using them. Because why? It's fluffy, and it's fun!

I have another friend, and he is collecting White Scars. He was running a fully legal list in 1000 point games with 9 jetbikes with a primus medicae on jetbike.... for anyone playing at that points, that is an incredibly hard list to kill. But, he doesn't play it anymore, because although it won games, (boy did it win games!) it wasn't fun, it was "move, fire, repeat".

So, I guess the 35 power dice pool and the Warhammer Fantasy style magic, I mean, psychic, phase doesn't really effect the Heresy. Most guys seem to want to just run special characters and Praetors, because there is NOTHING cooler to a heresy player then a beefed up, fully converted, fully themed praetor swinging his weapons and cutting a bloody path through his foes.

Ah, I first used this in my first Macca on Tactica... I still think it works...

Of course, when a good friend who works for Games Workshop (seriously, he's a good bloke, not once has he dry humped my leg when I walked in. Hate the guys at the top, not the guy in the hobby store, he is usually just a fan trying to earn a living) asked me what I think of the new Psychic Phase, I replied "I think it's as well thought out as anal bleaching". You see, it serves a purpose, you now have a whiter asshole. Did it achieve anything else? Well, um, not really? The new psychic phase is just like that. You now have all these dice to roll, and the whole thing just got a lot more complicated, but hey, it's a change. It has fixed Seerstars, if you're into that thing, but really, it's just served no real purpose.

If you disagree with this, I will be happy to debate the pros and cons of anal bleaching with you.

Ok, so if that problem is solved, what about the Legion lists?

Well, not a whole lot has changed here. I don't think Forge World will do many changes here, but all your vehicles just got a lot harder to kill, especially if you're running Salamanders with their Rite of War. To be honest, I actually don't mind too much, the majority of changes will not hurt the weekend wargamer who just wants to put pretty models on the board.

To think you had to sit through the spiel on anal bleaching to get here.

The new objective cards?

Well, I am not sure how to put this, but I am NOT a fan. The problem here, is that you can really get a bum draw and lose a game despite doing anything and everything you can. An example (such as what happened with me on the weekend) is that you might draw a "kill a flying monstrous creature to get a victory point"- but in the Horus Heresy, funny enough, these aren't that common, so that's a point you're not getting. Not only that, but your opponent might get "hold objective #.." for a free victory point. Ok, cool, so he gets a free point? Now just because of a card, I'm a point down?

Some people might be saying "ah, c'mon, all you need to do in that case is kill the holding unit".

Well, it's not that easy, you see, in 4th, 5th and 6th, the objective game was simple: Start the game, kill the most dangerous units, working your way down, and in the last few turns, seize the objectives to win the game with relative safety. Now, you have to say "damn, little Billy is holding objective 2 and is going to get a victory point. I have to force that unit off the objective, but to do so, I am now diverting resources away from where I need them more, such as killing their heavy firepower.

Call this cynical thinking, but I feel it's kind of taking the fun away a little bit, yes, it's more technical, but I would rather win or lose based upon how myself and my opponent actually performed during the game, as opposed to who pulled out the better cards along the way.

The aftermath.

Naturally, when I realised that I could just use the HH missions and objectives, and as a house rule ignore the cards and such, I decided to go party at the Sovereign with Wadey and Keepy.

How did this get in here? Dammit! Who proof-reads my work!

It's not all doom and gloom now, is it? No, in fact, I like a few changes, such as changes to jink saves, however I do feel that the overall feel of the game was nicer in 3rd and 4th. In the short term, some FAQ's will drop, and we will get on board, and in a month or two, the grumbling will subside. In the long term, the Prospero Book has been pushed hard to the right thanks to the complete change to the psychic phase, so the fans of the Thousand Sons (like myself) and Space Wolves (pathetic dog worshipers) will be waiting quite a while (a year is a fair guess). I must say however, that isn't exactly a bad thing, since the developers are all too happy to work out how to make these armies work, unlike a certain codex that dropped at the start of 6th yet felt entirely 5th...

So, what are your thoughts on this? Too cynical? Fan of anal bleaching? Perhaps you plan to run a list that will stretch the boundaries of the rules? Let me know,



  1. Nice to see the return of little Billy. And anal bleaching. My missus is giving me funny looks at the sniggering.

    Haven't played the new rules yet but always figured we'd house rule anything we didn't like.

    Keep the articles coming Macca.

    1. Yes, little Billy doesn't get let out of his box very often, damn cheesy bastard! I thought it would be more fun to be a bit silly this time out and have a laugh rather then just condemning GW. Yes, we know they do some suspect things, and we know they lack business ethics, but it's not the point, the point is how 7th effects HH. Simply, it doesn't really, things like challenges with carried over wounds might be a thing with Primarchs, but that's about it, on the whole, it will hurt nobody.

  2. Hey .. love the comments on 7th.. havent played a heresy game with them yet but have played a standard game and i have to disagree with the tactical objectives.

    Opponent had a 2 point lead before the game started ... by the end of turn 7 i had 5 marines left but still drew
    My opnion but i think there a good idea

    1. That sounds like the objectives worked both ways, which is what we could only hope for. Nonetheless, I still have some serious concerns about them.

  3. MACCA MACCA MACCA ist this you in latest photo? This so, answers questions for all of us yes?

    I am look towards new rules when I go into city tomorrow. Thank you to you for this summary I think that it will be important to make buddy rules to prevent injuries and outrages.

    Last question MACCA, what is 'anal bleaching'? Google translate makes not sense on this matter.

    1. Well, it would help if I knew your native language, I can speak passing Deutsch, but I will try and use English.

      Anal Bleaching is using a chemical process to make your anus/asshole/butthole whiter. It is used by porn stars and apart from a visual change provides no other function.

      This is similar to many of the 7th ed changes, they are changes for the sake of change, not necessarily the correct solutions to the problems.

    2. Also, that's not me in the photo, I don't have long black hair.

      I do party that hard tho...

  4. I do have to agree with you macca on the objective cards and how it can just really be "luck of the draw". Having read some of the things you can draw, can really make the game won by shear luck.

    But i think I'll stick with the 30k missions when i play 30k and use 40k missions for 40k.

    1. Yeah look, the 30k missions as written are great, we don't need to change them up using silly 7th ed new bits. You see, in 6th, the Horus Heresy was built to be pretty balanced across the board using the ruleset, as opposed to 40-gay where they just let the developers have a free hand half the time to the detriment of the game. If Tau were worded correctly, there would have been no buffmanders joined to riptides. If Phil Kelly wasn't an Eldar fan boy writing the Eldar dex you wouldn't have had him inject Captain America super soldier serum into 3/4 of the units. In 40-gay 6th, nearly every codex tried to outdo the last, whilst in HH, they want a level playing field, where things are kinda balanced despite having some very different rules and units between some legions.

  5. Hi Keith, sorry for the slow reply!

    I think the largest misgiving with the Maelstrom missions is that they are not designed for 30k. 30k missions are very specific to the task at hand, whilst 40k missions all revolve around control of objectives. The Maelstrom also leads to a 'rush for turn 2' that is to say that people want turn two because their Maelstrom objectives cannot be countered.

    Div was a problem in late 6th, but with the Nerf of Legions psykers to mastery 2, it limits their ability to buff, and really, we didn't need a new phase to fix it, it's kinda like giving tanks their own phase to do 'tank stuff'.

    That's my take on it anyway. Thanks for the feedback, and I'm sorry for the slow reply!