|Lots of Scenarios....|
so now you know your rules, you've built army, what's the mission? There's 3 deployments- long edges, short edges and diagonal. Short edges is a bit weird, but essentially it reminds me of the old Cleanse deployment, so OK. It's going to be fun at tournaments if you're in the middle of table row (in case you needed a clear example of how this game isn't designed for tournament play.)
There are also 6 missions, none of which use Kill Points (OK, OK, you can stop cheering...) That's 18 variations. Not bad- it would be nice to have 3rd ed missions back, which had 6 basic missions and 3 each of Raid, Battle and (can't remember the third category off the top of my head!) rather than 6 across three deployments, but OK, not bad.
There are a few more steps to organising a battle. Firstly, once you've rolled mission and deployment, you place your Fortification within your deployment zone. Next, you set up terrain. If you want it to be narrative, then agree on the set-up with your opponent. Fine. Otherwise, there's a whole process to go through:
Roll a d3 for each 2'*2' section of battlefield. This is the Terrain Density Limit.
Each piece is placed alternately (each player takes a turn) and must be 1 substantial piece (building, ruin, wood, etc) or 3 pieces of Debris (tanglewire, barrels, barricades etc.) Terrain cannot be placed within 3" of another piece of terrain.
A player can pass, but if they do so the other player can continue to place terrain until they reach the terrain cap, run out of terrain or just plain quit- so no shenanigans for Guard and Tau players there!
Once the board has been set up, you can place objective markers then roll for deployment- bear in mind when placing terrain that you don't know which side of the board you will have for deployment.
A few more quick notes- there are Primary Objectives and Secondary Objectives. The secondary objectives are constant- you get 1 VP for each. They are: Slay the enemy warlord; Be the first player to kill a unit; Have a unit in the enemy deployment zone. Primary Objectives are typically objective markers, and can only be controlled by Troops unless the mission says otherwise. However, Troops cannot be scoring if they are embarked on a vehicle or in a building, they are a Swarm, they are falling back or their Codex says so. So no more claiming objectives inside Rhinos- you have to get out (and get shot.)
Of course units can contest- and all units are denial units. Oh, except for vehicles, or units embarked on vehicles, Swarms, Falling back or its Codex says so. :) Finally, men have to be on the board to claim wins!
There are a few global rules for missions. Night Fighting is rolled for before deployment (so you know it's coming) and is in effect on a 4+. If it isn't, then on turn 5 roll again, and in each subsequent turn until it takes effect or the game ends. So it's likely that we'll see more Night Fight (since it's used in all of the missions.) However, it is no longer a random distance. If a target is 12" away it gets no benefit, if it is 12" to 24" away they get Stealth, and if 24" to 36" it is Shrouded. In the edition of 40K with the greatest number of random effects ever, it's strange that Night Fighting is more reliable. then again, it is going to happen more often, and some wargear can cause it as an effect, so maybe someone spotted a balance issue- either way, I'm grateful that the game has been sped up in this 1 respect.
Reserves have 1 major change, as I've already mentioned- You can only reserve up to half of your units, rounding up. Independent characters always count (you can't join a unit to declare that it is 1 unit, even though it can count as 1 roll.) No more leaving all of your models off the board- it's going to be interesting what happens to the more fragile armies, like Dark Eldar and Eldar, as a result of this. Reserves also arrive on a 3+ on turn 2 and 3, then automatically on turn 4 onwards. The final change- units arriving from Reserve cannot charge, or use rules which must be played at the start of the movement phase (like psychic powers). Again, this affects which units start on the board and which arrive from reserve. All things considered, I'm reckoning that vehicles are better placed in Reserve and rolling on to the battlefield in later turns to protect those precious Hull Points, while Bikes and Jump troops can be used at the start to make a mess of the enemy vanguard. Just a thought....
So what are the missions?
Crusade: this is a straight-forward 3+2 objective mission. Each one is worth 3 Victory Points, and the player with the most Victory Points at the end wins. The 3 secondary objectives help to offset the chances of a draw.
Purge the Alien: the old Kill Points mission. Each unit destroyed is worth 1 Victory Point, units fleeing or off the board (Flyers) count as destroyed. This is the lazy mission, that always appears in a 40K ruleset. It punishes Horde armies and rewards Elite armies thanks to the number of Victory points available (for example, an Ork army often has 10+ units, a grey Knights army can have 4.) It also means that a player can be tabled and still win, because he killed more units than he owns! I hate this mission with every fibre of my being, I always have and always will. Disappointed.
Big Guns Never Tire- OK, something new :) again, d3+2 objectives- but this time, heavy Support units can claim objectives, even if they are vehicles. This is a refreshing enough twist to be welcome, and even better will affect the composition of all-comers lists.
The Scouring uses 6 objectives, but they have a random value! 1 is worth 4VP's, 2 are worth 3 VP's, 2 are worth 2 VP's and 1 is worth 1 VP. Also, Fast Attack choices are scoring. Now this sounds like fun :) The mission states that the objectives just be placed face down, then flipped to see what they are worth before seizing the initiative. For an added twist, I'm tempted to play it as you only get to flip the marker when you claim it- they'll all be discovered by turn 2, but it's an extra layer of suspense.
The Emperor's Will is traditional 1 objective each, but this time in your table half, which allows more aggressive players to group them closer together. Not a bad mission, although it normally ends in a draw in 5th.
The Relic. Rescue is back! Yes, you have 1 objective in the middle of the table, which can move. Luckily they've thought about this one (unlike Purge the Alien) and a unit cannot move further than 6" once it has the Relic, no matter what type they are, and can't run or move Flat Out (in case you get on board a Transport.) So no Eldar auto-wins with this one, as there could be back in 3rd. For fun, get your opponent to embark it on a Vendetta/ StormRaven, then when they elect to Zoom remind them that a Flyer which doesn't move a minimum of 18" in Zoom mode automatically crashes... ;)
All in all, 4 decent scenarios, 1 weird one (the Relic) and 1 abomination. better than last edition, which had 1/1/1, but still- with all of the good work GW do on their rules, scenery, fluff etc they always toss out Scenarios like they're pretending to websling. Uninspired!
Comments, as always, are welcome.