Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Hopefully 2021 will be the year we all get back to normal sooner rather than later, with much wargaming ahead of us!
Since 9th edition has dropped, I have managed 13 games between lockdown and social distancing. I think if I am honest that I preferred 8th edition although 9th has some nice additions. One thing that bugs me a little is the new mission format and that is what I am going to discuss here both the good and the bad.
With the exception of patrol missions, where I can fully understand scaling down the table size, it feels unnecessary to do it for other game sizes. The new table sizes are there just to contain armies more and force them into a kill zone due to the mission requirements. No more gunlines. Everyone goes forwards. Because I have three boards that make up a 6' by 4' table we have played our games as the new table length but for ease we have kept the 4' depth and it doesn't make any real difference. I'm going to start seeing if my fellow gamers will be willing to just stick to 6' by 4' tables. The new scales are a minimum after all.
Objective placement is my biggest grumble about the new missions. There are certain rules for them that bug me.
Having them be a fixed placement means that a fixed table layout (something that I want to build) is impossible because each mission placement is different and they cannot be in terrain. Sure, you can move ruins and the like around but that defies the point of a fixed table. It also means that if you are playing a pick up game, you have to waste valuable playing time measuring out where they go before you even set up table terrain and start the game. When your club or local gaming store has limited play time of an evening (for example) that's not helpful.
It would be so much better, in my opinion, to have stuck with what we had previously, where players alternated setting up objectives so that they were X inches from a table edge and from other objectives. That worked so much better.
Also, why can they not be in terrain? Doesn't make sense to me. You don't send troops to occupy an open street or an open patch of ground. You occupy a defensible position or somewhere containing supplies you need or something like that.
I know that sounds like me grumbling about table layout and so on, but it just bugs me a little.
Every mission is now a objective holding mission. In a way I don't mind this as I was never a fan of the kill point missions as they tend to favour certain armies over others. It just lacks flavour. However, the addition of secondary objectives is what adds that flavour. Initially I didn't like them as they smack of the ITC format missions - something 9th seems to have unfortunately emulated. The problem is that many of them aren't worth taking. I tend to find that some are suited better to specific armies while many of the mission specific secondaries just are not worth taking.
What I really miss are the tactical objective missions where we used cards to determine the goals for battle. Sure, they were random are sometimes you didn't get a good draw but they gave you a mission with fluid goals which felt both more realistic and also meant that you wouldn't win just going for the kill. You actually had to play for the cards you were given. I seriously hope that they bring this format back at some point.
Ultimately the 9th edition missions aren't bad. I've had fun playing them but at the same time they could be better. The new mission format just doesn't feel as enjoyable as the old missions did. They are something that just needs adapting to but like nearly everything Games Workshop releases it could have been done better.
Rift Wardens vs Grey Knights.
Scenario: Retrieval Mission.
Finally the 9th ed rules had come out and I had my copy of the Indomitus box in hand. Once the models were all built I challenged my friend Gary to a 2000 point game. Try out a higher points limit and see how well it played. The mission rolled was Retrieval Mission so I set awkward objective placements and then built the terrain layout around them to ensure that we had decent initial cover from one another. I picked the table edge that was to be mine but as was pointed out afterwards it may have served me better to claim the opposite side. I was thinking of ease of moving the models around but Gary was probably right.
Gary chose Psychic Ritual, Assassinate and Thin Their Ranks but I went with Slay the Warlord, Thin Their Ranks and Raise the Banners High. I did take a look at the scenario specific objective - Minimise Loses - but it didn't look like something that was going to be in my favour. A problem I see in most scenario specific objectives.
First turn I focused on shooting as much as I could. I took down one squad and I think inflicted a handful of injuries elsewhere. I specifically moved my units to claim three objectives and to start raising those banners. The problem I had against Gary's Grey Knights was that he had brought a storm talon and a land raider - two units I would be hard pressed to deal with. I presently have no transports for my army so the marines had to advance forward on foot which meant Gary was able to start inflicting a lot casualties.
As the game progressed the Grey Knights took control of their own three objectives and his shooting was a lot more effective than was mine. Although I expected to suffer at the hands of smite spam Gary didn't do much with it and it was in assault that he turned the tables. I don't know if it was a mixture of bad dice rolls or just bad luck, but I was barely able to do anything in assault and he was smashing my poor assault intercessors and my chapter master into fine red mist. Even my poor chapter master with his invulnerable save and 6+ ignore wounds died all to easily.
The Grey Knights were soon pushing me back and once his grand master in dreadknight armour teleporting onto the table I knew I was in real trouble. My primaris lieutenant charged into him with the idea of using hi storm shield to keep his warlord in check and maybe if the dice were with me I might be able to take him down but I couldn't even make a 3+ invulnerable save more than once.
Turn 5 came and my poor space marines were tabled and the Grey Knights had completed their Psychic Ritual. When we counted up the victory points Gary beat me 75 to 53. For a first game of this edition I thought I didn't do too badly as each new rules set is a learning experience. Gary won fair and sqaure but I can't help but feel that my dice let me down a lot of the game. He was always going to win I think but the scores might have been a bit closer. I really need to get myself a couple of Impulsor's so I can get my troops about the table more safely.
Hi all. Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Hopefully 2021 will be the year we all get back to normal sooner rath...