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Richard Deane
New 40K: First impressions...

As some may be aware the new 40K is looking rather enticing and since nearly all the core members of the club have played 40K and owned at least one army there is more than a little bit of curiosity about the new game. For those that aren't aware the club has just purchased the new rulebook which will be available for anyone to read during club nights.

Today I got my first taste of the new rules and the new options for points matching. Every unit has a data sheet with unit size and options but you can now build lists around unit's POW levels or their specific points value. POW ratings are somewhat simplistic evaluations of how impactful a unit is meant to be on the table and most of the time wargear and weapons do not affect a units POW rating, (increasing the unit size does though) so it's easy to see how this could unbalance things from a matched play perspective. On the other hand it does make list building simple and easy as you don't have to worry about specific weapon and wargear options putting you over the limit. My first game was played using POW levels.

The game was Tyranids vs Death guard. Both forces were built to 80 POW although you'd never have guessed it looking at the armies on the table. Here's a rough breakdown of the lists.


Lord of Contagion
Bellringer character
Deathguard Psyker
2x units of 7 plague marines
2x units of 20 pox walkers
3x foetid bloat-drones


Hive tyrant (with 4 devours with brain leech worms)
Brood lord
3x units of 3 tyranid warriors
10 genestealers
20 termagants
10 termagants
20 hormagaunts
5 raveners (should have been 6 but I don't have the models)
Red terror
Death leaper
Trygon Prime

Since units upgrades and weapons don't effect POW levels the nids were played wysiwyg with most units that could take adrenal glands and toxin sacs doing so. These upgrades are so very worth it on genestealers.

The mission was secure and control. Each player has an objective and you need to control both if you want to win. We didn't get to turn 5 but we did play enough to see how the game plays. In part due to this I won't bother with a battle report. (The other part is that I can't remember enough linear detail.)


It's still 40K, in spite of all the changes, some of which are easy to trip up on, the game still feels quintessentially the same glorious grimdark dystopian nightmare that I was originally drawn to. Units still move, shoot, charge and beat each other to death with a myriad cornucopia of imaginative (and not so imaginative) weapons of war. This also means that despite the game appearing as if it should play quite quickly my incomplete game took about 2 hours to get a little over halfway through. Practice will I'm sure speed things up but don't expect your first games to just fly by.

Movement has opened up a lot and the changes have had a dramatic effect on the nid forces (for the better). Whilst many models like warriors and termagants still have a 6" move many of the monsters (Tyrants and Trygons for example) have gotten a fair bit faster (9" speed whilst operating at full capacity) and the likes of raveners and flying models are up at 12" moves. Genestealers are of particular note with a move of 8" but they can advance (run as we would call it in past editions) and still charge. Adrenal glands is an upgrade that adds 1 to all advance and charge moves making genestealers now terrifyingly fast!

Shooting still going to win a lot of games but my game was perhaps not a good test of the new shooting rules. Once thing that is clear to me though is that weapons that auto-hit (such as flamers) are bleeping horrific when you get more than one of them in the same unit. The bloat drones are armed with a pair of D6 shot guns that auto-hit and the fragging things fly so can drift out of combat freely to boot! Needless to say but in spite of some complaints I've heard about the lack of viability from these weapons my current experience begs to differ.

Combat is both similar and different, you are still able to roll buckets of dice and melee combat is where a lot of battles are going to be conclusively decided. However the new rules for the various weapons mean that target prioritisation is now much, much more important than before. Unlike Age of Sigmar where damage carries over from model to model 40K keeps to overkill being wasteful. If you hit a 1 wound model with a weapon that does 2 or more damage per hit. You still only kill that one model. However if it has some way to ignore damage after suffering a wound you would have to make one save per point of damage inflicted. This is very useful against armies like the death guard where they have a special 5+ save to ignore wounds suffered. From the point of view of combats this means that weapons that inflict 2 or more damage per hit are great against multi-wound monsters, infantry and tanks but as a consequence they are also likely to have a long slog of it against swarms of cheap chaff. The key example from my game was the Death guard Lord of Contagion who started out by effortlessly cutting a lictor in half only to be bogged down the rest of the game killing 2-3 termagants.

Leaving combat is also a new tactical part of the game. Pistols can be shot in & into combats that are ongoing but units can also choose to freely (or near as) leave combat during the movement by just moving away. Unless they have the 'Fly' special rule they can't shoot or charge that turn but the important part is that the rest of the army is not free to shoot at the front line of melee troops. This is incredibly powerful for ranged armies and something of a godsend for ranged platforms that previously would have been rendered useless until killed or rescued from combat. Now you may lose a turn of shooting but at least you can get away, which is really valuable when the opponent was only able to tie you up with the remains of a chaff unit.

Wounding and saving now feel a lot less reliable. The new to-wound chart has shifted the game a lot regarding how likely you are to wound things. Whereas previously wounding on a 3+ or a 5+ was as likely as wounding on a 4+ with the rest being 2+ or 6+ now the majority of rolls will be 3+ or 5+. In the game I realised that my hive tyrant had just as hard a time wounding the bloat drones as did my termagants at range. So it made a lot more sense to have him shoot at the infantry against whom his higher strength was enough to allow him to wound on a 3+. It makes modest strength weapons with very high volumes of fire and/or re-rolls to wound sometimes better than more specialised weapons.

Command points are a big shift in the game. Being able to have a unit fight before the opponent finishes resolving his charging units fights is huge, re-rolling a single dice per phase is also huge and I certainly felt it made a significant difference in the game as re-rolling a saving throw on a monster can be huge.


I enjoyed my first game of 40K and was very happy to see that Tyranids are back to being a fun, scuttling swarm that sweeps up to the enemy and crashes into them. I look forward to more testing.


Thanks, that was an interesting and informative read. I look forward to seeing how it plays out :)

:: Aspect of Aleph ::
Infinity WarmaHordes Batman/Marvel
Star Wars X-Wing/Armada

Blip's picture

Thanks. Good overview.

Richard Deane

Thanks for the feedback. Since writing this I've noticed a mistake or two I made during the game. Upon re-reading their entry I've noticed that Genestealers cannot take adrenal glands, they can take toxin sacs but not adrenal glands. My mistake but in some ways I'm kind of glad to see that as it did make them horrendously quick.

If people want to try the new 40k I know Ian is bringing along some small forces and I will also be bringing over models to make 50 power level forces for Dark angels and Nids. (I believe Ian is bringing Harlequins and Squats/Orks.) So there should be a good chance to give it a trial.


My first impressions were mostly positive, and am now a big fan of them completely removing templates as it makes it much easier and quicker to play: given you no longer need to spend ages spreading models apart to the limits of coherency, nor spend ages working out how many models you can fit under the templates. My test game against Ian felt quick, though we spent most of our time switching between the various units, weapons and rules we were using on his iPad, and me trying to remember which Harlequin model was which.

A few issues around certain bits, mainly the change to plasma weapons and the loss of universal special rules, which means lots of duplicated rules; except where there are slight variations, (or even not so slight variations!), mainly around the aforementioned plasma weapons.

Oh, I'll be bringing my Imperial Guard this week for a bit of variety as well, (as that's what I still have packed from the last time I played 40k).


Try my free army builder at;


I was reasonably impressed with my first game of new 40K. Despite us both feeling our way with the exact sequence of certain aspects, the whole game flowed and didn't feel like it became bogged down like I feel it used to.

I really did like the change in flexibility around who you can shot / charge, and what you can do after Advancing (Harlequin exceptions not withstanding...). It highlights to me how rigid old 40K felt and what turned me off it at the time.

Having slept on it, I can confidently say that I will be buying back into 40K with Harlequins, though not just yet as the Harlequin range appears to be in very short supply currently!

Until then - Primaris Marines from the Starter Box, I think!

:: Aspect of Aleph ::
Infinity WarmaHordes Batman/Marvel
Star Wars X-Wing/Armada

Ian Wood
Ian Wood's picture

I'm working on a quick reference sheet. In the meantime, here's a chart of all the Detachments and how many Command Points you get for each.

8th Detachments8th Detachments

Richard Deane

Nice chart Ian, one thing you may have missed is that you get a base minimum of 3 CPs for taking a battle forged army. (I.E. all from the same faction.)

Ian Wood
Ian Wood's picture

Yep, that will need adding on the full sheet.

Ian Wood
Ian Wood's picture

There are FAQs up already, divided by book:

Notably for our assorted armies:
The Trygon (as expected) only gets +1 Attacks from all it's Scything Talons.
Biovores don't need LoF but also can't be used to Overwatch.

Disgustingly Resilient and equivalent abilities (unexpectedly) do work on Mortal Wounds.
Death Guard can take a Sorcerer on Palanquin of Nurgle.

Psychic powers can't be used from a transport unless it specifically says so.
Ranges for vehicles are measured from the base, or the nearest part of the hull if it has no base.
Units in an open-topped transport cannot Overwatch if the vehicle is charged.