Today I wanted to take a look at the phases in more detail, with an eye again to adopting them for 30k. Just adopting the phase cycle itself will speed up the game dramatically. Lets take a look:
1. Movement Phase
This is an interesting change. Units have their movement distance on their data card. Units with different movement makes sense in the 'real world', with Eldar now moving further (i.e. faster) than Orks, for instance.
Combining movement with 'advancing' or running also makes sense. Gamers have been doing that ever since the 'run' ability appeared (6th edition?), no it is just legal, and is something obviously trialled in the box games we've had over the last year or so.
Disembarking from vehicles at the beginning of the turn is a bit annoying. I hope that assault vehicles have a special rule where it can move before units jump out and attack, otherwise it's not very assaulty.
2. Psychic Phase
I like the changes here. Each player gets just two dice. I imagine the players get modifiers depending on how many psychers they have, but it should be a lot more balanced. The despair-filled days of 13 dice to 1, with no chance of defence are gone... this could really help balance 30k Magnus out.
3. Shooting Phase
Shooting hasn't really changed other than everyone can shoot and everything can hurt everything. the use of modifiers and having the stats on the data card, eliminating tables and templates, should really speed this phase up. Again, these are changes that we saw trialled in Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero, and they work. You will still be killing just as many (or few) enemies as before. Yes 40 lasgun shots to a tank might now hurt it, but that's how sustained fire works in real life.
Pay close attention to the 'hit' and 'damage' values. A weapon might have high damage but only hits once, such as a lascannon. Great for taking out multi-wound targets but not so good against hoards.
4. Charge Phase
This is an interesting one, because you don't actually even need to charge now. If you are within 1" of an enemy you are automatically in combat. Watch out for sneaky moves where shooting attacks that prohibit charging don't actually stop you from getting into combat.
The fact that you can leave combat at will now, on the roll of a dice, is also interesting. Essentially everyone has the Hit and Run rule.
Overwatch is still here, which is good, and still hitting on 6's.
5. Fight Phase
Has not really changed apart from the removal of the tables. Pile in is up to 3" now (was it 2" before?). Now you can choose which melee weapon you want to use AND split your attacks between them, so the days of power fists and power sword combinations are here!
A big difference is that units have a attack value, it's not based on the number of weapons they have. So having a pistol and close combat weapon doesn't give you an extra attack any more. You have what is on the data card plus any bonuses for charging, or special rules.
6. Moral Phase
Moral is leadership y another name. The big news here is that the unit loses additional members equal to the value they lost the roll by. They don't fall back, but they could be destroyed outright!
Overall I see a lot of change but at the same time not a lot of change. The mechanics and wording are different and should speed things up, but the overall the game still works the same way.
I think we'll see much quicker games and I can't see why any of this couldn't be ported over to 30k wholesale, the rearrangement of the phases doesn't really affect the balance. I suspect the real reason we'll be waiting for a transition to 8th is because all the black books will need a slight re-write. It's true that Fore World can just update the Red Books, but you can't keep selling significantly out of date Black Books that contain rule no longer supported.
My mate Rich and I are gonna have a couple of small comparison games using 7th and 8th edition rules in a couple of 30k games to see how much difference it actually makes. Will keep you posted!
If you are still looking for a copy of 8th Edition before the weekend, I believe Alchemists Workshops might still have one or two hiding in the corner...
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