I've got to admit, it's been about 5 years since I last played straight up 40k. I've been playing 30k throughout that time as it just seemed more straight forward and also because I love the fluff. So, it was a bit of a surprise to find myself playing 40k last night at the local gaming club...
In summary, I can say that I really enjoyed it. The rules seem fresh, yet familiar. The game was quicker than usual, slicker you could say and it was easier to negotiate around the rules. The fact that the core rules are 12 pages long and then all special rules are on the unit's data sheets really sped things up.
When you get into the actual game, you realise that many of the weapons and units still behave the same but have been tweaked, looking up tables has been removed, as has the use of templates, which made a noticeable difference to the smoothness of playing and the time it took to resolve shooting and combat.
We played an ad hoc '30 power' game. We chose not to get into the nitty gritty of points because we just wanted to see how the game played really. The game felt pretty balanced, it 'looked' like we had the right amount of troops on the table.
The psychic phase is much much quicker and we felt that the end result was similar to 7th edition in terms of casualties inflicted.
The moral phase was brutal, but again saved time because we didn't have to worry about (or forget) taking moral tests and moving units slowly back off the board. They either made it or they didn't. I can see this being particularly awful for hoard armies...
We just played a 4x4 size game with a small amount of cover so that we could try every aspect of the game. There was a good chance we would get to try shooting and close combat.
One word of advice - check every rule for everything. Don't make assumptions. Everything does feel familiar but everything has changed. There were a few instances where we thought we knew how a rule or piece of equipment or a psychic power worked, and it didn't, and it cost us both in different ways.
Overall I think I will be playing again. The game is as improved as I was hoping and there's nothing I don't really like about the rules yet. Again, I'm sad that 30k isn't joining the 8th band wagon, if any version of the game could use a sped up, approximate power rating using rule set, that is ideal for friendly fluffy games it is the behemoth that is 30k.
PS - the Eldar won, which is further evidence that the game is a little bit more balanced than it has been.
What do you think so far?
theerrantwolf.blogspot.co.uk - a blog dedicated to The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40k - Get in touch on Twitter: @davetgent