Saturday, December 15, 2012

Crusade of Fire review

So I managed to get myself a copy of another one of Games Workshop's woefully limited release books.  The pre-orders seemed to have been completely sold out in the first 3 days on the Canadian and U.S. websites, so I ended up buying a copy from the U.K. website.  Overall, I have to say the book was a pleasant surprise.  It basically breaks down into the campaign rules with scenarios, and then three sets of special rules; Dog Fights, Gladiator battles, and Demon Worlds.

Unlike the Blood in the Badlands book, this one tried to push the idea, and benefits, of game mastered, or co-game mastered, campaigns.  The overall campaign was designed to have 3 "teams" fight over the re-emerging Corvus sub-sector.  I liked the idea that the map gradually reveals, so players who are behind can easily get to new virgin ground and not get overwhelmed and surrounded.  The only drawbacks that I see is that you can't just forge out and claim the sub-sector for yourself, and without a proper multiple of 3 teams could become unbalanced.  I'm looking forward to getting a campaign going with some friends.

I'm always into expansion books for the game rules, and luckily we are given some great additional rules.  First lets start with the Demon Worlds.  This was a great little special rule that can be added to any game, and will completely re-define the balance of power.  Have an extra person, they can be responsible for running any demons that popup.  Best of all, it gives you a reason to get some of the awesome new plastic demons that have been released, they really are all fantastic looking models.  There is a lot of extra accounting work, but it seems like it should be a blast.
Taken from Beckjann's Deviant page
The one thing that I saw drum up a lot of buzz on Dark Eldar forums were the gladiator battles that are supposed to take place in the heart of Commorragh.  This had the potential to be so great, but seems like it maybe needs a bit more refinement.  The basic Arena of Death rules are built to demonstrate two characters battling, which would be much more interesting without the addition of challenges to 6th edition.  They allude to using more than 2 players, but I have a feeling it will add a even further degree of complexity to these rules.  Reading this over a couple times, it begins to feel like a different game using 40k models.  You determine your speed based upon your Initiative value, the facing of your opponent that your are in(the opponent on a round base), and other modifiers.  Modifiers that are added through cards; cards you have to photocopy and print out.  I think this really missed on so many levels.  Facings are terrible on a circle based model, there are always going to be times when you can't tell which quarter they are in, go a front and back facing only, if you have to.  A chart that allowed us to use regular playing cards might have been a bit more accessible instead of separate cards that you need to play.

Finally, my favorite addition, the dogfight special rules.  They are effective and relatively simple, a stark contrast to the Arena of Death rules.  Basically, in the shooting phase a flyer may attempt to dog fight with another flyer.  Then it is basically a paper/rock/scissors setup, the attacker chooses 1 of 3 tactics by using a hidden D3, and the defender does the same and you compare the results to the chart, then repeat for 2 more phases.  There are a number of results across the tables ranging from firing all your weapons at a flyer, firing a shot at a ground unit, to nothing at all.  So potentially, you could shoot an enemy on the ground, then fire all his weapons at the enemy flyer at BS 1, and then fire all his weapons again at full BS.  On top of that, if you do destroy a flyer in a dogfight, it's worth an extra victory point.

Simple yet effective rules, but you want to take it one further? Well let's throw in some race specific maneuvers to add some extra spice.  This accounts for every race that can get a flyer, including races like Tau and Eldar that only get access to ForgeWorld flyers.  Still not enough? How about race specific fighter ace upgrades?  My only issue here, is somehow they missed the one important race with the fighter aces, Dark Eldar(if we don't see a correction, I'll probably cook up some of my own).  This is absolutely how additional rules should be done in my mind.

Hopefully I can get some reports in using some of these rules in the near future.