Last night I played my first game of 7th edition, including the use of the new "Tactical Objectives" cards. We didn't quite do it right as we only had one deck, and technically whilst one person can't draw the same objective twice, each opponent could do so - sharing a deck meant that once an objective was gone it was gone for both. However we found simply drawing cards from the deck to be far quicker than rolling on the tables and marking down which had been used or not.
With that small modification taken into account, I have to say 7th edition looks great. This game was the most fun game I've had of 40k in ages. Now admittedly part of that was due to some random shots with a Manticore providing some entertainment, but I put more of it down to the feel of the game. Instead of simply looking to blast my opponents scoring units off the table for a few turns then get into a good position about turn 4/5 I had to react to what the tactical objectives threw up. Sure I might have a nice firebase, but if I can rush out and secure objective 4 I can earn a point. It made the game into a far more fluid affair. My opponent had started to advance his entire army towards me, but he got the chance to score on his own objective, so nipped some units back to do so. The game felt far less predictable, and because we were scoring as we went along we both felt like we were always in the game.
The psychic phase is a good mechanic. No more do you look across at your opponent throwing blessings around and feel you have no part to play. Now you can deny his power even if they don't effect you, both players are involved in the psychic phase - even if you have no psykers, you still have to choose which power to throw your dice at to try to stop. The fact that you throw more dice at a power means you're more likely to get perils, which are a lot worse, so the ability to get more powers off is tempered by the inherent risk involved in such an approach.
There were no flyers of FMCs in this game so we didn't playtest the changes to their rules, so I can't comment on that just yet.
If the rumours be true and they are bringing out race specific tactical objective cards that allow you to modify your deck to something more suitable to your army, I think that will add a fantastic dynamic to the game. I eagerly await the Ork release to confirm these rumours.
As for the game, well I was up against a tough army. Wraithknight, 2 wraithlords, 3 units of wraithguard a unit of fire dragons and a spiritseer, all in 4 wave serpents. I had brought a Manticore, a Wyvern, and a couple of 50 man blob squads. Yarrick was in the army, but as I had a Company Command too they were in charge. Nork Deddog was looking after the warlord, I also had a couple Divination level 2 Psykers and a couple priests. By blobbing the squads, I would have two 50 man blobs that the priests would make reroll to hit and possibly reroll to wound in combat whilst automatically passing all morale checks. The psykers were using their powers to give the squads reroll to hit, and one squad could also be given fire overwatch at full BS and another good power I had was ignore cover. Then when you threw in the orders that could give me tank hunter, monster hunter, or perhaps split fire, or ignore cover for the other squad if need be... those units presented quite the threat. I had the company commands loaded with flamers in chimeras, and I had a couple lascannon heavy weapon teams too. The blobs had missile launchers and flamers.
I set up aggressively but my opponent seized the initiative, and then took First Blood to take the lead. He also drew TO44, score D3 objectives for controlling any three objectives. Start of turn 1 with an Eldar army, that was very easy to do, and he scored a 3. 4-0 halfway through turn 1. In return I was already sat on objective 5 so got one for sure, and while my opponent had just taken objective 3, it was with the firedragons... they didn't have Objective Secured, whereas my infantry platoon command section did - they nipped up and stole the objective for a second point. 4-2 to Dale at the end of turn 1.
Turn 2 saw Dale with a bad draw as he moved forwards, and unable to complete any objectives this turn. He had however moved his army forwards, leaving him only holding two objectives. I was sitting on three of them, and drew TO45 giving D3 for controlling twice as many objectives as my opponent. A swift chimera advance onto an uncontested objective secured this for me, but I rolled a disappointing 1... Dale still leads 4-3. This turn also had a critical point when his wraithknight tried to assault my blob squad. Overwatch fire took it down a wound, leaving it with 2 (it had lost 3 the previous shooting phase) but it was assaulting my grav wave generator needing a 4... and rolled a 4. Half the roll, failed charge. Phew! This was a bit of a turning point, as I then shot and killed said wraithknight, and he could have locked that unit up for quite some time given neither Yarrick nor Nork was around to put anything capable of hurting the thing into the mix.
Turn 3 Dale responded by killing my Wyvern, which was a tactical objective for him that turn. I had TO53 which would give me point for killing enemy units (potentially up to D3+3, but against a small elite army like Dales that was very unlikely to happen.) I grabbed one point for killing one unit. I also scored a point for successfully manifesting a warp power, however I missed out on scoring D3 points for manifesting three as I failed to get a power off on 4 dice! Turn 3, 5-5.
Turn 4 Dale got an easy one, home objective, to retake the lead. I then took back a point for holidng the central objective. Turn 5 Dale nipped round the flank to secure his left objective, and also used his flat out moves and run moves to get three of his units within 12" of his table edge (none of my units were in the same band - TO43) I scored one for again having the central objective. I was desperately trying to get into a Linebreaker position, needing a 4 or more on my run... I got a 2. Dale was winning 8-7 at the end of turn 5...
There was a turn 6. During turn 6 Dale drew several attempts to grab the objectives deep in my deployment zone - no chance. So Dale scored nothing. I then drew a card that would give me one point for getting a unit into Linebreaker, and D3 if I could get three or more units into that position. That would tie the game, and potentially win it... though Linebreaker itself at game end could also win it... but there could always be a turn 7...
The psychic phase proved very useful in this turn. I cast a power that let me sacrifice a TO card and immediately activate a new one. I got TO41 - score a point if all the mysterious objectives have been revealed by the end of the turn. This late in the game, that was done long ago! Tied score even without Linebreaker.
As for the linebreaker gambit,I broke the priest off from the main horde and ran him. He made it. So did the horde. The command section that had narrowly missed out last turn moved into it this turn. That got me three units, the D3 came up with 2. End of turn 6, I'm winning 10-8.
The game ended. Linebreaker gives me an 11-8 win.
This was such a great game and a lot of fun for both me and my opponent. It was really close all the way through and had some fantastic cinematic moments. I am looking forward to more 7th edition.
There was one query...
Jink now says you don't have to move to claim it, however you must declare if a unit or vehicle that is targeted will jink BEFORE rolling to hit. So when I aimed my manticore at one of his wave serpents, he chose to jink. When the Storm Eagle rocket scatted 8 inches and hit another Wave serpent, my opponent and I agreed that as the To Hit roll had already been made, he couldn't jink. The Wave Sepernt was caught off guard as it were. Luckily for him the shield downgraded it to a glance anyway.
In turn 2 I shot at the same wave serpent, that had moved forward and was now NEXT to the second wave serpent. This time he wanted to jink both. Now you could query if he could choose to jink a vehicle I wasn't actively targeting, but as I had placed my template to try to catch both of them I thought it only fair that I allow both vehicles to jink... which proved to be totally irrelevant as it scattered 7 inches and landed atop a third, non-jinking wave serpent. Again, the serpent shield rescued him. By the time turn 3 came around, it didn't matter where I fired, my opponent was jinking every serpent... "but that one is 27 inches away from the targ..." "I DON'T CARE, I'm jinking anyway" Hell even my guardsmen were ducking when that thing started it's launch sequence.
So that does beg the question, can a vehicle that is not the target of a template attack choose to jink if the template is placed so that it touches it? And can any vehicles in the vicinity choose to jink also, just to be on the safe side? Or do you have to be the actual target of the attack? Your thoughts?