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BREAKING NEWS: 8th Edition 40K Missions Explained!

Whilst it's not as exciting as weapons rules, or as glamorous as new models, what can make or break a system in a game is actually the game you play. Which means the context in which you push around your plastic soldiers.
Frankly, it's also the hardest bit to sell to neophyte students. They're generally champing at the bit to just roll dice at the other person until everything's dead. Games Workshop has given players like that a simple battle system to follow: Only War.
Because that's in the 40K tag line.
This is similar to the Age of Sigmar freebie rules mission, and is designed for quick games with new players or just people who want to roll dice at each other until the other guy is dead.
Well that's a bit unfair. Unlike the Age of Sigmar mission, this has objectives. We keep seeing 40K as being like AoS but with more complexity, and this is an example of just that.
AoS also launhed without any way to balance armies. Having learned from that, 40K has it's power levels. The players should try to match Power Levels, and the lowest Level player is called the Underdog. If you're below by 10-19 you get a Command re-roll. If 20+ you get 2 re-rolls. If you're 30+... kindly ask your opponent to put models away, or just pack up your stuff and find someone else to play with.
The game starts off with setting terrain and placing objective markers.
Once those are down, the Primary objective is rolled for from the following three options:
  • Slay and Secure: Combination of a few old game types, you get 2 Points for each objective controlled at the end of the game, and an extra d3 for Slaying the Warlord.
  • Ancient Relic: One objective is randomly selected after deployment and before the first turn. You get 6 VP for getting that objective at the end of the game.
  • Domination: A simple version of Maelstrom, you get 1VP for every objective controlled at the end of each turn.
Split the battlefield in half, and then take turns deploying as normal. Underdog gets first turn.
It's quick to set up, and should be great for pick-up games in shops, or any rapid fire matches.
There are also three Open Play options; Annihilation, Hold at all Costs, and Death or Glory. This probably line up with the instant wins for AoS; destroy an enemy unit, keep a unit alive, or kill a character. 
Narrative play also opens up some fun options:
  • Meat Grinder
  • Ambush
  • Patrol
  • Blitz
  • Sabotage
  • Rescue
And these come with some new mission specific Stratagems:

The command abilities look and what they do look really fun, and will probably be the go-to choice for friendly matches. Those missions look like they'll be more entertaining to watch and play than even the matched play missions.

Speaking of Matched Play, Maelstrom of War and Eternal War are back. They've been tidied up, and two new deployment maps added, one of which is below:

There's also a new stratagem to fix one of the more frustrating things in Maelstrom:

The variety of mission types is amazing, and appropriate for every player. Tourney players can continue to moan about specific rules and wordings in their Maelstrom games, whereas student neophytes can continue to get things hilariously wrong in Open Play.

It's probably a bit sad to ay, but of all the things to get me hyped about 8th Edition, this is probably it. Having a mission set up on a single card is such a boon to a teacher trying to run three tables at once that it's worth every penny of the Starter box set.

And teacher nerding out; OMG, differentiated game plays for beginners, intermediate and advanced! All I need now is a plenary few minutes at the end of a session, and this toy soldier malarkey could be an Outstanding lesson plan!

Until next time!

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