In the weekend just gone, a friend and I played a game of Warhammer 40,000 9th edition, using the community ‘Filthy Casual Play’ ruleset for open play.
If you’re interested in a write-up of the match including photos of the major developments, check out my opponent’s blog Freodom: Warhammer 40,000: Let’s Play Filthy Casual – 500 pts Word Bearers vs Blood Angels. I don’t have a great detail to add, though I do have a few opinions and reactions of my own!
I was surprised how quickly one of my Assault Intercessor troops squads disappeared in a single round of melee. This was an unfortunate combination with my Justiciar’s subsequent charge: he successfully killed my opponent’s warlord, who was largely responsible for the Intercessors’ demise, and also tagged his huge cultist squad solely to stop them charging my Eradicator fire support. Unfortunately, the dice saw my plan coming and gave me five out of five failed 3+ saving throws. That is exactly how many wounds the Justiciar had. Of course, this setback didn’t sting me, because I can’t imagine a more perfectly 40k moment than this. Wild dice throws that mock your plans, and heroes buried beneath endless waves of the enemy!
I feared the Vindicator and Mutilators rather more than I needed to. I think the Mutilators were a little unlucky as they failed their only opportunity to charge, but they killed only a single Intercessor in the entire game. The Vindicator, meanwhile, failed to live up to its high damage potential in the first few turns, although as soon as it did get some hits through it slaughtered two thirds of my Eradicators in one volley. A highly swingy unit.
I was quite happy with the list I’d put together, though I’d love to add more models to the Intercessor units. Strategically, I think my biggest lesson was to deploy and plan much more aggressively for objective markers. I did well at killing, but let my opponent establish an early lead, which partly due to aggressive table control on his part (something to do with 30 cultists, perhaps?) I was never able to catch up.
I’m not terribly concerned about the rules bloat my opponent mentions. I’m very conscious I’ve only played two tiny games of 9th edition, and before that I’ve not really played anything since the heyday of 2nd edition back in the mid 1990s (aka. Herohammer, when it was normal to place scores of counters all over the table, argue about blast templates and vehicle hit rules, bring entire decks of wargear cards for your overpowered characters, and never actually finish a damn game because everything took so long).
Two games isn’t enough to learn and consistently remember every detail or interaction in a game of strategic depth. My handwritten cheat sheet helped a lot, but I still slipped up a few times, mostly with Doctrines as they change between rounds. I do think that, with some more games under my belt, I’ll get it right often enough. That said I must acknowledge we were playing without Secondary Objectives, Warlord Traits, Relics, or Command Points, and with only a single pre-selected stratagem each. Also neither of us had any psykers. So there is still a great deal to learn, but right now I’m more excited than concerned. I guess we’ll see if I feel the same way when I completely screw something up because I got confused…
There’s a small gallery of my army below. It’s unfinished, but certainly good enough for gaming with. The Lieutenant is closest to done, although his storm shield is unpainted and his armour lacks panel lining and highlights. I included a close-up of a Sergeant’s face because it is, so far, the best face I’ve painted. If you haven’t clicked the Freodom link yet, go take a look at the opposing force already!