Friday, March 12, 2010
REVIEW: 40k Battle Missions Supplement
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking at this point, "Sheesh! Not ANOTHER blogger reviewing the new Battle Missions book..."
Yup, that's what you're getting here.
Its funny, for YEARS, I've been saying that Games Workshop needed to do just this - publish a book of missions. Finally, my dream comes true. Since numerous places out there on the interwebs can give you detailed information about the 33 new missions in the book, I'll take a slightly different approach in this review.
Hands down, I'm happy with this product.
The missions do spice things up a good bit, but none of them really go "way out there" and mess with the basic 40k v5 mechanic; well, maybe with the exception of the Space Marine mission that features a Thunderhawk... Most are based on objectives or some variant of the Kill Point system (with even one or two using a modified v4-ish Victory Points deal).
Many of the missions include one-to-a-handful of "special rules" that add a new dimension to the mission. Yet none of these seems awfully broken or lopsided.
The book contains a small bit of fluff for almost all of the armies out there (the =][= forces being the exception), which provides a nice little break from "reading rules".
And to go beyond the book itself, I believe that this supplement can help one devise their own missions (something we here at DFIR LOVE to do), and can also be used as a springboard to formulate either a campaign or even a good game of Apocalypse.
All is not a rose garden, though.
Did Games Workshop miss a boat here by not supporting the Battle Missions book with more miniatures releases? The past expansions - Cities of Death, Apocalypse, and Apocalypse Reload - all featured quite a number of new model releases and/or splash bundle packages. So why did the new Battle Missions book only come with a handful of new kits for only 3 armies? Got me...
Are there to many new missions in the book? I doubt I'll ever play all of them at least once. Seriously, 30 missions (the other 3 are "special" missions) is A LOT of games to be played. 60 if you consider playing them all from both sides of the fence. Hmmm... quick head math here, at roughly 3 games per month (my average gaming schedule), it'd take me almost 2 years to play all 30 missions from both sides of the equation (ie., once as attacker and once as defender).
Are having the missions arranged by Army types going to make some people shy away from playing many of the missions? I look forward to playing some of my armies using the Daemons missions (for example), but that might not be what everyone is thinking... I think a better way to "organize" the book would have been to do so like some of the older rulebooks, by "mission type". Have raids, breakthroughs/breakouts, assaults/sieges, and etc. This would have also allowed for a more robust "special missions" section including such things as a Kill Team-esque mission, a Combat Patrol mission, a high/low gravity mission, a new Cityfight mission (or two), and even a new Apocalypse style mission (or two).
Finally, I think my last gripe is that maybe the missions are somewhat repetitive in certain elements. Deployment schemes, for example. Why not include some missions with that old "diver down" style deployment where opponents have a triangular-shaped deployment zone? Another example is that all of the missions have the standard variable game length (one includes an 8th turn, and one is "fight til one person is completely annihilated). It would have been nice to see some have a set length, a different take on variable length, or maybe even a set event that would end the game.
Like I said earlier, "Hands down, I'm happy with this product." My minor gripes above do not detract from my appreciation for the Battle Missions book. If anything, the book will help me (and my fellow DFIR cohorts) springboard into more home-made missions and general "fun times". The product is worth it for the variety it adds to the game, even if you won't play every single mission in it.
In other words, I highly recommend the new Battle Missions book.