With a new 40k around the corner I think it is worth taking a look at comparing my beloved DZC with a new ed of 40k. In my gaming group a lot of people have spoken out being very eager to play it. For us DZC, 40k is kind of a constant threat to getting games in and now that I have played it and followed some battle reports I thought it smart to compare the two.
The new 40k8
My experience comes from the very few games I’ve had but it is enough to give me a impression although some things might be a little off in the long run. I have been playing 40k since 1st ed, only skipping 7th, and while I’m not a rules-writer I have played a lot of games of 40k, participated in over 100 tournaments and held over 20 of them myself. I do believe that I have a lot of experience of 40k (but there is always a lot of people better than me anyway).
In short the new 40k is a fast-paced game and much easier to learn than the 7th. Special rules have been toned down and the basic rules doesn’t include almost any special rules. The main strategy comes from target selection in the shooting phase and very fast movement into close combat. The game is intended to be faster to play and does this by being bloody very fast. Within a minute an experienced wargamer can play the game ok and pick up the game as it goes and after a full game you can basically remember 90% of the game without reference to the basic rules.
Many things have been toned down and made simpler among units. Psychic combinations are not as grand as before – something many have called out for a long time for. Terrain is kind of useless which is it’s main drawback.
The Subjective Opinion
For me the game is a grand improvement from the messy crappy storm 7th was. GW states they listen more to the gaming community and will balance it as it moves a long. The missions are ok with a mix of the standard focal point style of objectives with the drawback that comes from being bloody; Turn 1-5 is killing spree. Turn 6 surviving models move over to objectives. The tactical objectives is then a better choice for me. It keeps the game running with points collecting during the game.
The game suffers from lack of good terrain rules. I would say they are the main weakest point. If GW will balance the game based on those rules the main aspect of CC armies will be to either get the first turn or not set up units at all. Shooting through a wall, through a wood, over a tank trap and at a model behind a low wall results in no cover as the model has to stand on the terrain to get cover. This is not only stupid but boring as hell. LOS blocking terrain is a must in a game where one side that gets first turn is at a huge advantage but with a Shooty Predator tank moving 12″ and the rules are written so that if one model in a squad is not on terrain the entire squad is not considered in cover, the amount of LOS block need to be so extremely plentiful and again – most likely GW will not balance the game based on that. Instead they will base it on “normal” 40k tables and with cover (even when you get cover) doing less than in any version of 40k ever, getting the first turn is the main winning tactic.
The terrain rules is the absolute main drawback with the game. When getting cover it does kind of little except for Space marines and LOS blockers are easily moved past with little effort. If these rules are fixed into something that makes at least a little sense then the new 40k is a fast paced game that is very easy to get into and will be a enjoyable game to return to now and then. If GW succeed with regular updates for balance it can be a good tournament game as well.
But now I need to say it again: getting cover is harder than ever, heavy weapons and gun lines are more mobile than ever and when you do get cover it does less than ever. Yay! Or not.
Comparing it to DZC:
So how does it fare against DZC? Well, lets start with the positive.
+ Faster to get into. Everybody who have a 40k army (and we are a lot of people) that does not game as often will not have any issue playing a game now and then with the new rules. This is a big risk for DZC as it means that people will get more easily a game of 40k in.
+ The balance is better. 7th was crap. With ridiculous combos of 2+ invul save with re-roll and banned psychic powers we do not see this in 40k8. Special rules and flexibility are always harder to put points on than stats and the special rules have been decreased and stats are more important.
+ The backstory is still the best out there. I suspect many (me including) will get the rulebooks just to understand how the story have moved on.
+ The models are still great. Nuff said. GW knows what they are doing in this area.
For the downside compared to DZC:
– Bloody does not mean better. I hate putting lots of models on the table and before being able to do something I have to remove them. I want to use my models. I want to feel them accomplish something and not just being removed. I have seen several battle reports that just calls it end of turn 3.
– It is still “Space marines, space marines, space marines”. Even the lousy terrain rules are kind of ok if all model had at least power armour.
– Everything feels “extreme” in attacking. Example: You can run and shoot with assault weapons so we can get more turn 1 shooting. CC felt a bit toned down though. But it means that it can escalate very fast when it comes to codex’. Shooting is more effective than ever.
– The terrain rules suck. Cover does not do enough unless you have a high armour save, LOS terrain can easily be ignored, LOS for cover is stupid (all of your models in a squad have to stand on the any terrain piece to get cover). You don’t get cover behind a barricade made of several feet thick diamond-hard steel. You have to stand on top of the wall to get cover, even if this menas the opponent’s units can thus fully see the model. It will be interesting to see how the community will change this though. I’m fairly confident that most people will prefer some more logic into LOS.
“Can I shoot at that model?”
“Even if it through that window, that forrest, that ruin, that hill and tank traps and I only see a toe on the model?”
“Yeah – awesome isn’t it?”
“No…Not really. What kind of cover does all that get to the target?”
“Nothing at all! Isn’t this extremely fun?”
*goes over to a dzc table*
“How does terrain work here?”
“You can enter buildings, shoot at the buildings, area terrain blocks LOS, if you shoot and the target is 50% obscured the target gets cover and depending on type of unit it slows you down differently. Roads are good for ground vehicles while skimmers can go over water.”
“It sounds very…logical”
“Yeah, it basically does what you think it will do.”
– The missions in DZC are still vastly superior. DZC forces more balance in an army. Where new 40k is a huge improvement over 7th the balance between units you should take are much better in DZC. You still can spam a single unit in 40k which you can’t in DZC.
– Less interaction with terrain in 40k. DZC is based on entering buildings with infantry, demo buildings, moving things fast from one side to another.
– DZC is still a game that feels like you are playing in a part of a city. In 40k a human ca be faster than a bullet. The scale in 40k still feels just off.
– No alternate activation. First turns wins. A lot. that is extremely bad. I have grown to love alternate activation and can not even consider going back to a main game that does not have it unless terrain compensate for it.
– More instans action instead of preparing for attack. You set-up and hope for first turn. In DZC you jump out of a vehicle and can not attack until next turn so you can’t just jump out and kill everything.
New 40k is dangerous. Many new wargamers will find an easy entry point in 40k where there are many players already. That means they can and will select 40k many times over DZC. If the terrain rules are changed into something more sensible then 40k will be even a greater threat to DZC than it is without sensible terrain rules (which it already is). Even DZC players like myself will ask for a game of DZC on our club’s gaming night and when no one is able I will take the option to play a game of 40k to get die rolling.
Interesting times – how do you consider the game? Will DZC loose players to 40k?