Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rats! Foiled Again!


It's been a productive weekend.  Even nursing my sore neck I still managed to assemble and base 20 plague monks, 20 clanrats, 2 rat ogres and glue 20 giant rats (old metal ones) to bases in such a way that they can rank up properly.

I love the new options for the Skaven warlord to have a mount, and at left you'll see the beginnings of my Rat Ogre Bonebreaker mount.  Like normal I'm using aluminum foil for the basic shape and I'll putty over that for detail.  He stands a little taller than a normal rat ogre right now and after putty he'll be much beefier, which fits the book description well.

So I've had a solid week with the Skaven book and I suppose I should make a few observations, as a Skaven player of 5 years or so.
Pro:
  • Mainstay rule is gone, and good riddance.
  • Plague Censer Bearers are now special, making Clan Pestilens themed armies a little more doable.
  • Cool new Clan Pestilens toys (Plague Furnace, Plague Claw Catalpult)
  • Having two lores of Skaven magic and a lvl 1 and lvl 2 wizard to choose from for each gives Skaven far more options than the last book (which limited you to Super Wizard or Super Cannon)
  • The new weapon teams sound fun to convert and play.
  • The ratling gun got a much needed nerfing, as it now rolls to hit (among other changes.)
  • 0-1 limit on Stormvermin removed
  • Giant Rats attack in two ranks now
  • 8(!) special characters.  I don't know if I'll ever see them all in battle, but it's fun to see them all in the book.
Cons:
  • new Packmaster rules are strange.  So even if there are 50 giant rats in the unit and one packmaster, an arrow that hits the unit has a 1/3 change of hitting that single packmaster?  
  • Wording for "strength in numbers" is practically word for word the same as in the last edition.  This was one of the rules that generated the most questions.  When does a unit have a rank bonus?  If rank bonus is calculated at the beginning of the close combat phase does the Skaven unit use one rank bonus to determine if they won the combat and another to break test (assuming it lost enough models to lose a rank)?  Just a dozen or so more words would have done so much.
  • Half points?  really?  I suppose I'm glad a unit of Clanrats with shield cost less now and I don't know how I would have done things differently, but it's just so awkward.
  • Warp Lightning Cannon is a little more boring now.  I miss the unpredictable nature of the previous version with it's random range.  The new one is more survivable (I've had one survive a six turn battle... something no WLC of mine has ever done) but seems to fail a lot more.  About 30% of all shots fired will either misfire or fizzle.  Maybe some interesting anecdotes about the WLC will come up but in the games I've played it's been an uneventful item so far.
  • Lots of inconsistent/omitted wording in the book.  Can all Night Runners be upgraded to Night Leaders?  Does a Master Moulder (as a unit champion) have to stay in the front rank?  Are Warp Tokens and the Storm Banner really not "one use only"?  Can a Warlord on War Litter join a unit?
By the way, the new Clanrat weapons are sharp little suckers.  I drew blood implaing myself while trying to scrape mold lines off those pointy things.  And oh is it nice to just have clanrats rank up so nicely.  Old monkey rats are so out of here.  But, of course, Night Runners are no longer skirmishers, so after we get rid of the nightmare of ranking one type of monkey rat, the other one is now ranked.  Any everyone will have assembled Night Runners with no regard to tail placement because they never had to think about ranks before.  Nice! (not really)

It may sound like I'm griping but I'm really happy with the new Skaven, and once a FAQ/Errata comes out clarifiying all the strange points I'll be all the happier.  So in the immortal words of General Vorg:  Squeeks!

2 comments:

  1. The WLC was excellent in the game I used it, taking out half a unit of Saurus Warriors. But even as useful as I found it, it will still sit on the shelf behind the Doom Wheel and Hell Pit Abomination.

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  2. I guess the part I don't like is that it's either a long strong shot or a short weak shot (after the guess anyway.) I always got a laugh out of my cannon because it either shot at str 10 for nearly minimum range or went all the way across the board but so weak it couldn't have popped popcorn.

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