Chapter Approved 2019

It’s that time of year again! Chapter Approved has arrived, with a whole load of extra stuff for games of Warhammer 40k. Always an exciting time of the gaming year! This year’s book has landed, and is a bit of a curious fish in comparison with the previous two, my thoughts on which you can read here, and here!

As per usual, the book is broadly split between the three systems of play – Open, Narrative and Matched. Open Play includes a few pages that discuss various ways of using the Open War cards – one of which is a variant that we use quite a lot at my local store, whereby three cards are drawn for each of deployment, mission and twist, and one is picked to be the one. Interesting way of looking at things, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing necessarily. There is also a sort of open war generator, where you roll to see what type of units you compose an army from. There’s a D66 table that includes stuff like “1 troop unit” and “1 champion or 3 troops or 1 elite or 1 heavy support or 1 fast attack”, which seems like a very flexible and open-ended way to go about building an army to play a game with! Not sure if that would be for me, but there we have it! I’m not going to say that the Open Play section feels thrown together, but it does feel a little bit more haphazard than previous years.

Narrative Play, as usual, includes what I think of as a true expansion for Warhammer 40k. Spearhead is a game variant that uses armies comprised of the big guns – tanks, obviously, and their analogues across the other factions. There are the main rules, three missions to play, and two pages of stratagems specific to the game mode. Even if your army doesn’t have tanks, you’ll have something in here that will allow you to interact with them – for example, Tyranids can benefit from a stratagem if one of their synapse creatures is in range of an enemy vehicle. It’s much like the Cities of Death rules that came in last year’s book; it feels like a real, self-contained expansion that doesn’t really require a standalone book release, but it’s really nice to have a different way to play the game like this.

There are also rules within the Narrative Play section for linking games – not in the traditional sense, but rather how to play games of Kill Team, Apocalypse and “regular” 40k and tie them all together. It’s an interesting conglomeration of looking at the three different systems, and there are even rules for what the designers call “parallel games”, where you break off partway through one to play the other, the outcome of that then influencing the remainder of the original game. It’s a very interesting way of playing, and if I were to ever have the time to play 40k for, say, a weekend, it might be worth a try!

The third aspect of the Narrative Play section is Challenge Missions, where one player has a clear advantage over the other at the start of the game. There are three missions to play through, with their associated stratagems, along with narrative ideas for why one army might have the advantage.

Finally, we come to Matched Play, and the main focus for me, at least! We get more missions to play under the Eternal War banner, and more Maelstrom of War missions that use a variant of deck construction whereby you build a tactical objective deck consisting of only 18 cards (half the usual number), and have a hand of five that you play from throughout the game. Feels very different to the usual way, but I suppose it helps to streamline things by removing those cards that you don’t like to go for (thinking of Domination here!) or those that you have no hope of achieving if you know the army you’ll be up against (Witch Hunter when going against Drukhari or Necrons, for instance).

The Appendix has, in previous years, been where the defining meat of the book has been found, though this year that does feel a little like things have changed. Whereas in 2017, we had the additional rules to help those armies who hadn’t yet had their Codex released, and in 2018 we had the beta-Codex for Sisters of Battle, 2019 is a much more muted affair. There are the datasheets for the Slaanesh daemons that have previously been released in the assembly instructions for each model, along with some more updated datasheets for additional Chaos daemons.

Fortification datasheets are also included, and there are some rules for some battlefield terrain that, I think, we have previously seen in the 2017 edition.

The big selling point for this year’s book, however, is the Munitorum Field Manual that is included as a separate book in the bundle. Previously, we’ve had pages of lists of models and wargear that have seen points changes for Matched Play, making it a fairly difficult process to build a list, as you’d first need to check if the unit (or its weapons) has had a change, before then referencing the tables in the Codex to work out the cost. Well, no more! Chapter Approved 2019 brings us all the points for every model and piece of wargear across the entire 40k range – including Forge World models! It’s a fairly hefty tome for a saddle-stitch softcover, but it makes it so much easier to build an army now, knowing that everything is in there, whether it has changed since the Codex came out, or not!

Major takeaways seem to be that Grey Knights and Necrons have seen the best army-wide reductions overall, though I’ve done some research into Tyranids and Genestealer Cults, and I think I’m going to need a lot more models to fill my lists now! Look out for upcoming blogs where I take a look at the impact of CA19 on my current armies!

There are some fairly insistent rumours doing the rounds at the minute, predicting 9th Edition to be launched in the summer of 2020. Whether it’s a significant overhaul, or whether it forms something more akin to a v8.5, people seem to differ on, but the prediction of the new edition is nevertheless gathering steam, and some of that seems to be using the bloat that we’re seeing from stuff like Vigilus and now, Psychic Awakening, as the reason. I always assumed that Chapter Approved was the way to ensure the game stayed fresh enough that we wouldn’t need another edition for a while, but I suppose nothing can get in the way of the capitalist machine!

It would possibly be useful to have the Codexes updated with those new models that we’ve seen in recent releases, and while I do love a good campaign system, I think Psychic Awakening stuff would be better off being inserted into the relevant Codex as a second edition (as happened with Space Marines and Chaos Marines following the Shadowspear stuff). Is that what will happen? Who knows. I do hope though, whatever the plans for 40k as we move forward, that Chapter Approved continues to be an annual feature for the game!

Chapter Approved 2018

Hey everybody!
Chapter Approved 2018 is here! The now-annual update to 8th edition sees another book-load of stuff to add to games, much along the lines of last year’s volume, though I think 2018’s book is fairly interesting for the fact it includes the beta-Codex for Adepta Sororitas. But we’ll get to that!

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Chapter Approved 2018 is organised much like last year, with Open, Narrative and Matched Play each seeing a significant section, but the Appendix this year includes a lot of stuff, and takes up a major portion of the page space.

In Open Play, we get the rules for looting vehicles for Orks, now that such things are not a part of their most recent Codex arrival. Narrative Play has the rules for Cities of Death, with a few pages of rules, four pages of Stratagems, and warzone rules for urban battlegrounds, followed by six missions. The Cities of Death stuff is really good, with a whole host of ideas for playing missions of a different kind. I think I first came across the idea in the Shield of Baal series, and I’ve loved the idea of a board crammed with terrain ever since – especially when it’s not just there for line-of-sight blocking, though the terrain rules could perhaps be a bit more immersive.

Also in Narrative Play are the rules for adding Battle Honours to your units if you so wish – apparently these have been ported-over from Kill Team, though I suspect Kill Team was the testing ground for these in the first place. It’s a nice idea to allow for some squad customization, and brings something of the RPG-like feel to the game that the original Rogue Trader had.

I don’t mean to gloss over Open and Narrative Play in this manner, as there are some really interesting ideas in the book here for what promise to be really cool missions. I’ve already mentioned that one of my new year resolutions is to play more games, so I’m hoping that I can do so with these things, as well as more regular 40k matched point games. I’ll be sure to report back as and when I do, anyway!

The Matched Play section then gives us twelve new missions – six Echoes of War, and six Maelstrom of War. There’s one such mission, Disruptive Signals, which includes the unique Stratagem for 1 CP that allows you to basically deny your opponent from achieving an Objective this battle round. It sounds quite powerful on first glance, and I think the potential is likely there, but more often than not I could imagine this being in use more as a defensive thing than a “gotcha!”-type moment. Interesting stuff, anyway!

Finally, the Appendix gives us four hefty chunks of important book: revised terrain rules, the beta-Codex for Sisters, the formerly-pdf download Index for Renegade Knights, and all of the updated points values for the armies. These points updates include everything that has been changed – whether it was changed in Chapter Approved 2017, the Big FAQ, or newly-changed in 2018. So at least you won’t need to reference all of these different places to update your points values! I would assume that’s how they will do it from now on, so any points value changes from here on will be included in 2019’s book, but anything that doesn’t change between now and then will still be included because it has changed at some former point in time. Nice!

The beta-Codex has everything we would expect from a normal book, it even has two pages of the lore and the usual ‘Eavy Metal showcase, which is cool! There are 22 datasheets, for all of the Sisters units as well as Ministorum Priests, Death Cult Assassins and the like; 14 Stratagems (including the usual ones such as extra relic stratagems); they get their own Chapter Tactics, called Order Convictions, and a table of Warlord Traits and Relics as to be expected.

I’m not a Sisters player, so I can’t speak to the strengths or weaknesses of the army as presented here, but it is really cool to see the designers giving this much attention to them at last! I’ve previously written a blog (one of my favourites, actually) about the army, and how hard-done-by they have been, so it’s nice to have this kind of reversal. Of course, the Codex does only feature rules for the existing models, but I believe there will be entirely new units created for the Codex release when that eventually happens (sometime in October 2019, apparently), so it’ll be interesting to see if there are any synergies we’re not seeing, or if they have purposefully had to leave some things out. Current rumour mill points to the new units being HQs, though I would hope that they get something more in the way of unique troops choices.

My reasoning for this is that the other two armies of the Inquisition have a similar flavouring. Deathwatch can take Kill Teams as troops, which include bikers, terminators and vanguard veterans as well as more generic marines. For the Grey Knights, terminators are classed as troops, and that’s that. I wonder if the Codex might make Celestians, if not Dominions into troops, so that we have a troops choice all wielding flamers, or something thematic.

The other thing I’d really like to see from a Sisters Codex is more of the Ministorum side of things, so more Preachers and Priests. I’d love them to have a basic troops choice, so you could make a Priestly detachment without getting the battle nuns into the mix, or at least as a supporting role. But I guess the whole point of the Sisters of Battle is the Ministorum being prevented from having specifically men at arms…

I’m looking forward to seeing what the actual Codex will bring, and I hope it’s going to be more in the way of the larger Ministorum, as well as more Sisters generally. I’m guessing Thaddeus the Purifier from Blackstone Fortress will be in there as a named character, though, so that’s one newbie…

Finally, let’s talk points updates!

I’ve not had a proper chance to look through the book in relation to all of my armies, but I’ve been eagerly looking at some of those I’ve been talking about most recently on my blog, and I’m really surprised at how much some of them have dropped!

To start off, let’s look at the Necrons! Back in September, I wrote a fairly in-depth blog that showed off a 1994-point list and the reasons for why each unit was included in the army, along with some thoughts on how I wanted the whole to work. In this brave new world of Chapter Approved, I’ve lost a total of 224 points off this list, as it now comes in at 1770 points precisely. Things like the Triarch Stalker and Annihilation Barge have seen some hefty reductions, and the amount of infantry I use means that I’ve lost a total of 50 points simply because the weapons have dropped slightly! I’ve not finalised my plans for the new force yet, but I’m thinking I may well bring along another Triarch Stalker for the Targeting Relay shenanigans, and then share the remaining points out among things like Tomb Blades or more troops. Alternatively, I could always include the Night Scythe in my list, as I do have it painted up and ready to be used!!

The Deathwatch were featured a bit more recently, with a list that tipped just a little over 1000-points. Well, Chapter Approved 2018 has taken almost 100 points off it, so that it now comes in at 944 points. This is mainly due to the 54-point-drop of the Venerable Dreadnought, which is a theme of my other recently-mentioned force, the Deathwing!

Deathwing Redemption Force

These chaps were very awkwardly placed at 1580 points when I last looked at them, but the total cost of the army as I’ve built it to date now weighs in at 1426, with the Knights being a significant factor in this drop. 190 for a squad of five, rather than 258 points, is a real boon. The Venerable Dreadnought and the Grand Master both also have their contributions to make, but this does mean that I can now much more easily field the army in 1500-point games, rather than trying to make a decision on what I need to cut. Same story with the Deathwatch, really.

I still need to look at the Tempestus Scions army, and the Skitarii force that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but it looks like the former is mainly going to benefit from weapons point-reductions, while the latter sees more changes across the force as a whole. A job for the next few days, then. Interestingly, Dark Eldar don’t have any changes whatsoever to the main army, while I’ve already talked about the changes to my Genestealer Cult when the points changes had been leaked online. I want to think about my Tyranid army plans, as I’m not sure how I want to expand that just yet. As for my Tau thoughts, well I still need to decide if I even want to keep the army, let alone how I want to field it! But that’s probably a discussion for another day.

Right now, I’m focusing more of my attention on the Imperium (and, increasingly, on Chaos) so I suspect there will be plenty more to come for the various factions here! I’m not abandoning my xenos, of course – the Great Reanimation will continue for a while yet! – but I want to have Imperium armies that I can actually play games with, rather than just odd collections of some Imperium models that are a bit orphaned among the mounds of plastic… So 2019 might well be the year I get round to that!

Chapter Approved 2017

Hey everybody!
I picked up the new Chapter Approved book for Warhammer 40k the other day, and was so impressed I just had to come here and briefly ramble about how good it is! Choc-full of good stuff, it’s definitely worth picking up for fans of the game, I have to say!

Chapter Approved

The book is divided into sections that follow the three ways to play, with new rules and missions for each of Open Play, Narrative Play, and Matched Play. Under the Open Play section, we have the rules for Apocalypse games of 8th Edition, and three missions specifically for that, along with the now-famous vehicle design rules that allow you to build your own land raider, along with some datasheets for chapter-specific land raiders to inspire you. Want flamers on top of flamers? Then the Angel Infernus might suffice!

Narrative Play holds the rules for both Planetstrike and Stronghold Assault, each with six missions, and each with a host of stratagems warlord traits and force organisation charts. Not content with all of that, however, there are also rules that allow you to link both together in a campaign! Here are also rules for some of the classic battlefield terrain such as the aegis defense line and void shield generator.

The most exciting part of the book, for me, is Matched Play, which features six new Eternal War missions, six new Maelstrom of War missions, a nice little feature on making your own objective markers, and then updated rules for all of the armies that haven’t yet had a Codex release. There are eleven army entries, and each one gets at least one unique warlord trait, relic, and stratagem. Of course, it’s not a perfect solution for going up against a full Codex army with your Index list, but it should be enough to keep going until you do get that Codex.

On a side note, I really hope GW keeps the pace going with the Codexes in 2018…

Finally, the Appendix features Battlezone rules, covering the Sector Mechanicus and Death World Forest, and has four pages of Empyric Storms stratagems that can cause all sorts of twists and turns to your games, giving psykers and daemons buffs as the Warp decrees. There are rules for ladder campaigns, and finally, the updated points values that everybody has been so keen to find (yes, Forge World models are also in here!)

This book is an amazing supplement to the game. When it was announced, I thought it was going to be amazing, but then with the news that it would have updates for various armies etc, I felt that it might make the game too cumbersome, having yet another book to bring along for a game night. While that is partially true – if I want to use the Webway Portal stratagem when playing my Dark Eldar, I probably need to bring this book as well as the Index, and have a rulebook on hand in case weird things crop up, I feel that the benefits to this greatly outweigh the negatives. The sheer amount of choice as to how you play your games that this book provides is just phenomenal, and I can’t thank GW enough for this.

It’s apparently going to be the first of this kind of annual supplement, much like the General’s Handbook for Age of Sigmar, which will seek to rebalance points and such where necessary. I find this both good and bad, as I worry a little as regards how much they’re going to tinker with the rules in the 2018 edition. I do appreciate the time that is being taken to re-evaluate the game, of course, but there is a part of me that is concerned about how far this will be taken.

However, if we get more missions, more interesting rules for scenery and stuff, then I’ll be happy!

To sum up, then, if you’re playing 8th Edition right now, you need this book in your life. It’s just a rules book, there’s no real fluff in here, but it’s very much worth getting your hands on!!