40k Mission Review – Close Quarters Action

With the release of the Battle Missions expansion for Warhammer 40,000 we have a fresh injection of official variant missions. I say official because while there’s nothing to stop gamers playing anything they want to play,  quite often they require that official nod before accepting something to be fair. Whichever side of the fence you sit, there’s some exciting new missions to try out over the next new months.

Games Workshop also released a new mission on their website – see Close Quarters Action – the topic of this article. This mission has a very simple rule change that really alters the gameplay- Defensive fire: Player shooting phases are reversed. This immediately appealed to me as it really stirs up the game into a new level of thinking. You have to play this to appreciate how different the game becomes.

At first glance there’s a few knock-on effects of the phase switch:

Fleet becomes obsolete. You never run in the same turn that you assault. So, if you haven’t shot, there’s never a draw back to running – do it!

Heavy weapons are unrestricted by movement. You never shoot in the same turn that you move, so you can always fire heavy weapons and rapid fire weapons at full range. Keep those snipers and heavy weapon teams moving into better positions.

Essentially everything becomes relentless, albeit out of sync.

You’ll never accidently shoot all enemies in assault range from a unit you intended to charge, but equally you’ll no longer have the advantage of softening up enemies before an assault – they soften you!

Counter Assault becomes very powerful. Your enemy shoots you and then gains +1 attack when you charge them!

Strategy is really thrown into chaos by this rule reversal:

Drop-podding Dreadnoughts or melta-heavy squads behind enemy lines becomes more of suicide than shock attack.

Units that can move in the Assault phase, such as Tau Battlesuits gain a tactical advantage. In the movement phase they can seek cover to counter the enemy shooting. They can then move out into sight in their assault phase, preparing for their own shooting phase in the enemy turn.

Flamers and pistols can easily be avoided since your enemy gets to move out of range or position from them before you shoot.

Deep striking units become prime targets for blast weapons – you can’t run to break up the tight circle deployment before being shot at!

There’s much more to discover, but these points are just a taste after a single game. You really have to try it out to see how fun and different it all is.

The downside of this mission is perhaps the victory conditions and army changes. The attacker gaining +50% points made sense for sieges, because the defender gained a defensive position. The defender instead gets freedom of deployment and victory should they contest the single objective. Time will tell how balanced this really is, but after my first game it felt a little too empowering having 1500 face 1000, knowing my opponent had nothing in reserve and a reduced FOC.

Whitehorn

Aint nothing but a horn

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