40K2 Marines v. Harlequins

Gord and I met at Sentry Box on Sunday for our inaugural Warhammer 40K Second Edition game. We agreed to play a 1000pt game and not use the psychic rules from either the core rulebook or Dark Millennium to keep it simple.

Initially I thought that Gord was bringing his Orks and so I was expecting to play a game against a force that outnumbered me at least 2:1. Imagine my surprise when he pulled out an Eldar force that was composed on nothing but Harlequins. I actually outnumbered him by seven figures.

Despite having a large number of Mission cards (minus the Witch Hunter mission as we had no psykers) to pick from we both drew Take and Hold. We put down an objective mid-table and then Gord deployed his horde of Harlequins.

Gord spent a lot of the game hiding behind Blind grenades and dashed out from behind them in the last turn to grab the objective. My Captain had quite a time trying to take out Gord’s Solitaire and a series of fantastically bad dice rolls meant that I wasn’t able to take the Solitaire out. Thankfully after his Combat Drugs wore off the Solitaire wasn’t a big threat but it was still frustrating to have him walk away from three Plasma Gun hits and rolling quadruple 6s in close combat.

So some take-aways from the game:

  • Overwatch is a wonderful thing :-) I can’t imagine playing 40K or any sci-fi game without it.
  • Persistent effect grenades like Blind are a PITA and I am going to suggest that we add a house rule making them only last a single turn. We spent more time rolling for Blind grenades than anything in the game.
  • You need to pick your War Gear carefully.You have far more options in 40K2 than you do in any other version of 40K (that I can think of at least) and some of the combos are quite deadly. Others, like the one I picked, are pretty lame.
  • Combat Drugs are, as the kids used to say, “the bomb”.
  • Harlequin armies are, as people will recall, a giant plate of cheese, covered in cheese sauce and sprinkled with grated cheese. And they still aren’t as annoying as a Tau army with lists of Crisis Suits.
  • Armour Save Modifiers are a great addition to the game and really help level the playing field for forces like Eldar and Guard. And they are still easier to remember than the current AP system in 40K.
  • Jamming heavy weapons is a great addition to the game. Nothing like having your Shuriken Catapult jam over and over again to quickly change the game.

Mike and Cam are going to be playing a game on Sunday that I will be refereeing and then the following Sunday will be a huge 40K2 game day as we will have six players out with forces playing the grand Second Edition. Clearly a lot of people have been wanting to play the game again.

40K Second Edition does have some sore points. Grenades can quickly slow the game down as can anything that is a persistent effect in the game. I don’t think that the psyker rules are really balanced and I think that any game we play we need to make sure that psykers are something both players agree to.

But all in all the game appears, at first blush, to be a lot of fun. Its clearly geared to smaller games, which I actually like, and vehicles aren’t as prevalent as in the current edition of 40K, which I also like, and its crazy and chaotic. But it does appear to be fun and aimed to be more fun that serious. The game also has a level of detail that was removed in third edition and never restored to the game and it is that additional level of detail that really makes the game.

I’m looking forward to playing some more and the game has got me breaking out my old Marine vehicles and painting up some new figures.



  1. Damn, Zac! I’m so jealous of you guys. 2nd edition is my favorite of the 40k editions.

    My only gripe is close combat. I’d like to try and sub-out the close combat from 2nd ed. with the close combat from the original Rogue Trader book (pre-Battle Manual) and see how it would work. I theorize it’d work fine, but I’d be curious to know what you think.

    If we’re ever in the same province, I’ll bust out my Space Wolves, and we’ll break out the Strategy Cards (minus virus outbreak…)

    1. I think anything with the word “virus” in it has been removed from the box :-)

      I actually don’t mind the close combat system as it does allow for you to swamp über characters with swarms of models to try to take them down.

      It is slow though.

      If you come to Calgary I’ll try to have my Eldar ready to throw-down :-)

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