Review - Planetstrike

Found this post over at DakkaDakka -

Got my copy in today, and in about 3 minutes I'm going to kick back with a 6 pack and read it cover to cover. A brief glance at the rules has me so wanting to play the game. Small changes that add up to a lot of fun. Takes me back to the "you build a fort and I'll attack!" days of my youth. All of the new scenery pieces actually have a role in the game and rules. Or you can build it all yourself and use the same rules. Very nice. As much or as little scenery as the defender wants.

A much better reveiw after the 6 pack slides down into my belly.

GW stores and some independents should be getting them this week as well.


As promised, a quick review of Planet Strike

Initial Observations: This book is similar to Apoc and CoD in that you're playing 40k, but in a bit different way. IMHO, it's much better than CoD, which I enjoyed, as instead of a 'down and dirty fight in Stalingrad' we have the opening sequence of Starship Troopers. (Book, not the sucky movie). It's not a tournament game, not sure how you'd even structure it as such. Like Apoc, things can be a little loose and open to abuse, and you need to work a bit with your opponent or you aren't going to have a game.

It gives huge amounts of opportunity for making scenery and modeling. And those things affect the game. In normal 40k I can build the coolest looking bunker and building complex, and then we put it on a shelf as it unbalances the game. In PS I'm encouraged to do exactly that. This brings us to the first big change: The defender gets to set up the table anyway he wants, with as many defence lines, fortresses, bastions, towers, and automated guns as he likes. These do not cost him any points at all. Free. Hell, I can final make my dream of a whole table of Gorkifications (or possibly Morkifications) come true. Walmork and Tacogork will be more than sketches on the walls of my cell.

Is this unbalancing? Not really, as you will see. Like Apocalypse, there are objectives. Every bastion and building is automatically an objective. So while the defender can put out 20 bunkers with some automated heavy bolters in them, the basic rule of "If it has a gun, it should be an objective" means he now has to defend all those points. It's not about killing, it's about holding objectives. Lots of objectives is tough to defend. All models can hold an objective. If both sides have models on the objective, or in base contact, the Attacker counts as holding it. One chaos marine can score a point for the attacking side, even if 30 orks are there as well. This is by far the biggest balance to the advantages the attacker gets.

Bastions are basically AV14 bunkers, with automated BS2 weapons that fire at the nearest target. Some of the weapons you see in the boxes can be seperate from bunkers, (quad autocannon, defense lascannon) but then they are AV10 field weapons, and can be fired by squads with a model near them. They blow up easier, but are more useful. A longrange lascannon on a bastion isn't as useful if it's hitting a grot on a 5+ vs a tank.

It's also possible to make and deploy large complexs called 'indomitable fortresses' with several linked bunkers and a large tower. They show the Dark Angels one, and it looks awesome. Needs a bit of orky graphitti, but awesome nonetheless.

The other balancing act is that the attacker gets a pretty devastating barrage of one large blast per objective. So the defender can go all bunker happy, and then see a few of them cracked open in the opening salvo and a lot of his troops pinned down for the initial assault.

Attacker comes in fast and hard. All units in reserve, but you get them into the game on a 3+, 2+, and auto. So it's all in by turn 3. All infantry, MC, and jetbikes can deepstrike, and units that have the deepstrike special rule can assault first turn when they drop. Shrike and 40 assault termies anyone? Drop, run, assault! Any units that don't DS, move onto one table edge from the attackers drop zone where his Thunderhawks, landers, rocks, or spores deployed the bulk of his army.

Defender can have reserves, but they come in from random table edges, from where ever they were stationed. Potentially useless, or potentially nasty, coming in behind the attacker.

Games are random length of 5-7 turns, so no grabbing objectives right at the end. The attacker isn't going to quite know when he needs to make that final push. Defender can't overcommit either, or he might get wiped out if the game goes longer.

Strategems. Like CoD and Apoc, you can spice up the games. Strategems are 1 to 4 points, based on how good they are. You get 1 point of strategems per objective. They are split into attacker/defender and have some army specific ones. (Yes, orks can drop rocks in additon to the initial barrage. I also am found of the general one that causes a planetquake. Cracking open the crust of the planet is just cool. )

So, basically:
-I get to build a really cool fort, you have to attack.
-We both have a lot more options for army building.
-I have to set up first and get home court advantage, shoot you on the way down with 'interceptor' weapons.
-You hit me with orbital barrages to soften me up.
-Both of us have dirty tricks.
-What we kill don't matter, (unless we tie, then it goes to kill points), just taking objectives. Attacker wins ties.
-Random game length.
-Lots of stuff deepstrikes that didn't use to, and deepstrikers assault on the turn they drop.
-Random defender reserves make for a bit of fun, and let you have things that don't get blowed up all to hell on turn 1.

Inherent problems? A couple.
-Cheeseballs that try to make overpowering scenery. "My bastion has 167 lascannons. Die Die DIe" Solution is not playing them.
-Doesn't say, but I'd assume demons use PS set up. They still deepstrike in (but not having the rule, don't assault). If defending they can set up like everyone else. Demon worlds? Demon infested Imperial fortress?
-Big One! IG advisors giving you a -3 to reserves. Breaks the game. Attacker won't get much of his troops in until turn 3. I'm just telling my crew it doesn't apply, or maybe that it's not cumulative.
-Mystics. Heh, so glad I own 6 inquisitorial squads for Apoc. Wonder if it will let my GK's score a win in PS. Possibly broken if taken by IG and not DH. We'll see.

Overall, it's a good book, has some decent art, and seems well organized. The scenery pieces coming out tie in directly. A lot of leeway is left up to the players, and is open to creative modeling. It gives the players that want a fun game some very good options. I'm giving it a B+ right now. It needed the plastic thunderhawk to get an A.)

Apologies for the randomness of the writing. Wanted to get this up ASAP, and I can blame the beer.

What do you guys think? Is Planet Strike going to be as big as Apocalypse?

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