40K: 8th Edition Missions Preview

In the grim darkness of the far future there is “Only War” and now Games Workshop is showcasing what that mission!

Ask any veteran of 40k and they will tell you, if you want to actually win games, you better keep the missions in mind and not just focus on killing your enemy. Many games have come down to that last objective point secured – it’s the difference between victory and defeat. Well in 8th Edition, Games Workshop has lots of missions for us to try out but today they want to take a look at the most basic mission of them all: Only War.

via Warhammer Community

This mission is pretty simple and it looks like it’s designed for just about any game type – Matched, Narrative or Open Play. From the looks of it, when you’re doing your army construction, I wouldn’t just keep track of your points but also your armies Power Level. That should save time when it comes to setup and determining the Underdog/Command Re-rolls.

For old hands at this game most of the stuff on the mission sheet should feel pretty familiar. The mission is a little loose on the army construction (but you can always agree to a Point/Power Level value to play). The Battlefield setup is mostly the same. You still place terrain and objectives. I like that they created a random D3 table for the Primary Objectives for this one too. You never know exactly which mission you’re playing so you’ll want to be flexible enough for all 3.

Deployment is still straight forward – you pick table halves. But you could also play long-ways, short-ways or even diagonal (as long as both halves of the table are, you know, equal area…which is how cutting things in half generally works). It also doesn’t specify board size in the mission. If you’re playing a smaller game you could play on a 2×2 or 4×4. If you want a larger game go for a 6×4 or 8×4 – use your best judgement. Deployment is also an I-Go-You-Go format.

Power Level determines the Underdog and how relatively balanced the armies are to each other. Again, you also set Power Levels and points before you play (which I would recommend). If there is a difference, the Underdog player gets some extra command re-rolls which is nice. They (the Underdog) also gets to choose who has the first turn.

Game length is 5 battle rounds – or until one side is DEAD!

The Victory conditions are slightly tweaked, too. If you completely wipe out your opponent – you win a major. If you get more Victory Points, you win a major. If you tie, then the Underdog gets a minor victory. That’s an interesting curve-ball in my book. I’m keeping notes on that one.


Now, if this mission seems a little “basic” for your tastes, fear not! There are many more options on the way for all 3 types of games:

There are three open play missions that give a bit more variety to your games: Annihilation, Hold at All Costs and Death or Glory – each an archetypal mission fit for any collection.

Narrative play brings more options still, and the rules for these missions are a bit more in-depth. There are six of these in the book: Meat Grinder, Ambush, Patrol, Blitz, Sabotage and Rescue. Each comes with not just new mission rules, but three new Stratagems for the Attacker and three for the Defender, making these games quite distinct from a traditional game. Here are a few examples from the Sabotage mission:

And of course, we have matched play. A lot of these missions will be familiar to players today. You still have your six Eternal War and six Maelstrom of War missions, but with a few tweaks since their last outing. One big change is we now have six deployment maps, rather than the three of today. Players of a certain vintage might recognise some of these from even older editions.

Read the Full Article HERE

Besides the changes to the missions and maps, GW has also decided to keep Malestrom of War around. Malestrom missions were always a bit …uh, “divisive” among the community. Most of the tournaments simply ignored them out right in favor of set missions or objectives. It was frankly easier to keep the scores more in line that way. On the other hand, Narrative folks didn’t seem to mind them all that much. They did add that random battlefield chance to the scenario and sometimes if could feel very cinematic.

No matter how you felt about the Malestrom missions, pretty everyone agreed on one thing: It needed a way to re-draw cards from the deck. Nothing was worse in a game when you drew a handful of tactical objectives you simply couldn’t do anything with. That would really take the “fun” out of the turn for me personally as I would have to watch my opponent rack-up the VPs while I couldn’t score. The good news is that is sounds like GW listened:

Hey – look at that! A re-draw mechanic. ‘Bout Time! On one hand I’m glad to see that this is in the game. On the other, I’m looking at the CP cost of 2 and wondering if that’s a little steep. Then again, GW has said that they have re-done the deck from the ground-up. So many it will be totally worth it to scrap a card to get a new one for 2 CP. We don’t have enough data to know for sure yet!

Overall, Missions have always been a key part of the 40k game. I’m glad to see that GW is taking a look at all aspects of the missions and supporting all 3 modes of play. That’s a good thing in my book and I can’t wait to give them a try!


What do you think of these new missions? How about the return of some old school deployment zones?! Let us know in the comments below!

  • Xodis

    Missions look good, nothing really different until we see more about the narrative ones. THOSE ORKS THOUGH!!!!!


    • Karru

      Okay, for some reason I cannot comment on this without being made to wait for the approval…

      What in the world is happening?

      • Xodis

        I dont know, happens to me from time to time. BoLS really needs to fix their websites and disquis filters.

        • Karru

          Yeah, I mean, all I said that I am waiting for the main thing to get posted so I can give out my opinion on the Orks. For some reason I said something wrong.

          • Just do that here. That’ll teachum. lol.
            I only came here to read about how good Orks are going to be. The missions are nice but Green is best.

      • kingcobra668

        Happens pretty “randomly”

    • BaronVonYoloing

      Holy cow! They look alright to me as well. Then again I’ll wait for Karru to show up and find something to complain about.

      • Karru

        I’m always here… Waiting with my salty comments!

        • BaronVonYoloing

          Lol there he is.

          Fair play to you though I might have said a lot of things being a ‘Nid player if I could have been bothered to type it down.

          • Karru

            I can assure you that there will be loads of positivity coming from me about these changes once the main thing pops up here. There will be criticism as well, so don’t expect a miracle.

          • Fergie0044

            Cheer up Karru, there’s still the battlecannon to complain about!

          • Karru

            And the Guilmarines! Don’t forget the Guilmarines!

          • kloosterboer

            We wouldn’t want it any other way. 😀

        • OK, here’s mine: Where is the bonus-attack for Choppas you were predicting?

      • kingcobra668

        Hahaha too true

  • BaronVonYoloing

    Yay Meat Grinder is back baby!

    Now if only I could get a good Blitz mission as well! 3rd ed may not have had the best ruleset but I enjoyed those missions the most.

  • Fergie0044

    Cool – nothing taken away just more types added.

  • EwanPorteous

    Interested by the deployment rules; the table is split equally into two halves, after the objectives are placed. No where does it say, width, length of even diagonally ways…

    Could give the person who picks this a MASSIVE advantage…

    • KingAceNumber1

      I’m sure in matched play it’ll be more specific.

    • Lord Blacksteel

      I believe that’s kind of the point. That’s to balance out letting the other guy pick his half of the field first.

  • SilentPony

    Wow…they somehow made it even more complicated than it currently is! Legit props GW. Even I thought you were serious when you said they would be less rules.

    But man, if you didn’t GW all over this…

    • Vachones

      Its not like you have to play them all at once 🙂 These are just options, pick the simplest one if you just want to get rolling.

    • Grimbuddha

      You seem like a truly fun gaming buddy to have, where are you, can we meet up for a game sometime?

  • Mr.Gold

    Interesting Notes from the article above:

    1. Standard Mission – The Underdog chooses who has first turn…
    2. seems like the points vs. power rating is not fixed e.g. both armies could have 2000pts in their army list, however one of the lists is likely to have a higher power rating – this could seriously help weaker armies e.g. orks, CSM etc. (see point 1)…
    3. relic mission looks very random – place all objectives first then remove all but one of them – likely leading to one list attacking a stongpoint and one defending…
    4. Camoflage Stratagem (Sabotage mission) Halve the power Rating when working out the distance to be spotted by the enemy e.g. big stuff = more power rating = spotted sooner…

    • Spacefrisian

      Just taking a xwing approach with list building than, plan to go 2nd and than roflstomp the opponent.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    On Facebook GW said they did not include the very common and sensible houserule to Maelstrom missions, where if you are completely unable to complete a mission, you may discard it and draw a new card.

    Why should I have to pay 2CP to ditch a card that says I need to kill a Flyer when my opponent did not bring any flyers?


    100% biggest dislike with the new edition.

    • crcovar

      So keep using the houserule?

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I was hoping to enshrine the most common houserule

    • Vachones

      It really depends on what the cards are now, they are re-doing them so perhaps that one is gone.

      • generalchaos34

        well for all we know it may say kill a flyer OR kill a vehicle, or if you kill a flyer gain D6 points if you kill a vehicle 1 point instead, which actually lets you do a nice bit of gambling there

        • Carey_Mahoney

          Surprise: You’re facing Tyranids! D’oh.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            They could adjust it by adding, “Kill an enemy unit this turn. Score 1 point” to all those types of cards. Then no card i truly useless, even if you miss out on getting d6 points for killing a flyer.

    • Karru

      Well, something to consider is that there will most likely be plenty of missions to play with, so it isn’t a total loss. I was never a fan of the poker mini-game that Maelstrom was, so I’m not complaining.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I actually love Maelstrom. So I am very disappointed.

        • Karru

          I do feel bad for those that like it when it comes to these changes. It has great potential, but this change does very little to help in that front. Of course, it might now be better as there are very few “super special” units littering the game. Then again, they can just switch it to something else amongst the keywords.

          But as you said, there should have been just “logical” rules placed in there for free. If you cannot accomplish something, you can just re-draw. Then you use the CP to re-draw some objectives that are very hard to accomplish, in the hopes that you get something better and easier.

    • EvilCheesypoof

      It’s the most common house rule, I’ve never heard of anybody refusing to use it. It’s obviously a big oversight on their part, but if that’s the only glaring problem in their mission designs I’m pretty happy overall.

  • Vachones

    I play and run tournaments and casual events so I’m loving the intent behind these mission options. Only war for those new to the game, Open play missions for when you want to use power levels and not points and bring what you want. The narrative ones look like the most fun to me and will help in running interesting events based around a rough narrative structure.

    Its interesting they are trying out Maelstrom missions again, aka Drunk Commander. I find these fun occasionally, but it always seemed like the random was there in an attempt to balance the game between unbalanced lists. I hope they fix this, the concept is good, but the execution has been lacking.

    The Matched Play missions are where we will see if they can come up with interesting and balanced missions suitable for tournament play. They have not be too successful in the past which is why there are so many tournament mission formats. Love the 6 deployment maps, but the details matter here. At the end of the day, my hope is that I confidently run missions “from the book” and provide a great experience without having to create my own or adopt a 3rd party mission format.

  • Carey_Mahoney

    “[…] prove your worth as the greatest warlord in the galaxy!” Oh boy, no time for understatement, I see…
    So, 8th ed. is not just about winning games, but winning every single game, always, forever. Good to know that beforehand.

    • Shawn Pero

      Yeah, there was no way that was for hyperbolic effect. GW is at it again, burn your minis etc

      • Carey_Mahoney


  • Nyyppä

    Loads of great ideas. Likely a lot of bad executions. Do I take 2 rerolls to save my warlord/a squad with a morale problem and to get a successful charge done or a new objective card that might be just as situational and thus likely useless to me than the one I’m getting rid of? Yeah, that’s 2 rerolls every time.