Sunday, September 8, 2013

Black Templars...AFTER the Apocalypse...

Well, since my last Black Templars post, where I looked ahead to the new Space Marines Codex in the light of great concern by the BT community, a couple of things have happened.

  1. The new Space Marines Codex dropped, and came to me as a download from the Black Library in digital form.
  2. More reinforcements for my growing BT army arrived, making me think about where I want to go next (particularly after reading the Codex.)
Let's take a look at those things one by one.

The new Space Marines Codex - The Digital Divide...

I opted to get this as a digital download for three reasons. 
1. Convenience: (physical) I couldn't be bothered to trek across Tokyo to Games Workshop to get one (its a big city right!)
2. Convenience: (format) I always make my lists using Army Builder or Battlescribe and take them digitally with me to a game on my tablet. Why not have the rules digitally as well? One less thing to carry.
3. Cost: 4,643 yen (29.99 GBP) digital ebook v. 8,000 yen (51.66 GBP)

Now, it wasn't too difficult to order the Codex online, and when I woke up on release date 7th September, the download links were live, but there is an important lesson that comes next, and this has to do with ereaders and file types.
FB Reader icon
If you aren't using iBOOKS/ Apple, (a separate purchase) payment gives you access to two file types (each of which you can download 5 times):
These are both popular ereader file formats, and there are lots of different readers that will open them, so no problems...(I am using FB Reader)
...however, note that in my brief experience, there are some limitations that you might want to be aware of.
-Neither of these formats include links from within the text to other parts of the contents. In other words, where a rule is listed, there isn't a link that jumps to the actual rule. This would be really helpful for making this a viable reference tool, and it is (I think) implemented in the ibooks version.
-Only one of these formats (ePUB) appears to include an index. Fortunately, the index does link to the appropriate page.

Yes, I can manually add bookmarks throughout the text at various places that I know will be useful to me, but that is neither very convenient nor as useful as it might sound, because to use a bookmark (after creating them for the whole book) you need to go through several steps.
a.) Open bookmarks.
b.) Scroll through bookmarks (which often can't be renamed or listed in a preferred order)
c.) Click bookmark.
d.) wait for jump to bookmark.
e.) scroll through section to find the exact reference you want.

Hmmm, not very convenient.

So the lessons are (I think)
- The ePUB reader version seems somewhat easier to use, and is actually half the size.
- If using the digital version for mainly reference (which I guess most people would like to) then consider the iBOOKS version. It is more expensive (39.99 GBP) but it appears to have completely linked references from the text and is also includes a complete interactive army-builder.
Note links, including quick links to special rules.
Interactive army builder
There seems to be a big difference between iBOOKS and ereader format. Not being an expert, I don't know if this is to do with the limitations of the format itself, or simply because iBOOKS is a better bet financially to put more money into. I suspect it is a bit of both, but isn't there a half-way house? (e.g. embedded links in the ereader text, even if there can't be an interactive army builder.)

And you know what? I'll probably end up buying the printed Codex anyway, because a Codex is just good to have in your hand!

The New Space Marines Codex - The Crusade begins anew...

Aside from the digital stuff above, Templar players probably want to know what is going on with the actual rules. As I said in my previous post, I thought that whatever happened, it wouldn't really make a huge difference to most players, and that in fact it might bring in some new players. So what is the news?

They keep/ gain some stuff:

-Templars get a significant amount of space, even as a successor chapter.
-They get their own Chapter Tactics, (Accept any Challenge no matter the odds, Crusaders) whereas other successor chapters use the Chapter Tactics of their parent chapter.
-They have Crusader Squads, that can be 5 initiates with one initiate taking a Heavy weapon/ Power weapon/ Power fist and a different initiate taking a weapon from the Special weapons list (Flamer/ Melta/ Grav/ Plasma).
-They now have access to the full Space Marine armory (i.e. all the new shooty stuff!)

They lose some stuff/ can't compare to other chapters:

-Eternal Champion gets dinged. Expensive. Has "combat stances" but they only work in challenges.
-Marshall Helbrecht (unlike all other Chapter Masters) doesn't get Orbital Bombardment. I know he is "only" a High Marshall" and not a CM, but it still doesn't seem to make sense to me.
-BT Chaplains take a hit. No more Master of Sanctity, overall back to "Vanilla" SM Chaplains for the BTs.
-They don't really mind Psykers too much now - at least in an allied force (hey, if you were wrapped-up in the old fluff this is a big deal.

These are the things that I have noticed from reading around. There is lots more stuff that can be added to this list, but this isn't an "analysis of the Codex" post (just checkout Bolter and Chainsword for those - BT experts aplenty there...)

...and a new Black Templar joins the crew:

Chaplain in Terminator armor


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