My apologies on the lateness of this review, I had a little trouble getting my hands on a copy of the Book of Fire but I enjoyed it nonetheless. As with my previous review, I will go through the Campaign Rules, the Legendary Missions and the Crusade Rules.
–Campaign Rules –
As with the previous book there are a series of special rules that players can use for this phase of the campaign. The first of these rules deal with War Zone Assets. With the number of assets varying based on battle size, you get the option to purchase an additional one for the cost of 3 CP’s. The assets can allow you to redeploy units, give out Ob Sec etc. These powers seem pretty balanced and might be useful for campaign managers trying to design custom mission rules. Additionally, there are new edicts available for the campaign managers. The new ones include Heroic Achievements which function like super-agendas which award bonus victory points. I am always in favor of any rules that provide “comeback” opportunities for losing parties, and these can be useful to balance a campaign before it all goes pear-shaped. My advice would be to only unlock these if you need to give one side a boost as they can feed into a toxic situation if one player or team is dominating.
As with the previous book there are three Legendary Missions available. The first one: Darkness Descends on Kolossi has a few wacky rules, foremost of which is one that allows you to force your opponents units to shoot themselves if they fail a morale test (would be a nice stratagem for Night Lords or Alpha Legion….. just sayin…). Fluff-wise this works a lot better for some armies then others so take note if you are adapting it for a narrative purpose. Mission two: Return to Fathom is more tame in it’s rules though it does provide a lot of buffs to melee armies, plus a sprinkling of RNG to keep things interesting. The third mission: Plaguebringer Offensive has an interesting wrinkle in that it has an action that, if completed, massively hinders the other player. This is something I am thinking of using in a future apocalypse battle so stay tuned for my further thoughts. At the same time the game doesn’t hinge on the attacker completing that action and seems decently balanced.
–Crusade Specific Rules –
There are a handful of new Requisitions available here. One deals with adding additional Heroic Achievements, others add ways for your characters to get Legendary Titles (see the Book of Rust) or gain access to Obolis battle honors. The new relics are mediocre, the Crown of Shadows is situationally useful, the Aegis Indomitus is fun but only really decent vs armies that sling a lot of mortal wounds. The Wurm’s Bite wins the award for “Most Fun Rule” where it causes vehicles to halve their remaining wounds when using brackets but really hurts from being infantry-only.
As with the previous book there is a new category of relic available: Recovered Relics. These are limited to certain characters and cost campaign victory points to purchase. Most are tame bordering on useful. The best is the Bilge Blade that inflicts a mortal wound every time they successfully roll to wound. While this then ends the attack sequence, it can be devastating on models with a high number of attacks. The cherry on the top of this relic is if it kills a character they get a -1 on their Out of Action Tests.
Games Workshop has also woken up to how the “Insult to Injury” rule can end friendships and has modified the rule. Now you have to pick from a selection of options with a condition to meet before the scar can be removed. This is much more fair and also provides a narrative function that influences how the players play their future games. While it can be annoying if your YOLO Melee-Only, Fight-then-die HQ gets hit with Grievous Wound it can create interesting wrinkles and story-lines for your campaigns.
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