Imperial Guardsmen scrambling for cover behind makeshift barricades, Orks looting ammo dumps and Termagants lurking in the darkness of a sunkiller engine to avoid enemy fire. It's evocative images like these that really get you excited about building and painting scenery for your own battlefields.
Scenery has played a part in all of our games systems over the years and in the new Warhammer 40,000 book there are 20 full-colour pages of rules and background for the use of scenery in your games. Everything from mysterious rivers (is it safe? Is it dangerous? We just don't know. Try sticking your toe in...) to gun emplacements are in there, enabling your troops to better interact with the battlefield around them. We took a look at a few of them:
So, what exactly is in these barrels?
Finding cover in a war zone is a delicate process, one that normally involves a lot of running, ducking, diving and sliding around in the mud. A pile of large metal barrels seems like a good place to hide and if the enemy can't see you behind them then they can't shoot you, which can only be a good thing. But what exactly is in the barrels? It smells suspiciously... explosive. Just like in the movies, large barrels with hazardous markings on the side have a habit of blowing up, especially when the bullets start flying. Is it worth the risk for a 5+ cover save?
(The answer, incidentally, is probably 'yes' if you collect lightly armoured Imperial Guardsmen like me. In fact, I'd be tempted to hide my troops behind barrels in the hope that they would explode. Everyone likes a good Kaboom!)
Man the battlements!
There are several new rules for buildings and ruins, including, much to my amusement, the addition of wooden sheds to the list of viable buildings that you can take cover in. Desperation, it seems, has not died out in the 41st Millennium. One of the big changes that many of you will have noticed by now is the opportunity to include fortifications in your army list - the perfect opportunity to dig out some of those unpainted scenery kits that you own and get them ready for war. Those fortified buildings can also be used as battlefield terrain though, so if you do decide not to take them as part of your army list then they can still be a part of your battlefield. Your soldiers will have to fight your enemies for possession of it.
Sir, this looks mysterious, Shall I press the buttons?
Archeotech Artefacts are rare and mysterious relics and most of the time they are beneficial to your army. Sadly, it's hard to tell what the artefact is until you open it - maybe it's a virus bomb (that's one of the detrimental results) or possibly a force dome generator. The addition of Archeotech Artefacts can really add to the excitement and tension of a game of Warhammer 40,000. A previously innocuous-looking box could turn out to be a timeflow stabiliser, allowing nearby units to move at incredible speeds. It could even be a holy relic, which gives the holder bonus victory points at the end of the game - a potentially game-winning result, I think you'll agree. It also gives you the opportunity to rummage through your bits box and create something from all the spare parts you'll inevitably have lying around.