Let me preface this by saying I am not complaining, lamenting, or anything else. Honestly, I don't really know what my feelings are right now and I kind of just want to talk about it as the gravity of the situation hasn't quite set in. As many of you know, Escalation and Stronghold Assault are out. Escalation isn't the cause of my bewilderment, it's just some data sheets carried over from Apocalypse and implanted into normal 40k games, the points costs of the units will limit these being used for the most part. But what really is throwing me for a loop is the Stronghold book.
There's a lot in there. A lot.
Dreadbeard had his copy of Stronghold at the shop today and we perused it and played a test game. Unfortunately, rules questions started popping up left and right. Like what happens when a wandering Vortex template encounters models on a multi-level ruin? Is the template on the ground floor? Seen from above like a barrage? Hits everything regardless of level? Chosen by one of the players? Who knows? There were many other little questions about rules interactions that came up, but we tried to work through them as best we could.
What concerns me most about Stronghold isn't the D weapons (which are brutal and awesome) or the Void Shields (which are pure win), but it's something a little more innocuous. Mainly, a little section under the Obstacles section that you can buy as an upgrade for pretty much any Fortification. I'm speaking of Walls. Yes, Walls.
According to the book, walls are purchased in 6" sections for 10pts a pop, up to six sections per Fortification. What makes me raise an eyebrow, is that they don't give a height. You could theoretically, make them 10" tall and have a 36" long line of walls that block line of sight. Kind of neat right? Yeah, probably. That's a cheap way to avoid getting your models shot off the board on Turn 1 and can make up for bad terrain availability (especially at tournaments).
Where we start getting into the weeds a bit is that since you can buy 36" of wall per Fortification, and some Fortifications are actually a group of many Fortifications, the amount of walls you can bring really start getting absurd. With the Void Relay Network one, you could bring 252" of wall. 21 feet of LOS blocking terrain. You basically build a labyrinth on your half of the board. I don't know how to feel about that, and I hope I am just misunderstanding.
I did think of two ways to build the labyrinth and still forge a raging narrative. A) You play some flavor of Chaos and model up a Daemon Prince to look like a Minotaur as a throwback to old mythology, or B) you do up the maze to look like inside the Webway for Eldar or Dark Eldar.
I guess I don't have a conclusion. Not until this sinks in. 40k changed today, and I don't know what that actually is going to mean going forward.