Assassinorum Execution Force
An awesome new standalone board game release from GeeDubs that, as opposed to revolving around Spess Muhreens, follows an Officio Assassinorum Execution Force on a mission of life and death for the Imperium. Similar in style to Space Hulk. Fluff-wise, an Execution Force is the Imperium's no-holds-barred response to something deemed so dangerous that four Officio Assassinorum agents are needed to clean up the mess.
Chaos Sorcerer Lord Dranon (or Drask or...something) has come up with yet another way for Khay-ohss to dick the Imperium over, this time by sacrificing a solar system's star to the Dark Gods in exchange for daemonhood. Oh, also, it'll create a new Eye of Terror, which is bad. So the Officio Assassinorum sends in an Execution Force to shut that shit down. The Assassins all have names, and there's a whole (ridiculously overpriced) novella that goes along with the game, but do you care? Not for $17.50 USD, you don't. It's more fun to make your own story up, which is what 40K is all about anyway.
The game is intended for 1-4 players, each of whom control one of the Assassins. Chaos Renegades are an NPC faction controlled by random dice rolls and Event Cards. Each type of character (Assassins, Cultists, Chaos Marines, and the Sorcerer Lord) has its own unique rules, abilities, and modifiers. Actual character gameplay revolves around Actions; Assassins get two Actions per turn, and Renegades get one to two Actions (determined randomly by a helpful spread sheet for anything that might go down during the game, located on the back of the rule book). Stamina takes the place of Wounds here, and Resilience is equatable to Toughness + Armour Save: if a D6 is rolled in either a Fight or Shoot Action, and the number on the D6 meets or exceeds the number next to the character's Resilience, the character takes a wound (thereby losing a point of Stamina). If a character runs out of Stamina, they be dead. Cultists have one wound, Assassins and Spiky Muhreens have two, and Sorcerer Lord Derpatron has three.
All four Assassins have the ability to Move six squares, Sprint D6 squares, and heal a wound on a 2+ (thanks to Synskin). They each have a Shoot and Fight ability, determinate on whether they are at range or in CC, and they each have three Primaris Tactics and one Omegon Tactic, which can be used three times and one time per game, respectively. Each Assassin also has two passive Abilities that grant various boons. Assassin gameplay revolves around being Sam Fisher and attempting not to alert the guards (very difficult), all while revealing hidden rooms in an effort to locate the Teleportarium and its Control Room. If one Assassin ends its turn on the Control Room, the Teleportato is activated. Any Assassin who ends their subsequent turns on the Tilapiaquarium are then...er...teleported to the next (and much smaller) map, where they must make their way to and assassinate the Sorcerer Lord. Assassins have 16 turns, counted by a midget covered in dirty laundry, to accomplish this before the Sorcerer pwns the Imperium.
Renegades that have not been alerted to the Assassins' presence, or who are not otherwise occupied, make a random Patrol move of D6 squares. There are helpful little red arrows on many of the squares that tell you where the Renegades go next if they land on them; some of the arrows branch off in multiple directions, and each direction corresponds to a D6 number (determined randomly...obviously). If a Renegade spots an Assassin or is within six squares of someone who performed a Shoot action, they will go On Alert. On Alert Renegades perform a CC Fight Action if they are in base-to-base contact with an Assassin, Shoot if they are not but have LoS, or Move D6 squares toward the nearest Assassin. If a Renegade is On Alert but otherwise unoccupied and an Assassin wanders into their field of view, the Renegade gets to perform an automatic Shoot Action. Like Assassins, Renegades have special modifiers to their abilities based on what type of Renegade they are.
Last but not least are the random cards. There are two flavors: Room cards and Event cards. Room cards are placed when you discover a new room, and often come with enemies attached to them. To illustrate the surprise one must feel at seeing a walking raep machine ghost through the door when you're taking a shit, enemies that pop up in newly discovered rooms are considered Stunned (unable to do anything) until the Assassins' next turn. Event cards are drawn at the beginning of each Renegade phase, with more cards being drawn (up to a maximum of four total, including the mandatory one) based on how many Renegades are On Alert. Event cards are game changers: they can do a range of things from moving the turn counter back a turn to spawning more Renegades to stunning all of the Spiky Muhreens in the game. Cards negatively impact the Assassins far more often than they benefit them. Some Event cards also trigger a psychic event, in which only the Culexus assassin is unaffected.
The different characters play pretty closely to how they work in 40K proper. Special abilities of each are discussed below.
The Assassins All Assassins have 2 Stamina, Move 6 squares, Sprint D6 squares, and heal one wound on a 2+.
- The Vindicare: The Vindicare is an exclusively Shoot-centered character (obviously). He may make one Shoot attack (which is awesome) or one Fight attack (which is not). If he Moves and then Shoots, he gains a +1 modifier to his D6 roll. If, however, he does not move before Shooting, he gains a +2 modifier to his D6 roll and deals two wounds (all other attacks from characters, even attacks that roll multiple dice, can only ever wound once) meaning that he is one of only two Assassins who can kill a Spiky Muhreen by himself in one turn (the other being the Eversor). If he is more than six squares away from an enemy that would normally have LoS, his stealth suit renders him invisible (useful for watching the long hallway portion of the first map). He may expend one Primaris Tactic per turn to re-roll a failed Shoot Action, or he may expend his Omegon Tactic to throw a blind grenade up to six squares away. This stuns whoever it hits, in addition to stunning whoever is adjacent to the target.
- The Callidus: The Callidus offers an okay 2D6 Shoot Action and a single epic Fight Action. In melee her phase sword grants a +2 modifier to her Fight roll, and if she expends a Primaris Tactic she can make a single re-roll in melee. Her unique attributes allow her to move through enemy models (she is the only model who can do this) and make a Hit-and-Run move at the end of a Fight roll, even if she has already expended both of her Actions. Her Omegon Tactic makes her invisible to all enemy units, indefinitely, so long as she does nothing but Sprint. (Sprint - not Move. This means she moves a random amount each turn, and can only move that one time, or the polymorphine wears off.)
- The Eversor: Is exactly what you would expect him to be. Players controlling the Eversor are required to scream "OH YEAHHH!!!" upon discovering a new room and "WRYYYY!!!" upon killing an enemy. He has a 2D6 Shoot attack and a 3D6(!!!) Fight attack. In addition to his 2+ IWND, he also has 5+ FnP. His second passive allows him to perform the same action twice in the same turn (everyone else can only do a specific Action once) effectively giving him six melee attacks; if he scores wounds on both of his attacks he, like the Vindicare, can kill a Marine in one turn. His Primaris Tactic allows him to perform a third action in a single turn, meaning that he can sprint in and beat a Marine to death all in one turn. His Omegon Tactic is the infamous bio-meltdown, which allows him to sacrifice himself in order to damage everything within six squares on a 4+. Bonus points if you kill the Sorcerer Lord with this.
- The Culexus: Last but definitely not least, the Culexus is the only character in the game completely unaffected by Psychic Events, and this null zone extends to any enemy within six squares. In addition, if a Psychic Event is drawn, he gets to twin-link his 2D6 Shoot Action. His other Ability negates any bonuses a Renegade would normally get against him, meaning they only ever wound on sixes. Fighting in melee gives him a single D6+1. His Primaris lets him throw a grenade six squares away that, on a 4+, stuns a normal Renegade or wounds the Sorcerer Lord. His Omegon tactic auto-stuns any Renegade within 6 squares.
The Renegades All Renegades that are On Alert get to overwatch any Assassin that moves within 6 squares and is in LoS.
- Cultists come in two flavors: Autopistol and Autogun. Autopistol-chan gets one Shoot and two Fight attacks, and Autogun-chan gets one Fight and two Shoot attacks. Both have one Stamina and are wounded normally on a 4+.
- Chaos Space Marines get two Fight and Shoot attacks, both with +1 modifiers. They have two Stamina and are wounded normally on a 5+.
- Chaos Sorcerer Lord gets two Shoot and three Fight attacks, and they all have +2 modifiers on them. In addition, he has three Stamina and is wounded normally on a 6. There is an achievement (yes, they shipped the game with an achievement tracker) in the back of the rule book for giving him six Stamina instead of three and still managing to win.
- A White Dwarf issue included extra rules to replace the Sorcerer Lord with the Daemon Prince: compared to the Sorcerer Lord, He haves four stamina and two Fight attacks with a +3 modifier, can attack Assassins even if something blocks his line of sight (he just makes a single attack rather than two), gets a free Fight action as soon as an Assassin gets in close combat with him, and after turn 8 every event card that summons a Renegade on the field summons two Renegades instead (you roll three dices, check the entrances which numbers are the same as the rolls, and the Renegade comes out from the one closer from an Assassin). Also, since he is larger than the Sorcerer Lord, he covers a square in the number wheel, meaning that the mission now ends on turn 15.
- Another WD issue contained more extra rules, this time to play Daemons along with cultists. When an event makes you set a cultist on the board, you roll 2D6: on a 6 you can field a Daemonette, on a 7 you get a Plaguebearer, 8 means Bloodletter and 9, of course, is a Horror. (1-5 and 10-12 just have you place a cultist as usual) None of them can make reaction attacks, but get extra rules instead: Bloodletters have a single Fight attack with a +2 modifier and attack twice when On Alert, Plaguebearers have a single Fight attack with a +1 modifier and get a 5+ save roll (rolls twice if the Daemonic Aura event is in play and the Culexus is not in the Plaguebearer's line of sight), Horrors have a Fight and two Shoot attacks and when killed Renegades within 8 cells get On Alert rather than 6 and Daemonettes have two Fight attacks and always move 6 squares. They all have one Stamina and are wounded on a 5+. If you're setting them on the Temple of Shadows board, you have to roll a second time for upgrading the Daemon: 1-2 gives you a Champion (+1 Stamina), 3-4 an Icon Bearer (Assassins within 6 squares can't use their tactics) and on a 5-6 you get the Hornblower (Assassins within 6 squares must roll a dice before doing anything: on a 4+ they go, otherwise they're stunned)