Firstly, I'd like to begin with the new mechanics for three of the four 'first wave nations' special abilities that relate to their strategies and play styles.
The Prussian Empire
The Prussians have invested in their Tesla Coil technology and as a result, all Prussian Tesla weapons now have the Redoubtable Model Assigned Rule (MAR). This means that Tesla weaponry Attack Dice (AD) rolls are reduced by 1 for every 2 Hull Points (HP) of damage taken.
This is a great improvement for any German gamer as their faster vessels can steam in and launch better Tesla attacks. Before redoubtable, Prussian ships had to move in Range Band (RB) 1 or 2 before an electrical attack could be initiated. The only problem was that moving into close range resulted in taking more gunfire from enemy vessels which reduced Tesla AD rolls, which, was pretty low to begin with.
This new mechanic, combined with the existing Lethal Strike should enable Prussian commodores to initiate better blitzkrieg-esque boarding tactics.
|Seydlitz Class Mobile Airfield with A9-V Sturmpanzer Class Land Ship|
Whilst the Prussians have adapted their offensive capability, the plucky Brits have invested in their shield technology and developed the Guardian Generator.
Beforehand, when an attack was made against a vessel equipped with a shield generator, 2D6 were rolled per generator. A 4 or a 5 resulted in one hit being cancelled and a roll of 6 countered 2 hits and initiated another roll cutesy of the exploding dice mechanic.
The Guardian differs from its predecessor in number of ways:
1. Gunnery attacks (Primary and Secondary weapons systems) are stopped on a roll of a 4 or 5.
2. Rocket and Torpedo attacks are stopped on a roll of a 5.
3. A roll of a 6 cancels two hits.
The most decisive feature of the new generator, however, is that it extents its protection to all friendly models without a Guardian that are within 6 inches of the equipped model. Roll 1D6 for each model that fits the above criteria and apply all applicable rolls as listed above.
This new piece of technology, whilst giving greater durability to Britannian vessels, could prove problematic. As most British vessels are equipped with port/starboard torpedoes, a Royal Naval Officer will have to successfully navigate his vessels to enable the most AD to be rolled. If preservation of their forces are required, this may result in a capital ship moving and firing whilst smaller class models sit out of range of the Guardian. This, to me at least, could result in clunky manoeuvring but this is far from certain.
|Brunel Class Mobile Airfield with Sovereign Class Land Ship|
With the British and Germans accelerating the offensive and defensive arms race, the Japanese have instead opted for manoeuvrability. All Japanese naval models now receive the Sharp Turn (MAR) which allows them to turn in their minimum move distance instead of moving in a straight line.
This may seem less impressive when compared to the other nations new abilities but it provides Blazing Sun ships with added flexibility, something that other nations lack. Japanese Frigates, and Cruisers especially, can now navigate into optimal firing positions to make the most of their port and starboard guns; an area of armament in which they excel.
|Kagoshima Class Mobile Airfield with Taka Ishi Class Heavy Walker|
The next benefit of the upgraded rules system is that boarding assaults are now resolved in one turn which speeds up the game immensely and results in less Assault Point (AP) tokens cluttering up the gaming table.
|Herodotus Class Mobile Airfield with Archimedes Class Heavy Walker|
The most important update is the clarification of the rules relating to tiny flyer tokens. Previously (and I'm sure many gamers will agree with me on this) tiny flyers were complex and, as a result, slowed the game-play down whilst players tried to gaze through the dense fog of text; then allocate defensive Ack Ack (AA) and then try to understand the result of numerous die rolls.
The aerial armadas have now switched away from the impact on individual 'ace' tiny tokens and now place an emphasis on aerial groups or 'Wings'. These squadrons now share a collective fuel pool whilst any aborts suffered impact the entire Wing.
Combat has been modified for tiny flyers. Each 6 rolled results in one tiny flyer from the Wing being destroyed. After destruction rolls have been checked, any other hits are then applied. If the total number of hits equals or exceeds the number of tokens left in the Wing, then an abort is suffered.
|Alamo Class Mobile Airfield with Washington Class Land Ship|
John, Medium Class Flyer