Ok, so I played the Deathwatch Introductory title Final Sanction last night. I will admit to having had mixed expectations coming into this. On one hand I was excited, as I love RPGs in general, and sci-fi alien stomps in particular. On the other hand I was a bit apprehensive, as I do not have a lot of experience with FFG since the d20 system titles they put out (admittedly a looooong time ago). Also, because I am such a huge fan of the Deathwatch, I was hoping they were handled well, and that their very special 'feel' was given its due.
Folks, this here game is a keeper. If you have been reading my blog of late you will know that in order to save money for a down payment on a house, I have not been buying games, instead playing only those games that I already had, or that could be legitimately downloaded for free from company sites. That should impress upon you the depth of my regard for this game that I will be buying Deathwatch, at cover price, as soon as I can get my hot little hands on it! I understand that this is a derivative of the Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy game systems, but since I have no experience there, I will not comment. I have played a lot of games that run off of a d100 or percentile system, and they are typically too ornate for my liking. This game had no such problems, and flowed like a d20 sytem game for me in terms of speed and playability.
One thing I loved was the "horde" enemy type. Coming into the game, I was worried how the typically overwhelming odds faced by Ordo-Xenos Killteams might bog the game down. It turns out this fear was unfounded, as this slick game mechanic allows all but the most special of enemies to be handled as one "Organism" in terms of tracking damage and attack. Instead of using hit points, it uses magnitude, which, in turn, allows the game to very simply make it so rapid fire weapons are better for scything down enemies than anti-tank weapons. This is something that even much more sophisticated games, like Classic Battletech, typically have a lot of trouble with. One recommendation I do have, in terms of tabletop play here, is to use a template of your own choosing, to represent the boundaries of the horde, and putting any representative minis on top of it. That way, the boundaries of the horde, as well as who is affected by its attacks, are very clear cut.
Those are my first impressions of this terrific game, I will put up a gaming report for the actual gamplay some time tonight.