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In The Emperors Name

After playing our game of JDMG (covered last week) MT, PB and I decided to give In the Emperors Name a go on the same terrain set-up.

As a bunch of gamers who have played their fair share of 40k in the past, cant stomach it now but still read some of the fiction and paint the occasional 40k figure, we really wanted this ruleset to work out.

The first hurdle was picking the forces, which was very finicky.  PB had even prepared a spreadsheet to help to make this step as hassle free as possible, but it was still a drudge.  Having to prepare a spreadsheet should have been our first warning I suppose, but as ItEN is a free, fan written set we were prepared to put in a little more effort to get it to work.

I never played orks in 40k but as I have painted up a few over 2011 I decided to go with them for this game.  They proved to play quite differently in comparison with the elite forces that MT and PB chose.

MT painted up his Harlequins a couple of years ago, primarily for use with Space Hulk.  A small elite group of elven ninja cabaret struck him as perfect for use in a 40k skirmish setting.

PB dug out a Librarian and Tactical squad of his “Dark Souls” chapter out of storage.  It was fun to see those guys again as I faced them across many miniature battlefields over the years.

The three forces set up equidistant from a Maguffin (the suspicious looking pink thing on the road in the bottom left of the picture above) and we spent the game converging on that.

As it happened our three forces each engaged both opposing forces in some fashion or another as the game progressed.  This was very much a first game of the system where we tried to get a handle on how the rules work while playing, so some silly oversights and mistakes cropped up, as was expected.

Due to the ineffectiveness of their ranged weaponry the orks ended up in close combat with the Dark Souls a little earlier than I liked.  MT capitalised on this with a well timed psychic attack from his Warlock that put my Boss at a disadvantage.

That allowed the Dark Souls to get an edge in the combat and prolong it for long enough to allow the Harlequins to escape with the objective.

—————

In the Emperors Name is available for free download here.

ItEN is an unofficial fan made rule set for playing skirmish games set in the Warhammer 40000 universe.   Considering how many people get into the hobby via 40k who enjoy the setting but get disillusioned by the relentlessly poor quality of the official rulesets, I think that there is a lot or room for a system that covers this area.

The rules have obviously been written by players enthusiastic about the setting and miniatures.  This shows in the large number of interesting and sometimes satisfyingly obscure warbands and retinues available.

Unfortunately though, the system didnt appeal to my group once we played it.  It probably deserves another go but with so many possible rulesets vying for my limited gaming time, I cant imagine ItEN getting another tryout.

The rules felt restrictive compared with other sets that we have played recently.  While it is quite possible that we missed some of the subtleties of the system (we did only play one game after all) in many respects ItEN reminded me of the negative elements of playing small games using the official 40k rules.

Basically the game seemed largely preordained.  Manoeuvering wasnt really much of an option and the timing and location of the big dice rolls could be predicted with certainty before the game even started.

A number of factors contributed to this, not least the scenario.  But the predictability is just too severe for our tastes.

We had a couple of other problems too, but I wont bother going into those.  I dont particularly enjoy ripping into a fan based free ruleset, particularly when the guys who put it together have put so much time into it and so obviously have affection for the source material.

Despite early promise it proved to be a damp squib for us 😦

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3 Responses

  1. I have found myself to love skirmish based battles so much more than regiment based ones. Only exception to this is Kings Of War.

    Thanks for the review on this ruleset mate.

    Like

    • Skirmish games suit me better for many reasons. Achievable painting projects is a major one. My days of having to paint sixty miniatures before I can play a game are over.

      I really wanted to like ItEN for a number of reasons but it didnt work out, which was disappointing.

      On the other hand I have been enjoying the Dredd rules far more than I would have hoped, so even if you cant win them all, at least its not all bad 🙂

      I have a couple of other rules systems prepped for trying out in the 2012. but I wont get near them until February at the earliest.

      I havent tried Kings of War, mainly because I dont play many games in fantasy settings. I did pick up the new sci-fi starter set from Mantic though, “Fate of the Forgestar”. I bought it primarily for the miniatures, but I hope to give the rules (Warpath) a go at some stage. They are very similar to the Kings of War rule set. Maybe that set will allow my group to scratch that 40k itch a bit.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Like

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