I've finally joined the 41st Millenium and have gotten a copy of the rulebook. I have spent two nights reading all 130 pages of rules again and again, and I've effectively absorbed that thing. What's my impression? Awesome!!!
Even having used the interwebs as my source of info on the new rules, I was so pumped to actually read the wording myself that I allowed my excitement to show over and over. I misunderstood a couple of rules (such as character-sniping with blast weapons), couldn't find certain rules (such as snap-shooting only after jink rolls), and rejoiced at some useless things (like ruins without bases counting as open terrain for movement on the ground floor). All in all, it's nice having the 'truth' in my hands finally.
Of course, impressions matter little if you don't put your newly-learned information to use. So I invited my other brother to finally learn and play the game, and he did. He picked up the rules very well (it appears that my family produces some halfway-intelligent monkeys) and actually enjoyed the game! I do have to make some very strong points on things I missed, messed up, and generally didn't do right:
1. Auto-arrive occurs in turn 4 now. I assumed turn 5, as of old, in a situation and screwed his Daemon Prince out of attacking for an entire turn.
2. Vehicles may only EVER move 6" if they disembark troops, regardless of whether they drop-and-go or move-and-drop. I successfully shielded a unit from harm by dropping, speeding up 12", and playing goalie with some Chaos Marines.
3. Initiative pile-ins are done by both players, starting with the one whose turn it is. I didn't allow charging models to do so, and this stopped him from being able to react properly.
4. Challenges are issued at the beginning of the fight phase, so models that are not engaged in combat before their pile-in moves are immune to issuing and accepting challenges.
5. Walkers MAY snap fire! A Defiler and a Dreadnought each suffered from the inability to point their guns and shoot at the crazies with kraks coming right for them...
Other than that, we didn't miss a whole lot. Contrary to the prevailing opinion of some of the more cynical gamers, this edition's rules changes are neither complicated nor many. I was truly worried about teaching such a 'conditional' ruleset to newbies, as well as how crunchy I was going to feel for getting so much wrong after such a long and focussed career of doing just this. As it turns out, very luckily for me, it wasn't a problem. Although you see a list of the rules I messed up, that's pretty good considering that I'd only skimmed the rulebook at that time. It took an honest reading to figure out where I went wrong, and the game itself suffered little for it.
I can't lie, I feel strongly that GW made this ruleset just for me. I'm sure that I won't feel so strongly when the DA codex gets released, or three years from now when I'm trying to hold my own at Adepticon again, but overall I LOVE these rules. They're intuitive, simple, expansive, and downright fun! Random charge lengths? Freakin' awesome! Mysterious terrain? Of course! Hull Points? Why'd it take this long to figure that out?
Thank you, GW, for giving me a new set of rules that is easy to teach, simple to play, and fun to use. It's been years, but you made my gaming life fresh again!