I'm going to run through some of the changes I've noticed. I'm not going to dwell too much on the new stuff, as it seems all the attention on bols and other places has been focused on the new shiny stuff and not paying much attention to what will, for many people, form the core of their armies. In essence, the stuff they've already got! The new tanks, many don't have models yet. The massed valkyries will take a while to accumulate at £35 a pop. The dreaded pyskers? It'll take time for people to convert up some of those. But guardsmen? People already have plenty of those, and they've changed. They've become cheaper!
At first I was disappointed by the reduction in points for a basic squad from 60 to 50. But the basic loadout has improved. For starters, the sergeant is the equivalent of the old veteran sergeant. That extra point of LD is essential now that you can no longer use vox to make a LD 9 army. They also have frags. It's been a while since I used frags with guard (when it was strike simultaneously, it was worth it. I had a better chance assaulting into cover than in the open. When it became strike in initiative order, well apart from Tau and Ork having them or not was irrelevent.) But it's nice to have them, plus it means my average squad can potentially damage a tank in assault. Add in the frags and sergeant, and the squad value under the old system was 76. Now it is 50. That's a hell of a saving. 3 squads for 2 under those figures. Plasmaguns have jumped by 5 points, but most squad heavy weapons have dropped by 5 each too.
In addition they can now have heavy and special weapon squads the same as the old command squad had. This has the advantage of making these units scoring, as well as meaning you can have far more of them. Again, the points are reduced, allowing more of them. Mortars are the standard equipment. The basic squad costs 60 points as opposed to 80. Again, a good saving. Infantry in all it's basic forms has come down in price.
Finally, the Chimera has dropped in price. The basic loadout used to cost me 88 points. Now it's 55. The basic scoring units and the infantry is much cheaper, so you'll see more of them. This is entirely in keeping with the whole ethos of the guard. I like it.
The problem with these under the old rules. Too easy to take down. At T4 and a 5+ save a rapid firing boltgun squad could decimate them. And worst of all were the dreaded space marines with power fists in close combat. I can recall a fight where I lost one ogryn and killed 6 marines. I'm heading for a win. But then up pops the space marine with power fist. 2 attacks. 2 wounds. 2 dead ogryns. Now the marines only caused 5 wounds to my 6, but thanks to the instant kill power fist I lost 9 to their 5. A win becomes a heavy defeat.
In the new codex they've alleviated this problem with the simple step of making them T5. Anyone who's fought plague marines will know how much of a pain that makes them. They've also lost 1 point of initaitive, 2 points of Ld, and lost the old "beat them with the ripper gun" strength bonus. On the upside, they now have furious charge, stubborn (certainly offsets the Ld reduction) and their ripper guns have an extra shot and is now str5. They also have an extra attack basic. A squad of 5 ogryns will have 15 str 5 shots, then will charge with 21 str 6 I3 attacks. Now whether this is worth the extra 15 points per model... a few games will tell that one.
These are the slightly cheaper once you include the cost of the hunting lances under the old rules (and who'd take rough riders without them?) and now they have frags, something they were criminally lacking before. They also have krak grenades, giving them a basic anti tank ability you'd have had to pay 2 points per model for before. The only downside I can see is that you can't give the squad melta bombs any more, a common tactic I used to do. Kill one high value squad then go tank hunting. They can still do that, but now they'll have to suffice with the less devastating krak grenades. Once they've charged most people will hopefully ignore them anyway, as the lance is one use only. Hopefully using this "oh they've done their damage now" attitude you can pick off a couple of annoying enemy vehicles.
I'm gonna stick to the basic Battle tank for now. The basic cost has gone from 140 to 150, but that does include a Hull Heavy Bolter, searchlight, smokes, and an extra point of side armour. So about the same. Where the cost has gone up though is in the extra weapons. To do the basic loadout of weapons you got in the box and has been the standard pattern for many years used to cost 169. Now it's 185. Side sponsons with Heavy bolters used to cost 10 points, now they cost 20. I guess this is justifiable. Given they can now fire extra weapons as well as ordnance sponsons have gone from being "oh well something to do after the first weapon destroyed result reemoves my battle cannon" to actually laying down some supporting fire against whatever it is that your battle cannon is probably shooting at (given the increase in scatter and cover saves, the help is probably required) Now whether it'll be as devastating as people make out I don't know. Many people have pointed to the Executioner with plasma cannon side sponsons as being 5 small templates. Devastating yes, but they all scatter. Plus by my reckoning you'll only ever have to deal with 4. From LOS rules you'd be bloody lucky to get both side sponsons to see the same target. Same principle with the heavy bolters. I don't know when you'll be able to use more than 1. Anyway, to shave some points down I may have to go back through my vehicle collection and try to remove some hull lascannons, swap them for the paid for as standard heavy bolter. Thie will bring them back down to the sort of price I'm used to.
Finally, the new orders system looks interesting, but not broken. It can help a squad do better firing for a turn, or possibly rally a broken squad that you really needed to hold. The ability to make a unit twin linked is only against big targets, in which case you're looking at single shot high strength weapons, and three at the most in that one. They need all the help they can get in my experience. A few games will have to be played to see how this one turns out.
That'll do for now. More will follow once I've got a couple of games in.