So the new revised edition of "Song of Blades and Heroes" is out. But what are the differences I hear you ask?
The base core system hasn't changed, so don't worry. The layout and rule ordering has been tidied up a bit. The rule changes are additional tweeks, and happily there aren't so many that you'll get confused. I've had a look through and have noticed the following additions (although I may have missed a couple).
As anyone who has read the campaign battles on this blog (see the Dwarves vs ..... buttons on the right) movement (or lack of to be precise) has been a major part of how the battle progresses. So a couple of additional rules have been added to keep things moving (sic!). First off there is a new "Free Move" mechanic where if a figure is more that 2 Long from an enemy it can automatically move one normal move instead of activating. This will at least guarantee against those battles where a figure is always stuck in the deployment zone. Also good for Dwarves is the new One Step rule. This says that with one activation a model always has a minimum movement of one step (ie a base length) So in snow or difficult terrain those figures with short move will at least be able to move if they don't roll the required 2 actions for normal movement. Also the challange mechanic for Jumping is formalised.
Hand to Hand fighting is the same, but a couple of optional rules are introduced. One is a free follow-up movement where the combat victory can automatically keep in base to base contact when the combat result is a recoil.
The second optional rule is "Priority", which says that if in contact with more than one enemy, the attacker must target standing figures before fallen ones.
The biggest rule change (or clarification) is that a figure on outside edge of woods can now shoot short into woods (as if it was inside woods) This will stop the times where models hide just off edge of inside the wood to avoid line of sight, know that the archer will have to enter the woods to fire (see this battle report for an example)
A regular complaint you see on the Ganesha Yahoo forum is the accusation that archers are rubbish. So the options for ranged figures have been beefed up with some new special rules. Good Shot (equivalent to an automatic aimed shot), legendary shot (a ranged shot per action) and unerring aim (halves range modifiers).
An optional rule for moral says that any unactivated figures who fail morale tests on their own turn can't activate that turn.
The special rule section has been expanded with a few rules from some the expansions and a few new ones: combat master, danger sense, dashing, desert walk, gargantuan, good shot, greedy, legendary shot, rabble, unerring aim. Other special rule changes: poison and tailslap are a bit better (both take effect on a 5 or 6), Savage is a bit less powerful (can't be a ranged attack) and Undead models are now immune to terror. Rabble allows to save points on armies of mooks (all attacks are treated as lethal). There is also a full points list for all special rules (inc supplement ones) for character creation.
Optional rules are briefly mentioned for larger warbands by way of guidelines for large group activations and also sub-commanders.
And finally the rosters have been slightly expanded.
So is it worth the money? Well if you already have the rules you're eligible for a free upgrade so yes. I haven't played the new rules yet, but the movement additions will definately help bring more models into battle and give more low risk flanking options. I like the follow-up rule in melee and the new ranged special rules coulds make for some interesting character creation. Mostly of course it's been a case of "If it ain't broke don't fix it" which gets my thumbs up approval. In itself a recommendation to buy the rules if you haven't already done so.