Friday, May 23, 2014

Is this really a "new edition"? Poppycock!

Warhammer 40,000 hasn't really changed much in the last 20-odd years I've been playing, thinking about, and hobbying wargaming. Let's take a look.

I got into 40k during 2nd edition. It was middle school. It was embarrassing to be into this stuff back then.

Chicks did not dig warhammer. The girls in our school took to calling us guys "army dudes."

Back then, vehicles were pretty rare and our armies were pretty small. I think I shoplifted about 90% of my army - Chaos Space Marines. Lots of lead on the table for sure.

I still have my old books.  If you've ever played Necromunda, those are basically 2nd edition rules. Complicated. Lots of adding and subtracting. Terminators with 3+ armor save (on 2d6. that is).

I remember the game being so difficult to get right with all the wargear, cards, and random tables. But I loved it.

These are the only books I could find. Good stuff these. Lots of cool artwork. Some of which still shows up in GW publications.

Blood Angels were so cool back then. So killer.

Squats were still around. But were headed toward oblivion. I think they just didn't want to do dwarves in space.
 Then came 3rd edition. Man that was actually a new edition. Nearly ALL of the rules had changed significantly. They focused the game toward units, away from characters. We got a totally new system - new movement rules, new rules for close combat. Even the phases were arranged differently. You could shoot BEFORE you charged. That was genius!

But every "edition" since has been a refinement of that core system. Refinement is probably the wrong word for it. It was refined in some ways, but there has been lots and lots added since then. Some of which isn't at all refined.

3rd edition to 4th...refinement, some tweaking, not really big changes.

4th edition to 5th...again, refinement...Couple things removed (consolidating into combat), lots added (run, go to ground, lots of USRs). Core rules the same.

5th to 6th...ok this was pretty different than the previous addition, mainly because flyers, FMCs, allies, hull points were added. Vehicles move a bit differently but in effect just got faster overall. From a big picture view though, no core rules mechanics were changed.

6th to 7th seems to be even less so. Sure they've added a whole new phase...but its just an addition, not an overhaul. 2nd to 3rd was a complete overhaul. In fact, they had to include army lists for all of the armies in the core rulebook because no one had codex rules compatible to the new edition. It was awesome.

I'd love an actual change for once. I'd love to see what new innovative ways we could play battalion-scale 40k...but this new edition just isn't it. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Will it breathe new life in the game? Probably not.


Anonymous said...

Just wait, next year 8th edition will change everything.

Farmpunk said...

GW figured out that people will pay $90 for an errata and FAQ, and just call it a new edition.

Cobalt Cannon said...

Yea, this is GW boosting it's yearly profit numbers. The book is fairly cheap to produce, since most of it is already written and copy and paste can be done with most of it.

The changes are mostly designed to encourage players to buy more of the models, and to buy more of the models that most players don't buy many of. This is why the Force Organization chart got tossed/changed. Notice that one entire book of the three is nothing but an advertisement for their models (Hobby as they try to call it).

Will it be necessary to buy to play the game? Eh, I would suggest that if you belong to a gaming group in your area, everyone pitch in, buy one copy of it for everyone to use to just reference the changes.

On a side note GW released this Task Force Ultra on their website. GW's way of flipping off everyone that bought a Dark Angels Codex is to allow Ultra Marines/any Marines to use a terminator army now.