Sunday, 23 April 2017

8th edition latest announcement - a burning eye view

Greetings all! Well, this really is the New Games Workshop (TM) isn't it! Not only are they telling us that a new edition is coming and that codices will soo be off sale, but they're already answering anticipated questions!

Well, I guess therefore it's time for me to have a quick look at what we can glean from the FAQ released this afternoon.

Is my army still valid?
Yes, it certainly is! You’ll still be able to use your army in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. All current armies will be supported with new rules.

Not a huge surprise here really - after the AoS release, I don't think even 'old' GW would have released a new version of the game that was going to invalidate large parts of the model collections out there. It doesn't however state that all the models will be usable, just the armies (factions).

Can I still use all my models?
Yes. Every Warhammer 40,000 miniature we sell today will be usable in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. What’s more, they’ll be supported with new rules, which will be available from the get go in handy, low-cost books.

Ok so here we get confirmation that all of the models will be ported over to the new rules system. Of course the most important thing if you're re-setting the game system is to have people's armies usable right from day one. Here we see that they are really prepping themselves carefully from that day one, with 'low-cost' books for each army containing the new rules. We have yet to see just how significant the changes will be to the rules, but we already know that we can expect a movement stat to be included for each unit. That in itself wouldn't justify the production and sale of new books however, so I think it's safe to suggest that we will be seeing a more drastic change to things than simply the introduction of a new stat for each unit, which could easily be covered by a free pdf simply providing the movement values for the whole range. So, taking a quick look at what I think we can expect from the stat line, and considering it in comparison to the new style Age of Sigmar stats:

WS - this will stay in principle, though as with Age of Sigmar I would be surprised to see this simply become a 'to hit' value. 
BS - as above, though it's certainly possible that we could see a return of 'to hit' modifiers rather than cover saves, given what we've already been told about armour saves being modified by weapon strength and type.
S - interesting one this, since it's been dropped in AoS, in favour of a combined 'to wound' stat. However, given the aforementioned modifiers to armour saves based on weapon strength, it would seem logical that we will retain a strength value for  models, unless combat is changing substantially. If we do see strength disappear and be replaced by a 'to wound' value, then we'd likely need an armour modification stat to be introduced, at which point I don't think you gain anything from dropping the strength stat in the first place.
T - In the same broad category as strength, and though you could do away with it if you were going for a 'to wound' roll, I think it's an odd step to take, particularly if the strength stat remains. I think if strength goes, then so will toughness, but I'd expect them to stay, although possibly with a simplified wounding chart.
I - I could easily see this being removed. Although I like initiative, and suggested in my last rumour analysis article that it could be modified by things like charging, it's the most obvious candidate to me to be dropped as if you're pushing the 'charging models strike first' in combat method, then initiative becomes irrelevant to all but the occasional unique check, which could easily be switched to standard pass/fail figures.
A - I don't see the attacks characteristic going anywhere.
Ld - Intersting one this, since AoS replaced it with 'bravery' and we've had comfirmation they are looking for a similar battleshock style check at the end of the combat phase. It'll probably still be called leadership, but I'd not be surprised to see it replaced with lower values all round.

Even Forge World models?
Yes, even all of your Warhammer 40,000 Forge World models.

Well you really don't want to piss off the other part of your own company do you?

Wait, did you guys blow up the universe?
Nope. This is very much still the Warhammer 40,000 setting you know and love. Now, that’s not to say we won’t see the story advance – there’s some pretty epic stuff ahead! You can certainly expect to see the story arcs that began in the recent Gathering Storm campaign books continue to unfold with plenty of exciting developments to look forward to…

Ok so story arcs continuing but not blowing up the universe. So basically, we won't be seeing 42k, the setting will be the same with humanity on the brink, but they will actually push the calendar forward in time a bit on occasions. I can be happy enough with that - the return of a single loyalist primarch isn't enough in my mind to turn the grim dark far future into happyland anyway.

How can I get the rules?
We’re going to make it easier than ever to get your hands on the rules and start playing. The core rules for the game will be free, and you’ll have several options on how you get your hands on the full rulebook. Watch this space for more.

Oh yes, now this one I am very happy about, very happy indeed. Publishing the core rules of the game for free instead of requiring a significant investment before you even buy a model is a huge step forward - free rules will encourage more people to try the game, and then you expand your player and customer base, it's the classic 'loss leader' method.

As for what those option will be and what the 'full rulebook' will contain that the basic rules don't, I could easily see something like the general's handbook, but equally I could see a more advanced version of those core rules with USR's etc included where the core rules of the game omit such things. As ever I'd expect the full rulebook to be digitally available now as well as in hard copy format.

Have you dumbed down 40K?
Not at all. We’ve made it easier for new people to enter and get to grips with the basics. At the same time, we’ve made sure you can add as much depth and complexity as you like – there’s some fantastic new gameplay elements coming. What we’ve done is reexamine every aspect of the game, and made plenty of improvements, many based on the gaming community’s feedback and suggestions. If you play today, this game is recognisably still Warhammer 40,000.

OK so what I'm taking from this is 'still recognisably warhammer 40,000', so not messing with the turn structure (although possibly introducing the roll off for first player turn in each game turn, I could see that) or the game principles - we're not going to be seeing Infinity 40k or 40k Antares. The other element that intrigues me about this sentence though is 'new gameplay elements coming'. Very interesting. AoS introduced the hero phase, could something similar be coming to 40k, or are we talking about something truly original. Could we see tactical strategies coming into force such as those from the planetary onslaught book? Ways of influencing the game without using the actual miniatures, so perhaps you could add things into your army planning, for example spending a number of points to allow a unit to specify the turn they arrive from reserves etc?

What happens to my codexes?
The rules in our current range of Warhammer 40,000 codexes aren’t compatible with the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. These books will be going off sale very soon. If you do want to pick any up, now’s the time – as all of the great hobby content and background information will be as valid as ever.

Ok, thanks NEWGW! This is one of my favourite progressions of their new approach - telling us in advance when stuff is going to be happening. Before, these would just have been removed from the web store and stores without warning and no announcement as to why - well played GW, well played! I for one would have been highly annoyed had I bought a new codex only to find it invalidated within a couple of months.

What’s in the new starter box?
A new starter box? That’d be exciting! I guess we’d fill it with some awesome new miniatures… (come on, we can’t spoil all the surprises for you!)

Well 7th never got one, so I'm expecting something pretty spectacular for such a new product. I think it's fair to say that as the poster boys and an ever present in all the starter boxes up to now, we can probably expect to see a marine force in there, but what will be the other faction? Chaos Marines are unlikely I would normally say, having featured in the last box, though their kit does desperately need an upgrade and this would be an ideal time to do so (particularly given the prominent position of the death guard marine in the pic release and their recent video), could we actually see a starter box where the marine force is a chaos one? It's perhaps a bit of a stretch to me that, and Eldar/Nids haven't seen a presence in a boxed set for a while, if ever. Personally I'd love to see Nids in the box, it's an army I'd love to see getting some love again, and may even convince me to take some allies for my Genestealer Cult!

Are you getting rid of points?
Not at all. There will be a full points system, for use in matched play – one of three ways to play covered in the rulebook.

Good. Dropping points was an exceedingly bad move when AoS hit, and though they've been reintroduced through the general's handbook, writing an AoS list using those points is still pretty quick in comparison to figuring out a  40k list. I'd love to see points retained with all their current complexity but a re-balancing of values undertaken across the board (some are way out, wyverns, thunderfire cannons etc)

Ok, so we can also pick up from this that it's the 'rulebook' that will be introducing the 3 ways to play, a bit like the general's handbook in AoS. Core rules obviously won't include this info, but the rulebook will.

What do you mean “3 ways to play”?
We realise that people like to play Warhammer 40,000 in different ways. 3 broad systems are covered in the new edition: 1) Open play is the most flexible, and easiest to get started with, allowing you to use any miniatures you like. 2) Narrative play is where you can refight the iconic battles of the 41st Millennium, or create your own campaigns and sagas. 3) Matched play is designed for more balanced and competitive games, ideal for gaming clubs, leagues and tournaments. However you want to enjoy playing Warhammer 40,000, there will be rules for that.

Essentially this is nothing actually new, with the combination of unbound and 'normal' 40k at present, they are simply spelling out the 3 ways that you can play your games

Why should I not just stick with current Warhammer 40,000?
This is the version of Warhammer 40,000 you’ve been asking for. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we really believe that this is the best Warhammer 40,000 has ever been.

Let's hope they're right, I'm willing to take it on trust at the moment. I will always play 40k (probably, until I'm too old or infirm to do so) and I'm not one to just stick with the current system because it's familiar to me - there are plenty of weaknesses to the current game, and I'm confident that GW are now capable of listening to their community and working towards a better product for all.

Will the rules be updated annually (ala, the General’s Handbook)?
What a great idea! We’ve had such a fantastic response to our community-led approach with the Warhammer Age of Sigmar rules updates that we’re committed to doing the same for Warhammer 40,000. You’ll be able to submit your questions and queries on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page and we’ll make sure we continue to evolve the game as feedback rolls in.

Nice, all part and parcel of their new approach and I have to say I love it. Fingers crossed therefore that this allows all armies to remain balanced across the board through regular tweaks.

I haven’t played 40K in a while…
Welcome back! The new Warhammer 40,000 is easier to learn and quicker to play, but still has all the tactical, strategic and narrative depth you could want from a game set in the incredibly rich setting of the 41st Millennium. It’s going to be easier than ever to get started, and more fun than ever to master.

AoS has lots of hidden tactical depth as I understand it, so I'm confident that new players to the game will continue to learn things for many years to come.

Why should I trust you?
Come on! This is New Games Workshop™

Sign me up, I'm on board!

Seriously though, everything we’re talking about now is just an extension of all the community engagement work we’ve been doing over this last year and a half. We’ve learned a lot from you guys and gals, and we’ve tried really hard to make sure everything you’ve asked for is included. And if we’ve missed something? Drop us a line on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page and let us know. We’ll make sure your requests are given proper consideration.

I like the term 'proper consideration'. It implies that someone with common sense will filter all the crap this community can sometimes throw at a set of rules (the recent FAQ comes to mind in respect of an army consisting entirely of fortifications - don't be daft!)

Where can I find out more?
We’ll be running daily articles on the run up to release on Every aspect of the new edition will be covered, from rules, to new miniatures and advancements in the setting.

I'll be keeping my eyes open and probably will be running regular posts myself as more information becomes available.

I love it. I want it. When can I have it!
Really soon. You’ll be playing the new Warhammer 40,000 this year.

Yay! Ideally I'd like to see it drop just before I go on holiday so I can take the books with me and study them, but I'm expecting it towards the end of July.

We’ll let you know when we have more news on an exact release date. Stay posted.
For the latest news, follow us on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page, or subscribe to our newsletter.

What do I do now?
Now’s the time to start getting your army ready.

With the addition of 3 ways to play, there are now more ways to build your collection than ever before. Open play frees you from all constraints, so now’s the time to just pick a model you’ve always wanted and paint it up. For you narrative players, why not start theming your collection around your favourite battle? Just like many of you, we want our armies to be fighting fit for matched play in the new edition. That’s why you’ll be able to read daily articles on the Warhammer Community site that will tell you all about the new rules, great units to include and tactics for every army.

I can't wait! These are exciting times to be in the hobby to my mind, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what's in the new edition.

With that in mind, my friends and I will be re-launching the grim dark brotherhood blog in the lead up tot he new edition of 40k, with a view to bringing you a review just as soon as the new rules are released, with battle reports being featured on our very own you tube channel illustrating the new system too! 

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