Brent: 40K 7th Edition, the New Pick and Choose Paradigm?

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They say be careful what you wish for – GW may just give it to you…

I’ve commented before that Games Workshop has recently given the community what it collectively said it always wanted but we found reason to complain anyway.  With the discussion of 7th, there’s no reason to change that opinion.

I had an Empty Digital Headache and stayed the hell away from the talk… but I’ve seen opinions in the BoLS comments shift 180 degrees in one week.  Most of us have a healthy “wait and see” attitude.

That’s my stance, but I can’t help getting really excited about what I’m reading – 7th sounds like the kind of changes we’ve been discussing this past year!  By all accounts, it’s going to take a game that generally works really well and concentrate on updating those sections that don’t, including 1) an overhaul to the psychic phase, 2) an updated allies matrix, 3) improved close combat, and 4) adjusted vehicle rules.  A few thoughts about each of these:

The Problem Areas
1)  The psychic phase sounds a lot like the mechanic for Warhammer Fantasy, which in my humble opinion works just fine, both in terms of time and as a mechanic.  The problem with it has always been the unbalanced magic powers, so time will tell if 40K will have the same problem.

Are we going to see psykers in every army just to increase the defensive Warp Charge Pool to Deny the Witch?  A 40K Scroll-Caddy? What about the poor Tau? (HAHA)

Regardless, it’s a combination of psychic powers and universal special rules that causes 6th Edition the most headaches, so any proactive change is all to the good.

2)  On to the ever controversial Allies rules.  Color me curious; will there still be cross-codex super-character units?  This is very much a wait and see.  Allies are a fixture of the Grim Dark Future, but I can’t believe that GW would miss the opportunity to fix the inherent problems in the 6th Edition ruleset.

3)  Another much needed change is the (sweeping advance? consolidation?) changes to close combat allowing an attacking unit the opportunity to move directly into combat with a new enemy, bypassing the risks of a shooting phase.  There will still be Overwatch Fire as protection to the defending unit… and do I understand correctly that Overwatch will be Ballistic Skill minus 2?  That could be interesting.

This isn’t a change that should worry anyone.  Close combat unit should be able to make this sort of impact; it’s something that’s been lacking for a while and may make close assault a phase to be proud of again.  Regardless, it’s dynamic, which is a word I associate with fun.

Here again I’m wondering if they’ll take a page from Fantasy and fight out the combat in the following phase, but we’ll see.

4)  The last comment I wanted to make is the rumored changes to vehicles, which apparently will make them a touch more reliable.  In 5th Edition, the complaints were the game had become two parking lots firing across at one another before driving onto an objective.  I personally didn’t find that a whole lot of fun, being a Daemons player at the time.

You know, before it was cool.

Anyway, 6th made an effort to balance vehicles against troops but the pendulum may have swung too far.  It would be nice to hide troops in their tank without worrying about half a squad to a 15-point weapon.  Besides, I love starting an army on the board entirely in their transports.  It makes for a faster game.

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We shouldn’t forget how ambitious Warhammer 40K is, incorporating infantry and vehicles with Monstrous Creatures and psychic ability and the Warp and so on.  With all the unintended consequences of even small changes, I don’t often envy the game designers the challenges they face.

All that is my way of saying I want to have my cake and pig out.  I want to field armies of tanks and armies of Terminators!  I want it all!

Apparently, I’m going to like being Unbound.

If you let me.

It seems like already people are talking about the social pressure they intend to apply in their stores.  How many comments have you read in blogs or forums that sound like, “If someone brings ‘X’ to the table, I’ll pack up my toys and go home.”

The game isn’t out yet and already we’re not playing it.

* * * 

Or we’ll play it after it’s been decided what the real game is.

The new White Dwarf book says, “The excellent Eternal War missions found in the current Warhammer 40000 rulebook still exist in the new edition but in addition you’ll find six new Maelstrom of War missions.”  It goes on to say these missions use a suite of cards that will “fundamentally change the way” you play.

I’m just curious how long it will be before someone decides those are the real missions.  Will tournament organizers adversely affect this edition by cherry picking what’s included in the Indy Tournament Scene?

1999+1, anyone?

My memory might not be that great, but 6th Edition wasn’t released so long ago that I don’t remember the discussions about what was the real game.  Before you throw away your 6th Edition rulebook, how many of these rules weren’t you using?

Double Primary Detachments at 2000 points or more?
Archeotech Artefacts or Mysterious Terrain?
Mysterious Objectives?
Alternating Terrain and terrain density limit?
How about setting up Fortifications before terrain?
How about any mission that wasn’t on page 118?

I don’t know… I’m thinking we missed some opportunities for fun here and there.

More than anything, I’m hoping we, the wargaming public, give 7th Edition a fair chance.  Soon enough we’ll have the game in hand, but it will take hundreds of games before trends start sorting themselves out; even then, it might be a regional take that won’t have anything to do with you and your friends.  We don’t need to make any dramatic statements about what will and won’t work.

I say embrace it all!

That’s that: thoughts?  Comments?  Any 7th Edition hugs and gropings?

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