Everyone wants new armies – but does the Gridark even have room for more?
As we were organizing the BoLS archive we noticed something stunning. Look at this picture:
There are twenty “core codexes” for various factions in the game right now.
In alphabetical order (we like to stay organized) we have:
- Astra Militarum
- Blood Angels
- Chaos Daemons
- Chaos Space Marines
- Cult Mechanicus
- Dark Angels
- Dark Eldar
- Genestealer Cults
- Grey Knights
- Imperial Knights
- Space Marines
- Space Wolves
- Tau Empire
Now that is just the hardcovers, so it doesn’t include digital only things like Adepta Sororitas, Inquisition and others.
It also doesn’t include arguably “core” supplemental books with strong rules that are commonly used like Khorne Damonkin, Angels of Death, Black Legion and others. If you count all the others we are around 30 factions!
What we have here is a game that is stuffed to the gills with rules in a way it hasn’t been in its entire history. Even in the crazy White Dwarf-rules era of 3rd edition there wasn’t this volume of armies.
What’s the Problem?
There are many in fact.
Playtesting Becomes Impossible.
At a certain volume of rules and factions it becomes unrealistic for playtesters to be able to test against every possible combination. The matrix of possibilities grows exponentially.
Allies Exacerbates the Issue.
With each codex designed as a standalone – playtesters have a fighting chance. With the a la carte unit choices allies make available – there WILL be broken combos that slip through the cracks – and there are…
Less Room for New Factions.
We all say we want more armies, but really we are already swimming in choices. If you were GW and have to allocate resources – it seems an ever harder sell to add that 21st faction into 40K instead of giving it to another game system.
New Edition Inertia.
The more factions and rules there are, the harder it is to make a big rules change from edition to edition – even if the game desperately needs it. The logistics of having to FAQ and update every book out there grows with each faction. A “clean break” that would invalidate the existing codexes and require new ones like we saw with 3rd edition becomes commercially suicidal and would alienate the customerbase.
What’s the Solution
It looks like if we want to see every more new factions being added to the game, at some point GW is going to have to do some codex trimming. We have already seen some of this. Black Templars lost their codex and got folded into Space Marines. There are many now separate books that could easily be combined into one, such as Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus.
But one thing is clear, GW has a lot of brush to clear from the current codex collection if they want to give the Grimdark breathing room for expansion for years to come.
~How would you change the current list of codexes to keep the game balanced and poised for future growth?