40K: 8th Edition – 4 Ways to Play

generals-handbook-40k

Yep, 8th Edition should have “three” ways to play just like Age of Sigmar, but different…points and Apoc are a thing in 40K!

 

The reason that the 8th Edition version of “3 Ways” will have to be different is the most obvious; there will HAVE to be points in any “version” of the game.  Sigmar had the advantage of flying out the gate with no points as a baseline.  This will obviously be unacceptable to almost any 40K player.  The other reason that I would never expect there to be a no points/open play option for 40K is that GW has already experienced the negative feedback this engendered during the AoS rollout.   I doubt that the folks in Nottingham will want to go through that again.

In discussing the actual four play styles of 40K that I hope to see in the 8th edition rulebook, I am not going to differentiate between casual, narrative or tournament play.  These already exist at almost every level of 40K play that I am going to talk about with the exception of Apoc.  I am also going to avoid talking about these three play styles as I would hope GW realizes that 40K is a much more mature gaming system; we don’t need them to tell us in a rulebook what narrative gaming is…as they did in the AoS General’s Handbook.  So assuming that we will have points in any playstyle of 40K, what might we expect?

4way2

The Starter/Skirmish Option

We are talking Kill Team and Battle for Vendros here.  500 points (or less) in terms of game size.  Certainly unit restrictions.  Both Kill Team and Vendros also have unique rule sets both in terms of game play and execution.   My overall impression is that Kill Team has become a bit more popular in the last few years.  For example, the Kill Team events at Adepticom 2017 filled up very quickly.  I have also seen more Kill Team activity at our local GW store than in the past.  Perhaps folks who want a break from a 2-4 hour game of 40K are testing the waters.  Of course, Kill Team still uses the basic 40 rule set, with Kill Team specific mechanics.  Perhaps more importantly, like Vendros, it is a great way to get newcomers into the game.  Low model count, short game duration, not much painting.  Low cost of entry.  Best of all is the chance to let new folks give converting/customizing a try.

4way3

What about Vendros?  It seems like another great way to give the next generation a chance to try 40K on for size.  A modified/simplified rule set.  Low model count.  All necessary hobby supplies included.  Basic painting is encouraged, but not required given the colored plastic used;  similar to Blood Bowl.  If I still had kids in the house in middle or high school, this would definitely be an inexpensive way to get them involved.   Also, given the relatively short attention span of this generation, and all of the competition from electronics of every ilk, I would think it stands a shot of getting some young folks interested and engaged.

Bridging The Gap Option (better known as Combat Patrol)

So now we move up to a larger point threshold and the commensurate higher cost and model count.  Here is the thing though.  If GDub does this right, the move from Kill Team to Combat Patrol will be seamless.  Get those newcomers engaged and taking part in the hobby as well as the game, they will naturally be interested in diversifying their collections.  Wouldn’t it be great to add a couple of Independent Characters?  How about a couple of vehicles with great special rules?  How about a Monstrous Creature or two?  Now throw in some Dedicated Transports or more Elites.  Now we’re talkin!

Of course, this expanded interest means our young/newish (a word?) player is well on their way to joining us vets as part of the plastic crack gentry.   Points?  Don’t know.  There are always guidelines, but in the “play it your way” mode of thinking, perhaps 750-1500 might be about right.  In my way of thinking, as long as the model count and points are increasing, as well as the level of modeling/painting quality, it is mission accomplished.

4way4

As a narrative player, I often find myself playing as this level anyway.  Write up some scenario and some backstory to go with it.  Most of the time this ends up in the 1000-1500 point range.  This point range is also a common starting point for escalation games; although many of these start at 500, they quickly rise to 1200-1500 or more.  More often than not, this is also a point range which lends itself to a relatively short game; around 2 hours.  Yes, that is a “short” game of 40K.

Mainstream Option

Here we are at last.  This is where the majority of 40K gameplay takes place.  Those 3-4 hour games with 1850, 2000, maybe as much as 2500 points.  This is where most tournaments roll in.  The complexity of the game is optimized at this level of play.  Missions are well defined and available from an almost endless number of sources.  Maelstrom happens here;  I rarely see it at the Combat Patrol level.   This should also be where those who started out in the hobby at a younger age will take a few years to get to.

Why a few years?  For most younger folks, it is an issue of both time and money.  Competition for time and availability of money.  Those who enter the hobby at this level who are a bit older, say college age, don’t need to take the time to acclimate.  Most 20 somethings have a few more resources, and less competition for their time.  Most of the folks I play with in my local meta were here several years ago; it is when they put together their first large armies.  We are talking dozens, perhaps hundreds of models.  It is when they did some of their best conversions.  These same folks now have steady jobs, families or multiple interests (other gaming systems, board games, e.g.) that compete with their 40K time.

4way5

Another hallmark of this gaming option is that the frequency of play tends to drop off dramatically as time goes on.  Again, the desire is there, however, there is just too much other stuff going on.  I am fortunate to get a game in once a month.  Some folks I know only play 3-4 times a year at conventions or larger local events.  In many ways, this is the level of play that is most diverse.  By this, I mean in terms of play frequency, size of armies, quality of modeling and, in many ways, the resources spent on new models/armies.  Some folks throw down for an entire 2000 point force every time a new codex is released.  Many are more selective (I am one of these), due to resource (time and money) limitations and even storage space!

I love hearing a certain podcaster who says that he already has a new army built and ready to play just a few weeks after a new dex release.  Who has the time for such a thing?  Monetary resources perhaps, but building and painting an entire Genestealer Cult army just a few weeks after release?  Talk about dedicated…or maybe just another day in the life of a fellow plastic crack addict.

Apoc (the Apex) Option

This is something I am sure exists in Age of Sigmar, but I have not really seen or heard of a whole lot of 5000 point games.  I am VERY familiar with such things here in Milwaukee.  My local gaming group, D-Company, runs an annual Apoc game known, appropriately, as The Big Game.  The price of entry is 5000 points of painted models, and some folks bring as much as 10,000!  Typically there are between 100,000 and 150,000 points of models from every known 30K/40K faction on the gaming tables on Saturday.  With about 25 participants, that works out to an average of 6000 points per player!  Moreover, there are usually 40-50 Super Heavies on tables as well.  Big Game indeed!  At this level of gaming, it is about playing with all the craziness that you can drag to the venue.  These games, once the models are placed (which takes freakin hours in itself), can go on for 6-7 hours!  No limits, no mercy!  This is what 40K Apoc is about.

To me, this is the pinnacle of miniature wargaming.  You have invested untold monetary and time resources to show off your best work.  You are throwing 60 dice at a time.  Putting down 10″ templates like you are putting down beer!  36″ blast radius as those Warhound’s reactors self-destruct!  Madness, I say, pure madness!

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So there you have it.  The 4 Ways to play 40K.  Of course each of these already exist, I am just hoping that GDub will put it all in one place, so we can see more clearly how it can work as a natural progression in the hobby.   In an ideal situation, this should be the progression that gets folks engaged in the hobby at an early age, and keeps adding interest and commitment as time goes on.  In the end, it is the responsibility not of GW, but of the community, both local and on a larger level, to keep folks engaged as they pass through these stages in their gaming “careers.”  People don’t play this game alone.  It is our responsibility to see that they never feel like they have to.

 

How do you play most of your 40K?

  • Ghachii

    You’ve just listed 4 different game sizes, not 4 different ways to play. I play AoS and would love to come over to 40K, but if there’s no equivalent for narrative play in 8th then sadly I’m out. Open play would also be a massive boon for 40K – in AoS it brought in players with a much better attitude and helped to make the community a fun, friendly and welcoming place. Seems to me that the 40K community could benefit from a little detoxification.

    • Karru

      I do agree to some extend, but you have to realise that 40k is much, much more complex game than AoS is. Just one of the “ways to play” requires multiple different options to handle the game. Narrative play is always present in all tabletop games, it’s just a matter of people taking the effort to do it. AoS offers just a basic structure to it and some ideas, rest is in the hands of the players.

      Open play worked well in theory. It had a lot of problems though. Summoning was broken which meant that Undead Armies won automatically. 40k does need detoxification, but it shouldn’t come in the same way AoS did it, which was to remove a game that so many enjoyed. I know many that were devastated when they learned their favourite game is now gone forever. Sure they can play it, but good luck trying to get new people to play with or attend tournaments running it in a few years. Basically years of hard work painting and playing became worthless in an instant. AoS wasn’t Fantasy, it was just a lot simpler version of 40k and they had their reasons for not playing 40k to begin with.

      • Ghachii

        Absolutely agree that 40K doesn’t need to be destroyed and rebuilt for it to work. WHFB didn’t need it either arguably, but it happened, and on balance I think the results have been positive and healthy for the fantasy wargames community as a whole.

        40K is not just more complex than AoS, it’s significantly more complex than any other tabletop game I’m aware of – either that, or the rules are just presented very, very poorly. I’ve read the rulebook. It borders on sadomasochism. For the average person, trying to get into 40K looks to be more daunting than trying to join the Illuminati, which can’t be a good thing. Streamlining it significantly and introducing more ways to play that appeal to different types of hobbyist (not just different game sizes) must surely be the way forward?

        You’re right that narrative play is always an option, but until AoS GW had for a long time been doing a very poor job of presenting this as a legitimate and attractive way to play. In doing so they ceded influence to the highly visible tournament community and allowed this style of play to dominate, both in WHFB and in 40K. Blowing up WHFB allowed them to finally address this issue, and in some style. It will be a much harder paradigm to break in 40K, which won’t be blown up and is going to drag a lot of community baggage into 8th regardless of what they try to do with it.

    • ZeeLobby

      The crazy part is open or narrative play has always been there. I’d say if anything it brought the narrative players who toxically hate anything else. At least locally the few AoS players I know love to point out anything that they consider power gaming and deride it relentlessly. Might be funny or fun for those who only enjoy narrative games, but as someone who enjoys both I found it really off-putting.

      I just can’t grasp what you’re looking for that doesn’t exist in 40K right now? If anything 40K is more about narrative play right now than anything else. Armies are basically unrestricted, and unbound is available. Add to this the fact that the rulebook can be seen as more than guidelines than rules, and I’m pretty sure you have all the tools available. I don’t think there’s anything GW can do to enforce narrative play short of releasing no rules.

      • Ghachii

        You may be right, but as an outsider 40K looks to be dominated by people who would never dream of fielding a weak unit for fluffy reasons, who always play total wipeout pitched battles with no interesting objectives and who think that if there’s still room for another unit on the table then you’re playing it wrong. Comments discussion is always about power, points and convoluted rules. I’ve never seen a single comment about a scenario – I’ve no doubt that scenarios exist in 40K, but they seem to be an afterthought for most players. All of these things existed in WHFB too, but it took AoS and The General’s Handbook for people to actually view them as legitimate, fully fleshed out options. In many ways it’s a matter of how these concepts are presented I suppose.

        • grim_dork

          That’s more indicative of the people who post comments here than the people who get together and play games.
          You’re anything but anonymous when you’re playing a game with someone, in fact you’re opening yourself up to being vulnerable, emotionally exposed. That’s part of what you get with the hobby, and important, but the opposite of posting comments on sites like BoLS.

          • ZeeLobby

            Agreed.

        • ZeeLobby

          Scenarios are pretty badly written for 40K. They haven’t really been evolved past what they were years ago, but there are tons of narrative players out there, they might just not comment here. Other blogs, for example, have pretty positive comments all the time. Doesn’t mean that any side is wrong tho, but narrative games and groups are very much a thing in 40K. Just need to find them, whereas in AoS for a while, there was really no other choice.

          • Ghachii

            Well that’s quite heartening to hear. GW would still have to streamline 40K significantly though before my Orks will ever see a gaming table.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, well, hopefully that’s what 8th bringsm hopefully things get more interesting for the factions GW ignores.

        • Shawn

          You are right here. This is why I think it needs to be stated in the 8th ed brb. It will help detoxify the atmosphere. Too many followers of Khorne, metaphorically speaking, in the tournament scene.

    • Raven Jax

      It’s sad to hear you say that. My store has always been welcoming to new players, including myself two years ago. There’s even a “beginners day” where the focus is on helping new players model, paint, and play. We’ll play with a new player with whatever they’ve got. 300 pts, 500 pts, 1000 pts. If they want to do a combined Eldar and Chaos list because that’s what they’ve got, that’s fine with us. Nobody in our store makes them play with ‘one eye open’ rule. It’s a really welcoming, fun environment, and it makes me sad to hear that the 40K community isn’t like that everywhere.

      • Ghachii

        I should say that I’ve never actively attempted to join a local 40K group, and for all I know they might be as great as yours. I also know that AoS players aren’t necessarily all sunshine and rainbows. I’m talking more about the general vibe of these communities as a whole.

        As a painter and hobbyist for 20 years who had never played a game because the rules and communities seemed more akin to a secret society, AoS hit all the right notes and tempted me in. I wouldn’t even approach a local 40K group as things currently stand because the community in general seems pretty set in its ways when it comes to how the game should be played, and that way seems to be pitched battles, standard army builds and massive model counts. Whenever I read comments about other ways to play (like unbound or allies) it’s generally people dumping all over the very idea of it. I’ve not read one comment that suggests anyone is playing and enjoying creative narrative scenarios with interesting objectives.

        All of this is a massive turn off for me as a curious newcomer, and nothing in the above article would address my concerns. There’s nothing new or exciting there, just tweaks to make different game sizes work better than they do currently. I would love to play in the 40K universe with 40K models, but right now the way the community at large chooses to play this game just isn’t for me. Contrast with AoS, which offers something for everyone and is smartly designed and flexible enough to easily introduce even more ways to play in the future. If 8th edition can do that and, crucially, break the 40K community out of what appears to be a very blinkered approach to gaming, then I’ll jump onboard in a heartbeat.

        • Reven

          My gaming group does stuff like that sometimes, and I’ve seen battle reports of narrative campaigns on youtube. Miniwargaming did a great one that was Sisters of Battle vs Genestealer cults called the The Utgard Infestation. The Genestealers didn’t even have a codex back then, he made his own codex specifically to create a fun narrative driven series of games.

          Currently I’m working on creating a narrative scenario with my younger brother, a sort of no turn limit Tau assault on an Imperial position with destroyed units respawning and coming in as reinforcements (With limits on imperial spawns), off map artillery and Stealth Suit operations to due things like delay reinforcement or destroy off map artillery.

          The issue when just looking at the community from a purely online perspective it’s very easy to end up in the wrong blog or forum and only see the competitive players or cheese/ultra competitive posts where the fluff be damned I need to summon daemons with my Eldar. The internet tends to be the place people go to try to find the most competitive things, see what works and what doesn’t. The people who are playing for the narrative don’t need to go online, they just do it.

          The problem with say Unbound or Allies is if you aren’t careful then you end up with 5 flying daemon princes against someone not expecting and basically lacking any way to meaningfully play the game. I don’t really know what you mean by Allies though, since that is pretty much set in the game I don’t really see people giving you funny looks if you ally things that are fluffy. Those looks tend to be reserved for things like Eldar summoning daemons.

          I also don’t really see how Age of Sigmar’s systems offers much that would improve that side of things or incentivize it.

        • TenDM

          To throw a bit of context on it, people aren’t complaining about Unbound/Allies as much as what it represents. It’s very lazily written and it seeps into all the ways to play 40k. According to the rules I can walk into any match I want with 40 Wraithknights, and if you don’t like it well too bad.
          The players who harp on about Unbound will almost certainly play against you using the Unbound rules, or any house rule you want, they just get very frustrated with Unbound because they’re constantly having to make house rule adjustments to the core rules whenever they want a semi-competitive match.
          7th Edition 40k is very much a take what you want game, where The General’s Handbook is a game that has a take what you want mode. It’s a subtle difference but one forces everyone together and causes constant clashes while the other gives everyone some space and allows for a degree of harmony between sub-groups.

          I also think you may be confusing the internet’s 40k fanbase with the general 40k community. There are plenty of people, particularly in our age bracket, who just want to play some fun games. The 40k community is EXTREMELY diverse, it’s just that the parts of the community that are enthusiastic about rules are also pretty loud.
          You wouldn’t believe how many people just paint and collect, or play strictly narrative, or just want to hang out and roll dice.

  • Karru

    Here is how I would do this:

    The Kill Team will be the introduction to the game, as you pointed out.

    Then the “Combat Patrol” would be the real “entry” point to the game. This contains all the rules that are in the game, but the army building is limited.

    Then comes the core of the game. This would be the standard which “everyone” will play. This is where the majority of changes will hit. First of all Gargantuans, Super Heavies, Flyers, Flying Monstrous Creatures are “removed” from the game. They are just made slightly better versions of what they originally were. I won’t go into too much detail, but the bottom line is that these units now no longer ignore damage tables, stomp, are immune to poison, require 6’s to hit and so on. Basically everything that make them extremely hard to deal with. Also D-weapons are removed from the game and are replaced with Strength 10.

    Then comes the changes to army making. This is to make it way more balanced than it currently is and to make it a lot less confusing. Until 2000pts limit is reached, you are limited to a single detachment. This detachment can be your own Formation based Detachment, for example the Gladius Strike Force, but you may not include anything else outside the formations that they detachment is build with. You can also take your own “replacement CAD” if you have any, for example the Sisters of Battle one from the Imperial Agents Codex. If you take a CAD, you are allowed to take only one formations and a single Allied Detachment. CAD benefits are that all your Troops can score over all other Troops that don’t have this rule. It is good to mention that only Troop Choices may hold objectives.

    Allied Detachments work just like they do now, but there are no longer “Battle Brothers”. All “Battle Brothers” are considered Friendly Allies of Convenience, so they cannot be affected by Psychic Powers, they cannot be joined and so on, but they also can’t be damaged by abilities that specify “all enemy units”.

    Then there is the Apocalypse. This is where the 7th edition troublemakers are moved to. Super Heavies, Gargantuans, D-weapons and so on are now here. If you wish to use them, you can play a 1000pts Apocalypse game if you want, but you have to ask your opponent first if they want to. There is no point limit to Apocalypse, it can be 10000+pts or it can be 1000pts if you so desire but you have to ask your opponent first. This makes sure that the troublemaker units are reduced greatly from the base game and new players will find themselves enjoying the game more until they get around getting 2-3 Knights to their armies.

    There are a ton of changes needed for 8th edition, but these are just some of the core changes that would help reduce the power gap a lot faster and more efficiently.

    • Rob brown

      I wouldn’t remove normal flyers and flying monstrous creatures from the game. They are two big a part of some armies (Tyranids for instance) I would however remove snap firing and simply give them a 2+ Or 3+ invulnerable save.

      • Karru

        I proposed this change before, but I didn’t want to go into great detail about in this post. The idea was that Flyers and Flying Monstrous Creatures are Skimmers/Jump Monstrous Creatures that can move farther than their original counterparts. For example, a Flyer would be able to move up to 18″ and still shoot with all of its weapons. It can also move up to 24″ and then shoot with 2 of its weapons.

        Flying Monstrous Creatures would be able to move 18″ in a turn. This makes them a lot more manoeuvrable and easier to “hide”. They can also cover a lot of ground more easily.

        These are just rough sketches, but the general idea would be to make them able to move much faster while still not being able to sustain an entire army’s worth of fire in some cases.

      • ZeeLobby

        They’re only big in those armies because they’re the only good things in those armies. If the Tyranid book was better internally balanced, people would love running ground swarms and/or Nidzilla lists. The issue is that with the game right now, things just die before they can cross the table. (Saying this as someone whose had 120 hormagaunts pretty much just sitting on his shelf for years). I never saw what was wrong with previous flying rules for MC that simply made them move faster back when there wasn’t so much fire power that it was a death sentence.

        • TenDM

          I agree with most of what you’re saying but I just can’t think of a way to make it so Tyranids can dependably get across the table without just having the Tyranids win. If Genestealers were reliable they’d be an auto-win, but as it stands they’re worthless because they’ll take too much damage before getting an attack off. Making them stronger, tougher or faster is either insufficient or too powerful.

          Things almost need to be more complicated in order to allow for deeper strategy, but the Assault Phase is already a mess. They sort of need a decent toughness/no attack unit to give a decent cover modifier to anything they break line of sight on. The more in the way the better the save, so you can run a thin general line to boost a large force, or a thick focused line when you want to protect something specific.

          That way it’s not just a matter of lucky cover placement or being able to survive running in a straight line at your opponent. You have to think about how you use your barrier units, and your opponent has a chance to actually engage with your strategy. Rather than bunkering down and focus firing, it might be a better idea to split the units so the blockers have a harder time obstructing shots.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      This again? You spend a long time complaining about 5 somewhat OP units, and 2 classes of unit that from my own experience die or become irrelevant after a couple of turns of gameplay.

      • Karru

        Again, this is to make the game so much more fun for new players. Those “somewhat OP” units require very specific tools in order to be taken down. Tools that most new players don’t have yet. I want to make the game enjoyable to everyone. Those things still exist, they are not going anywhere. They are just removed from the standard game that will be played by new players and those that enjoy more balanced games with more armies to select from. Those that enjoy Epic in 28mm can play with the Apocalypse rules to get their fix, no one loses a thing. Only people that suffer from this are those that prey on new players that don’t have 10000+pts worth of models to choose the perfect counters to every situation present.

        • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

          Yeah, no, there are better ways to curtail abusive behavior than invalidating entire unit types. Changing battlefield roles, appropriately costing units, and limiting their use in comp work just fine in a tournament setting, whereas negotiating, or walking away from WAAC players, does the job in casual settings. I’d rather play with the models I have, at the point levels I’m asked to play at, and accede to the wishes of my opponent in the unlikely event that I bring something too difficult to counteract, than relegate the models I like to the display case because my play venue only plays a format that doesn’t allow the models I own.

          • Karru

            But if you actually read what I wrote, your models aren’t going anywhere. You can still use all those models, they are just much more balanced in smaller games now. That shouldn’t be a problem, right? I mean, it’s the model’s looks that count, not the power level.

            My proposal brings the scale back down to reasonable levels in a flash. You seem to think that GW can just magically fix all those problems with a single release. News flash, they can’t and/or won’t. They won’t release 20+ books to balance the game out. Also, the core rules themselves have massive problems regarding rulesbloat.

            The entire focus of 40k is currently on formations, super heavies and gargantuans. There is also focus on large sized armies. This makes the game extremely intimidating to new and casual players. When the game is focused on armies that cost 500+€ to play, people will look for cheaper alternatives. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather see new players every now and then join the game.

            I don’t understand what the problem here is. My solution removes the dire need for all the things you said while taking away nothing that isn’t bad for the game or its players. Your models are still usable, they are just balanced. They are no longer invincible to most fire they receive, they cannot obliterate entire units in single turn of shooting and are now limited in normal games as they should be.

            The only thing that is actually changing is the fact that you are no longer allowed to spam CADs, take your Alternative Detachment + Allies to form a super army or make a flying circus. All of these are extremely bad to the game and the current edition encourages it. The Website does the same, just look at the “recommended” products for the armies. First page is usually the typical stuff, basic units for the army and the Codex, but the second page kicks it off big time.

            Look at it this way. 6th/7th edition has been the worst editions of the game we have ever had. I don’t know anyone who can legitimately say “I think 7th edition is the best 40k edition we’ve ever had” and not laugh or cry. So what has changed? What made 6th/7th edition so bad?

            The following rules were added into the standard game:

            – Formations
            – Alternative Detachments
            – Multiple Detachments
            – Fortifications
            – D-weapons
            – Allies
            – Lord of War
            – Super Heavies
            – Gargantuans
            – Flyers
            – Flying Monstrous Creatures
            – Psychic Phase

            Then we saw the game shift from balanced combat to ranged combat focus.

            We also saw the standard point decrease in most books at this point as well.

            I post my proposed fixes so they fit the topic. In this case it was the “ways to play” so I only mentioned about the ways to play. There are a lot of other problems in the game that still needs fixing, but these are just to make the army building aspect more balanced.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            I just don’t see your point. The units you want to change are hardly invincible, point limits and army scale aren’t set in stone, and Formations are only an issue when combined certain ways, which, oddly enough, isn’t a design bug.

            An edition change is precisely an attempt by the the developers to fix the game in a single release, and it more or less works until they start writing new Codices specifically for that edition. The problem is that the devs have neither the time nor the interest in maintaining a living ruleset, so as a consequence, older, less thought-out codexes tend to get left out when something objectively better gets published.

          • Karru

            Which is precisely the reason why the things I proposed should be toned down in the Main Rulebook. The standard of the game should be what edition 3-5 were. Even with outdated books like Orks 4th edition book still fought like a beast even towards the end of 5th edition.

            The problem is that GW design team wants people to use formations but at the same time completely ignore point costs or their “benefits”. This leads to massive power gap between armies as can be seen currently with Eldar, Space Marines, Adeptus Mechanicus, Tau and Necrons. Remove them from the standard game OR make them a choice rather than a necessity or a convenience. Currently there is barely any reason for any of those armies to take a CAD over their Alternative Detachment or a specific formation in the case of Ad Mech. If they took a CAD, they’d purposefully give up on free rules or even free stuff. This is why they should be more limiting.

            The system would remove the Formation abuse and the OPness of Alternative Detachments. These are currently massive problems within the game. Get rid of them from the standard game and keep them for Apocalypse, this way people that want to play with them still can and they will see more stuff about it in the future. You can also always ask your opponent if it’s okay to bring the list you are using. Asking for a permission to bring something yourself is more polite and sportsmanlike than refusing to play someone due to them brining something that you don’t want to face.

            As for the Flyers, Flying Monstrous Creatures, Super Heavies and Gargantuans. You pretty much answered the question yourself there.

            “The problem is that the devs have neither the time nor the interest in maintaining a living ruleset, so as a consequence, older, less thought-out codexes tend to get left out when something objectively better gets published.”

            When GW Design Team comes up with a new idea for a massively broken model, that of course they don’t realise because they don’t properly test out, it makes the power gap that much more wider. We saw this happen in 5th edition towards the end when Necrons and Grey Knights were released. The issue here is that since GW design team doesn’t think nor playtest, they forget what balance is.

            How is a standard Ork army supposed to deal with an Imperial Knight? What weapons do they possess that allows them to take one down before it can mow down twice the points it costs? Rokkits don’t have the range, Lootas can only Glance it and Power Klaws won’t get close enough in time. You just have to eat it and hope that it rolls very badly. Does this make the game fun? No, it doesn’t.

            What about a Tyranid Swarm army fighting against a standard 3 Heldrake Chaos Army? They have no access to Skyfire and have to rely on their Hive Tyrants and other Flying Monstrous Creatures to survive long enough for the Heldrakes to arrive. Again the same problem.

            What about a standard Dark Eldar army facing against an Eldar army that spams Wraithknights? How about a Blood Angels army facing a Flying Summoning Circus?

            How does my system help? It removes the necessity for extremely specific units for these situations. AA for example is extremely expensive and useless if there are no Flyers present. Even if there are, it is usually extremely easy to snipe them away before the Flyers arrive. A Knight that can be stunned or even Shaken for a turn will make a life lot easier for many armies. Flying Monstrous Creatures enjoying the fact that they cannot be harmed while filling the board with summoned units no longer becomes an issue.

            My point is to make the game fun for everyone, from New Player to a Grizzled Veteran. This system makes all armies in the edition playable and enjoyable. Currently Orks, Tyranids, Chaos Space Marines and Dark Eldar are considered the bottom of the barrel. Why is that? Why are their books so bad? Simple, their books were released before Formation Spam, Free rules/stuff and Cheap Super Heavies/Gargantuans became about as common as seeing an Ork Boy in an Ork Army.

            We have never seen this much of a power gap ever in 40k. In 5th edition there was no such thing as a “worthless army”, because all armies had competitive build(s) that they could use in the worst case scenario. In the current edition, Orks for example have no real competitive build any more thanks to the lack of Big Mek Stompa.

            What I don’t get is why you have a problem with these changes. I am basing my proposals on past experience. I also frequently observe what the most talked issues are regarding the game and armies. Why they are so bad? Why are they not played? I have found out that the troublemakers are those that I’d like to limit. It helps to scale the game down to new players, it finally has a scale to begin with, it is an effective countermeasure for future shenanigans that the GW design team decides to pull off and reduces the power gap significantly without the need for Codex Updates.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            It should be pretty obvious why I have a problem with your suggestions: I play with, and enjoy playing with and against, the elements of the game you want to do away with. Air combat is fun. Knights are fun. FMCs are fun. Formations are fun. Fortifications and Superheavies are fun. Appropriately priced GMCs, like Stormsurges and Tyranid GMCs, are fun. Granted, competitive play is not my preferred play situation, because it has a tendency to promote toxic playstyles, but it’s not GW’s responsibility to ensure that everyone plays one true style of 40k; rather, it’s their’s to allow as many playstyles as the system can support.
            I’ll agree that open-ended free unit/wargear Formations are inherently broken, but the investment cost for those Formations makes them less attractive (to me at least).

          • Karru

            But again nothing is being taken away. They are still part of the game, you can play with like-minded people the way you want. This already seems to be the case, this just reduces the toxic playstyle. It just allows those that enjoy playing a game where there are no “uber” units for some armies while others do.

            The “standard” of the game should be what I mentioned. This way we can get more new folk into the game, which in time leads to more people to play with.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            Changing the way they function is equivalent to removing them from the game. Why not just fix what is actually broken (unreasonable free stuff, undercosted units, and units that are functionally unplayable) and leave stuff that you learn to plan for or invalidate intact?

          • Karru

            Because that would take GW 1-2 years to do with new codex releases, then you run the massive risk of GW design team wanting to try something new which might break the game and if it does then they once again switch the idea to something that isn’t broken and nothing has changed.

            Finally you have the largest problem. Currently 40k is an arms race, everyone is waiting for more broken formations and units for their armies because they know that is the only way to actually have a fighting chance. GW won’t be taking anything away, especially their big models like the Imperial Knights and Wraithknights. This means that in order to actually have a chance, the only option is to have something similar in every army. The fact that I need to get myself a Ork version of a Knight or a Tyranid version of a Wraithknight sounds extremely dumb. It also makes sure that the game doesn’t welcome new players.

            We know that GW won’t increase the point cost of any of their units “too much”. What they’ll most likely do is decrease it to make people buy them more. This is why they need to made “weaker” versions of themselves in order to have them balanced. Removing them from the game isn’t a solution, reducing their power is

            GW wants us to buy more and more stuff. This is apparent when you look at the most recent releases. Formations and Detachments needing to be completely filled to get all the rules, formations with 3-5 of the same unit and only said unit and so on. You can’t “plan” for 3 Imperial Knights when you are a relatively new player with maybe a 2000pts collection. You can’t “plan” for someone bringing Jetbikes, Warp Spiders and multiple Wraithknights with a limited collection either.

            You seem to think that GW has the ability to stay consistent. Spoiler, they can’t. Time and time again we have seen the Design team pull off stupid stuff and either make an army useless or utterly broken. Do you seriously think that GW can suddenly fix that? The only real way to fix the game is to strike at the core. The one book that they won’t change or add something into, the Main Rulebook. If all Flyers, Flying Monstrous Creatures, Super Heavies and Gargantuans were now weaker versions of themselves and plenty of other fixes are introduced to it, it doesn’t matter if the Design team decides to release another untested book. Even a regular army has a chance against a vehicle that can be stunned or shaken. Take Snipers and you can bring down a Wraithknight in this system.

            Again, they are not going anywhere. You can still play them in the Apocalypse version that has no point limit. You can play a 100pts Apocalypse if you wish, or 2000pts or 1850pts. You can also always ask your opponent if you are allowed to bring something that isn’t normally allowed to in the standard game. I don’t see the problem, as it is much more polite and sportsmanlike to ask someone if you are allowed to bring something than outright refusing to play against someone that is playing exactly by the rules and uses all the tools GW has provided him.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            You don’t need a Knight in every faction in order to deal with them. Plasma Vets can kill Knights reasonably enough. See also: anything that can land shots with Grav, Gauss, Haywire, or Melta.

            The bonuses for maxing out the TL Formations are largely inconsequentiaI.

            I don’t want any of my models to only be playable in certain game formats. Especially not in game formats that will likely never see play outside of planned events or garage 40k, like Apocalypse or using Unbound.

          • Karru

            They are still playable, I don’t understand what the issue here is. Are you saying they are not playable because they are nigh invincible?

            I never have problems with Knights or Wraithknights with my Space Marines nor with my Eldar. My Guard and Orks on the other hand have issues if I don’t take my Knight and my Orks are at a massive disadvantage right from the start.

            You listed counters from the top tier armies, Space Marines, Eldar, Necrons and Adeptus Mechanicus. If you are saying that those Plasma Vets are Guardsmen, then I have some news for you. Those guys will never make it that far. No army leaves home without some way to take down a AV12 vehicle and even then those Veterans won’t be able to do enough damage fast enough to knock it down before it has done three times its point cost in damage to you.

            Also, Haywire and Melta aren’t exactly the most spammable equipment in the game outside few armies, like the Ad Mech and Space Marines. You need to get 6 Glances or Pens to take down a Knight. You first have to hit it, then glance/penetrate and then it has to fail its 4++ save. Before the day is done, that Knight has mowed down half your army by itself. Unless you yourself have a Knight or a similar monstrosity on the field, the game will become a massive “who can survive the Alpha Strike”.

            Currently the meta is to have as many Knights, Wraithknights or other extremely tough units that ignore damage outright until they are completely killed. This is unacceptable as the damage they can dish out is too much.

            Let’s look at an alternative then. First of all Gargantuans do need to be toned down. If the Wraithknight wasn’t Toughness 8, it wouldn’t be that much of an issue. Make it a Monstrous Creature as it once was. No other Gargantuan Creature sees the light of day due to their pricing still being from the old Apocalypse so they can’t be reasonably used. I can back down if they do that change to the Wraithknight. Either that or they make it 500pts base.

            Super Heavies. The alternative is that they bring the old Apocalypse Super Heavy Damage Table into the game. It adds rules bloat, but its the only realistic alternative to this situation. If you aren’t aware, it allows Super Heavies to be disabled. They don’t add Melta or any other modifiers but they do add +1 from D-weapons. They also subtract -2 when they suffer a Glancing Hit. Here is the table:

            1 – Gun Crew Shaken
            2 – Driver Stunned
            3 – Weapon Destroyed
            4 – Drive Damaged
            5 – Structural Damage
            6 – Chain Reaction!

            It’s pretty standard. First two results just disable singular weapon per result, chosen by the attacker, and disables movement. Third destroys one of the weapon carried by the Vehicle, fourth immobilises, Structural Damage is an old rule regarding Structure Points and Chain Reaction! just makes your roll again on top of losing a structure point.

            They can change it to 1-2 being Gun Crew Shaken, 3 Driver Stunned, 4 Weapon Destroyed, 5 Drive Damaged, 6 Structural Damage and 7+ is Chain Reaction. If you suffer Structural Damage, you lose D3 Hullpoints, Chain Reaction does the same but you roll additional time.

            This makes it possible for all armies, putting emphasis on ALL, to take on a super heavy vehicle without having to field their own. Ork Lootas can just attempt to disable a Knight for a turn so the Boyz or Tankbustas can get close enough to take it down. Imperial Guard can shoot it with Lascannons or Autocannons to disable or even destroy some of its weapons before they can destroy half their board.

            The problem with Super Heavies is their invulnerability. They suffer absolutely no damage until their last hullpoint is lost. This is extremely bad game mechanic when you have very limited units at your disposal. I only have 1-2 units that can reliably take down a Knight? Take a guess which of my units will be the main target. It’s not like I can take a Tactical Squad with a Missile Launcher and expect them to take down a Knight. At best I can take down 1 Hullpoint out of 6. This is also not a Land Raider or a Leman Russ we are talking here. That Knight can bring more firepower to the field than 2 Leman Russ Battle Tanks can for the same price.

            I have won so many games because all I had to do was take down the opponent Heavy AT unit and laugh as they couldn’t do anything to my rampaging Knight. I won against Eldar 0-5 and almost tabled him because he played a balanced army and I brought a Knight. My army just rolled over him because I dropped a unit of Sternguard to take down his Dark Reapers and Wave Serpent carrying Fire Dragons. After that, there was nothing he could realistically do to take my Knight down before it was too late. At best I would lose 1 Hullpoint a turn from all the Lances he had. In exchange I killed a unit per turn with the Knight.

            Super Heavies are the worst addition to the base game. They dish out massive amounts of damage, have no major weaknesses, cannot be disabled and some armies (Imperium) can take them in Trios without suffering army building wise. They have to be toned down a lot and increasing the point cost and nerfing the damage output of Imperial Knights is not enough nor fair. Doing that would invalidate all Knight Armies pretty much. If Super Heavies were able to be disabled, then they wouldn’t be such a massive issue.

            As for Flyers and Flying Monstrous Creatures, I already made my point pretty clear here. It’s pretty much the same situation as is with Super Heavies. They are nigh invincible unless you have extremely specific units that are both expensive and easy to kill and can dish out a lot of damage before they die.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            No, I’m saying that quarantining them in a different game format, the way they were prior to Escalation and the IK codex, will make them unplayable.
            The majority of FMCs are T6. There is more than enough massed S4-5 to weight of fire down most FMCs, regardless of needing to Snap-fire.
            The problem with this exercise is that you throw reasonable players, like me, that only run singletons of those units, under the same bus as WAAC players that run straight toward the possibility of having an army that contains nothing but those units. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, when properly costed and fielded as a reasonably small proportion of their Army (ideally around 1/3, to no less than 1/6, of their points limit for a single LoW model), they don’t cause major issues.

          • Karru

            Even if they don’t change them, they still have to solve major issues with them. The biggest one after the spammability is their durability. As I mentioned, even a single Knight can win a game because you can easily take down the only unit(s) that can reliably take it down. Making them actually suffer damage table results leading to it being disabled for a turn will make many armies sigh in relief. I am sure that even you can agree on that.

            I can also back down on the need to tone down FMC rules, but Flyers I won’t back down on until something is done about them. You have a chance to bring down a FMC, but Flyers still need very specific weaponry to be brought low.

            Most Flyers are at least AV11-12 which means that vast majority of weapons can’t even hurt them. Added with the fact that you can only Snap Shot them without Skyfire makes them extremely powerful when ran in large numbers. Even a singular Flyer can do relatively large amount of damage before brought down.

  • ThorOdinson

    “Sigmar had the advantage of flying out the gate with no points as a baseline.”

    Not much of an advantage, given that AOS almost ended up stillborn as a result and they had to run away from that as fast as possible in order to save the game.

    • Karru

      Exactly. The “praise” I heard for AoS before General’s Handbook came from fanatics of the game. There was no “normal” person that would look at up’s and down’s of the game, to them there was nothing but good in it. There was no Summoning issues with Undead or the fact that Ogres had an advantage due to lower model count.

      When General’s Handbook was released, the game exploded in popularity. General’s Handbook made AoS playable to great number of people and not just because it had points. It balanced out the massive oversights and problems that the 4 pages of rules had. All of this was thanks to an outside source of course.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah… You’ll run into people who say this occasionally, but I know many more who got involved only after the GH was released.

  • CMAngelos

    Facts we know about 8th edition: none.

    But the rumors are “fun” to read.

    • Karru

      We can draw conclusions based on repeating patterns and past experiences. GW likes to “ride the success” when it comes to their products, this is clear. It wouldn’t surprise me that they would release 40k version of the General’s Handbook because they realised that it made AoS extremely popular. Only problem is that GW design team has a hard time coming up with balanced rules since they don’t do playtesting. GHB was made by an outside source mostly, so if they don’t repeat this process it will most likely fail miserably.

      • Ghachii

        The General’s Handbook was NOT made by an outside source. It was made at GW HQ, with major tournament organisers offering input on Matched Play section, consulting on points values, and helping them play-test the Matched Play scenarios. So yes, they do play-testing.

        • Karru

          If they did actual playtesting by themselves, then we wouldn’t have 40k in such a bad state as it is. It’s not 40k’s fault that the game is so utterly broken, nor is it the players fault. The fault is in the hands of those that wrote the rules. Who wrote them? GW Design team.

          General’s Handbook Match Play was made with outside help, this is the most important part of the book. With the inclusion of points and multiple fixes it brought into the game, it is this singular part of the GHB that made AoS extremely popular.

          If they try to do it alone, they will fail. They might be able to pull off Narrative and Open Play to some extend, but Matched Play will fail miserably. GW has no idea of balance in 40k. Space Marines, Eldar, Adeptus Mechanicus and Tau are exceptional examples of this. Their formations and rules are just plainly better than any other army. There are massive problems with Allies and the spam that is allowed by the current army building mechanics. All of this was done by GW Design Team.

          This is why I am worried that GW will try to copy their success with GHB, but instead of getting outside help with playtesting and other important things, it will not fix anything OR it will break the last string that keeps 40k together.

    • ZeeLobby

      Eh. Some writing is on the wall though. All companies copy successful ventures of other companies. It’s how we got formations, HQs modifying force org, supplements, etc. I think it’s pretty obvious when looking at the industry that the days of 7 year old codexes are over. I definitely think GW will move to a live or yearly updated ruleset. Therefore I think we can make some assumptions based on GH and AoS.

  • I think Combat Patrol is the real entry level to the game as the specialist rules of Kill Team are more likely to confuse a young newbie.

    For my tastes I hope GW pull off a good version of 40k that works well with the first two options. I’m not bothered by the other two.

    • ZeeLobby

      I agree. The problem with KT for me, especially if things end up being simplified, is that it soon becomes uninteresting. The restrictions necessary to make it a game fun playing remove a lot of the cool and fun models that people starting the game want to play with.

      • Well there is Heralds of Ruin which I think works better as an actual Kill Team game. Having said that I prefer Kill Team where both players use troops so its more of a small patrol clash with regular troopers.

      • luke snell

        Was pretty disappointed with GW and their missed opportunity to what Killteam could possibly be; nearly a precursor to what a version of 8th could be. Not a single simple and Vedros mind you. The specialist rules are fine and all, but not really stripping back the core rule set is just as much as a deterrent as regular 40k. They still could have maintained complexity, but presented the rule set differently without just the throwing the main 40k rule book down. And up the pointage to like 400-500 to make use of characters and elites.

  • Jared Swenson

    Referring specifically to a few of the recent rumors that 8th will just be merely another rules tweak edition (like what 7th was to 6th), here is how I would love to see it:
    40k Standard/Core: What we know now. A set of rules that keep things as we are used to, and are ideal for supporting game types from 500pts up to 2000pts.
    40k Apocalypse/Epic: A separate streamlined set of rules, probably a little closer to the Epic ruleset, designed for extremely large games of 2500pts and up and up, and keep with the scale and using your existing collection of miniatures. This would make sense for several reasons. It would do quicker games of apocalypse. They would still take time to complete, but get less bogged down by rules minutiae that plagues the current ruleset at higher points. WIth quicker and easier apocalypse games, it would encourage people to grow their armies even further. Right now if you have enough to field a standard army, you have few motivations to grow it outside of playing apocalypse, and right now, that’s not everyone’s cup-o-tea. We are already starting to see GW’s vision of games getting bigger and bigger, with formations and the like, and right now, the standard game type (which is around 1500-1850) doesn’t really support it that well.

    This is all stemming from me hoping a lot more than merely ‘a rules tweak edition’ will come out of 8th. Unfortunately, I fear GW is too terrified of an AoS style backlash to do anything necessary to 40k. I know I shouldn’t hope or expect too much out of 8th, but it’s really hard. I love 40k so much, but everytime I play it, it depresses me because I know it could be so much better with a simplified streamlined rules system.

    • TenDM

      I think Age of Sigmar style ‘2+ to Wound’ stats would really benefit Apocalypse style games. I’m not a big fan of the way Age of Sigmar handles initiative in combat but the Assault Phase is easily the biggest anchor in 40k. I’d gladly take a whacky initiative order if it meant getting an Apocalypse sized Assault Phase done in under an hour.

  • Dan Wilson

    A significant change will be imitating the aos warscrolls. All dataslates have any specific special rules for the unit on them. Terrain pieces also have their own dataslates with their special effects listed on them. This alone would cut off a good 20% of the fat that needs trimming.

    • Karru

      Well, it would just do AoS and not actually reduce fat. It would do the opposite and just increase it but they just split it across multiple different places under different names so people don’t realise it. Many units and weapons have extremely similar rules but AoS just gives them fancy names under all unit entries.

      I do agree that 40k would benefit greatly from Keywords. The Warscrolls aren’t exactly new, they already do that in 40k. All unit specific special rules are in their respective dataslates, their weapons are just generalised in the Armoury section and their special rules are in the rulebook or the codex.

      • TenDM

        I think it makes the fat a bit more manageable when you can just add and remove dataslates instead of flipping around a rulebook. I print my own and it makes life a lot easier. If the dataslate has all the rules written in their entirety there’s no need for them to share rules between dataslates.
        So I’d agree that it doesn’t exactly get rid of 20% of the fat, but I think it makes at least 20% of the fat much easier to manage.

        Trust me, next time you play with an army you’re not entirely familiar with print out some dataslates with the full rules for each unit. It’s so much easier to line them up on a bench than it is to constantly flip through multiple rulebooks.

  • This 4 ways to play isn’t very exciting. I hope GW does better than that. In a way I kinda wish 40K would just adopt the AoS rules.
    I just started AoS last year right as the Generals Handbook came out. But points were not a factor for deciding to play. I’m looking forward to using my Orks in 40K open play.
    We tried it once Orks V Tau no points. Our armies weren’t that far off each other in points and the Orks even won the game. So it can be done.
    If the new this is as described in the article. I’ll be tempted to skip it and play more AoS for an edition. Or just keep doing what I’m already doing with 7th. I don’t really see the point or the reason for a book(rules?) or what ever it is, from the article, if 8th edition is just a patch for 7th edition. I suppose I’m not the target audience.

    • Karru

      But here’s the question, if 40k is made AoS in space then what is the reason to play AoS or 40k if you already play one? People don’t realise that it would be one of the most dumb things to do if they made the games so similar to each other that there is no point in playing one over the other outside models.

      They already did that “mistake” with Fantasy turning into AoS. For example, I personally don’t see a reason to start AoS over 40k currently as the games are very similar in style. Movement, how units behave and so on. Fantasy would have offered me completely different style of playing while still feeling very familiar. That was one of the “magical” aspects of Fantasy and 40k. They were very similar but had a massive difference to give a reason to play both. If 40k turned into AoS, I would just quit the game completely in terms of playing it. The biggest reasons why I don’t like AoS coming over to 40k will remove all my interest for it. I’ll most likely still buy models and make armies for earlier versions of the game, but I won’t be nearly as active as I currently am.

      The problem will always be the scale. 40k suffers from very similar problems as did Fantasy and I sincerely hope that GW realises this before it’s too late. Fantasy 8th edition was scaled way too high. Cavalry, Monsters and low rank units were made obsolete. Large Infantry Formations and Magic dominated the game. A player with the money to buy Large Infantry Formations had the advantage over the other who bought small elite units.

      40k is currently in a similar situation. They are bringing in formations that encourage spamming minimal units in large numbers and give away free stuff so you buy more stuff. Then you have all the super cheap Super Heavies and Gargantuans running around in high numbers. 40k at a beginner level is already quite expensive and the deal breaker is when you reach the “standard” level of 1500-1850pts. This is where the problems start as people who don’t either have the money or more likely the interest to spam same units over and over again while purchasing multiple Super Heavies or Gargantuans so they have a fighting chance. They just give up and move on to games like X-wing or Warmachine where the “standard” has a nice balance for all armies and doesn’t require spam in order to have a fighting chance.

      • SupPupPup

        What if they both shared the same basic ruleset.

        Wouldn’t that help players transition from game to game?

        • Karru

          The problem is encouraging others to play it with you. For example, my group plays primarily 40k. Getting them to start new games is difficult but not impossible as long as the game offers something new. I got them to start WarmaHordes, Flames of War and Infinity because of this.

          Trying to convince them to start AoS after 40k changes is like convincing them to start another army for 40k. The games are just so similar that it doesn’t matter. They’d much rather spent their time and money increasing the size of their current armies than start another one from scratch.

          That is the core of the issue. A new player might try out one of the games, realise that he likes the other game’s looks more so he switches over to that with “minimal” losses. Old player just looks at it, realises its basically the same game but with completely different models. Then he starts to think how much would he be able to play it with his current group. Will there be enough players to justify spending hundreds of € just to play against a single opponent? Should he just spend it on expanding his old armies since there is barely any difference?

          • SupPupPup

            While I can see this being a problem for the veteran players, do you think that’s a problem inherent with the large investment needed for a 40k army compared to an AoS force.

            Increasing your spacemarine army is a lot more cost effective and enjoyable that having to put down 200 quid and many man hours to create a fun dark eldar army.

            If 40k was to change to a more AoS style, it may encourage players to buy several small forces and experience different play styles for a relatively low investment.

          • Karru

            40k already does that so some extend, the problem here originally was to make them different enough to start playing. Everyone and their grandmothers know that Veteran players are the main source of income for gaming companies. New players aren’t the ones that purchase collector’s editions, all the newest products and large quantities of models at once.

            It would be much more profitable to make two different games than two similar games. If the two games were different enough, veterans would be more interested in making armies for both. When they have armies for both, they promote it to get more people into the game. This increases popularity and thus sales.

            If 40k is made into AoS, most groups will most likely fall in to one or the other. If you have interest in the other game, you’ll most likely struggle to get a game on.

            The following is based on personal experience:

            I play 40k mostly. I do have a small German and Allied force for Flames of War, PanOceania force for Infinity and Khador army for Warmachine. On top of that I used to have a medium sized Fantasy army. I own 1 large and 3 medium sized 40k armies with plans to start even more as I “finish” those armies. I have no AoS armies planned, because I know I won’t have anyone to play it with. That and I don’t like they system, the style of new minis and the army I’d like to play has no Core units for sale any more.

            If 40k turns AoS, I’ll continue to buy models and increase my army sizes as long as it is possible. I can still play old versions of 40k even if I don’t like the current one. I won’t be an active promoter of it as I don’t like the game any more. Of course, I won’t turn into a bitter whiner that hates on anyone who likes it like so many Fantasy players did to AoS players.

            Many of my friends already increase their armies on a very slow pace and have no interest in starting new armies at all. If the system changes, it’s quite likely that they’ll stop completely until the game is either returned to what they enjoyed the most, 5th edition, or GW does something that will be similar to those times. Until then, they’ll rather finish what they already have and then spend their money on something else.

            If 40k turns into more AoS style, it will lead to one game dominating over the other in gaming groups. If you are an AoS player that joins a 40k heavy group, you’ll most likely have to change to 40k if you want to play at all. Same thing happens the other way. That’s the core of the issue. If the games are extremely similar, majority of people will only spend money on one game. Even if it is multiple small armies, it is more likely that they start it from a game that is played most by their group. This leads to lack of choice in terms of what games are available to play in different groups.

          • SupPupPup

            Having talked to some of the marketing guys at GW when I worked there, they seem to believe that while veteran players are important, its the newer adopters that are more willing to put more money down and so, most product is pushed to that demographic.

            Veterans build communities and can create good gaming environments, but there is a limit to the amount they purchase.

            There are a smaller amount of them (compared to new adopters) and they tend to know what they like, and buy only those kits.

            They are by nature less experimental, and tend to exist in their own bubbles (where change is seen as harmful to their hobby).

          • Karru

            It still doesn’t help that the games are so similar that there is no reason to play both at the same time outside looks. This still leads to people having to “choose” one based on their group. If the games were more “drastically” different, then it would be a lot easier to convince players to play both.

          • SupPupPup

            In your example, you argue that a player would not switch systems as the games basic rules would be too similar.

            I do not believe this argument holds up, as we can apply it to AoS now.

            Many players of AoS run multiple armies.

            These players switch to different armies, even though they all use the same base ruleset. We also see this in 40k to a lesser extent.

            having the same ruleset with free rules enables easier transitions, and does not prevent switching armies.

            Could I ask, whether you play only one 40k army or do you play multiple forces. Does the same base ruleset encourage you to play multiple races, or dissuade you?

          • Karru

            I already said I play multiple armies. I play Guard, Eldar, Space Marines and Orks. I used to play Chaos Space Marines, but I left that project long ago before Traitor Legions came and I’ve been making plans. I also currently have plans to make a Tau army and a GSC army.

            My friends did the same long ago. They started multiple armies for 40k. The point is that I have no intentions of starting AoS because of this. I’d much rather start my 5th 40k army instead of starting AoS since that game offers me very little for the price I’d have to pay to play it. I started a Fantasy army long ago because it was different.

          • SupPupPup

            I was originally arguing that there may be benefits for having the same base ruleset for both 40k and AoS.

            As they are quite different now (though both being largish skirmish games)

            So, if you would kindly answer, whether the similar base rules made the transition between imperial guard to Eldar more enjoyable, or whether you did not want to transition as they used the same base rules.

          • Karru

            As long as its AoS that changes to 40k levels, then I’d be okay. Being reduced to grey goo with tiny dots of colouring isn’t exactly my idea of fun game.

          • SupPupPup

            Yes, I think AoS needs a bit more refinement, and 40k needs a bit of trimming.

            I really believe there to be a sweet spot between the two systems. Hopefully a living, evolving ruleset will help this.

          • It occurs to me that GW has said they are a model company not a rules company. Having just one set of rules for “Warhammer” would fit with that statement.

          • luke snell

            I don’t know, i think there is a definite difference in feel between the rule sets. Just based on how the rules are presented alone gives a differing feel of it. Aside from the settings of the fluff and differing units, well you get two somewhat unique games.
            I was a 40K guy my entire hobby life until AoS came along. As much as I still love the fluff and setting of the grimdark I have absolutely no desire to play the game where it is presently. Sigmar hasn’t been the perfect package for me and has only invigorated my interest in the hobby.
            I hope they reasonably clean up the 40K system (no, not wiping it out like WFB) cause I miss being excited about it!

        • If my friend could play his Space Wolves in AoS I’m sure he’d be doing that. He played either Elves or Dwarfs over the years but doesn’t like the models currently so he won’t mess with AoS.

      • No one I play with does anything you describe.
        I own 5 stompas. I hardly use one in any game I play. I don’t follow what other armies get from their formations, My own formations give me nothing for free in to form of models. And are full of units that are costed badly. My groups minimum game size has been between 2500 and 5000 points depending on who’s playing.
        An AoS rules set for 40K would encourage me to play smaller games. It would be New to me and a reason to try to get to the game shop and play new people. Right now I don’t play 40K outside of my group. The worst things my opponents are going to bring are 2 squads of Dark furies or what ever is in the TAU army, I don’t even know what half of that stuff is called or what it does. My Friend just says he’s rolling for this, that or what ever and I take him at his word for it.
        In an AoS format with “War scrolls” I’d have easy access to what his units do and what they are. It might even remember their names.
        WFB and 40K used to be very close in rules. I’ve heard of Space Marines vs what ever fantasy army, don’t recall, but the game came down to one Techmarine with a power field and a Rapiear laser destroyer, winning the game. So in a way the up side is all GW’s models become compatible. Which would mean I could Add my Bone Splittaz to my Ork army with out causing too many rules issues.
        More importantly I think, new players would be able to play each other regardless of which mini’s they like to buy. Making it easier for new players to join in. I wouldn’t at all put it past GW to organize boxed set leagues for the young bloods.

        • Karru

          This is your group. Also, you said that you only play with your own group. I introduce the game to many young people in conventions and it becomes pretty difficult to convince them, or their parents, to pick up the game when behind be is a 1850pts game going on with 500+€ army on the table.

          The problem is the scale that GW is enforcing. They are reducing price of units and increasing the amount of upgrades available. This leads to larger and larger armies which leads to entry point getting more and more expensive. This is what the problem is. What AoS does is have a scaling model. All units are relatively expensive in terms of points. 100-200pts per unit of 5-10 guys usually. In 40k, for that price would buy you 10-30 models, upgrades and a transport for them.

          GW has to fix their point pricing, ie make things more expensive, make army building more “restrictive” and less spam focused. This is how you get new people into the game. When they realise that all they have to do is buy maybe 200€ worth of stuff to play the game on the “standard” level and have a good chance at winning with enough skill, you might just have yourself another loyal customer.

          • Yes, that is a problem. to my understanding 1850 is the “new” 2000 points.
            Locally to me we have a game club that runs a AoS league. Games are played at 1000 points or more if both players want. But the 1000 point minimum was what got me to start AoS. It was easy to buy that I have spent maybe $250.00 USD. And have more that 1000 points. I may have spent slightly more, books and mini’s. But the entry level made AoS approachable for me. Most of the shops I’ve been to over the years have run slow grow leagues or the like to get new players involved.
            More shops and clubs should do this if getting new players is important.

          • Karru

            All that is thanks to an outside source that did the point costs and GW just doing slight modifications to it. If GW made basic 40k units cost around 200pts and their Transports cost around 50pts, you’d suddenly see a similar phenomenon. If I could make a realistic army with around 200€ that was 1000+pts, promoting it would be extremely easy. In its current form, buying 1000+pts army for 200€ would include so many bad units that are expensive in terms of points. This leads to very bad army list that will get rolled over by a standard army.

          • Sure. And my answer is group games. Like the big game from Games Day. It’s all about engagement and keeping this hobby exciting.
            The noobs that decide it’s for them will stay.
            This could be done with league comp.

          • Karru

            It seems you have no idea how to draw in new people and keep them in the game long enough for them to find out if they actually enjoy it. If the only way for them to get the actual feel of the game is to spend hundreds upon hundreds of your local currency, vast majority will not even have a go. If the game is around 200€ to get the “full experience” then it is more likely that they’ll pick it up.

            200€ for a standard army is not bad. Then they can start to add to that and play a bit larger games if they feel like the game is suited for them. It’s a matter of pulling as many people into the hobby as possible. That’s how you make a game popular. That is why AoS is doing so well, the scaling is on point. It requires very little to get the full experience for the game. This was the case with 5th edition when I started it. My Space Marine army was just 2 Battleforces, the codex and a few random models I had before. For around 200€-250€ I was able to build almost 2000pts army. That army has worked wonders for me to this day. That’s not possible any more, if I now copied the exact shopping list and substituted missing products, like the battleforces, with the cheapest possible product, that army would be around 300+€ and maybe 1000-1500pts.

          • I wouldn’t know anything about that regarding 5th edition Space Marines.
            I do know that the shop I went to at the time was doing a slow Grow league
            starting armies at 500 points for the first month or so.
            Scaling is important. I’m not disagreeing with that.
            If anything it seems more like a good reason for 40K to go the rout of AoS.

          • Karru

            All it needs is to reduce spam encouragement. AoS doesn’t encourage this for two reasons. First is the fact that it really is somewhat impossible and the other is combos that you can pull off with different units. 40k offers multiple different ways to spam and even encourages it. All they have to do is reduce formation benefits, restrict army construction and increase point costs across the board. I have listed my proposed changes multiple times, all of which keep 40k as 40k but way more balanced and fun than it is currently. No need to go full AoS.

          • I don’t know what you consider spam.
            I run Ork boys. I can fit 240 of them in an 1850 list. does that fall under spam?

          • Karru

            Technically that is spam, yes. What I mean when I say spam is the following:

            Double Demi-company with minimal units to get 300-500pts worth of free transports

            Taking multiple CADs in order to take a lot of strongest units in the book. For example, Eldar taking Farseers and Jetbikes in small numbers in order to bring Wraithknights and Warp Spiders in larger numbers than would be normally possible in a single CAD. Guard players taking Company Command Squads and Veterans in order to spam singular Tanks in large numbers.

            These are just some examples. There are no rules that limit those. Nothing says that you can’t take those against an opponent that can’t deal with them because he didn’t spend as much as you did into the game.

          • I understand what you mean. Those are things my Orks do to at least have a good showing. So, I don’t think it’s an issue. Actually it is an issue but I think it has a lot more to do with the every codex more than the rules of 40K.
            I try to build lists that play to my strengths and are what I would consider cost effective. However, this goes right back to that gentlemen agreement. I won’t do that in such a way as to ruin a game.
            fighting a Double Demi would be a cake walk.
            But I’d struggle against the min maxed Eldar unless I could out score them. Which is doubtful.
            But this is more or less the same as it’s always been. I play 6 troops because I see them as my strongest units you play 3 elites from your codex the same reason. Having so many ways to build my army this edition has been a reason for me not to just pack it in. The last codex was junk and this ones hardly better but I collect Orks so I just have to deal with it. As far as New players go. I guess it’s just a bad time to be the new player. Maybe GW could overcome this by more snap fit models available. A Starter box for the rules and mini’s but change out the non Space Marine faction over 3 or 4 boxes. They’d still have to sort out their points costs over all.
            The flat costs are one of the things I like about AoS points costs. I like not being able to buy individual models for a unit.

        • ZeeLobby

          That point range seems really high to me. The average point range across most areas probably follows the tournament scene, so I’m assuming 1500-1850.

          • We don’t get to play weekly so we go large every time.

          • ZeeLobby

            Makes sense. We usually play big games when we go through droughts. Lately we’ve been replacing one large all night game with multiple small ones. Half the time we’d just end up with a half finished game if it was too large, especially when drinks and background movies were involved, hehe.

          • The last game was 7000 points. I drove 2 hours to get there. I think the game lasted 9 or 10 hours. Very nearly killed Corax. He just wouldn’t die. One of my Friends drives down to my house every now and then we did play a few 1850 point games which was fun. Usually these guys just want to get all them models on the table. Most every game is scheduled a week or two ahead of time.

  • ZeeLobby

    Def going to be Captains or Commanders Handbook.

    • SupPupPup

      The Commissars handbook!

      • ZeeLobby

        Haha. Definitely. I figured it has to be somewhat generic though. Can be applied to all armies. But if they go with GH again it’ll be disappointing. The Captains Dataslate? Haha. Commander’s Primer.

        • SupPupPup

          I’d love it was written as communist style guide book for commissars. little illustrations telling about great battles, and how to reenact them, or how to discipline your soldiers with a bullet to the head.

          • ZeeLobby

            Dang. That does sound cool…

  • quaade

    If they call it “mainstream” it would imply “this is the proper way to play.”

    • TenDM

      Yeah, at that point you just call it Standard Play.

  • Adrien Fowl

    It’s pretty fun to read some of your impressions about what is to come, although we still do not know anything “for sure”, so to speak.

    I any case, I couldn’t be more expectant to know something “real or close to semi-real” about a new edition of 40K. It is obvious that the General’s Handbook has been such a success that nobody would think GW will not look at it when it comes down to a new edition.

    You know that a new edition of the General’s Handbook is being worked on, so I just hope they do something like that for our lovely gothic sci-fi game. It would drive me back into the game after so many years without any real interest in playing it.

  • Raven Jax

    To the commentors saying 40K needs narrative play: If you want narrative play in 40K….start playing narrative play in 40K. Most of the codexes and campaign books have scenarios and special missions printed in them. Or you can create your own. Use your imagination, like a D&D campaign or something.

    I like the idea of Open Play in addition to a style of play with points. It was my experience that having solely Open Play when it first came out actually drove some people away from AoS.

    Sure you could use whatever models you liked, but it was exceedingly difficult to balance each side to have a fair game. Most games of AoS I saw when it first started resulted in one side getting absolutely crushed. That’s not fun for anyone. In theory it was a good idea. In practice it usually meant people having to figure out how to balance their own games. New players often aren’t going to take the time to do that.

    I saw a new player buy a unit that he really liked. He then got creamed in three straight games (despite his opponent trying really hard to make sure each side was even). The kid got mad, thought the store manager had sold him a bad unit just to push sales, and walked out the door. I haven’t seen him since.

    • Nyyppä

      Well, I disagree with the AoS open play balance issues in general. One must remember that people in general are stu…shortsighted enough to think that codices are close enough in power level that they alone and maybe agreeing to play casual/competitive/what ever type of game balances the game. It does not, not by a long shot. Without points people who understand the game can at least find some sort of balance good enough for the game to be played. It’s not perfect, it’s tedious at best, but it still leads to better balance than 40k points do.

      Other than that I agree with everything you brought up.

  • Shawn

    Well said Stormcaller. It would be great on so many levels, if GW purposely stated four different ways to play in the new rule book.

  • Xodis

    Agree there should be multiple types of play supported, if GW gets some balancing factors in place it will probably happen naturally. One thing we need is a set point “standard” that way most games can be based off of that number and adjust accordingly. Also would help balance because if all armies are balanced at a 1750 point cost, it wont be such a hard pill to swallow when Orcs and bugs dominate in kill team and Eldar and TAU dominate in apoc.

  • Admiral Raptor

    Just take the AoS general”s handbook, stick an Ultramarine on the cover and you’re done.

  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    Two points and a comment.

    1 – It’s Vedros, not Vendros.
    2 – Kill Team is 200 points, not 500. Combat Patrol is usually 400 points, not 750.

    But overall and in general, I completely agree. The basic rules can be explained easily in a Kill Team setting. They can add vehicles and stuff at the Combat Patrol level. At the “regular 40K” level they can include Warlords and special deployment options. This is a really good way to stair-step people into really large battles, without overwhelming them with all the details of the game at once.

    This division of rules would also fit much better into the “three hardback books in a slipcover” set that they put out in 7th edition.

  • David Leimbach

    After the success of AoS, GW may follow the same plan for 40k.
    Step1: lengthy “end times” where everybody dies.
    Step2: release new setting built on the corpse of the old, yet destroying and shred of story anyone loved from the old.
    Step3: remove points values and only release narrative play: this is to clear the shops of all the old players who take up valuable table space with their dusty old armies from 1998
    Step4: update the aesthetic to appeal to younger players and also importantly put off older players from coming back (get out fogies!)
    Step5: Release all brand new armies while saying you can still use your old modesl if you want
    Step6: Reintroduce points values to make the narrative players feel like they’re playing a strategic game and grudgingly bring back any old players that at his point will play anything remotely resembling the game they used to love (of course they’ll need to buy new armies to get back in).

    Ta da!

    • Donald Lindsey

      It just “gets your goat” that it worked…and that Sigmar is healthier than fantasy ever was.

  • Tothe

    “You are throwing 60 dice at a time.”

    You mean like a full standard Shoota Boyz squad?

  • TenDM

    I’ve been saying this for a long time, although I would use both a Game Mode and Game Size option. Game Modes: Unbound, Standard and Tournament. Tournament would just be Standard with a downloadable restriction list that knocks out things like Allied Detachments, Formations outside of Detachments, non-Codex Formations and specific units/Formations that over perform. It would also recost certain units/upgrades. Game Size: Kill Team, Skirmish and Apocalypse. I don’t think there’s much need to bridge the gap, people can just decide if they’re playing Kill Team or Skirmish and bend the rules until they fit.

    However I think the real key is Missions. I’ve said it before but Missions are a gold mine. They can be given out like candy without breaking the game at all. Give the core rulebook three Mission tables for each Game Size, one fun one and two balanced ones. From there out every standalone game, every novel, every issue of White Dwarf and every Codex can come with Missions. I’d give every Codex two tables of Missions. A fluff one and a ‘balanced’ one.
    The brilliant part is that these are usable by the entire player base. If White Dwarf does a Genestealer Cults issue they can put in a themed Mission, but everyone can use it. Even if you only use the Missions once that’s still a reasonable amount of new content for everybody on a pretty regular basis. When we get bored we can shake things up with some Eldar Missions instead of the standard Missions we normally play.

  • Hans Chung-Otterson

    “We don’t need them to tell us in a rulebook what narrative gaming is”

    I’m new to 40k and minis games in general. How the hell else am I going to learn what the baseline of play is except from the official rulebook? It damn well better have rules for narrative gaming.

    By calling it a “mature system”, all you mean is that a lot of people are already heavily invested. You can’t point a new release ONLY at the heavily invested players, unless you want a dying game.