The Fall of Cadia has some big hints for 40Ks new edition rules. Here’s where I think it’s going.
The new Fall of Cadia book has come out and the leaks I saw last week as I wrote this article gave me some ideas on what we can expect in the new “edition” will get later this year. I think the new Detachments are a pretty big example of how 40k will look at building armies as it feels very much like Age of Sigmar – but with a 40k twist to the units and choices available. I think overall it can be a good thing if we have GW look at it as a way to balance some of the inherent combos and do small tweaks to ensure the game are not dominated by specific builds and army types. Currently AOS has a pretty healthy set of armylists and I expect it to continue to be healthy with the rumored yearly General Handbook refreshes and a the companies push to invest and build the competitive scene.
Army Construction is a Hot Mess
The first thing 40k needs is a streamlined way to build army lists. Currently it is just a hot mess. You have codexes, supplements, White Dwarves, and digital releases clogging the table top. These take a ton of books to even play correctly. Heck you even have issues with 3rd party army builders as well as a buddy had to play against a Knight army that took a fortification because the digital army builder said it could. These are the things we don’t need because it already makes a complicated game even harder. With AOS and its streamlined army building set up based on Allicances, free rules, and the ability to purchase formation rules quickly makes for a much easier game to handle.
How many times have you felt that your opponents army list felt off? Where was this hidden detachment/rule and why can’t you get it? These types of things are causing this game that works overall to become way to bloated. It becomes a chore to try and remember all the pieces that create a “good” list. I don’t want a complete blow up and change of the game system – but we need something to help clean up the army building process.
Imagine if we had the 3 Alliances to rule over the armies with multiple Factions within each Alliance. Each Faction would have a set of rules they got if the army was only comprised of that Faction – thus eliminating some of the death star nature as some of their rules wouldn’t work if you took other factions to augment it. You would have Alliance based rules as well – like how the new Cadia factions have extra rules that while not completely broken – do make the army a bit better. Each unit would have a list of Keywords to help create the Factions. Think about how a Space Marine could just have the set of Keywords – Imperium, Mortal, Adeptus Astartes. You pick a Faction and they gain X Faction keywords and abilities. Think about how much the rules could get knocked down when you just have rules for a Tactical Squad instead of Blood Angels Tactical Squad. I think these small reshuffles would do wonders to help remove some bloat, lock in some rules, and let you create a full “rulebook” that isn’t just you trying to find 10 different rules in 5 supplements.
Special Rules & Characters
From there we need to seriously look at how rules are passed onto units. I think there needs to be a big change in how things like Scout, Infiltrate, Hit and Run, Shrouding, etc all get added when combining a unit. There is no way will see the shift in Characters AOS has over what 40k does. The Independent Character is most likely staying around as there are too many and it is too locked into the current game play. Heroes need to leave from units and having them walk around separately doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it also doesn’t make a ton of sense to have one guy grant a plethora of rules to a unit that wasn’t designed to use them. These sort of things need to be looked at and evaluated. Of course if IC’s could only join up with their own Faction a lot of this will be moot as it isn’t nearly the issue anymore.
Simplify Simplify Simplify
I think once they settle how to build armies the next thing to look at is ways to simplify the game. Movement is extremely easy in AOS – terrain is ignored and mostly a benefit if you are within it wholly when attacked. There are some interesting interactions with mysterious terrain and the rules feel actually fun instead of a chore like it could be in 40k. I don’t think we need a wholesale removal of the charts and abilities – but some ways to clean it up would be a heck of a lot better. If you ran in the movement phase – while hurtful to how the Eldar worked – it would help make the game move faster. There are too many armies that utilize all the phases of the game to move, jump, and slash your opponent to death. This is an area that could be easily cut down, reworked, and made faster.
I think some of the random nature of army development needs to be looked too. A simplification of the Warlord traits, abilities to pick options instead of having to roll, and even locked in psychic powers will help a lot. The players would have a better set up on how to get their armies to work as well as the opponent would know what to expect a lot more. Gone would be the games where you rolled the perfect psychic combo and crushed your enemy or didn’t get anything good and felt like your army couldn’t do anything. I know a lot of armies would have to be completely reworked (Daemons) but if we are looking at wholesale move to free rules it wouldn’t be out of the question. It really depends on how much GW wants to but in work and if they feel the benefits they gained by the freemium of AOS is worth a rework/refresh of their flagship game.
Hey don’t blame it on me – I’ve only been good for a few months…
There needs to something else to help deal with some of the inherent too hard to kill options in the game. I like the Rending mechanic in AOS as it feels like with a bit of Rending you can kill anything. It becomes a bit complicated but you can look at the basic Bolter and start that at Rending -1 and go from there. After that I really do think we need the Mortal wound aspect to come back. It shouldn’t be like D where a 6 causes instead explosions but it should be something that would just say – stop all your rolls and rerolls and take a wound you jerk. This little thing would mean investing in a big unit who can easily get torn apart by massed Mortal wounds would be a thing. It is one of those simple rules that helps speed up the game (no need for further rolls once the mortal wound is caused) and lets armies deal with rough enemy units.
The psychic phases and assault phases are other things that feel off with this current edition. Every edition of 40k attempts to tweak these phases. You either have phases that are too powerful (Rhino Rush and assaults moving from unit to unit) or have issues with interactions that feel worthless (Psychic armies vs non psychic armies). I am not sure the proper way to fix this as while I do like the AOS system – it still needs some work. There needs to be some way to let both players feel like they are interacting. It is one thing to give too much counter power to an your opponent but they also do not need feel like they are left to the whims of your dice rolls.
One day I’m gonna be badass… one day.
The assault phase is also needed some kind of refresh. The back and forth interaction of AOS is awesome for that game – but I don’t think it works in 40k. I do like the nature of “engaging” enemies and pulling them in but with AOS’s rule of allowing firing into combats it makes it the shooting galleries that is 40k to strong. There was a lot of tactics involved in locking and keeping your opponents offensive might held down. A mixture of sorts might be needed but it is very hard to get something working. There should never be a system set up where an assault unit can hope from unit to unit in an assault phase and leave your opponent wondering how they can have any hope to get out of this chain of murder.
I think as a whole 40k is ok – it just needs some serious pregame work to get flowing right. It feels like they gave us a way to complicated tool box to try and develop our own games and stories with. A bit of structure, some reworked ideas, and an idea of movement towards balance will do wonders for the game.
~What do you think 40K could learn from Age of Sigmar?