40K 8th: Game Length & 3 Ways to Play

Here’s the latest on 40K 8th Edition. It’s all starting to come out now.

GW has confirmed the following 3 modes of play for Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition.

I sense a familiar feeling…

Open Play – Bring whatever you want and get fighting.

Narrative Play – Craft a story, bring what makes sense and forge the narrative.

Matched Play – Balanced points, and competitive play. Bring your game face and throw down!


Sound familiar you Grimdark players?

That’s because that matches exactly what the Age of Sigmar’s General’s Handbook has.


Gameplay Timeframes

It looks like GW is also trying to speed up 8th Edition. From both the recent article and their review video they dropped these two datapoints:

  • 1500 pt game is designed to take 90 minutes.
  • 1000-2000 pt game should clock in at 2 hours.

I’m all for anything that will get me playing more games in the same time.

~More as it comes in.

  • Thomas

    N O N

    C O N T E N T

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      B O L S

    • Lumanil

      B O C K W U R S T

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        B L O C K C A P S

        D O U B L E S P A C E D

        • Parthis

          L O U D

          N O I S E S

          • Jabberwokk

            W O R D S
            O N
            Y O U R
            S C R E E N
            R E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E

    • piglette

      I L I K E T U R T L E S

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        M E T O O B U T T O R T O I S E S A R E C R U N C H I E R

  • Chris Wolfe

    I feel like Admiral Ackbar, as the second Deathstar exploded, falling back into his seat. So many long, terrible years done. Finally. We made it. Maybe we’re not going back to the Old Republic, but the Empire has been destroyed. Now we can rebuilt.

    • Ronin

      I love how you mentioned death stars because that’s exactly what’s happening to them. XD I’m playing a small fiddle for anyone who bought 40 fenrisian wolves and Azrael and thought those shenanigans would last.

      • TenDM

        There will always be new shenanigans but under the new framework they’re laying out those shenanigans won’t dominate for anywhere near as long.

      • Charon

        Not like the same is not hapening in AOS too.
        But there is is ok as you have the illusion that you can fight it
        What really happens is stacking synergies into one big blob and asking the enemy to dare to attack it while it rolls over the field.

        • Parthis

          There’s a fundamental difference in AoS though; those synergies are designed in, and intentional, typically have a weakness and come from a single model that can, with effort, be dropped.

          40K’s Deathstars exist outside of design intent. They exist in the gaps between the rules, and not the rules themselves.

          • Charon

            See… and this is not true.
            I would agree if this was only superfriends. But it is not.

            3 examples of one source and one unit that were designed that way.
            You can not say “Yeah we created this unit of psykers and there psi powers push them further but we never intended that people actually field them”.

            The only difference to AoS here is attitude. The WAAC seer star player suddenly becomes a good player that uses synergies well.

          • Parthis

            Sorry, but you’re missing my point; It doesn’t have to be super-friends, simply multiple units combining together into a larger unit and stacking rules. The number of sources is irrelevant, and not something I mentioned.

            AoS’s fundamental design choices remove that element of building a Deathstar. AoS says clearly; there is synergy, it can be strong, but it can also be dismantled, because it’s X units working together as opposed to X units combining to be one.

    • Matthew

      It’s a trap!

    • Ravingbantha

      Yeah, he thought the fight was over, but we all know that didn’t last long. Everyone is talking about how life is going to be rainbows and sunshine because 8th edition is on the way. But it’s all an illusion.

      • grim

        so negative.

        • Ravingbantha

          It’s not negative, just realistic. Just because one chapter ended on an upswing, that doesn’t mean crap didn’t hit the fan 2 chapters later.

          • grim

            No it is negative. Part of me wishes GW gave you all the finger and said we are not a gaming company we’re a miniatures company and left you all with some new supplement ( that you will still buy ) and the worst edition ever created by them.

            But instead they are being proactive ( possibly for the first time ever ) and so should we.

    • euansmith

      Lets hope 8th doesn’t turn out to be the First Order 😉

      • Shawn

        Not to worry, the Iron Hands will have their Rogue One to handle any situation!

  • Matthew Hoag

    The sad part is that most players will be so lacking in either creativity or a sense of fair play to even attempt Open or Narrative play.

    • Ronin

      *Signs up for narrative*

    • ZeeLobby

      I just have a busy life and enjoy fast and close games of 40K. Does that make me a cheating dullard?

      • Matthew Pomeroy

        depends on if you beat my army or not 😛

        • ZeeLobby

          LoL. Touche.

          • Matthew Pomeroy

            what?? its legit 😀

      • NightLord_001

        you sound like my friends and me before we got into Warmachine

        • ZeeLobby

          Haha. That’s what we play now. That, Frostgrave and other stuff. It’s great when we can write lists in our spare time, and just show up and play. I always thought the whole mentality of having a half hour pregame discussion to balance was crazy. That said, we do occasionally do big narrative games, but only like once every couple months.

          • Parthis

            The thing about Malifaux is not that it’s balanced, it’s that everything is so filthy-broken everything feels on par. It’s mad how Faux keeps that feeling of fairness.

        • Lumanil

          Malifaux is great too.

    • Xodis

      I dont think that will hold true. Having the options at your fingertips will go a long way towards pushing those types of games instead of the long conversations and rough outline we previously had to go through. Then we will still have campaign books like Black Crusade and Shield of Baal to give us narrative (and balanced) games that are super easy to set up.

    • TenDM

      I’m quick to give GW crap for their lack of balance, but I have to admit they’re probably better at it than me.

      • ZeeLobby

        I hope so. Why they haven’t rebalanced points in their history as a game company is inexcusable though. Hopefully 8th will change that. Some units would have been fine with a simple point reduction or increase.

    • Baldrick

      Narrative play with 1500 points………plus FoC……

    • Karru

      Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t have the time or interest for it? Maybe some people would rather play a quick game of 40k after work or school during the limited time they have?

      The problem with Open and Narrative games comes from the time it takes to set them up. First you have to get both parties on the same level, then you have to come up with the narrative and from there you come up with the armies. It’s comparable to an RPG session to certain extend. That’s why a good portion of people don’t “bother” with it. It’s much faster and efficient to just go “hey, wanna play 1500pts game of 40k tonight?” than it is to arrange an near hour long discussion on the narrative and rules in play. It’s not a matter of creativity or “lack of sense of fair play” when it comes to these things.

      • crumbreaper

        our group goes for this approach, simple discussion on how many points and then it’s up to each individual if they use the FOC or detachments etc etc – works a charm for us lot…….

        • Nyyppä

          Works until one of you brings a good list against a fluffy list. After that it stops working.

        • Karru

          That’s partially how we do it in our group. We usually agree on points and both players announce ahead of time if they are planning on bringing something “big” to the table. Super Heavies, Gargantuans and so on. We also go so far as to announce if we are planning on bringing things like Flyers to the game so both sides can prepare accordingly.

      • Lumanil

        I’d say you are doing it wrong. Open or narrative games shoulg go faster than matched.
        “Wanna play Starship troopers ?”
        “So I’ll bring two marine squats and you bring all hormagaunts + termagaunts you have. If one marines lives on turn 3, i’ll win.”
        “Great. Ready to go.”

        • Karru

          Sure, if you go with something that small. I personally like to play with larger armies, around 2000pts in matched play, which requires a bit more “pre-game” discussion than that if I wanted to go with a narrative or open play game.

    • jack boland

      Wrong, many players love that, its called 30k

    • Nyyppä

      What you think islacking creativity and sense of fair play is in actual real world called a player wanting to have a fair match.

    • NNextremNN

      I think matched is easier to agree upon. While open and narrative needs a lot of planning, discussing and need knowledge new players might not have. Or one side agrees on something that puts him in a disadvantage because he does not know it. Sure this does not mean that matched is/will be fair but it at least makes it more dependent on the rules instead of individual player knowledge.

      • SIA

        Actually I remember reading in the posted topic about what they discussed in the qa that narrative play would have points values for the units but you could take any upgrades and number of models within that units size for free. IE a guardsmen squad would be worth 100 points regardless of if it was 5 guys with lasguns or 10 guys with a plasma gunner and a lascannon team. So it would be general balanced forces if you agreed on a points value for the game.

        • NNextremNN

          Nice 9 fully equipped crisis suites with 18 drones for the price of 1 unequipped one. I know I’m exaggerating your example but I think I prefer matched any narrative can still be added. No one forces you to play equal point level or evenly balanced armies. You can still play the infantry army hiding in a fortress against the tank rush.

          I see no reason why open and narrative have to be specific “ways” to play. But I know little about AoS so I will wait and see how this turns out.

    • Anasa

      Well in order to encourage narrative play GW needs to support it by offering examples of narrative games and campaigns that are fun to play, sort of like RPG companies offer modules for DM:s. You could just say “Make up your own damn games” and leave it at that, but then most people would be pretty hesitant to give it a try, and stick to matched play.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        some of the REALLY old books had random scenario generators, would be cool if they made a comeback.

    • Hell-Nico

      Because “Open” is a joke that NOONE should ever play?

      And Narrative is nothing new and always existed in any TT, but very few play it.

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        Play open play a lot. Sometimes its fun to open a few beers and play some games without all the worry of competition.

        • Matt Razincka

          This. Sometimes you just wanna push around plastic soldiers and blow stuff up with no regard to winners and losers.

      • deris87

        >And Narrative is nothing new and always existed in any TT, but very few play it.

        It sounded to me as though they might have some more generic, themed scenarios with asymmetrical rules that you can then fluff out however you want. That sounds very interesting to me, and having a few generic missions as a starting point might very well bump up the number of players doing narrative games.

  • Keith Wilson


  • Baldrick

    My god I am living in hope that ths is the edition that gets me back into 40k….been gone since 6th Ed made its sad appearance……….

  • Nyyppä

    Actually only the first 2 point systems match GHB. The last one is current 40k style thing.

    • Hell-Nico

      Actually the first point is a joke, saying “no rule” isn’t a legit way to play, and the second is something that always existed in TT.

  • Honest Kairos

    Yay Narrative support!

  • Parthis

    BoLS are going to dine on these FAQs for weeks.

    150 words, reused images, and repeated points from your previous post is not good writing.

    Please Larry, you guys are better than this. Gotta chase that AdRev though, yeah?

  • m3g4tr0n

    My body is ready.

  • Shawn

    Amazing that some people actually have to be officially told in a rule book that you can play the game different from someone else! 😉 All snarkiness aside, the book does give some structure to those differing play styles and much appreciated. Open play is like Aos just bring the models you want. Narrative play has points, but their broad strokes. The point values are for units regardless of their load out and Matched play, is the way we kit out our units in 7th edition. However, the system still allows us to do whatever size army we want, aside form kill-team it seems, for whatever style we decide to use. In way, there are actually 4 ways to play.