40K Editorial: The “Tzeentch’s” Advocate

Kazzigum strides into the lion’s den and offers a cautionary position – Change is on the way. But is it good?

I’m sure that most of you have heard the news coming out of Adepticon from Games Workshop (GW) regarding the proposed changes to our beloved Warhammer 40,000 (40K).  If not, they re-posted the information on their Warhammer Community site and you can find the info HERE.  Now, the limited changes presented here promise big changes in the upcoming 8th edition.

My reading of the information and the way in which it is presented is that this article is that it is a limited feeler on GW’s part, a way to soften the blow if you will, and to ease the fanbase into the fact that very big changes are coming in this edition. Everything we just bought is about to be invalidated (also to divert our attention away from the fact that they are, indeed, gonna do what they said they were not gonna do, and AoS-ize 40k).  And yes, despite the way this presentation reads, very big changes are coming.

I’d argue that there is no way around it, as these changes alone will cause exponentially growing ripples of change that must be enacted on the rest of the ruleset.  And, the presentation is just permeated with what is left unsaid.

Now before I tackle the individual proposed changes, and offer up my opinion as to why they might not be so good after all, let’s begin with some full disclosures.  While I’m vaguely aware of the rules and own both the Grand Alliance Destruction book and General’s Handbook (I’m slowly readying my goblin hosts for battle once again), I’ve never actually played Age of Sigmar (AoS).  I intend to once my goblins are ready.  Nevertheless, I’m on record saying that I do not favor transferring 40k into a similar rule set.

I like how 40k has evolved over the years and I thought 7th edition was great before GW threw open the gates and dumped Apocalypse, formations, allies, etc. all over it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against AoS, and as I said, I even plan to play it.  The fact of the matter is that I haven’t played Fantasy since 6th edition, so it’s destruction didn’t bother me much (aside from many of the atrocious new names for races that GW’s draconian overlords have pushed on the design team).  I just didn’t want to see this dumbing down (my view) of 40k.

A “Typical” 7th Edition Game in 2017

So having said that, apparently AoS is a lot like 2nd edition 40k, because that’s what most of these changes harken back to in my mind.  To be honest, I’m not all that excited for these changes.  Now, I know that goes against the over-exuberance of many on the various online sites (including this one) for these changes, and apparent AoS-ization of 40k, but I can’t help but think that many of these changes are a giant step backwards to rules that I feel were best left in the past.

Thus, unlike many online, I was pretty much horrified by most of the changes I saw GW gleefully presenting to us.  Upon reflection, I’ve since softened my views (that’s why I didn’t immediately jump to the computer and write this), but I still find myself in uncharted territory.  I’m cautiously pessimistic instead of optimistic.  Normally, it’s my brother who’s the pessimistic one and I have to talk him off the limb.  In this case, our roles are reversed, and it just feels weird to me.

I had hoped they’d continue to evolve the current rule set, by making tweaks, take up some of the good things about the AoS game paradigm, adjust the current rule set some, but basically keep it the same and not invalidate everything out there.  Seems that is not to be and instead they will indeed be embracing the whole AoS paradigm (as much as possible, I realize there are just too many things that are different to completely do so).  Don’t get me wrong, there are some things I like about the AoS model — now.  But when it first rolled out, let’s face it, GW made a bunch of mistakes that blew up in their face.  No point values?  Ka-booly.

Fortunately, they’ve realized their mistakes — even admitted them to the fanbase — and made corrections.  I can deal with everything moved to individual datasheets that are provided free (which IS nice) online, as long as I can still buy a physical copy like most of us old-timers prefer (like my already-mention Grand Alliance Destruction book).  The fact that said book is FAR cheaper than a modern codex is very nice as well.  And I like the idea of General’s Handbook, especially if they really use it to update and adjust units/models/formations that are found to be clearly under/over-costed (I’m dubious that they will do so though).

The thing I just can’t seem to shake is that this is gonna be 2nd edition all over again.  Perhaps it’s ironic that Shadow Wars has just recently stormed onto the scene, as that game, built upon the foundations of Necromunda, basically IS 40k 2nd edition.  Which, for what it is, a skirmish game of 10-20 models per side, is really fine.  But … and many of you weren’t born yet, so let me warn you … that rule set bogs down into a horrific morass once you start fielding 30+ models per side.  So no, do not heed those few conspirators who say that Shadow Wars is a test model for the upcoming 8th edition and it really WILL be 2nd edition all over again.  GW is not that crazy.  But I do fear they may have forgotten the lessons of the past.  I guess we will see.  So, let me examine these suggested changes and ponder their wisdom.

 3 Ways to Play

As I said earlier, I like AoS’ implementation of the General’s Handbook.  The idea of three ways to play — open, narrative and matched play — is a good one, and it allowed GW to continue with their original approach of framing AoS as a fun game that was unburdened with structure of points and just encouraged players to create the battles they wanted. At the same time adding a structure to the game that was built upon that very point system that we all know from every edition of Warhammer (both Fantasy and 40k).  Basically, it allows them to remedy their mistake without really admitting it.

But not let’s not kid ourselves, the vast majority of AoS players use matched play and its point system, and always will.  It’s ingrained in our wargamer blood, especially those of us steeped in GW games, and it always will be.  Any new edition of 40k will be the same.  Everyone outside the GW studio will use the matched play system, and it always had to be this way.  As bad a mistake as moving Fantasy to AoS AND eliminating the point system was, it would be nothing compared to the catastrophe trying the same with 40k would be.  No, GW will not make that mistake again.

And despite my assertion that no one will really play anything aside from matched play, I see no harm in providing alternative ways to play the game.  There is no harm in it that I can fathom, and it may prove a boon to those few players out there that choose to play in such alternative ways.

Horus only wanted to play Open. The Emperor only wanted to play Matched…and poor Sanguinius wanted to play Narrative…

For all that, the General’s Handbook paradigm does itch my skepticism bone.  I love the idea of it.  A cheap, universal book that is published once a year (ish), and that can be used to update the rules and correct the points costs of units/models/formations/etc.  Again, I love the idea, but I fear its implementation.  GW does not have a good record of admitting its mistakes and taking action to correct them.  No, indeed.  The opposite it quite true.

I’ve been playing 40k for 25+ years at this point, and there were many long stretches of editions where GW simply allowed a rule/unit/whatever that was obviously broken to simply stand.  They simply ignored such problematic issues, even in the face of a titantic welling of criticism, or blatant interviews and/or unofficial mutterings where it was apparent that the design team was fully aware of said flaws, and they did nothing.  Rhino rush, death trap transports, basically every Eldar codex, the original Black Templars, the last two Chaos Space Marine codexes, etc. Nothing was done, and our salvation from these often fun-killing game flaws only came via codex/edition updates.

So, forgive me if I’m wary of claims that the General’s Handbook and whatever 40k version of it comes into being will be used for the purposes of truly trying to re-balance the game.  There is every chance that such updated books will do nothing more than fold in the points costs of new product that has been released since the last version of said book was released.  We can hope, I guess.  I’ve been in the hobby too long; they’ll need to prove it to me.

Army Selection

As a true believer in the Nine-Fold Path of Change, and as a hobbyist who firmly embraces the fluff first, I love the idea of rewarding players for creating a thematic army.  So in theory, I should love the idea of Command Points.  I’m just once again wary of GW’s ability to create parameters that encourage thematic armies that don’t also contain giant loopholes thru which the more competitive types will create very “un-thematic” armies to loot the rules of their benefits by technically still being a thematic army.  Still, if done right, it could be a great thing — especially if they actually do use the updated General’s Handbook (or whatever) to close any exploits that emerge.  I’m hopeful on this one.

Movement

Bringing back the Movement value to individual units feels like a step backwards to me.  I mean, I guess it is okay, and can definitely be used evocatively to demonstrate the real differences in alien races, monsters or whatever (genestealers SHOULD be faster than both and men and orks), but I just feel it will prove more trouble than it’s worth.  I remember when Movement was first dropped in favor of the universal system we currently use, and I was strongly opposed it it at the time.  I’m a thematic guy after all, and this in my eyes diminished the fluff on the the table-top.  At the time.

I reserve the right to change.

I soon began to see the wisdom of the simplicity of universal movement.  Basically, it’s 6″ or 12″, with some exceptions.  Not as evocative perhaps as it once was, but far more simple and easy to understand.  It was far easier than memorizing the various individual Movements of various units/models, and that’s considering that were were perhaps half as many factions as there are now.

What I find strange regarding this push to revive Movement are the claims that it makes the game less complex and play smoother.  How can adding another stat to everything’s stat-line be more simple?  I’ve seem a number of AoS players claim this online.  They can’t be serious, can they?  Just flipping thru my Grand Alliance Destruction book, and perusing the various units I in tend to bring in my goblin armies makes my head spin.  Gobbos (no, I won’t call them “grots”) move 5″, wolf riders move 12″, some squigs move 5″ but others move 2D6″, rock trolls (“troggoths?” … I don’t think so) move 6″and a giant (not doing it) moves 8″, unless he’s wounded, then it depends upon how bad.  Again, how is this less complex?

And AoS doesn’t even have vehicles really — certainly not even close to in the same magnitude as 40k.  But the worst part comes straight from GW’s own lips “but it’ll mean you will only need to learn the rules for your models.”  Umm … what?  When has that ever been the case?  You do actually need to know what your opponent’s units/models can do as well, especially how fast they move.  I’m not saying you need to memorize everything, but even in casual play I need to know how far my opponent’s troops can move in a given turn.

Ultimately, I can take or leave it.  If GW re-institutes Movement, I will adapt to it.  But I still think it’s a mistake best not repeated in a game of 40k’s scope.  The current streamlined system is just better for the game in my opinion.

Shooting

GW wishes to bring back armor save modifiers.  My understanding is that this is a thing in AoS and it is often cited as a great rule that helps stream-line the game by AOS players.  Personally, I do not see the advantage of such a system over current armor penetration (AP) system in recent editions of 40k.  Indeed, I remember 2nd edition 40k all too well, and for those who don’t, I encourage you to look very closely at Shadow Wars, and such armor save modifiers were very prevalent.  Oh, it sounds good on paper, but in practice it diminishes the fluff of the mainstays of the background material (space marines and even terminators). It also ruins the game’s atmosphere by encouraging lame actions on the table-top (such as the fact that space marines always seem to be cowering in the bushes).

Brothers, we must find cover – to the Bushes!

The fact that even basic weapons (not really, but in practice), such as bolters and shiriken catapults, impose a negative modifier to armor saves, means than, again in practice, space marines never actually benefit from their power armor.  Suddenly, these super-human warriors seem all too mortal, as everything “penetrates” their armor to some degree (again, look over the Shadow Wars weapons tables briefly) and they must hide behind cover or all-to-often be gunned down like lesser warriors.  Meanwhile, such lesser warriors like orks couldn’t care less, as they often never get a save to begin with and so do not fear basic weaponry as space marines swiftly come to.

Of course, GW will no doubt tone such armor save modifiers from the Shadow Wars levels.  Thumbing through my Grand Alliance Destruction book, I see no save modifiers worse than -3 (I had heard this was the cap in AoS).  That seems reasonable, and would certainly make terminators power-houses like never before were they to re-institute the 3+ on 2D6 like in 2nd edition and Shadow Wars.  But, and here’s the crux of it, if GW allows any basic weaponry, especially bolters, to have any sort of save modifier, it will be the death of space marines as the super humans we know and love (as it was in 2nd edition).

We don’t need cover – we have Power Armor!

Everyone plays space marines, so if YOU play space marines and they give bolters the -1 armor save modifier it has in 2nd edition, you’ll never get a save better than 4+.  Does that feel right to you?  Believe me when I say, it won’t.  And even if GW can avoid the temptation, and makes sure that no basic weapons have a armor save modifier, for how long can they do so?  They are always releasing new product and factions (which I applaud), or updating old ones.  Each time they do, the same temptation will be there.  And if they falter even once or twice, and allow a faction to have a basic weapon with a armor save modifier, that will be the death of space marines as super elite warriors and will diminish the overall atmosphere of the game.

Combat Phase

Allowing charging units to strike first does sound thematic.  Of course, this comes with the caveat that inherently slow weapons such as power fists, don’t automatically do so as well.  Allowing such weapons to do that would destroy any thematic gains such a rule change would evoke.  I am not opposed to such a change in principle, but I think GW should tread carefully with it.  In older editions where chargers always went first, such as 2nd edition, the unintended result was that Initiative (Int) rarely mattered.

Alas, we were known for our fierce charges once.

Orks hardly cared what their opponent’s Int was, as theirs was certainly lower, so they always went last if they didn’t charge.  Similarly, it hardly mattered that Eldar had 5 or 6 Int, as they either went first because they charged, or last because they did not.  Then as now, close combats were usually decided in the initially charge phase, so again, Int rarely played much of a part.  Were GW to bring this ‘chargers go first’ rule back, I’d hope they compensated somewhere else in the rules to make Int relevant.

Overall, I’m kinda “meh” on this rule change.

Morale

So basically GW is advocating for the Battleshock rule from AoS be instituted in 40k.  This rule, perhaps more that all the rest, cements in mind that they intend to AoS-izize 40k.  Unlike the rest of the rules, 40k has never worked this way (except for Fearless units at some points and for daemons in assault right now).  I’m unsure how I really feel about it.  I can see how it stream-lines the rules a bit and can speed up the game, but I don’t know that it really improves the game in my mind.

I was running…back to the objective!

I’ll miss those random moments such as when those fleeing cultists rally at the table edge and then manage to squat on an object late in the game.  I’m also wary of the phrase “affects everyone.”  What does this mean for fearless units?  Or marines and their And They Shall Know No Fear rule?  What about daemons and their instability?  Hmmm…  I’m sure my paranoia is probably shining thru at this point.  I’m sure GW would satisfactorily address all of these cases in regards to the rule change.  I can see how this might be a positive change to the game.

You Can’t Fight the Future

I don’t know, I’m iffy on many of these changes.  I don’t want to be “That Guy,” the gloomy guy who never gives something a chance and always fears change.  I am a disciple of the Changer of the Ways after all.  But I just like the idea of regressing to 2nd edition again.  I understand that 7th edition has become a mess, and that GW cannot do what it would take to fix it (return to its roots and remove all the of bloat they’ve layered over it), but if they really do wish feedback as they seem to imply in their presentation, I hope that they really take the time to consider these changes.

We’ve had seven editions of 40k over the last 30 years.  There are lessons to be learned from those years.  I urge them to think hard about how these changes will affect the overall experience of 40k.  In the end, 40k is not AoS, or even Fantasy.  What works in AoS might not work in 40k.  They’re a beast of a different color.

 

So what do you think?  Am I Hater and unworthy of the Architect of Fate?  Should I be burned at the stake?  Let me know in the comments.

Read more from Kazzigum on Slaved to Ruin

  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    Well put. I wish I had the time to write such a lengthy article explaining my feelings about WH40K and the potential changes. But now, I don’t have to!

  • Ravingbantha

    The basic problem with GW games will always be the same thing, point values are not based on any standard set of parameters. They create a new model, playtest it, and then arbitrarily decide what points it’s worth. But there’s no way to really know how the model will be used once the masses get a hold of it.

    Until GW embraces a standardized point development system (think old Vehicle Design Rules), they will continue to create unbalanced armies. They don’t have to publish those rules, keeping them in house is fine. The rule set isn’t the problem, it’s an imbalanced point system, that creates inconsistencies throughout the game.

    • Damistar

      This sounds great in theory, but practically it’s pretty much impossible. While one can assign values to things like WS or A, there is the issue of how this unit synergizes with the rest of the army. Does it make other units more effective or fill some shortcoming in the army’s theme? They would need to do a lot more playtesting and return to the Rogue Trader point levels to even begin to balance out all the different factions in 40K.

    • Kazzigum

      This is why I had hoped they’d continue to model the game in the same way as 7th edition. Each evolution gets tighter if you really use it to try to balance and correct past errors.

    • generalchaos34

      I think that this didn’t really matter back when you were stuck with only one codex for the army you fielded. Sure model X was overcosted, but you had to take overpriced required infantry to field it! The big problem came with allies and tossing the CAD and limitations on army building came along and those units that were internally balanced in the codex no longer were balanced when paired up other units that also were “balanced” inside of their own codex.

      • ZeeLobby

        Totally agree. It’s not the codexes or rules which made the game bad. It’s the formations/detachments/allies. Just like you said, it worked before when you had limited options. If they balanced from that point we’d have an amazing game right now. I’m not sure how you balance from where it is, when Imperials have so many allies to choose from and say Tyranids don’t.

        • Charon

          Wraithknights, scatterbikes, warpsiders.
          None of them has to come in a formation, none of them needs to use allies to be one of the stongest forces out there. Deathstars and min maxing was a thing even before allies and formations.
          All these new stuff did is to shift power around and elevate some armies that would be extremely underperforming on their own.
          Sticking purely to cad right now would just mean: “You dont play eldar? Sorry you lost. Bye”

          • ZeeLobby

            It pretty much means that anyway. The difference is that now most mid tier armies will brutally crush Orks, Tyranids, etc. now. Imperials have a utility belt of options other factions would dream of.

          • Charon

            As it is now there is more different armies at the top tables than before. Granted, fluff is out of the window but it has been like this from start
            In a perfect world, a fluffy army should also be the most effective one as there is a reason why certain military structures form over time… they give you the most bang for your buck.
            Most of the CAD armies are pretty bad anyways from a military point of view (ex I totally mix my Scouts with my slow artillery in the same small detachment)

        • marxlives

          Cool thing is that with 40k and AoS sharing the same ruleset, you can move between both systems without having to learn new rules.
          It is almost like Warmachine and Hordes, but they technically can’t play together but if the rulesets mirror each other you can basically do that too it would just be like DC/Marvel crossover event. Pit AoS Destruction against 40k Order? Sounds awesome!
          That said, having the same rules between two different games begs the argument, does it vanilla-fy both games in the end. Basically, people who are into Infinity are INTO Infinity is because it plays like a sci -fi world where hacking on the battlefield, power armor, and the lethality of firearms is really, really present.
          Even KoW and the Warpath 2.0 have different systems, and it is not an arbitrary choice, rulesets need to feel like their genre. I am expecting firearms to be way more lethal and cover to be way more important in a modern or sci-fi wargame.
          People may say…well Warmahordes, but they are shared universes so I expect them to play similar (though Warmachine has better tech and Hordes tends to have access to more “out there” powerful and fantastic magic, rather than the practical industrial magic of the Iron Kingdoms) and despite this there is still a resource management vs risk mechanic to give a different play experience between warcaster and warlocks.
          So at the end of the day will 40k just become AoS with different models, with no flavor in the core ruleset to differentiate the two. What really is the difference between a Stormcast and Space Marine besides aesthetic? I understand that this allows veteran players to buy between two systems owned by the same company (which is really smart) but isn’t this just the genesis of something the last CEO said — GW games are about models first and not rules, most people in their customer base are hobbyists and not gamers.
          If two games are vanilla-fied to the same rule set doesn’t that just prove the point? It doesn’t matter if the rules reflect the genre you are playing, only the presentation of models change?
          I don’t think this is something nefarious on GW end, but is does say a lot about how their corporate culture sees the connection between models + rules = profits. This model may get veteran players buy between systems and move some AoS consumers into 40k territory, but they won’t get the same rapid expansion into new consumers some other games have seen like PP, FFG, Wyrd, and Corvis Belli have seen. Though I bet GW hopes they will, they are a business after all.
          And I want to be clear this is NOT about GW being BAD but it boils down to two different corporate visions and the customers they attract.
          People who like GW products tend to 1) only buy GW and 2) are playing more for the models and seeing the models on the table, rather than the ruleset. They tend to be hobbyists are fans of modelling first, gamers second.
          This is why the “competitive scene” it is mostly a boiler plate of people who found the best list from a handful of rule disparities, it is the reason why comps exist (which is a uniquely GW phenomenon when it comes to making rules work). No one “expects” GW games to be on the same sort of competitiveness as say “chess” tournaments where the biggest advantage is first move advantage or even other miniature wargames outside of Nottingham that exist in the same market.
          Not ragging on Nottingham but Nottingham design and Euro-American design are like the difference between American board games and Eurogames. None is bad but they each appeal to something different. Nottingham tends to say towards gamer club style of play (presenting models on a board), Euro-American focuses more on rules and competitiveness (which is weird, didn’t think Continental Europeans could be competitive…zing).
          Other skirmish systems tend to attract customers who are gamers first and hobbyist second.
          It is not that the models are bad (this was not always the case) PP releases have in large caught up to GW, Malifaux 2nd ed. has surpassed them (in fact people say they are too detailed), and Infinity has surpassed them out of the gate. But model quality is tertiary.
          These customers are way more fixated on how rules interact with each other and rules mastery. They will play the same 2-3 lists for a year, either casually with their friends, or in preparation for official tournaments, to master how the list works and if it accomplishes its design goals. The difference I found is that with 40k it was either playing fluffy lists or researching the biggest exploit. With Infinity and Warmachine, list building is more like…handcrafting a boat for a rowing competition in the summer. You ask yourself, what do I want my list to do? You run through casters to see who is best in getting you there, you build around the caster to attain that purpose, and then you hone it each week with games to test it. Everything is designed by you based on your natural style of play and the lists purpose and you can actually build metrics around it.
          Now neither system is better than the other, and no consumer is better than the other. In fact if you look at models + rules = profit, yes FFG is on top and let’s give credit where credit is due this not only because of Star Wars, it is because their system is tight and their prepainted models are well done, which makes the hobby as a whole way more accessible. I have played X-Wing and yes, it does feel like you are watching a dog fight play out, the tension is there from start to finish.
          But GW stills owns like lion’s share with PP right behind it (relatively speaking, PP is still a privately owned business rather than a LLC or corporation).
          GWs success shows that in world of miniature gaming there are more hobbyist centered customers than gamer centered customers. And GW is smart in catering to that base.

    • Marco Marantz

      No they do actually use a (rough) formula, and you can see what points they give to certain stats from previous editions, espec 1st Ed rulebook. Granted points have come down, you can see what characteristics they rate as more valuable and the ratio still holds im sure. Where GW screws up the game is costing weaponry and SPECIAL RULES. ATSKNF is ridiculously under-costed for example.

      • Charon

        They had always a problem evaluating stats and weapons.
        Ini for example is an expensive stat. And usually you would say “yes, because if your Ini is higher, you attack first. So you bring in your maximum numbers of attacks and in turn remove the opponents attacks, so you are more durable also you can overrun your opponent more easy.”
        While this statement is correct, it is only half of the equation. In order to make proper use of I, 3 things need to happen:
        1) you have to be in a combat (and survive till you get in one)
        2) You have to have killing power to actually remove models
        3) your opponent must not have any morale special rules

        A unit with WS5, S5, 4A AP3 makes way more use of its I5 than that WS4 1A S3 Ap- Wych over there.
        Same with weapons. That 10 points melta is way more useful in the hand of a drop poding loyalist marine than in the hand of that imperial solider over there.

  • Talos2

    Elements of 2nd would be ok, but the reason it was dumped was the speed of play. It won’t go back to that as it would mean far fewer sales as armies would become smaller to compensate

    • ZeeLobby

      Which is too bad. It could definitely use some bloat reduction.

      • dinodoc

        Some bloat reduction? I think you mean a lot of bloat reduction

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, I just meant in the size of armies (which wasn’t clear). I think a much more exciting game could be made if they reduced army sizes and made fun mechanics. That said, I doubt they’d ever do it because of what was stated above.

  • “I had hoped they’d continue to evolve the current rule set, by making tweaks”
    I think 40k had gotten past that. There are tons of arguments about whether 40k is healthy or not, and whether the game is growing or shrinking. I’ll stay away from that. What is obvious to most people in the hobby as well as GW’s board is that the industry is growing faster than 40k is. New games are taking market share from GW. This puts GW in the awkward position of wanting to grow the community by brining back players and attracting a younger crowd, while simultaneously trying to avoid changing the game enough to make longtime fans unhappy. They have to do something though. GW is a corporation and not a family business. Maintaining profitability is not good enough when competition is growing.

    • ZeeLobby

      Well put. That sums it up very well. I always regretted them going public. Think a lot of the creativity and risk taking that made them as big as they are today, left the company when they made that leap and are now beholden to their yearly performance.

      • Kazzigum

        I very much doubt this. Shadowspire will likely be their biggest mistake in recent years since the AiD roll out. I can’t see who wants this game among GW’s fan base. We’re just tired of Khorne. If they aren’t talking plastic flesh hounds, we don’t want to hear it.

        • ZeeLobby

          So it comes with Khorne and Sigmarines, but whose to say there won’t be other races available. It’s at least the first time I’ve EVER seen them say they’re making something with competition in mind. If they release box sets for each AoS faction with unique models for the game, I could see it going somewhere. If they’re like “simply buy $25-35 blisters to create your fyreslayer squad!” then yeah, it’s going nowhere.

          • Kazzigum

            I’m sure it will, but it’s basically a gladatorial combat game that has Khorne written all over it. Again. This smacks of a more complex version of the Khorne gladatorial game they just did, and it even allows great Khorne champions to hog the spotlight once more (at least initially).

            Honestly, I’m more worried about GW’s push to make it a competetive game with expected support. I just don’t see it getting the reaction from the fan base they’re hoping for.

          • ZeeLobby

            I mean it all comes down to mechanics. If it’s as basic as the Khorne game, it’ll go nowhere, if it’s interesting, I could see it picking up. I mean they have the added bonus of everyone with those two armies already buying it for the minis. It’s already going to be a success in their eyes just from those sales. But yeah, if they can’t shop it to LGS well, and struggle to get competitive sign on, it will go nowhere. I mean they have time, it’s not lik ethey announced it and it’s out tomorrow. If they’re smart they’ll dedicate more resources than they have to any of their offerings in the past 5 years, and will make it a success.

          • ragelion

            They have said other factions that have not had updates will get models for the game.

  • DDisforDangerous

    Moving Movement to the stat blocks means all the relevant rules for a model/unit are on a single page. No more flipping back and forth to figure out how things like Jet Pack Monstrous Creatures with Fleet and Move Through Cover Run through Difficult terrain or whatever.

    Reducing the unit-specific rules to enough that can be fit on one sheet of paper and thereby eliminating the vast majority of flipping back and forth, really would do a lot to make the game more accessible and easier to learn, while not necessarily taking away anything of crucial important.

    • Crablezworth

      Yeah the real problem with 40k is having to read more than a few pages…

    • John Burns

      You mean flipping to the rules reference in the back of the rulebook that only takes up a few pages?

    • Raven Jax

      You’re assuming that they leave it at a base movement stat and don’t add things like difficult terrain subtracts 2″ from your movement and stuff like that.

      I gotta agree with the article. Despite being flavorful, multiple movement stats needlessly slows down the game and gives more information for new players to learn.

      Plus, if they do something like make the baseline 4″ or something, it has the potential to make shooting even more powerful by keeping assault units out of range longer.

  • Honest Kairos

    On general principle, I support this headline.

  • Aura1

    Well, I’m definitely a fluff guy rather than a gamer, but in the fluff bolters cut through power armour pretty easily – the Horus Heresy is pretty much founded on the fact that marine weapons make mince meat of other marines. The limited granularity of tabletop means you can’t really differentiate between a tough Marine without making them overtly invincible. So, for my money, sure – let ‘basic’ weapons follow a bit of their lore origins. Bolters should be shorter range but infinitely more devastating than las weaponry. Space Marines should be out striding through pathetic las fire but if bolts can crack them, why is does it make Marines more elite to just walk into high explosives? That’s what Terminators are for – and why we accept that Terminators are slow but can do that kind of thing. So, to me that ‘feels’ fine.

    • Sicxpence

      Was chatting to a GW staff member over the weekend and saying about how I thought bolters should come down in range to 24 inches again. I like the logic of las guns being no save modifier so SM can stroll though.

      What range would you put the las gun?

      Your points seems entirely reasonable, which is why I can’t think it will ever happen.

  • James Regan

    i think armour modifiers would work if they worked it so current AP5 is ‘no midifier’ then you have ap4=-1, ap3=-2, ap2=-3 and ap1=-4. This would boost the effectiveness of AP4 weapons, which sort of lack good targets in most marine armies, whilst also stopping the weirdness of plasma doing about the same to termie armour as an ork with a slightly bigger axe, but melta just ignoring it completely (i mean a -4 saving is still pretty bad, but it basically removes the need for the quite widespread 2+/3+ armour with a weak invulnerable save, which probably only exists to average out the occasionally really lucky lascannon shot)

    • James Regan

      come to think about it, it could also be used to stop cover being an invulnerable save whilst also making it useful- if you let armour penetration work on cover with a small penetration modifier (e.g. a +1 to the save modifier) you don’t get so much of a problem with flammable substances, like trees, providing good cover against laser cannons and metlas).

      • Marco Marantz

        Yeah ive always thought rather than providing an invuln save, cover improves your regular save by an amount determined by they type of cover. theres probably a mathematical reason why they went the path they did.

  • Jörgen Karlsson

    Big fan of 2nd edition So I welcome most (but not all) changes that make The game more like it used to be

    • Louis

      Me too, 3rd and 4th were alright, but I never liked getting rid of modifiers. That being said, they were too heavy-handed with save modifiers even back in the Rogue Trader Days. I do like the lots of weapons types there are now. I did not like generic movement either, but I did really like the random move through varying degrees of difficult terrain from 3rd edition. I will say that I am fine spending 6 to 8 hours playing a game…. takes about an hour to setup and tear down anyways (if you have good terrain and do not chit chat with the enemy).

  • Shawn Pero

    “Everyone plays Space Marines.” JFC way to invalidate your entire article with one sentence

    • Kazzigum

      I also don’t play space marines, and never have. If you don’t understand hyperbole, I don’t know what to tell you.

    • Marco Marantz

      i think most players have some marines or at least collected them at one point.

  • vlad78

    I agree with everything you said. Thumbs up. Sadly, I don’t think GW has ever learnt from its mistakes, or they forgot a couple of years later. I don’t think a single guy writing rules within the studio really remembers how bad 2nd edition turned to be.

  • Donovan Palmer

    This guy is basing all of his complaints on rules that aren’t even out yet. I get his point about space marines being made into push overs, but that can be solved by a special rule.

    Maybe power armor can have like an “adamantium plating” special rule that reduces all “rend” values by 1? If their can be negative armor modifiers than surely the opposite will exist as well.

    Its so easy to get around these problems that to act as if they are inevitable is just silly.

    • vlad78

      I disagree, a good ruleset doesn’t need lots of special rules to fix it. If you need “adamatium plating” to make power armour work, it means the ruleset is just bad at the core.

  • Marco Marantz

    UNTIL GW CHANGE PLAYER TURNS TO SOME FORM OF SIMULTANEOUS TURNS NO OTHER CHANGE MATTERS. YES I NEED TO USE CAPS FOR THIS.

    • Joka

      No, to be honest you did not need it. You choose to.

      • vlad78

        AND HE’S TOTALLY RIGHT. ALTERNATE ACTIVATION OR 8TH WILL BE AS BAD AS ALL PREVIOUS EDITIONS.

  • Joka

    An article? On BoLS? A real article written by someone who cared for what he was writing and tried to avoid being too much biased?
    A good standard article not offending most of the reader that now lurk on this site just for some news updates and some friendly rants on the comments?
    Well if such an article appeared on BoLS I believe that we can even hope for a good 40k edition from GW.

    • Joka

      Kudos to the autor btw. He even seemed to have been reading to comment lately.

      • Kazzigum

        Thank you, Sir. I try.

  • archangeleong

    Well put. Cant agree with you more. I have played all editions of 40K and hate the idea of going backwards to 2nd edition style play (especially save modifiers). 2nd ed sucked as a wargame, better to leave those style rules for skirmish games. Please GW go forwards not backwards!!!

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Initiative is a sacred cow that deserves to die. AoS doesn’t really use it anymore, and most other tabletop games use army-wide systems, or I Go You Go, to handle Combat Order. Besides, Unwieldy as written never really lined up well with the fluff, at least, not as well as a penalty to hit would. Besides, nothing more suitably dramatic than a well timed sucker-punch.

  • HiveFleet Charybdis

    AoS is nothing like 2nd edition 40k. I’ve played both. AoS is fun. 2nd edition 40k sucked!

  • Raven Jax

    Honestly, I’m not sure I care either way. If the new rules are fun and bring in new players, great! If not, well…my friends and I still have our 7th edition rulebooks.

  • benn grimm

    Gave up when you compared AoS to 2nd edition after admitting you haven’t played AoS… charging has given fight initiative in all the big games at one time or another, modifiers were in WFB for years, also in Mordheim, Space Marine, Man o War, Blood bowl and Necromunda… does this mean they’re trying to turn 40k into Man o War I wonder?

    I think you’re typical of blog contributors nowadays, research(or actual participation) is a bit too hard and takes a bit too long, so it’s much easier to just have a good half-informed, half baked rant.

    What they’ve announced so far demonstrates that they have listened, are listening and fingers crossed will continue to listen. I’m far from a fan of everything they’ve come up with of late, but so far all of the 8th ed stuff sounds pretty positive and does seem answer a lot of the issues people seem to have had with 40k for a while.

    • Kazzigum

      I find it telling and ironic that you charge me with doing no research and yet have no problem commenting on my article right after you admit to not actually reading it.

      • benn grimm

        I gave up on your proffered premise at that point, didnt say I didn’t read the rest of the post. That’s just where you lost me with your in depth comparison of two games you don’t play (or even know very much about by the sounds of it).

  • Christopher A. Herrera

    I’m pro 8th (at this point, I too reserve the right to change my mind).

    Gaming since 4th(tail end of 3rd by like a month). As an aside I didn’t play much of 5th and only a few months of 6th but have played a ton of 7th. Played bugs at that point, now I play large Imperium, bugs/cult armies.

    First I’d like to say I appreciate your input as someone who played in 2nd. Here’s the part where I “sort of” disagree.

    The handbook:

    -I view it largely as an opportunity, more than anything. Everyone gets at least a mild stat re-assessment more often than they are, aka I can’t see this being BAD. Will it be good? Time will tell. GW certainly hasn’t raised my hopes that it’s THE solution.

    The movement statistic:

    -I think it’s a gem in the rough. With the shift towards objective gaming somewhere between 6th and 7th edition a 6″ movement became terrible. I argue the result of this is the prevalence of alpha strike. I’ve never seen more bikes, jetbikes, Warp spiders(blink), psychic movement ability, assault moves, etc. For some armies it’s a huge reason their army is bad(ex. tyranids).

    -I don’t think the goal of the movement phase changes are to reduce complexity(which is what pro-8th people are being told 8th is for, which is kind of reductive). People who want 8th want specific areas of complexity, largely those that are perceived to have balancing issues, to be less complex so the game designers can mess it up less.

    Generally speaking, streamlining makes it harder to abuse things and makes play easier on the player, and visa versa. But IF you’re going to add complexity to a phase, don’t do it to the phase that has 1000x variables(psychic phase, what out of 11 charts can I roll on? How do those powers interact? What affects battle brothers?), do it to the one with at most 10.

    -I think this change, coupled with the proposed changes to charges makes the movement phase a much more tactical part of the game without the need to unnecessarily make the game complex.

    -I know people don’t like having a different stat for every unit in a codex, the streamlined is in a real respect easier(on the player) but I’d argue that has more to do with whinging and less with tactics. Anyone who plays enough will remember their, and their opponents movement stats (more or less). I’ll gripe about this one too when the change hits and know all my movement stats in like a month.

    Shooting:

    -I can’t truly speak too much of this one. I don’t know the system well enough. I know I’ve hated the escalation of heavy weaponry from 4th to 7th. Survivability has gone up too much via support rules(largely but not exclusively psychic powers imo). And the prominence of high AP, no save for you weapons has gone up significantly from the time rending was the big bad scary thing in the room. If this, coupled with killing the psychic phase means we see horde armies and elite armies take the field en force I support it.

    -I am TOLD, AP values were introduced around third because of how cumbersome 2nd edition had become(which I keep getting told is a lot like 7th). And I’m regaled how many vets who still play feel like 3rd edition they took tons out of 2nd, and from 4th edition until today they have “re-added” parts of 2nd gradually until we have the beast we have today. I don’t think that’s EXACTLY true but based off specific handpicked details I’m told I can see why people may think that.

    Combat:

    -I really like the change that assaulters go first, BUT I don’t want to see assault grenades or unwieldly go away(that is another added tier of tactical complexity I can appreciate).

    -This coupled with movement……I mean it’s a wargame! Commanding troops I feel like currently unless you’re deploying against the cult or thinking about when to gun for objectives(lessened by absurd presence of high movement units)…..could bring back what feels like an appropriate level of thoughtfulness to movement I don’t think I’ve ever seen the game have.

    Morale:

    -Eh. I dunno any changes to morale will make the game faster strictly due to the absurd amount of fearless(or similar) mechanics in game. I want morale(and pinning, and fear) to have more of an impact. They could do this by just changing fearless to a flat modifier for LD but I can see how they could take a new system and use it to “invalidate” fearless.

    -I’m lukewarm on this one.

    Warscrolls:

    -Death to the psychic phase! I never had a problem playing with “psyker/power/ability users” that had preset powers. Zoanthropes used warp blast. That’s what they did. Are there less tactical options? Yes.

    -I’m happy with the changes because the current psychic rules writing is in my opinion some of the most imbalanced in the game. Some armies have 66+ powers to roll for, some have 50ish, some have 30ish, and some have 6. Every single new power you add can potentially interact with another psychic power, AS WELL AS non-psychic special rules, which you can get usually another 2-3 factions worth via allies. I don’t trust GW to balance their ~14 codex’s, but people want to be happy building the backbone of the game on one of the most difficult to balance premises GW’s thrown together? This is part of why 7th edition is such a psyker dominant edition(and it’s why 6th was taudar).

    -Basically the warscrolls are the main area I think 40k needs to be “streamlined” and simplified. It’s the biggest offender. So when they said warscrolls I did a backflip.

    Summary:

    -WOOO WARSCROLLS.
    -Cooooooool. Movement.
    -Cool Assault(DONT EFF IT UP GW).
    -meh, morale.
    -meh, saves/shooting.

    But I’m pretty heavily biased.

  • Andrew

    Not really a fan of any of these rumors. The worst rumors by far you didn’t address; the first being the removal of Detachments and Formations, I’ve been playing since Rogue Trader and formations are easily the best thing to happen to 40k. The other is diminishing the psychic phase, I started a thousand sons army because of the how good the psychic phase was in 7th edition. Also Tau and Necron players can stop bitching about how the psychic phase is unfair, you have more then enough to make up for it.
    -The main thing I think GW should change in 8th edition is how cover works, cover shouldn’t grant you a different kind of save but make it harder for you opponent to hit you. If a Space Marine is standing behind a wall his armor is still effective it’s not like he has to choose between using his armor or using a barricade to block as bolter shot. Keep AP and armor saves the same, but have cover diminish you opponents BS, this will make players carefully think about who they are shooting at or where they are moving their models too.