Everyone is starting to wonder what 40k warscrolls would look like. Luckily GW has given us some good data to look at.
With talk of 40K 8th edition looming by the day, more and more rumormeisters are pointing to some type of Age of Sigmar style Warscrolls for the new system. Warhammer 40,000 has a CRAZY amount of units and I don’t envy the GW Design Studio’s task of having to translate each and every unit over to a new rules template.
Luckily, they have done this before – with Warhammer Fantasy’s initial launch transfer to Age of Sigmar. You will remember that WFB also had a full set of Army Books and upon Age of Sigmar’s launch GW put out a full set of Warscrolls for every unit in the game. These would later be renamed and shoehorned into new factions in the 8 Realms. But initially they were straight translations – you can still find them on GW’s site here.
Now that gives us a good starting point. If we could only find a single unit that existed in BOTH 40K, WFB, that got directly translated into Age of Sigmar.
Chaos Daemons are clearly our best subject for our thought experiement. As we are already talking about Khorne these days, let us take a look at the humble Bloodletter.
The Bloodletter is an excellent unit to use as out test. It exists in all three systems and does pretty much the same thing in all games. It’s a Khornate unit of walking killy deamons with swords who stab you. It’s the kind of baseline core/troops units that isn’t flashy so it doesn’t have anything too crazy to translate. It’s very much the same kind of unit as say a Space Marine Tactical Squad, or a unit of Ork Boyz.
Age of Sigmar
These guys are 100pts per 10, with a max unit size of 30. So 10 pts per Bloodletter.
Compare & Contrast
OK, we have three game-system datapoints here and some takeaways from GW’s past design decisions.
Points: Bloodletters moved from 14pts per model to 10pts going from WFB to AoS. This means GW is willing to completely throw out any existing 40K point scale, when rolling out a major overhauling a system. Of course the more interesting coincidence is that the current AoS and 40K Bloodletters are now 10pts each.
Model Options: If there is a model option, you can take it in Age of Sigmar – often at no additional point costs. Take a look at the musician, leader and standard options from WFB to AoS. All are there and have beneficial effects, without the point upgrade costs. If you have the models, you get the bonus. Just think about what that could mean for 40K unit options.
Movement Stat: WFB’s moveent stat came over intact to AoS. I think we’ve enough hints from GW of late regarding the Movement stat that it’s a safe bet it may be coming to any new 40K Edition. You can go back a few editions to see who is slower (hint, Nurgle) and who is faster (hint Eldar) per faction.
Leadership: Bloodletters saw a dramatic rise in Leadership rom WFB to AoS.
Saves: They got a slight tweak moving from 6+ to 5+ from WFB to AoS.
To Hit: That beefy WS5 got translated into a 4+ to hit in AoS
To Wound: That S4 got translated into a 3+ to hit in AoS (note the -1 Rend)
Special Rules: You see small numbers of rules to give each unit something in character. AoS Bloodletters got the Decapitating Blow and Murderous Tide to make their Hellblades fearsome and encourage large units. With Deep Strike as thier only special rule of note in 40K its a mystery what any 40K warscroll may hold. In any case I think the special rules is where the Design Studio will have the most fun. The ability to reach into the fluff to come up with something characterful for every unit in the game will make each one unique and hopefully fun to take.
A Tactical Example
For example we know that Tactical Marines are experienced Brothers who have already taken to the field in both Devastator and Assault roles. While an useless tabletop bit of background, they might receive a custom warscroll rule reflected that deep experience, giving the most boring marine unit in the game something to call their own.
It’s these kinds of small tweaks and design opportunities that gives me the most hope for a 40K warscroll system. I see it not as a simplification of the game. Rather I see it as an opportunity to make each and every unit have it’s place in the sun – something the game needs desperately in a time where 5% of the overpowered units dominate the other “useless” 95%.
~What do you think some 40K Warscrolls may look like – and what characterful special rules would you write to bring tired old units to life?