30K vs 40K – The Great Rules Divide Is Upon Us

Players will now have two VERY different choices between 30K’s 7th Ed rules 40K’s 8th Ed. But which should you choose?

I think we can all safely say that 8th Edition has had a very smooth rollout this year. It’s been a big gamble and a monster hit for GW – sucking a lot of the oxygen out of the tabletop wargaming industry. There are people who chafe at its ultra streamlined rules and mono-statlines that unify everything from a Grot to a Warlord titan. There are still those who talk longingly for a more detailed ruleset.

Now 7th Edition was roundly criticized for its over complexity and multi-codex allied craziness. The new 30K Age of Darkness rulebook is only days away and is 100% committed to 7th Edition.

I don’t miss this…

But 30K didn’t have many of those issues.

  • It had a very low level of psychic units.
  • It had it’s own allied matrix – with a much smaller number of factions.
  • It’s focus on MEQ vs MEQ action with a small set of fairly equal factions facing off kept overall balance in check.

So my big question is when the new Age of Darkness arrives – how will the community react?

A year ago I suggested that 30K should stick with a cleaned up FAQed, and tweaked 7th Edition ruleset to keep the gorgeous existing 30K books legal, and let the extremely loyal 30K community stay in their own sandbox. It would offer an “advanced game” setting that the purists could move “up into” from the standard streamlined 40K game.

But with the success of 8th I’m uncertain.

I really enjoy 8th Edition and would hate to see 30K die on the vine slowly in the shadow of 8th. On the other hand I think that the cleaned up 7th Ruleset is perfectly fine and does the Heresy setting justice, letting players really dive into the detail of the settings. I would say that the average 30K player welcomes the complexity and challenge of building and fielding a Legion forge they can call their own.

2017 has been en extremely slow year for 30K – and many players have lamented the almost complete production stop of new releases.

I have nothing but the highest hopes for 30K and wish it the best. I say this as longtime 30K gamer with 4 Heresy armies. But I’m anxious about it finding its place in the new 2018 post 8th Edition world.

My Dusk Raider Blackshield army.

~What do you think of the split and would you play a 7th Edition based game at this time?

  • Munn

    I actually hate 7th A LOT. BUT…if it was ever going to work it would work in Horus Heresy. Having 2 seperate rulesets probably wouldn’t be the end of the world.

    • marxlives

      Does allow an alternative for those who don’t enjoy 8th so I agree.

      • Matthew Pomeroy

        thats where I am at, I absolutely despise everything about 8th and would rather not play than play that ________. so this is great for me since I really enjoy HH.

  • matty199

    Sticking to the 7 ed ruleset killed all interest in 30k for me.
    6/7th ed was prob the worst ed for me and i stopped playing for 12 months until 8th dropped.
    Me and my group will NEVER play horus heresy while it is exclusive to 7th ed but id like to see a suppliment that allows us to ise 8th ed rules. I think that might be a decent compromise between both extremes

    Atm all my heresy stuff is used counts as for 8th or not at all.

    • silashand

      Same here. Worst 40K rules ever IMO. I will not play HH since they settled on 7th.

    • Tigirus

      Sure, some of the issues that 40k 7th had aren’t an issue in 30k like the ones they mentioned but there are still a lot of issues with 30k. Sergeants tanking dozens of Ap 3 attacks that would wipe a squad, the Ap 2 or bust melee weapon choices, dreadnoughts holding up 20 man units for entire games, template barrages that take 15-20 minutes to resolve which was a problem made worse by support teams and quad-mortars as well as units that can become functionally invincible in the game due to how armour works (i’m looking at you flare-shielded spartans).

      I’m not saying that 8th edition is perfect, it has it’s share of problems as well but it is a long stride towards a much more approachable game compared to 7th where some times the list you took just straight can’t win against another one.

      • Talos2

        Flare shields only work on the front arc, so I’m not sure they’re as invincible as you claim

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        You can give everyone Meltabombs now and they can all use it in melee now. Dreads are not going to hold down en entire unit anymore.

        If any single template takes you 15 minutes to resolve, you are playing WAAC idiots. Don’t play them.

        Spartans are not invincible! I mean, like just get to its side or rear and shoot it. Chances are your opponent has 800+ points bound up in that Spartan. Just ignore it and kill everything else in his army.

    • Admiral Raptor

      I am in exactly the same position. I’ve even sold my 30k stuff for lack of interest in the game at this point. I’ll come back to it if / when it moves to 8th.

  • DrLove42

    I play both. 40k for casual pick ups and 30k can provide just a bit more depth.

    Ive always said 30K proved the 7th ed rule book wasnt broken. It showed they could be played well and fairly. It was all the codexes and formations that made it bad. The core rules are solid

    • zeno666

      Sounds correct from the things I’ve heard.
      Formations and badly designed codexes ruined the edition.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        7th still is not the ideal ruleset, IMO. I preferred 5th’s basic rules.

    • Munn

      Personally I disagree. Any time the rules have to deal with anythong but marines they break down. AP was binary and broken, AV made the majority of vehicles worthless, ST chart led to horrendously powerful breakpoints, the psychic phase is either dull and uninteractive or totally broken. It’s a bad ruleset that is able to function due to the very narrow purview of marines v marines.

      • Talos2

        As a mech player I have no idea what you’re talking about

  • Mathew G. Smith

    Of course releases stopped. Alan Bligh died in May.

  • vlad78

    I’ll buy the 7th 30k ruleset. Plain and simple.

    AND I will add Alternate activation and integrate some of the best 8th rules.

    A modified 7th ruleset removing 7th main flaws is miles better than current 8th imho.

    • zeno666

      Sounds like a good plan.

  • euansmith

    Alternatively, there is One Page 40k. 😉


    • zeno666

      I checked but couldn’t find anything related to 40k. Only some Grimdark-stuff. And that sure doesn’t translate to 40k these days 😉

    • af

      Those are seriously cool. I approve One Page Rules’ mission.

      • euansmith

        The guy behind the project is now working on a 2nd Ed; so the One Page fan base can get annoyed like 40k fans 😀 Actually, since he is releasing the formula he uses to calculate his points and is looking for fan help with the new rules and army lists, I’m assuming he will keep his fans happy.

    • eMtoN

      I downloaded the one page rules for GrimDark Future. It had 2 pages of rules. #fail.

    • eMtoN

      I downloaded the one page rules for GrimDark Future. It had 2 pages of rules. #fail.

      • euansmith

        He allows himself two sides of one sheet 😉

      • euansmith

        He allows himself two sides of one sheet 😉

  • AmorousBadger

    Is the answer to this ‘pick the one that you and your friends have the most fun with’?

  • Michael Linke

    The Heresy ally matrix has signficantly MORE factions that standard 7th, not less.

  • I_am_Alpharius

    Suffice to say, the release of a Horus Heresy rules book still rooted in 7th ed is very much a stop gap. It was never going to happen at the same time at the 8th edition launch for 40K; FW simply does not have the production time to switch the game to 8th edition rules, along side updating all their models for 40K, and the whilst working on the various Specialist Games products in the pipeline. They would have to update 7 Campaign books (an 8th sitting in the wings), 4 army list books all rooted in the 7th, and take the loss of scraping any stock of those products they have – all very costly to do, and not with in reason for a business to do.

    Give it 3/4 years, maybe less, and it will happen.

  • I still prefer 30K’s 7th Ed

  • Koen Diepen Van

    Well in a Total contrast to populair opinion. I dislike 8th edition whit a passion. 7th editon wasn’t great but 8th edition is way worse. Simpler yes but compleetly broken. Since manny of the big rule problems form 7th edition (such as formations, stacking special rules on characters, wierd alllies ) Don’t exist in 30k I am glad they keep to 7h edition.

    • Matthew Pomeroy

      I actually also greatly dislike 8th, would consider it the worst miniature game currently on the market. I do however love playing horus heresy with 7th, I feel most if not all of 7th editions problems were not the core rules, but all the additional stuff and poor codex writing.

  • fenrisful2

    If going marines vs marines, why not just play chess?

  • memitchell

    I have a similar dilemma on a smaller scale. Shadow War: Armageddon uses Old Necromunda’s system (40K V2), which I adore. New Necromunda uses a new alternating-action version of 40K V8, which I adore more (New Necro, not New 40K). I could play in either upcoming SW:A or New Necro campaigns, but not both. Be careful what you wish for.

  • Astorath

    Sorry for 7th. 8Th its here! And its amazing. (I have blood angels 30k and blood angels primaris in 40k)

  • LunaWolf

    I like this move, honestly. I really enjoy 8th, and was absolutely done with 7th, but always agreed that 7th worked really well in the context of 30k with limited psychics, alternative army construction, and far fewer things like GMCs.

    I really feel like 30k going over to 8th would get too bland. I don’t play 30k often, but when I do I’m glad to have it be it’s own system.

  • Rainthezangoose

    I don’t like 8th, and I don’t like 7th. But HH 7th despite being the same rules doesn’t suffer form alot of 40k 7th problems.