40K Deep Thought – Why Doesn’t 8th Play Faster that 7th?
8th Edition arrived with a lean trim ruleset that made 7th look like a byzantine nightmare. So why aren’t we finishing games any faster?
Remember the ramp up to 8th Edition in early summer of last year? People were really worried that 40K was going to be “Age of Sigmared” and all of our beloved detail and granularity of rules from 7th would be swept away.
Then 8th arrived and people pulled out the little 8-page core rules pamphlet and freaked out – a little. It wasn’t bad and once the community got to see the a handful of datasheets we jumped in with both feet.
Sure we didn’t have a giant 7th edition rulebook, but the unified statline combined with the ultra streamlined core rules would set the stage for a new improved Warhammer 40,000 for a new generation of gamers. So we all thought.
How Fast Is it?
But three quarters of a year in I’m really not seeing games play any faster and I’m not sure exactly why.
What I tend to see if folks playing 2k games are routinely finishing turns 3-4 in about 2 hours. Sure if both players know both armies rules, and are playing quite efficiently – you can wrap it up under time. Sure if you are playing a mission with a sudden death victory condition – you can finish under time. BUT, if you have novice to intermediate players who are doing things like say – talking to each other, or looking stuff up a lot – 2 hours won’t cut it.
So basically – about the same as 7th.
Now the game isn’t the same at all – it just takes about the same amount of time.
I would say that more things happen in a smaller number of turns than in 7th. Armies are moving faster, more action is taking place, and you get a lot of drama – say in cases like when two very psychic armies face off in the chess match that the Psychic Phase can become. I’m also not seeing a giant amount of games in 8th where the ulitmate victor can’t be determined by the end of turn 3, or 4, but it’s still taking a while to wrap it all up with the full number of turns.
What’s the Cause?
I’ve talked to several players who have a variety of opinions on exactly what is occurring in 8th.
- Some say the number of dice being rolled has been increased from 7th – which slows things down. Take Twin weapons as an example.
- Some say the psychic phase can eat up a lot more time than in 7th with a ton of units with myriad powers being able to duke it out each player turn.
- Some say the reshuffling of USRs from the main rulebook into hundreds of slight variations on datasheets requires more in-game referencing which slows things down.
- Some say the rapid escalation of overlapping unit special rules – strategems – relics – army special rules combos have brought a complexity to the game that again requires a lot of looking things up and slows the game (kind of reminding me of the crazy calculations you had to use to determine who won a round of close combat in Warhammer Fantasy).
- Some say a slightly lower point cost scale per model has increased modelcount – slowing things down.
Some of these I can agree with – it does feel like I’m rolling more dice than in 7th – but other theories seem uncertain. While the psychic phase can get crazy in certain matchups – just as often you will have two armies which skip the entire phase, say T’au vs Necrons.
So at the end of the day – I like the game. I’m having fun. I thinking GW accomplished its goal of making 8th easier for new players to get into. But I think if the goal was to make a faster swifter game – it’s fallen a bit short. For a game with a core rulebook thinner than X-Wing – I just think that’s very odd.
~What parts of 8th do you think takes up the most time?