The Emperor’s Spears got a new novel – along with “100% Official” new rules. And that’s a good thing, right?
Games Workshop has always had room for more Marines in their line-up. They don’t seem to shy away from adding chapters or expanding the histories of existing ones – and why not!? They are quite literally the poster boys for Warhammer 40,000. For a lot of folks, they are typically first introduced to 40k with images of Space Marines marching to war in Power Armor. They are prominently posed in the art work and in the fiction of the universe – you can’t have the Horus Heresy with out Space Marines, right? You can’t have the Emperor of Mankind without his children? You can’t the Grimdark with out a Bolter and a Chainsword!?
So it’s no surprise that GW has a new book coming out featuring yet another Chapter of Marines. This time, it’s about the Emperor’s Spears – a chapter written about by Author Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
You can read all about the book and a bit of their history HERE. However, that’s not what we are going to focus on today. The really interesting part of this new novel (aside from the actual story) is that if you happened to order the limited edition Spear of the Emperor book that was released last year you also got some “custom rules” for their Chapter:
Now, if you’re thinking “Oh those are just part of the book, no big deal” – let me remind you that these are actually 100% Official Rules – so you should be able to use them in a GW tournament (or any 40k tournament for that matter). Now, I’m not saying the rule is particularly game breaking – it’s really not – but that isn’t the point. The point is that GW is including these rules in a Black Library Limited Edition Novel.
I am a fan of more options that are fun and flavorful. A new Marine Chapter Tactic like this isn’t a terrible addition to the game. However, I’m not a fan of only getting access to these rules via a LIMITED EDITION BLACK LIBRARY NOVEL. By that very nature, not everyone is going to have access to these rules – heck, I’m sure tons of folks didn’t even know that a book that was released last year contained 100% official rules. That’s a problem.
I’m glad that GW decided to post an article about these rules so that the rest of us could be aware of them. And again, it’s not that the rule is even game breaking – but it’s a surprise rule in a hard to access location. That doesn’t scream “fair” or “fun” to me. That starts to cross on a slippery slope of “pay-to-win” and I’m NOT a fan of that. Sure, this rule is tame – but what if it wasn’t. What if this limited edition rule was game-breakingly unbalanced and could win you every game? Yes, I’m using some hyperbole here to take this to an extreme – but we now live in a world where GW can slip a rule like that in a Black Library book and no one (other than the fans that read ALL the books) would be any wiser.
No I honestly think GW would do that? No. It would be inherently bad for the game to have a rule that broken. But do I think that they could work with BL and create more custom rules for other factions/races? They absolutely could! Would that be bad for the game? I think that as long as they are TELLING PEOPLE that these rules exist and giving them away for free (like the Emperor’s Spear Rule above) then it’s probably fine. What would be terrible is if they didn’t do that. No one likes “gotcha” moments sprung on them in the middle of a game. Not being aware of a rule because it was buried in a Limited Edition version of a BL novel feels pretty iffy. At least we can all be aware of this rule now.
How do you feel about GW adding rules to the game via Black Library Novels? Let us know in the comments!