Let’s talk about the why upcoming Forgeworld books will change the game like nothing before them.
This years Las Vegas Open was an exiting event. We have a great 40K tournament, amazing side events and a full GW seminar going over upcoming releases. We got a lot of cool news out of the seminar, Pointy fantasy dudes, new Psychic Awakenings books and more. To me however the biggest news to come out of LVO was the announcement that GW is redoing the all the Forge World units in new books. This promises to be the biggest thing to happen in all of 8th Edition. Let’s take a look at why that is.
A Matter of Scale
Simply looking at the numbers, changes to Forge World are huge. The largest of the Codexes contain about 80 units, while the smallest have 8. Just the four Forgeworld Index books contain about 300 units, and several full army lists complete with faction rules. Added to this are a number of newer releases that aren’t in the Index books, a number of 30K units that haven’t gotten 40K rules yet, and a couple defunct armies (such as Eldar Corsairs). Thus on size alone releasing the Forgeworld units is similar to releasing anywhere from six to a dozen or more new codices and affects every army in the game (though not equally). No single event since the start of 8th can or will have such an effect on the game.
Because of the sheer scale of the endeavor and the huge number units getting new rules there is some risk here. The dumping of so many updated rules has the potential to completely rebalance the game. LVO has already shown us how just a few “broken” Forge World units, the Chaplain and Leviathan Dreadnought, can have a major impact on the game. Now imagine this times ten. The chance of major change is increased when you look at the distribution of FW units. Chaos, Space Marines and Astra Militarium all have huge numbers of Forge World units, while the other factions have far fewer (though the Adeptus Custodians have I think the highest portion of FW to Codex units). There is a real chance that Xenos in particular will get affected more keenly by any changes.
The major question here is how much of a change will these new rules be. The vast majority of FW units are… fine. They tend to be a bit under powered and over priced and not particular impactful on the game. A small handful fall into the broken range, and for one reason or another, often because they have rules that don’t quite match up with 8th Edition, are really good and get taken a lot. So will the new rules leave most units unchanged and in the “not-competitive” group, while addressing the broken units and bringing them in line with the game? This would be the easier options, and less risky, but also more boring option. Conversely the new rules could be a major overhaul, rewriting pretty much every unit and trying to make them all relevant. This would be more exciting and interesting, but likely tricker to balance.
Another question that stands out is if GW will take this chance to move a bunch of units to Legends. When the lists of Legends units was put out people noticed that no Forge World units where on it. It seems like this, when they are already re-doing all the books, would be the perfect time to move out of production units to Legends. This is particularly true of the decent number of Forge World units that don’t have models – you could fix the whole Chaplain Dreadnought issue by just moving it to Legends where the competitive crowd doesn’t have to worry about it. If they really wanted to they move a large number of units, even ones still into production over to Legends – this would put Forge World back to where it used to be for several editions – cool units meant for more casual games, but not for hardcore events. This would allow the Deisgn Studio to worry less about balanced rules and more about cool evocative rules and narrative. Or they could ignore Legends all together. Any of these options is possible. Whatever they chose the new Forge World books are going to be a major shakeup.
Let us know what your thoughts on the new Forgeworld books are, down in the comments!