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Warhammer 40K: Faster 9th Edition Games Ahead

4 Minute Read
Jul 16 2020

From the looks of things Games Workshop has created the next edition to run faster than 8th edition. How? Let’s take a look.

Warhammer 40,000 9th edition is looking to be a faster playing game than 8th edition – at least on paper. There are a few factors that contribute to these changes and we’re going to take a quick look at each one. Now, there is a slight catch – this is all dependant on the players being just as comfortable with the new rules as they were with 8th edition. What that means is that your first couple games are probably going to take a little longer than before as you’re probably going to have to pull out the rules and double check things. However, once you get settled with the new rules (they honestly aren’t THAT different) you’ll probably be able to bang out games faster than before. So what going to make your games faster?

Smaller Minimum Board Size

Let’s just get this one out of the way first. The new minimum board sizes are a thing. While you can still play on the traditional 6’x4′ tables, you don’t need as much space as before to play a game. The smaller footprint will lead to things being in range faster and the action starting sooner. It also means that there is less room to run away from conflicts. I think we can all agree on this one move speeding up the game.

Five Turn Games

In the Era Indomitus, most of the 40k missions are 5 turn affairs. Now, you could make the argument that most games in 8th were pretty much over by turn 3. But there were ways for games to stretch out. Regardless of the past, moving forward, 9th edition has those hard stops which should help to make the overall game length shorter on average.

Denser Rules, Cleaner Rules

The Core Rules (which are free and available to download) are denser than the previous edition. However, this is because there are more examples of how rules work. There are also bullet points to help explain the key parts of the rules. This new style (for GW) of rules layout should help cut down on the arguments and confusion when playing. That should translate into faster games for players as there is less room for ambiguity or interpretational differences.


Also, the Glossary in the back of the book is SUPER handy and should help you get to the rules even faster as it has the rule, a definition, and page number to flip to. It’s a great addition to the edition!

Overwatch Changes

The change to Overwatch (making it a stratagem vs generic rule) should help speed up the game as well as less units will be able to Overwatch during the charge phase. This will lead to less dice rolling where “a whole lot of nothing” happens and should speed up this part of the game. No more waiting for someone to count out X dice to shoot at your unit only to have a handful of hits and no wound rolled.

Fewer Models Per Army

The Points limits of the games haven’t really changed but the points-per-model have shifted. In general, everything got more expensive – typically rounded up to the nearest 5. While this isn’t true 100% of the time, it’s a big enough change that it should mean that most armies are going to field fewer models in a 2000 point game. It might only be a Squad’s worth of models in some cases but that’s still a squad’s worth of game time that won’t be included overall game time.

Actions vs Acting

Actions are a new thing for 9th. But, in theory, they should also speed up the game. Many of the actions require a unit to sacrifice part or all of their turn to complete. Again, that could be an entire unit’s worth of moving, shooting, charging, and fighting that is skipped for a turn. It might not sound like much but that will speed up your games overall.


There’s probably a ton more of little changes that we haven’t even mentioned yet that will speed up your games in 9th. It’s going to take some time to notice the changes but as player get more and more games in, they are going to start to notice how Warhammer 40k plays faster than before.


Do you agree that 9th will be faster over 8th? What are some things that you think will help speed up the game?


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