so the "big day" has finally arrived- official news on the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000. I've made a bit of a day of it, chatting to guys down at the local gaming store and painting figures (more on that in a future post) and hot-damn does this game look good!
*EDIT- just before I wrote this post, I did a quick Podcast with Simon over at 6'stoHit- it's up here, go and have a listen.*
My immediate impression is that this edition is going to upset the tournament player base. This appears to be the final stage in Games Workshops retreat from the "competitive" tourney scene worldwide- and I don't think that's a bad thing. GW have never been that effective at tournaments- the community has always done it better- and I'm now looking forward to resurgence of WPS style organised play, on an international scale. It's certainly going to be interesting times.
The reason- well, with all the little add-ons, quirky rules and events, as well as psychic powers, I think that this ruleset is going to be more about immersive gaming, as GW have put it "cinematic gaming" (now there's a term I haven't heard since Necromunda was in WD!) I don't know yet how the new rules will hurt or benefit existing armies. However, there are some clever little touches:
Allies appeal to me as a collector. I can now buy a few units of whatever army I feel like, and get to use the models without investing in full army. I've got a hankering for a few Guard models, but I certainly don't want to spend £500 on an army- no, I can spend £100 and get an allied force to go with my Marines/ Eldar. I've got a Daemon army, so there's an excuse for some Chaos Marines. Tau can ally with anyone apparently, so again, I can buy a few suits and get some games in. Can this rule be abused? Probably. grey Knights are probably going to become even more abundant (at least, from a fluff point of view, any force they are allied to suffers death after the battle.)
Psychics, Fortifications, tables for the General- all of this adds nice touches to the game, and certainly seems to drive it closer towards the fluff. these are rules which I can pick up or put down as I like, which is great- I would far rather that GW put extra rules into the book than left them out. Giving us all of these extra bits and tables to tinker with is, I think, a nod to campaign style players (linked games, campaigns etc) and seems to be the direction that GW is taking 40K and Fantasy. We're back to the old idea of tinkering with rule sets and treating rulebooks as guidelines rather than hard-and-fast legal tomes, something that was missing over the last few years, and it's something GW previously excelled at.
As far as the mechanics are concerned- I'm not ready to pass judgement. Core inconsistencies do seem to exist (assaults are random distance, shooting isn't) and right now, combat seems to be a damn sight more difficult to pull off (no more charge bonus if you multiple assault, snapfire and overwatch, closest model removal) but how much this will realistically punish assault armies isn't clear- it may be that other rules help to balance this out.
However, overall it looks to me like GW have pulled it off. This release could easily have been a disaster, but so far it seems to be fairly positive. time of course will tell- I've got my book and psychic cards on order, so in one week I'll be far more informed on the matter- in the meantime...
Comments, as always, are welcome.