5 reasons to wait for the 8th edition of Warhammer 40K

   It’s not a secret that the 8th edition of our favorite Warhammer 40K is supposed to be released this summer. Some are waiting for it impatiently, some are afraid of it. The rumor has it that the rules will become more simple, however not that simple, as in Age of Sigmar. Besides, they say that all special rules and weapon features will now live in the units’ warscrolls, just like they do in AoS.

   Today we’ll talk about the problems of the modern Warhammer 40K and the reasons to wait for the new edition. Note that the author’s point of view may differ from yours, and it’s totally Ok.

   It’s too complicated. Let’s start with the most obvious one. Warhammer has been always reach with different special rules – complementing, clarifying and copying each other. Sure, it’s not a problem for the experienced players, who know all of them by heart. But how many obstacles does it create for the beginners? You need to find unit’s page, look at the rules list, open the Rulebook, find those special rules, understand, how they all work together. Repeat all these steps again when you realize that your detachment also gives you some special rules. And your Warlord. Moreover, there are some unique rules for the particular units. And it would be nice if you knew the opponent’s rules. Maybe he wants to cheat on you… Al these steps dramatically increase the threshold of enter and it’s not profitable for Games Workshop themselves.

   They tried to change it at the beginning of the 7th edition – all the unique special rules were substituted with the standard ones from the Rulebook. And this effort failed. First – the rules became more boring. Instead of the description of wild fury, with has risen in the hero, who’s family was killed by Chaos, which makes him hate all daemons and re-roll to hit in close combat, there’s a simple Hatred special rule in his profile. Well, the output is the same, but it has completely killed the roleplay and the interest.

   Second, all the interesting rules, which couldn’t be changed were simply removed. This is extremely actual for the Dark Eldar. For example, Night Shields used to reduce the shooting distance for units targeting the boat with them. This made you maneuver and think hard about the positioning of your transports. Also, it greatly represented the concept of Dark Eldar army. Now it’s just Stealth special rule. Maybe, more effective, but far less interesting.

   Then, this tendency changed in the opposite way – all codex, starting with Mechanicum and Eldar had as many special rules, as it was possible. Standard rules, plus 1-2 unique for each unit, plus unique rules for the detachment, plus formations. As a result – all new books are much stronger that previous ones. This leads us to the next problem – the balance.

   The solution is quite simple and it’s already working in the Age of Sigmar. (We are moving in that direction, right?) All special rules are presented at the unit’s page. Also, there’s a nice description of how they work. And they represent the features of the unit really great. Nothing gets more complicated since all the rules follow the same logic, nonetheless they are named differently. It means that generally, hammers hit oh 4+ and wound on 3+, swords – contrariwise. A shield grants re-roll 1s in defense, double weapons – in attack. Heavy iron armor grants 4+ save, but warriors move 5 inches – slower than usual 6. All these patterns are not stated directly, but they are obvious and you can guess unit stats by only looking at it.

   Balance. It’s gone. And so it goes. Even in friendly play there’s no balance. You can happily fight irks against Chaos, taking every unit you like and assume appropriate. But then comes the Tau player, who might also take the units he likes. And he wipes you out after 2 turns. His units are just incommensurably more powerful, whatever he takes. Who likes such games? And there are also Eldar. And Mechanicus convocation. The other races have to create disgusting illogical allies, coat themselves with magic (another problem, btw) and lose their mind trying to outperform the opponent, who’s just taken what he likes. This has produced standard archetypes for every faction.

   Yes, you have a whole book of nice, interesting units. But you have to ignore them and take the same stuff again and again if you want to win. Because, even in the strongest codex there are solutions so obviously powerful, that nobody will look at the other choices. Everything gets even worse if you play for the weak faction. This has been caused by the fact that all the books were released in different time an under the different supervision. In this case, the whole reboot of the game system is the only way. Hard, but reasonable way.

   Arms race. Well, you’ve assumed powerplay. You play only for the victory and don’t care about miniatures and background. You may even play with corks as space marines. And how does the game look? The unit shoots. Re-rolls failed throws. Wound. Re-rolls failed throws. The target rolls armor\invuln. Re-rolls failed throws. Rolls FnP. RE-ROLLS. And there’re about 20 shots, since the only instrument that always works, is a bucket of dice in shooting phase. Before that you’ve shot with other 3-4 squads. And before, there was a half-hour psychic phase. The game turns into endless dice throwing. Half of these throws isn’t needed. In AoS there are far less of them. And it could be even less. For example – why do we need to-wound roll? Ok, you’ve hit. What do you mean – it didn’t wound? If you hit but don’t wound, it means that the wound was saved by the armor, or skin. But why do we have an armor save?

   Magic. It’s horrible as it’s now. Really. It’s OK, if you have a couple of support psykers in your army.  But there’s also an arms race in the psychic phase! So, you need to take a lot of them. And there are some factions, which either play with heavy magic, or don’t play at all. And it’s endless dice throwing again. (You don’t buy a pile of cards for each psyker, do you?) When my daemon opponent starts to generate psychic powers, I usually leave to get some tea, to have a nap, or to visit my second cousin. Let him cheat on me. It’s better to give him his D strength than die of boredom. But when he starts to cast all of these…there’s no way out – you have to stay there and react.

   The magic in 6th edition was definitely much better. Not so effective, but it didn’t take so much time and didn’t break the balance so much. It’s still better in Age of Sigmar, nonetheless it has enough depth and potential.

   Background. Even Games Workshop themselves realize that the story is stagnating too much. The changes of the recent Gathering Storm campaign prove that. Let’s hope that the new edition will add a new dimension to this story. Why not to siedge Terra? Or switch off Astronomicon. Kill some key characters, whom GW doesn’t want to re-issue miniatures. Well, among all, it’s the easiest thing to do.

   So, let’s hope that Games Workshop can learn on their own mistakes, they’ve accumulated all the best ideas and the 8th edition will bring real improvement. And don’t be afraid of sigmarisation. As you can see, it’s not that bad. Besides, GW’s policy is getting better these days. What do you think?