If you’re the kind of gamer that doesn’t like a bad word said about the GW then read no further, because I’m in the mood for a moan…
As we creep ever closer to 2012 and the 6th Edition release of Warhammer 40,000 I’ve got to say that the rumours flying about regarding the changes to the rules leave me a little anxious for my future enjoyment of the game. Unlike many, I really liked the dramatic change when 3rd Edition came out back in 1998. It turned a game that was cool, but laborious in many ways into something cooler but far slicker.
However, all the stuff I’ve heard about 6th edition smacks, to me, of trying to fix the rule set that was broken by games writers who were allowed to push things too far in the most recent codex rewrites. Force organisation, it seems, is going back to percentages which at first I thought would be a good thing, but will actually allow more abuse than the current ‘slot’ system and overwhelmingly benefit cheaper armies.
The rumours surrounding movement and shooting seem to be adding more complications to a game mechanic that already uses probability and chance. And all in the name of making it more cinematic. But it’s not cinematic if it slows rate of play.
I think it boils down to the Games Workshop wanting to turn 40k in Epic, hell-bent, as they are, to recreate the epicness of the novels and background on the 40k gaming board, with bigger models and more outlandish, and some would say excessive, special rules. Ironically, the great thing about Epic is that the core rules do with the work and special rules are only used when necessary. So I would argue that a rather more obvious solution would be to support Epic properly. A sensible campaign mechanic, tied in with Planetary Empires and 40k would actually generate more revenue for the money conscious company as players would be collecting two armies, as well as purchasing extra tiles so the campaign would grow as momentum built. Plus with the huge leap forward the GW has made with the digital sculpting, they could make some pretty sexy new models.
It feels like they’ve become fixated with developing codices burgeoning with special rules desperate to reflect every ounce of background on the board. Which would be fine as I’m crazy passionate about the background of games, but it’s being done only to cause insane levels of damage, rather than demonstrate the individuality of the armies. And why? Because units that can wipe out an opponent’s units with a single strike mean you need more units to deal with them. Which means bigger armies. Which means more money. And it’s being packaged like they’re doing us a favour by making us double the size of our forces to off set the bonkers amount of damage being dished out.
Don’t get me wrong, big armies are cool. I have two companies of Ultramarines which is about 8,000 and something points. But I chose to collect that much, the game mechanic or beardy special rules didn’t force me to it. And nor should it. And recently it feels like Fantasy & 40k games are turning into little more than two army-sized delivery systems for one or two incredibly sad, rule laden, units and/or character that will utterly annihilate the opposing force on their own.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ll most likely buy the new rulebook when it comes out but I can see myself going back to 5th Edition and it’ll be another step along a wargaming path that has no Games Workshop in it at all. Which saddens me quite a lot.