Following some mysterious trailers and the promise of the 24th of May being a significant release date in the Warhammer 40,000 schedule there are now some leaked White Dwarf images for us to pore over and, judging by the state of Twitter, get in a bit of a tizzy over.
You’ve no doubt seen them already, but just in case you haven’t, here they are:
Much of the furore has been around the comments surrounding the Force Organisation Chart which, apparently, can FOC off in the new edition (it’s called ‘Battle-forged now anyway), if you want it to with the introduction of what are described as ‘unbound’ armies. Of course lots of ‘jumping to conclusions’ has inevitably ensued. We do like to have a good cathartic rage out about these things don’t we? I remember when flyers were the death of 40K, then it was lord of war choices, etc. etc. – judging by the sales of Imperial Knights and
Imperial Guard Astra Militarum models, there are plenty of people out there still enjoying playing the game… Still I digress, battle-forged/unbound is the point under discussion here.
For me, whatever the end result of armies appearing on the tabletop, most of the internet is missing the big picture here, Games Workshop has just handed all 40K players and tournament organisers a ridiculously easy way to restrict some of the crazier combinations that the unbound choices may allow (it’s important to note that unlike some people have been suggesting, this will not lead to armies of 20 riptides rushing at you and all you get is some poxy ‘bonus’ for being battle-forged – unit count restrictions and NEW allies restrictions will still need to be considered). How so, I hear you ask. Well, it goes like this. You are arranging a game with a friend and you say “are we playing battle-forged or unbound armies?”, your friend replies “I fancy battle-forged this time”, you say “OK”. Job done. Tournament organisers can follow the same approach, simply stating “Battle-forged lists only”, if they wish. That’s all I’ve got to say on it before I actually see some proper rules from the actual rule book, but it feels to me as though Games Workshop might have handed us an easy way to choose whether we want to play normal or crazy-ass 40K and to state that clearly before any game we play.
There’s a new allies matrix promised as well, which I think could be one of the more interesting additions in this edition, as it gives GW a chance to tidy up some of the mismatched advantages that some allied forces obtained in 6th, and which were the bane of many a tournament player in recent times. Obviously we don’t have any details yet, but I’m hoping that allied forces as a whole will be less beneficial to both sides of the ally relationship, especially with the new psychics phase in play (I can see a shift towards Warhammer Fantasy ally rules coming), but we shall see.
Magic Psychic phase
It also appears that we’ve got a brand new (or not so new, depending on how long you’ve played 40K for) dedicated psychics phase, utilising the tried and trusted approach found in Warhammer. The more astute amongst have already suggested that this is an example of ‘rules alignment’ to encourage, in the same vein as Privateer Press do with their Warmachine/Hordes formats, cross fertilisation between Games Workshop’s two main games. There’s also the promise of two new disciplines available to all (except Tyranids, who as we all know don’t mess around with the warp for their psychics): Daemonology. It sounds as though the two flavours it has ‘Santic’ and ‘Malefic’ may have a banishment/summoning mechanic within them and the side bar that you can’t quite read in the second image tells the tale of a Space Marine Librarian, reduced to his final wound and desperate to turn back the Tyranid tide, summons forth a Bloodthirster to do his bidding… Now I know to many this is anathema to the way of the Space Marine, but (and it’s a big but), don’t forget that the current trend in 40K is about the narrative, and there are plenty of novels and bits of fluff around that describe desperate times being the downfall of many a Space Marine on their fall to chaos.
Millions of tictacs!
We’re all getting minty fresh breath! Oh, wait, no I got that wrong again. Tactics. They’re changing through the introduction of Tactical Objective cards alongside the standard missions we know and love and it looks like we’ll about to get about a billion (or so) options based on the myriad of combinations that they offer. This feels like a bit of a gift to tournament organisers to me (yes, I said it, GW helping out tournaments!) as tournaments often use secret objectives and so on to spice up the standard missions and this way they can draw those from a pool of well-established and universally understood options, rather than thinking up their own, trying to word them in an easy to understand way and explain them to players, etc. It will also mean that people will be less resentful of the in-game effect that secret missions or tournament objectives can have, as they’ll be standard fare and everyone will be used to playing with them in hand and being on the look out for the ones their opponent might be attempting to achieve.
Lucky number 7?
Anyway, those are my ramblings on what’s now known about what is (almost certainly) definitely Warhammer 40,000 7th edition. I’m enthused for it all (I’m a fairly enthusiastic chap in general when it comes to hobby, to be honest!) and I’m looking forward to the 24th to get my sticky mits on the latest edition of 40K. There’s obviously change afoot, but my impression thus far is that it’s change to allow narrative gamers to play even more narratively (I’m sure that’s a real word) and tournament players to have more established ways to standardise their games. Of course we don’t actually know anything yet, and that’s important to bear in mind, but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful!