Tomorrow poor Mister Postie will be lugging an awful lot of very heavy boxes to the front doors of a lot very over excited geeks.
I am, of course, referring to the release of the much-anticipated and much debated 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000.
In addition to crippling postal workers across the globe (Dark Imperium weighs a stonking 2.5kg), the new edition of 40k is about to change the game and the background in some very dramatic ways.
Anyone who follows the Warhammer Community page on the Facebooks will no doubt have seen the rule changes, the new – erection inducing – Primaris Space Marines and the galaxy map showing how royally fucked the Imperium is.
In the same way that Age of Sigmar rewrote (read erased) the Warhammer Fantasy universe, 8th edition Warhammer 40,000 is about to do something similar to the canon we know and love.
For new gamers this is no big deal. Total novices will enter Warhammer 40,000 with the galaxy already looking like someone spilt ink on a picture from Hubble. Or they’re new enough that the universe doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to more experienced gamers.
For us venerable old war dogs who have invested countless hours learning about the background – and 7 previous rule sets – we’re about to feel more like old dogs given new tricks.
That’s not to the say that the changes aren’t exciting (I actually knew about a lot of this for some time but more on that another day). I’m really pleased that the story is finally moving on and the freedom that can bring for narrative game play as well as future novels.
However, the background that I’ve spent the last 28 years learning is amazing and really rather precious to me so it seems a shame to cast out my old codices and supplements just because the rules aren’t relevant any more.
For me the background serves as a prologue for everything that comes next. Games Workshop have already stated that the previous books are still relevant from a background perspective.
The Gathering Storm books are especially worth hanging on to as they detail a lot of what’s referenced in the new book. Reading those before diving into the new edition will no doubt answer a lot of questions for the veterans gamers taking the leap from 7th to 8th.
I’m a little late to that party if I’m honest so let’s just acknowledge the fact that I turned up at all.
But there’s a few really simple reasons why the old codices and other books are worth keeping:
The Background is (in most cases) Really Good
The background has always been what made 40k and so walking away from that just seems crazy to me.
Change is good (you may as well embrace it because you’ve got no choice) but so is the journey so keeping a record is well worth it.
They give 8th Edition Context
The old source materials – particularly books like The Wrath of Magnus of the Gathering Storm trilogy – help to ground the new fluff so being able to refer back to that will be helpful.
Plus according to a few sources there’s some easter eggs in the background that allude to all the mental shit that goes down. Finding them is proper nerdy fun.
The Books were Expensive
Let’s not kid ourselves, the rules, codices and supplements represent a significant investment.
I don’t begrudge that investment because a codex, per use, works out as one of the best value books you can own but that doesn’t mean you should just bin them every 5 years.
7th Edition isn’t Dead
As far as I can tell, the Horus Heresy will still be using the 7th Edition mechanic so there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t throw in some Orks or Eldar into your HH games.
We know the Imperium tussles with the other races of the galaxy before everything goes tits. To be honest, I’d love to see some games along those lines but I appreciate it would rather dilute the concept.
I cannot wait for my copy of 8th edition, or for the new Indexes or the new models. I’m excited to see where this is all headed and how many Primarchs will be returning to the fold.
But I’m also going to be looking back and marvelling at how far it’s all come and just how much fun it was getting there.