Sunday, 21 May 2017

Target Prioritisation: Looking beyond the New Hammer 40K Rules

Welcome back to the Vault faithful readers. Something a little more philosophical for this post, but fear not I'll throw in a few pictures as a bonus, as the hobby and gaming fun continues.

If you are involved in the wargaming hobby you will no doubt be aware of the upcoming new 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 and of the social media campaign that the Games Workshop staff have been running.  This has had a hugely positive response from the 40K online community, and is I hope a good sign for the rule set itself. Because the ramifications of these rules go well beyond what model moves when and what the 6 on the dice means.

Stay on Target

What does that actually mean?

In simplistic terms this new edition is a golden opportunity to grow the 40K player base. Within our local community (and by that I mean the club) 40K has been in the doldrums over recent years; our numbers have been dwindling. In 2007 the Mayhem tournament had 15 teams of 3 to 5 players in attendance, in 2017 we had 18 players total. And a number of those former players have cited the rule sets as being one of the main factors as to why they have stopped playing:
  • Allied Forces (either shoring faction weaknesses, or abusive combo building)
  • Codex Imbalances (we are looking at you Craftworld Eldar)
  • Broken Formations (Free Units, abusive special rules or unit combinations)
As to why we haven't seen many new players take up 40K at the club, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's rules complexity; even a single Chapter Space Marine force can use 2 faction books, before even considering allies in a force. 

So I want a ruleset that can get new players in through the door, and tempt the veterans back. Not much huh?

You're in the Guard now scrub!
Games Workshop have been trading on a massive wave of nostalgia recently, and it has been going down really well with the grognards:
  • Genestealer Cult in 40K
  • Shadow War Armageddon (re-skinned Necromunda)
And of course the insanely popular Bloodbowl. This game is getting so much table time at the club it is nuts.
Dwarves vs Skaven. Goooo Ratties!
All of which means a lot of the players are paying more attention to what is going on in 40K land. And high on the wish list discussion wise has been "please give us a balanced rule set", which ties up nicely with a great aid to getting new players on board: provide a simplified rule set". 

But remember simple does not necessarily mean balanced.  This is going to be an interesting balancing act (unintentional pun) to pull off!

There are three forms of play being provided; open, narrative and matched. I'm really keen to see which formats will be embraced locally (although I have my suspicions as to which will be the most popular...)

One of the messages that has been coming through load and clear from GW's social media engagement has been a re-balancing of the units and factions, with the design aim that all models will be viable on the table top.  This is a bold claim, and truth be told, until we have the rules in our hands and can play the game for ourselves we won't know if it holds water. 

However given the ever present tone is EVERYTHING IS AMAZING AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED, I'm keeping plenty of salt near by. But  I *really* want my Dark Eldar Wyches to not be awful any more!

Don't believe the hype!
Games Workshop have engaged Frontline Gaming (organisers of the ITC tournaments in the US) in play testing, and given the commitment to providing a "living rule book" approach to balancing forces in the future this really bodes well!

So to summarize there will be rules that some players will like that other players will dislike and vice versa. To a certain degree that's a bit irrelevant compared to the bigger picture; Games Workshop have been earning our trust with recent releases and community engagement, and they are now asking us to place that trust in them in earnest in the lead up to a brave new Grim Dark future.  We the players have to temper our enthusiasm with a dose of realism so as not to be disappointed. 

I wish GW and 40K well and hope to be rolling dice against a lot more faces (new and old) in the future!


If you are still with me, thanks for reading my ramblings so far.  I did promise you some actual hobby and gaming material as well, so here are the Cliff Notes. Since Mayhem I've managed:

  • An introductory game of Frostgrave with my good friend Matthijs who visited all the way from Belgium to get his Space Wolves arses's kicked at Mayhem. 
  • Playing around with some really quick paint jobs on some of the new pre-primed D&D miniatures, which are either clear plastic or grey primed with Vallejo. I've been quite impressed with them, as they have taken the paint and washes with no problem. The details on the faces are a bit soft but they are dirt cheap (like 3 quid for a 2 or 3 model blister) and will make great mobs for D&D and Frostgrave.

Clear plastic (L), Primed Plastic (R)

Banshee, Nilakh Oxide over the clear plastic

Followed by some blue wash and white dry brush
Gargoyles, Grey base coat with lighter dry brushes

Minimal highlights to finish
  • Our regular D&D monthly game. Mad fireball flinging Derro and a paladin munching Gibbering Mouther included.
  • Followed up by the regular 40K session. My Dark Eldar faced off against Paul's Space Marine Grav Spam list whilst Duncan's Space Wolves battled against Dave's Iron Warriors. (For the record the Imperials had a bad day... win for the Space Pixies and Chaos)
Dark Eldar Muster
Pepper the Marines with Poison

Popped the Rhino, now trying to cap the contents

Pups and Iron Baddies face off

That Rhino had a bad day

I think the day got worse

Yep definitely worse!
Thanks for reading as always and catch you next time. There may be time for one more game of 7th ed!

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