Come take a walk with me down ‘memory’ lane as we take a look at the many books needed to play this game, and what the future of 40k Rules could be (some may argue should be)
Remember back in the day, when if you wanted to play an army you needed 1,702 different books, supplements and FAQ’s? Spending more time looking up rules than playing? Getting caught off-guard by your opponent whipping out a supplement you had not even heard of and making units act in very different ways. It was great. Then 8th Edition came out and did away with all this. First we had the Big Rule Book (BRB) and the Indexes. Only two books needed to play. So sad. Then, Codex’s came out, slowly at first, but pretty soon every army had one. We also got told that if there was not an option in the codex, that was in the Index, we could still use it if we followed this flow chart
Soup became more popular, as codex’s helped shore up weakness of each other codex’s – at least for those with the option to soup (Sorry Tau and Necrons). Soup encouraged more books too! A typical Ynnari player could easily have the BRB (1), Asuranyi Codex (2), Drukari Codex (3), Xenos Index (4), and maybe a Harlequin Codex too (5)! That was 5 books now for one army – not too shabby.
Not long after, Vigilus came out to give us more options, and everyone loves options (Sorry Tau and Necrons – none for you).
The new Space Marine 2.0 Codex was just a straight update over the old one, but now they have supplements too. An Imperial Fist player may be looking at the BRB (1) Vigilus Defiant (2), the SM ‘dex (3), Imp Fist Supplement (4), and maybe November’s White Dwarf to add in an inquisitor (5). That is 5 publications for one detachment. Oh – and don’t forget their FAQ’s. Hopefully that player is running pure and not souping…
All joking aside, we are starting to see a very real rules bloat again. It feels as if this is a natural part of the game of Warhammer we all know and love. Yet this literal book keeping can really start to weigh the hobby down.
I believe I have made my point. The Publication Bloat (or rules bloat) is getting out of hand. Now – as I see it, there are three options. First – continue on as things are. Second – stop making new things….
Ok, I lied, there are only two options.
Continue on as thing are (Status Quo), or go to a digital subscription service.
It is this last option I would like to discuss today.
Several different people have floated this idea of a subscription service. There are already digital rules available, over at Wahmmerdigital.com. However, as my understanding goes, these are not updated with the new FAQ’s, points changes etc. I would like to see three tiers of products available.
- First, the static rules as they are published version we get now. This is for people who don’t mind using the different FAQ’s, chapter approved etc. For these people, nothing is changing. Physical books are still printed, and these digital books are sold as is. No updates provided unless bought as a one-off upgrade.
- Second, is the Living Rules of each codex. You buy a Codex, and you also purchase the subscription for that codex – lets call it $3.99 a month for a single codex or $9.99 for 3 or more bundled (please note I am completely making these numbers up and they have no actual bearing on any business plan or model). What this gets you is that any updates to that codex is automatically updated within your digital version. If the wording on a stratagem changes, then your version matches it. Points increase, then your version changes to the new cost. Sure, you are paying a monthly subscription on something that may not get an update but three times a year (currently). This would allow for more frequent updates and more finely tuned rules, as well as the convenience of not tracking down multiple rules sources.
- Finally, there is the Ultimate Edition. This nets you every codex, supplement, and all their support. Call it $69.99 (again, making numbers up!). I know many people who would budget out this much or more for all the rules each month. Some month they may get rules they don’t care about, but overall they have access to all of them.
Now, I am not an app designer, nor do I fully know how much work would go into this. What I do know, is it is 2019, almost 2020. There are systems out there and people with the knowledge and expertise. I also believe there is a market for this. Games workshop is obviously doing something right lately, as evidenced by their stocks . However, I truly believe offering a digital subscription service would help push them even further. Not to mention the benefit it would have for gamers and Tournament Organizers. The last feature I feel this would need is a very good and powerful search feature. Being able to search for “Master Crafted Auto Bolt Rifle” and see every unit that can take it, the relics that replace it, the rules for it, and its points as a search feature would be lovely.
Hopefully this is something Games Workshop hears from many people and is seriously considering themselves – because my back is getting sore from all these books.
Thanks for reading, and happy Wargaming!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!