Hey guys. There is of course only one thing to talk about today: 9th edition 40k.
I’m going to begin by eating my words. Around a month ago I published an article discussing what 9th might look like, what changes we might expect, and when we could expect it. In that article, I wrote the following: “While development on new products will probably continue, the likelihood of GW actually releasing a product as important as a new edition of their flagship game is unlikely.”
Well, that turned out to be more than a little wrong.
This release is a big move for Games Workshop. If this new edition is released before, say, the end of June, GW will be releasing their flagship product in a global economy that will be just beginning to get back on its feet.
GW relies on its customers having a reasonable amount of disposable income in order to afford their products. If the UK economy begins to come back to life next month, it will be a good while before the UK returns to the strong employment levels that we had before the pandemic. This means that fewer of GW’s customers will have reliable, consistent disposable income.
However, GW did open up its online store at the end of last month, and from those sales figures, the bigwigs have probably predicted that even with the current state of the economy, we still want our toy soldiers.
Releasing 9th edition at this time is a risk. Let’s hope it pays off.
But let’s talk about the announcement itself.
Put simply, I think that GW knocked it out of the park. The opening cinematic was excellent. The portrayal of gauss weaponry as armor- and flesh-flaying death rays was particularly creepy. The battle sister praying her wounds away was very cool. And the Primaris Marines replete with long-awaited chainswords were the icing on the cake.
Moreover, we saw some great additions to the pseudo-dead ranks of the Necrons. The latest article on Warhammer Community goes into detail on some of the new releases for the Primaris Marines and the servants of the Silent King, as well as providing an image depicting what is presumably the entirety of the new Necron range. Needless to say, some of the models on display look absolutely fantastic.
What do we think of the new logo? I’m going to be honest: I’m not a fan. And as many people pointed out in the live Twitch chat on Saturday afternoon, the text itself wasn’t quite centered, with the ‘R’ on the right overflowing the box. This is a pretty minor oversight, all things considered, but you’d think that the graphics team would’ve cleaned it up. But hey, nobody’s perfect.
But the logo as a whole? To me, it looks a little too childish. There’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on, and overall I think it’s a step down from the classic.
So what do we know about the new edition so far? I’m sure you’ve all seen this cracking video with everyone’s favorite tabletop gaming mascot, James Workshop. If not, it’s a teaser of the new rules that we’ve got to look forward to in the new edition. Let’s go over a few of the more interesting items.
We’re getting more command points: “Expect less soup and more super soldiers.” Not only is that a great line, but it handily hits on something that a lot of players have been demanding for a good couple of years: have single-faction forces reward more command points. This would be a great incentive to avoid that tasty soup in favor of pure, single-faction warfare. Will such an incentive be enough to put an end to some of the more popular recipes that we’ve seen throughout 8th edition? I’m a little skeptical, but we’ll soon find out one way or the other.
Tanks can now shoot in combat. I think most of us knew that this one was coming. And it makes sense. It’s going to be tough for Harlequins player who will no longer be able to zip up the board and tag a couple or three Leman Russ tanks, and of course it’s going to be brilliant for Militarum players whose most powerful offensive asset just became more powerful.
And what’s more, it makes logical sense. Let’s be clear: I’m not advocating that 40k needs to make logical sense. In fact, one of the great aspects of 40k is its absurdity. The Exorcist tank, for example, is a church organ on wheels that fires rockets from the organ’s pipes. This is patently absurd, but it’s also cool as all hell. An Ork Grot sliding up to an Astra Militarum battle tank, hitting it on the treads a couple of times with a big Ork choppa and therefore entirely negating its ability to fire is also patently absurd, but it’s not at all cool. One of these things we should keep; the other we should remove.
The rules for terrain are also going to change. Again, this is something that we’ve all been going on about for a couple of years. The current terrain rules are too simple, so any additions to spice things up a bit are a good thing in my book. I would imagine that such changes may take us away from true line of sight rules to something a little more abstract, but that would be a small price to pay for interesting updates in this area. Indeed, we’re going to see particular bonuses for defending buildings, and we’ll be able to sneak up on our enemies using terrain to block line of sight. This is the one area that I’m particularly interested in. As as T’au player, we need to make sure those burst cannons keep on spinnin’.
It also looks as though we’ll be returning to reserves rules that allow units to enter play from a particular board edge. Previous editions of the game have employed similar rules, so this isn’t anything new as such, but, again, there’s plenty of scope for positive change in this area of the game.
And finally, GW mentioned something that we’ve all wanted for years. How can we go on lugging our numerous codex and rules books to games? How are they going to deal with edition bloat? Well, a dedicated 40k app would do just the trick. Having all of your faction’s rules on your phone is exactly what this game needs.
And what’s more, they put all of this together during a global pandemic. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Bravo, GW.
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