It’s getting closer. Are you looking forward to it? Am I? You know I am. Yes, Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition is just a few days away from landing on the shelves, and I for one am excited. Not only that, I feel that I already know so much about the game, that I’m genuinely eager to play it. And that’s what I want to talk about now – the benefits of knowing a game before you play it.
Think about it like this; You’re new to a country or community and one day your friends invite you to play a game. It’s a local game called, I dunno, ‘Dooperball’. You like playing games and meeting people, so you agree to come along. When you get there, you find that Dooperball looks like a bizarre combination of Rugby, Monopoly, Chess and Water Polo. There are a billion and one things going on and you have no idea what any of them are. You give it a go, and make a lot of mistakes but you carry on. And then, a couple of years later, when you’ve got your head around playing Dooperball, your mate says ‘We’ve updated Dooperball’s rules!’ and everyone else has read them except you, and you find out that it’s more of a cross between American Football, Scrabble, Checkers and Synchronised Swimming. Similar, but different, and it feels like you’re learning it all over again, and by the time you master it, another new set of rules come out.
That’s what Warhammer 40,000 used to be like. You’d get good, get your army list set how you liked it, and then a new edition (or even just a new codex) would come out and change all of that. Well, no more.
In yet another example of GW opening up and talking to their fans and the community is the fact that 8th Edition has been play tested by external players who have a better understanding of what the people want. And on top of that, we heard all about it long before release. Articles about each faction, interviews with designers and a steady stream of information about all the changes have allowed us to ready ourselves and, dare I say it, look forward to the changes to come. You can even go into your local GW store and have a game right now! It’s like we’re goldfish and, very thoughtfully, they left us in the bag before tipping us into the tank, allowing us time to adjust and not suffer a goldfish-heart-attack (or whatever happens to them).
And of course, just as Rogue Trader borrowed from Oldhammer Fantasy way back when, 40k 8th has borrowed heavily from AoS. I won’t profess to being an expert in AoS having only played a handful of games, but it’s a much better system for someone like me in comparison to the old WFB system. And what’s more, it hasn’t made it like for like – there are some subtle differences that very much retain the feel of 40k, and 8th Ed looks like it’s taken the very best bits of AoS that make the game genuinely fun and enjoyable to play, while still keeping it challenging. This is not AoS – It’s 40k that nods to a system that has surprised many by how popular it is.
On top of all of that, Games Workshop has been working with other content producers to help get the word out there, while using its own Twitch channel to further give people plenty of insight. At the moment, I’m loving watching the guys from MiniWarGaming get to grips with their factions and test out the games. We’re getting some insight into tactics, but not the full breakdown – it’s revealing while still being enticing. It’s a classic marketing tactic and I’m thrilled that GW are using it, because my interest is growing with every round of gaming that I see.
Now I’ll confess; 7th Ed passed me by. I got in a couple of games, but I didn’t play nearly as often as I did with 6th, or even 5th. I just never had the desperate urge to play it. But now, I’m actually thinking that I could become much more of a gamer. I might even push myself to enter a tournament at some point. I’m not coming into this like a Dooperball noob – I already feel like I know pretty much what I’ll be playing, and I’ve got the basic rules lodged in my head. And that is a nice feeling.
So here is my declaration to you – I will be playing more games of 40k this edition, and any that I do play, you’ll hear about here. And GW deserve a lot of credit for that pledge and attitude because of their own attitude. The openness is refreshing, and it’s got me very excited for the new edition. And that seems ti be true for many – not all of course, and many have their gripes, both legitimate concerns and not. To those people, I would urge them to wait and see – I think it’s going to be a good game. And if you hate it, no-one’s stopping you from playing 7th. But I, for one, can’t wait. With excitement; Onwards!