A guest post today, from James, owner of the rather nice looking Exorcists Space Marine Chapter and Grey Knights that generally prove to be the righteous thorn in the chaotic side of my Word Bearers Legion.
Hi James, here.
After managing to get quite a few games of 7th edition in since release and even attend a couple of ‘tournaments’ at my local games store, I thought I would also share my 7 thoughts on 7th Edition.
1. Too soon? Games Workshop has continued the release rate that began when 6th edition shipped not much more than 2 years ago. To my surprise, as each month went by, a new army codex was either released or teased for upcoming release. I became hopeful that after so many years (I have been playing since third-fourth) we would finally see a comprehensive edition cycle where every army got a collective update/do-over. Even more surprising was the advent of a whole new edition and my hopes of that comprehensive edition cycle were dashed. This hasn’t been a bad thing although it was a tad dissappointing and it has become more glaringly apparent that ‘business decisions’ (whether or not I agree with them, and they are a business after all) have won out over ‘game/product integrity’.
2. Change is as good as a holiday. Indeed, however not much has really changed and in many ways this is 6th Ed plus. Which I do not mind at all. Both editions of the game have been written to show the framework of game construction in mind. Many scoffed at the ‘Forging the Narrative’ byline in 6th Ed but the concept has been solidified more directly in 7th Ed. More and more tools for creating the game you want to play along with full colour shiny story telling in all the books as well as showing off the models that are still top grade quality in an ever increasing miniatures market.
3. All the toys! Speaking of that, one of the main changes to this edition is the concept of Unbound armies. Play with the models you like/have in whatever combination (with some minor limitations) so you can actually use those 4 flyers you painted but never get to use except in big organised games. I really like this idea, and even though it is open to abuse (which honestly, practically every game is anyway) there are some balancing measures in place that work for the most part. It assists players with a more defined framework for creating those cool narrative battles you always wanted.
4. Tilt that see-saw yo. As far as balancing goes, I feel that with the tidying up of special rules, the relative subtleties involved with most of them and the sprinkling of them liberally throughout all of the updated army books, some reasonable balancing has been attained. This is more evident when looked at through a lens of reasonable army list building, so I must admit some bias there. I also don’t tend to go Easter egg hunting through rulebooks. Although there are sometimes whacky interactions, there is usally a qualifying special rule, or statement in a special rule that sorts it out. The layout of the new rulebook really helps with this too.
5. There is no spoon. The new psychic phase is one other major change. For those familiar with Warhammer Fantasy battles, it works pretty much like the magic phase. This change is another that I like. Uber psykers tended to run rampant in previous editions with the most powerful psychic powers being buff type spells and with little to no resistance to their casting other than hoping the cast fails. Blessings are still some of the best powers but they are more difficult to actually cast now and have added risk with the revamped Perils of the Warp. The opponent also has a chance to deny these powers too. A slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.
6. My center is yielding. My right is retreating. Situation excellent. I am attacking.
Another interesting addition to the rules is the new Maelstrom missions. Utilising the new Tactical Objective cards (also represented in the rulebook with a D66 table) these are 6 new missions to play that emphasise table objectives over straight up deathmatches. With ongoing and changing objectives throughout the game putting an intersting layer on top of the existing game. Those of us moderately creative types have been doing this sort of thing before anyway (much like Unbound amries) but it is nice for it to feel like an official part of the game.
7. What is next? Whilst not explicitly defined, but becoming more evident is the redefining of armies as Factions and Detachments, and unit entries as Dataslates. On first glance it seems quite innocuous but the foundation for modular game expansion has been laid. Finding unique units in either White Dwarf (generally either promo for upcoming codex release or as exclusive random units) or in Campaign books/boxes (eg. Sanctus Reach campaign) there are more eays to add in unique or characterful units and formations as attachments to your existing armies. I may yet use the new models in the Stormclaw box as a small contingent for my Cadian army. Either as regular Space Wolves or as the character units from the campaign book. Freedom of choice!
And with that, in summary ‘Freedom of Choice’ seems to be the catchcry of this edition.