The 24th of May 2014 sees the release of a much anticipated, much hyped, incredibly Chinese whispered and highly decisive launch of 40k version 7 (or 6.5 to some).
Some basic info before going any further: First off as a gamer, I am coming to the 6th edition party as the cleaners are sweeping up the floor, so all of my thoughts are based on things other than gaming experience of this edition (more on that later). Secondly, Games Workshop have historically run the reboot/re-release schedule of their main games systems on roughly a four year cycle, delivering changes, new codecs and some unit changes for every army through that span. At a point a slow down begins, issues with rules get corrected ‘or not’ through a FAQ process online and the game world moves along until the 4 year marker comes around and when it all begins again.
Why all the who ha?
Well two things. Firstly, the most surprising thing about version 7 is that it arrives 2 years into the established cycle, which prompted a lot of internet buzz about the motivations behind the timing as well as the potential changes and impacts a full new boxed set of models and gaming system might bring. The vacuum created from the initial lack of information drove some really interesting ideas to the front and since then a steady trickle of unofficial rumors have slowly concentrated into the information that was released by GW over the last few weeks.
The second is the potential impact on gamers, especially the growing tournament circuits across the globe. GW have done something that I can see as a ploy to increase sales but I can also see has come from the hearts of being gamers themselves. They have created a direct split in how you can chose to field your armies and introduced a new series of missioned types that will change the way the game is played but more on this later.
“Come in number 6, your time is up”…
So as the 6th goes of into retirement to play shuffle board with the specialist games and it’s predecessors, was it really all that bad, did it need to be put out to pasture so soon?
I will honestly say that I have only played a handful of games of 6th edition and those games were for fun and minor bragging rights between two good friends so I can’t give a deep opinion on the pros and cons of the system but it was ok. Bear in mind that I am a WHFB player, so jumping to a game with universal fixed movement for every model and things like running in the shooting phase was kind of alien to me but I had fun none the less.
I have to leave my thoughts on 6th up to the Internet and what I have seen and read since coming back in to the gaming life. Basically 6th has increased the Super lists of deathstar units being the standard win at all costs entires at tournaments and gaming clubs, and the lack of balance in a game that has never been made for balance but for selling a product has gotten bigger and seems to be the biggest bugbears of 6th for taking the fun out of the game. Honestly I think it’s a proportionally small number of voices that have been raising these issues but that doesn’t mean they should be discounted yet it does highlight another issue for another day – sportsmanship.
So what’s on the horizon?
Well like i said, there are some major shifts coming in 7th and I am really looking forward to them. Here is Jervis Johnson from GW explaining what’s happening.
Unbound and Battled forged armies opening up and rewarding different types of play.
A dedicated psychic phase
New mission types
Honestly I think this has the potential to even out a few of the issues that have come up from previous editions and should be a big step forward. In my eyes having unbound armies available can add another layer to tournament play with the hope of seeing some of the more win at all costs players heading in that direction whilst the battle forged armies will have a way of winning on points over some of the heavier lists as well.
The bigger thing I see is the potential for the fluff players like myself being able to tell a story of your army’s exploits of heroism. Multiple objectives through out the game lend to a more cinematic style of play and for story’s in the pub afterwards. These are just top layer thoughts but I can’t wait to get some games in as soon as possible.
Now we are only a few days before the actual launch happens and the pre release orders hit door mats and then the learning curve will come before the first reviews hit the wires but here’s hoping it’s lucky number 7 this time.