One of the big things we started seeing with 40K 6th edition was codex supplements. You know, those small bolt-on books (though they cost the same damn price as a full codex), that added some flavor and options to an army. We’re talking Black Legion, Clan Raukaan, Iyanden and the like. They started trailing off at the end of 6th and we have not seen one released with 7th edition at all.
Honestly, I’m completely fine with this. First of all, as noted above, they weren’t cheap and mostly you were buying fluff. The rules were mostly covered on 2-3 pages (if that). I’m all for fluff. It’s one of the things I enjoy the most about 40K and what sets is apart from so many other gaming systems. However, I do not want to spend $50 on it when I can buy fluff in a $7.99 Black Library paperback book. Second, while the flavorful (usually), injections into the primary codex were interesting, it wasn’t worth having a separate book for. You got some new artefacts, a special rule or two and often some slight modifications to some units. Sound like something else? What the $50 codex supplement used to do is now covered in formations with 7th edition. Almost the same thing at no extra cost to you.
I’ve also noticed a distinct lack of dataslates. Going by the Black Library site, where you can buy dataslates, the last release was December 2014. We got some dataslates under 7th edition but very few compared to those released under 6th. Remember the advent calendar in 2013? Holy hell did they push out dataslates that month. Dataslates, though far more affordable than supplements, also fall into the category of having been replaced by formations in 7th edition. We got a few dataslates introducing new models, like Be’Lakor and Cypher, but most were formations.
Let’s not forget Escalation. It was the only way before 7th edition to get a Lord of War into your army. Now, Lords of War are part of your codex. Speaking of, Eternal Wargamer has a great article on how 40K is Epic.
So, here we are at 7th edition and when you think about it, things have become far more streamlined than the clusterfuck that 6th was. No more buying supplements to flesh out your codex. No need to buy dataslates to get cool formations for your army. You don’t have to buy a separate book just to get the one Lord of War you care about. Everything you really need is part of your codex now. It’s become less a cash grab by GW (on the required materials needed to play anyway), and collectors nightmare it had become. Sure, we have more codices now – more new armies, but that’s where it stops. No trying to keep up on all the released addons for all those armies and for that I’m thankful.
What do you think? Is 7th edition a step forward or backwards?