Any regular reader will have noticed that since Blood Bowl came out I have said very little about Warhammer 40K. I have still been playing 40K, though less frequently. I just haven’t been chatting about it. So, today I figured I’d chat.
I also want to preface this by saying that I don’t complain lightly. Meaning, I’m a positive person, and complaining isn’t something I do for fun and attention.
The Evolution of 7th Edition
I’m not going to go on a long tirade about the game – I still like it, but suffice to say that 7th edition has worn me out. To play a game of 40K these days you need 2-3 source materials for your army (codex, supplement, campaign book, dataslate, etc.), a rulebook, Maelstrom of War cards, psychic power cards, templates, dice, ruler…it’s just endless. Granted, those at the end of the list aren’t new to the game, but just trying to show how much material and preparation the game now requires. It might not seem like a lot of stuff when you’re used to it, but try another game where all you need is a few dice, a handful of models, and a thin rules manual and you’ll see it.
I can live with the extras you have to tote along, it’s not game breaking or anything, just annoying. The thing that has really started getting to me though is the pure free-for-all this game has become. When I got into 40K in 4th edition, the only thing you needed for your army was the codex. That remained true until 6th edition when they began introducing supplements and dataslates. Now, I wasn’t a fan of playing my Orks in 5th edition with a codex that had not been updated since 3rd edition, however, I also didn’t need 5 different books and a White Dwarf to support my army either.
I like that Games Workshop is updating stuff at an amazing rate, but I hate that there is no single source for an army any longer. It seems GW has realized this a bit, and they do push out compilations of sorts, like Traitor Legions. Yet, that seems to only be valid as a compilation for about a month before more new stuff gets released. I seriously can’t drop $60 every few months to get the latest supplement or campaign book for my army to stay up on the newest detachments and formations.
Detachments, Formations and Bloat
With all of this has come some of the most dickheaded lists I have ever seen. I love the concept of detachments and formations, to reward fluffy game play. However, it’s become anything but fluffy game play, and only serves to fuel power gaming nerd boners. The endless possibilities of some of the cheesiest shit possible is abound in the game right now and I hate it.
The game itself has also become too bloated in my opinion. There’s no one thing that’s slowing the game down, but a collection of things that should be trimmed and streamlined. I know there’s mixed feelings on 5th edition, but it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t the fastest version of the game we’ve had. That’s what I hope to see out of 8th edition; it taking the time to optimize the game because it seriously needs it.
All of this coalesces into a very cumbersome game right now. It used to be that I’d play a 1,500 game with around 30 models, and we’d get in 7 turns and be done in 1.5 hours. Often on a Wednesday night (40K night at my FLGS), we’d play 2 games in a night. That is no longer a possibility, and it’s not uncommon to not finish a game before the store closes. I’ve seen pre-game preparations take 20-30 minutes, and psychic phase takes 30 minutes – just the psychic phase! It’s insane. The game keeps getting bigger, and it’s not doing itself any favors by doing so.
While I love 40K, I’m currently not in love with it. The few games I’ve played lately have just not been fun – no offense to any of my opponents reading this. Financially I can’t keep up with the game any longer. Mentally, I don’t care to either. I have a hard time investing my time and money into what 40K has become, and it’s too bad. If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure that Games Workshop can steer this beast back on course either, and that saddens me the most.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel that 7th has grown too big?