I feel by this point that 40K 8th edition has had time to air. It no longer has the airtight cellophane wrapper on it, the pages are getting worn, and that new book smell has vanished. So, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on 8th so far and see what you all think.
As always, this is the opinion of a non-competitive fluffy type. I’m not up on the netlists rocking the ITC scene or anything, only what I’ve seen and experienced.
The Core Rules
I really don’t have any major gripes with the core rules. In fact, the rules are damn near perfect in my opinion. Gone is the clutter of special rules, grey areas, exception after exception, etc. The rules are neat and tight under 8th and I like it.
There are, however, some problems I have.
Games Workshop is having us play test beta rules for Smite, so the issue is being addressed. The issue being nothing new to anyone playing 8th, just that Smite spam is a thing and it’s terribly dull.
What GW is testing is introducing a penalty of -1 to cast for each successive cast of Smite. So, first cast works on a 5, then 6, 7, 8, etc.
It’s something, but I’m not sure it goes far enough though. However, I will reserve judgement until I see it in action more. At least GW is trying to eliminate the abuse, and I commend them for it.
While Deep Strike as a universal special rule no longer exists, any veteran of 40K knows what I’m talking about. The ability to leave a unit off the table at deployment to be brought in later, and more than 9″ from an enemy unit goes by many names now, but Deep Strike is what I’ll call it.
Deep Striking has become such a powerful feature that it’s used by most. I like the changes to how it works now, but it can be devastatingly brutal. A good list with lots of Deep Striking that gets first turn can lay down some serious pain. Like, so much hurt that their opponent is utterly crippled and the game all but concluded.
I feel that Deep Strike needs a similar penalty to what Games Workshop is testing with Smite. So, your first unit that Deep Strikes has to be more than 9″, the next more than 10″, then 11″, etc. Maybe instead of a 1″ penalty for each successive unit it’s 2″; just something that keeps half the enemy’s army from being on top of you first turn.
Which leads us to…
A game of 8th, as mentioned above, can be over in the first turn. Between Deep Striking, powerful shooting in general, and first turn charges, going second can be defeat before you moved. That’s not fun.
Now, this has no easy answer but there is an answer. My solution wouldn’t happen in 8th, but it’s something I would love to see for 9th edition. My answer? Unit activations.
Unit by unit activation systems aren’t new, and anyone who plays anything other than a GW game will probably know it. So, instead of the whole “you go, I go” system that GW uses, a player performs their actions with a unit, then their opponent does a unit, then back to the first player, etc.
Doing an activation system would remove the potential pounding someone takes without recourse. It allows players to be more active in the game, no waiting 20 minutes for your turn, and allows players to play reactively in the moment. This would also make 40K more tactical than it is.
I could rattle on for a while about how awesome an activation system would be in 40K, but I’ll leave it at that.
This is where things begin to get a bit sideways. As usual, the codices begin nice and smooth then BAM! A codex drops that changes the entire meta of the game. This edition has been no exception, though I’m not going to point fingers to sources as that’s not my intent.
My point here is more of a generalization about codices. I feel that GW really put down some great groundwork with 8th edition. It’s my favorite edition yet. However, I don’t want to see that shit over with codex creep.
I feel that powerful codices are far more easily spotted now that the core rules are so simple. All that complexity removed from the core rules has seemingly been pumped into each codex. While formations and decurions may be gone, between detachments, chapter/legion/hive fleet/whatever rules, unit special rules, relics, and stratagems there’s no shortage for abuse potential.
See, I feel like the GW said, “OK, let’s do a reset,” and they gave us 8th. However, they had second thoughts about it. To me this is most apparent with indexes and codices. I feel that once a codex comes out that whatever that army had in an index is now invalid. If it’s not in the codex then it’s no longer an option, period. I also feel that GW was going to take tow that line too until the community went up in arms about missing stuff. So, they backed down and let us run index options not available in a codex. They chickened out.
Codices are also a sign of their second thoughts on the reset. In short, there’s just some stuff we could do without in the face of the simplified rules of 8th. Instead, stuff has been crammed in, power levels jacked up, and the unbalance is well on its way – in my humble opinion.
Despite what it may sound like, I do like 8th edition. My first handful of games were amazingly fun. It felt like 40K. Yet, lately I’m having a hard time finding the motivation to play it. I’ve never been great at 40K, but I could usually hold my own. At the very least I could have fun. Now though, any slight mistake on my part tends to see my army torn apart and the game wrapped up by turn #3. I’m not enjoying it. Mostly I’ve been playing Blood Bowl and Shadespire.
I have hope though. With Games Workshop’s responsiveness in the community, and willingness to appease the masses, it may just be a matter of time before things get back on track.
Who knows? Maybe it’s just me that’s the problem, not the game?