Warning – a wall of text is incoming!
You either had to have been cut off from social media or have blocked out any GW related items to have missed the news that a new edition of 40k is on the horizon.
With the recent advancement of the plot line in the gathering storm books, I think we all surmised that it was in the wind and the only question was in what form it would take.
Tangent time: I make no bones of the fact that I went off GW for a while after the destruction of the old world. I had no issue with the advancement of the story per say but my beef foremost was with the fact they made AOS a skirmish game. I also loved the old world setting and all the fluff. I have most, if not all the novels and reread them often, meaning I had a lot of emotional investment in the setting. I also had issues with the company line at the time stating they were a ‘just’ a Miniatures company (I forget the exact comment). The number of rule books and codexes produced seemed to contradict this.
The new CEO has done a lot to improve the position of the company in the customers eyes. The new community team is doing its job well and GW appears to be listening and more importantly acting on feedback (whilst still looking after the profit line of course – they are after all a plc with shareholders to answer to). Even before the launch of the new edition they have an FAQ out and whilst it doesn’t answer all questions and skirts around a few key issues, is something the company wouldn’t have even bothered with a few years ago.
Tangent aside, in the last two years I’ve tried to get into 40k but struggled to do so. This was in part down to a number of reasons but in the main it was:
Rules – they are vast requiring many different books to get access to them all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I liked this ‘depth’ with whfb, although 40k appears to suffer from a greater bloat than fantasy due to there being multiple codexes for some factions (looking at you space marines). I also struggled somewhat as many of the rule names (model abilities in particular) were the same between 40k and whfb but the mechanics operated differently. This made it difficult to easily transition from one system to another.
This, combined with me giving Kings of War a go (with its streamlined rules), made me appreciate one of the reasons why the AOS rules are so much simpler. It allows more accessibility to new players. I can honestly say if the KOW ruleset had been the same as whfb I wouldn’t be playing it now. Simplifying the 40k ruleset will very likely make me play it.
I do think the change will be far less drastic than that made to whfb. For one, they won’t be destroying the universe and changing the setting. They likely will be progressing the story as they are doing with AOS though. This is both good and bad. It allows gw to release new Miniatures but could mean that some races are destroyed along the way (as the squats were many moons ago). The FAQ does state that all existing races will be in the new system. The same was said in AOS but you can see many of them are being phased out/changed.
I also believe that AOS was also more aligned with 40k in its phases when launched to allow transition between systems to be more intuitive.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar unit cards as per the AOS style. This would be of particular benefit for vehicles which would have masses of wounds and it would replace the current issue with glancing to death.
All this however is speculation. The Warhammer TV Facebook page is doing a live q&a session tonight at 17.15 GMT to further answer some questions. Again this is the ‘new’ GW face as they would never have bothered in the past. The cynic in me does wonder how much different the new edition will be that they are going to this much trouble and considering it is their primary cash cow…