Game Mini-Review: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook
Last night I went to the midnight release of the new Warhammer 40k rulebook over at Game Kastle. Very cool of those guys to do a special midnight opening for the die-hards out there; if you’re in our area I recommend them as a game store in general. At any rate, after only a handful of hours with such a behemoth book, I clearly can’t give a full review, but here’s my initial impressions. (I’ll post again once I’ve had some time under the hood, watch this space.)
1: I think they’re getting tired of fully supporting two rules systems. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Fantasy and 40k on the exact same rulesets in the next decade or so. I do like the attempt to get more “story” involved via things like the Warlord traits (your general gets one random special power per battle to help customize the game play experience and keep the replayability up), and the book is 1/3 rules, 2/3 backstory-pictures-hobby. It seems like a good jumping in point for new players who like such things. With the (re?)addition of specific “schools” of psychic (magic) powers, it’s looking like there are quite a few lessons being moved over from Fantasy to 40k (and probably vice versa, but that whole topic is for another review).
2: It seems like the flavor, as they do with each edition, is creeping more towards “humanity is SO screwed, you guys!” Some of the writing, though, feels a little more clear to me that the Emperor is actually still alive in there, whereas the wording of prior stuff has made it sound like maybe the Golden Throne is really doing all the work. I haven’t read it all yet, looking forward to seeing if they make more mention of it further on to back up this feeling, or if I’m just putting too much importance on a couple word choices.
3: The price is indeed steep, it’s GW after all, but the book is physically enormous. They’ve pulled a lot of the pics of minis from the various codices and included them for your viewing pleasure, along with some stunning displays of a ton of minis duking it out across enormous tables. They’ve also got the Fantasy-style “every stat for every mini” appendix, missing the special rules of course. Some of the artwork is truly badass, though I say that because my beloved Blood Angels are heavily featured throughout. And as for the price, I think we’re at a point now where we’re all adults and we can admit that every company, if they stay around long enough, will wind up “over”pricing the way GW does. Privateer has been headed there ever since they got a movie deal for MonPoc and started taking themselves too seriously, and as much as I LOVE what Mantic is doing in the space right now, as materials and shipping get more expensive in the long run, those prices will have to rise eventually, too. If you want cheap minis, go to Kickstarter, that’s where all the cool kids are starting new minis/games projects that you can score for a low price. (Seriously, both Mike McVey and Ronnie Renton’s aforementioned Mantic Games have both recently done Kickstarters that resulted in the backers getting PILES of fantastic minis on the cheap.)
All in all, I’m glad I bought it, but I’m also equally glad I didn’t pay more for one of the special editions. As cool as a special bag and dice tin sound, I’d rather have that extra money for more minis. Because as the book cover says, “In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war”, and I’d hate to show up with anything less than a full company of Space Marines at my back…