If – like me – you were eying up the Volkite Weapon Kits from Forge World as a means of expanding the Betrayal At Calth box set, but we’re dismayed to find them sold out and “no longer available” (as opposed to “Temporarily out of stock”), then fear not!
Forge World have your back, according to a reply I got when I asked about the missing kits:
Not only will the weapons coming back in an improved form, but other kits will be getting a refresh, along with new accessory packs.
With all the cool new stuff constantly being released by recently, it can be very easy to end up with a large hobby backlog. When this happens it’s possible to get overwhelmed by your “to do list,” and it starts to become a mental drag; when this kicks in, your hobby no longer feels fun and instead feels like working a job you hate. Sometimes it’s just best to declare something a lost cause and just start over afresh.
I went through this very recently. My backlog had grown too big for me to see sight of the end of it – especially with the glacial pace I paint at! When I took stock of what was in the queue I had 2 full armies: a jump-heavy Flesh Tearers list, and a mechanised Tempestus Scions list. Not counting fun stuff like vehicles and characters, I had well over 100 models to prepare, assemble and paint… and these are just the army projects! Throw in various starter boxes for other games, and other sundry small projects, and the list was nearer 400.
Too. Damn. Many.
What to do? My initial plan was to freeze buying anything new until I’d whittled the backlog down to a more manageable level. Such a sensible plan might work for many a struggling hobbyist, butnfortunately, it was not the right plan for me. Despite several months of not buying any new figures1, I made zero impact on the pile of miniatures I had to work through. On top of that, I found myself losing all inspiration for certain projects. Some of that came down to gnawing insecurities about being able to achieve the vision I had in my head, others from indecision about what that vision even was any more. In the end there was just a pile of boxes and sprues causing me to feel terrible every time I thought about it. This was no longer a hobby, it was a chore. Something had to give, and it would be great if it wasn’t me.
In the tech world, there’s a popular approach to email management called Inbox Zero. The idea is to have your email inbox as empty as possible, so the amount of time your brain is occupied by email is as close to zero as possible. The intention is to reduce the distraction and stress caused by an overwhelmingly full inbox. Related to Inbox Zero, is Email Bankruptcy – the practice of deleting all email older than a certain date (often that day) due to being completely overwhelmed.
One day I realised I needed to declare something similar – Hobby Bankruptcy – or I was going to drive myself out of a hobby I’ve loved for over 20 years.
How was I going to do this? Throwing out hundreds2 of pounds of miniatures would be insane, especially if I changed my mind about something. Selling would take too long, and was subject to the fickleness of others. The simplest (non-destructive) solution won out: I took everything 40K/WHFB related, and stashed it in the loft. Out of sight; out of mind. Literally. The only survivors of the “purge” were source books and the limited edition 25th anniversary Crimson Fists miniature.
I can’t express just how much of a weight off doing this has been. I’m no longer under (self imposed) pressure to work through a massive backlog I no longer had the enthusiasm for, and yet, if I rediscover that enthusiasm, I can pull individual kits from the loft to work on as and when I want to.
In the meantime though, I am free to start work on new projects3…
And yes, I do know I’m crazy.
And growing increasing anxious about not getting the cool new shinies. ↩
Obviously, this is the Internet, and specifically, this is the online 40K community. Where previously we had people saying we needed a revision/new edition to “fix the imbalance,” “add clarity [about what is/isn’t official],” “make the game fun again,” etc, etc, etc… we now have much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The sky is falling! This is the “death” of 40K! It’s a “money grab.” Insert your favourite Games Workshop hate here!
Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. Ask for a new edition; get a new edition; complain there’s a new edition.
So what do we know about what’s coming? Two main things:
There’s a “new” psychic phase, just like the magic phase in Warhammer Fantasy.
You now have the option of building your army in one of two ways: “Bound” (which uses the Force Organisation Chart), or “Unbound” which is a free-for-all, take whatever you want affair.
That’s pretty much all of the interesting details we know. If you want my opinion (and you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t) these are awesome changes to 40K. Why?
I hate the current implementation of psychic powers in the game. Having to remember to use different powers at different times in different phases is a massive pain in the hoop. Not using psychics right can lose you a game, yet at the moment they’re so fiddly that it’s all too easy to forget them until it’s too late.
I put “new” in quotes above because a dedicated psychic phase is not unheard of in 40K. We had one in 2nd Edition, and while it added an extra phase to the game, it was beautifully straightforward and it worked. I realise that at least half the player base isn’t old enough to have played with a dedicated phase, and so it’s a big, scary change… but trust me on this: the game will have one less potential point of frustration.
The FOC (or lack of it)
For years and years and years, players have been complaining they can’t field certain “fluffy” armies on the table because the force-org restrictions wouldn’t let them (think Space Marine “Reserve Companies” and the like). Guess what? You just got your wish. Got the points for it? By the sounds of things now you can take it in an “Unbound” list. What was the first complaint about this change? That it would be the death of fluffy armies. Seriously.
If you’ve been paying attention to Jervis Johnson’s column in White Dwarf, he’s been telegraphing such a change for months.
The one fair criticism which could be levelled at this change is that it opens the door for all sorts of spam-list abuses. Is that a game issue, or a player issue? Has everyone lost sight of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”?
Not to mention, we haven’t got any details of the “bonuses” given to Bound (FOC-using) lists. These could still turn out to be an equaliser.
If you’re playing amongst your good friends then sure, take that ridiculous list as a one-off, for the lolz. But taking it to your FLGS for a pick-up game? That makes you That Guy. What do we always say? Don’t be That Guy.
As for tournaments, I imagine they’ll be Bound-List-only, perhaps without the bonuses, depending how the chips fall on those. That way no one has to get their knickers in a twist any more than they do nowadays. It’ll be the same 40K the Internet Community have been anticipating the death of for more than a decade.
In a nutshell, I like this change because it brings so much freedom to the game. I can have a load of fun playing more-or-less what I want, without having to tick boxes on an FOC that’s grown to sprawl over an A3 page when printed… if I want to. Or I can have fun playing with a “cohesive” army and reap some in-game benefits for doing so. The choice will be mine to play the game how I want. GW have actually written into the rules what they’ve been trying to tell us for years: have fun, playing the game your way. We won’t know for sure until the rulebook hits the shelves, but as I said on twitter yesterday, 7th Edition sounds like it’s going to be a hoot to play.
Addendum: My Wishlist for 7th Edition
If I can wishlist for a moment, here’s some more changes I’m hoping to see in 7th Edition:
Less “Ignores Cover” – at the moment, there are far too many ways to apply IC, which essentially makes cover useless as a game mechanic. No cover makes it harder for assault armies to do their thing. Would need to be an Errata item for existing codexes though.
Less low AP – massed AP3/AP2 is too common, and exacerbates the prevalence of Ignores Cover, making anything without an Invuln save far too squishy.
No more random charge distance – seriously, I hate this bit of 6th. I need no other justification other than it just feels stupid to play.
Special Rules do not affect Allies, unless specifically noted – 80% of shenanigans gone in one fell swoop.
Assault from Deep Strike – would make for some epic moments, and would be a significant boost for assault armies. Definitely of benefit if Ignores Cover remains as-is.
I doubt any of these will happen, but a guy can dream, right?
This is part 2 in a look at the changes to our hobby I have witnessed since my return at the start of the year. You can find part one, which looks at the changes in game-play here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000 – The Game. This part is a bit more ranty.
By far the biggest change I’ve noticed is in the general attitude and culture surrounding the game. In many senses it feels less like a hobby, and more like a competition. There seems to be a “win at all costs” mentality in a large section of the gaming community. I don’t want to sound like someone espousing about the “good old days”, but I find, particularly amongst the younger players things are a lot less friendly than they used to be.
Everywhere I look I see people asking for advice on building lists to beat their local “meta” (WTF?) – what happened to playing the game for the enjoyment of playing the game? I get that winning is fun, but it’s not everything in Warhammer 40000. Our game is as much about telling stories as it is about playing to win. It’s why I’m so glad to see the focus on “Telling a Narrative” in the new rulebook.
By all means, play to win, but if your opponent hasn’t still enjoyed him/herself while losing, then you’ve both failed in my opinion.
Another cultural change I’m not so keen on is the rumour-mill on the Internet, and the general sense of… entitlement that the more vocal side of the community displays. So you don’t like a miniature? That doesn’t necessitate a profanity-riddled screed about how the model sucks, GW sucks, you’re never going to spend another penny on their products again, an you could have done so much better while blindfolded and with both arms cut off… and so on, and so on. Put your toys back in the pram. Don’t buy the miniature – or, if for some reason you are “forced” to – convert it; change it to suit your tastes. Just stop complaining about it. Likewise, when a rumour turns out to be off the mark, don’t get all tetchy. It was just a rumour, after all!
Relatedly, your army (or an opposing army) is not “broken”. It may need a rules update as we’re in a new rule set, but that doesn’t mean it’s unbeatable, or can’t be won with. Every codex has its faults, for sure, but nothing that can stop you enjoying the game if you don’t let it. View any such “brokeness” as challenges to be met, and a test of your skill as a player. If you can overcome a “broken” army then you can take comfort in knowing you are better than any of the faceless complainers out there.
I dislike “mathhammer” as a way of proving something is awesome or that something sucks. If you’re spending your hobby time working out a stream of maths over the chance or likelihood something will win you your next game, then it’s not a hobby any more. Take what you’re drawn to (my armies mainly consist of what I want to paint), and just play it. Leave the maths for professional poker players!
Right, now I’ve got that out of my system, it’s not all bad, I must say. The hobby is bigger than ever. I can get tips and feedback from like minded people all across the world. I have access to a whole raft of information which just wasn’t available before.
The things I’ve noted a dislike for above are merely the dark side of the passion 40K inspires in its fans. It’s the same passion which drives us to spend hard-earned money and countless hours slaving over our miniatures and army lists. Properly channelled, that passion is what leads to amazingly painted armies and miniatures, brilliantly fun games and camaigns, and what ultimately brings players like myself back to the game after so much time away… and that is no bad thing.
I have been out of the hobby for a long time. This was made clear to me when I realised the majority of the regular players at the local Games Workshop store weren’t even born (or were still in nappies) when I last rolled the dice in anger.
When I last played properly, Warhammer 40,000: 2nd edition was still the dominant ruleset (3rd had just come out when I put down my heavy flamer template). Dark Eldar were brand new. Necrons only had about 3 models in the entire line. Space Marines consisted of: Ultramarines, Blood/Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and miscellaneous. Sisters of Battle had their own codex, and it was good. Templates were bigger. Wargear came as cards. We needed dice with more than 6 sides. The world – and the game – was a very different place.
Change is inevitable, particularly if anything is to survive as long as Warhammer 40000 has. 25 years is a long stretch for what is realistically a niche game/hobby. Off the top of my head, here are just a few things which are entirely new to Warhammer 40,000, from my perspective:
Grey Knights having a codex entry (with points costs), never mind an entire codex
The Force Organisation Chart
Missions, objectives, warlord traits, etc.
Other notable changes include most special rules (sniper, feel no pain, eternal warrior, and so on), completely revamped movement rules, cover working completely differently, close combat (sorry, “assault”) changes… I could go on all day, to be honest!
Some of this change is good. Assault is generally a lot quicker and more streamlined when compared to 2nd edition. No more (as an example) Space Marine assault squads with 10 different weapon combinations, due to itemisation streamlining. Less rediculous weapon effects – prime example being armour penetration against vehicles (D20 + D4 + D6 + 10 for a chainfist… don’t even get me started on lightning claws!). Many parts of the game are more sensible than those of old. The FOC is a brilliant addition to the game in my view.
Other changes I am on the fence about… generally because it seems at times I’m rolling dice for the sake of rolling dice. Random charge/run lengths are the first thing which comes to mind. The various terrain tests are another. Random missions, random deployment types, randon warlord traits, random psykic powers, random special rules and effects, objectives… on average I find it can take around 20 minutes of faffing about rolling on various tables and setting up stuff (other than my army) before I actually get to play the game. While on the one hand it leads to more varied games, on the other it takes an unnecessary length of time in my view.
One thing I have an impression of – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that overall, points costs are lower than before. This might be why games seem to be a lot bigger than I remember. Time was you’d have ~2 squads, a character, and a cheapish vehicle in an average game (1000-1500 points or so). Now I’m seeing games with scores of infantry, a couple of characters, multiple vehicles and creatures, all at around the same points level as before. The jury is still out on whether I see this as a positive change.
Nightfighting I hate with the heat of a thousand burning suns! But that’s just because I’ve never really wrapped my head around it in a way that doesn’t have me reaching for the rule book every 5 minutes.
Originally this post was a lot longer, and took a look at the cultural changes I’ve seen within the hobby since my return, but I decided it would be best to split this off into its own post, which you can read here: On Returning to Warhammer 40000: The Culture.