Saturday, July 12, 2014

7th Edition? The End of the World or the New Dawn?

So I grabbed 7th when it came out thanks to being in a port call at the time. Since then, I have had ample time to absorb the rules and ... thanks to the magic of shameless nerds, I have even gotten some games in as well. I have purposely hung back due to the ridiculous gnashing of teeth on the internet and just waited to form my own opinion. I will say up front that I am a competitive player (as defined by popular internet terms) so if you don't care for that style, then this article might not be for you.

Right out of the gate it seems that internet personalities, TOs, average players, people who don't even play anymore and random commenters all think they know the way 7th edition "needs" to be ran. There is only one way to do it and it is there and it certainly isn't what is in the rulebook.

How did this happen? I blame December 2013. 6th edition was already an edition filled with hot button issues and there was already a fair share of issues constantly churning on forums and Facebook and the blogs. Suddenly gasoline was thrown on the fire with Stronghold Assault, Lords of War and Formations. There were no real precedents for any of this and suddenly madmen were in the digital streets with their signs calling for everything to be legal, others that it should all be banned, including Allies and the community seemed polarized with major TO type personalities left trying to see what their customers would like, which obviously is important to them.

What could be done? What would be legal? Would GW step out and give us the definitive answer? ... Well, they actually did and they didn't. They gave us 7th edition, which encompasses the things mentioned above as well as new rules for army construction.

But what is legal? Surely because rules exist, then it all MUST be legal! Right? Not at all. What GW did is give you terms for individual parts of army construction and layers of rules that are pretty clearly labelled.

Unbound is well, unbound.

Battle Forged on the other hand gives us some layers to work with. To me it really doesn't seem that hard either.

You have the standard Combined Arms Detachment (which includes a Lord of War and fortifications), which is basically the standard FOC (or as we see in the ork book, the codex FOC in some cases), then you have allied detachment, which is the same as it was in 6th. Then you have formations, which are separate detachments.

So what's the big deal? Well, people will point to the idea that you can take multiple CADs and just spam out heavies or fast attack ect ... You have people who think Lords of War are too busted ect.

Well, they have actually made this very easy. Much as you would in casual play, there just needs to be a discussion. With proper labels on things, this is even easier because you can just say things like 2x CADs or 1 CAD plus 1 Allied Det OR 1 CAD minus  the LOW and 1 allied det + Formation ...

That is an easy way to explain it to people and let me say that as somebody with some 7th under my belt, it works just fine. In fact, a lot of the fine tuning has actually made me a fan of some of the stuff I hated before.

Formations? I have now played with and against formations and feel like they are a great addition to the game and they contribute to tactical flexibility and honestly, are a breath of fresh air. There was a time when I said "hell no" to formations, but in 7th, they are fine by me.

Lords of War? I have now played with and against many of them and playtested trying to kill them with my take all comers. More often than not, the LoW is a liability to the owning player. I think they add just one more layer of planning to the list construction aspect of the game and also give us the ability to play with big toys. I have come a long way on this considering that two months ago, I was violently opposed to LoWs on the field.

Super Strongholds? Again, the rules take care of these. They just aren't going to take care of enough business to waste a ton of points on in the case of the giant ones and I feel again that they fit in just fine..

CADS and the question of multiple CADS ... look double force org was a hot topic before and it still will be simply because it allows some stupidity to enter the game. Again, I will say that I don't think it is going to be mega game breaker. I also don't think you will see it at events. 1 CAD with allies (and/ or formations) as an option seems fine for most people anyway.

Again, you the player have the vote at the end. If you are playing a pick-up game, you and your opponent have a framework to create your social contract. Your TOs have a framework for reference when deciding what kind of tourney they will present ... and you don't have to play in a tourney if you don't want to.

Ultimately, I personally would prefer to play games that are more open now and see if 2 CAD ect are too much for the scene. I think in the end what people will find is that "Everything goes" 40k in 7th really isn't bad and honestly is a lot of fun. If we all do this and then discover that 2 CAD is a little crazy for tourneys or LoWs are just too much for a particular scene, well then we can make informed changes rather than arbitrary decisions.

I encourage players and TOs to try new things (I have seen plenty of local tourney talk in North Carolina and it seems there is plenty of experimentation going on). Break out of your comfort zone in this new edition and you will find things you really like and what you do not. I thought that I would HATE this edition, but after playing and reading and applying common sense, I have found that this combines some of my favorite elements of the game and the hobby and I look forward to more play.

For those of you still with me, what are your feeling after actually playing the game? Have you found things that you discovered you like/ don't like? Have your initial opinions been changed?

I will be talking about my experiences as time goes on and hopefully, we can start a productive conversation on the blog concerning our little man dolls.


  1. I tend to agree. a lot of the resistance to the changes to FOCs inclusion of super heavies etc I think ultimatly what it comes down to for a lotta people is that this is going to alter elements of how the game plays. no one likes being put in a position where they have to adapt their stragety, and with so many possiable options I think a lotta people aren't liking the fact that TAC lists are... problematic

  2. If there are too many elements in the game for 'take-all-comers' lists to be possible, then you have a large element of 'rock-paper-scissors' in the game. If you get to the gaming table and look over the army lists and think you have a 95% chance of winning because of what your opponent brought! odds are you and your opponent are going to have LESS fun than if things are closely balanced. 7th edition is a great step forward by GW from 6th edition, but some of the elements are really designed for narrative play and don't work well in competitive event play

    1. I agree that tons of elements especially when some are at extreme ends of the spectrum will lead to rock paper scissors, but what is really the solution to that? I came up in 4th and 5th edition where many armies were very similar, then suddenly an imbalanced army would come out like GK and they are THE army for 8 months and the majority of players at a tourney had a hard time dealing with them, while the few top players either brought them or could handle them. Is that not simply another form of Rock Paper Scissors? Is the Imperial Knight player just as likely to stomp a person not prepped for knights as he is to get stomped by the drop pod melta Marines?

      Having said that, doesn't that degree of variance also police itself? Extreme armies become less likely when they know that they can get spanked by bad matches.

      My Necrons for instance are balanced and further balanced by CSM allies and I have taken down opponents running just about anything from the current list of "broken" and been fine. Thus I would call my army a take all comers (for what that still means) and I would have to say that it is possible with quite a few armies to do so and have some fun.

      The ultimate point of the article though was that this is neither the "everything goes 40k" edition or the "let's chop it up and ban it" edition. I was simply stating that there are ready made terms and rules sets within the rules to make it simpler for people to set expectations before a game or tourney as compared to late 6th edition.

  3. I agree with your assessment. We are having fun playing seventh Because we just play the way we want to play. We are still learning Maelstrom missions and have house rules that anything that is impossible to accomplish can be an auto discard and redeal

  4. You know, my gaming group is quit small (about a half dozen players total) so my view on the issues in question might be a bit skewed. But from what I've seen, the 'issues' everyone keeps crying about (The daemon factory armies, the Unbound Lists, the Lords of War spam ect) have really proven to be a non-issue and not because of any sort of rules or anything like that, but rather just because people (at least the people I normally deal with) don't want to be 'that guy'. We've theory hammered out dozens of broken and unbound lists. I have yet to see one of the really broke and bad lists played in a real game. I've seen a couple reports where it was literally a game of "How broken can we make this?"

  5. To me, the new force org rules are just official permission to play how you want. You could always bring non-sanctioned wacko lists to any game outside a tournament (telling people first, of course) but now there are official rules for playing with and against those lists. We have more structure to base kitchen sink/ALL THE THINGS type games upon, instead of just winging it with house rules. As always, with games amongst friends, use what you like and change or ignore what you don't. Some of the most entertaining 40k games I've played have been campaign games with weird lists, objectives and starting conditions.

    I just started reading your blog, and I'm quite impressed. Keep it coming!