This weekend brings a great sea-change in our little hobby. Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition will be unleashed, and our world will never be the same. Well thank god for that!
Despite some deep seated pockets of negativity, the internet response to 6th so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Even Stelek has come right out and said he thinks 6th is a great step forward, and that has to be some kind of achievement. For my part, I am excited for a couple of reasons which have very little to do with the actual rules. Once it was established that the new rules seem to be, by and large, pretty balanced, I began to think about all the other reasons why a new edition will be a very good thing for me and my hobby.
1) The simple joy of playing a new game
This is probably the single biggest issue for me. As some of you know, I live in central London, so finding a week night gaming club is literally impossible. While clubs exist in the suburbs, I just can’t get there and back after work. Accordingly, I am forced to play at my local Games Workshop store, which means 40k or nothing. With all the amazing new games about today this has quickly become very depressing. It is going to be great to be able to play a brand new game, with stuff I already own, and be guaranteed games every week.
2) The complex joy of experimentation
Looking at the new rules, I can begin to see different ways units might interact. I can imagine whole new combos of units. Items of Wargear that have remained in the weapons cabinet for years are suddenly being dusted off. Heavy tank treads can once more be heard on the horizon. The best part though? No-one really has a clue what is going to work and what isn't. Sure, those of us who are experienced ‘5th editioners’ can look at isolated rules and see how those rules might impact certain units, but until we get a lot of games in, there is no way to tell how all these new rules and all the little rule tweaks are going to interact and what kind of builds will really be viable. And seriously, who doesn't want to see some infantry on the table again?
During the last year of 5th edition I have been caught in a rut. I've used the same army in each and every tournament, and there is a very good reason for this - I have had no way of playtesting new ideas. Using a list that was even slightly different would leave me hugely disadvantaged at a tournament because the learning curve would be too steep. I found this out the hard way in January at Jolly Toys Outing when I got punished each and every game because I had no idea how to use the units I'd brought, even though, on paper, the army was better than my standard list. Therefore the other reason I can’t wait for the change is because it leaves me free to play test whatever I like at my local store without being stigmatised for playing hard lists. Since the fluff bunnies don't know what works any better than I do, I'll have a grace period of about a year before they really catch on and stop wanting to play me again.
3) Allies - a modelers dream come true
I am looking forward to using Leman Russ Battle Tanks again. I can’t wait to try Mogul Kamir with the new and improved Rage USR. Most of all though, I am anticipating the addition of allied units to my Guard army. Everyone knows my first and last love is the Imperial Guard. I love the background, the scale of it, and the fact that in reality, it is holding the entire Imperium together. Most of all though, I love what it represents in the rules, or perhaps I should say what it has the scope to represent - that is, pretty much anything!
No-one has ever seen them but I actually have a ton of allied units already built for my guard. I have a unit of 20 beastmen with lasguns and flamers, I have a hoard of deamons just waiting to drop out of the warp, I have a load of Alpha Legion built and ready to paint. I even have a load of spawn (which still won't get used, here is praying for decent rules in the upcoming Chaos Codex).
On the other, less nefarious hand I have a few squads of sisters which haven't been used in a few years, just waiting to be unleashed, and a huge quantity of unpainted Space Marines begging to lead a platoon of guardsmen. There are even boxes of Tau and Eldar somewhere in my hobby pile, some of which have not been seen since the twilight of second edition.
Allies might be potentially unbalanced, but I don't really care, because it gives me a legitimate reason to dig out all this stuff, paint it if need be, and finally use it without spending a penny.
So just in case my effusive declaration of love for 6th Edition wasn't enough, I'll re-iterate. I can't wait for my rulebook to arrive and the FAQ's to be put online. I haven't been this excited about the hobby for a very long time, and that is a great feeling. I'd love to know what you guys are looking forward to, or even if there are things you are worried about. One thing is for sure, there will be many more articles from me coming soon, particularly as I add my various allies to the mix. First up is a unit or two of Blood Axe Orks. Awesome.