It Will Never be Settled

by | Jul 6, 2017

This week Games Workshop announced a bold Codex release schedule with 10 codexes by the end of year, and 15 more currently being worked on. One of the biggest complaints about 6th and 7th edition was the rate of new codexes being released, as players couldn’t make up there mind between hating Games Workshop for taking too long to get to there army or hating because Space Marines got a new codex every year.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Space Marines codex is the first out of the gate by the end of July. The thickness of this codex should be staggering with the addition of Primaris and Chapter Tactics for all the minor founding Chapters. Then you throw in new Formations Detachments and close to 20 new Stratagems.

The new Space Marine codex illustrates just how much the game will evolve and change rapidly. Following the Space Marine codex we will get the Chaos Space Marines, Grey Knights, Deathguard, and if they keep the schedule at least two new codexes per month. If you thought the Indexes were just stop gaps well here is the proof. The chance of each codex dramatically shaking up the meta is almost certain. Still at the rapid pace, most armies won’t get an update for at least year, making them feel quite antiquated.

Games Workshop is trying to thread a fine needle, on one hand they have given us everything we wanted, a streamlined game with minimal upkeep and rules. At the same time they have to release new toys and rules to keep players interested. They also want to make sure every army gets a codex quickly and not feel left out. The problem though is they have already thrown away a chance by providing cheap rules and instead are keeping the expensive hardback codex format. Games Workshop will also have to get back to Sigmar at some point, elongating the codex timetable.

This all leads to something else. The games meta. Things will be changing so quickly events won’t have time to keep up. Take for instance an event like the ETC which takes planning to another level. In two weeks all the ETC team members have to turn in lists, but by the time the actual event happens you could see three new codexes already released. Players running those armies will have obsolete rules and having a missed opportunity at setting list standards. Then take for instance the BAO which is at the end of this month, the Space Marine codex will be out that week. Say a Space Marine Flyer lists dominate, but the new codex makes Flyers weaker, thus every Flyer victory is phallic.

On the other side, events that allow rules right up to the day of run the risk of players taking advantage of “newest” and either cheating or mistakenly play something wrong. This doesn’t also help the hobby side of things, as more armies will have less paint as players scramble between what units to build lists around.

Layered on top you have information bombardment, as the complaints of keeping up with the game rules continue. Nothing will equal 7th edition bloat, but Games Workshop just cannot help itself. Especially, when they made clear they will add things like rules for factions within factions, example being Necron Dynasties.

Games Workshop just cannot seem to find the proper balance, they want to sell models focusing so much on Space Marines, but they should turn to armies with the longest intervals between updates. You can see them trying with Chaos Space Marines getting a book in the first wave, but having only power armour armies out with first wave, sends the wrong message to the other half the player base. And what about Games Workshops plans to still bring out a 40k General’s handbook just to change things even more?

More than ever we have a evolving rule set with a simple core, that will develop a progressively more complex exterior. Games Workshop might be giving us too much of a good thing, a thing more players just can’t or won’t want to keep up with, leaving those with time to having a distinct advantage. This has always been the way, but it rapid releases, followed by FAQs, follow by erratas, only intensifies the advantage and makes the pool of players keeping up ever smaller.

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