Sunday, 11 June 2017

8th edition release thoughts.

Hello all. That most wonderous time that only comes around once every so many years is almost here. The impending release of dark imperium (everything is 'dark' this or 'storm' that these days) opens the next chapter in the 40k saga, promising faster, more balanced gameplay, new armies and further progression of the storyline charting the rise of chaos and guillemans return. 

So what are we actually going to see from this release? So far we are promised not just the starter set that is all too familiar for new editions (save for 7th and 1st ed) but also a hardback rule book available within the box and separately. This is a new development and it appears you also get the core rules as a set of reference sheets as well as free PDF download. Of course there are the obligatory dice, ruler, transfers and other bits also. The presentation of the box overall seems vastly improved over previous editions with separate sections and inserts to keep plastic and books apart.


I've already talked about these a little in a previous post but in the interim we saw some very detailed pics of he individual squads. So we get a gravis captain, ancient (ie standard bearer), 2 lieutenants and a host of smaller squads. These are two squads of  intercessors, a squad of 5 helblasters and a squad of 3 inceptors. The Inceptors are the only models I wasn't sold on initially - there's a lot about their design that I can't immediately like, as opposed to the rest of the models which I immediately took to. They are growing on me but it'll take time.

Next the characters. The gravis captain is effectively an artificer captain and incorporates elements of the intercessors, Inceptors and some extra armour plates. There is of course the obligatory cloak and power sword, but also a gauntlet comprising a power fist and bolt weapon. He does look a bit bulky with all the overlapping armour but stands apart from the other models as a result. The ancient is a bit disappointing in that, aside from the standard, there is nothing to mark him out as unique. Same with the lieutenants. Aside from the wargear there is nothing that really makes them standout. 

The intercessors are all uniquely posed but, unlike tactical squads, possess no weapon options. Whether this will be the case with the squads once the army gets its own codex who knows. Would be strange that the sergeants cant take options but then again they are trying to make them distinct from the normal tactical guys and giving them no options within squads is certainly one way of doing it. The armour looks good and overall they make a nice core to the start of a collection. Helblasters are pretty much the same but with some very cool plasma weaponry instead of souped up bolters. This is the start of a very promising new army and it will be interesting to see how they expand it into a new army in its own right (we've already seen the tank and dreadnought so they can't be far off, maybe even this month)


Onto papa Nurgle. Like the thousand sons, Death Guard are now getting their own unique flavour, silly names and all. The 3 main characters are reasonably well scaled to look like bloated and ancient Marines on eye level with the Primaris. Effectively the death guard answer to a terminator Captain, ancient and Librarian, the three characters ooze (!) detail and are a great new direction to have taken the death guard in. The Plague Marine infantry are beautifully detailed also (note there are 7 of them as in Nurgles sacred number) with a nice plasma gun in there as well as plague knives galore.

The foetid bloat drone is a nice addition to the armoury and has a clear relationship with the larger blight drone. The position of the engines in a nurgle triad shape is a nice touch.  Lastly, the poxwalkers are beautifully unique and gleeful at their existance in service to papa Nurgle. These chaps will be a lot of fun to convert for even more unique looking models. I expect having seen the earlier GW pictures that a box of Plague marines, terminators and who knows what else is not far away. The artwork we have seen shows a few more plague vehicles (and of course the big guy Mortarion himself) and so I suspect a significant expansion with codex is also not far away.

The index books are a new step for gw and at a very reasonable £15 each will allow all players to update their armies for 8th immediately rather than wait years for codex releases. This is a very welcome move and the price makes it an even sweeter deal. Even someone who only has the one army likely won't be too disgruntled at having to pay for rules they don't need at that price. From one end of the spectrum to the other, there is also the obligatory limited edition which is beautiful as always but for me carries far too high a price tag.

Then we come to the releases alongside the main boxes set and books. Some cards to help keep track of objectives as we've come to expect over the past 3 years. Also, though we are keeping a D6 system we can use D10s as wound markers now. Some other coloured dice that can be used to keep track of unit status. A small rubber measuring tool is also thrown in for good measure (groan). A novel telling the story of Dark Imperium so far and, last but not least, some very tasty and flavourful objective markers designed to fit with the latest scenery.

So what does all this mean for me? I certainly plan on getting the starter box as, despite being more expensive than previous starters it has a great selection of models and a 280 page rule book included. The death guard will be boxed until I have fulfilled all my hobby commitments but will likely be one of the first chaos armies I start with. The primaris marines remain a bit more of an enigma. It's a pretty binary decision for me: split them amongst existing armies or start a new army, most likely sons of orar if I do. For now I plan to carry on with my existing hobby commitments and wait to see how the primaris codex shapes up when it's released. 

I also have the index books incoming as they're a great way to get so much information on how the armies will play in this edition and just working through them alone will take months. Just rewriting army lists will take enough time in itself! The objective markers are just gorgeous and I couldn't resist picking up a set.  This is a very exciting time to be a 40k fan but I can't help but remain feeling overwhelmed by it all. My hobby time is becoming more and more limited and, with the reset button now effectively pressed for everything it will be hard to get my head around what I need to do and when. 

I have fallen behind schedule with my hobby commitments but actually overall am managing to make pretty decent progress on things. I had originally hoped to be done with Marines by end of June but have gotten sidetracked with other hobby things, mainly due to being bored with the tedium of working through marines. I still aim to get them done this year but may move on to non-marine / non-chaos projects sooner than intended to keep things fresh. The net result should be the same for 2017, just a slightly different order. 

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