Friday, June 22, 2012

An outlook on an Era

So with 6th so close to our doorsteps we can almost reach out and roll to hit against it, It's hard to think of something really to talk about regarding 40k.  Almost every community site out there has rumor mills pumping out tid bitz by the trukk load, and they seem to keep coming.  Tomorrow is the big day, so we'll soon see off 5th edition, and usher in a new rule set.

I have been playing off and on since the ending of second edition, and from this long span of playing, I have seen several changes come about from new rules.  Ever since the coming of third, the game has been more or less the same since then.  We saw the game take on a radically new form, and from it we have based pretty much everything we know about the game on the foundation of 3rd changes.  4th edition came up, and sculpted the rules even further.  Most of the codexes were brought up to speed in that time, leaving behind a few Less than savory elves, the space pups, and the dreaded Inquisition, as well as a few others.  The game took even more shape with that edition, much like 3rd, it still utilized a system which was more statistical in nature.  With elements like target priority, and how units viewed the battlefield in terms on line of sight, movement, etc.

Then 5th came, and with it some of the first really drastic changes the game had received since 2nd was released in 1993.  Introducing revolutionary game mechanics like true line of sight, and making AP1 a must have.  Armies became increasingly more inclusive, with a host of new units in most of the new codexes, and each bringing characters like crazy.  The game went through a huge overhaul, and it has been ramshackling  along for the past four years.  Of all the editions I've been a part of, 5th has been the most consistent, but in all honesty has been one of the hardest to really sink my teeth into.

As I have seen with a large number of my past hobbies and games, I noticed a general streamlining and simplification to help these games appeal to a broader audience.  Of course the steady price increases aren't helping that endeavor much, but that's a conversation for a different time.  Rules like true line of sight, the massively forgiving and oversimplified vehicle damage table, along with great cover everywhere really shook up the established norm of 40k.  We saw point costs drop pretty much across the board for everything from units, to vehicles/monstrous creatures, to wargear, save a few units here and there in just about every codex printed for 5th.  The 5th system has allowed for the ability to bring characters who altered Force Organization on a massive scale for the first time, and high powered weapons became so cheap and easily fieldable that the standard weapons of each army started to feel almost a rare sight to see.  These are but a few of the drastic changes we've come to get used to over the years.

So now we sit on the brink of a new edition.  6th has promised to bring 40k some unparalleled changes.  For the first time in it's history, 40k will be reaching "a level of love and attention rivaling that of it's predecessor, Warhammer Fantasy."  New phase orders, an entire phase for psychic powers (though many armies are left in the dark, the including of diverse allies rules may help to mitigate this).  However, some of the changes seem to resonate with the sound of the past.  New vehicle damage charts seem to be much less forgiving like those of 4th edition (maybe even less so).  Who knows entirely what will come of 6th.

What I know is that I have been through many a change with 40k.  I have seen rules change over and over, and almost every time I have been able to find more good than bad from these changes.  I have seen with 5th edition the first real showings of the internet affecting the game, with both the pros and cons that implies.  Though 6th will indeed change the game, I'm sure like every edition before it, some will love it, some will be ok with it, and some will decide 40k is no longer for them, and jump ship to one of the many other good table tops out there.  Regardless, people will adapt.  Though that time may take a little longer than most previous edition alterations, the good players will always adapt to a new environment.

One thing is certain, 40k is changing.  I intend to see what these changes mean, and where they will take the game.  Though the Templar in me is screaming at the idea of those filthy psychers getting their own phase, I will be excited to see what new tricks they will have at their disposal.  We'll see what will happen soon enough.  So to any and all who enjoy the grim dark, here's to hoping your experience in 6th will be memorable and exciting!  I'd love to hear your feelings, hopes, dreams, and outlooks on 6th.  Even your greatest moments of 5th.  These stories are what we all love to hear as players of a great tabletop game.  So hears to all you fine folks, and the new update for our beloved 40k!


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