Editorial: Warhammer 40k 6th or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New Edition

d6ideas dice2New editions are nice. Warhammer 40k just got into ist 6th edition and D&D Next is coming along as well.

The one thing that annoys me about new editions, are the inevitable edition wars that come with them – with everybody and his dog extolling the lost virtues of the bygone edition or claiming the new one to be a work of immaculate perfection.

For me, new editions are new chances first of all. Based on feedback from sources ranging across the board from organized tourney games, over private gaming circles, to internet discussions, the creators try to correct rules, which were perceived to be overly complicated, unintuitive or plain bad. Naturally, rules generally thought to be good are changed along with those. After all, individual rules do not exist within a vacuum, but rather interact with one another. That way, a seemingly good can well engender a host of bad rules.

The concept of house rules is widely accepted both for miniature wargames and roleplaying games. And it is a good concept. Yet, I believe it works significantly better for wargames than it does for rpgs. Simply because a battle can usually be fought in a matter of hours at most, and so you quickly get the hang on what house rules actually work and make sense and which of them do not. Roleplaying on the other hand tends to spread itself out over multiple evenings and to change rules midway through a campaign can leave quite a sour taste – which means you are possibly stuck with a set of house rules, you aren’t perfectly happy with any longer.

In the end, though, rules are not what really matters. I’d rather play a pretty imperfect game with fun people, than having to sit through a session of a perfect game together with a bunch of people I can’t stand. Playing games is less about the game, than about the people playing it.

Then again, regarding the rules of the 6th edition of Warhammer 40k, I have my wishlist for future products all drawn up already:

  1. New versions of old expansions – such as a new Cities of Death, this time with rules for flyers dogfighting in the manmade canyons of hive cities.
  2. Perhaps a few codices for armies, which can expressly taken only as allies (and not as standalone armies). Eldar Harlequins, the Inquisition and cultists of all stripes (from the staple Chaos worshippers to a revival of the classic Genestealer cults).
  3. And last but not least an Apocalypse Revolutions book of course.

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