Review: Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition)


Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition)
So, 8th Edition 40k has been out for about 6 or so months now, and having played a few games (including a tournament) I thought I'd stick up a bit of a review for those who haven't touched it for a long time. The picture above is of the new high-end starter set, which comes in at £95, though to be fair you do get your money's worth here. Inside the very nicely presented box are two armies, the Death Guard and Primaris Ultramarines. The models are absolutely fantastic, with some intricate detailing, and you get two forces that you can have a good few games with using just this box alone.

Also included are two army books containing all the information on the units contained in the box, as well as some background fluff, and perhaps best of all you get the full, unabridged hard-back rule/fluff book too - the one that costs £40 by itself. Additionally, you get a fold up card version of the rules to use for quick reference. More on that later.

Great... what's different?

Warhammer 40,000 has had a significant overhaul for 8th Edition. The whole game has been streamlined, with a focus on simple(r) rules and a greater emphasis on the actual tactics you employ. The rulebook itself is now 8 pages long, and that's it. Things are much, much easier, but still feel very familiar to anyone who has played it before, whilst being accessible to new players.

Games Workshop have also finally advanced the storyline. To quote 4chan, the giant humanity-ending doom clock has moved from about 10 to midnight, to 1 minute to midnight, so only a slight advance but enough for things to go even more awry for the galaxy and new stuff to happen with new settings. Wonderful.

They've introduced three ways to play 40k now, those being Open Play, Narrative Play and Matched Play. Open is just get a load of units and play a game. Narrative is a story-based game recreating some kind of historic battle, and then Matched is the points vs points mode we all know. They're fully supporting each type of play, and the massive book included lays out plenty of scenarios you can play through for each different type (with Matched Play being the most similar to the old way of playing).

Basically, the game is a lot better, with a very small learning curve.

Ok, but I guess I still need to re-mortgage my house to get involved, right?

Well, yes and no. It's still an expensive past-time, but Games Workshop have taken their heads for a poo since changing managing director and they've actually started releasing plenty of sets that offer an actual discount. Couple that with the likes of Element Games, Wayland Games and others that offer 10-20% off GW products and you've already got that starter set down to £76. The boxed set itself includes 850pts of Death Guard, and about 900pts of Primaris Marines, and with most games being fought at the 1500-2000pts level you don't need to get a lot extra to be rocking and rolling.


Start Collecting sets are £42, usually with a saving of £20-40.

To put it in perspective, the new Call of Duty is £50 straight up, and they'll be wanting another £40-50 in expansions to play it properly prior to the next one being released, so the prices aren't that dissimilar, but you get a lot more return of service from a miniature wargame. That said, there are still plenty of ways to make it expensive. You can still build armies in particular ways that end up costing you a ridiculous amount of money, but that's not something I have, so I make do with what I already had and purchase the odd new box here and there.

Of course it still draws the same crowd of stinky, socially difficult types, but if you're like me and have wide-ranging interests that include a game of 40k with a few beers, it still makes for a very entertaining evening if you find some like-minded people. Top this off with the fact that doing something other than staring at a screen is immensely refreshing and you're on to a winner really.

I give it, in its current form, a solid 9/10.
 

TamH70

MIA
So... is the 13th Black Crusade still causing ructions in the GW hobby mob? I think it got hit with the retcon hammer this year and some fans were pissed.

Good write-up by the way.
 
Out of interest, why do you play this opposed to PC on line.

I take it that's it's more social but you could do LAN parties?!

Or is it the painting and model making side?

Sorry just re-read, so is the gameplay different?
 
Out of interest, why do you play this opposed to PC on line.

I take it that's it's more social but you could do LAN parties?!

Or is it the painting and model making side?

Sorry just re-read, so is the gameplay different?
The games are tremendously different. The tabletop version is best likened to a giant game of 3 dimensional chess, on some pretty spectacular landscapes. Every action has to be carefully considered for its tactical or strategic value, whereas the games are a lot more click unit > kill unit. Good fun, but it'd be like asking a football team why they don't all just play FIFA.

Add to that the building/customising and painting side of it too. This is probably 60-70% of Games Workshop's sales, it outweighs the amount of people who play the game by some way. Games Workshop still make the best quality models out there. It is rewarding to put some work into something and at the end of it have something you've actually created using time, effort and skill. A lost art to the millenial instant-gratification generation.

I make a lot of money out of painting models for people who love the game, but hate painting.
 
So... is the 13th Black Crusade still causing ructions in the GW hobby mob? I think it got hit with the retcon hammer this year and some fans were pissed.

Good write-up by the way.
To cut a long story short, as I'm not really a big follower of any of the books, there's a giant crusade and Chaos armies have opened rifts all across the galaxy and have come pouring out for a punch up. A few well known planets were destroyed, Cadia being an example. Primarchs have entered the fray, so you can now buy Roboute Guilliman as a miniature to add to an army, or Mortarion for the Death Guard, or Magnus the Red for the Thousand Sons. More to follow I should imagine.

All the fluff behind it is in the main rulebook you get in the box, makes for a good read.
 
I still have a copy of 40K Rogue Trader from the 80/90's. It was much darker than the kid friendly stuff today.
 
I still have a copy of 40K Rogue Trader from the 80/90's. It was much darker than the kid friendly stuff today.
Not sure I agree with that. Rogue Trader wasn’t so dark as the second edition became, and then the progressive editions have doubled down on, increasing the number of galaxy threatening dooms. Rogue Trader was very much more an adventure friendly universe that could be dark or bright to the players taste.
 

LmH

Old-Salt
I got into 40k in 3rd edition 2003ish. I've only played a few games the most recent in 6th edition a few years ago. I'm not too fond of what surrounds 40k in general - the company and the player culture. But the game is enjoyable at its foundational core, and citadel miniatures are more or less the best ones.

A few things:
- What's the deal with primaris marines?
- I also prefer 25mm bases to the 32mm ones, but AFAIK players are free to base on 25mm still.
- I prefer the look and feel of the game as it was a few editions ago. It's almost like there's been an attempt to swing 40ks appearance to that of other systems (which doesn't work). Look at the latest plague marines as an example.

I'd be happy to enter a UK tournament if I knew more about them and wasn't skint.
 
A few things:
- What's the deal with primaris marines?
- I also prefer 25mm bases to the 32mm ones, but AFAIK players are free to base on 25mm still.
- I prefer the look and feel of the game as it was a few editions ago. It's almost like there's been an attempt to swing 40ks appearance to that of other systems (which doesn't work). Look at the latest plague marines as an example.

I'd be happy to enter a UK tournament if I knew more about them and wasn't skint.
1. Primaris Marines, fluff wise, are the love child of Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, and Belisarius Cawl, the chief chieftan of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Girlyman told him to make some mega Space Marines for if shite really hit the fan, and over the space of 9,000 years he did just that. Guilliman got woken up by the Eldar, and when he saw what an absolute travesty mankind had become, and what the Chaos had done to the galaxy, he phoned Cawl and told him it was Pimms O' Clock. Translating this into the game, they are taller Spehss Muhreens with 2 wounds a piece and Bolt Rifles that shoot 30". They are essentially the size Games Workshop always intended Space Marines to be.

2. You can base on what you like, though 32mm does look a lot smarter in comparison - I have a lot of both.

3. As much as I liked 5th/6th edition, 7th was a total mess that was impossibly expensive. 8th edition really is much better, whilst still being very much the same game.

The way you can build armies now, it's relatively easy to make them cost effective and still competitive.
 
Cheers for the review. I kind of gave up on 40k ten years ago with 4th edition. It still seems bloody expensive. I could get 20 IG guardsmen fully posable for what i can get 5 "cast in 1" models now!

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 
Haven't played this since I was a kid. Although recently downloaded a game called Tabletop Simulator https: and have seen some people playing it there. I'm tempted to give it ago based on your review (plus you don't have to pay anything for the models here as they're all digital).
 

OMJT

Old-Salt
Cheers for the review. My youngest is having the Know No Fear starter for Christmas so I'll have to learn the rules, I've heard that there's even some similarities with Bolt Action so hopefully that help me along. Love the quality of sculpts GW produce.
 
Cheers for the review. My youngest is having the Know No Fear starter for Christmas so I'll have to learn the rules, I've heard that there's even some similarities with Bolt Action so hopefully that help me along. Love the quality of sculpts GW produce.
It's a good game now, you'll find you have a lot of fun playing a few games with him. Definitely the best edition so far, and I've played since 3rd edition in the 90s when I was a kid.
 

RZer0

LE
Nice write up!
I like the idea of the smaller rules set to get you going, I understand they did the same with WHF aka Age of Sigmar as well.
I did ask my 7yr old would he like some 40k models for xmas. He very excitedly said "Yes" and my wife just gave me that look.
 

OMJT

Old-Salt
I managed to pick the Know No Fear rules booklet for a couple of quid from ebay, and along with The Youtube, I should have a decent understanding to play a game or 2 with him. Yeah, the wife just rolls her eyes these days :)
 

LmH

Old-Salt
New players should know that Warhammer Fantasy has been discontinued (is no longer sold) and is not the same game as Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.

Although, Age of Sigmar does look cool in its own right.
 
New players should know that Warhammer Fantasy has been discontinued (is no longer sold) and is not the same game as Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.

Although, Age of Sigmar does look cool in its own right.
That is my 'main game', so to speak, so stand by for a write up.
 
I still have a copy of 40K Rogue Trader from the 80/90's. It was much darker than the kid friendly stuff today.
I was interested in getting into wargaming to keep MasterPlume away from screens, so we could have an indoor activity we did together (apart from Subbuteo & all the board games), and because I like painting stuff. I bought a copy of the Warhammer 40K rules from eBay & decided it was all a bit dark for him - this is a child who when we are playing Star Wars X-Wing gets worried that shot down pilots haven't had a chance to say goodbye to their Mums!

Instead I settled on Travel Battle (review & pics to follow) & invested in the Osprey En Garde! rules so am busy painting up Wargames Foundry figures for that. The rules for the latter seem a lot more complicated than when I first bought them, with attributes needed for individual figures...
 
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