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.
Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition)
Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition)
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.