A flashback to the changes in 1990s to WH40k GW inflicted some serious butchery on 2nd ed. 40k when it moved to 3rd ed 40k in the 1990s. WH40k went from being like Necromunda backed up by army books and with separate boxed supplements for psi-powers and wargear to a large scale bare bones minimal rules mechanic without fully-fledged psi-power or wargear rules. Not to mention the turn system and movement stats and therefore almost all tactics built up by players were deleted and restructured.
Many older players abandoned the system and the Pokemon generation jumped in, before moving on to more challenging interests and leaving "the GW hobby" behind. Over the years, GW have built up the number of special rules and individuality in 40k again, but it is nowhere near the same level of intricacy and complexity.
However, current WH40k is a game where I get to field more cool minis all at once and get them to combine in really surprising and interesting ways, with more options. I have been able to model and field more cool minis than I could have before. It is certainly not the same game as 2nd ed. WH40k which I shall remember as a great game; but the current 5th ed. is pretty good too.
The current changes to WHFB To return to WHFB 8th ed., the current move from 7th to 8th ed. in WHFB is not as big a change as from 2nd to 3rd ed. WH40k by any stretch of the imagination. I think GW learned from the 2nd-3rd ed. WH40k episode, and have not been as aggressive in current changes to WHFB.* I don't think future WHFB will ever return to the way things were, just as WH40k has never returned to its 2nd ed. 40k days.
What we can look forward to I hope, is a different but pretty good game. GW seem to have cleared the decks of WHFB for a new type of game which still has some roots in what has come before. As GW continue to develop WHFB and release army books and minis for the system hopefully that will be the case.
*(Alessio Cavatore was the architect of the changes to WH40k in 5th ed. which were seen as simplifying the game further and recommended similar changes to WHFB. The current changes Mr Cavatore feels are welcome but don't go far enough. This was revealed in an interview with Beasts of War, just search their Youtube channel for more on this.)
Edit: Here is the link to Alessio talking about the changes to 40k and a clue as to what the vision behind the future of WHFB is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uQqE_FWUsM&feature=related Skip to 4:38 for the relevant section. I'm still digging around for the interview where he discusses the WHFB recommendation.
I ditched 40k when they went from 2nd to 3rd. 2nd was a good, deep and thematic game for small forces; 3rd was a bland system for larger conflicts. I think many people never tried to play decent sized games of 2nd edition, or forget how incredibly unwieldy and unbalanced it was. 5th Edition (in my opinion) finally brought in enough depth to make it a good system again, and better than 2nd imo (unless you want to play games using less than 6 units).
I also enjoy 8th edition Warhammer, although I think they really shot themselves in the foot by not following it up with some army books rapidly. If they had gotten 3-4 books out in the first year it would give people a better idea of how the game works with armies designed for it.
The games of 8th edition I have played have worked well, and flowed nicely. Probably the biggest flaws are the top level magic spells, and the excessive nerfing of cavalry though I find these to be lesser issues than the flaws with 7th.
Post by Stephen Mawson on May 6, 2011 16:25:51 GMT
I didn't stop playing 40K when it changed from 2nd to 3rd edition.
I think I agree with you a lot John, a lot of people look back very fondly on 2nd Edition 40K as the mists of time have tended to erase the memory of some of the problems with the game system.
I really enjoyed playing 2nd edition, and while it had some great points (the characterfulness of the armies, and the amount of detailed universe background. Plus quite a high level of options and tactical choices built into the game). There were some very big problems also. The close combat rules were incredibly slow and clumsy, the vehicle rules were fiddly and over complex, the psychic rules tended to slow the game down for little benefit, and the game was massively dominated by the characters and their wargear. It also didn't really work once you got over more than 4 or 5 squads per army.
As a result I'd more or less stopped playing 40K prior to 3rd edition coming out, focusing much more on playing smaller scale systems like Necromunda and Gorka-Morka.
For me 3rd Edition was an immediate improvement in lots of ways. The game played more quickly, close combat actually worked without slowing the game down to a crawl, vehicles were simple to use without loosing to much of their character, and above all you could actually field plenty of stuff all at once without breaking the game.
I initially disliked the change to the shooting rules. The loss of to hit modifiers seem a unnecessary change, and the streamlined weapon stats seemed to cut out a lot of the different weapons distinctiveness. Although it had to be said that the old 2nd ed weapons rules added more complexity than was really required, but did at least make each weapon feel different. I didn't really like the loss of armour save modifiers either, but over time that's something I've adjusted to.
The change to remove the Movement stat also seemed like a strange call. Indeed I'm still, even after all these years, of the mind that I'd like to see movement rates reintroduced to 40K, along with to hit modifiers actually (with a lot of the cover save rules removed).
I've carried on playing from 3rd to 4th, which did fix some minor issues with the rules, and on to 5th. But I'm actually less happy with 40K as it currently is to be honest than I was with 4th edition. I don't like the true line of sight rules, and army power creep has become more and more of an issue. Also some of the armies have lost some of their distinctiveness of late, and we seem to be going through a period of Uber units.
The last codex I was happy to see was the Ork one, purely as the army needed an update by that point. I haven't really paid a lot of attention to what's come out for 40K since then.
As with 40K, I think a lot of people have forgotten how problematic some of the earlier Warhammer rules actually were. I've been playing since 3rd Edition of Fantasy, and 3rd, 4th and 5th editions all had their problems. Since then GW seem to have gotten a bit better with their rules changes. The biggest problem I had with 7th edition wasn't down to the base rules, but rather the army list design, as there was just to much variation in power levels between armies.
I happen to like 8th edition. But I don't think it's a serious improvement over 7th. I like some aspects of the changes, the increased emphasis on infantry for instance, and the change to make difficult terrain less of a unit blocking device, and the fact that the rules changes have levelled off the relative power level of most armies. Others changes I could take or leave. I don't mind the magic changes for example, although I do agree a few spells are a bit overpowered Also the change to allow pre-measuring, that also something that I'm ambivilent over. The only stuff I really dislike is the true line of sight rule, because it makes to much terrain irrelevant. I also think one effect of the rules change (not sure if it was intentional or not) is that it reduces the importance of maneouvre somewhat. I'm also not a great fan of the fact that the points scoring changes have pushed most people down the kitchen sink approach to units.
On balance I think 8th is ok. There are some things that I didn't like about 7th that it's fixed, but other problems it's introduced.
Absaloutley. I had a scary 58k Eldar army, with a 10k space wolves support. I remember the data-sheet for weapons, and they were severely over the top. In my space wolf army, I had the obvious 20 wolf-guard all armed with assault cannons, 9 possible shots each, to a deafening roar of 180 possible shots after teleporting behind the poor army that decided to face me. An old friend had a chaos army, and didnt set up a single model on the field. He found it hillarious, letting the other player have their first turn. And yes to psychic turns, with 18 warlocks, and Eldrad, (cant remember having any other farseers, was sooo long ago!), I dominated the board for the psychic phase.
5th Ed. has seem some simplicity, while at the same time, keeping a little character to the individual model. Elizabeth and I have a saying "For every rule, there is a character to break it". Some of the background has been fuzzed too though. A couple weeks ago, some idiot told me tyranids were created by marines, or something. Erm no. The 2nd Ed. ultra marine codex, or more probably the tyranid codex gave a fantastic several page account on the first ever sighting of Tyranids, and if you've never read it, please go find it. It still remains one of the best 40k stories ever to come out. I miss 2nd Ed. but I prefer 5th. Some of the range of the weapons in a basic army are a bit poor though, several in mine are 6", and many are 12", which is less that needed for a charge by the opposition. Especially with fleet of foot, or an open topped carrier.
I found the Alessio Cavatore video where he discusses designing Warhammer 7th when his modernising suggestions were largely rejected, and the fact that they have been accepted now. Skip to 11:30. He also mentions that the changes to Warhammer are in some ways more radical to those in the change from 4th to 5th ed WH40k. His ideas about wargame design generally are also discussed.
He also discusses the design of 5th ed WH40k mixed in with the discussion about 7th ed Warhammer design. He discusses his career and early days as a wargamer earlier in the video as well if you're interested.