There’s a new Warhammer 40k on the way from Games Workshop. The venerable gothic sci-fi wargame is entering its 8th edition. But don’t be fooled by the last few new editions; this is a serious reworking of the rules.
Check out a typical stat-block for a unit. It looks fairly similar to what we’ve seen from the game since its Rogue Trader days. But look closely and you’ll see some changes, especially compared to 7th edition.
First, each unit has a Move characteristic which gives the number of inches it can travel in a normal move action. You’ll also notice that Initiative is gone. This is a huge change for close-combat; units that charge (almost) always go first now. After the chargers have fought, players alternatively activate their units in close-combat, one at a time.
There are lots of other changes as well. Characters can no longer join units (though some armies have bodyguard units that can still soak wounds aimed at their characters). Every unit has a number of nesting keywords (ie: Imperium; Adeptes Astartes, Blood Angels), and special abilities are often keyword-dependent. That is, a Blood Angels character might allow Blood Angels units to reroll their charge-rolls, but that ability probably won’t extend to Space Marines of other chapters. (This is openly designed to prevent the creation of the “Super Friends” death stars that came to dominate the tournament scene most recently).
The primary goals, according to Games Workshop, have been to streamline the game and make every unit a viable choice on the table. However, such a comprehensive overhaul of the rules means that 7th edition Codexes won’t work with 8th edition rules. To hold us over until new Codexes can be published, Games Workshop is releasing stat-blocks and bespoke rules for nearly all the models they currently sell. Rules for Forge World’s models should be coming by the end of July.
That said, there’s been a lot of excitement about models that have been collecting dust, like Dreadnaughts which now sport Toughness 7 and 8 wounds. Games Workshop also reports that you ought to be able to finish a game of 2,000 points in less than two hours.
You can pre-order the new rules or the starter box, featuring new Primaris Marines (think true-scale Space Marines) versus brand-new plastic Death Guard (with plague zombies), from your Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® starting June 3rd. The official launch date for 8th edition 40k is June 15th.