Well, I've not posted in a while for various reasons, but with the impending release of 6th edition Warhammer 40,000 at the end of the month, I have to say that I am looking forward to it.
There seems to have been a degree of disillusion about the new edition. I must admit, I felt the same way when 8th edition fantasy was released, and if I recall correctly, 3rd, 4th and 5th edition 40k. So whats changed with my mindset? I'm a pretty stubborn sod, and I don't react well to change, so why am I so relaxed now when I haven't been at every turn before? I think that the answer must partially lie with 8th ed fantasy.
As it approached I dutifully did what many gamers are now doing: trawling the internet for scraps of information regardless of source as to what I could expect. Looking back now, I think that I had 'given up' on fantasy about a month before it was released and the reason was that I had read abstract information presented in a format that denied the reader the ability to see the 'bigger picture'. A cliche I know, but for a reason. By reading such information on a rumour mill rather than as part of the updated rules it meant that I couldn't understand the context of the new rules set. Sure it may seem odd that fear and terror aren't as powerful now as they were, but does that mean that they are under powered now, or over powered then? Sure a Daemon or a Zombie are scary, but so too is another human running at you with a sharp sword and a determination to survive. The difference is that a soldier is trained to overcome these horrors, and when his own courage fails him, his officers and the standard are there to inspire him to conquer that fear and stand firm against his better judgement.
Another common complaint with 8th edition that unit sizes, in the main, were forced to increase in order to keep up with the changes to the combat rules. People felt that it was unfair how their well honed forces that had done them proud over at least the last two editions with the minimum of fuss between the changes were now required to undergo serious alterations. Yes this can be frustrating, and yes you probably spent hours getting your force just how you wanted it and to have it perform at it's peak efficiency, but what's fun about having all the answers? Sure it means expenditure, and sure Games Workshop are increasing prices, but I've been wargaming nearly 20 years now, as have many of my fellow regular gamers and price rises aren't a new phenomenon and if there is one thing a gamer likes at least as much as a win or achieving a good paint job on a model(s), it is buying something new.
You can't tell me that all the gamers that became despondent at news of bigger sized units and games hadn't previously moaned that they couldn't fit in a particular unit or a few more models within an existing unit.
But I digress. In truth, much of what I have said can be applied to the fears of 6th edition, though I suspect my own reasoning for looking forward to seeing what changes are ahead of us lay away from Games Workshop. Over the last year or two I have for the first time in my gaming career played none GW wargames, namely Hordes/Wamachine by Privateer Press and Dystopian Wars by Spartan Games. Both are very different to 40k and Fantasy, but both are very enjoyable. Essentially both these new systems have forced me to learn an entirely new rules set and in many ways forget how GW has taught me to wargame. Now I won't profess to be a better wargamer for this, indeed I suspect that I now fall under the 'master of none' category as I've not had the opportunity to dedicate myself to one system, however I think what it has taught me is to tolerate a different way of looking at the games I play. For example, for the first time in nearly two decades I am having to really adjust to new and unfamiliar rules sets.
I see no reason why one cannot adopt this approach with new editions of 40k or fantasy. Change can be good as it progresses the game as much as it streamlines it. Yes there will be elements that are unpopular I have no doubt. Experience tells me that I won't realise how unpopular they are with me until an opponent, probably at a tournament, points out that I am trying to play the old rule, not the new one, however with the negatives, there will be positives; not least that the models we use are better than ever and that the community is ever more widespread and supportive. All in all, I think 6th edition Warhammer 40,000 will be one to look forward to.