I obviously haven't had time to read them both. Or even one of them. What I have done is flick through and get a first impression.
To break up the flow of Nurgley posts I thought I would put down some of my first impressions and thoughts on both of the new books.
Please note I am not going to give a review of the new 7th Ed rules, i'll leave that to people who have more time on their hands. This is more about my general feelings towards the way things have gone, about the new layouts, about changes in the direction of the Orks over the years.
I will apologise now as this will probably turn into a long winded, messy, bloated diatribe...
So we start with the big one. A new Edition of 40k. Yay. I was just beginning to think 'it's been two whole years, surely that is long enough, i've got enough use out of this big book and these cards I bought already'.
Putting my thoughts aside of the speed in which 7th has arrived (the first print of 6th couldn't have been off the print line before they started writing 7th...) I think the idea of the separate books is a very good move, harking back to the old 2nd edition books (I still have those knocking around somewhere). Having one book for rules and one book for background is so much better than a massive tome.
But then we have this:
|What a waste of trees.|
What we used to have in 40k rulebooks was things to inspire you, yes you saw pictures showcasing the models you can buy but you got much more than that, you saw conversions and dioramas that inspire and make you go 'I want to do that'. Battle scenes showing armies clashing over great terrain and modelled scenery is only glimpsed on one or two pages - tantalising you with what could have been a great showcase for all aspects of the hobby.
All that has gone. It's like that side of the hobby no longer exists, you only have the models GW makes to play the game - everything else is irrelevant.
|Conversions! Showcased in the 6th Edition book.|
This comes through in the rule book itself. Flicking through the terrain and we get Datalates for GW terrain (why do we need a full page dataslate for sodding craters? Difficult terrain, saving throw that's all we need to know). I don't want special rules for every little piece of terrain, terrain already adds a huge amount to a game without having to complicate things by every ruin giving a special rule (plus they are stupid rules, every manufactorum giving a bonus for 'Gets Hot', i'm sure a factory that used to make washing machines or clothes pegs really helps you when your plasma gun blows up in your face).
We get one paragraph about scratch built terrain. That's it. No examples of what can be built with the GW kits, no examples of Xenos terrain, no examples of scratch built terrain, nothing but pictures of GW kits. We didn't get a huge offering in the last rulebook, but we still got things like:
|Examples of great gaming boards, some terrain built from GW kits, some not.|
|Mass armies in battles, again over great terrain. Fold out pages showcasing things to the max.|
If I want just a catalogue for models I'd buy White Dwarf or that Visions thing. Or spend time browsing the online store. I don't need a full page close up detail shot of a Marine Dreadnought for pity's sake, I want to see things that will inspire me, things to aim for, to push my own skills in trying to achieve something better.
Maybe it is me. Maybe I was spoiled growing up with Rogue Trader and everything that followed in the early and mid years of 40k.
But I forget. Games Workshop is a model company who happen to provide you rules to play with your models. I have to wonder if that is the case why do they make me spend so much money in buying the rule books and why they have to bring in a new edition after just two years. But as just a model company they only want you to buy their models, nothing else is relevant. As such there is no room in their books to show anything but stock models built straight out of the box and no room for rules for anything they don't make (after all why would anyone want that? people only want to buy models, the rules are only there so you can use the models you buy from them).
And now we have...
So after many years we have a new Ork Codex and some new models. Though alas not any new models for the old models that desperately needed replacing.
As with the rulebook I have not read the codex, new rules might be great, they might not. I haven't got an Ork army so I must be up front and honest and state that i'm not that invested in how the rules have changed/improved/got worse etc.
|White Dwarf 123, one of the few I have kept.|
But...I do love Orks. The first WD's I ever bought covered the very first Ork army list (WD 123 onwards) and introduced these fun loving thugs into my life. They had charm, with with a brutal edge.
So after a quick look through what are my initial thoughts on the new Codex? We now have a new Codex layout, gone is the bestiary and army list and instead we have the Dataslate layout combining the two.
You know what, in principle I am in favour of this set up. I would hate to imagine how much time I have spent flicking from one page to another while trying to put together an army list. Having all the options, points and unit rules together is great. Put in the background and you have the perfect set up.
However (you knew that was coming didn't you?) I do have a few small, niggling negatives with these Dataslates.
The rule seems to be if you have a Dataslate it has to be a full page. Again, justifiable if you have all the background a unit deserves. But look at that picture above. We have the Painboy and Grotsnik pages shown, both having a huge picture of the model. The background material is squeezed to a minimum just so we can see another photograph of a model. Drop the pictures and you could fit everything for those two entries freeing up a page for something else (I don't know what, maybe something there wasn't 'room' for and had to be then put into White Dwarf...?).
We still have pages of photographs showing the Ork model range. Every Codex should show off the armies models, I wouldn't deny this. But to miss out on so much artwork and background material for just another picture is in no way a worthy trade.
Looking back on the artwork from those early WD's (and from the books which were then released covering the army lists and background material) we get gems like these...
Top left to bottom right...
Painboy with assistant, a pipe smoking Mekaniak (such a better name than Mekboy), a Weirdboy and his Minderz (in the days when Weirdboyz had to be 'encouraged' to the battlefield and to use their powers) and finally a Madboy. God how I miss Madboyz.
Each incarnation of Orks seems to see them get a little more plain. And a little more homogenized. Each unit has lost some of it's individuality.
Don't get me wrong the models are awesome, the current range (bar the still ridiculously old Wartrakks etc) are so far beyond almost everything GW have done for Orks before that they are almost out of sight. Warbikes, Dreads, Stormboyz etc are outstanding in both looks and variety.
But the army? We have lost so much which seemed to make Orks Orks. The madcap nature and variety has been sucked out to make things easier to sell and play.
We cannot go back to the earliest days, the pages and pages of tables you had to roll for Madboyz or the SAG results were time consuming even then when you only had a fraction of the units and models you now field in a game. But that is no reason to lose some of the joy and creativity you could have with them.
The old Deathskull Lootas (before they became simply 'Lootas') actually fielded looted weapons, amazing. Each boy had his own weapon taken from a dead Marine or guardsman. Now we get a unit where every weapon is the same. Why? If a Guard Vet squad can take a mix of weapons (lasgun, plasma, melta, flamer, grenade launcher, not too mention the HW options...) why can't a Lootas mob whose individuals are far less structured and regimented than a Guard squad have more variety in the weapons they could field?
Similarly the Flash Gitz have a weapon each which is identical. What has happened to the Flash Gitz spending their teef to get the best, biggest, loudest weapon they could? Once you could upgrade at least the squad as a whole (e.g. more dakka) but even that has now gone.
The Trukk and Battlewagon kits are very nice kits, there is no denying that and we waited so long to get a vehicle for the Orks. I compare it to the original Battlewagon I bought oh so many years ago (it came with seven Ork boyz as well, the start of my first Mob). When an Ork force now goes to war we see identical (bar weapon changes) vehicles. Where is the Ork creativity? I do not say this to criticise Ork players who use the kits - as I say they are very nice and look great, what I find sad is the lack of options we are presented with that would allow those who want to to create and convert different trucks and battlewagons. But we will never get rules that would allow us to do this as GW will only provide rules for models they sell.
Orks used to have a huge range, just a small selection...
And we used to be able to build these. First we had rules and templates in WD (I still fondly remember the cardboard Gobsmasha I built. My first scratchbuild).
Then later we could bring these and others to the gaming table using the Vehicle Design Rules (we'll never see the like again...).
Yeah, VDR. It wasn't perfect but my god it was a joy to see the whole scope of vehicle building and converting open up for everyone regardless of the army you had.
The one thing we had left in the old Codex that gave us a little of that was the Looted Wagon. The rules were crap yes, but it brought something different and inherently Orky to an Ork army. Even as a pale shadow of the original Looted Wagon rules (where you know, you actually took an enemy vehicle and looted it) it at least gave you something of the original in the force.
So it goes and then we get the White Dwarf looted wagon, still crap rules but now if you want to use the Wagons you built you have to pay more on top of the codex. Thanks Games Workshop. Instead of filling the Codex with needless additional pictures they should have given the Wagon a page to itself full of options and fieldable as 1-3 in a unit, after all if the Guard can take three Leman Russ in a unit why can't the Orks field three Looted Russes in a unit?
|Goodbye Looted Wagon. I will miss thee.|
The fun is going out of Orks. Where are the funny one liners describing how the SAG has gone wrong? Or the little vignettes showing Orks and Grots being, well, just being Orks and Grots. I don't want to return to the past, but neither do I want the past to be wiped away for a more bland version of the Green Ladz we know and love.
(and I haven't even covered the Clans - oh please let us have the Clans back. If we can have umpteen different Marine Chapters each with special characters, units and vehicles can't we a little Clan action with some specific units?)
The End Bit.
Maybe I look at the past with rose tinted glasses.
Maybe I should just get on with it and pretend everything is ok.
Maybe I should stop being a miserable tosser and join in with the corporate GW.
I love 40k, I really do. It saddens me to see the path things have gone down of late. More than anything else the parts of the hobby I cherish is the background and the creativity. It seems GW does not believe the same. The models might be getting better and better but my enthusiasm for buying them is getting less and less. As GW goes further into its isolationist bubble becoming the only company nowadays that pulls away from embracing social interaction, social networks, forums, events, conventions etc rather than embracing it the less they seem to care about the people who they sell their products to or the worlds and beings they have created.
I do not want to turn this into a rant about GW and my thoughts on them and their practices but unfortunately the new Rulebook and Codex seems to have brought it out of me somewhat.
I probably should stop here. There were other things I was mulling over after flicking through the books but to be honest I have gone on long enough already and I doubt many who started reading this will have got this far so to save them wasting more of their lives I shall bring this to a close.
Basically GW, you annoy the fuck out of me, you are letting yourself down, and you are letting everything you have built up over the last 30 years down. Pull your socks up.
Except for Forge World. For those guys I would offer up sacrifices, goat, chicken, homeless man, whatever their choice is. I would do this because they are now the GW I fell in love with 20 odd years ago, and even as I enjoy all that they do it also saddens me.