Games Workshop have announced the impending release of the 8th Edition of their 40k games system.
Any new release from GW is sure to cause a major splash in the tabletop gaming community, and while debates about the rules and what the few details already announced could mean, what I found most interesting is that there are indications this release could herald a whole new culture at GW, and a remarkable change in how they interact with their fans and customers.
Maybe I am just being optimistic, but read on and see what you think.
The truth is GW have earned a reputation as a company that hasn’t paid much attention to its fans. Fantasy Flight Games provide perhaps the starkest contrast, as a company that
- Runs forums for their fans
- Has external playtesters
- Hosts their own events
- Supplies prizes and material to even small shops -around the world!
- Monitors the results of their events
- Adjusts rules and cards when necessary
- Actively monitors and adjusts their game to try ensure a (reasonably, relatively) level playing field
- Attempts to nerf the most powerful and boost the weakest models
That doesn’t mean they are perfect or that they always achieve all these goals, or that the new shiny toys aren’t often better than the old dusty ones, but they definitely make an effort to be a very active part of the community of gamers that play their systems and support their business.
GW on the other hand have preferred to be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, tied up in a bow of haphazard points pricing, expensively rapid rules release and online silence.
It’s 2017 and they don’t even run an online forum.
But now, perhaps the times they are a-changing.
“Over the last few months, it’s been pretty clear that something has been coming – we’ve seen the Baal System threatened by the Tyranids, war erupting across the Damocles Gulf, a Daemon Primarch return in the Fenris System and most recently, the events of the Gathering Storm, in which worlds fell, gods were born and a Primarch rose from his 10,000 year slumber.
The new Warhammer 40,000 will see the continuation of these epic events – this is the universe you know and love, but the story of the galaxy is advancing. Be prepared for some major and exciting developments in the story of the Dark Millennium.
This is the game you know, but improved, faster, bloodier and better. The rules team have gone to great lengths to make sure that every unit, weapon, vehicle and character has its role – everything will be useful, and every miniature will have a place in your army.
We know you’ll have questions. Hopefully you’ll find a few answers here, in our FAQ on the new edition. “
Free Core rules.
‘The core rules for the game will be free’. Excuse me, it sounded like GW just said the core rules for the game will be free.
BEFORE the release. The text in it doesn’t answer rules questions, but it will certainly alleviate a lot of players’ concerns.
All Armies Supported
As they should be, but that’s very good to hear.
All Models Supported
That’s a little more surprising, but equally welcome.
A Less Byzantine Rule Set
Listening to Feedback
Annual Rules Updates
“… everything we’re talking about now is just an extension of all the community engagement work we’ve been doing over this last year and a half. We’ve learned a lot from you guys and gals, and we’ve tried really hard to make sure everything you’ve asked for is included.
Does this mean a new Culture at GW?
Only time will tell, but even saying these things about community involvement and making these statements about listening to fans and trying to engage and improve the game based on feedback are very large steps for GW.