There has been some chatter about a new edition of 40k and the problems with it.

In the round, I find that the ruleset is pretty good for the most part. Personally, I think that the biggest issues with the rules are the assault phase and psychics.

The random charge range is a real problem. Failing a 3 or 4 inch charge is extremely frustrating. When you combine this with the fact that over watch was introduced it really hurts assault armies. Maybe make charge range a set value plus a random roll. 6 plus a d6 for instance. Also, maybe Initiative could be used more, like run moves are simply move your initiative value in inches, and/or replace your lowest charge d6 with your initiative value?

Over watch is also a poor mechanic in my opinion. Reducing BS to 1 for everything is too arbitrary. Why a BS 2 Ork and a BS 7 Phoenix Lord should have the same odds as hitting with snap shots or over watch is beyond me. The rule really hits elite armies and units. It also hits the higher BS models even more so as they lose their ability to have a second roll to hit if they miss first time.

Snap shots should be a set modifier to BS. Say -2. Or, maybe leave it as a standard round of firing, but you then cannot use close combat attacks?

Psychics are just in an odd place really. Some armies have access to always on abilities (Tau, Necrons). They don’t need to get enough warp charge, make a successful role to cast them and they cannot be blocked (Deny the Witch). The other problem is that these armies tend to have as much chance to Deny the Witch as armies with Psychics.

Some armies can completely drown out other armies with the sheer volume of dice they can use to cast and deny attempts. And then we get to the sheer disparity in the power level and usefulness of some of the powers available.

For instance, there are plenty of powers that are equivalent to a heavy flamer shot, or maybe a melta-gun shot that cost one warp charge. Then we have Invisibility for two warp charge.

So, some powers amount to a weapon attack of some kind and may even need multiple things to succeed.

  1. a) Have a psyker
  2. b) Get the power
  3. c) Cast it
  4. d) Roll to hit
  5. e) Not have it denied

Then compare that to some powers that seem way more powerful for maybe one extra warp charge in cost and possibly less rolls involved too (like no to hit roll and harder to Deny due to it being a Blessing for instance); and of course some abilities being non-psychic and always on.

Beyond these issues though, I feel that the biggest problem is the same as it has always been; codex creep and expansion material. I always feel that the codices are being designed in a vacuum. By this, I mean that the rules etc. are not being looked at in an all-encompassing manner. We see this every edition in a very obvious codex set. In every edition, there always seem to be changes in the various Astartes codices. Different points for the same weapons/wargear, or even as far as different rules for the same thing. Remember the Storm Shield difference years back? Dark Angels had 4++ save Storm Shields and then they newer marine codex changed them to 3++. Now, we have the Dreadnought attacks difference for Space Wolves and Blood Angels (who also have lower WS and BS scouts now too).

Granted, GW seem to have decided to address the Dreadnought Attacks characteristic issue. However, I am not overly hopeful they will address some of the other issues, like Vanguard Veterans in one codex having to pay more for the same options as other marine codices.

What sets this edition apart from others though, is that we now have formations. I feel that formations have taken the “codex creep” issue to a new level. The bonuses that the formations give seem to have no logic to them. Some of the formations seem to be nice and fluffy, with a nice little bonus or two. Other formations though, seem to be game breaking. Some of them offer a lot of free points worth of units (some of which are free vehicles that are just part of the army and don’t even have to come on as replacements). Other abilities involve taking the rulebook and throwing it out the window, by letting you to do things that are not normally allowed.

Formations need to be examined against each other. They need to be graded in some way, from formations that give a nice free bonus, to more gains/buffs for an appropriate cost.

We also now have a game expansion, which is not even a game expansion in that it is actually supposed to replace the rules in the core rulebook. I am talking about the new Death from the Skies book here.

I love 40k. This is not meant as some kind of anti-GW rant. That being said, I do think that GW could do with considering these issues. I don’t like the idea of needing more than one rulebook (we already do need more than one, in that we need a codex or two alongside the rulebook to play). The core rules should be in one book, not spread out over multiple books and certainly not one book over-ruling and replacing some rules in another.

I love the way GW have been engaging with the customers and producing FAQs again.

I also wish that maybe they would consider feedback on the rules, codices and formations in general. Maybe start to create more of a living ruleset and codex idea. I think that this would be particularly good for the digital books, as changes in rules etc can be updated in them. I know that would mean paper codex users (such as myself!) would have to start sticking errata sheets in the back of our codices, but we have to do that anyway. We already have errata that fix a typo or change a phrasing to make something less ambiguous. A change to points cost or stats while I am at it? Yes please!