Hands on With 8th – First Impressions

I took a half-day off work on Friday for various reasons and ended up at our local game store as I knew they’d have their store copy of the new 8th Edition Warhammer rulebook. The poll we are currently running has the majority of people in the category that they will not be picking up the new rules. I put myself in the more conservative stand point that I needed more information before making a decision. I am happy painting my War of the Ring force at the moment and things are progressing really well on that front right now, but Warhammer is a big game and there are many of the 6 Inch Movers who have armies for it, not least of which is my fledgling High Elf force that I was preparing for this very edition before Tolkien falcon punched his way into the fray.

So, after getting my hands on the actual book I thought I’d give my first impressions. Originally I have been in the “they are charging too much for this and some of the changes seem odd” camp, however, I know that sometimes the Internet rumour mill can be a little on the pessimistic side to say the least. Therefore I am willing to admit where I am wrong and give things a fair chance. Has anything changed now I have seen the book? Only slightly, I am more tempted to pre-order but that is more to do with the fact that our store is offering a number of deals for the new book, the one I am interested in is the 10% off the list price if you pre-order, so that’s the rulebook for £40, still a lot of money and I don’t think it is really worth that much. OK the book is bigger than previous incarnations but that is not necessarily a good thing. A larger book doesn’t always mean better rules or better explanation of rules. When I was looking over the Always Strikes First rules and it was talking about the re-rolls you can get I can direct quote that it says “re-roll failed misses.” Yeah, that may only be a few words lifted from the rulebook but as far as my English comprehension goes failed misses are a hit. I know we all are aware what the rule intends to do but once again the Sherrif has dropped a proverbial testicle and that was found with only a cursory glance through the rules. GW does have a rightly earned reputation for poor English and bad explanations in its products and it doesn’t look like 8th is going to be much different. If the inherent mistakes we have found in previous products are not removed how can they justify charging their customer base almost a third more money just for a rulebook?

The book itself really is huge, I think it’s slightly smaller than the current one in terms of its cover but it is a lot thicker, supporting it with one arm to flick through it could be an Olympic event, you can’t hold it for long before you have to sit down and rest it on a table, at least, not with my bandy arms. I think my laptop for work weighs less actually. The production value is high, I’ll give them credit for that but the rules pages seem to go on forever and then there is the obligatory hobby and background sections. If I’m honest I’d be more inclined to buy the book if they cut down on that side of things, OK you want to introduce people into the Warhammer world if this is their first foray into it but you could vastly reduce this considering the amount of background you get from the army books themselves. Provide some basic background and some models pictures so that people can decide what they want to play but the majority of the stuff in the book is unnecessary in my humble opinion. You could then reduce the size of the book and that would bring costs down too, although knowing the greedy old Sherrif he’d keep the price the same. A stand out example of how I like things is the War of the Ring book, sure it’s not the cheapest rulebook on the market but it has all the rules, all the army lists and some decent hobby information in there too. You don’t need to go out and buy any other rules you can just grab the models you want and play. I consider that a much better use of my income than a £45 rulebook a £17.50 army book and then having to buy the models. I cannot think of any other game that costs over £60 to play before you have bought a single model…

Warhammer 8th will sell a lot, their customers are pretty loyal, even after getting shafted repeatedly. I’ll admit that I knocked up a 3000pts list over the weekend as a kind of preparation. Not using my High Elves, I made some calculations on my Daemons, no Siren Song gifts, no BSB with Gifts as well as a magic banner and within the limitations placed upon army construction by 8th edition.

Personally I’m not sure about bringing back the percentages, I can see that people may want to move up to 3000pts as that gives a lot greater freedom with making choices for your army as well as being able to take a lot of the big critters. For my Daemons I doubt I’d ever take a Greater Daemon at 2000pts, you are limited to 25% maximum on Lords and all Greater Daemons are 450pts, leaving you able to upgrade a wizard level or take one or two Gifts, not ideal so I’d stick with Heralds.

If you want a run down of all the rules changes there are many forums out there with a full break down so I am not going to just repeat things here. I am thinking about a pre-order as I can get the book cheaper. £45 is a no-no for me but even with that minimal £5 reduction for some reason I find that easier to stomach, especially as I have seen it in the flesh. I know that Gribblin will be picking it up and I may do the same but I’ll have to speak to the others around here to see if we are going to keep Warhammer Fantasy on the play list when War of the Ring is already here and seems like a much better game.