Monday, April 29, 2013

Opinion: The state of Codices (PART ONE)

With the onset of 6th Edition and the incorporation of allies, I think this is a great opportunity for GW to essentially press a "reset" button on their codices, and so far that is what they appear to have been doing (late 5th, early 6th).
I have in the past been an advocate for the return of the supplement system that existed in third ed. Not for all armies that used to be supplements, but to allow for a greater range of forces. This would definitely fit in with the more narrative type hobby GW is pushing for, rather than tournament based game (although, maybe that is why there is so much shifting internally at GW these days). BUT now, instead of a return to a supplement system, the idea of smaller "ally" codices is extremely appealing. These would be MUCH more flexible, add a great amount of diversity to the game, and allow model designers to really have at it without having to produce an entirely full range.

This post first covers what should be the core codices. These are the books that from which ally's will either branch off of or that are significant enough to stand on their own. Part Two will cover the allies, so sit tight for that.
I meant allies, not The Allies.
Now granted, the list below differs slightly from what has already been released, but IMO this would be the best way to go about establishing the range of armies. FURTHERMORE there are alot of Imperial organizations on the list. That is because their should be. 40k is about man's struggle against the galaxy, not Necrons or Tyranids or Orks. Man's. SO the game should be heavy on that, and I am of the opinion that 50% (prior to ally codices) is a proper distribution, and is likely a sweet spot for sales too.
Thought for the day: You will die. Most likely by getting eaten by Tyranids.
IMPERIAL ARMIES- Moderate amounts need to change here IMO, especially in the realm of non-Astartes. One codex should dissapear IMO, a new one should be brought about.
1. Space Marines- This goes without saying. The generic SM list will always have to be in the game and should NEVER GO AWAY. This would cover all but the most divergent of chapters and should cover much more via a good use of the Chapter Traits speacial rules. I have a some very extensive post on just this(1, 2, 3), but here is not the time or place. Click the links to read more.
2. Dark Angels- They just got a new book, and really these guys should exist to pretty much fill the same roll they do now, DW and RW. They are divergent enough, especially with their new vehicles that no other space should (nor do I want to see) have. They also are different enough to have a largely divergent model range produced.
3. Blood Angels- The angelic host. I am biased for obvious reasons, but this should be the crack assault host of the Imperial Armies. Fast, Jump Packs, Assault Vehicles, the works. Pretty much not much should change from how they are now, though I would like to see them get the storm talon since everyone else now gets the raven. That too is another discussion. Has the potential for a lot of modeling, basically to be the most ornate of all chapters.
4. Space Wolves- The most divergent of all the codicies. The most varied of basic SM in terms of a model range. Space Vikings YAY! Really of all the SM chapters, this one speaks for itself.
5. Inqusition- This would be the GK codex, redone. GK are not really a traditional SM codex and IMO it should be the main inquisitorial codex as well. Maybe calling it "Heroes of the Imperium" to give a nod back to 3rd edition. I would honestly just beef out the inquisitorial options and builds, making GK just one of many viable lists. Deathwatch may or may not fall under this, but I think I have a more appropriate place for them in part 2. Sisters would not appear in this book.
6. Ecclesiarchy- Speaking of Sister, they should have their own book and it would actually cover the entire church of the Imperium. Sisters would be the core, but Frateris Militia, crazy fanatical cultists, death cult assasins, priests and what not should be all through out it. For Ordo Hereticus elements to be drawn in you would use allies.
7. Imperial Guard- I think this should get fleshed out a little more in the way SM are with chapter tactics and should have multiple ranges (at least more than catachan/cadian). As is though their selection for units is pretty much spot on. I would say that the main codex though should heavily lean towards armoured and infantry based regiments such as Cadians, Mordians, Valhallans, Vostroyans and Steel Legion.
8. Adeptus Mechanicus- The last of the Imperial Codicies, and the only one that really has no representation as is. Skitarii as so different from IG and SM and just the whole makeup of the organization is different. This also has such an incredibly potential for models and new ranges with tons of awesome bits (yay for Orks!)

CHAOTIC ARMIES- To me there is a current problem with Chaos as is, and it really needs to be redefined to clearly diferentiate from the powers of the warp and the corrupted masses of humanity (and their corrupted super human protectors). With allies now, you can afford to seperate the concepts into their own books and let the players bring these aspects together as they choose, rather than presenting ways to include it all in one book, as they did with CSM.
1. Chaos Legions- This should be representative of the forces that followed Horus and now follow Abaddon. These are the OGs and it would pretty much be a book of all CSM all the time. Daemons and cultists could be brought in via allies. The codex should really be dedicated to fallen SM legions and SM type wargear. Not even too many daemon engines. Really Hellbrute and DPs should be the closest thing to daemons these guys have. The range of these guys would be alot like the current SM range, but alot more iconography and upgrades for different legions, chapters and/or gods would be awesome, as well as more and newer plastic kits.
2. Chaos Renegades- This would be how people make armies of Chaos Guard, Blood Pact, Sons of Sek, Renegade SM chapters, etc. etc. A whole force of Space Marines really wouldn't be a doable build for the codex suggestably, since there is Chaos Legions already, but maybe possible with certain characters such as Huron (ie playing Red Corsairs). But all in all this is for the forces of Chaos other than the Legionaries of Horus' time. Cultists, Loxatl, the forces of degraded humanity. And than is a key aspect, I am not talking too much overtly daemonic stuff. Mild possesion, not full on daemon engines. Super awesome opportunities for a range here, starting with the new cultists as found in the Dark Vengeance.
3. Chaos Daemons- Not much to change here except for the including more daemon engines. This is the appropriate place for such things IMO, especially with allies now. Helldrakes and forgefeinds belong here. Flyers and tanks in the two above. If it is overtly daemonic, this is the codex of choice. The range as it exists now is virtually FLAWLESS in terms of Chaos.

XENOS ARMIES- This is where the least maintenance to the codicies needs to be done. Just small updates and changes IMO.
1. Orks- Pretty much as is. Maybe more distiction between klans. Something like chapter traits. Oh, and other than specific characters, nothing should be finecast.
2. Tau Empire- I think this newest codex got it pretty much right in terms of force composition and Tau specific items. I feel kroot got a nerf and Vespid are still in the "I bought them before I got the codex because I didn't know what they did" category.
3. Eldar- Rumours look promising. I definately want to see a wide variety of practical ways to play each craftworld and a plastic range that would allow for easily representing them.
4. Dark Eldar- Pretty much as is, but it would be nice to see more established fluff for kabals and differences between different Kabals and then have rules to reflect such.
5. Tyranids- I honestly would like some of the old mutation rules to come back (I am talking 3rd edition). To me that is when they felt the most genetic monster like, and that is what they should be. Something like the old Imperial Guard doctrines would be great for creating your own hive fleets. And as with orks, other than specific characters, nothing should be finecast.
6. Necrons- Why fix what isn't broke. Honestly the only thing, from what I can tell, that would be nice is to have plastic HQs.

Well, when I can, I will do part 2, which will cover Ally/Supplemental codicies and the great potential for models, rules and revenue GW has there AND WHY that is what 40k should move to/evolve with.