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Saturday, 11 October 2014

40k Supplements: Whither the Future?

Good day to you all, you sick, mindless web-drones!

Yesterday I was having a conversation with my buddy, Jack, at my FLGS as he put together the first of SIX Razorwings. We got to talking about the lamentable loss of our dear departed, Asdrubael Vect.


Asdrubael Vect: Not pictured.


Now, whining, dining and pining aside, we started discussing the future. I hope against hope that Vect, beloved character and sadistic lord of Torment comes back in a big way in Dark Eldar: The Kabal of the Black Heart. I think this is entirely possible. Let's look at the evidence.

Evidence: Not pictured

Insane Release Schedule

Needless to say, 40k this year has seen an unprecedented rate of release. 40k 7th Edition came out sometime around July, and since then we've seen Space Wolves, Dark Eldar and Grey Knights all get new books. Before that we had Orks, Astra Militarum, Inquisition and probably a couple more I have forgotten. Basically, there's been a big push from HQ to really get 40k into some semblance of order. This has been a welcome change to a game that suffered heavily in recent years from major imbalances due to books being one, two or even three editions behind. Nowadays, with the generally accepted exception of Eldar and Tau, everyone seems to be on some sort of equal footing, with all the books having a similar power feel to them.

On top of this, we've got a game where almost every Army List entry has a model to represent it on the table top. Some people are saying this is a reaction to certain legal disputes, but I think there is more than knee-jerk protectionism going on here.

Supplements

Most books now have at least one supplement, whether it's Covens, Iyanden, Farsight or Champions of Fenris to name but a few.

Champions of Fenris: Pictured

There are also a couple of books with two or more supplements, like Clan Raukaan and Sentinels of Terra, and Black Legion and Crimson Slaughter. This says to me that GW is not against having more than one supplement per book.

Whoopi-di-doo, Basil. But what does it all mean?

Well, I think it means that GW is trying to get 40k up to date and out of the way for two reasons. 

The first reason is The End Times. To me this screams of a reboot. They want to inject some life back into Fantasy so they can put out a new edition and then start updating Army Books with supplements all of their own. This would be a welcome turn of events because Fantasy is awesome and the fact that this rich, beautiful world has been somewhat neglected in recent years is really a shame. 

The second reason, that flows from this, is that GW can move to more of a DLC release format. A coherent base to 40k in the form of a Rule Book and Codexes that all sit on the same page means that the game can truck along on its own steam, while the Studio has time to focus on fixing up what could be a wonderful system in Fantasy. 

It also means that they won't have to neglect 40k completely, because amidst the big releases for Fantasy, they can drip feed us supplements with Characters and models that will keep our interest in 40k. It will allow them to potentially re-release and re-do kits that need it, like Cult specific Chaos Legions. And also allow them to bust out new things like more Imperial Knights or the rumoured Warlock kit with an Ulthwe supplement.

All in all, this might just be the fleeting hopes of a fanboy, but to me it makes business sense. I like to think that a company as big as GW didn't get to where it is today without any business sense. Sure, they've made mistakes and done things that make you pull weird faces in confusion, but it doesn't add up that they really are this behemoth of a company with no desire to please their customers.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Do I give GW too much credit?
Do my Space Wolves look pretty to you?
Tell me! Preferably in the Comments.

I've been super busy with my studies lately, so I haven't had a lot of game time.
But I hope to get a report from the first game of my campaign up in the next few weeks.

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