Monday, 6 October 2014

Seventh Edition 40k ... A return to Oldhammer?

Hey all! 

Well the weekend has come around again so it's time for some more hobby related activity from my man cave.

Now as readers of this blog will know I am militantly in the camp of Oldhammer when it comes to my hobby activities, having lost my love of modern GW fayre with the steady increase in costs and decrease in customer service that has been the symptom of their changing business model in recent years.

That being said I do still purchase GW products and keep a wary eye on their developments as they do remain the primary stakeholder in our hobby. With the recent release of seventh edition 40k less than two years after sixth edition I was unable to hold my tongue any longer and so I compiled one of my famous email rants and fired it off to GW HQ. I pointed out that I had been a GW customer since the heady days of Rogue Trader and subsequently through every edition that has followed that fantastic publication, also citing my consumer loyalty for over twenty-five years of gaming. I went on to outline my concerns about their treatment of their established customer base, and my disappointment that such a recent rule set (that I had paid good money for) had already been rendered obsolete!

I was expecting to at best be fobbed off with a generic email or at worst be entirely ignored by whoever answered my correspondence. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I got a rather conciliatory email from customer services saying that they had read my email and were now forwarding it to management to be dealt with directly. I was even more pleasantly surprised when GW offered me an e-version of their new rulebook free of charge as a sign of goodwill. I have to say I really wasn't expecting this and it has gone some way to restoring my faith in the GW brand. Now I know an electronic copy of the rulebook costs the company nothing... But it saves me over forty quid, so I'm well pleased with this outcome.

Given that I now have a free copy of the rulebook I thought it would be trite not to give it a whirl and see how it plays and more importantly how it compares to my beloved second edition. I had already heard some good things from my fellow Oldhammerers about seventh edition as they have told me that it does have a lot of similarities with mid-90s 40k, albeit more streamlined. This may not be a bad thing as even I can admit second edition could be a bit clunky in some areas.

My lovely girlfriend (the beautiful Inquisitor Athena) volunteered to play against me in this game...something for which I am extremely grateful. For this battle she commanded my modern Crimson Fists whilst I led my Rogue Trader Salamanders (including my many new Rhinos). 

For the third time in this post I was pleasantly surprised, the game played really well, only slowing down when I had to check the rules to work out differences between second (and even sixth) edition. The vehicle rules were intuitive and whilst they were noticeably more characterful than the last few editions of the game they weren't grindingly complicated like the datafaxes from second edition. Additionally with the challenge system close combat seems to have struck a happy balance between the individual orientation of second edition and the far-too simplified process from third edition onwards. Characters are still powerful and seem to have regained some of their 'oomph' after previous castrations; and the new missions system as added a lot more depth to gameplay. 

Overall it was a great experience and I really enjoyed the game...I'll still play second edition for low level skirmishes, but I reckon for mid to large scale conflicts I'll be giving seventh another go. 

It feels strange, I think this is the first time in a decade I've had something positive to say about GW... Let's hope they keep it up!


  1. I think I'm in exactly the same boat. Without a doubt 2nd ed has been my favourite iteration of the rules and I championed it constantly. I grew increasingly more frustrated with every edition afterward and was all but swearing off any more editions.

    But one of my friends that I regularly play talked me into having a couple of small games of 7th and we even had a massive 6000pt+ apocalypse game recently too (my first ever apoc game I'll add).
    And... I've been pleasantly surprised for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I too will more than likely play using the current edition for games that would get a bit unwieldy with 2nd. But the flip-side of this for me is that my friend wants to play more 2nd too, to have a more detailed skirmish experience.

    1. It's amazing that almost everyone I speak to has exactly the same things to say about this new edition of the game. Maybe, just maybe GW has been listening to our concerns over the past few years and decided to actually do something about it.

      When I saw the new game turned up with three separate component books (like 2nd edition) I have to say it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

      We'll know if the company have been truly listening to us if they suddenly slash their prices by 50 percent and instruct their staff to stop accosting customers the moment they enter the store!

  2. It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you you're going to have to cut up your oldhammer licence, Legio! Nah, that's brilliant mate- if GW gave me a free copy of 7th I'd be more than willing to give it a go too, from what I've heard there are lots of RT and 2nd era things making their way back into the game.

    1. You're right...I must concede; I shall take a hammer to my Salamanders!! Lol

      To be fair it would be rude not to as it was free. It is clear that whoever had input in this new set of rules obviously had a working knowledge of all the good bits from second edition as well as slightly more role-playing look at life. I'll give it a few more goes and see how it bears up under increased scrutiny!

  3. I've only played 7th ed once but I thought the psychic phase was a lot more aligned to the psychic phase of 2nd compared to 6th. I loved the ability to dispel powers and the perilous-ness it brings to psychic powers that 7th and 2nd have even if 2nd psychic powers seem to have heavier impacts.

    1. I haven't given the psychic phase a go yet, but I have read through that section of the book and I have to say your absolutely right it is very reminiscent of second edition. I am pleased to say though it does seem a little more fluid and and a little less of a game-within-a-game though!