Summer draws to an end. Children are returning to school, freshers are starting their first year of college or university, and gaming companies are churning out new stuff. As always, I enjoy following GW’s descent into apparent madness, and this month promises to quite a doozey. Let’s recap on some of personal favourite GW moments over the past few months. We’ve had supplementary Codexes for Iyanden, Farsight, and Black Legion, all of which cost the same as their parent Codex, despite having less than a fifth of the actual gaming content, we’ve had more of those awful multi-part, fixed-pose plastic characters that cost the same as their Finecast equivalents, and we’ve had “travel sized” rulebooks that go for £30.
But enough of that nonsense! We want some SPESS MAHREENS! GW’s flagship army hasn’t received a new Codex for this shambling monstrosity of a ruleset called 6th edition, so September is all about the SPESS MAHREENS!
“But we had a new Dark Angel Codex a few months ago…” you may say hesitantly.
“Well prepare to be obsoleted!” GW would respond.
Remember years ago, when Dark Angels got their 4th edition Codex? The proper one, not the terrible pamphlet that had to be errata’d in a White Dwarf to make it decent. Well, the 5th edition Space Marine Codex came out literally a few months after that, and shat all over the Dark Angels, introducing new units, wargear, vehicles, rules… you name it, so you had this utterly ridiculous scenario where Dark Angels Librarians and Tactical Squads were worse than their vanilla equivalents, Dark Angels didn’t have access to stuff like Sternguard, relic blades and Thunderfire Cannons… I know at least one DA player who was so frustrated with it all, he just ended up using the vanilla Codex. It’s Codex creep at its worst, because earlier armies – who are thematically the same – lose out on stuff just because the writer thought of cooler stuff a few months later (see also; Blood Angels and Stormravens).
Well, the same things happened again. New 6th edition Space Marines get grav-guns and… umm… well you’ll see below. But Dark Angels, those guys who are a First Founding Chapter and are therefore well-established in the fluff for having loads of cool ancient gear? Nope, sorry, we didn’t think about grav-guns then. But hey, at least you had flakk missiles before Codex Marines did!
Now, you could argue that it’s because Dark Angels and vanilla Marines are separate armies and therefore have to have different toys to make them distinct. I get that. DA have always been characterised by being shooty, having awesome Bikers, and having awesome Terminators; that’s their gimmick. It’s all a bit redundant though when a new Codex comes along a few months later and makes the generic vanilla Marines better at that gimmick. It just highlights the problem that has always existed with having separate Codexes for each Space Marine Chapter. It pains me to say, but 3rd edition had the right idea; one core Space Marine codex, and then mini-Codex add-ons that included the Chapter-specific rules and extra units. Worked just fine, and ensured that everyone was singing from the same songsheet.
Anyway, enough ranting about that subject. Let’s look at some models that make me want to weep for the game that I once loved.
“Hey guys!” said one of the head fucktards in GW one day. “You know that thing we did for Grey Knights that everyone instantly mocked and hated?”
“The Dreadknight?” responded one of the other fucktards.
“Yes! You know what we need? A squad of those! Except… I don’t know… even stupider looking!”
“But what purpose would such a unit serve?” asked one of the younger, naive fucktards. “I mean… Marines already have Terminators, who are super-tough walking tanks, and Dreadnoughts, who are essentially the next step up from Terminators. Why would we need a new and redundant hybrid unit? Also, in terms of background fluff, where would these suits have come from? Are they new inventions? Because I thought the whole point of Warhammer 40,000’s grimdark background was that there was no innovation or new invention, because progress is seen as heresy. Are they old suits that have been around forever, and we’re clumsily retconning them in and claiming that they’ve always existed?”
There was silence for a moment. Then the knives and steak hammers came out.
That young, naive fucktard was never seen again.
So, yeah. These are Centurions (which is odd, because I though the Forgeworld books had established that Centurion was a rank during the Heresy, not a squad classification…. awkwaaarrrd...)
Now, I’m sure that they’ll have their fans (I can practically hear Ian squee’ing already), but to me… ehh. Sorry GW, but Marines in sumo-suits just aren’t doing it for me. On the (very minor) plus side, I reckon an Ork player could have fun converting them into well-Orky Killa Kans…?
I have to admit though, it isn’t all bad. I actually do like the reintroduction of grav-guns, and GW have seemingly finally decided on their rules for grav-weapons; apparently the target’s Armour is your roll to wound, which is actually quite clever and elegant compared to previous grav-weapon rules. But no grenade launchers (ie the perfect tactical weapon) in Tactical Squads continues to make me sad. When we saw the Vengeance launcher in THQ’s Space Marine, I was certain that it would make the leap from video game to tabletop game, just like the rail rifle from Fire Warrior did. But no. Sigh.
My other big beef? Okay, Tactical Squad has been updated with new arms, bodies, heads, grav-guns, etc… but the box still doesn’t include all valid weapon options! And I’m not talking about a weird weapon combination for the sergeant, I’m talking basics like a heavy bolter or lascannon. Oh, you get all the specialist weapons, sure, but hope you like buying a Devastator squad so you can put a plasma cannon in your Tactical squad!
New plastic Sternguard are very cool though.
Except OH WAIT those five guys are £30. I get that it’s a large multi-part kit with lots of bits and customisation, and it’s an elite unit that you won’t have a lot of in the army, but seriously, come the fuck on.
The real kick in the teeth are the new Captain and Librarian, two more of the fixed-pose plastic heroes that GW keeps cranking out. Remember the Space Marine Commander plastic kit? Wasn’t that awesome? So many options to build and customise YOUR commander, and it was totally compatible with all the other Marine plastics. I’ve seen some amazing plastic Space Marine models built using that kit. Now we get this.
Well, hope you wanted a guy that looked almost identical to the Marine Captain from the Assault on Black Reach set, because that’s what you’ve got!
Urgh. How did this happen, GW? How did you go from my favourite gaming company, with your awesome models and setting, to a bad, expensive joke? How have you endured with your ass-backwards policies and strategies regarding your product? Why do people (apart from the deluded fanboys, they’re lost to us) keep putting up with this shit? It’s not the late 90s or early 00s anymore… people have choice now; there are literally dozens of different tabletop games that people could be playing instead, games with nicer, cheaper models and better-written rules.
People love Space Marines. They’re the iconic Games Workshop model, and for most of us, a humble Marine was one of the first models we painted. When you go fuck ’em up, it makes people angry, and it makes them start reconsidering giving you money. It makes people think about migrating to Mantic, or Privateer Press, or one of any other tabletop gaming companies. It makes people into bitter, whining neckbeards. Trust me, I know.
TL;DR – New Marines have fat-suits, fuck you GW.
All images courtesy of Games Workshop’s website, used for review purposes only. What? They tried to sue someone for using the term “Space Marine” in a novel, you don’t think they’d come for me?