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Dropping Dice Asks, What's After Codexes?

Games Workshop has done it. They've righted the 40k Ship. It took editions to happen, but they have now been relentlessly responding the the entire Warhammer community (both AoS and 40k), they've put out a great product with Aos and 8th edition, they are getting involved with the community for competitive events, and they've already released 11 codexes, and another 4 will be out soon (with Thousand Sons coming out this week!). They're making so much content you'd think they must be on some serious drugs to just be constantly churning out this much material.

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(this is how I write so many words)

But this begs the question... then what?

GW has flat out told us that they are going to have all the codexes for ALL Factions that currently exist before the end of the year. That's a huge number, and it's very impressive. Heck, on top of this, GW seems to be getting into the spirit of making new factions too, with the Custodes getting their own release recently, and Death Guard and Thousand Sons each becoming a full on faction to themselves. However, it's impossible to think that this is going to keep going on forever. Eventually, won't we tire of "Space Marine Chapter #37, the Pussycat Warriors" along with their associated Catpost Engine and Prrr-Weapons? Sure we will, so there's gotta be something else in the tank.

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(I don't own a cat. How do I cat?)

Here's a few ideas of what could happen from Dropping Dice:

#1 - 40k 9th Edition
The easy answer, when they're done the codexes, they just do it all again! Chances are this time there won't be any indexes, as that was part of the big change to the newer system, which only happened between 2nd and 3rd, and 7th and 8th, so it's likely we'll go some time before seeing such a major shake-up. Instead, this would likely be bringing the main rulebook into line with the faq's so that things are just correct straight out of the book. You would say goodbye to the sheer beauty of 10 pages of rules, but the added precision is always appreciated.

It's also possible that GW will try to upend everything AGAIN, and again update all the indexes. However, there's a couple of reasons that I don't think this would be the case:
- The players who most recently got a new codex, likely just a month back, will feel like their purchase was worthless when it's scrubbed maybe even just weeks before the big new edition.
- Unlike 7th, where many people bought Indexes for all their stuff (I myself got 3 of them), people would be hesitant to drop the same amount of money, knowing their stuff could be RIGHT around the corner. Even lots of Space Marine players were annoyed in 8th with getting an Index, only for it to be IMMEDIATELY invalidated by a codex. The main reasons to have it now are to reference for things not in the codex, like Librarians on Bikes.

Either way, players will again be waiting on their codexes for another kick at the can. GW, meanwhile, will still have to be something something with their modelling division. What happens on this front? My bet would be that you'll see yet more updating of product lines into the newer style that 40k has taken on. More Primaris Marines, fewer Eldar Guardians, that sort of thing. Again you'll see certain sub-sections of factions receiving the new hotness. This is also when we'll likely see things like Librarians on Bikes dropped completely, now totally phased out. If they again did Indexes, we might see other units shown to be on death's doorstep with units appearing in the Indexes that, again, aren't in the codex. While I doubt it will happen with 9th, this is where you'll see Tactical Marines die one day.

#2 - 40k 8th Edition, Version 2
Another really easy answer, don't change anything! Just start re-releasing codexes again. Same formula as before, same changing things up and introducing new models. If they went with this version though, I can almost guarantee that some bigwig is going to tell them to put in Formations again. And then again, maybe Formations can now work! Maybe the structure of the game has evolved to a point where we can support it, where it feels like you're actually spending something to gain access to formations rather than just "free" bonuses. Right now you can still get free bonuses (pick a Chapter, go), but there's enough other restrictions that these don't feel quite as free. You can't take Eldar alongside your Tau, for example.

I can imagine them bringing back Formations for sure, though again, there might be some added caveats that weren't there before. Maybe Formations would cost posts (as they right and well should have), or maybe they'll be Formations that get a certain Stratagem for free. Either way, they may not be here yet, but one day you will almost certainly hear that name come across the floor again. Formations spurred purchases for a lot of non-selling items, and it'd be ridiculous to think that this concept doesn't cross their desk again.

#3 - 40k, Redifined
One thing we hadn't seen at all since last year has been any focus on things outside of Matched Play. It's been a fast and furious year so far, but at some point, GW is going to bring these things back up. I wouldn't be surprised if 2019 is the year they do it. This would mean seeing GW trying to sell the game through modifications to the game. Apocalypse, Kill Team, and more. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a 40k version of Blood Bowl.

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(Maybe the best image in all of the game.)

The only thing about this approach is that it is you're mostly targeting players that are already tired of the main game experience. These games are fun, but there's often a "surge and fade" pattern to them; they'll be very popular for a few months before again rescinding into relative obscurity. At best, this approach would be giving GW a buffer space between editions, allowing them a period for players to get tired and eager to buy something new.

#4 - 40k, The Expert Set
What if all of this is just the beginning? What if 40k isn't just going to be for casual games and fun tourneys? What if 40k is going to become something serious? This is pretty out there possibility, but it could be that 40k will diverge into a Match Play and Casual Game system, where Matched Play becomes accompanied by a whole extra layer of rules. And before you scream heresy, consider the following;

- Horus Heresy is already a thing, and still follows the 7th edition rules. There is already a divide in this sense, with players who want to have a "more complex" set of rules. However, this is still set in the 31st millenium, not the 41st (or is it now 42nd?) millenium, so there are players out there that think they can't play the game how they enjoyed (pfft, really folks?) but don't realize there's already a spot for them. An "Expert Set" might fix this.

- There were rumours last year of just such a thing being worked on. Likely those were silly rumours at the time, but they were well received.

A differentiation between your Tourney-goers and your Casual-players could allow GW to resell to a specific player group, without having to upend the whole kit and kaboudle.


So there you go! What do you think?


BTW...

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I like the thoughts as i have been wondering the same, but what are your thoughts on how this fits in alongside the stuff they were saying about doing chapter aproved every year to sell players updates/additions? 

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I don't think any of these things conflict with Chapter Approved at all. Actually, if anything, I think doing 8.5 edition, 9th edition, or indeed any regular schedule for releases, will only make Chapter Approved even more important in showing a consistent pattern to releases. Think of it almost like Magic's "rotation";

1 - Core Set (8th edition)
2 - First Half Codexes
3 - Chapter Approved (8th)
4 - Second Half Codexes
1 - Core Set (9th edition)
2 - First Half Codexes
3 - Chapter Approved (9th)
4 - Second Half Codexes
1 - Core Set (10th edition)
etc...

It would function as a possible half-way point if they were smart. However, after reviewing their article about the future of FAQ's (found here: https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/12/15/the-future-of-faqs-and-chapter-approved-dec-15gw-homepage-post-2/), I can't find anywhere that it states what their intentions are for Chapter Approved's release pace. This likely points to it being an ancillary sales product; a way to effectively monetize FAQs. In theory, Chapter Approved can also take the place of the core rules in the sense that they just keep updating the core book rather than releasing new editions, which would point more likely to just continuously updating codexes like point #2.

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