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Everything Else

After a very long break we're finally getting back to these lists. With proof that the Space Wolves will soon be getting a number of updated units and rumours that Codex: Grey Knights is following close behind (believe me, i'm going to have a field day with that one) it seemed time to really get going again. Unfortunately this is a bit of a difficult one.



Unlike most of the others, I do not have that much experience with the Space Wolves as a chapter. While I have personally kept up with the lore, I have not played or played against Space Wolf lists that frequently, so there is very little I can personally say about changes they need on the tabletop. Reading the book over and over again only brings so much understanding in my case, so there's a chance that a point might miss some vital problem or mislabel something. As such this is going to instead focus upon their lore and what changes that needs.


So, without further ado, here's the top five changes Codex: Space Wolves needs.

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If you're looking for part two, you can find it here.


Easily the biggest problem with Codex: WAAAGH! Ghazghkull's lore is its focus on one individual, Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka himself. Along with furthering the problem of encouraging herohammer tendencies and removing any opportunity for a player to really leave their own mark on an army, the chief issue is that it boils down an entire force to one person. While generals, commanders and leaders are generally the most famous figures in war, they do not make up an entire army in of themselves. They need elite troops, forces at their command, and over time they will be replaced as much as the grunts, meaning that focusing so heavily upon a single figure can limit an army's focus to a single time period. 

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If you've read previous reviews of supplement codices, you'll know the rules tend to be a big disappointment. Nearly everything there is designed only to work if you fork over more cash to buy further books. It's often padded out to all hell with scenarios and generally stuff players aren't interested in. Well, this book has actually broken that curse. No, seriously, pigs have flown, and Games Workshop seems to have finally listened to criticism. 


While a big part of the codex is given over to scenarios, and a sizable number of pages are devoted to showing off models, a lot of its greatest failings have finally been corrected. We don't have pages being given over to showing off one miniature at a time any more. There are no big sections of the book given over to Cities of Death, nor are there sections upon sections which only work if you buy more rulebooks. In fact, just about everything here works on vanilla tabletop now. 

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Of all the elements in the original Star Wars trilogy made fun of the most, Stormtroopers easily the biggest butt of all jokes. Despite being a supposedly elite and superior assault force who represents the seemingly unstoppable Galactic Empire, they rarely seem to hit the heroes nor do they pose any real challenge. The thing is though, when you actually look at the scenes, their overall competence dramatically changes from fight to fight. There is also a very good reason for this.


Now, think for a moment about how they were first shown to the audience. They successfully board the Tantive IV and fight their way inside. Despite facing several times their number and having to enter via a choke point that Alliance troops have carefully covered, they fight inside with minimal casualties. From there on, every moment we see them has the rebels on the run, and they manage to capture a good number of prisoners. The shots in these scenes are far more accurate than what would later follow and there are none of the wild misses we get later on. The same goes for on Tatooine, when we see a Stormtrooper patrol covering the area where the escape pod crash landed. They carefully comb the area to the point where one single trooper manages to find a small fragment of scrap metal and accurately deduce they're after droids.


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Yet another person high up has opened his mouth and said something extremely stupid. The last time we properly covered this sort of thing was when Dan Didio declared superheroes did not deserve to be happy. Now we have the head of a major publishing giant stating that a large chunk of the gaming community in general is opposed to all change and progression. Not only that but they are openly holding it back from having the gaming industry as a whole entering a golden age.


Quoted on gamesindustry.biz among other websites, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore stated the following: 

"I think we're going into almost a golden age of gaming, where it doesn't matter where you are, at any time, any place, any price point, any amount of time, there's a game available to you, and our job as a company is to provide those game experiences. And then on our big franchises, tie them all together."

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You know, one of the biggest criticisms I keep making of these books is how desperately they attempt to tell a story. Nearly every one tries to shove some narrative tale into its lore rather than actually spending time exploring the army, and glorifies a few certain characters over long established, venerated armies of thousands of wars. Well, now they've truly taken things to the next level, not only shoving Ghazghkull's name on the book's title, but forcing his cybernetic green mug onto dominating the cover. 


Yes, before anyone comments, ork WAAAGHs! are so often named after their leaders, but really this is desperatley trying to sell the book purely based upon Ghazghkull and Ghazghkull alone. Really, take a look at the blurb on the codex's back cover: 


"It has long been said that should the disparate Orks ever unify beneath one leader they would crush all of the so-called civilised peoples of the galaxy. That doomsday draws nearer, for the great greenskin Warlord Ghazghkull Thraka has arisen, and Orks from all clans muster to his bellowing warcry. He is not just a mighty warrior, but a master strategist and the living Prophet of Gork and Mork – the brutal greenskin gods. Already star systems burn upon his orders, and more will soon follow. Ghazghkull has called the Great Waaagh!, drawing towards him the most warlike of his savage race. Goff warbands, Speed Freeks, Dread Mobz – all have crossed the stars in their seething multitudes to join the greatest Ork crusade in a millennium. This time, nothing will stop the green tide."

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Okay, before we begin, i'll freely admit this is something of a time-filler until I can properly cover the Ghazghkull codex. Still, this is a subject I feel needs to be brought up and pointed out. Why? Because it's a surprisingly easy way to track trends within Games Workshop and their general attitude towards armies.


The old saying is that you can't judge a book by its cover, but if you track the sorts of covers produced by Games Workshop you start to see they actually represent the contents fairly well. Presenting the indention of the author, the general approach by the writer and how the creative team handle the armies in question, at least for that edition. Don't believe me? Let's just use Codex: Space Marines as a starting example.


Now, back in the days of the Third and Fourth Editions these were the sorts of covers we used to have:

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We're going to be doing things a little different today, as this is a look into a game that's not finished. There's still a great deal of work to be done to it, many problems or minor errors to remove, but it still has a great deal of potential. More than enough to warrant giving it a look now and playing through the locations already established. That game would be Sunless Sea.

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Yeah, it's time for one of these again, but it's not about the subject you probably think it's going to focus upon. If you have been reading this blog for the last couple of years you'll know that I personally disagree with a lot of lore decisions (usually by one specific writer) and the general approach to their game by Games Workshop. While there have been some definite improvements of late, there's one major problem which continues to plague their futuristic setting. One major failing which no edition has really gotten right, and a major issue which authors desperately need to explore and focus upon: The universe's history. The ten thousand years of lore which writers seem to have skimmed over with barely a word commenting upon them.


Now, many of you have likely already jumped to pointing out examples such as the Badab War, Horus Heresy and early Tyrannic Wars. While it is true that Games Workshop has explored those events, to great effect in the latter two examples, they are brief periods of time. Short wars which, no matter how galaxy shaking, focused almost purely upon warfare and armies in question, and only took place over a small fraction of the Imperium's history. Even the timelines we do get or the (often bastardised and extremely crude) attempts at storytelling we get in supplement codices, each covering hundreds of years, are only invested in certain armies. Any changes, often only focus upon the army in question and never examine the bigger picture when it comes to the Imperium.


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