In every gaming club there's at least one person who will run out and buy the newest release as quickly as they can. In my gaming group, I'm that guy.
So on Saturday I went out and picked up my copy of the 7th Edition box set.
I was excited. I didn't really mind 6th Edition so much but there were a couple of things I wanted to see fixed. I play Black Templars, primarily, with a Thousand Sons army for when I'm feeling chaotic.
Well the set comes as 3 books (hardcover) in a box. The first book is called Dark Millenium, which is basically all the fluff that you'd normally find in the older style 40K rulebooks. This book is probably the highlight of the set, especially if you're really into the 40K fluff, as I am. The cover, like all 3 of the books in the set, is a recycled piece of artwork from some other book. Not much to say about it really. It's fluff. You either like that sort of thing or you don't. That's a book that will probably spend most of its life on the shelf.
But you can't buy the rulebook without it.
The second book is called A Galaxy of War. It's not much more than a catalog. Lots of photos of painted Citadel miniatures showcased here. Not a lot of substance. That one's going to gather dust too.
But you can't buy the rulebook without that either. Long ago I'd canceled my White Dwarf subscription because I was tired of paying for Games Workshop catalogs masquerading as content. It seems they've found a way to force people to buy a catalog again.
The third book is the Rules, which is a reasonably small tome compared to older 40K rulebooks. Most of it is a word for word copy/paste from 6th Edition. Some of the text has been edited a bit for clarity and so on, but if you sit with your 6th Edition book open on one side and the 7th Edition book on the other, the similarity is uncomfortable. From what I've seen so far even the photos are the same, with some color adjustments so that they could be printed in fewer colors, with the savings not passed along to the customer. The Psychic rules are radically different, which is a good thing overall, in my opinion, but the only other difference I could spot so far is the vehicles rules have been adjusted a bit (but not enough, it's still possible to glance a Land Raider to death.)
So essentially we've been given what could have been no more than a simple update, but packaged with a bunch of the same old fluff with yet another catalog, and charge $85.00 U.S. for it. Less quality, higher price. And this, after only 2 years since the last edition change.
My gripe is that this book simply doesn't strike me as representing a level of effort and investment that justifies the considerably higher price. It's almost as if GW is running out of ways to boost profits and this is a sort of big final push before... what? 9th Edition Fantasy is coming out this year too. What will they do next year to improve sales beyond all this and keep the shareholders happy? Maybe they can't and they know it. I wonder if the big shareholders are about to dump their stock and leave the company to the wolves.
I added a few more remarks on the blog on the homepage of my gaming club website.