In the grim dark future of Games Workshop’s 41st millennium, there is only war, so it’s a good job the 10th edition of its venerable tabletop miniatures game Warhammer 40,000 is starting a whole new war for its incoming 10th edition ruleset. Well, it’s a fourth war in a long line of wars, but when you’re called Warhammer, that’s to be expected?
Revealed overnight at the massive wargaming convention Adepticon in Chicago last night, Games Workshop has a swath of updates coming for several of its key games—both the sci-fi 40K and its fantasy counterpart Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, the smaller-scale skirmish games in those universes Kill Team and Warhammer Underworlds, and the old-school 40K prequel game Horus Heresy—crowned by the highly anticipated reveal of Warhammer 40,000‘s 10th edition, releasing this summer.
Within the lore of 40K’s universe, the 10th edition will begin in the wake of the current events of the rulebook series Arks of Omen, which has seen several Space Marine chapters, the Orks, the alien Tau Empire, and the forces of a mysterious new agent of the Chaos Demons, Vashtorr, slugging it out in the “Imperium Nihilus”—a section of humanity’s vast interstellar empire that was cut off from the rest of it during the events that opened the game’s current 9th edition. With that conflict about to climax in one of the newly revealed books at Adepticon, 10th Edition sees the galaxy turn its eyes eastward—especially the leader of the iconic Ultramarines Space Marine chapter, Roboute Gulliman, after the swarming masses of the alien Tyranids of the thought-defeated Hive Fleet Leviathan launch a surprise attack on the other side of the Imperium, revealing that the largest ever Tyranid force is actually surrounding the entire galaxy, starting off humanity’s Fourth Tyrannic War.
Aside from kicking off with a focus on the forces of the Space Marines battling the Tyranids—complete with brand new model updates for classic units like Space Marine Terminators, and the Tyranids’ primary infantry, the Termagants, both of which have not been updated in many years—40K’s 10th edition is launching with a focus on condensing, but not lightening, the game’s current rules, a process Games Workshop described as “simplified, but not simple.” This condensing puts much more of the games’ rules and abilities onto actual units in the game themselves, instead of taking up separate phases of a turn—the psychic ability phase where your magically enhanced characters cast spells has been removed, for example, with psychic powers now being treated the same as regular attacks resolved in combat phases—or being administered through 40K’s ‘stratagems’ system, a raft of abilities and buffs for your army issued as command orders at the beginning of turns.
With many of those abilities now baked into newly condensed “datasheet” rules for each unit in an army, Games Workshop says the intent is for players to have easy access to all the rules they need to play their faction. That means they’ll have less to learn about matchups against other factions, in as little as one or two sheets of rules, instead of hauling around multiple books worth of rules and mechanics with their armies. With new updates to the ways armies are constructed, the intent is to remove a lot of the external layers of depth in 40K, while maintaining and transitioning that depth the actual forces on your tabletop.
Access to those rules will also be easier than ever, thanks to an overhauled app—positively described as “it works!” during the reveal, acknowledging the infamously buggy current official app for the game—that will host the core rules for 10th Edition as well as the newly balanced datasheets for every faction in the game for free upon launch. Not only will this mean players can start playing with their current armies straight away without having to wait for their updated rulebooks, but Games Workshop intendeds to use this digital-first approach to rules to make it easier to issue updates and errata to the game based on feedback and playtesting. That easier accessibility for the game will also include a brand new format to play 40K, Combat Patrol. Based on the current starter box-sets Games Workshop sells for each faction, Combat Patrol will have slightly simpler rules than 10th Edition proper, with the intent that newcomers (or people who want to try out a new army before committing to a more sizeable force of miniatures) can pick up one of those boxes and have a force that is immediately ready to go to battle against similarly balanced forces from the other box sets.
The 10th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 is set to launch this summer. But the new edition of 40K wasn’t the only thing Games Workshop revealed at Adepticon—click through to see new models for the game, the updated Seraphon army line in Age of Sigmar, new Kill Team and Underworld expansions, and more!