View Full Version : Why army books will NOT go away

21-02-2017, 16:13
It's interesting to hear people say they want to see a General's Handbook for 40k because that's how AoS has done it. Don't have to worry about what books to buy, finding rules, and it makes it a lot easier because the General's Hanbook has the stats and pts for all the units in AoS. With this kind of information all in one spot, surely there would be no need for army books no longer for both 40k and AoS. There's one tiny problem: AoS army books are still being developed. Stormcast Eternals already have a Battletome out with rules for different chambers, stats, pt values, warscrolls, etc. From what it seems like, the General's Handbook is there only to have an idea what's out there and what these units are suppose to do, but doesn't eliminate army books. With that said, if there's a book similar for 8th edition 40k coming out, it may only serve as an overview of units (like the General's handbook), not to replace codices. However, is that really a bad thing?

Let's get the downsides out of the way quickly. A big problem is how much the codices cost. $40-$50 is pretty hefty some of money. Making sure you have the right codex for whatever army you're playing, and if you're using a supplement, can get hectic if you're looking in the wrong spots. That can get kind of confusing to one degree, but not as big of issue as once you have it all figured out. Finally, balance with the codices, the number 1 issue. The best example of this, and I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse but hear me out, is Eldar Craftworlds. The rules don't match the fluff too well, all their stuff is dirt cheap compared to other codices, they have more strength D weapons that are available than any other army in the game, and the vast majority of armies can have AP2 on a wound of 6 (so in other words you really can't have worse than AP3 for the army). I know other armies have their problems that need panned out, but Craftworlds is still THE problem child and needs to be fixed. Now, with all that said, one gigantic book will NOT solve the problem, and that's where we go into the pros of army books.

Where a General's Handbook is a good source to find out about certain units, an army book gives better insight as to what's inside that army. Rules, pt values, stats, everything you need to know what to use, yes? "But a General's Handbook can give you that information." Not to the extent that an army book can give you. Again, Stormcast Eternals now have rules setup for individual chambers so they can be more, here comes everyone's favorite word, diverse. Sounds strangely like what they did with the SM codex, doesn't it? Maybe 40k is doing something right. Now, as I said before in other threads, I can see a bunch of armies from a codex in 40k being combined into one, and it would make it easier for some people, but the only fear would be the threat of taking away identity to a certain army. With how the SM codex is, and it looks like the Stormcast Eternal battletome as well, I think there won't be as much fear of that happening.

Another added benefit is some people, like myself to a degree, really don't want one gigantic big that has everything in there, when you just want one army. I can see where if you own multiple armies a big book would be helpful, but the army books are what's going to give you what you need. Anyway, navigation through a smaller book would much easier, and less stressful trying to find rules for what you want. Going through a BRB is bad enough to find one thing, so this would be one less thing to worry about.

The most important point, and I don't know if I can stress this enough, is the updates to an army. Now, a General's Handbook could serve as a book to update what has come out in that year since it was last released, but why change the whole thing and pay again for something where there were no significant changes, especially for armies that did not get updates? It would make much more sense for army books to maintain that task, since hey will have all the specific rules. Tau is a good example because the codex has not changed since it's 6th edition release other than add on: New units, formations, rules for both. A General's Handbook, IMO, should serve to have the core units from army books, like basic troops, hqs, that kind of stuff. Other than that, get what you need from your army book.

These are only some of the reasons why army books will not go away. Does it cost extra money? Yes, but it's better spent if you want to have individualized rules and diversity. You can even say it makes everyone feel special! So enjoy the army books because that's exactly why they're there. They are not perfect, but they're better than nothing.

Rogue Star
22-02-2017, 12:42
Well the General's Handbook doesn't stop GW releasing stuff like the Battletomes for the AoS factions. Nor has the fact the warscrolls are freely available to view on their website. What this allows is that you can play games with just a few units. You picked up some Putrid Blightkings, Plaguebears and your friend some Stormcast Liberators and Judicators? You can play right away. You can see what each unit does just looking at the freely available core rules and unit stats.

You can then pick up the General's Handbook if you want to try Matched Play, collecting forces of equal points to have a match, or narrative, allowing you to select a hero, randomly roll up three to four units of followers, then play various scenarios, losing and gaining followers as the campaign goes. Finally, the Battletome is if you intend to collect a specific faction, providing the in-depth lore, colour schemes, famous battles/scenarios, points for the units, etc.

I think 40K would benefit from having a similar system, but it would require a massive redesign of 40K - AoS units are each individual things, intended to be taken that way, you can not attach characters to them or vehicles (heroes tend to have abilities which buff them, but only within a certain range, they can not be attached to the unit however) allowing you to mix Stormcast Liberators with Sylvaneth Tree-kin and Orruk Ironjaw Brutes, all at roughly an even power level. 40K with such a system could be abused (although not too much more than it is now...). Imagine such an "Army of the Imperium" consisting of Wolf Guard Terminators, Ravenwing Bike Squadrons and topped off with Death Company providing Troop Choices.

I'd like to see 40K borrow this from AoS, but without a massive improvement to 40K, it won't work.

23-02-2017, 05:48
Personally, I'd love a truncated combined book. Something similar to the, I believe, 4th edition book from the Marines Vs Dark Eldar starter. It had basic rules for all of the available armies at the time. It didn't have special characters or most of the special rules for them, but enough that you could start out with any of them. It would also let you haul around a smaller number of things if you wanted to play quickly. One group I'm in still uses that book for a 500 point thing we've done for years now at lunch periods with only the Tau getting anything other than the main book with the same basic limitations there.

28-02-2017, 20:39
If GW can get people to buy a general's handbook and battle tome, why would they stop? That's why they won't go away.

10-03-2017, 15:36
It's worked for most other wargames. I don't see why it can't work for 40k. Even with the unit bloat, you don't need a whole or half a page for a unit entry like some recent ones (particularly MT or Imperial Agents where it looked like they were purposely filling space to get the page count up).