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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Imperial Guard 6th Edition Review

Im starting to really dislike my 6th edition Imperial Guard codex. I haven't reviewed the codex yet simply because I cant read the whole thing! Its not the rules but the background that really kills this book. So i'll go into more detail and explain why. 

Sometimes enough is enough, and you just gotta bash some heads in. 
So I have been holding off this post because its kind of annoying to see GW complaints all the time. But I cant help but feel let down by this book. Rules wise its pretty good and I feel like I got it pretty good in that respect. But the rest of the book is just bland and lacks anything inspirational. Of course this is all my opinion but im sure someone out there will agree. 

So first up is the fluff. I cant help but compare the book to its 3rd edition ancestor. When I started 4th edition was out and Guard wasn't even an army I looked at. My first book which gave me a taste of Guard was the 5th edition book. At the time it was revolutionary, anybody remember people talking about how we can take 9 tanks in an army! I was reading through it and my favorite bit was the famous regiments of the imperial guard. I instantly looked online and saw all these models and instantly I longed for them. Little did I know that GW would slowly kill these off as the years come by and 6th edition is one of the final final nails in that coffin so to speak. Its not just 6th edition. Last year I decided to read through all the Codices for the guard and each edition saw the decline of regiments other than Cadian ones. 

Take the second edition book for example. That book has heaps of regiments ranging from Native Americans to Reptilian Mutants and the list goes on! The fluff was evenly distributed between the regiments and a lot of the storied were about regiments that didnt officially exist. The book constantly told you that as a Guard player you are free to make whatever theme you pleased and encouraged conversions and had many examples to reinforce this. The hobby section even had a non GW kit in there! Imagine them doing this today (I bet you cant). It was here that we read the letter of a peasant soldier on route to his first battlefield, any important information was classified and blacked out and you really got to see what the Guard is like for the average citizen. When reading this book you can feel the inspiration and creativity going wild! 

The 4th edition book saw the rise of doctrines pushing the reader to push his ideas further and create his own regiment or recreate one from the fluff. From Armoured Line Infantry to Airborne Jungle Fighters to Drug Induced Nutters and the list goes on. So much potential right here to go further and create the Imperial Guard the way the original makers intended. A coalition of cultures brought together under one banner to fight for humanity. 

Then 5th comes along. The beginning of Codex Cadia. To be fair it does contain lots of Catachan too. 5th wasnt so bad though as it brought with it more options than the Guard have ever seen in terms of units, I think they had access to every Guard unit and vehicle in existence and more. But there was no pushing to be creative, no examples or stories to go by. It was written so badly that I cant get through it without rolling my eyes anymore. Take this for example: under section there is a little box which has a little fact where a unit of hydras killed 999,999 (or something equally as ridiculous) aircraft for every hydra lost, or the battle where Necrons suffered defeat at the hands of a cavalry charge. A lot of the fluff has no context or substance. Its all vague stats that seem far from believable and whats worse is its faceless. Nothing is seen from the eyes of anyone, most of its vague and seems like filler and the whole book just feels like see through propaganda. You know like when you see posters like this:


I mean, I get what the poster is trying to say but its a load of bull crap. Its relying on a past hype and looking pretty. 

Now to the review of 6th. Here I had high hopes for this book. I should have known I would be let down and kind of knew I would be. I cant even read the book, it feels like 5th but worse. The regiments only got a picture of a guardsmen each. All that back story gone and whats worse is there is no inspiration unless you love Cadians. Why should someone put all the extra effort and modernize a cool Tallarn regiment? Well according to that book they should stay well away from anything thats not a Cadian. If you really really have to not use Cadians, they have a tiny section of rare Cadian uniforms that we sell for a crazy price. The fluff is much the same as 5th in terms of stupidity. Where is the down to earth Guard level stuff? Couldnt they add a small section where they have a story of a Tank commander and how he struggles to command his tank in battle? Or how a Commissar thinks about his duty through their own eyes? No instead we have vague facts and blanket statements. Its just plain boring. 

Of course some of you may love the book which is great! I really wish I could love it too. But its not the Guard I used to love. Its some new faceless identity that lacks anything beyond a few minutes thought. The guys who wrote this must have had an easy time doing it, because its really just a few ideas that didnt go beyond the surface. 

I feel the same about reading the 7th Edition Rule Book. I guess its the streamlining of the background and the constant push to keep customers from using imagination and creativity. In some ways we have so many options, but at the end of the day most players Guard armies look the same. I can only imagine back when the 3rd edition book was out the great array of beautiful armies each with back stories and themes that have a lot of personality behind them. But it seems GW "master plan" is working. For example I have a hard enough time convincing the children at the club my army is Imperial Guard. Every time I use them in the main room I get asked what army it is and since they dont look like their Cadians they get confused. I dont mind that people like Cadians but I cant help feel that if GW had continued the ideas pf the early books then this wouldnt be a problem. But it is. 

So here I am, at the early age of 20, feeling like one of the older players who lack back on the good old days of GW. Well I can safely say I know exactly what they mean. We have here today some of the most detailed models being made by GW but its all wasted potential. Look at the new Commissar Kit for example. Whoever made that did not put much thought into how it could be used on the table at all. First up the face is way too distinguishable, you could put them next to each other with a different uniform and people would look at the pose and face and easily see its the same man. Same pose, same features and well all round the same. Why couldnt they have made him a bit more generic so that people could easily get creative and change him up a bit? The same goes for many of their new character kits. Im actually quite jealous of the Ork release of late because their characters do not feature the ceremonial rock our commissars carry with them. 

Then there is the removal of characters and vehicles. Oddly enough what was removed? The common trend in what was removed was that they where the most likely units to be converted or created. Think about how many custom Marbo characters you saw? Or the amount of Medusa you saw that was a modified Basilisk and so on. I saw Marbo as the last bastion of awesomeness in terms of creativity and theme. Marbo to me represented the last breath of a dying spirit in Guard Players. I have seen Rambo Marbo, Praetorian Marbo, Marbo Dundee, Explosive Arrow marbo and the list goes on. Each one with a name and back ground. That one Marbo really sparked the unique and creative fuel many players have. Thats what I want GW to try bring back. But they took it away. 

Im ranting now but I cant help but feel GW is trying to fence in as many players as possible into simply buying all their kits as is and not adding anything else into the mix. White Dwarf articles are the same. Anybody read any of their new battle reports? The most brief, streamlined and vague battle reports ever? If you haven't please dont read them. You will thank me. 

As a result of this new trend on GW part this is the last edition I will be buying books for. The rules for 7th are really cool and I like them. But the models and the background is all just becoming more and more bland as time goes on. No more are they thinking outside the square and being creative and fresh with the hobby. Instead they are trying to get their customers heads in the sand and keep everything standardized. While I will continue to enjoy the game, I cant justify buying another publication from them when its pretty bland forever decreasing in substance quality. It seems GW is good at wasting potential.


Overall verdict of the 6th Edition guard Codex out of 5.

Background: 1/5 - so much more could have been done. Seems like it took a few days to put together. 

Appearance: 4/5 - looks great as all the newer publications do. Amazing photos and lots of colour. Could have seen more regiment variety though. 

Rules: 3.5/5 - Over all improvement but yet again, so much potential wasted. Also the removal of many units and characters is just sick. Why remove Marbo? Or anyone for that matter? No need to. They just did it. 

Overall 2.5/5. 

As you can see I am far from impressed. 

37 comments:

  1. I agree with what you say...GW has long stripped player creativity away from the game... terrain making articles and conversion articles are rare as hens teeth now... and the reason I think is that, unless its something they sell that you can buy in store, then it doesn't exist... that's why your varied Guard units and factions are gone - probably because they cant afford or think it viable to produce all the varieties themselves, for you to buy... so they 'streamline' it down; you want guard? - play Cadians! ...

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    1. Dead right. Even the battle reports dont have anything outside the box in them any more. Its seems many of the new models are designed this way too. It annoys me to no end. There is no inspiration anymore.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  2. A good post, well said. If the IG book did have regiment traits then i would have been sold on doing a IG army. Instead is juts boring and bland

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    1. Which is unfortunate because the rules are pretty decent over all. It just dropped well short of a great hobby book. Which is what half of it should all be about.

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  3. I'm 100% behind you ! I started to like IG between 3th and 4th and started playing with the 5th Codex. With the new one, I really wanted them to give us more 4th-like possibilities and doctrines. I'm building a Tanith force and I would love to have them return. Instead it went into the other direction. It's a shame.

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    1. Agreed! It makes me think of all those people who would be building themed and unique armies right now (like you would be) but simply dont bother because of this? Especially with such a wealth of models out there today (which may be a big reason for this problem). Glad to hear you agree mate.

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  4. I'm a guard player from 3rd as well my army consists of valhallans, catachans, vostroyans, mordians and cadians. I used to have fluff for why my army had so many different races but now with GW slowly nixing the other armies I fear I won't ever get some praetorians or tallarn. The tempests were a nice ad on but I won't be buying the models they look good but they just don't scream imperial guard like the old models do.

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    1. I had an army just like yours. A huge army with all the regiments and races and more! Mere weeks before the models went out of production I sold the collection off to start fresh. I regret that to this day. I really hope your collection becomes complete soon.

      The Tempestus models are nice, but they lack what all the other Regiments and so forth have and thats a recognizable theme. Even the Space marine Chapters all have a theme that can generally be picked up by looking at them and so on. The Tempestus guys look, well I dont know actually. I think they lack that strong theme we are so used to. But the models themselves are pretty nice.

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  5. Nail very squarely hit on the head Jayden. GW is of course a business and one that wants to make profit, all understandable. Unfortunately however it seems nearly all decisions are made in terms of how they can maximise profit, and while again that's understandable it feels they very rarely get it right as they increasingly alienate their customers who seem far more loyal to the brand and its history than the company which seems almost universally disliked, or at least most of its decision making.

    I'm sure GWs answer to your desire for fluff would be to point your wallet in the direction of the black library. The new white dwarf is an absolute travesty and purely their to showcase a new weekly release schedule, I do wonder how what actually used to be a fun hobby magazine when I was a teenager is now nothing really but a marketing booklet you pay for! I do wonder how sales of white dwarf have faired post change.

    I never had the 3rd or 2nd edition books, I might look them up on eBay!

    I'll say it again but if the 40k brand didn't mean so much to so many GW would go under.

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    1. And whats worse is when they get something pretty right there is always a catch. I never purchased a White Dwarf in the past, but I had a friend who did and even from only glancing through many issues I still to this day remember so many articles that inspired me to do some cool things with my hobby. I regret not buying as many of them as I could. They probably only sell so people can quickly post teaser pages for the next release.

      I highly advise the 3rd edition Codex. It's the one with the Cadians in the Trench on the cover. Its small but wow its cool. Featured player armies and full of conversions. I think some people in there had a Stalingrad Map set up and his army was painted to look the part. Its a great read.

      I think GW strategy is to hook them while they are young and they will hopefully keep giving the company chance after to chance until they stop, but by that time new players have come to repeat the process.

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  6. Thanks for the tip I'll look it up, pretty much the only white dwarf I have is the last stand at glazer creek one. Its pretty much the battle report that got me interested in 40k. I used to have piles of them from that era, wish I'd kept them now.

    I actually worry GW doesn't have long term strategy and has no idea what to do about its increasingly older and disgruntled average customer.

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    1. I am very jealous of you for having that! I plan on recreating that battle soon. Absolutely love reading that report. Its what 40k is all about!

      Im gonna be honest, I have given up trying to figure them out. It seems like they are doing something then they do something else completely different, or they surprise everyone with a new edition (for example) and its all just a bit messy. So frankly they probably are doing exactly what we least expect. Which is god knows what haha.

      They probably know as much as we do about the future of the company... Just taking it as it comes.

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  7. Well written! My favorite IG codex was the 3rd ed one, with the old-style Cadians in the trenches. It felt like a very complete book, and had lots of examples of conversions and personalized armies in it. IG is one of my favorite armies precisely because you can do just about anything with it, given the millions of tithed worlds in the Imperium. If I wanted to strictly adhere to a fixed army organization, doctrine, uniform etc, I'd just stick to historical wargames. But this malady in 40k, and perhaps GW on the whole, is not unique to IG. I think everyone noticed the leaning to "if we don't make it, we don't feature it" and lack of conversions etc. Everything is straight off the box. Not very exciting hobby-wise now, is it? And yes, I used to slavishly collect every single issue of WD. Not anymore though.

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    1. As usual I agree completely. Maybe this new attitude is the price we have paid for having all these alternative models out there. With the Guard it used to be "if you can dream it, you can make it. Your only limit is your own imagination!" But thats long gone now. Its all going down the path you mentioned.

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  8. You have some good points. I was reading an article posted by an Adepta Sorritas player this morning. If you think we have it bad. The SOB has had no new models since 3rd edition and is still metal and expensive. At least we have a hard copy codex and not just an digital edition. After I read your posting I glanced again through the AM codex. The back still has the hobby area showing the different regiments and their paint schemes. While they are not supported in the fluff they are still there. This could be for a couple of reasons. GW can be planning to release regiment specific codices with their own flavor of warlord traits and orders. A bummer since you would have to pay Escalation prices for them. It will however give more room for fluff and possibly highlight different characters. Second could be the migration away from metal minis. The only AM in plastic are the new releases Cadians and Catachans. The Mordians, Vahallans, Steel Legion, Tallarn and Vostroyans are all metal. Were sales mostly of the former two because all of the later were more expensive? I will say that when I got the 4th ed codex I wanted a Steel Legion army. They were special order and expensive so I had a Cadian army instead. We also got something that some have wanting for some time: Tempestus Scion codex. Now you can field a storm trooper army. I will admit that I was hoping that the Ogryn would be cheaper so I could use them.

    Great post

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    1. Yea I understand the SOB stuff. I once had a small army. But I think they are largely ignored because they are not a huge army. GW cant make them into this massive fighting force without destroying the fluff and we all know thats what GW wants to do with all of the armies. So they get just enough to keep SOB players happy while they continue after the bigger is better idea for their other forces. So yea they have it bad, but I think some of the 3rd edition metals are some of GW best sculpts. I hate plastic Cadians compared to the metal counterparts. They lack detail, are as basic as possible and are waaaaay to out of proportion. Most of the guard are still 3rd edition models too.

      In the AM codex it only has them there simply because they sell them. When they stop being sold (which is soon I imagine) the next codex will not feature them. Their time is almost over.

      They certainly have made it incredibly hard to play the old metal minis. Especially when you factor in how the squads are sold. The Tallarn for example have to be sold with a missile launcher? In order to have a complete squad you need to spend near 100 NZD unless you are happy to play them all as they come. Which is one of the many reasons nobody bothers with them anymore.

      I cant help but think that the Tempestus Scions, if made 5+ years ago, would just be a White Dwarf article today. I mean they also could release it in the AM codex as well so easily. So while its cool it came, it was most certainly a rip off but as you say some people where excited to get it.

      I feel ya about the Ogryns. Those new kits are very nice. But to buy a complete squad is just too much for my tastes. Otherwise id have some Praetorian Ogryn running around haha.

      Thanks for commenting.

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    2. frontierlegion20 June 2014 at 15:17

      Good point about squad composition. I once made a matrix that had who had what heavy and special weapons. I don't know if it was tied into the 4th edition when different units had their own preferred weapons or not, I have never checked. It also was not as difficult at one time when you could order just about everything from the GW bits department. I have been lucky and got some great deals on most of my 3rd edition minis. I was even able to pick up some Praetorians from three different sales. I am still short a few Tallarn from a full second squad and HQ. I keep looking though. Its a shame what Donovan said. I am as a player, open to someone coming out with a cool themed army. I am contemplating starting a IG counts as Rogue Trader army. The Fly Lords of Terra fan dex on the Macharian Crusade has a RT army in it and it sounds interesting and fun. We shall see.

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    3. http://theimperialpatrol.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/reader-army-sneak-peak-trench-samurai.html

      Thats what Donovan was working on. Was a very unique design and now its probably never going to be seen again... Very unfortunate.

      I came in during the end of the bits era i think? Or at least not too far from the end. I never got to use the service myself. I remember it was a big deal when it closed down though. That certainly would have helped make putting these squads together cheaper.

      As for your themed army, be sure to show it off somewhere and let me know. I love seeing themed Guard Forces and am always happy to see what people come up with.

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  9. I got to admit man, I am with you 100%, which is sad, because NOW I have begun loosing interest in completing what would have been one bad ash group of guardsmen. The way things are going I couldn't field my boys (and lasses) if I wanted to because everyone of the other players take a look at what I have and say "Heh, I don't think so man" and walk off. I personally have fallen off the Guard Wagon, which is sad, cuz I was only on it for a year.

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    1. While this upsets me to hear, I dont blame you. I would be doing the same thing if I didnt have my army already. So does this mean no more Trench Samurai?

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    2. Quite likely, though I will finish the guys I have made

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    3. Oh well. Time goes on eh? Whats next on your list?

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    4. Next, I plan to paint up the 90+ guys i got from warlord games so me and my dad can try them out, Roman legion and Gallic Celts people!

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    5. Thats awesome mate. I found someone interested in doing historical so I too can finally start playing Black Powder and so on. I really hope you enjoy it. You using Hail Caesar?

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    6. Indeed, I purchased Warlords Hail Caesar: Conquest of Gaul box set, which includes 30 romans legionaires as well as a scorpion catapult, and 60 gallic celts

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    7. Awesome. Let me know how it goes!

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  10. One thing I have to say about IG in the 7th Ed which is really positive though is Unbound, strangely enough. well, it's actually a pretty selfish view, but I've always wanted to field a Cavalry Company. Now I can either use the Krieg formation, or just build the army anyways.

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    1. Thats true, but I would call that a positive with the rules rather than the codex. But wouldnt it be cooler, if they had a cavalry doctrine in the book? That allowed you to replace platoons and command squads with horses?

      I really hope you make this army though. I once had 40 Rough Riders and they are still my favorite unit in the codex. They hardly did anything useful but boy they looked cool.

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  11. You're so right. I do miss doctrines, That was really cool. You could really build your story (or to paraphrase - forge a narrative) around your army, and it performs just like that on table too. So cool. The Rough Riders army project was something that came up years ago for Apoc, and just revived with 7th Ed. Right now it's slated as a 2015 project, after my WW1-themed IG is done. looking Vics.

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    1. I was hoping for a Victoria Miniatures Rough Rider army but I couldnt find a cheap source of horses that would work. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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  12. I completely agree with you. We recently spoke about my hope to play a Tanith themed army and how soulless and bland the new book is for branching out that way.

    I still have everything you need to play 2nd edition and the Guard codex might be my favourite (Though the Orks and Chaos books are jammed with amazing ideas and alternate concepts too)

    It's sad how they've shifted to denying that scratch building models and terrain is an option and how they gut theire own rules to spite third party companies sales. (Here's a hint to use those new shoulder pads or infantry you'll still likely buy the rules/codexes/supplements infantry (in the case of add-ons like the shoulderpads and vehicles and MCs (in the case of third party infantry)

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    1. Yea it is unfortunate. It's like seeing some young creative person do all this amazing stuff then the fame and money ruins it all as they age. Just sad and disappointing.

      The 2nd edition is the only one I haven't read yet so I should probably get round to reading it.

      I don't know if your gaming group will allow it but there is a cool 6th edition codex out there.

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    2. For Tabitha. It's flavorsome and we'll written etc.

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    3. That looks like an autocorrect for Tanith if ever I saw one :) We're pretty open to homebrew when it's been made to fill a gap in options and not just to turn the power level up.

      You can find the 2nd edition codex on Scribd.com Just search Imperial Guard 2nd and it's in the first page of results. All of those 2nd codexes are just packed with fiction and background information.

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    4. Sorry my phone is trying to be harder than the key board.

      i wouldn't call it a competitive codex so may well be worth the look.

      awesome I'll check out some of them this afternoon! Should be a decent read . thanks man!

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  13. Got to say your guard army looks brilliant. I almost went entirely vic minis with a highlanders army based on 1st afghan war. Its morphed into french napoleonic curriaseurs using curious constructs lifeguard head and torsos, vic mini arms and bits, cadian legs trimmed to have coattails and gw tanks with warhammer empire bits. I agree on the background of the new codex, i barely glanced through it which is a shame compared to reading black library books. The 40k universe is rich in story material- except gw dont carry it through to the tabletop minis.

    Paul

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    1. I would love to see this army! Got any pics anywhere for it?

      I agree on your last points. So much potential but its all gone as soon as it reaches the rules. Its even worse that its such a simple thing to fix as well.

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