|Sometimes enough is enough, and you just gotta bash some heads in.|
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.
As you can see I am far from impressed.