As I've said before, I'm not going to do a complete breakdown of all the information that is coming out of Games Workshop regarding 8th Edition. I will say that the new approach of GW has been absolutely flawless for a company of its size and with such a varied (and opinionated) fan base.
If you want to read a full round up of the rules changes as released by GW then you should check out this article on Faeit212 by naftka. However if you want a piece by piece breakdown of these rules and their implications for various forms of play, may I suggest you check out the sterling writings of Mike over at StandWargaming or Nick over at The Burning Eye. Both of these gentlemen give excellent reasoned analysis of the rules with their own slants and opinions. Additionally both blogs are brilliant!
It has also been noted recently, that the updated red book rules for Horus Heresy will be coming out and I quote "shortly after" the release of 8th edition. Obviously "shortly after" is not a set length of time and quite variable definition that allows for a myriad of delays to still fit within that temporal sphere. So I am not expecting them to be released in Summer or even early Autumn if I am honest. I would however expect to see updated rules for games in the Age of Darkness to drop before the end of the year which is great!
Implications Important to Me
Whilst you'll find quite objective and secure (ZING!) breakdowns at Mike and Nicks behest, I'm just going to look at what interest me most personally and how this will alter my mood going forward. For the most part, I have been fixating on one phase and one phase only. That of GLORIOUS COMBAT!!!!
Some of the big changes coming in Combat (briefly) are:
1. Charging units attack first
2. Hitting on a fixed value - 3+ becoming "common" and 2+ a possibility (e.g. Guilliman)
3. You can wrap additional units in combat with pile in moves
4. Units can fall back voluntarily, but sacrifice all movement etc next turn
5. Alternating unit activation
This is BIG people (as Lawrence from TableTopTactics would say). This will make close combat oh so viable in the new edition as far as I'm concerned. Hitting on fixed values will really reward a charging unit that is pimped out for combat with lightning claws, thunder hammer, power Klaws etc. You get the charge to hit first and you WILL be hitting more on average against many many foes.
The ability to fall back voluntarily is partly designed, as GW have said, to allow strategic first rank, second rank firing lines, so you can let a unit fall back at the cost of their usability next turn, but this allows you to fire on the attacking unit. This might sound like it really kills close combat as viable. However!! This is not the case. An important point here is the ability to wrap other units in to combat with that pile in move. This adds an extremely strategic element to the placement of any firing lines, you best make sure I can get a wrap around move in to swallow up all of those units. YES they can all flee, but they can't do anything if they do.
Talking of strategic, alternating activation is an element of the game I have first hand experience with through playing AoS. I LOVE IT. It is really, really tactical and actually becomes quite the brain teaser when you come to play it. Rob Baer over at spikey bits, made an excellent comparison of AoS to chess. Yes the rules are "simple" but its the combination and strategy of how you combine these that is important. Chess has very few rules, so to does Go, but they are lofted as incredibly complex games that require SUPER COMPUTERS to beat humans.
The information on 8th Edition points heavily to the game becoming more tactical and involved than simply broken list building. Close Combat is going to be right at the core of the tactics, both how to execute it efficiently, but also how to position your army against waves of close combat units coming at your lines, plus whatever drops in behind your lines!
So what this means for me is... Whatever army I decided to collect next, either sticking with Ynnari or moving on to another force, it WILL be close combat dominated. I love close combat as an aspect of the fluff and the game, though it has been represented poorly over the last 3 editions. 8th Edition will make it extremely viable and I cannot wait to sink my (chainsword) teeth into it!
I hope this has made at least a slightly interesting read for all you gals and guys out there, more models next time I promise!