Warhammer 40k 10th edition is coming this Summer – and according to Games Workshop, core rules, datasheets, and army rules are going to be free. Not only that, but every army will be playable right off the bat with new index rules, according to Games Workshop’s Adepticon preview.
The preview opened with a bombastic CGI trailer, setting the scene for the Warhammer 40k 10th edition narrative. After weathering the storm of the Arks of Omen and the ruinous powers of Chaos, and after the Blood Angels apparently broke the Tyranid Hive Fleets on Baal, the Imperium of Man is beset by a new Tyranid invasion. This is the second tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan, and the first Tyranid assault on the galaxy’s Western spiral arm – revealing that the Tyranids are encircling the entire galaxy.
The preview revealed new models for Space Marine terminators as well as updated Tyranid termagants. The CGI trailer revealed lots of exciting new units that don’t have model kits yet: we saw a Tyranid Screamer Killer and a huge Redemptor Dreadnought armed with twin heavy weapons, among others.
According to the preview, Warhammer 40k 10th edition will be “simplified, not simple”. GW aims to achieve this by organising information better, and limiting the amount of data players need to reference at any point.
In ninth edition players need to reference multiple parts of their rulebook to determine what capabilities a model has. In 10th edition, armies will have one page of faction rules; wherever applicable, rules that affect a specific model have been moved onto the model’s datasheet.
The breadth of Stratagems, Warlord Traits, and Relics from across different subfactions will remain. However, these won’t be additive: swapping to a different subfaction replaces those enhancements completely with the new set.
This is just how the two subfactions work in Codex World Eaters, the final army book of ninth edition, and a book we liked so much we said we in our World Eaters Codex review that we hoped it would be the model for 10th edition. The preview does state that there will be a few more core Stratagems to remember – we can certainly think of a few strats that show up in every army list, like purchasing an extra Relic or Warlord Trait.
All rules needed to play Warhammer 40k 10th edition will be free from day one. This includes the game’s core rules, plus ‘Index’ rules for every Warhammer 40k faction, including datasheets, army rules, and points. Index datasheet cards will be available for sale, if you want a reference at the tabletop. This does raise questions about the role Warhammer 40k Codex books will play, if they’re no longer the sole source of datasheets and army rules.
There will be a new Warhammer 40k army builder app, also free, replacing the current one that comes with the Warhammer+ subscription. The preview presenter emphasised that this one will work properly, not something that can be said for the existing app.
Army building itself will be much simpler – you pick a Warlord unit, and then you’re limited to a maximum of three copies of any other unit, or six for certain core troops. This is similar to the current Arks of Omen detachment system.
The core game rules have been given something of a shakeup. The psychic phase is gone, with psychic abilities moved onto models’ datasheets. Venerable gamers will remember the last time that happened, in 3rd edition 40k.
Morale will work differently, too. In the current edition, units take morale tests when they suffer casualties, and might lose a few more models. Now, battleshock is something that reduces the effectiveness of units that have suffered casualties, and will apparently have an impact all game long.
Datasheets have been overhauled for 10th edition. The preview provided the Termagant datasheet as an example. This reveals a new stat, OC, or Objective Control, representing how effective a unit is at holding objectives – the Termagants have an OC value of 2, reflecting their role as footslogging, territory-grabbing troops.
Weapons have changed slightly, too. Models no longer have a strength or attacks characteristic – for melee attacks these values are recorded on the model’s weapons profile, just as they are for ranged attacks.
According to the livestream presenters the game is a little less lethal than it was towards the end of ninth edition. Weapons have generally lost a little AP, while larger models like vehicles have higher toughness values – some higher than 11.
If you started playing the game using Arks of Omen Boarding Patrols – small-scale skirmishes between infantry forces in tightly-packed corridors – the preview states that the game format will continue into 10th edition. There’ll also be a new game mode called Combat Patrol, which takes army building out of the equation entirely – simply plonk down the contents of any Combat Patrol box against your opponent and get ready for a scrap.