WMH: I miss the old expansion books

Today’s online preview from GW showcased the upcoming codexes to support the 9th edition Indomitus box. New Necron codex, new Space Marine codex. At the end of the stream they previewed the next four codexes/supplements coming out before the end of the year, and … it’s marines, marines, marines and marines. Blood Angels, Deathwatch and Space Wolves will be getting a codex supplement, and the Death Guard will be getting a codex.

As someone with designs on playing Flesh Tearers, the Blood Angels codex supplement is very welcome, but I can’t help but feel for the Ork, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau and Tyranid players. Genestealer Cults are (by comparison) a newer entry to the field, but some of these factions haven’t received new models for so many years it’s borderline farcical. Space Marines are GW’s golden boys, sure, and a huge part of their revenue, but when you’ve got a game that showcases multiple factions as options, to have some of those options languishing without updates or reinforcements for long – I’m just so disappointed for fans of those factions.

This is part of why I loved Privateer Press’ old expansion model so much.

Privateer would alternate between a Warmachine Cycle and a Hordes Cycle, and each cycle would produce a single expansion book. That book would provide each faction for the currently cycling game with at least one new warlock/warcaster, a couple of wabeasts/warjacks, and some new units and solos. Some expansions would introduce a new model type, such as Battle Engines or huge based models – Colossalsand Gargantuans were both expansion book titles.

The value of this was that, at least once every year or so, the storyline would advance, every faction would get new models, and the game could functionally be rebalanced taking into account the competitive meta without needing to produce an enormous FAQ, without needing to ban or restrict models. If one faction was proving particularly strong, in the next expansion you could reasonably expect the other factions to get some counterbalancing new releases.

In the end no-one was left twisting in the wind, having no idea if or when their beloved faction would be receiving some attention from the powers that be.

The move away from print books at Privateer hit a lot of us hard, and while the CID’s are a very interesting experience as we get to kick tires and provide feedback and work to shape the future of our factions, I think something was lost in terms of delivering the narrative of the Iron Kingdoms, and in providing the -entire- playerbase, regardless of faction, with a sense that none of us were being neglected or forgotten as the future of the game was mapped out.

Soon we’ll be seeing the kickstarter for the 5e compatible Iron Kingdoms and we’ll have our first in-depth look at the Iron Kingdoms after the Infernal invasion. Have kingdoms fallen? Did Kreoss ever find Durst? What’s the current going rate for a Blockader from the foundries in Corvis?

As someone hungry for backstory I’m hanging out for Requiem, but I recognize that times change and the way Privateer delivers new backstory and models has changed – Nostalgic as I may be for years past, I’m looking forward to the Trollbloods CID, and the chance to set them all on fire with Feora4 once all this is over.


2 Responses to WMH: I miss the old expansion books

  1. Avatar Chris Smith
    Chris Smith says:

    While I certainly understand PP’s move away from the old anthology books, the loss of the story turned the game into a purely numbers and unit entry game, which made it lose much of its flavor.

    • I miss the anthology books a lot. I get why they stopped (the number of unsold MkII anthology books on my LGS’s shelves by the time MkIII was announced was… substantial) but damn do I miss the feeling of getting to the shop, grabbing the new book, and pouring over the new fluff and models.