GHB2017 – Keep calm, and wait for the full picture

By now you have probably seen a number of leaks relating to the General’s Handbook 2017 (GHB2017).  I just wanted to give some initial thoughts before my next show scheduled for release day.  In that show, I’ll cover the top things you need to know for preparing for your next matched play tournament.

General’s Handbook 2017 – fundamental changes to the tournament meta

Games Workshop have made significant changes to at least 4 of the dynamics that affect competitive matched play:

  • scenarios and victory conditions;
  • points (for both units and battalions);
  • army rules (warscrolls, allegiance abilities etc.); and
  • allies (adding units while keeping faction benefits).

All the key principles of good list design, and the fundamental dynamics of the game are the same – but the inputs have changed.

For all of the official information on General’s Handbook 2017 in one place, see my GHB2017 page.

Don’t jump to conclusions in isolation

So of course list building starts from the ground up.  There is no way to assess viability of any of these changes in isolation.  We haven’t seen all the new scenarios or new allegiance abilities etc.

The game is being reset.

In saying this, I’m not trying to invalidate or diminish the reactions of players who have invested significant time, effort and cost in their current armies.  For some, the scale of the changes will be unexpected and those reactions are real.  However, we are not in a position at the moment to assess the overall impact of the changes on the game.

General’s Handbook 2017 – a more balanced and varied game?

For me, I’m really interested to see the impact of battalion point increases on list-building & deployment.  Are the changes enough to incentivise taking units over battalions and forsaking choice of first turn?  Or will we just see fewer artefacts?  Will we see a balancing of battletome and non-battletome forces as a result with one-drop armies being more expensive?

I would be interested to know the key rules design principles behind the changes.  How did the rules design team see the shape of the game they wanted to create?  What were the objectives they wanted to achieve.  I really hope we see some of this information on the Warhammer Community site and the Twitch stream over the coming week.

Short point – keep calm, carry on, abandon the old knowledge and list builds and see what your army looks like in the wash.

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