Are Digital Edition Releases a Boon to Warhammer 40K?

Clan Raukaan Release

For the last month or so, longer even, Games Workshop Digital Edition really upped their output, releasing a torrent of digital Codexes and Codex supplements for Warhammer 40K. On a weekly basis, I’ve blogged about teasers and pre-orders for things like Sentinels of Terra, Codex: Adepta Sororitas, Codex: Inquisition, and – on sale today – Clan Raukaan.

#1 – The Upsides

On first glance, this certainly seems like a great development. More choice is usually a boon to any game. Moreover, Digital Editions are

  • Unshackled (it appears) from Games Workshop’s miniature-release pipeline. Though, sadly, this means that there likely wont be miniatures specific to eCodexes or Codex eSupplements, it also means they get to explore aspects of the background that don’t have as the “miniature-potential” for a full-fledged army release (e.g. Inquisition).
  • Sub-Factions. The eCodexes can explore sub-factions and sub-group of the popular 40K factions that are loved by (comparatively) small groups of stalwart fans, but may not have a following large enough for a “full” Codex (e.g. Clan Raukaan).
  • Staying up-to-date with the rules. eCodexes allow aging armies to stay on top of recent rules, even if (for whatever reason) new miniatures are failing to appear (e.g. Adepta Sororitas). Between the rapid release of Codexes and eCodexes, we may soon see an up-to-date 6th Edition army list for every (!) faction . That’s clearly a novelty.
  • Choice. There’s two sides on this, clearly. But many would agree, that more choice is always good. A highly vocal group of people have long been advocating that Forge World becomes fully “official”, mostly, presumably, because they felt the choice offered by non-Forge World GW is not enough. In the same vein, eCodexes easily expand player options.

#2 – The Downsides

That said, there are a few downsides, or possible downsides to consider.

  • English only. No Supplements or eCodex thus far has been translated into non-English languages. As regular Codexes are translated, it creates an odd two-part game in the non-English gaming world: those that use English books/supplements and those that don’t (admittedly, Forge World books suffer the same drawback).
  • Quality. Digital Editions is a new branch, possibly a new team. Hick-ups getting started are to be expected. Still, quality of digital releases hasn’t always been the best, and they appear to be cranking up the volume before the have their quality under control. Hmmm.
  • Sustainability. More choice is great. But what happens if I build an army based around an eSupplement, and Warhammer 40K 7th Edition comes round? What happens to Sentinels of Terra or Clan Raukaan, when a 7th Edition Space Marines Codex arrives? As much as GW is “up-to-date” with 6th Edition now, the vastly greater number of rules will mean a hell of a lot more updating on the next go-around… if they bother to update the supplements at all.

#3 – Thoughts?

My “pros-and-cons” so far. If  you have a few of yourself, feel free to add them.

Most of all, leave a comment and let me know if – all things considered – Digital Editions are making Warhammer 40K a better game? Or not?