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Warhammer 40,000’s streamlined 10th Edition rules drops as a free download

The 60-page document covers new datasheet layout, universal stratagems and building an army

Image credit: Games Workshop

The next era of Warhammer 40,000 has officially begun with the release of the anticipated 10th Edition core rules. Players can snag the digital document for free from Games Workshop’s website to see the results of a mission to streamline, but not simplify, the popular miniatures wargame.

Warhammer 40,000: 10th Edition marks a major departure from the previous Ninth Edition, which released three years ago. When the publisher announced its plans for new core rules back in march, studio lead Stu Black said designers would “examine every rule in the game” for fat to cut - they want Warhammer to not feel like an oppressive wall for newcomers without sacrificing the tactical complexity long-time fans love.

From a quick glance at the 62-page document, 10th Edition’s core rules bring revisions to turn structure, terrain, universal stratagems (actions that all units can use, regardless of faction) and the datasheets that convey all of a unit’s capabilities.

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Datasheets for individual models will now comprise a single card, while squad units will be limited to a single sheet. This change will keep players from endlessly flipping back and forth through a hardcover rulebook and effectively murdering the dramatic tension instead of their opponent’s Tyranid swarm.

The core rules document begins by explaining some key terms and concepts for beginners or returning players: the definition of unit, as well as how they move together; visibility; how to roll dice and interpret the results; etc. If you’re coming from Ninth Edition, none of this is radically new.

The Battle Round section and beyond is where you’ll find the meat of 10th Edition’s consolidation and changes. After explaining round order, phase by phase, the document continues on to datasheets and then stratagems. Many of the universal actions, such as Grenade and Overwatch, boast new descriptions and command point (CP) costs.

Image credit: Games Workshop

Tenth Edition brings a new method of building an army that starts with point values determined by game mode and length - these can vary from 1,000 points for a two-hour game to a whopping 3,000 points for four hours of measuring units and rolling dice. After choosing a faction, players will spend points on units up to a maximum of three per type (six basic units such as battlelines and transports) and finish off by dubbing one unit as their army’s warlord, which grants them a keyword and special abilities.

If you’re fairly unaccustomed to the intricacies of Warhammer 40,000, as I am, 10th Edition’s core rules will still feel like a lot of text to digest, but the layout is clean and the sections flow cleanly from a 10,000-mile-up view down to nitty, gritty details. If you’ve been interested in what those folks at your local hobby shop are doing around massive tables of blasted-out terrain, this isn’t a bad place to start.

The core rules document is currently available in seven languages on Games Workshop’s website. Datasheets for specific factions will be gradually released over the coming weeks leading up to the launch of Warhammer 40,000: Leviathan - the new flagship box of Space Marines and Tyranids for 10th Edition. If you want to start building armies now, the Warhammer 40,000 app will supposedly support a brand new tool in the near future.

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