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Warhammer 40,000 has a new ninth edition on the way, and it’s releasing ‘really soon’

New narrative-focused Crusade mode, free basic rules and widespread gameplay improvements.

Immensely popular sci-fi miniatures game Warhammer 40,000 is getting a new ninth edition with significant rules changes and a focus on narrative play in the form of a brand new game mode, Games Workshop has announced.

Rather than being a completely new game, the upcoming ninth edition of Warhammer 40,000 is described as being an “evolution” of the last major update released in 2017. Eighth Edition saw a thorough overhaul of the 30-year-old wargame’s rules to offer a markedly different experience from previous iterations, making it easier for newcomers to learn how to play Warhammer 40,000 while offering more variety and smoother play for veteran players.

According to Games Workshop’s announcement, gameplay improvements in Warhammer 40,000’s new ninth edition include a greater number of command points available to players at the start of a match, allowing for more control over the action on the battlefield. Tanks will be able to shoot in combat, avoiding the risk of vehicles being mobbed by large number of troops. Terrain rules have seen a major rewrite to allow combat bonuses while defending buildings and enable troops to utilise line-of-sight rules to sneak up on enemies. Other notable changes include tweaks to the use of strategic reserves, explosive weapons and aircraft.

As well as being better balanced for different scales of play - from small handfuls of models up to full armies - Warhammer 40,000: Ninth Edition will feature a brand new game mode designed for narrative-focused play. Crusade allows units to earn experience across multiple connected scenarios, advancing from recruits to hardened battlefield veterans. Games Workshop said that the Crusade mode would also provide a way of Warhammer 40,000 lore playing a bigger role in matches.

As with the current eighth edition, the basics of how to play Warhammer 40,000 will be available for free as a downloadable rules primer for the new edition. The full core rulebook will include the revised rules for matched play and the rules required to play in the Crusade format.

Although new models are confirmed to be on the way for Warhammer 40,000’s new edition - Games Workshop has already teased new Necrons, which make an appearance in the flash announcement trailer - existing armies will be compatible with the ninth edition. The unit point cost of models will change as the result of the new edition’s rebalanced gameplay.

Previously released codexes, campaign expansions and Psychic Awakening books will also be compatible with ninth edition; Games Workshop said that the books had been written with the upcoming new edition in mind. The publisher confirmed that Forge World Index books would be replaced, with the current run of books to be replaced following Ninth Edition’s release. New codexes for each Warhammer 40,000 faction will be released featuring updated rules specific to the new edition and information on using the models in Crusade play.

Games Workshop teased an upcoming announcement of a new boxed starter set for Warhammer 40,000: Ninth Edition, replacing the eighth-edition Dark Imperium set that will be “retired pretty soon”.

Although a specific release date wasn’t given for the new edition of Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop said that the release would be “really soon,” adding: “We’re a few weeks off.”