Thursday, December 17, 2020

White Dwarf Flashpoint: The Way Forward

The last three issues of White Dwarf have seen the launch of a new article series for 40k in the form of Flashpoint. This new article format takes all of the things I love about 40k and distills them down into a short monthly format, and I'm all for it!

So, what is Flashpoint? This is a new article series that will look at a particular conflict or campaign within the 40k setting and really dive into it. Our first foray into this see us exploring the conflict in the Argovon System in the Pariah Nexus. Seeing as how I like both the Imperium and Necrons, this was a great entry point for me. While I'm loving the content specific to this warzone, which started in October and looks to be concluding in December's issue (I don't have my copy yet so I can't confirm for sure), I wanted to talk more about the structure and implications of Flashpoint as a whole.

I'm a huge fan of the Warhammer settings as well as the more narrative elements of the game. I love the campaign books like Morathi or The End Times. I know some people get mad because the rules in those books usually tend to have a shorter lifespan than what comes in a Codex or Battletome, but my main draw has always been the story. Even once the rules are no longer valid, the amazing stories are still there. I've definitely gone back and re-read some every now and then, like the Nagash End Times book. When the Crusade books were announced for 40k with the Beyond the Veil book leading the way, I had hoped it was going to be a campaign book along the lines of Vigilus or something. While that turned out to be more gaming focused, Flashpoint is definitely scratching the narrative itch for me.

Each installment of Flashpoint (so far, it is very new still) has a section detailing the events of the conflict, a short story, and then some gaming rules to go along with it. In the case of the Argovon system, the details of the conflict are presented as an in-universe historian chronicling what happened. This includes plenty of annotations, as well hand written notes overlaying the imagery. The October issue had a general overview of the whole system, while November's focused on two of the planets in more detail, with each planet getting all three of the explorations. There's also plenty of artwork to go along with it. This format brings to mind the campaign books along the lines of The Sabbat Crusade, or the old Third War for Armageddon and Eye of Terror books. Not the gaming supplements, the ones that were just the lore. These were all presented as an in-universe account and it really enhances the experience in my opinion. They're also very enjoyable to read, especially in the 40k universe with how horrible everything is for the people who actually inhabit it. The layout on the Flashpoint articles are ace as well. Like I said, there's plenty of art, force dispositions, crumpled up notes, and planet details. 

This is then all followed by a short story that ties into whatever part of the conflict was covered right before it. I'm really enjoying these so far and I think it was a great idea to include them. This is then followed by the other end of the spectrum, new rules to enhance your games.

So far these haven't been anything earth shattering for one army over another, and they're all Crusade focused. We've gotten new artifacts, weather systems, scenarios, and campaign rules. They're meant to make your games feel like you're playing within that warzone. It's the perfect light touch. Just enough to add flavor to the games, not enough to unbalance them, especially since they're not meant for Matched Play.

I'm really excited to finish reading about the Argovon system and seeing where they go next. I'd love to see more in the Pariah Nexus, but with the campaign book previewed for the Death Guard I won't be surprised if it has something to do with them. Wherever it goes, I'm along for the ride.

I'd love to see them do something similar for the AoS setting as well. Just take the exact same format and use it within the Mortal Realms. I could definitely see an Azyrite scribe writing about the conflicts around the city of Glymmsforge or the Flamescar Plateau. I think this is my favorite addition to White Dwarf since the Index Astartes articles from back in the 2000s. It's doing everything right.

If you haven't checked them out already I highly recommend you give Flashpoint a read. If you're a fan of the setting and of narrative gaming then this is right up your alley.

Until next time,

Tyler M. 

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