The allies rule has, so far, been an excellent perk to 6th edition. It can produce a much greater variation of tactics and styles in an army, and has opened up many new exciting possibilities for everybody’s collections. But is that really all to it?
If you think about it, the allies rule is hardly something we couldn’t do before: Games Workshop endorses double battles, and who would actually object to an opponent using two armies in a casual game, as long as force organisation restrictions were met? I have done this myself in the past, and still do at times, ignoring the allies table. So what has the new rule actually changed? I shall spend the rest of the article detailing the reasons why we are yet to find out.
If you look, there is plenty of evidence that Games Workshop has been planning for an additional range of allied races from the outset of 6th edition. See page 198 of the rulebook, for example. On this page are the following picture and an entire paragraph talking about how various races of aliens have been known to work alongside the Imperium.
Races are shown in the picture that I thought had almost been forgotten by Games Workshop: The creature on the far left is a Zoat (which I will return to later), the robed figure is a Hrud, the one with the mace a Tarellian Dog Soldier (I think), there’s an Ambull and even what could be a Squat Demiurg. All of these creatures come from the dawn of Warhammer 40,000 and most have been left behind, forgotten by many.
So why are they back now? Why would they be brought back below a paragraph all about allies and mercenaries? For me, when I read it again a few weeks after the release of the new rulebook, it could only mean one thing: an allies supplement, with rules and models for many of the races seen in the picture. I for one am very excited at the prospect of Hrud and Tarellian models, and perhaps more, new races.
It was in fact the recent Tau release that prompted me to write this; or lack of it. Tau had one of the smallest amounts of units in their codex, and after the announcement of Tau I was getting all pumped up and excited about what would be in the second wave, only to find that there was nothing. This still leaves the Tau with a pitifully small number of options: compare their 3 Elite choices to Tyranids’ 8 and you start to see the problem. They are still left very thin on the ground, and it all seems very unfair and strange. Although almost any of the current races can ally successfully with them, there is no exclusivity; would all you Eldar players out there be sated with a few kits on release day?
No, the current possibilities for allies are not sufficient for the limited Tau. There needs to be something more. Also, Tau are known for their alliances with other races, yet Kroot and Vespids received no additions despite rumours that they would. Why? I think it is because the best is yet to come for at least the Kroot: a new, miniature army list in the impending allies supplement. It would also help explain why the Kroot Shaper is still in metal, and perhaps rectify the situation upon release.
There is another limitation with the current arrangement for allies, other than the lack of scope: the big, red border around the edge of the table. The Tyranids are, by nature, robbed of the benefits allied forces bring. As a player of the bugs, I find this rather irritating. That Games Workshop would just willingly disadvantage such an army seems unlikely, so it would seem that something would be done about it.
The solution: Zoat and Genestealer Hybrid allied forces. For those that don’t know, Zoats are aliens who have a peculiar connection to the Tyranid race. Originally, they were introduced by Games Workshop as slaves to the Tyranids, a race who were linked to Tyranids genetically but had very different technology, including the use of conventional, artificial weapons. Although appearing briefly in the 4th edition Tyranid codex, they had been largely phased out by 5th edition. And like the other aliens above, Games Workshop has resurrected them. Why? Again, I believe that it is because Tyranids need, and will have, new allies, like all the other factions.
Lastly, I have compiled all this evidence from my own knowledge. There has been no outside influence; this is all just me joining the dots. Just from this, the Allies Supplement seems likely. And on top of it all, there is actually a rumour of this being the case. We have the dots and a source that supports it: surely allies are inevitable? Besides, ultimately it is just such a cool idea: who wouldn’t want new alien races in the game?
So that’s it: all I have to say on the Allies Supplement. Now, I do not claim to be a source of rumours, and have no insider information whatsoever, so have no idea when the supplement will hit. All I can guess is that it will arrive fairly soon (Tau can’t go without units forever), maybe this year (but probably not, judging by Hasting’s and others’ release schedule), and that it will come in the form of a Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (the new range has to be used for something other than Death from the Skies). Until then: happy hobbying!
My name is Michael and this is my second This Is Our Hobby article, the first being about homemade rules. I am eagerly awaiting Zoat models so that they can be allied with my Tyranid horde, once I have collected a Warhammer 30,000 World Eaters force.