So perhaps some whining?

Posted: 23 November, 2013 by egges in Whining

I felt like to for once complain about 40k. I know, I know we all truly believe this game is 100 perfect when it comes to complexity, balance and Games Workshops aim to satisfy us older gamers which clearly are some people they really care for.

The people who know me (note I didn’t say “like”) should be aware I consider 40k a rather horrible game which only survives because of the current player base. In Sweden this base has decreased rather much. Game balance I would argue has never been worse, GW have made it perfectly clear that the best rules should go to new models so that people are forced to buy them and the game has never been so silly expensive it is now.

But what is really bad about the _game_? Like many others I think that almost any game can be, at the very least, decent as long it has balance. Well balance is out but I will try to explain why I think the game is rather bad.

1. The rules are way to complex. We have gone so far that there is not point with the rulebook anymore. It could almost just be removed. The only rules that are actually used can be summerized in a very few pages. Why? Se point 2.

2. All rules have so many exception that it’s close to pointless to have a rulebook. What is the point with a rule if it always will have several exceptions? Let’s take normal special rule; Run. Simple and effective, roll a die – move the model. You may then not shoot nor launch an assault. But then we have so many versions of this:

Fleet gives the model a better run. Ok. Eldar has a special run and shoot or shoot and run. Aha… Tyranid hormagaunts rolls 3 dices and choose the highest. Really? Then we have additions to the die depending on the unit. Crusaders roll an additional die. Slow and purposeful units may not run. Vehicles, flying and bike models does not run but instead have a special way of running.

And I most likely missed a lot of things as well. That is the rules for Run. Why do we even have it? How much of the special rules and ways of handling the run rule would it be if: Run. All units may run in the shooting phase instead of shooting. The move an extra 3 inches if normal move is 6″ and 5″ if faster. Eldar may shoot after a run move. units may not assault after running. I’m truly sorry, this would work just as good as the rules are now. Chaos daemons would be able to handle the 3″ run just fine. They would just need other points if anything.

The game is stupid complex on things that doesn’t need to be complex. If it doesn’t add anything, truly add anything, then it needs to go. Simple as that. And the list could go on for every rule.

3. Not needed rolls. While rolling die is fun there is way to many of them in 40k that doesn’t really add anything. Take the run rule above. If running models always moved 3″ it would be just fine. Then we could move the models only once for both the movement and shooting phase. Not needed rolls should absolutely go! Snap fire is another thing to truly investigate. I kind of like snap fire. But, my god, it is everywhere! And no decision comes with it. You just roll a bucket of dice with the hope of removing one 6pts enemy model. If you sacrificed something to snap fire I think the rule would be great but as in overwatch you do that outside of normal shooting and that’s just bad. Really bad.

Assault is another thing. If you are within 6″ let the charge be automatic. No die – faster game. I am actually surprised that GW made the game so much slower (and it is) than before so we would not need as much models. Then again, the goal is to make a more complex game that as few as possible can have fun. Adding special rules should have a point. Roll a die in the movement phase, then again in the shooting phase to shoot or run, enemy roll armour save, then roll for assault, roll for overwatch that might change something small, roll for save, roll to hit in each I step, roll to wound in each I step and then roll to armour save in each I step.

Then the game can end in a turn (because of toss of die) making the entire turn pointless to have played at all…

There are several things that could be streamlined without actually making the game worse. Removal of 50% of the special rules would not change anything except making the game better. As it is now the game is a memory-game where if you miss one line in the opponents rules you might loose the game – that is bad. Special rules remove the game from the gaming board into books and that is horribly bad.

4. The lack of consequences. Now units can move and shoot a lot. Placing your units wrong? Don’t bother you can just change that later in the game. Overwatch? If you stop the enemy you have just gotten an extra turn of shooting. Using a psychic power has a small risk but you actually doesn’t sacrifice anything. Turbo boos you sacrifice shooting for a huge gain in speed – is it really a decision when you only have one model left at the end of the game?

More consequences, especially on the special rules. If you use something special remove an advantage of remove the special rule at all.

That’s my short list. Anyone else has something to bitch about?

  1. L3go says:

    It’s kinda funny actually… i find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with this article, and i have an idea why that is.
    concerning balance: it’s my firm belief that GW stopped caring about balance at some point. one can’t help but think that GW very conciously thinks the game is about “forging a narrative” and saying things like “it’s cinematic”, and consequently tries to say “this may not be balanced, but it’s all a game played for fun”. when you stop to consider that, having complex rules and the fact that a game can be decided by a failed run-roll, becomes a secondary concern.

    some players however insist on pressing the square block through the round hole, and cry out for balanced rules and codicies, to make the game more suited for competative play. i’m not saying it’s wrong. i often find myself wanting to go to tournaments, and have spent endless hours finetuning my lists, and i absolutely think playing the game as a competition can be great fun.
    ((i also want to make it clear though that i DON’T think players can be divided into black and white groups of fluff-bunnies and “waacs” (i hate that term, and sorry for using it but i need a term to prove my point). most of us are in that grey area inbetween.))
    And with the “round-hole-thery” in mind, you are absolutely correct, and losing a game because of a failed run-move where you would have won on a 3+ and rolled a 2 can be infuriating.

    my point though is that yes, pushing plastic models around with a competative mindset can be fun, but if you need the game to be “balanced” and “fair”, i think you need to look elsewhere.. with the direction i see GW taking the game, i can’t see them streamlining it to make it more suited for competative play.

    Just my 2 cents…

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