Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Increasing Confusion

Today’s post will be a collection of short rants that may or may not be worthy of a longer treatment, but this way I can touch on everything in my head and get it out.

Games Workshop is betting the house on 6th Edition
6th Edition: WTF?

I rarely comment on the business end of things for Games Workshop.  I usually leave that to the people on other blogs with MBA’s, and people who wish they had MBA’s and still comment anyway.  However, I feel compelled to comment on the handling of 6th Editon, or lack thereof.

Except for Apple, every other company (especially entertainment companies) hype their products before launch.  Even other game companies preview their new stuff before launch.  Why does GW not?  WotC sends out preview cards of new sets to the various fansites and blogs to show off.  This builds hype and anticipation, and allows people to make purchasing decisions today for things that won’t be happening until later.  Games Workshop could easily allow the bigger news blogs access to rule snippets and art work that would build anticipation while allowing people to make slightly better informed decisions.

From a personal standpoint, I am not (and have not) made any 40k purchases since the fake (or not?) 6E rules leaked.  There is far too much uncertainty.  Are vehicles going to be as good as in 5th?  Or bad now?  Is plasma going to make a comeback and melta catch a nerf?  WHO KNOWS?  This uncertainty has killed any sales they may have got from me since my last 40k purchase in November, and I suspect I’m not alone.  If a new player decided to get into the game, and asked me what to buy, I would tell him to buy as little as possible so in 6 months he won’t find half his good units reduced to unplayable.

Or worse, the game itself reduced to unplayable.  It could very well be that the game changes so radically from 5th that a great many players are alienated completely.  Right now, these are all valid possibilities.  It would certainly assuage some of the more extreme fears if the design team used the GW blog to discuss even the basic philosophies of 6th Edition, if not provide some rules snippets.

‘Ard Boyz

‘Ard Boyz for Fantasy sucked, I’ll admit it gladly.  3k points in Fantasy is like playing Apocalypse 40k.  It was unnecessary and gave a lot of people the wrong impression about the game.  Had they made it 2.5k, you may have seen a lot more participation.  Then again, maybe not because the people who were going to play played anyway and those that weren’t weren’t.  I don’t know that there were that many fence sitters.

40k though was always fun, in my experience.  In the four years of ‘ard Boyz prelims and semis I’ve played in, I’ve only encountered minor and infrequent douchebag moments and dick moves.  Am I lucky?  Nah, I think that what I encountered good and bad is fairly representative of the whole tournament scene and players associated.  If 10% of my opponents in ‘Ard Boyz were dicks, my guess is that the percentage is about the same at other local/regional/national tournaments I’ve attended.

My only big complaint is the unpainted armies.  I love playing with and against painted armies.  I won’t play a unit or model that is unpainted, even at ‘ard Boyz.  Maybe I’m OCD a bit, but it irks me to have my models be unpainted.  And if I’m going to lose to somebody at a tournament, I want to lose to a painted army that they clearly love and labored over.  So the unpainted thing bothered me.

So all in all, I’m sad to see ‘Ard Boyz go.  This makes me one of the few ‘competitive’ bloggers to say/admit that.  Most opinions have been ‘good riddance.’  I’m not going to shed any tears over it, but I’ll miss it nonetheless.

NOVA 2012

I’m doing my best to make it again this year.  It will be the last hurrah for 5th Edition, and likely the last hurrah for my Black Templars’ list before 6th Edition and a new codex changes them radically.  I’d love to make a run at the 4-0 day 1 bracket and see how well I could do playing a list that is truly competitive.  The stars would have to align financially for me to go again, and other activities around that time that I would rather do would have to fall through, but I’d say it’s 40:60 at this point.

I’d also like to point out that there has been some backlash against MVB for the terrain.  Personally I had 0 problem with the terrain rules, but some tables were admittedly pretty bad to play on.  A lot of vocal bloggers have said the rules don’t match what they feel the rule book says they should be.  I’m not going to debate that one way or the other, but what I will argue is that the NOVA rules –if different- are superior to the rule book rules.  In 8 games at NOVA I had zero arguments about terrain or cover saves.  That doesn’t ever happen in local games where the rules for area terrain are less defined. 

Mike did a smart thing: he simplified the rules for cover and terrain to the lowest common denominator in order to create a simpler, more understandable and faster game play.  Part of the reason why 7 turns at 2k points in 2.5 hours was possible was due to the uniformity of the terrain rules.  With the terrain rules so streamlined, the biggest cause of arguments and misunderstandings and room for shenanigans was removed and people could just play.  I was so impressed with the way it ran, that I have suggested that tournaments at my LGS be run the same way.  Not because it’s the closest way to the rule book, but because it eliminates a lot of the problems that often lead to unhappy players.  So kudos, Mike.  Whatever changes you make (or don’t make) I’m sure the interests of fairness and speed will be kept in mind.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Questions?


  1. You have to understand that no matter how badly GW fucks their shit up, their eternally loyal hoard of fanbois will continue to buy their crap.

    Unless of course they really fuck up their codices up (remember the old JJ space marine codex? trololololol) that renders the more popular armies unplayable (read: FUCKING BORING) that they sit the fuck up and pay attention.

    GW hasn't been losing money for a long time... everytime they are in the danger of doing so, they will just hike their prices up to make the problem go away... temporarily.

    Personally, I had enough of GW's bullshit after 7 - 8 years and have quit all but one of their systems (40k) and even done so, I only possess 2 armies (IG and CountAs SM) which I occasionally expand so I can play as many variety of army lists as I want.

    Gone are the days I start new armies on the whim. The last time I wanted to start an army was when Dark Eldar got released. The models are just gorgeous!

    However, after taking a close look at the codex and the money involved, I gave it a pass, started Malifaux and never looked back.

  2. Adding on about the 6th Ed bit,

    You can bet your last dollar that 6th Edition will cause certain armies to go through a rethinking process while making most of them survive the transition relatively unscathed... provided you have been collecting those armies for quite some time.

    If you are one of those who have a very streamlined army with little or no choices to swap out, you are one of those who have a high chance of quitting 40k.

  3. I'm not really worried about 6th edition, given the gradual evolution from 3rd to 5th after the radical change from 2nd to 3rd. The thing is that 5th edition just cleaned up some of the problems with 4th edition, and it's pretty interesting to read 5th edition as a reply to the problems that came up in 4th edition. The transition certainly isn't going to prevent me from buying new stuff.

    'Ard Boyz I won't comment on, except to agree that it was put down and good riddance.

    NOVA: I wish I could go, but I have too much n the air, even if my passport is (was?) still valid. Looking forward to reading and watching it though.

    1. I'm more concerned with sales lost NOW, not after 6th Edition. I agree with you and the others that 6th will not be the end of the world. My point is more to the fact that right now it would be impossible to recommend buying anything to a new player without feeling guilty in 6th months when his army potentially turns to crap.

      Uncertainty in business leads to conservative spending decisions, and I think the same applies here. I just can't justify buying a new army or majorly expanding a current one with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the game.

      If they just made a blog post from the design team saying, "hey, here is the general design philosophy of 6th Edition, vehicles will be much less important than in 5th" or "vehicles will be about the same importance as in 5th" it would go a long way towards buying 6 Rhinos or not.

    2. That is indeed a head-scratcher... having the entry level beginner not purchase over-priced plastic kits that will end up being useless months down the road.

      Unlike most GW store staff, whose main interest is to push sales, responsible GW system users prefer beginners to buy relevant models (some even berate beginners who insist on buying certain models "because they look great" but are actually quite shit on the table".

      Because those of us who have been in the GW hobby for many years, understand that there is nothing more hobby interest killing than having half your army made redundant or having hours of your work shit on when the model(s) in question have rubbish functionality in the game...

    3. In that case, why not recommend certain basics, like Troops, that won't be invalidated? I mean I know my notion of competitive unit is often broader than most people's, but it seems kind of weird to hold off buying until the next price hike just because you're worried that the game will change slightly after you've started.

      To my mind beginners should be encouraged to sandbox the system, and taught how to play competitively with what they have, not discouraged from buying models popularly considered uncompetitive and which they think look cool.

    4. All valid points!

      Issue here is most beginners lack the patience to learn the game properly and get jaded real quick when they eventually realize that their army or favorite units are the suck in the game (or take too much work to... work".

      It is really down to WHO is the person / people bringing these beginners into the game and how much time would they want to babysit said beginner.

      Most LGSs don't give a shit. They just want you to come to the store, buy stuff and fuck off. Its always down to the community to pick up the pieces...

  4. Where could I find these terrain rules that NOVA used? I'm intrigued.

    ... or I suppose I could check their website...