Monday, May 5, 2014

The 4 Mantras of 40k: Embrace Change by Changing

File:Tzeench political poster.jpg

Keeping it Positive: The 4 Mantras for 40k

Embrace Change by Changing

Patron Chaos God "Tzneetch"

With the release of the IG Codex before this one, I took a break from 40k because I was ENRAGED at the fact the Valkyrie had its armor UPPED to 12 (it had been 11 in the Imperial Armor books). I was livid because GW clearly made the model awesome rules-wise (and created the bullshit that was undercosted Vendetta spam when IMHO they should have made a Vulture conversion kit for anti-tank) for its points cost and gave it better armor than a chimera tank. Yes, reader, that is correct. I raged because GW made something BETTER, not worse.

One key to avoid burnout is to embrace, rather than rage against, the changes GW makes to the game. GW is a "models" (not a "model", infact far from it) company, and therefore will often make newer units better rules-wise to buff sales. The recent IG codex release was an example of this: Stormtroopers went down in points and were made better by the addition of orders and command squads. Orgyns were made better, but not quite enough to justify their points cost, especially because their transport capacity is limited. Wyrvens are a new model, and therefore have some of the best rules of any of the Heavy Support choices, despite having clunky to-hit-and wound resolution mechanics. The only exception is the Hydra, which went from bad to worse because of a lack of interceptor. So overall GW TRIED to promote new models with better rules, and for the most part succeeded. People will buy the Hydra/Wyrven kit because of the Wyrven, and they might buy some Bullgryns for a mobile Aegis line.

GW also changes to rules to correct perceived rules imbalances. The changes do not happen quickly. Mostly it's over the course of a whole edition or Codex cycle that things get "fixed." The Vendetta points cost being upped to the current value and losing some transport capacity is an prime example. Everyone knew it was a problem, and it took GW years to fix the problem. There are probably dozens of examples of this just in 6th edition alone.

Its been like this for as long as I've played. Anyone remember 3rd edition Rhino Rush? Iron Warriors Obliterator and Basilisk armies? How about Nidzilla? The list of problems that GW has tried to correct go on and on. Many times, instead of just making a small correction, GW swings the nerf bat like a juiced-up MLB player. They overreact to small problems while creating new major ones, such as 2++ rerollable saves. Obviously this is the result of both a different focus (beer and pretzels and hobbying) for the designers than the majority of the US playerbase (tournaments and FLGS pick-up games), a disassociation of the GW studio with the competitive community, and a lack of adequate playtesting with players who love to find the next broken list and have a love of powergaming.

All this imbalance and, arguably, rules writing incompetence can be infuriating. In order to deal with much of the rules changes and blunders, a 40k player or group of players has only one option, and oddly it's the method GW suggests themselves: If You Don't Like the Rules, Change Them!

We'll cover this more in the next mantra, but the gist of it is this: You gotta own the rules like you own models. Tournament Organizers do this all the time: they change the rules to fit the kind game the organizers and players demand. Nothing stops you and your gaming group from sitting down, listing all the crazy mistakes that GW has made, and creating a list of house rules.

If more people took this proactive approach to change, there would be far less bitching and moaning on the internet forums. So what if GW took away your Marbo? Use his old entry from the last Codex. As long as your opponent agrees, its fine. The GW Arbites aren't going to show up in your basement or FLGS and arrest you. If the GW designers showed up, would probably high-five (do the Brits still high-five?) you for changing the rules to fit your kind of game.

My challenge to you is this: the only way to deal with change is by changing. Whenever GW makes a change you don't like, just change it back within the privacy of your own gaming group. Own the 40k game, don't let it own you.

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