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 On reclaiming my game

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commandersasha
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PostSubject: On reclaiming my game   Sun Mar 30 2014, 22:13

I just read the Jervis Johnson article in this week's White Dwarf, where he says that he is a big fan of gaming groups (such as my 40-strong Facebook-based group), where like-minded players agree on how to use the huge range of models available in 40K to create balanced games. His emphasis was on how GW have done the best they can for their fans by creating a hugely diverse power spectrum, and the onus is now entirely on the fans to make the game playable, balanced and fun.
I must concede that from the point of view as a shareholder company in a capitalist market, his point is valid, and that whereas before, GW provided us with a game that was ready to play, now they provide a kit for you to build a game system yourself, and requires customisation.

I am one of the keenest critics of the past year's power creep and breaks from FOC, but I guess this is the way forward with 40K: we have to specify our own game parameters now. GW have declared that game balance is no longer their responsibility, much as D&D won't stop your level 3 Halfling cleric joining a group exploring a level 80 dungeon!

The ragequitter in me is angry for how they have ruined my game and I am going to stamp my feet and set my hair on fire...and I think that Johnson and his co-designers have taken a lazy, cop-out approach to the responsibilities to the fan base that has paid their wages for 30 years, but this article has in fact made me feel better about my game: I no longer feel any compulsion to try to keep up with new developments.

From now on, when I want a game, with my good friends, with new acquaintances, or even pick-up games, I now feel entirely justified in specifying what I will and won't play against.

It still feels petty, but that is where the game is now, so at least I don't feel like such a freak for asking!
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deep-sea-captain
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 06:08

I really like what they've done, lots of options, make yourself happy. Its good! The trick is making it clear that this is what there doing, that its the players responsibility to make sure there playing the game they want too. But I think they've always made that clear throughout the different editions.

I've always taken the approach of shaping the game into something that I enjoy. 6th edition came out with rules for flyers, hey thats cool. We'll use them when its appropriate in the setting or if we want to see what the rules are like. I've used a flyer twice I think, and played against them about the same amount. Same thing with allies, we only use them for fluff reasons. Actually, I was playing a game allied to my friends Tau vs Craftworld Eldar, it was bit one sided so mid game I started shooting the Tau in the back, it was a trap all along! We've actually come up with rules for that now and that ended up being a really close game (Single squad of Dire Avengers left, all the Tau and my Dark Eldar died so they're not aware of what exactly happened, my Dark Eldar have promised them we'll help them get to the bottom of this, my Archons "favourite" Succubus died down there, we want vengeance too...right?). Even when the Eldar were updated and started giving me problems, my friend is yet to shoot his Serpent Shields at me, its a shield! The rules make no sense! He refuses to do it! (He also hasn't really needed too....).
We've started pushing heavily into narrative gaming, which I really enjoy. I like playing a small warm up game, a recon mission or something which leads into a bigger game, we have a setting and factions are starting to take shape and we have a few key missions and objectives out lined in the future (giant defence artillery battery on the moon aimed at the planet etc, oh and I'm so ready to reveal some of my Crimson Fists are actually Alpha Legionnaires once the forge world models are released and I complete an army in secret...). Its gotten to the point that it would be very rare for me to play a game with the only purpose being a tactical brain excercise with the goal of winning, like a fancy chess game. To much effort to do that, I get to into it and end up with a headache. I'm going to stop rambling now. Almost.

So yeah, I appreciate what there doing, which I see as adding heaps of flexilbility to the game. Admitedly I've never had the problems of playing at a club, or pick up games or a competitive environment that this type of approach would result in problems.
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Evil Space Elves
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 07:07

I'm glad that you came to this conclusion without rage-quiting the game. A lot of people it seems are reaching this conclusion (finally). 40K has, and always will be a game. Sounds stupid to phrase it like that, but I've often been accused of having a knack for the obvious. It's meant to be fun. It's meant to be a social interaction. While some people play games against an opponent, in my experience the best games that I've had are when I shifted my mindset to playing a game with my opponent. It really has made playing 40K enjoyable for me after I had burned myself out playing around 9 years ago when I was playing pretty much exclusively in tournament settings. While tournaments are a great place to meet new players/see cool new armies/and see new tactics, I don't feel that the game has ever been at its finest when boiled down to a strictly competitive tournament game. 40K started as a narrative game in the old RT days, and evolved to have army lists where you could in theory show up to an event and play balanced games without having a discussion first.

The newest expansions really have thrown competitive play on its head because of all of the unforeseen hangups (because of a total lack of play testing on the part of GW). Honestly has not affected my 40K experience one bit because I tend to play games where I have a conversation with the people that I play. We enjoy playing this great game and having a good time. There are some VERY good players in the area that are still enjoyable to play against because they realize that they would rather win through superior tactics than to bring 3 Hell Chickens with their CSM army. I own an Eldar Cobra, Lynx with Pulsar, and a Scorpion which I have never brought to a tournament or pickup game, and never will because I respect the time of other people that are trying to have fun playing a game rather than facing down a ton of D weapons because I can. Having a good group of people that enjoy playing narrative style games/not being a jerk really makes the game enjoyable. I still play in tournaments from time to time, but I will never go play in one of these NOVA-styled mega-tournies where the goal is less about playing fun games with the other player, and more about annihilating your opponents by any means necessary.


Could just be that I'm 38, and don't really have time for a lot of shenanigans when it comes to bringing WAAC lists to a game that I don't get to play nearly enough anymore!

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DEfan
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 09:02

Well said ESE. I have lost my last 4 games to a brilliant Tau player, getting tabled every single time. It is getting on my wick, but I am more frustrated about the lack of parity in our armies. The experience of playing against this guy is rewarding. He is a good sort, but gee whiz it is hard to keep my army on the board for 5 turns and remain in good humour. I get in a negative funk but I keep coming back for more because 1) the opponent is well mannered and is fun to be around and 2) there will be a time when I find a way to break his list.
DE have felt utterly ineffective this past month , but the same list I rolled against the Tau did a very good number on a super-heavy toting IG list, recently. "Balance" is all over the show, but there are still tricks I could try before I can give a definitive "won't play ya, Ive got DE" to my Tau mate.

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commandersasha
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 12:47

My point is, as Johnson has stated, GW no longer takes any responsibility for balance; you can view this as concerning Dataslates, LoW units or Allied Knights, but it is now increasingly relevant in standard codex games.
The allies matrix, fliers, and some of the more recent codex entries, have extended the scope beyond what a grand unifying system can hope to encompass.

As such, the onus is now on the players to decide balance.

Unfortunately, as both parties are interested, that is hard to do without bias: the role of the game designer is to present a fait accompli, so that the players don't have to argue what is fair. This has gone now.

Is your Tau buddy's list unfair, or just good, and he plays better than you? You and he now have to decide if he should have limits imposed, or you bonuses.

Johnson's article, and GW's approach, have relinquished responsibility; they are now just an excellent minis company, with an extensive fluff universe, but a badly run game.
This is a crying shame, because the core rule set is solid.

The only hope for 40K to become a good system is if they replace the current paradigm with one of layered bolt-ons: Allies, Fliers, Apoc units, D weapons etc all as optional appendices to be enjoyed by those tgat want them, but not implicit in the core rules.

Until then, I will be asking for games with 1,500 pure codex, no fliers.
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wanderingblade
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 14:01

Sasha - They never did really. I always thought they should, and that it would be better for them, but they clearly disagree with thee and me and we must make of it what we can. I'm tempted to quit, but my group are still making things enjoyable, so there we go.

Out of curiousity - where abouts is your group in London?
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commandersasha
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Mon Mar 31 2014, 19:41

I am Wimbledon, some are central, others scattered around; we meet via Facebook, and are mostly shift workers who formed the group as we could never get to evening/weekend clubs.
Search for dan.sanders.526 on Facebook, profile pic is currently a black&white of my Nan and my Mum when she was a baby ;-)

I am also a member of HATE (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts), and am going to my first meet on Wednesday.
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DEfan
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Tue Apr 01 2014, 11:03

Hey Commandersasha, in reply to those queries his list is good, well balanced with troops, hs elites and FA slots maxed out. he is better than me. I really want to deal him some death up close, but I am never going to get there because his torrent of S5+ firepower is too overwhelming. 4 times burned, gotta try something else, now.

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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Tue Apr 01 2014, 11:20

I was actually really surprised to read JJ's article in White Dwarf. He basically said that they're churning out all these rules and it's down to us what we do with them. But they can't even get that right!

If Stronghold Assault and Escalation had been clearly labelled as optional expansions rather than additional core rules.

If Imperial Knights were Lords of War rather than completely bypassing the, still rather limited, mitigating rules that superheavies received for use in 'normal' 40k.

If the rules were in any way playtested and balanced so that we don't feel the need to include X so as not to have Y dominate the game.

And so forth.

Now my own group fairly swiftly decided that we would not be using Escalation and would not include any D-Weapons from any other source, or the AV15 fortifications from Stronghold Assault. Dataslates we're fairly okay with but a couple of them might have issues (Skyblight Swarm) and, if so, we'll amend them appropriately or agree not to use them. We use some Forge World models but not all. We're basically doing what JJ said we should be doing.

The problem of course comes with those who do not have a regular gaming group and need to find games some other way and also with tournaments.

The former will find that they could turn up to a game and either not be allowed to play with some of the models/rules that they've brought with them or that they've brought a 'normal' army and are up against someone with an insane blend of Superheavies, dataslates, supplement codexes and Forge World cheese. He's not going to have fun.

Tournaments are increasingly being forced to comp their events so that people know precisely what is allowed and what is not. I don't have a problem with that but it could have been made much easier for them with more structured rules and playtesting. A new batch of FAQ's wouldn't go amiss either!

Anyhoo, bit of a rambling post there. Rant over.


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spellcheck2001
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Tue Apr 01 2014, 22:15

I think the game is in a real flux at the moment. I started  playing in 5th edition and found it quite dull. When 6th came out it really shook up the game and made things exciting again. However with the glut of rules that are not thought out or play tested the game has descended into a kind of chaos. It really depends on how your gaming group chooses to play things as to whether this game can be played with balance and fun. I think jervis's article is a bit of a cop out as it is the game company's responsibility to create a balanced rule set for everyone to enjoy. I have taken a bit of a step back playing 40k and switched over to alternative games like x wing, dreadball, malifaux and infinity. I now enjoy 40k much more as it has become less of a frustration and more a pleasure ,as it is no longer the be all and end all of my gaming experience. I suppose this is where gw intended the game to be (fun and narrative)  but they have lost a ton of my money that has gone into other company's pockets. I think if 40k is played as part of a larger gaming experience it becomes much more pleasurable as a game becomes just a game and if it is not a great one I can play something else the next week.

P.s I hope that did not come across as too negative. I still love 40k but think it gas gotten a little sloppy rules wise lately. It is sometimes healthy to step away from something for a while and truly find what it is you enjoy about it and then step back in a better frame of mind

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wanderingblade
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Wed Apr 02 2014, 18:14

Sasha - May have to be in touch then what with being a shift worker myself
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commandersasha
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Fri Apr 04 2014, 00:49

As a corollary to this:
Last night I went to a fantastic gaming night, run by Club Hate (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts, North LOndon).
2 great games, no stupid units, classic codex.
1st vs C:SM (Iron hands), epic battles, strategic maneuvers(sp?), Scouring, close game, 8-6 to me.
2nd vs C:CSM, beautiful models, ran out of time lost 2-1 at end of 3rd round.

A LOT of people have responded positively to my OP, which I also put on TheTyranidHive, Club Hate, and my personal gaming group, and last night's gaming has entirely rekindled my faith in 40K!

Now, time to get myself painting...

ps Wanderingblade, I'll PM you my email address too.
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Dogmar
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Fri Apr 04 2014, 10:40

I'm glad to hear your faith in the game is restored, sasha.

At the moment I have the same gaming philosophy problem that you stated in your OP. Generally my gaming group refuses to play superheavies, AV15 and D-weapons and most people don't want to play the dataslates on a competetive level or simply don't have the models. So in fact, there wasn't that much change at all despite GW pumping out releases like mad. That might be because of the horrendous speed of the new releases though, with new rules every week, very few people are really up to date on everything.

That creates an environment where you cannot possibly know your enemy wholly any more as you don't know which supplementary rules, formation, data slate or expansion they'll be using. You can't be sure what every unit does, what's legal and what's brokenly good any more until the person who brought it let you read that online-only rules page and played a game with you to test it. That philosophy of GW, especially the online only releases limit the available-ness of information severely which makes it harder to pin-point where the game is actually at the moment.

I know lots of people who like the new rules and options for diversity and in fact I do enjoy that as well. The problem is that this turns your fun beer and pretzels game into a one sided slaughterfest if you're not prepared - and that solely due to poor game design / no play-testing on GWs part. Because at that point where someone is bringing Be'Lakor or Skyblight even, you have to set your army up in a certain way or be crushed.

Another thing is that, while I find it okay that people come up with their own house rules and a comp system when something is terribly broken or hasn't been FAQ'd properly, it is a terrible idea to pass that on as a general gaming philosophy. It was okay in some cases and doesn't hurt the game at all but if you have to question every single unit / rule "is this balanced, is this costed appropriately, is this too powerful, are there contradictory or unclear rules and what do we do with them?" you're running into a lot more problems.

Then the question becomes: Oh, I've been beaten countless times by that guys army, what is broken in that dex and what can we do about it? Or is he simply better than me? Is my own codex too weak? You can easily bring in line 2 armies with different powerlevels yourself if you just buff or nerf one side a bit, but try that with 15 armies, + supplements + superheavies + knights + dataslates... that's just not what the regular gamer can/should do and that's just lazy of GW as a company. I see they just want to sell sell sell models, and apparently that works, but the game suffers because of that on the long run, because it is just not well thought out at the moment. I'd be fine with fewer, but better balanced releases and if playtesting means more leaks then more leaks there shall be, you can't just give up on playtesting.

Again, I haven't been affected by all of that too much yet, but that day will come or I'll be stuck with a handful of people who play the old edition on and on without ever using the new stuff, which is bad and boring as well.

Sorry. Rant over.

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moon1n1te
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Thu Apr 17 2014, 20:02

They should let the community playtest again and curb the extra stuff to expansions. Allies etc is just a cop out for bad balance Imo.

so what would everyone faq if they had the chance to.
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Dethdispenser
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Thu Apr 17 2014, 21:05

Battle Brothers to be completely gone.
Grimoire for demons gone.

These are things I wish to see
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moon1n1te
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Thu Apr 17 2014, 21:09

Id rather allies were done as a bolt on ruleset. Also Eldar allies should be able to enter play from a WWP. Some of GW rules make no sense in either fluff or gameplay.
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PostSubject: Re: On reclaiming my game   Wed Apr 23 2014, 21:27

I've met the HATE guys at quite a few tournaments, really nice and friendly.

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