Friday, June 6, 2014

7th Edition Broken? Just Shut It And Play The Game (Or Not)

I will take the bold step and say that the new rule set is not broken…if anything is true, it is that an abuse of the rule set, as always occurs, is once again taking place.  Saying that the car you intentionally run into a concrete wall is broken is an apt analogy.   Let’s talk about this from a different perspective…

Start by travelling back in history.  Remember a couple/few editions ago when Marines had chapter traits that we could choose from?  They were supposed to allow players to “forge a narrative” around their chapter.  These traits, by many, ended up being used to buff an army out so that it could win games.  Frankly, this type of “rulesmithing” has nothing to do with broken rules.  It is marginal players compensating for a lack of tactical acumen and skill at the game.  This is my first, albeit simple, example of the players abusing the rules, not the rules being broken. 

If what you do with the rules in within boundries of your codex and the published rule set, then simply stated, you are not breaking the rules.  The rules, as printed, are being followed.  My friend Dale loads a pack of Lootas into a Battle Wagon and rakes his opponents.  It is fairly difficult to take out the Lootas before you are shot to pieces.  Frustrating if he brings it when you play him, but not broken or illegal.

In 6th, Taudar was an example of broken players, not broken rules.  Players chose to, within the structure of published rules, combine the best of two already solid armies.  They ended up with lists that dominated many organized events and misc. tabletops.  So many complained that the lists, and the rules that allowed them, were broken.  Sorry, not buying it.  The players who built those lists taking the rule set to its extreme limits perhaps abused the rule set.  However, the rules themselves were solid, if not the perfect structure that some would like.  Ironic how those same players now scream that the new “edition” is broken…sorry that someone took away your toys!

Why are you surprised when people don’t want to play you when you abuse the rules?  When you make lists that are so over the top?  The first (and last) time I played someone with a Taudar list, I decided not to play that person, or someone with a list like his, again.  He was not familiar with the rules, he was arrogant and whenever something happened he didn’t like (I actually caused him to remove models from the table), he threw a fit.  Not the way I ever want to spend my time again.  What I noticed most, though, was his arrogance.  He thought he was a top tier player because he could win with the only list he ever took.  It compensated for his lack of game experience and tactical acumen.

Is this related to all the ranting in the current version of our rules?  Most certainly.  All the fussing now about the Psychic rules and how some armies dominate the Psychic Phase.  So what?  If someone can pack 30 warp charges into a 2000 point list, good for them.  Don’t see how they can do it, but they should go for it if they can.  If I end up playing someone who does that, I will judge the player, not the rules.  If he ends up being like the Taudar player described above, it will be the last time we throw down.  However, if he is fair, knows the rules, and is generally fun to hang out with, I don’t care if he kicks my ass.  I will try and figure out how to beat him and come back for more.  I have a friend who is an Eldar player…a very good one.  I have not beaten him in our three encounters.  But the games have been close, and I enjoy spending an evening gaming with him.  You better believe I will be back for more.

Look, I am certainly disappointed in some of the changes.  That does not mean that the rules are broken.  It means I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I’m mature enough to deal with the changes and get on with playing the game.  For those who are so outraged and ceaselessly rant; your right certainly.  It just reminds me of a guy at D-Company’s Big Game a couple of years ago who made everyone around him miserable.  He complained, literally for hours, about the special rules for the game and how broken they were (sound familiar?!).  Funny thing how later that afternoon when the battle started going his way, he was strangely silent.

You are adults.  If you dislike the game in its’ current form that much, vote with your money and time and find another game system that will meet your needs.  While you’re at it, take your whiney friend with you.  All of us will be happier.

Create, grow, feed, adapt


  1. Interesting article; however, I disagree with your fundamental premise. Any game developer that creates a game that focuses on competition, and a battle is a competition, has an obligation to create a balanced game. The consequences of enabling unbalanced competition is what we see play out in 40K. This is not a tournament, or a garage gamer issue, it is a GAME issue. Each edition has had one or more codexes that introduce serious imbalance into the game. Issues that should have been obvious to the designers through even a reasonable amount of playtesting.

    I reject your premise that we, as players, should lower our expectations or find another game system, rather than demand that the game system we know and love be tested to a reasonable level that ensures a certain level of fair-play.

    1. You are are absolutely correct. The author of this article is fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of 'broken' rules. I will demonstrate via proof by absurdity:

      In the authors mind, if GW produced only three armies that only had one special rule each, no matter what that special rule was they would be balanced because, according to the author, those are the rules. Lets say army A's special rule is always beats army B, army B's is always beats army C, and C is beats A. Not a great ruleset but 'balanced' by symmetry. What the author claims is that if army A's special rule becomes always beats army B AND C, that is in some way still balanced because, well, thats just the rule. Further it is also the player's fault that everybody plays with army A and not, say, GW's fault for creating such a stupid and inbalanced rule. That my friends (sorry author) is ABSURD.

      Servicious, the Disgruntled Dark Eldar

    2. "Any game developer that creates a game that focuses on competition, and a battle is a competition, has an obligation to create a balanced game."

      COMPLETELY incorrect. So far incorrect that it's not even funny. A BUSINESS has an obligation to MAKE MONEY. Never forget that. If a balanced game sells, then that will be what's made. If a more loose game sells? Then that's what you'll see. Do not assume that there's some righteous need for game developers to pursue some overall balance within their product, because there's not. "The business of business... is to stay in business."

      There are plenty of games out there that try to simulate, in abstract fashion, the art of warfare. Warfare is, fortunately or unfortunately, not a balanced pursuit. You think the Spartan 300 were engaged in a balanced fight against Xerxes and his Persians?

      Today's crowd seems to think that everyone has to be in a fair fight, but that's just not true. GW has been encouraging us to create narrative scenarios for a while now, scenarios that emulate what we see in the fluff. Are these fluff battles balanced? Did Horus and his traitors negotiate a points limit when planning their betrayal at Istvaan? Do the Tyranids set aside a certain point value's worth of biomass before engaging a world's defenders? No.

      40k is not meant to be a tightly balanced game. It's meant to be a framework around which you and your buddies can throw down with some cool models. Expecting tight balance from 40k is like expecting great fried chicken from a McDonald's...

  2. Point taken. Better playtesting would lead to less imbalance. My response...

    - Who creates the imbalance...the rule set? Can't agree with you there. It is the folks who go out to find the most outrageous combination of units that bend (but do no break) every rule in the book. So do you playtest to the extremes, or playtest with balanced lists that most players will use? Do you playtest to the extremes or to themed lists that players will use because of their individual preferences?

    I could easily argue that the rules are now imbalanced against Nids because we are the only army that does not have access to the main rulebook Psychic Powers. So my powerful Zoanthrope uses Catalyst, which only gives a 5+ FNP, but some measly human psyker can cast Endurance for a 4+ FNP and EW?

    We certainly have the right, and obligation, to ask GW do design a game that is enjoyable to play and worth the investment in time and money. It is the players who need to make decision about who they play and how they play. The current rule set gives us that freedom.

    1. You are fundamentally incorrect unfortunately. See the above proof.

      Servicious, the Disgruntled Dark Eldar

    2. Here is a real life example of how your A/B/C example doesn't work. Army A has played Army B three times and lost each time. Army C played are B once and won. Army A played Army C and won three times. Each played a different codex.

      Is the rule set unbalanced? Are the rules broken because Player A can't beat Player B? Please explain how he beats Player C every time using the same codex and rule set.

      I suppose the bottom line for me is complain all you want online, but when it comes time to throw down, just know the rules, play the game, and be someone who I can spend a few hours of my precious free time with without having to hear how screwed up the game is.

    3. You must have missed the special rule part, Army A can't lose to army B because the special rule says so. Army B loses to army A the three times they play because thats what the rule says happens, thats the rule. Army B can only beat other Bs or army C automatically because that is the special rule. So C doesn't play B and win, C loses because of the rule. I should have also changed the rule for C in the second example to 'always beats nobody' (maybe that is where you are confused?) Army A would beat army C three times because, again, that is the rule. To repeat: the ruleset states A ALWAYS beats B and C, B always beats C, and C now always beats nobody. According to your logic, this is a balanced and acceptable ruleset and B or C team players should only complain about people who chose to play team A and not blame the creators of a fundamentally flawed ruleset. It is a proof by absurdity because it should be OBVIOUS that this example ruleset is broken and unbalanced, and that people who bought into the game where A beat B, B beat C, and C beat A (which is symmetrically balanced) have every right to be upset if the creators change the rules into a broken and unbalanced mess. You may not agree that GW has done something like this, but my proof is to show that it CAN HAPPEN, and to prove that your belief that it cannot 'because they are rules and all rules must be fair' is logically unsound.

      I'm not trying to be a jerk, but your attitude is a bit flippant. You see, I love this game like you seem to, but the 'take it or leave it stance' will hurt this game in the long run. You say you want to play the game without hearing how screwed up it is? Well imagine GW changed the stat lines on your whole army to 1s. You probably would be upset. You probably would no longer play (at least not that army). What would you rather do listen to the player complain or have that player leave the game entirely, because many people are leaving and soon you may not have anyone to play the game with. Then the game is gone for you, for me, and for all the others that love it all because GW can't get their shit together, and that would be really sad.

      Servicious, the Disgruntled Dark Eldar

  3. Good article. I'm glad its just internet crowd that doesn't get this concept and that the people I play with aren't the broken players of which you speak. The game is so much greater than the internet community makes it out to be that I wonder how much it hurts the game by driving curious people away.

  4. I want to thank you for your passionate and thoughtful responses. You are correct that I love the game, and that flippantness (word?) is just the frustration of seeing the way the internet community responds every time there is a change. I truly think that the internet allows us to share information and ideas like we have never been able to before. However, it also amplifies commentary to the point of being obnoxious. Your tough question is whether to listen or have the player leave the game...tough answer...leave the game. We both play this game to enjoy ourselves and escape from the world. Why would I want to listen to someone rant for 3 hours about a hobby that I enjoy? Rather just sit and have a beer with a friend at a local pub.

    I certainly want GW to listen to what we have to say, and be responsive to our valid concerns. The issue is whether or not they will ever be as responsive and responsible as we want them to be. It is a great hobby, and hopefully you and I will be agreeing to disagree for many years to come. Thanks again.

  5. Good article, I completely agree. I do not like apologists for the abusing crowd, shouting its not their fault they are abusing the game. While the company does have some responsibility, it is not solely rested on them. And it always comes down to the player not the army. I played against a guy with a seerstar and had a fun game, I most certainly lost but he was a good guy and played the army well and knew the rules and I had a good time trying to do as much damage as I could. I would play him and his army again in a heartbeat and try something else to beat him. I have played people with "fluffly" armies who were no fun to play against and after a few games stopped doing so, it wasn't ever about the army but about the player

  6. Really, I would have to say I am smack in the middle of both sides, as aggravating as it may be.

    I like to think of it like this; yes, there must be a level of responsibility amongst those involved to not abuse the rules because although it would be nice for the rules to be completely faultless it is a bit of a high expectation for us to expect it to be so. But then GW has to take into account the fact that there will be people who abuse the rules to try and win all the time and frankly it is quite a large portion of the gaming community. And although they may annoy me I don't want to just exclude them outright, just because they have found a way to use the rules that may aggravate me. They are part of the same community and we can't just exclude them because we don't like the way they do things.

    I would much rather that GW put more effort into their codecies, as although things like taudar are inevitable this daemons army is a MAJOR balls up on their part. It was SUCH an obvious build right from the start and has so ridiculously broken that the fact that they either didn't know or care about it show a great lack of effort and respect put towards the customer, totally ignoring their responsibilities towards the gaming community.

    Responsibility lies with both sides, and for either side to say "It's their fault for not checking it" or " their fault for abusing the rules" is not fair.

  7. With great power comes great responsibility. GW sells its players that power through rulebooks, codecies, and occassionally relevant FAQs. They also continue to empower their players to make judgement calls on rules within the in-personal social context of the game. Unfortunately, many players demand that GW be something that it never has and never will be: a grand game balancer on par with computer MMO or FPS game designers.

    Perhaps players who crave perfect game design and balance do not want the responsbility of having to make judgement calls and reason out solutions with their opponents, they want GW to do it for them. Which is completely unreasonable, as that is asking GW to do something it never has intented nor proven itself capable of doing.


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