Sunday, December 27, 2015

This Year in 40K

Well it's been over a week (nearly two in fact) since I've posted for various reasons. A combination of frantically building models for my games with Matt last Monday (some thoughts on the new Tau and Betrayal at Calth were in the previous post), illness, Star Wars and general seasonal busyness have given me very little blogging time.

It's been a funny old year for our game (again). By half way through the year we'd already had NINE new codices which meant 14 new books within the space of a year! The notable releases here were Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus which finally brought Ad Mech to the table top. I'm still sorely tempted to buy an Ad Mech army but as you'll read shortly I can't see that happening soon. We were also treated to a Harlequins book but with fairly limited options for using them I quickly abandoned my plans for a force to complement my Dark Eldar.

The other big deal was the introduction of a new style of army composition which started with the Necron Decurion. This has probably been my biggest complaint about the new books in that it feels like a shopping list rather than an army. It's a great way for GW to get you to buy some models you wouldn't have bothered with in exchange for some (in places) stupidly good rules. I wonder how many tomb blades they sold before compared with after the new book! Some of the other books had only been out for a year or two before being replaced and, whilst I don't want to go back to the 5 year wait, the Tau release felt particularly lazy.

The Necron codex was also the first in a line of books that didn't fit in with the reasonably balanced first round of 7th edition codices. Whilst the Orks, BA, SW, GK and DE books upset people with the loss of some special characters and general simplification, they did all feel reasonably balanced against each other (OK maybe DE didn't). We were all hoping that the Necron book would lose some of the nonsense such as Mindshackle Scarabs and Tesla snap shots. When we heard that these were being "fixed" I was optimistic. That was until the rules for RP surfaced amongst other things. Since then we've returned the power creep days with Eldar Wraithknights becoming gargantuan creatures etc. It's a shame that these things overshadow some of the more innovative rules GW have produced this year. The Ad Mech and Harlequins books had some great ideas in them for example. I can't help but feel like they're rushing things right now.

I said last year that I was optimistic that the game would become more balanced but with an ever increasing number of formations it's anything but. Not only that but it's an incredibly complicated system now. I can't help but wonder if that's GW's plan so that we're all begging them to simplify things like they did with Fantasy? I'm not for a second saying I want that but a happy medium would be nice.

Games Workshop continues to produce the best miniatures in the world, there's no question about that. I just wish they'd embrace the community a bit more and understand that we want a playable game in which to use those miniatures. Their lack of support of the third party tournament scene and third party suppliers continues to baffle me.

Why do GW have their own stores any more? They don't need to worry too much about the competition at the moment so why not cut their overheads and leave the independent retailers to sell their models. In my experience they do a better job of promoting the hobby anyway without coming across as pushy or weirdly over-friendly. I get that they don't like to have their products side by side with other stuff but this doesn't worry other manufacturers so why GW who, like I've said, make some of the nicest models anyway!

It may just be my perception but the tournament scene seems to be dwindling right now. A lot of the regular events have disappeared from the calendar and whilst I was getting record numbers (for me) at Blog Wars, I wonder if that's because there isn't much choice right now. A lot of people I've been speaking to have been put off by GW's Warhammer World events by the use of Unbound or crazy systems like Throne of Skulls uses. Why not support the independent events like FFG do with X-wing?

The trouble is, when all is said and done, I'm not going to be stopping collecting GW models or playing 40K any time soon. I love the deep background and no other games have the same scale to them. Nothing else grabs my attention like 40K does. I flirt with X-wing but I just don't feel the same immersion that I do with 40K, as dodgy as it is right now. It's basically an abusive relationship GW have created and we keep making excuses for them. Thing is, I don't want GW to fail as a company like others do. I'm not a GW hater. I'm just a frustrated fan.

Anyway, ramble/rant over. It's now time to look back at the my own personal experience of 2015 and make some plans to get my arse into gear in 2016 and tackle this mountain of unpainted models.

6 comments:

  1. Well said - whilst I don't feel the same frustration over formations as you do, I certainly want 40k to be the game that I keep playing - I don't want to branch out into other systems particularly, as you said, they don't grip me the same!

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  2. Abusive relationship is right! I love the fluff and backstory and grim dark but sometimes I remember how much the toys used to cost!

    For me, I have a significant back catalogue of models - and I almost exclusively buy thru second hand or flgs. So today was the first time I've been into into a games workshop store and bought anything (only because my flgs was closed). Man did I feel dirty afterwards.

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  3. Yet as a regular attendee of the events run by GW at Warhammer World, I have never had as much fun at events at Warhammer World as I have this year. Unbound is not a problem at all. They are not tournaments by design and are much better as a result. Indy events are dying because too many of the events are in substandard venues with terrible rulesets that try to cling on to the past. Why should GW support them? If you want to play competitively switch to MTG, 40K is purposefully designed not to be a "competitive" game

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  4. I have found myself often frustrated and bemused at the releases this year. Collecting two armies that have the old style 7th Ed codexes leave me in a constant state of frustration when playing against newer codexes with all their upgrades, super rules and formations that just blow me out the water most of the time. I do love the background and immersiveness of the game and this keeps me playing, as well as the huge conversion and painting project scopes that the whole system offers. Saying that branching out into new games has really been a breath of fresh air, and actually made me appreciate 40k more as a result, as it is no longer my be all and end all gaming experience. Also the other games I play are awesome, especially dropzone commander, which has been the highlight of my gaming year.

    Hope you have an awesome 2016. Happy new year!

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  5. I couldn't agree more.
    I've branched out to Epic, so i can keep the background but play in a new way.

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  6. I agree it's been a weird year with so many releases. It started so good with coerced that were balanced between them, then things went off the rails with the Necron codex, so that it does seem to be a 2 tier system depending on whether you codex was before the necron book or not.

    Hopefully something like the US's ITC system might catch on here. I don't like all of their rulings, but I'll settle for invisibility, summoning and 2+ refillable saves being nerfed slightly for more interesting games.

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