Thursday, July 12, 2012

6th Edition

So, 6th edition came out roughly two weeks ago; I probably could be more disappointed in it, but I am not sure how.  I am not being sarcastic.

I remember back in the 90's when I first started playing 40k.  It was second edition, I was a teenager, and I was getting my ass KICKED at 40k.  Despite this, I still enjoyed the game, the rules in second edition were very complex, very convoluted, and generally different from any other game I had played. (Which at this point in my life was RIFTS, Shadowrun, AD&D, Magic: The Gathering, and possibly others that I cannot recall)
Third edition came out in the late 90's.  I embraced it.  For those of you unfamiliar it was a complete revamp of the entire rules and codex system.  Every codex was invalidated, overnight.  I played a lot of games in 3rd edition, I started winning tournaments (local tournaments, not anything national or spectacular).  The internet provided a medium to reach out to other gamers that enjoyed 40k.  I met many others and began to travel to play 40k. (nothing out of my time zone)
Fourth came, for most of it I was in college I backed off and played casually for most of it.  I began to slip back into competition.

Then Fifth edition came.
Fifth edition came out at a perfect time in my life, I was relatively free of any major life expectations.  I graduated college, I had a job.  I was reminded why I had stuck by 40k for all these years.  I play 40k as a competitive game.  I find joy in competing.  I took my hobby to another level.  I played often, against good opponents.  I began to seriously travel to play 40k. (we are talking thousands of dollars last year alone, in travel)  I have met and befriended around 30 people that when I go to a big 40k convention, I expect to see. 

I play 40k competitively.  I understand that the designers of the game did not intend for it to be played that way.  To this I say, "It is my game, I can play it how I damn well please".  I love this game.

So, 6th edition.  I will break it down.  Lots of second edition 40k and 8th edition fantasy rules lazily mashed together with fliers thrown in.  This book is not worth the $70+ price tag.  When reading it, I noticed something that I had not seen before from any other rules set. (By this point in my life, I have played a LOT of different games)
The writer(s) f this book felt the need to interject their feelings on HOW I should play their game.  If you have a copy, I suggest looking under the "forging a narrative" boxes.  So, a narrative game bereft of competition, where it doesn't matter who wins and loses?  Fine, nothing wrong with that.  And I mean that.  I play a game like that, D&D 3.5 edition. (A game where it is literally impossible to win and impossible to lose, because there are no opposing players.)

Games Workshop the past couple of years has made some strange moves.  They gradually replaced all of their hobby staff with salesmen.  Once upon a time I could go into a GW store and get actual, relevant, tactical advice.  I cold get painting advice.  I could get conversion or terrain making advice.  I could order bits (pieces of any model that GW made).
Now when I walk into a GW store, I get salesmen, who do not know shit about the product they are selling.
GW got rid of their national tournament circuits. One was "Ard Boyz", which I was glad to see go.  The other was "Throne of Skulls", which (despite GWs last presentation) was a TON of fun.

The message I am receiving here is that competitive, tournament level, players are not welcome in this hobby.

Well Chaps, message fucking received.

Without heavy edits, this edition is unplayable as a competitive game (in my opinion, others opinions may differ)
Although I will challenge you guys to find a tournament that uses the ENTIRE 6th edition rules set.  I can list five right now that won't.

So, a couple questions, that you, the casual reader may have. (Notice I have not even talked about the 6th edition rules themselves, as I consider them shitty and irrelevant)

Q: Are you ragequitting?
A: No.  I would really like to thought.  I will admit there is a big part of me that wants nothing more than to Ebay his collection in a profanity-ridden tirade.

Q: Why not?
A: Because of all the people I have met while enjoying something that I loved.  I value those relationships because those people and I have common ground.  If I Ragequit, I never see them again.  I would list all of  them here, individually, but it would seem more like name-dropping.

Q: So, you mentioned that you are fine with 40k being a narrative non-competitive game, will you be playing it?
A: For the most part, no.  I will do a game here and there, I may even play in some narrative events.  (It is the same to me as 8th edition fantasy)  I already play a narrative game, it is called D&D, and it is orders of magnitude better than any game GW makes.  But it is not a game I can play competitively, due to the nature of the game (outlined previous).

Q: You said you were "disappointed" you sound more rage-y, which is it?
A: I am disappointed that for $70+ dollars all we could get is this shoddy copy-paste job from 5th edition (Some paragraphs are fucking verbatim!), 8th edition fantasy ("well if we call 'impact hits' 'hammerstrike', or something else fucking stupid, no one will notice".  "We should also port over the lores of magic so we can sell cards!! Moar BEERPRETZELS!!"), and Planetstrike/Apocalypse ("We need allies and flyers so the greybeards stop bitching about their rogue-trader models being unusable")
[Authors note: See, all of that and no profanity! ]

Q: Will you be looking for another competitive game to play?
A: Yep.  The search begins.  It will not be Warmahordes.

If anyone has any more questions, I will be glad to field them.

-Michael E. Somerville


Rarkthor said...

After reading and analyzing the rules more, I have to agree with you that the rules need a heavy amount of comp for any sort of tournament. (ala 8th edition Fantasy. I have a friend who plays in Fantasy tournaments frequently, and he says there is a good bit of comp and scenario altering to make the game more competitive.)

While I don't necessarily think I will ever really pursue GTs (frankly, I'm not that good of a player, nor do I have the spare income. I'll pass on spending tons of money to lose because of a stupid charge distance roll) I feel like that Local RTTs will still be a definitely viable fun set of games. While the randomness may totally shaft me or my opponent, I still think that tournaments have some alternative benefits beyond being a competition. At least for the tournaments I have run at Arkham (I know I probably bring this up a lot; but running tournaments has really given me some deeper insight into the gameP), it brings people out who normally are unable to play and gets them 3 games in one day. Where else do you see that occurring? They also motivate me to paint my models, and I have had a great experience at all of the RTTs I have been to. So I will probably still play in those.

About competitive games to play? I tend to agree that Warmahordes is not a balanced game. I enjoy it, and I find it "competitive" in the sense that people play it to smash each other in the face, and there is no narrative aspect. And they make it clear in their rules that its unbalanced and designed to be crazy combo slaughterfest. (incidentally, another rulesset that does give specific intentions on how the game should be played. Perhaps not as heavyhanded, but the intention is there.)

Which then leads to model games and competition. Note model games. Frankly? None that I know of. Malifaux? Infinity? Flames of War? Dust? I know very little about these games, but I do not get the impression that any of them are designed to be competitive.

Games that are competitive? Magic the Fucking Gathering. FANTASTIC competitive game. TONS of competitive game styles in Two-headed giant, draft, sealed, type 2, legacy, EDH, and more I am sure. Casual Magic is also completely feasible. While there are only 7 to 8 different decks that win in any type 2 format, at least there is some variety, and you can easily win with something that isn't a "netdeck".

Last option I have for you: Computer/Console gaming at a competitive level. MLG? League of Legends, which you may know of, has tournaments all the time.

It's a shame to see that you are not interested in 6th edition Mike. You and the other FrAG guys really helped foster the love I have for 40k. We have had some great games, and we have had a lot of good times, like the Team Tournament at Dreamwizards.

All in all, I understand your frustration and disappointment, and I respect it.

I'm probably gonna post something similar on my blog coming here soon.


Leigh said...

Yeah I'm really in no rush to dump further large amounts of money into a game with blatantly noncompetitive and imbalanced rules. 40k is by far the best game I've ever played and has been a pretty important part of my life for the past 12 years (that's the entirety of my life from adolescence til present). The ridiculous amount of thoughtless fucking of what was a decent rules set, however, really makes me want to just sell it all and find another game that I can have fun with in a competitive arena. I'm a competitive guy, and I just don't see the point to playing a game where winning and losing doesn't matter, especially one with dumb rules. Obviously DnD aside, as the intention of DnD is to create a narrative, whereas the intention of 40k, for me, as always been to fucking win.

Anyways, I think I'm pretty safe in blaming this on GW's shit business model. They want to sell models and a game to go along with them, not make a game and provide the models. Their priorities, for the sake of keeping their competitive consumer base, are upside down. Mike, you're completely right when you mentioned the salesmen in the Bunkers. You walk in and they try to sell you a whole bunch of stuff that we, as knowledgeable players know, fucking suck.

Protip to GW, if you want to sell models and expand your consumer base, try making the rules for your models viable in a competitive setting. Want to know why you didn't sell any Vespids when they came out? They have no place in most army lists. The people that buy those models are the people that will buy one of everything simply for the joy of collecting and painting. The people who will stock up on 10 of the same box set are the people who 1) play in tournaments, or at least somewhat competitively; and 2) who buy most of your models.


Tim said...

Yeah...6th edition is made for tournaments that much is clear. As for the rest of what you say, yes, games workshop does not like competitive gaming. It's an English thing...we're Americans. Competition is drilled into our heads since childhood, but that doesn't mean that is the RIGHT way to do everything, nor is it always the most FUN way to do everything.

5th edition sucked. Like you say that 6th edition isn't made for competitive players - 5th edition was made ONLY for competitive players and the rest of us hated it.

It was flat and boring and WAY too predictable. Mathhammering was too could see who was going to win very early in the games. They got boring after turn 2...if you were losing you were losing for 4 more turns...

At least 6th is leveling the playing field again...allies does this. plus everyone now has at least some psychic defense. No more wound allocation BS, cover saves got nerfed thank god...

Ya'll probably know more than me about it so these are my amateur points of view...I have only read the rules, haven't played a game yet. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I am happy that 5th is dead and gone and 6th edition looks a LOT more fun.

Leigh said...

Tim, i disagree with a lot of your post, but i'm only going to reply to your issue with 5th edition's wound allocation. For the most part, that rule is still around in the form of "look out, sir." The units that could take the most advantage of creative wound allocation were large units of multiple wound models, such as Nobs (most commonly on bikes), and Paladins. GW, in their infinite wisdom, decided that all models in those units should count as characters. So you can "look out, sir" from unwounded models until you either fail a 2+ LOS save or every model take a wound.
Even worse, mixed armor saves in units let entire units hide behind 1 guy with a 2+. Add a terminator wolf guard to a unit of grey hunters and keep him in front. go ahead and pass 2+ saves until he dies and then, only then, roll saves like every other space marine unit out there.

How about how assault has been made even more nonviable with random charge lengths, overwatch, and the new disembarkation rules? Maybe I can't appreciate the view of a noncompetitive gamer and maybe their point of view on these matters is drastically different from mine, but a lot of these rules changes have made the game unplayable from a strategic viewpoint. Unless you find point and click shooting armies fun.