Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 State of the Game

I'm going to be honest. I am fed up with the current state of 40K. It isn't the rapid release of codices, or the inclusion of supplements. It isn't the dataslates, or Escalation, or Stronghold Assault. I think all of those things are compelling. It wasn't ADB attempting to convince 3++ that all Forgeworld is approved by Games Workshop because Games Workshop has never stated 'it wasn't'
(by the way, I'm looking forward to my inclusion in the President's next vacation to Hawaii- I mean he didn't tell me I couldn't come, so I must be invited!) Nope, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me was the lack of clear, concise rules. Each new release only seemed to compound and punctuate that fact. I mean, let us set aside the argument that Games Workshop is first and foremost a model company because, they sure as shit charge as much for their rules as they do for their models!

A 'beer and pretzels' game, whose focus is to, 'forge the narrative' produced by a 'models company' for casual players is not an excuse to charge premium prices for poorly written rules. I am a casual player. With a house, a child, and a 60 hour a week job I simply don't have the time to devote to 40K to become an exceptional player. I am a competitive player, and I lose A LOT when I do get to play. I try to take at least one lesson from each game in order to improve my performance. Unfortunately, I get to play the game a lot less than I would prefer.

What does this have to do with forging the narrative, or beer and pretzels? Well, by definition I am a casual player and 40K in it's current incarnation, should then apply to me. 40K should appeal to me. Instead the game has overwhelmingly frustrated me to the point that I don't want to play. I don't want to purchase new models and units for my collection. I don't want to start a new army, or purchase expanded rules. Nope, quite the opposite- I am mothballing the lot, out of sight, in the attic. I love the aesthetics. I love the iconography. I loved the game (before it was broken). I am willing to wait and see if the game swings back toward a more balanced and fair form of play. I have a lot of money and time invested in 40K. I am holding out that someone will salvage the game that I used to love so passionately.

This notion that players are either one or the other; casual or competitive is a fallacy. Neither are mutually exclusive: I enjoy forging the narrative as much as I enjoy analyzing my performance in the attempt to improve as an opponent. I'm a casual player defined by the amount of time I have to devote to 40K, but, I enjoy playing competitively. I bet I'm not the only one in which a duality exists.

Games are played for a lot of different reasons, but, in the end someone has to win and someone has to lose. That isn't bad. That is competition. How you fill that time while competing is up to you and your opponent. The rules define and manage that contest, and they should make it as fair a contest as possible. In the current state of 40K, more energy is exerted attempting to understand or bridge shoddy rules interaction rather than forging the narrative. That isn't acceptable. You want to know what else isn't acceptable? Dicing off with your opponent because of poorly written rules when we, as consumers, spend 50-60 bucks per rule book.


Internet pundits, ADB, Jervis Johnson, hardcore 40K gamers, and casual 40K gamers the current state of the game is a mess. It would seem that Johnson's goal is to shove the game so far away from any sort of competitive play as to be almost unplayable by casual and competitive alike.

I'm not mad; I am simply resigned. Until the day comes that Jervis is dethroned (or at least proclaims a new mandate in the lands of Gee Dub fixing this shit) I'll be spending my hobby budget on games that cater to casual and hardcore players alike; created by game companies that do not consider 'tournament play' foul, dirty words. Games like Dropzone Commander, and Malifaux 2E.

In 2014 I hope that we, as a community, can recognize that better rules only benefit said community as a whole. You may relate to a specific type of player, or gravitate to a certain playstyle, but that doesn't make you any more or less entitled to enjoy this game and hobby. We should be supporting one another and striving to improve the game and hobby for everyone rather than nipping at the heals of one another. If blame is to be laid for the current state of the game, then place it squarely at the foot of Games Workshop and Jervis Johnson.

Mic drop, lol!


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