Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Worst Thing About Getting What You Want...

... is getting what you want.

It's Fly again to see where we stand in this wild time of the 41st millennium. And times are a' changin'.

It seems only a short time ago, my fellow gamers were crying much like a large, smelly baby: "My book is so weak! I need a new book! When is my army going to get fixed! No fair! Grey Knights are too good! WAAAAAAAH!!!! WAAAAAAA!!!!!" Picture your local gamer wearing a giant baby costume, complete with comically large bib, pacifier and bonnet.

Then boom goes the dynamite.
6th edition hits then Chaos, Daemons, Dark Angels, Space Marines, Tau, Eldar, Sisters, Supplements, all rapid firing out like so many angry bullets. Tyranids, Guard and Orks are rumored to be fired off next...

GW says, booming like Zeus from a mountain top, "You complain your Tau are outdated and weak? I WILL SHOW YOU WEAK!!!" Ska-doosh! Tau hit and punchize your face, for free!

 "You whine about your confusing old Eldar book? I WILL CONFUSE YOUR OPPONENTS WITH THIS INSANE BOOK!!!!" Ba-da-boom! Eldar now melt faces.

"No options for Chaos?! I WILL GIVE YOU THE ILLUSION OF OPTIONS!!!!" Zing! And the Heldrake was born.

This is an absolutely blistering release schedule. And each release, there are huge changes. Each book brings with it game changing mechanics and army wide rules. Each book looks to expand upon changes made with the 6th edition changes. Each book looks to change the land scape of competitive AND casual gaming.

Well as a mainly casual gamer, I say this recent phenomena, much like the allies matrix when 6th was released, is a boon. It might be the greatest thing to happen to 40k, er, ever. That's a big statement but one that I mean.
A 6th edition book in 6th edition is usable. And at this rate, everyone will have a 6th edition book soon.  The biggest complaint I hear about 6th edition is that "assault is dead." Oh, gentlemen, much like many a-excited teenagers on prom night, you are a bit premature. BoLS, 3++ and other blogs have hammered down this point repeatedly and even prompted other writers to come out of the wood work to defend "assault in 6th." No reason to declare it dead. They have only released a single mainly assault based army in 6th and that is Daemons. 'And Daemons ain't bad! YOU IS!' Daemons is a psyker/assault army. When you think pure assault in 40k, you probably think... Tyranids, Orks and Blood Angels... all of which do not have 6th Edition books yet. YET!

I used to hate the sloooooooow codex creep. I hated having my main books become slowly outdated. Not outdated because they were simply old, but because some of their rules just didn't work anymore. On top of that, things became unreasonably expensive points-wise. Other things were just simply under-powered when compared to newer books. That was the worst. Painting and converting a cool army then wanting to shelf it for YEARS because you were sick of picking up your teeth with broken fingers.

This release schedule fixes that I do believe. I imagine that you will be in the game in 6th edition using any of the new 6th edition books when playing against someone of similar skill. I can play "Bizarro Fly" with my army from 6th and he can use his army from 6th, and we'd have a good casual game. The power levels aren't too far off. I could make a decent Chaos Marines army right now that would be able to compete against a decent Dark Angels army. An average Daemons army would play well against an average Space Marines army. Tau could play Eldar. Even though tournament results seem to indicate there are incredibly powerful builds that could be used and abused from these new books, you probably won't be pulling out Screamer-Star against your good buddy you haven't played in a few months. Back in the 5th edition era and before, imagine trying to play Grey Knights versus old Necrons. Or old Tau. Or old Dark Angels... The differences in power and usability were too much to ignore and the fuel for many-a-internet-rant.

And each book comes all official. It is hard backed. It is full color. It is nice to hold. It has amazing art. It feels like the final version (even though the have to release errata and fixes right away :) ). It feels like its the definitive book... and that's just it, isn't it? Maybe it IS the final book? Maybe it IS the last hardcover codex they'll make for that army. Maybe it IS the definitive book...

GW is testing the water and appears to be preparing for a big leap. They have been releasing "digital pre-orders" of supplementals.... and even entire codices before releasing them in hard cover. The way of the future will be digital rules and supplements, but with the novelty of eventually owning a hard copy of the book. The books will exist just as collectors items, something to hold on to, leave on the coffee table, set on the shelf in the library and house those great images, fluff and basic rules.
They might not print another official codex after every army gets their 6th edition book. The 6th edition could be the last print edition... we stand on the cusp of an uncertain future...

So is this the end-game for Games Workshop print? Is this the last edition? Will we be gaming differently in 5 years, scanning through PDF's on our tablets instead of leafing through pages in your worn out book?
Do you game like this now? Which do you prefer?

14 comments:

  1. What a cracking post, really enjoyed that. I am certainly guilty of whining a little bit about the Guard (when do we get a new codex/plastic greatcoats etc). GW is really stepping up to the plate and moving the business forward with digital downloads, and it recognises that whatever your business model people are not going to wait around for years for new releases. Now that most films, TV shows and music is instantly available through things like i-Tunes, people expect that all other sectors will catch up. I think the way we game is changing rapidly and your vision for the future in the last paragraph is not far off.

    Where does it end, in fifty years time? Electronic dice, anyone? When does it stop being a wargame and start being a computer game? Discuss.

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    1. I might be a dinosaur, but I don't think we'll ever get away from the actual miniatures. I think that will be the only thing not to go away.
      I hadn't thought of digital dice. Seems legit. I use online dice when I'm play testing ideas instead of math-hammering sometimes.
      How come GW doesn't license a direct port of their game onto computer? That's bothered me for years. Don't get me wrong, Dawn of War was awesome, but I want to be able to practice not on a third party shareware program.
      Thanks for the kind reply!

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  2. I prefer "dead-tree format" for my gaming purposes. There isn't anything like being able to flip through a book at the table and find exactly what you need without having cables running all over the place to keep your tablet charged. I had managed (until today) not to buy a single digital codex, but Codex Inquisition was just too good to pass up... Especially at $24.99!

    I really enjoyed the positive feeling of this post as opposed to the whiny cry babies that usually fill up the internet with complaints about GW's prices and the like. I agree that 6th edition has been remarkably well balanced for codexes published for it, but my poor Orks are desperately needing a new release before long. At this rate though, they'll be out before too long, which is the best part of 6th edition thus far.

    I particularly enjoyed you pointing out the fact that any decent human being wouldn't pull out a screamerstar on one of your good buddies for a casual game. The internet has built up this culture of racing to find the most broken builds for newly released codexes and its kinda disturbing... I mean, isn't this supposed to be a game...?

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  3. I have gamed once a week with the same opponent since 6th came out, and although we have started new armies (tau/Eldar) the release schedule has kept things fresh, with flyer rules, new centurions and the like meaning no two games have been the same. The previous mantra of "knowing who's going to win before the dice are rolled" has gone completely out the window. I think it's great for us with disposable income but I feel sorry for those just starting the hobby.

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  4. The only manchild I'm seeing is the one writing this article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An anonymous troll on the Internet? You don't say!

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    2. They are legion TJ, they are legion.

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    3. Correct. He is most likely part of the elite hacking-activist group Anonymous. He is raging against my defense of the mega-corporation that is Games Workshop.

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    4. I'm surprised your Heavy Bolter article didn't draw them out in strength ;)

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  5. Good read! I like digital books and how you can click/search a rule. Much quicker than flicking through a book in a game! I do like rolling dice though, it's part of the gaming experience for me, like moving the miniatures. That said, fast truly random digital dice might be good for speeding up games. Perhaps plug sockets for each table will be needed for future tournaments?

    Personally I'm really enjoying 6th and the speed of releases. More varied opponents = good gaming!

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    Replies
    1. That's a great idea too (the sockets at the tables). I teach as part of my job and when designing our class room, I had outlets put in at each table. I teach adults, so they always bring their laptops in during class. We have no cords all over anymore.

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  6. I'm an old school guy and I still like to thumb through a newspaper here and there, but let's face it, you aren't bringing the old rulebook plus codex combo anymore. Instead, you are likely bringing the rulebook andat least two hardcover codices with you ... and that is if you don't want to reference something. That being said, Ilove the new digital format and above all, LOVE the quicker release schedule, which has really left all the usually complainers with only pricing to cry about, which is pretty fruitless in a hobby based on wasting money on toys. Nowall we have to do is get rid of Finecast and we are all set, haha.

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  7. lol

    Grey Knights vs old Necrons... A good friend asked me to help her with my advise to play with Necrons agains the Knights back then => Round 4 all Grey Knights gone and just one Necron Warrior down!

    That felt so good ;-)

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    ReplyDelete