Wherein Mr. Cavatore Responds…

Two weeks ago Alessio Cavatore sat down with us, and talked game design.  After the response from the BoLS readership he decided to offer a reply on two of the most contentious topics: True LoS, and Codex:CSM.  

Take it away Mr. Cavatore…

“Hi, I thought I’d drop by. First of all, thanks for the positive comments, and thanks also for the less positive ones… they made me smile (and duck for cover!), and gave me a good insight of what the most competitive-minded gamers out there think.

The two biggest bones of contention seem to be true los and the simplification of Codex Chaos SM. I’ll spend a few words on both (but first let me confirm that I don’t work for GW anymore, since April 2010).

True LOS. I remember while developing 5th edition that I went to talk endlessly with Rick Priestley about this change. I am a tournament player at heart, and I was worried about the lack of precision of the true los approach in comparison to the ‘top-down’ one. I made many of the very comments you guys made on this post… however two arguments in the end convinced me.

The first was that it’s true that people would end up arguing about los in a competitive environment, but they already were anyway!!! In other words, people always have arguments when trying to play a wargame too competitively… it’s just too imprecise an environment.

Secondly, the act of kneeling down a lot to ‘see what the models were seeing’ made me see the game from a perspective that was very different from the top-down abstract feeling I experienced before. I was there, in the midst of my warriors, taking cover and firing their bolters/lasguns/missile launchers… I was in the action! In the end I judged that was worth a few arguments in tournaments.

Chaos Space Marines. Gav is innocent. I am guilty. I had just about started chanting my ‘simple’ ‘simple’ ‘simple’ mantra then and was most radical with the Chaos Space Marines. I probably would have been even more if it wasn’t for Gav. Too much? I guess it’s a matter of taste. It’s true that we held back the Legion-specific stuff to leave freedom for potential future releases (that might or might not end up seeing the light of the day…), but we also provided a sprinkling of theming, just enough so that is it is still possible to field very god-specific armies. You see, the thinking was that the book should concentrate more on the Renegade Chapters than the Legions (look at the colour section…), and conversions and paint schemes don’t have to be necessarily supported by rules. I understand how, once again to the most competitively minded players, those changes must have been unwelcome. And yes, I admit that the Lash was a bit too good… Bad us!

On the other hand, I absolutely love the Chaos Daemons Codex, where I think we came up with a great, simple new army, that is difficult to use and plays in a very characterful and unique way. Go us!

I hope this sheds some light into the reasons for those changes. I hope the more competitive-minded players out there will give a go to the way Kings of War plays with a chess clock. It’s absolutely fantastic as a tournament system. You must try it, and then we can have another chat about it, right here on BoLS!!!”

I am always a big believer in honest communication, and whether you agree with Alessio’s reasoning or not, there are two points here I want you to digest.
1) After all these years, its nice to hear the reasoning behind some of the decisions firsthand.
2) I’m honored that Alessio has decided to come here on BoLS and speak to us directly about the issue.

~Have at it, and as said earlier, I have a feeling Alessio will be popping back in from time to time to talk game design and miniatures with all of us. One of the general themes you hear in the wargaming space is that things would be better if only the big designers would listen and talk more openly with the veteran playerbase.  Well here is your chance – and remember, no chairs!

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