40K: 7th Edition is NOT Broken (Or Balanced)


The constant din of all the folks who say 7th is a bad rule set; that you want balance.  What game are you guys playing?!

I just finished playing more than 16 hours (over two days) of 40K in a room of more than 20 hobbyists.  It was D-Company (a local Milwaukee gaming group) Big Game; an annual event that brings over 80,000 points of models to the tables at any given moment.  Over 40 separate games of 40K were played by our crew over a Friday and Saturday.  Points ranging from 1000 per side to 15,000 for three man teams.  The ONLY complaint I heard was that the Challenge rules are too convoluted.  Other than that, folks just played the game, rolled their dice, and enjoyed the company of like-minded souls.  None of these players are competitive/tournament players.  So who is it that thinks 7th edition is broken?


Well, it isn’t the hobbyists at the local level who build, paint and play the game.  They are too busy hanging out with friends, talking backstory or just gluing and painting.  They are too busy rolling dice on tables with other like minded 40K fans.  They are debating (not trashing) the rules as questions arise during game play.  They are building a list for the next narrative game, and writing some narrative to go along with it.  They are reading Black Library backstory.  These folks are too busy actually enjoying all that the hobby has to offer to sit around talking about how broken and dysfunctional the rules are.


Most of the podcasts I listen to (about 10 at last count) don’t drone on about how the rule set is broken, or how dysfunctional Games Workshop is.  Most talk about narrative development, hobby news and rumours, hobby progress, building community or, in the case of Life After Cover Save, just about anything except 40k!  Many discuss their attendance at major events for the benefit of those of us who can’t experience them first hand.  Some actually do answer rules questions, but not in a smarmy, destructive way.  They actually discuss a question and come to some resolution for the benefit of listeners, not complain about how screwed up it is that they have to answer questions because the rule set is so screwed up.  Many take the time to talk about new product, codices for example, so that those of us who might be interested in starting something new have the perspective of others who actually play the game.

So the question remains…who are the people who think 40K is broken?  The only ones left are the competitive crowd, and they have systems such as the ITC to help “fix” the brokenness (not a word for sure).  For tournament players, however, the issue of balance (another word for “unbroken”) is like the Holy Grail.  You can never truly achieve balance with a rule set not designed for competitive play.  I have always appreciated the way Reece and Frankie strive to achieve some modicum of balance with their ITC Rules and FAQs.  It is commendable that they keep their ruleset up to date and seek community input.  However, competitive players are not really different in one respect from all the rest of us; in the end, they play the game the way they want to.  Which is exactly what GW rulesets are supposed to allow.


And for those who think that balance is just an issue in 40K, you might try another game system and see that “balance” (a lack of broken) is elusive anywhere that 100+ page rule sets are concerned.  I played Infinity for a while; certain factions had distinct advantages.  Certain units could be abused.  Malifaux is no different in this regard.  Broken?  I guess so the way many people define such a thing.  By the way, even if the rule set is air tight, and the units are all pointed “correctly,”  there is the small issue of experience.  Say I want to attend LVO for the first time in 2017.  I have never played competitively.  Do you think I stand a chance in hell of winning more than a single game, or not getting tabled by turn 2?  Even in a casual environment, experience counts for much when determining a winner.  So once again, that balance thing is just a pipe dream.


Does this mean I don’t want GW to answer questions or to do a better job pointing units?  Of course not.  But consider that fact that any rule set, in any gaming system, can be manipulated by those players driven by a strong desire to win.  List building is a profession for some.  I would rather have GW spend their time releasing great models (check), great backstory (check) and new/interesting products (check) than to keep trying to “bulletproof” their core ruleset.  I am looking forward to playing the new Deathwatch board game.  To giving Blood Bowl a go when it hits the streets. To getting a combined Mechanicus dex and possibly some new models.  To buying more Black Library stuffs.  To getting more games in this year with my newly completed Iron Hands/Mechanicus.  I frankly don’t give a rip that the ruleset needs some sanity checks now and again.  I’m too busy painting, playing, reading and listening.



What do you think? Are too busy enjoying the hobby to hear the “noise” or are you having a hard time enjoying the hobby because of the lack of balance? Let us know in the comments below!

  • JN7

    So, in short, 40K is fine because you say so. OK then.

    • CMAngelos

      Just as reasonable as it being not fine because you say so, really.

      • Jewelfox

        Well yeah, but the people who dislike aspects of 40k or how it’s changed generally aren’t going around telling people NOT to like it, or to shut up about liking it. From what I’ve seen.

        They may have nothing positive to say about it, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad people who should shut up because their feelings don’t matter. Which is basically what this article flirts with saying.

        • CMAngelos

          Are.. you new here?

          The comments section here alone is full of “GW sucks because” “40k sucks you should play XYZ because I do and it’s better!” “Dont waste time with GW products” “You like 40k/AoS and not XYZ? You’re just a mindless sheep or shill!”

          • Muninwing

            … except that this article is no better than those people.

            i get few to no games now. between a Masters program, a toddler, and a full time job, i’m a bit stressed. if i ca get out of the house for a game, i want that game to not feel like it was over before we stated playing because some cheezball turd wants to test out his hypothetical tourney list in a pickup game.

            when this happens, i have wasted my time and theirs.

            this is possible because the rules are breakable, and there are people who break them. not because i’m overcompetitive or WAAC or whatever else.

            i hate the use the term in this case because it sounds exaggerated, but this article is the silly mandoll equivalent of the real world “blaming the victim”

          • CMAngelos

            In this case I’m afraid I fail to see how this article is “no better than those guys”

            It contains no name calling
            No attacking people or groups of people.
            Not even claiming “tournament players” are wrong for having their fun their way.

            Simply an article pointing out the game isn’t as “unfathomably broken” as it’s portrayed. Is it balanced no, but it is also not broken, from the authors view and he goes on about why he believes so.

            And in your particular example Muninwing, hate the player not the game.

            If you (in general you ie everyone) can’t manage to utter the handful of words to whomever is across the table from you to get a casual game from them if that’s what you’re after then, then I’m sorry what business do you have playing a social game.

          • Muninwing

            no, i see where you’re coming from. i guess it’s more that unless i get dragged in by a troll i try to avoid the stupid namecalling style arguments.

            i guess my problem with the game is that GW seems to care very little for the effect that inordinate power has on their own product, even after that was one of the reasons their longest-running product was mothballed in favor of something that’s still controversial.

            and to tell me that the game doesn’t have these inordinate issues, that the average (even noncompetitive) player will occasionally run into — just because your local group has few of them, or because you choose to focus on other things — it’s dishonest.

            polite, true. but perhaps ignorant at best.

          • Matt Mo

            Or you could tell the “cheezball turd” to bring a friendly list instead.. Just a thought…

          • Chris. K Cook

            Normal human interaction with your opponent? Madness!

          • Zingbaby

            The ^ is for the Zappa avatar. 😉

          • Muninwing

            i’m talking about in the case of a pickup game, if that’s who you face off against and don;t realize it until you’ve already wasted time on setup…

        • TweetleBeetle

          No. They just rip absolutely anyone who dares to cheer for a product, or get excited about a release. They are sure to hit these sites and blast every news, rumor, and release article literally NO MATTER WHAT GW does. They use cliché quips that don’t even apply to their products anymore and regurgitate the slams of the commonly loud. They accuse anyone who enjoys and defends GW of being “white knights,” or wearing GW blinders. They claim GW “forces” people to buy stuff, or deliberately screws certain players over.

          I mean, you have just proven that positive, supporting articles of GW aren’t even acceptable.

          This goes on far more than anything else from the same, loud minority day in and day out.

          The funniest part is, a lot of people who complain about rules or balance don’t even play games. They say it because everyone else online does. Some of them are so terrified of losing a game to begin with that they won’t even play. They literally get all Eeyore at the thought of even playing against certain strategies. Or one bad experience and they lump the whole game into it.

          I’ve seen the same imbalance in Malifaux, Infinity, X-Wing, and Warmachine. Smaller rulebooks, fewer options, and redundant rules don’t make for balance; certainly don’t lend to creativity, and definitely don’t prove another company writes better rules. On top of it, GW males better models, has FW to boot, better fluff and more to enjoy than any other company.

          GW is doing it best and this new CEO is taking them in great directions so fat.

          • vlad78

            Actually you rip anyone who publicly says GW products have big flaws.

          • Erik Setzer

            Dude, you get ripped because you jump to tear into anyone who isn’t saying GW is THE GREATEST EVARRRRR!!!!, and you even straight up lie, make stuff up, and go to rather Troggoth-like lengths to play the role of “cheerleader.” You deserve what you get, and you’re a large part of the reason people have animosity toward “pro-GW” people.

          • Zingbaby

            I am not disagreeing with you at all Erik, that is TW 100% – but you are also the most negative dude I’ve seen in a long time. For years now I’ve read all of your posts with “Simpsons – comic book guy” voice and it always seems appropriate.

            I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are unreasonable (most of the time) – but negative as can be for sure hehe.

          • Erik Setzer

            I don’t think I could be considered the “most negative” since I drop positive comments where I feel something should be praised. I just also have no issue holding back when I feel the other way. Unfortunately, there’s less that I feel is praiseworthy than criticism-worthy at the moment.

          • Zingbaby

            You make me laugh Erik. “At the moment” – spanning at least 5 years, probably longer.

          • Erik Setzer

            Yeah, but then tomorrow they realize what made people love them and go back to late ’90s, early ’00s style with awesome monthly WD, events to show off their upcoming stuff, communicating with the community, pricing stuff in a non-exclusive manner, etc., and there’ll be more to praise than criticize. Have to be optimistic things can change for the better, so it’s, “at the moment,” in the hopes the next moment brings something good.

          • Zingbaby

            Oh oops, since the 90’s… so you’ve only been negative for about 20 years! …haha yeah I mean that’s perfectly reasonable.

          • blackbloodshaman

            its hardly his fault gw has been bad for that time period.

          • Zingbaby

            40k has always been a mess regarding ‘balance’ and ‘competitive-ness’ …always. If you keep hanging on expecting something else – the fault is yours.

            Regardless spending years, let alone decades, complaining about a GAME that is entirely optional is rather insane.

          • blackbloodshaman

            it has second was actually much worse than seventh but somehow everything they do lately seems bland and unoriginal its not that they are unbalanced its that they are not cool.

          • Chris. K Cook

            I see you dislike fun then?

            Lets go back to the parking lot blandfest then shall we?

          • blackbloodshaman

            why dont you accuse me of hating america too then

          • Chris. K Cook

            Yeah, the Title of Captain Negative goes to Shiwan8.

          • Chris. K Cook

            This. 100% this.

            He’s still 100% better than Shiwan, At least Eric is reasonable once in a blue moon.

          • blackbloodshaman

            absolutely not true i express a dislike for many gw products ripping absolutely no one and am frequently met with vicious personal attacks

          • Muninwing

            though you are often pretty heavy-handed with your negativity, and you negativity is pretty constant. so maybe it’s not just everyone else’s fault…

          • blackbloodshaman

            Ah yes, I was asking for it. The choice to make a vicious personal attack is just that. You dont see me calling the people who think everything GW makes is the greatest thing since sliced bread sheep, do you?

          • Michael Gerardi

            “The same imbalance” in X-Wing? Oh, I’m calling Bernie Sanders on that one!

            I played 40K from 3rd through 5th editions, was driven out by 6th, and was kept out by 7th. Looking for a replacement game, I found X-Wing. I’ve been playing X-wing now for about five months, and I have found it to be as close to being balanced as any game this side of CHESS. And I’ve had more fun those past five months than I did the entire 5th edition of 40K. I finished in the top two in the last tournament I played in, and that’s the best I’ve ever done in any tournament in any game I’ve ever played.

            A 100 point X-Wing list is just about a 100 point list, no matter which faction you play in my experience. Some specific lists do better against others–I run a Rebel double K-Wing list that does very well against most lists but loses regularly to high-PS, high-firepower regenerating lists. Which in turn lose to other lists. But overall, all three factions do roughly as well. At my FLGS, there’s an X-Wing escalation league going on right now. Rebels and Imperials have had roughly the same percentage of wins, with Scum trailing by only a few percent.

            And it’s not the size of the rulebook that makes X-Wing rules better. It’s that they’re BETTER RULES, period. As for creativity, well, I write all my own lists, and try to be different to as great an extent as I can. Hence my double K-Wing list and my Y-Wing fighter/bomber list, for example. 40K, in contrast, has done its best to crush “creativity” through it’s flavor-of-the-month business plan.

            GW is NOT “doing its best” to produce a balanced and universally enjoyable game. What it IS “doing its best” at is cranking out ridiculous rules to pimp its latest units. And unfortunately, that seems to be working. At least for those of its ever-shrinking player base who keep on splurging on new units, new books, and even more egregiously, new formations.

            Cc: Oldhammer

        • Dan Wilson

          Tellthatto the broken battered body of age of sigmar still swaying from the gibbet in the corner…

          • Michael Gerardi

            I like that image 🙂

            At my FLGS, Age of Suck-more occupies about ONE PERCENT of the total shelf space devoted to table top games. Even the remains of WHFB 8th ed outnumber it 20 to 1. Nobody is playing it, and not many more are playing 40K. But many, MANY are playing X-WIng, and Infinity, which only recently became established, is rapidly growing in popularity.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            well infinity has been around for ten years plus, it;s just taken some places forever to even acknowledge that it existed. I’ve played it for four or more years now. It scratches that necromunda itch very well. However whatever is the current trend past or present is not for everyone.

        • Donald Lindsey

          As others have said, read a little further, because people who “dislike aspects of 40k” do exactly that on here all the time.

        • Zingbaby


          There are people who have been lurking forums/blogs for DECADES, that have long since quit 40K and _daily_ trash the game and try to discourage folks from playing. Misery loves company and all that I suppose…

        • SYSTem050

          It’s said multiple times below but thought I would also chip in. But an emphatic yes people who dislike 40k/GW are indeed going around telling people they shouldn’t like it how we are all shills and fanbois.

        • NagaBaboon

          It’s sometimes like people don’t understand freedom of speech (not aimed at you Jewelfox, just commenting somewhere on the post)

          He has a right to say what he said in the article, everyone has a right to tell him he’s wrong, and everyone equally has a right to tell those people they are wrong, it does not mean that:-
          a) any of these things actually are wrong
          b) you aren’t allowed to disagree
          c) you have to listen if you don’t want to

      • edendil

        The people who say 40k is in a bad state can provide many credible reasons as to why that is so.
        This lengthy ‘article’ provides no good reasons to support the assertion that 40k is not broken. It only points out that there are people playing it and having fun. That is not a convincing argument.
        The hard core of people who are still playing it are not going to be criticising it as they play. People can have fun playing anything as long as they commit to it. That doesn’t make it a good game. It just means that they have poured in enough energy to make it fun, regardless of its flaws.
        As for media / podcasts, the game is their bread and butter. They are not going to be talking very much about its problems, because they rely on its success for their own existence.
        Which brings us to the ulterior motive of this post…

        • CMAngelos

          Do then, please enlighten me, as to what makes the “reasons why it’s bad” and the people who present them any more or less credible than the “reasons why it’s good” and the people who present this side of the argument?

          The biggest argument is that This many people can come together, play A singular game for that many hours with various other people and Enjoy it. A broken game by most definitions is unplayable, unenjoyable, and can’t be finished. This article does in good form disprove all of that.

          As for your comment about hardcore people not criticizing 40k? That is a load of BS as well, some of the most diehard fans I know myself included will criticize 40k, and issues they have with it. But that hardly means it’s broken, or that they’re in denial about the state of the game either.

          Your argument again comes down to yet another case of “its bad because I say it is, and I’m right because I think you’re wrong”.

          You don’t like 40k, fine you don’t like any GW products, fine! You don’t have to, but until the game is wholly unplayable for mechanical reasons, and not just “zomg cheese listers” and “it doesn’t play how I think it should play so I’m not gonna!” It’s not broken, it’s just not your cup of tea.

          • edendil

            Relax, its just a game.
            I’m not going to rehash all the problems here. That would be a lengthy article, and I’m not getting paid for this.

            I just wanted to point out that ‘people play it and have fun’ is not a good argument. And as it is the only argument presented in this really long post, I was surprised by the lack of critical thinking involved. Ive already said why it is not a good argument. I’m not going to repeat myself.

            As to what exactly ‘broken’ means – this question is unlikely to result in a meaningful debate. Arguments over semantics are a huge waste of time.

            I would prefer to say that the game has problems that have resulted in a number of people not wanting to play it any more. ‘Broken’ is the word chosen by the OP to characterise the attitude that he wants to denigrate. Just like you, he finds it much easier to attack than ‘has problems’. Even so, his attack is lacking in substance.

          • CMAngelos

            Seeing as it is a Game.. people playing it and having fun is.. kind of the core ideal behind what it should be.

            Even so, excellent work on taking four paragraphs to tell me I somehow attacked you and that “I don’t have to answer your question cus it’s a waste of time”

          • edendil

            Excellent work making the same unconvincing argument yet again, and then trying to articulate some sort of scathing personal insult.


          • CMAngelos

            So then, if being able to both enjoy the game, have fun with the game, and return to it time and again because of these qualities is not a valid argument.

            What exactly is?

          • edendil

            I wouldn’t say it was entirely invalid as an argument. I just think its a weak argument. Because people can have fun playing crap games.

            To make a good argument, IMO, you would need to objectively state each of the complaints that people have about the game, and then write a refutation for each one.

            The problem is that this approach is much more difficult and rigorous. And also, you probably won’t be able to convincingly refute each criticism.

            For example, one of the main criticisms people have is about balance: unbalanced codexes, unbalanced units, the whole detachment concept that seems a bit like P2W.

            There have been a number of arguments to oppose this criticism, like:
            – Its never been balanced
            – Its too hard to balance
            – We have fun without balance so who needs it?
            – Players should balance it themselves.

            But for some people (like me), these all just sound like cop-outs. They are excuses, not reasons. There is no good reason not to make a game more balanced. There is only laziness, or profiteering – which it is, I do not claim to know.

          • Crablezworth

            Dude, you summed up the main problem with 40k incredibly well 🙂

          • Michael Gerardi

            You’re only partially right about it being “just a game”.

            If I spend $40 on a game, play it a few times, decide I don’t like, and shelve it, well OK, it’s “just a game”.

            If I spend $4000 on a game, play it many times, put thousands of hours into building and painting the models required to play the game, and then am told by GW to play SOME OTHER GAME that they’ve just rolled out in accordance with their latest marketing scheme, at the risk of getting few if any pick-up games, then it’s no longer “just a game”. It’s an investment whose value TO ME has now been reduced to near zero.

            This is one of the primary causes of Angryhammer, this is what GW doesn’t care about, and this is what GW fanboyz refuse to acknowledge.

            Cc: Oldhammer

          • edendil

            Yeah, true – never tell somebody who has invested $4000 and 4000 hours on their hobby that its just a game!

            I was just trying to dial down the aggro in the conversation, that’s all.

        • Chris. K Cook

          Rarg, me no likey!

          • edendil

            For me? Thank you!
            I do still like it actually. I have fun when I play it. But it is a disappointing game in some ways.

          • Chris. K Cook

            Maybe focus on the good then? or just be an Eeyore?

    • MightyOrang

      Does it even matter? That 40k – which was never truly balanced – is gone. V

      • georgelabour

        How can a thing that never existed ever be gone?

  • Crevab

    Milwaukee, eh? I’m nearby. Funny how you can be so close and so far away. We all play and have fun, but even our stockist can take a shot at a dumb move or rule by GW

    • An_Enemy

      It could be my imagination, but it seems like the Midwestern community is a bit more fractured than East and West.(States of course)

      Aside from Adepticon, there’s nothing really unifying that I know of in the area.

      • Crevab

        The coasts are unified?

        • euansmith

          It’s how they roll.

      • CMAngelos

        Eh the Midwest is kinda Baren for a community.

    • Jewelfox

      Yeah. I kind of feel like things are getting to the point where you can’t complain about 40k without being regarded as a complainer, you know?

      • wibbling

        Most who complain do so for advantage, without making a ration suggestion as to why they feel that way drawn from the background/fluff.

        For example: Bloodcrushers are Toughness 4 yet the fluff says that ‘small arms fire patters off their hides’. Well, it doesn’t.

        The Exalted flamer – other flamers are jump infantry, yet this one isn’t.

        The player doesn’t ‘mind’ but doesn’t use that unit. It doens’t fit the aesthetic of their army and they don’t see it (narratively) in that role.

        • Prouncer

          Maybe some complain for advantage but in my experience it’s far from most. Many I have talked to that have a “powerful” codex feel like they are only able to play one list with vary little room for variants because of bad internal balance. Poor balance effects everyone regardless if they are winning all the time or not

      • Zingbaby

        I assume you are being facetious?

        Regular complaining about certain flaws in – a game, might be ‘normal’, but the level we gamers go at 40K is borderline psychopathic. We even analyze the financials to try and prove one point or another.

        My non-gamer friends and wife are beyond amazed at the daily ‘outrage’ online. It’s a game, period, participation is optional – period.

  • Badgerboy1977

    Agree 100% (even down to the list of things you’re looking forward to weirdly).

  • Bravo, a voice of reason

    • Old zogwort

      I don’t really care if we call it balanced or not. The issue is that we are losing players quick. Resulting in me being able to play less games, and I don’t like that. Sure there are lots of new players. but most of the leave the game as soon as they figure out what is good and what isnt in the game.

      • Donald Lindsey

        And where are these statistics coming from, because it doesn’t seem like the community is shrinking at all.

        • chip6793

          Come to Victoria BC, not nearly as many players as there once was, nor interest… Mostly because of cost though, not balance

          • Muninwing

            which is weird, since cost hasn’t significantly changed when adjusted for inflation.

            size of games has. and the hardcover books are a pain. but models? not really.

        • Old zogwort

          My local 40k scene evaporated over the last few years. I used to be able to play every weekend if I wanted to but this has become impossible now except if you want to play how to play 40k games in a GW store.

          There are no reliable statistics on active players. But there are statistics of sales. 40k is grossing less or rougly the same the last few years while their prices went up. This can only result in less sales.

          The other statistic that might be interesting is the amount of 40k events and the players attending to it. that used to be quite high but really toke a hit around the time escalation was released. It is now really hard to find a 40k around here. While other games like x-wing etc. have multiple events each weeks in multiple cities and stores.

        • Prouncer

          Depends on the area. Where I’m at many of the old players have switched to other games while almost no new players have replaced them. We have also lost several game stores which include two GW ones

      • That sounds like a localised problem. There are plenty of areas which are enjoying net growth in players.

      • Chris. K Cook

        But are those players a loss? The psychotic Power gamers are no loss.

  • ted1138

    40k was fun to play when each player used a single army book and came up with their own army list, based on the models they had in their collection(built and painted collection btw). Now we have aggressive players who copy/paste the latest op net list and proxy most of their army with unpainted/half built models. And since their rules are spread over half a dozen publications you have no idea whether they’re ‘legal’ or not. And GW sit back and are no help at all.

    • Jewelfox

      I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse “netlisters” of seeking unfair advantage, when they’re really just looking up ways to achieve a desired result.

      But the lack of transparency that comes from the rules being spread out so much kiiiinda means they could make anything up, and you’d have no way of knowing it. Which in itself causes trust issues, even if they’re not doing that.

      … plus the fact that Games workshop sells stuff like exclusive formations. Economic inequality is still, like, the number one way to create resentment in a community.

      • JPMcMillen

        You’re right. The rules aren’t broken, but they are inexcusably fragmented. The sheer cost and logistics of getting every last codex, mini-codex, and formation is out of hand. All that information is useful so a player has access to all the rules so he knows what things do.

        There’s a reason why I love the WFB 3rd edition book, it’s all you really needed. Complete rules, magic items, multiple magic schools, and so many fantasy races you could build an army for. It’s a shame that GW will probably never try to reign in 40k to make the game more manageable so players could easily, and affordably, have access to all the rules.

        • Phil

          No one wants or expects you to buy everything, if thats your problem, its one you’ve invented yourself.

          • JPMcMillen

            I’m pretty sure GW wants you to buy everything. Fortunately I got tired of their shtick a while ago and haven’t bought a codex or rule book in years.

            Most other wargames out there just don’t spread all the army building stuff (and special army rules) across so many products. Admittedly Warmahordes is getting a bit army book heavy, and Battletech keeps cranking out a new Technical Readout every couple of years, it’s still a whole lot less thank 40k.

            Is there really anything wrong with wanting to be a well informed player? No, there isn’t. I just don’t think it should cost a small fortune to do that.

          • georgelabour

            So the game is bad because the company wants you to buy things…and that makes it bad…

            And other companies DO suffer from rules saturation and obufscation. Otherwise no one but GW would ever have need for new editions.

            Just how many revisions have we seen for Kings of War? Heavy gear blitz, battletech, FLames of War…

            Heck even X-wing the suppose king of simple and easy to get into has had to have a new edition, and continues to suffer from rules bloat.

            Also battletech just released a new 400 page rule book to add onto the other four, and a beta for a new rule book to add onto those five.

            If you want to discuss a bloated rules set that makes rules just for the sake of having them…Battletech is your poster child.

          • Dave

            X-Wing’s new edition was included in the updated starter. The rules have ALWAYS been online for FREE. When X-Wing needs an update, FFG releases a FAQ or updates the free rules. They don’t create new supplements or editions and charge you for them. Take a moment to check out the Mantic site, you’ll see the KOW rules FREE as well. Note that both X-Wing and KOW continue to grow their player base, not shrink.

            As for rules “bloat”, all the rules for a ship in X-Wing are listed on the cards at game time. You don’t have to search through multiple books or hope your opponent is on the level. Just look at the card. It seems like we keep hearing rumors that GW is going to ship rules with models again, but it never happens. Why? Because they are making money from releasing questionable rules and charging players for the “fixes”.

          • georgelabour

            Every new release for X-wing is basically new rules that people ‘need’ to snap up in order to remain competitive.

            By the metrics of the angryhammer crowd FFG is..

            ‘engaging in a blatant cash grab forcing you to pay 15 bucks for shiny cardboard if you want to have a chance at being competitive, and rendering old armies obsolete.’

            Or at least if GW did it that’s what we’d be hearing.

            And I said the new edition was BECAUSE of all of those new releases piling on new tools, rules, changes to the core rules, etc. That they posted it for free changes very little. Especially as GW HAS posted rules for models, and even an entire game for free online.

            FFG does in fact charge you for new supplements and editions as well. Unless you’d like to point out where I can get a Scum & villainy starter without paying a cent.

            Heck, how about some Tie Fighter blisters for free, where are those exactly?

            twin laser turret cards anyone?

            And that brings us around to your second paragraph. You do not need to search through multiple books any more than you ‘need’ to buy those shiny new cards or ships with their shiny new rules. But if you don’t bother to even read the rules on those X-wing cards for yourself then you also have to hope your opponent is ‘on the level’. So your attempt at making a point there falls pretty flat as you can do the very same thing with 40k…or any other wargame with rules and people you play against.

            They also do ship rules with models in an increasing number of instances. And again they’ve posted rules for models for free in some instances. I’ve yet to see FFG offer to send me free upgrade cards just because I don’t want to buy a toy that would be considered ‘over priced rip offs’ were they made by GW.

          • Dave

            A few points.

            -If you bought the original X-Wing core set, you have everything you need to play. The rules for the updated starter are still free online. You don’t have to buy BRB version 2 to continue to play pick up games. You don’t have to buy any new ships. If you have a squad you like…it still works without any need to invest more money.

            – The new edition was released to capitalize on the new movie. How you think it had to be updated “BECAUSE of all of those new releases piling on new tools, rules, changes to the core rules” is a mystery to me. Again, all the rules and updates have always been free online. The core rules didn’t change much at all.

            – Have you stopped to consider there is a reason why the “angryhammer” crowd makes so much noise? It’s because the community feels something they love isn’t being managed responsibly. Sure, there will always be trolls, but let’s face it, where there’s smoke there’s fire. And GW has been smoking for some time. FFG engages with it’s community and seems to actually care about their games. The rules are FAQ’d and curated. That fosters a generally happy fan base. If they didn’t you’d see the community turn on them as well -and they do it while still making tons of money.

            – X-Wing is competitive right out of the box. If your idea of “competitive” is a tournament net list, then sure, you may have to buy all the new shiny stuff or models you don’t want. But isn’t that ideology what’s aggravating so many GW players now? I don’t buy everything (I don’t own a single epic ship), but I still win games and most are close.

            – “But if you don’t bother to even read the rules on those X-wing cards for yourself then you also have to hope your opponent is ‘on the level’.”
            My point here is that the rules for my opponents ships are right there in front of me. I can just read them then, in under a minute. No need to look up something in a codex or a supplement or a special rule sheet awarded to them for spending tons of $$. GW could do the same thing. The fact that they do on some stuff, but don’t on other stuff just proves my point. They lack consistency, which makes things more confusing than it should be. I preferred the days when vehicles all came with data cards. Is the profit margin on that $75 Land Raider so bad that an extra piece of cardboard isn’t possible? No, it isn’t, they just don’t care.

            -“Heck, how about some Tie Fighter blisters for free, where are those exactly?”
            What? Models ARE the expansions in X-Wing. It’s not a real comparison. You can’t use the Tie pilots if you don’t have the tie models. But if you buy the models you have the rules with it. You don’t have to spend an additional $80 – $100 on the actual rules to use it. A better analogy would be FFG selling Codex Rebels for $50 but not including any of the cards needed to build a squad.

            This post is way to wordy. I can’t convince you that FFG is a better company anymore than you can convince me that GW cares about it’s rule set. I can tell you that I’ve been playing GW games for more than two decades and things weren’t always this way. GW used to engage with us and it WAS better then, if only for that engagement and shared love of the product. Personally, I’m looking forward to the “basic” stuff they’re putting into toy stores this summer. Hoping that will make the game fun and accessible again.

          • georgelabour

            If I buy a 40k starter like Dark Vengenace I also get everything i need to play including rules.

            Before you say ‘but DV isn’t a full army’ remember the X-wing core is ALSO not a 100 point force which seems to be a gold standard to work to in X-wing.

            And your hypothetical of Codex Rebels falls flat unless you can show me where GW has released a codex that does not include the army specific rules that are required to use the units contained therein.

          • Dave

            Yes, you can play that force from DV (I’m not sure what the point total is for either side). However, if you ever want to expand either side you have to buy at least the codex AND the models separately. It’s not the same. Apples to oranges.

            Again, we are both set in our assumptions. If you feel like you’re getting your moneys worth and GW is hitting on all cylinders then have at it. Enjoy.
            I’ll look forward to something different. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll make something that meets in the middle.

          • georgelabour

            And just to reiterate what led us to this discussion. A synospsis of my original statments.

            1) A company wanting you to purchase their product does not make it a bad game.

            2) New editions are a staple of the industry.

            3) Other companies are just as guiltiy of GW of ‘rules bloat’.

            Battletech has literally THOUSANDS of pages of rules covering everything from constructing units of whip wielding cyborg-ninjas who ride orcas into battle (yes really), to running your own galactic empire.

            You even have rules to determine if your individual pilots get sea sick during space travel, owe someone child support, and the quality of components in each individual war machine in your military.

            And all of that is spread over a lot of big, heavy, hard cover books. With more coming down the pipe.

            And almost none of that does anything to balance it for ‘competitive’ play.

        • wibbling

          You’re looking at it as a gamer, though. If you come across a specific formation, ask the other player to explain it to you so you can understand it. It isn’t about you winning. It’s about both of you enjoying the game.

      • Ross Allan

        One simply can’t legislate for no-fun opponents.

        Expecting 40k to suddenly have a water tight rules set is daft. Since I started with 2nd Edition 40k and 4th Edition Warhammer, there’s always been a need for a quick discussion before the game, and ‘let’s just roll a D6’ whilst thing were in full swing.

        It was never a problem for my gaming group, as our focus was on playing the game, and not trying to engineer as spectacular a win in as short a time as possible.

        Is it incompetence in the design studio? I don’t think so. From admittedly hazy memories (it’s been 20 years!) Space Marine and Titan Legions were pretty straight forward. Instead, they’ve chosen to focus on the model side of things. In every seminar I’ve been to, they explain the sketch and concept model are done first, the rules after.

        So GW don’t have competitive play as their highest priority. That’s their call to make. In the meantime, you might as well complain your comfortable, practical family car (like my Mazda 626, The Beast), is a pisspoor make because it can’t hold a candle to a Rally Car in a race. They have completely different design goals.

        • Zingbaby

          This guy gets it. Old guys rule!

      • Honestly, I have a massive distaste for netlisters in most games, whether it be tabletop or card games.

        Heck, it is basically what ruined Hearthstone for me.
        Running up against the same unimaginative decks 9 times out of 10 isn’t satisfying for me as a player. They are usually designed around an exploit in the design of the game or an overpowered combo (which results in Secret Paladin, Patron Warrior, Force of Nature+Savage Roar etc), and Blizzard has done jack all to solve those imbalanced combos or cards. In fact, when they attempt to, they nerf a minor piece into the ground making it unplayable while the core of the combo still exists and drives people mad. GW seems somewhat similar to that.

        Playing against the same junk over and over til the next broken element gets released isn’t fun or rewarding to me. It isn’t rewarding either when I try playing those lists myself. It is creatively bankrupt, in my eyes.

        • Erik Setzer

          On the plus side, you can play Hearthstone without spending a dime, so at least there’s a chance you haven’t invested hundreds or thousands of dollars into something bad.

          They’re also in new territory with trying to do an online card game, it’s not something they’ve been doing for over 30 years, and they do admit that there’s problems with balance and at least try to fix them… but their lack of experience makes it difficult at times.

          Compared to a company who manages to screw up something they’ve done for over 30 years and who refuse to acknowledge questions and issues that have existed for a while, that’s not that bad.

          • I’d argue that you are forced into paying plenty sooner rather than later. Especially now that the whole first expansion and adventure are being phased out of “standard” play. All people invested in terms of time and in-game currency for packs there isn’t going to be played in the main mode anymore. Disenchanting doesn’t net the full value like changed cards would either.

            There are too many staple Legendary and Epic cards that are a must have to stay competitive beyond rank 15-10. Without those cards, you are running against a wall that can only be overcome by tons of luck or hours of grinding and hoping to build up win-streaks for extra stars.

            Blizzard has simply been complacent. Last year I read they made over 20 million in Hearthstone alone every month, and yet they still cannot be bothered to even just avoid repeat Tavern Brawls, or adjust cards when needed, not with the next expansion when they get replaced by the next overpowered netdeck.
            To this day, people were waiting for Dr. Boom to get changed, for example, and their reaction was to sit it out for 2 years, until phasing out the whole Goblins vs Gnomes set entirely – which makes even the last expansion and adventure’s mech synergy cards useless.

            Blizzard definitely isn’t as bad as GW, no doubt about it. They make solid products. They do lack foresight, though, which matches them with GW. They do respond to feedback, but often just in a dismissive way while plugging their ears over actual problems. It took them almost 3 years to increase the amount of deck slots, for example.
            Patron Warrior existed for a year before they “nerfed” it by shredding the Warsong Commander into being a horrible card that does jack all. Starving Buzzard went from making Beast Hunters work to not being played at all.

            Instead they add Mysterious Challenger-type minions which completely break the balance of a match while being great value even just in pure stats.
            Unlike with GW, those things can be fixed or at least change with a few megabytes of patches. They choose not to do so.

            I’d argue that both GW and Blizzard are arrogant companies that only listen when it suits them while making excuses for disappointing. They both change course halfway through something instead of trying to really fix what is wrong and people have pointed out.

            They are both far too comfortable with their status in their industry niches. Though for GW, it seems like they’re finally seeing what thin ice they’re moving on.

          • Erik Setzer

            Again, the comparison is bad, because with GW, they’re messing up with their core thing they’ve been doing forever.

            Blizzard is still not a huge team (and being poached by others like Riot isn’t helping). Hearthstone was the first of their attempts at games outside of their comfort zone, and Overwatch is another such attempt. Unfortunately, that means those games will be messy for a while. Overwatch seems to be spending most of its beta trying to figure out some semblance of balance rather than getting the game’s infrastructure working right.

            There’s not much they can do with Hearthstone. They have a small team, and I’m not sure how many people are actually dedicated just to that game. So they have to sift through issues, try to parse all the data, and make decisions based on improving the customer experience for as many people as possible. Sometimes they mess up, and that’s not new… look at some of the over-corrections in WoW. (At least the code isn’t such an ancient tangled web that a tweak in one place does something crazy elsewhere, like a chance to a PVP stat for everyone turns Ret Pallies into gods for one evening.)

            And sure, if you want to be super-competitive, especially fast, you have to pay. But that’s what card games are. You accept that when you get into them. At least, unlike Magic, they can patch a card that’s causing an issue.

            To make serious changes at this point, they’d have to scrap huge swathes of the game and redo it, which would piss off a lot of people, especially people who paid for those cards. Which is why they’re now going to the rotating “blocks” method used by Magic, where they phase in new cards and phase out old cards.

            Is it a great way of doing things? Nope. But that’s why I avoid all card games, and Heathstone’s no exception. I tried playing it, it was fun, but it was too much like other card games. Those who spend the most will win, and bad luck with the deck’s shuffling could kill you.

          • Michael Gerardi

            It’s even worse than that. GW makes rules that are DELIBERATELY broken. They do so in order to motivate their (ever-shrinking) player base to buy the latest plastic crack that uses the latest broken rules. Hence, in particular, formations (and I’d rather watch TWO Beyoncé “Formation” videos than buy ONE GW formation).

            Far from being stupid or incompetent, GW is fiendishly clever, because their fanboyz keep on falling for it, edition after edition and codex after codex.

          • Charon

            Sorry but this is not true. I reach rank 10 regularly and have not ever spent a single cent on the game. I feel like I could try harder, possibly even get to rank 5 but that would take TIME I am not willing to spend on the game.

        • Dave

          Agree. Who wants to play the same crap over and over. My favorite part war gaming is building master strategies that often blow up in my face.

          • ted1138

            Happens to me all the time in x-wing. Have taken net lists to a couple of tournaments and done well, but left feeling like I haven’t had fun. I much prefer coming up with my own ideas, using ships I love to fly with, and even if I lose(sometimes spectacularly), I still feel like I’ve had a great time, and learned a thing or two that will make me a better player.

    • Doug Christensen

      I have yet to see a list with renegades
      and heretics that even comes close to what i put down

    • georgelabour

      Now you have those kinds of players?

      I find it hard to believe they didn’t exist back in the even more unbalanced previous editions where one unit (hell one model) could wipe entire armies on their own.

      Actually since I’m recalling just those very days here that’s proof such assenine examples of gamerocity did in fact exist before you could ally harlequins with orkz.

      Oh and…if you wish to say rule book bloat is a new concept…

      Rogue Trader, 2nd Edition, 4th edition.

      All came before this current rule set and were far far worse in regards to ‘where’s da rool’ issues.

      As for proxying….that’s not a rules issue, that’s your personal bias.

      • Dave

        Rogue Trader was super crazy, but it was crazy for everyone, especially if you stuck to just the BRB. Most of the expansions came in White Dwarfs, which did confuse things. Power fields, orbital strikes, robots, vortex grenades, vortex grenades in grenade launchers, temporal distortion! Those were the days. Not to mention it was marketed as a RPG TTG, with a game master. We never used one, but that certainly would have helped. I thought 2nd was pretty good at bridging that gap. RT will remain my favorite addition, mainly because GW encouraged modding and creativity over standard kits.

        • georgelabour

          I still fondly recall the days of 2nd edition IG and their ability to win games before the deployment phase.

          • Dave

            It’s been awhile, but I’m pretty sure I never saw a game won before deployment. But, we didn’t see much IG back then due to the terrible cost of fielding so many models. That was my broke college days. What I miss most from 2nd was the ability to actually throw grenades, even if worthless.

          • georgelabour

            The prepartory bombardment rule won me one game back in the day. Virus bombs got me another. XD

            It even won a game in the White Dwarf Ichar IV campaign which later became part of the canon. As did the way Marneus Calgar had to hide like a chump when a spore mine took him down to 1 wound early on.

    • Chris. K Cook

      Then don’t play those derps.

  • Jewelfox

    If 40k is so consistently awesome, and its internal balance compares so favourably to other games (which are well-regarded for balance between models and factions), then why do people have to keep saying “GUYS THE GAME IS PERFECTLY FINE AS IS, STOP YOUR WHINING!?”

    • Siph

      Because people keep whining and are quite vocal about whining, a few authors here included. But what do I know? I’ve only enjoyed casual play since 1st Edn and had a great time throughout with no whining… It’s a great game. I love it. I enjoy it. I think GW does a good job, but obviously not good enough for competitive play I recognise, but that’s not what the game is designed for. GW say as much in the first rule in the BRB.

      • Jewelfox

        Yeah, I know. But this is all kind of a shock to people for whom 5th edition’s competitive focus was “their time” and all, and who thrived on the organized play scene. You and the author are basically saying their feelings don’t matter as much as yours do.

        • Siph

          Not at all. Just the cold hard facts that even in 5th it wasn’t designed to be competitive. It never has, are you playing it wrong, no, just not as intended. So when it appears unbalanced to competitive play I have little sympathy. It was and never has been designed for that purpose.

          • eldarconvert .

            Wasn’t 5th Edition Alessio’s creation, so in its nature competitive because Alessio’s makes naturally competitive games?

        • Phil

          Your feelings don’t matter as much to GW, as you spend less money. Thats just Capitalism.

        • wibbling

          Without wanting to be insulting, your ‘feelings’ don’t matter. Neither do mine or any one else’s. The point of a hobby is to provide enjoyment, not frustration.

          Warhammer – of any variety – is not and never has been intended to be a ‘competitive’ game. There’s really no skill involved at all as far too much is the result of blind luck.

          • Commissar Molotov

            I seem to remember GW-sponsored tournaments not too many years ago. But that’s just me.

          • Michael Gerardi

            I have at least five T-shirts from GW-sponsored tournaments. GW profited from “competitive play” for years. They may try to disavow what they themselves helped advance, with some BS excuse like, “Well, that’s what the players wanted, so we went with it!”, but that dog won’t hunt.

            Cc: Oldhammer

          • Commissar Molotov

            Yeah, I have one, too – but I’m too fat to wear it. And I love Oldhammer – I’m currently trying to proxy up some Aberrant models so I can field my old Genestealer Cult as allies for a Genestealer-heavy force.

      • Dave

        A huge contributor to how fractured the community is regarding balance is how much the rules actually cost. If I’m paying close to $100 bucks for an army’s rules (BRB + codex + whatever supplements to be current – before I even touch a model) I expect those rules to be balanced with other armies. Not “just flip a coin” balanced, but reasonably balanced like most other games in the genre. What I don’t expect is to have to buy a new $50 book just so I don’t get tabled. I absolutely don’t want to have it implied that I’m not playing the game right. The BRB says it’s a narrative game and that I should just have fun…then stop creating rules that reward obscene spending. Free transports, free upgrades. Uber formations that give silly bonuses if you buy a ton of this or that. It’s disingenuous and fractures the community.

        A solution- make the core rules and core army creation rules free, or cheap. Not a fan of AOS, but the business model for that game is better than 40k’s. I like how the expansions and campaign books add value at a cost. If GW offered the core rules at little to no cost I think you’d see a lot less complaining about balance. Needing comps for rules you paid top dollar for is aggravating to say the least.

    • Charon

      It is also quite telling that the people who claim “everything is fine! The game is not broken!” are players that write: “I play Space Marines/Eldar/Necron/Tau” in their next sentence.
      Like… in this article.

    • Zingbaby

      40K is so consistently messed up (and awesome). It’s literally always been a mess – yet some folks keep expecting different results – and the online “WHINING” is at critical mass.

      If you’re gonna spend _decades_ whining about something – just leave already, shut the heck up, and move on…

      It’s a game, not a presidential election.

    • Dave

      It’s like an addict, telling themselves that everything is fine. They can handle it. What’s that old saying? If you have to ask, then you’ve got a problem…..

  • matty199

    It’s broken because the rules create situations that don’t make sense. The factions are unbalanced because a large part of the game is decided in the list building phase. It also feels broken because the games sometimes become really laborious due to rule bloat and overly complex rules and rules breaking rules. Sometimes I really hate this edition, but I understand that some people like unessisary rule bloat and call it fluffy and interesting and dislike good games such kings of war.
    However this is the one wargame that is fairly easy to get a pickup and play a game at my local and I’ve played it for years

    • Brian Carraway

      While not perfect, this edition has done a decent enough job of keeping the conflicted rules to a more manageable level, far better than 6th edition which was a nightmare. I find that the biggest problems come from the oh so creative interpretation of some rules that often becomes accepted as fact. More often than not, if you just take the rule at face value, it tends to work fine.

  • An_Enemy

    I think this would have been a much better article if it’d been about the event you attended and not an editorial that read like a wargamer’s drunk ex text.

    • Jewelfox

      “You know what I hate about you?! You’re always COMPLAINING so much! Why can’t you try being POSITIVE for once!”

      • An_Enemy

        “You know, when I’m with my friends, I can have a great time and be myself, but when I’m with you things get too serious. I don’t know where we stand on certain issues that only come up when you’re around!”

        • Jewelfox

          “If game balance is so important to you, then why don’t you just GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, huh?! See if you can find another game that will treat you as good as I do!”

          • V10_Rob

            “FFG serves me waffles in bed, PP is always up for camping, and CB loves modeling kinky outfits for me. All you gave me was mind games and co-dependency.”

  • Phil

    40K does exactly what its always been set out to do, create a framework for people to play a game with their models. That’s all its ever been for. If you want it to be something more than that, then thats on you, no one else.

  • comrade_nikolai

    That newbie at a tournament comment is just ridiculous and has absolutely nothing to do with game balance. Nice straw man.

    One thing you’ve missed is that balance hurts no one. Having a balanced game doesn’t put fluff players off but having an unbalanced game does put more competetive players off. If we had more balance we could all enjoy the hobby together.

    • Phil

      Because GW doesn’t care about competitive player and in fact actively goes out of its way not to cater to them.Which is their choice, they’re allowed to not want to cater to the “competitive gamer market”

      • euansmith

        I know that they are starting to come out with some narrative campaign books, but they seem to me to have done a very poor job over the past several decades of providing hints, tips and guidelines on how to create and run narrative scenarios.

        There was that planetary assault book from some years ago (I can’t remember the name), but, other than that, has there been much about asymmetric scenarios?

        Hopefully they will go full AoS and continue to pump out crazy and chaotic scenarios that can be played for fun; but. equally, it would be nice if they took a long hard look at their codices and tried to make them a bit less wonky.

      • Dave

        Definition of the word Game: “a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators”

        MOST players don’t play in tournaments, but they expect the game they play to be somewhat fair, or there’s not much fun in it. Expecting a degree of consistency from such a premium product is implied by the price and commitment required to participate. Stop making excuses for GW.

        • Phil

          That’s one definition of a game. The game is fair as long as both players let it be. 40k is fair when the players let it be and play fairly.

          • Dave

            I agree, 40k is what you make it. However, the complaints on this forum are parroted everywhere I find the game. Balance is an issue. This game is expensive, people expect a level of polish and consistency. It’s a contributing factor in player loss and attrition to other, more balanced, more curated systems.

            It’s a valid argument, that players purchase expensive rules so they don’t have to discuss and plan in order to have a “fair” game. That’s why we have rules in the first place.

        • Ben_S

          According to that definition, solitaire isn’t a game, but a violin competition may well qualify…

          • Dave

            Will, you’re playing against yourself. As a former musician, I would say performance competitions would absolutely qualify.

      • comrade_nikolai

        Thats a bit of a non sequitur, I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to address.

        • Phil

          You’re saying that they should address the needs of competitive gamers as well as that of fluff players. They never have and don’t have to. They’ve made a business decision that “balance” isn’t worth the investment.

    • wibbling

      Could you explain what you mean by ‘balance’, please?

      • Commissar Molotov

        How about every codex army having a fighting chance against every other codex army?

  • Malky

    I, for one, welcome our decurion detachment / d-weapon toting overlords.

    • V10_Rob

      …Until they are supplanted by the next cheese.

      • euansmith

        “Deploy the Omega Cheese Cannon! Raise the Spam Shields!”

        • Old zogwort

          Load the nova cannons, and power up the omnipotence drive

          • euansmith

            Initiate the Heavy Hardbacked Codex of Miniature Flattening!

  • Ben_S

    I don’t pay a lot of attention to 40k these days, which I’ve never played competitively in any case, so I’m probably not the best judge. There may be some fair points here. But I wanted to highlight one particular comment:

    “Say I want to attend LVO for the first time in 2017. I have never played competitively. Do you think I stand a chance in hell of winning more than a single game, or not getting tabled by turn 2? Even in a casual environment, experience counts for much when determining a winner.”

    That seems to completely miss what people are after when they demand balance. They don’t want each person to have an equal chance of winning (you might as well toss a coin). They want the armies to be equal, so that player skill (which will depend on experience) is the deciding factor.

  • Old zogwort

    Allmost all local casual space marine players here are switching to 30k to avoid the unbalanced state of 40k. And allmost all casual longtime ork players have shelfed their army. This is just bad.

    • euansmith

      Can’t you create Dokta Ooze Kross Time Kommandoz and take your Orkz to 30k?

  • So… what you’re saying is, that 40K is not broken, because you ignore the imbalance in codices and potential army lists for the sake of narrative.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the core rules, as they apply to every army. The imbalance comes down to the codices, and how they ‘cheat’ the rule set.
    This is where the issue of balance comes in, and it’s a valid topic to discuss for competitive gamers. It makes the game less fun for them, so they talk about it.
    Criticising is not the same as ‘trashing’.
    As for balance being a pipe dream because of experience… are you seriously suggesting that balance means a new player can defeat an experienced one in their first game? That would truly be a broken rule set, as it renders learning the rules meaningless.
    Fairness in the rules matters. I quite like the idea that the dreadnought I spent days painting up doesn’t get knocked over by a grot pistol because they weren’t paying attention to how these models should interact.
    Being really hyperbolic, if that’s all you want out of a game, throw out the whole rule book and replace it with coin flips.

    • “Criticising is not the same as ‘trashing’.”

      This. It is entirely obnoxious how easy people slap labels like “haters” and “trashing” on people and their criticisms. Discourse and criticisms foster improvements, ideally.

      Besides: Most people criticise because they’d like things to be better than they are. GW especially have so much potential at their fingertips. Their IPs are strong (well, WHFB was, and 40k is), and we see even video game adaptations being successful if handed to competent developers.
      Instead we see GW squander their potential, both on the tabletop, rules, novel and even gaming-wise.

      People aren’t blind to what GW can do if they really put an effort in. People criticise the White Dwarf to this day because we know it used to be significantly better in years past, for example.
      They’re asking for them to do better and improve, and attempt to give feedback. It is GW’s failure to do market research and take feedback into account that tends to turn things sour as we see the company proceed spiralling down.

    • Shiwan8

      The core rules are ridiculously biased against melee armies. Other than that they are fine.

  • Deacon Ix

    I will moan and belabour GW and their attitude towards the rules and cost of models, but I’m British and that’s what we do. I enjoy all aspects of the game and the people that I play and paint with do too, the fun comes from the company you keep not the company you pay.

    • euansmith

      Well said. Us Brits have a love/hate attitude to just about everything… anything else, we have a hate/hate attitude to.

  • X078

    Hear, hear!
    A good article which in my view pretty much nailed it in regards to how one should view and partake the awesome game that 40K is!

  • Ataberk Bozkurt

    7th edition’s rules are very cool besides from some minor (huge for Necrons and Tau) problems in Psychic Phase. Main problem with 7th is the armies.

  • FailureNecron

    My dude, I have a Dark Eldar army that I cannot field against anything printed after 2014. I have boxes of assault units that aren’t worth the plastic used to make them. The best I can hope for is an apology DLC codex that bandages the book with some formation rules.

    OK, so perfect balance is unattainable, you can’t please everyone. Could we maybe have a game that plays the way it is marketed to us? I’m having a hard time remembering the Black Library novel or video game where the good guys win by mashing psykers from three different Space Marines codexes into one unit, stacking buffs on itself and bouncing around like a pachinko ball. Or the setting material where Mechanicus units jump out of Space Wolf drop pods, or whichever codex has them the cheapest and easiest to get now.

    There’s always going to be something wonky, but it’d be cool to see GW make an attempt instead of saying “Calvinball is the new meta.”

    I’m going to sit on the sidelines until Games Workshop remembers I exist. I imagine there are Orks and Tyranids players who feel about the same way. Thanks for the lecture, though.

    • Michael Gerardi

      One word: Oldhammer.

  • Painjunky

    If you ignore the obvious codex creep,
    the cash grab/pay to win formations,
    the glaring lack of editing or playtesting,
    the pig headed refusal to provide FAQs for their terribly written rules,
    And if you don’t want even the slightest of head nods towards something resembling balance,
    It’s ok i guess but it seems to many that GW are either apathetic and lazy at best or shockingly incompetent and arrogant at worst.

  • Dave Linx

    if you want balance go to AofS

    • Commissar Molotov

      Oh gawd that’s funny

  • wibbling

    I’ve been playing Warhammer 40K from the old days of Rogue Trader. Does anyone else remember the TRR? Taking a defence laser on a bike?

    The game has changed and thank goodness for that. Points make games ‘equal’, but they don’t make them fair. Players do that. Most wars are not fought between symmetrical forces anyway, forcing it to is odd.

    It’s far more fun to create a scenario and play that – limited ammuntion reducing the number of shots, low supplies reducing armour saves, decapitation strike forces. Getting rid of annoying, time consuming rules or making up your own, such as charges and run moves, scatter and deepstrike. It’s your game. Play how you want to in a way you enjoy, not straitjacketed.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      What if I *want* to play in a tighter, more regulated fashion? Am I not allowed to play a game how I want then? Are you only allowed to “play how you want” if it happens to fit in with what you personally prefer?

    • Morgan Peck

      Turn Radius Ratio!!! I love advanced mathematics in order to turn my vehicles.

  • Thomas Gardiner

    Sorry, but as a purely casual gamer (I maybe play once a month at a buddy’s house), your whole “only competitive gamers care about balance” assertion is utter garbage.

    I obsess over 40k’s lore and models. Is it too much to ask to get a better-made, more balanced, less “everything AND the kitchen sink” game while I do that?

    • Old zogwort

      I don’t like to be Krumped by an opponent with extreme point efficient armies in casual games either.

      Sure it is all fun and games. But it is just no fun when you play vs an army that can field marines for the same points as you an field grots.

      • Thomas Gardiner

        Exactly. I’m in the same position with Dark Eldar. While the Craftworlders get Battle Focus and pseudo-rending, I get poison and FnP. On a T3 model with negligible armour. Woo.

        I’d be fine playing Dark Eldar as they are now if GW didn’t keep moving the damn goalposts with every release, and now that you Ork players got a rubbish set of formations, I’m worried we’ll get the same treatment.

        • Bran D

          Make the damn Splinter rifles S4 so I can at least reroll sometimes, S1 even on the Cannon is a joke. T3 sucks but they will never change that so get used to it 😀

          • Crevab

            Change the poison rules so they allow ranged rerolls and give shooting poison a real Strengh. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea

    • happy_inquisitor

      Ultimately yes it is unreasonable. The reason is because the only way to have flavour and variety in the game while still retaining balance that cannot be exploited is with rigorous playtesting. So go ahead and do the maths on how many combinations of units and rules would need to be playtested in each likely scenario and against each possible opponent. Once you have done the maths and worked out how much money it costs to do that playtesting at minimum wage you will realise that it is unreasonable. I test things for a living – nobody is ever going to test anything remotely resembling the current 40K to a point where players looking to exploit list-building advantage will find no advantage to exploit.

      The only way to have a game that can be tested and balanced to that level is to have a very simple game with few options. That is fewer models, each with more uniform rules. If someone wants to create a tournament scene with only a small sub-set of units and rules permitted then it would in principle be able to balance it – but honestly who would want to play that game?

  • Skathrex

    I like the article, but I dont think the competetive Players (the ones going to tournaments) are the ones complaining. In my experience (as a competetive Magic player and a non competetive 40k player). The competetive crowd does that much complaining because the take it as it comes and learned to cope with it.
    The people complaning are the “pseudo” competetives. The ones visiting only the local tournaments, who want to win, but want to do it their way.
    In 7th or 6th winning witch CC is harder. But thats a known fact. Dont complain if u try it. In the past CC was the way to win, but the ways have changed so learn to deal with it

    • Michael Gerardi

      “Learn to deal with it”.

      Why? Because YOU say so? Because GW says so?

      A lot of people reject those “changed” ways. Why don’t YOU “learn to deal with it”?

      This is part and parcel of the attitude that produces Angryhammer.

      Cc: Oldhammer.

      • Skathrex

        I think its quite the opposite.

        When you say ” I don’t want to change” you are like the old grandpa “Everything was better in the past” Which may be fine if you are talking within a group of Grandpas, remanising of the good old times, but frightens new players away.
        Why should I start the game which obviously past its zenith.

        I dont have a Problem dealing with either crowd. I love some narritave Games. I love the highly competetive scene (although i cant take them quite serious when it comes to Warhammer). And I love a bit of competition between friends.

        And quite frankly you dont have to “Learn to deal with it”. If you want to, you can stay in 4th or 5th Edition and play the game when you thought it was best, but then you wont be playing with me.

        You are playing a Game, which Rules are written by GW, so yes if GW changes them, you either learn the new ones or dont play it anymore( or just houserule, which is always fine).

        It’s a bit like playing Monopoly and just rolling 1d6 each round. It can be what u like, but its not the “normal” Monopoly.

        As I said before, “I” learned to deal with both. But again “I” am not the one complaining. Chaos players want the 3.5 back, Tyranids the 5th. Times change

  • Chumbalaya

    I’ll bite. How is Malifaux broken?

    • Chozo

      It’s the standard “other games have balance issues, therefore they’re equally as broken” fallacy that assumes imbalance is a binary rather than by degrees, and also a way to sidestep arguments that 40k’s balance could be a lot better even if perfect balance is merely a platonic ideal rather than something achievable.

  • Captain Raptor

    40k is the poster child for wasted potential. Great enduring setting; fun and interesting characters, stories, and miniatures, but the game is an utter mess. The points system may as well be random at this point, several factions cannot compete outside of one or two cheesy lists, and the labyrinthian rule set means games take way too long.

    Bad game design costs GW money. There are several interesting themed armies that I’d love to collect and build but they would be so worthless in game that there’s no point. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you feel like you’re wasting money buying the miniatures that you like.

  • Erik Setzer

    I’m not “the competitive crowd.” I’m a person who paints, models, plays. I feel like the game is broken. According to you, I don’t exist.

    Also, according to you, “the competitive crowd” don’t paint, model, or play games? How, exactly, do they know what to do, then? How do they have armies, which often are so much more amazing to look at then what you see in your local shop? What, these guys wave their hand and create an army and know things with the power of magic?

    This was a really long, and dumb, way of trying to say that you feel the game is fine and anyone who doesn’t is either “the competitive crowd” who are somehow bad guys, or people who don’t play the game (because if you play 40K, it’s a 24/7 thing, and you can’t even talk about the game because you don’t have time).

    Seriously? Did you bother to read back what you wrote and actually think about it?

    No, of course not. You don’t have time to write about the game. And yet somehow you do. Which disproves your own claim.

    I’m glad I don’t literally face palm, this op-ed would have made me face palm so hard I’d break my nose.

  • Bran D

    Did all these people go to the same school that taught them to put images between paragraphs? It doesn’t add anything to your article and is annoying to at least one guy 🙂

    • JN7

      Actually, though the article was crap, I’ll defend that particular practice. Most readers have a short attention span. Throwing in an image every 3-4 paragraphs helps break up wall of text syndrome and keeps people scrolling past the usual three wheel turns.

      Yes, he does it more than the suggested amount, but it doesn’t seem egregious considering the subject matter.

  • Erik Setzer

    One again, just have to call out this article in a comment all to itself:

    “Well, it isn’t the hobbyists at the local level who build, paint and play the game. They are too busy hanging out with friends, talking backstory or just gluing and painting. They are too busy rolling dice on tables with other like minded 40K fans. They are debating (not trashing) the rules as questions arise during game play. They are building a list for the next narrative game, and writing some narrative to go along with it. They are reading Black Library backstory. These folks are too busy actually enjoying all that the hobby has to offer to sit around talking about how broken and dysfunctional the rules are.”

    So if people who comment on the game can’t be “hobbyists” who build, paint, and play the game, because they’re too busy doing their 24/7 job to even talk about the game, then how are you one of those people? How are you not “part of the problem?” Surely you must be, and you can’t be a hobbyist. You can’t be building, painting, playing, hanging out with friends, talking backstory, etc., because you just typed up this article, which clearly you don’t have time to do if you enjoy the hobby.

  • JP

    No, no. It’s not the main rule set that’s broken at all. It’s the codices written to exploit those rules to the point of forcing blood from a stone that can make the game miserable for people who don’t jump on that bandwagon.

  • Lord Solar Mac

    I love 40k! Been playing for almost 20 years and the only thing that makes the game bad are the poor sport players that talk trash because a certain army, list, codex, death star, etc tabled them. “It’s unbalanced ” or “its broken”, “I’m done with GW”….Well, calling your bluffs. Everyone is still here, reading the blogs, following the crowd/hobby. Everyone is entitled to free speech, so who cares if someone actually has an opinion. This is not a bash on either side, I have complained as well, but the only solution is take a knee, hydrate, and get better! Cheers!

  • Really the only lamentable thing to me in GW’S self induced inconsistencies in power level of releases (eg Blood Angels followed by necrons) and their apparent lack of consideration of how things are worded and interact in the game.

    • Michael Gerardi

      There will ALWAYS be imbalance, and 40K will ALWAYS be broken, because to GW, 40K is a vehicle to sell plastic crack. And so they constantly abuse the rules in order to get their fanboy legions to plunk down hard cash to buy what GW is pimping at any given moment.

      This is the biggest problem with 40K. The author of this article refuses to recognize that reality.
      Cc: Oldhammer

  • Seismic Ghost

    ‘Balance is a pipe dream?’

    So we as consumers are just supposed to accept that the products we choose might be inferior or superior based on our personal taste? That has some pretty negative ramifications for the fluff / playstyle of the game.

    Say for example that I ran a car company. For roughly the same price at this company you could buy a red car, a blue car, or a black car.
    The red car is faster, more durable and safe, and runs more efficiently than the blue and black cars combined.
    The blue car is almost as fast as the red car.
    The black car is a slow, junky, gas guzzler.

    Everyone’s going to buy the red car, except for the people that don’t care about performance and just want their car to be black or blue – and those people that like black cars are going to have to live with the fact that their personal preference is going to cost them every race.

    The answer you’re putting forward seems to be “Don’t race,” and that’s unacceptable to me.

    This is a head-to-head competitive wargame with a substantial financial and temporal investment required to enter. The money and time demanded by the game increases greatly if you wish to hone and customize your army.
    People who have invested thousands of dollars and years measured in decades should not be told to simply accept that their army isn’t a winner and just have fun losing anyway. Being told that ‘you’re playing wrong’ for trying to win while you’re having fun is insulting.
    I believe that many of us and the Games Workshop have forgotten what that definition of a competitive game is having fun while simultaneously trying to win. It seems that everyone in this community believe that you can only have one or the other. People tend to talk like one can be either: WAAC and only care about victory and use netlists to fuel your ego, or, you’re a fluffbunny who reads the novels and collects minatures to paint because you like stories.
    The reality of the situation is that almost everyone who’s interested in Warhammer thinks the stories are neat and also like beating their friends up in games. Players should be allowed to enjoy both aspects without being demonized for actually trying to win a game in which the very object is to win.
    If, however, winning is all that a player cares about and that player is willing to make massive investments of money to actualize their goals, that player should still be met on an even playing field to ensure the fair and fun aspect of the competitive aspect of the game. Unfortunately this is not the case because that player buys the red car because the internet buyers guide has told him that it is better. The red car will win races while the blue and black car will not.

    The game should not allow this to happen. This is a problem with the inner workings of the game itself, and not and problem with the internal self-policing of those people who play the game.

    You have said that you’d rather the car company focus on producing shiny new yellow and silver cars to go along with the others models (and some of the new colours might even be better than the red car,) but until all the colours of cars are brought under a semblance of operational regulation, the race will always be fixed and stacked in the favour or those who choose to buy the best car.

    • happy_inquisitor

      Car companies sell mock-SUVs. Customers buy them.

      By any rational measure they are inferior to other products in the range. But customers want them so manufacturers sell them. There is no point complaining about the inferior performance or fuel economy of the mock-SUV you bought when your neighbour bought something with better performance and economy. You did not make those things a priority when you made the purchase. There is no point expecting manufacturers to avoid selling these models because people want to buy them and that is the market they are in.

      If you buy a 40K army for the fluff and the models and your more competitively minded opponent bought theirs for the in-game rules then guess who is going to win in a straight competitive game? Yes the person who was thinking competitively all along, not the one who thinks they are “entitled” to win despite making a bunch of decisions along the way that had entirely different motivations.

      • Countdiscount

        Well said

  • WaarrggBobo

    Im biased on this issue because i work in the video game industry (League of Legends). I think static, true balance is impossible– new units change the game, local metas are different, and player skill levels are different. BUT a regular deployment of adjustments is possible and needed to avoid player churn (ie leaving the game). (See Magic etc..) This is a huge problem for GW because the “game is broken”. The game constantly feels “unbalanced” because of the overly complex rules and the overly complex army system GW has devised. A system built to justify the creation of expensive artbooks disquised as rule books. Why can’t they simplify the rules? Why cant they make unit adjustments? Because they dont care about the game! They care about making an embossed cover on an art book which contains the rules for 2 model kits– And that is because the player base lets them get away with it.

  • georgelabour

    I’ve said this before when the angryhammer players start up their whining.

    In the current edition I have yet to face an army that I felt could not be beaten with the tools available to me. Provided of course my tactics are sound, and my luck holds out.

    Were this previous editions the flexibility to adapt simply would not exist. Nor would the game itself encourage me to think outside my safe space of Vostroyans in chimeras.

    ironically it turns out that my safe space was not all that safe for the infantry themselves. Damn OP howling banshees.

  • Countdiscount

    I’m not convinced it’s just the competitive crowd that complains about everything being broken. There are a couple of factors at play, but sometimes people just aren’t very good players, so they call the thing they can’t beat broken. Some things actually aren’t very balanced (although I’m convinced there is far less of this than some people would have you believe). Also people just have different personalities, and some just like to complain about things, while others take things more lightly. The internet is the perfect vehicle for rants and rage, and so some people that want to rant and rage would have you believe their truth is the truth.

    My personal opinion…. it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun and looking for perfect balance is futile with a constantly evolving composition. This isn’t Chess. It’s only not fun if I decide to not see the fun side and concentrate on evaluating effectiveness and points cost rather than just having fun. Yes, I understand everyone’s perception of fun is different, but your perspective of what you choose to appreciate in a game is totally up to you.

  • Crablezworth

    “I just finished playing more than 16 hours (over two days) of 40K” At least you’ll admit the game is taking a while to play.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Every game could be more balanced and have a tighter ruleset.

  • Agent OfBolas

    WH40k is broken not because of main ruleset (that is overcomplicated at few places but fine as a whole) but because of total lack of external balance between armybooks.

    It’s about a year since I gave up playing 40k because of total lack of balance (I’ve played my TAU and CSM armies, total two different ends of the same stick) … and thanks to that I’ve discovered Bolt Action, Malifaux, Infinity and X-wing. All those games are great and very balanced.

    40k is not bad, but if you want to win games – you need to play just few armies as other simply suck compared to them.

    • Michael Gerardi

      I too have migrated to X-Wing, and I’ve had more fun in five months that I had in five YEARS of 40K. And I’m looking into Warmahordes and Infinity as well. So I guess I could thank GW for helping me discover games more to my liking.

      But I won’t.

      Cc: Oldhammer.

  • Dave

    On a side note, whatever code Bols is using for adverts is really killing this site for me. Bols locks my browser almost every time I visit now. I don’t even bother looking at it from my mobile devices anymore. Having the browser recenter to the advertisement in the middle of typing a comment isn’t acceptable these days.

    Someone please take a look at how the sponsored videos interact with the rest of the page. It’s getting pretty terrible (I’m using chrome).

    • Muninwing

      i’m on chrome too, and other than getting bogged down when i have interference issues (a baby monitor that hates our router), i have no issues…

      maybe you have some adware?

  • An_Enemy

    “I manage just fine with my Dark Eldar and at the moment, don´t use any formations.”

    You’re really missing out on the one formation in our Codex. 5+ cover on the first turn if you roll Night Fighting is just as good as 500 free points obviously.

    Dark Eldar haven’t won a major tournament in at least three Editions. Not without majority Eldar allies. Who else can say that? Sisters? Blood Angels…maybe.

    • Krd Da Levitator

      Well, from the Supplement, there´s the Corpsethief Claw ;). That just wrecks face and also the Dark Artisan are awesome. I´ve won loads of games with those, but they become auto-include-in-your-list SOOO fast, that i wanted to change pace. That´s why i roll with no formations ATM

  • Andrew Thomas

    Broken? I don’t think so. Imbalanced? Indeed.


    1. Too much shooting. Basically, if your Assault-oriented army has no reliable means of avoiding inevitably being gunned down, you’re going to lose every time. Keyword being reliable.
    2. Too few obvious winning combinations. I don’t like the idea of facing (and losing to) the same list everytime I go to a pickup game.
    3. Favoured Faction Syndrome. The game has an obvious slant in favour of the Designated Good Guys (the BIoAMK), with a few tolerated guests (Eldar, Tau, Necrons), that make other factions have to fight uphill just to draw.

  • Crablezworth

    Remember when 40k wasn’t apoc?

  • usGrant7977

    This article makes a huge mistake. The problem isnt 7th edition rules, the brb is poorly worded but basically playable. Its the codexes that provide the real problems. Massive power imbalances between armies is the real problem.

  • Michael Gerardi

    A self-selected group of fanboyz is hardly a random sample of 40K players (past or present). Any conclusions based on polling such a group are inherently unreliable.

    This whole post is just another GW puff piece.

    And btw: I was never a “competitive” player, never used a netlist, never used anything to make my lists other than pencil and paper, and I think 7th (and 6th before it) IS broken, and is not the game I wanted to play, for reasons too numerous to mention and worked to death by now. But I’ll name three: preposterous “challenges”, an absurd magic phase, and Apocalypse-lite “allies”.

    Cc: Oldhammer.

  • DeathBy SnuSnu

    Methinks you doth protest too much. The easiest way to gain perspective on GW rules, is to try something other than GW rules.

  • Shiwan8

    So, we now know that Dan plays only armies that are in a state significant advantage over the average army. The thing is, only die hard fanboys and some WAAC-types think that there is no balance issue in 40k. First ones because their borderline religious zealotry blinds them and the later because they are inherently selfish disregard of fun and never the actual underdog in matchups.

    The cold hard fact is that the game is as good as it’s level of balance between units/armies. After that it’s just about preferences concerning the way the balance is achieved. As long as the worst and best codices in 40k can not have a tight game without one side going full waac and the other derping around all game long there just is no reason to play the game. None, zip, zero.

    Best regards, fluff bunny.

  • Wasted space of an article.

  • Simon Steffensen

    remove overwatch 😀

  • NagaBaboon

    It’s not only the competative crowd, it’s also the ‘hordes’ of people who have migrated across to other systems.

  • pseudonym

    Well.. as to who thinks it is broken? I do. I, the new player with a wad of cash to spend and the motivation to spend it on a new army, took one look at the 40k rules and watched some gameplay from events like the LVO and walked right on past on my way to 30K. That is who thinks the rules are too complicated and we, quite simply, vote with our feet.

  • Alessandro Azzone

    How is infinity broken? Which units are abused? I play the game and really dont know what you are talking about…