Editorial: Lions & Tigers & GW Organized Play…Oh My!

what_is_Tank_Shock2 horz

Has anybody who has commented on the tidbits of the new GW Organized Play materials actually looked at the stuff?

 Let’s discuss this “thing” by talking about what it is NOT and what it is (or at least appears to be).  It seems that for many, any attempt to connect the words Organized Play with Games Workshop is anathema.  Yes – we all know the history.  But if you actually look at what is coming, and who it might be intended for, you will realize this may very well be a product intended to grow the hobby and hence, the community.

What it’s not…

  • The ITC.  Really Dan? It took you how long to figure this out?  OK smart guys, then how come people are reacting to the GWOP (there, I created an acronym) materials like they are supposed to be played by power players and those who take competitive play seriously?  Don’t get the wrong idea;  the ITC serves the community in great ways.  I mean who else can categorize game play by country, state, faction and players middle names?  They are organized, work to be inclusive and are in touch with the pulse of the hobby.  The LVO, by all accounts, is an amazing experience; definitely gamer bucket list material.  However, this new GWOP is NOT trying to be a place for power gamers to take their competitive, “I’ll table you in two turns” armies
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  • A place for power/competitive gamers.  Have you actually read the rules for GWOP?  We are talking 500-750 points for the games that I have seen.  There may be “those guys” who will take two Wraithknights to one of these games, but they are not for that.  If you expect someone who can develop lists that are designed to squeeze every iota of point efficiency from a codex, maybe you should look elsewhere.  This also includes the “I want to crush you to show how good a gamer I am” crowd.  From all appearances, the GWOP games seem to be for those who are learning the hobby and just want to glue some stuff together and get to playing.  If you are someone who needs to crush your opponent to build your shakey ego, this probably isn’t a place for you.
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  • A place for serious hobbyists.  If you are the type of GW gamer who loves to spend hours painting and converting single models in order to provide the rest of us with inspiration and camera fodder, I don’t think GWOP will be a place for you.  Unless, of course, you want to mentor newer/casual players who can improve their hobby skills by learning from an experienced hobbyist.  All indications are that GWOP is for someone who wants to buy a model with the “cool” factor, glue, put some paint on, and get to rolling dice. On a related note, this is not Organized Play where you can get “adult” swag.  No cash, trophies, coffee mugs, shot glasses, six-packs of your favorite adult beverage, bags of dice or T-Shirts.  So far, at least, there are paper certificates and cardboard counter sets.

Tank2Check out more 1/6th Marines here

What it is (or appears to be)…
  • A place for new/casual gamers. From the points, swag and general rules, this definitely feels like a place for those entering the hobby. Anyone who buys a Starter Set and a vehicle or two can cut, glue and play.  Is this a bad thing?  Heck no! There is no realistic entry point for new hobbyists into the current competitive gaming scene. Not only from a points perspective, but from the cost point as well. No one who buys the previously mentioned starter set and a couple of vehicles for $300 is going to get past Turn 1 in any competitive gaming venue. Like it or not, the current competitive scene, with rare exception, is an adult playground.  Yes, there is rumour of 1750 point games, but most of what we have seen so far seems to be pointed toward lower points that encourage “quick-start” play.
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  • A place to learn the hobby from the ground up.  Given the relatively low number of models that appear to be involved in GWOP, it appears to be an ideal place for new hobbyists to enter the Grimdark.  Good for GW.  People have complained for a while that the price of entry is too steep, and Tank Shock would appear to mitigate this concern.  Also, there is also emphasis on build, paint and play.  I know, some will say that this will encourage bad hobby habits, particularly in the area of painting.  I say get over yourselves.  Don’t know about you, but when I look at some of the first models I painted (a few have survived from the last century), I am hopeful my Grimdark friends will never lay eyes on them.  Most of us have taken years to get decent at painting.  Dare I say many have resorted to having others painting for them on commission.  All good. But don’t forget you just glue and slapped on a few cool colors of paint at some point yourself.
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  • A place for experienced gamers to step up.  “But Dan, I taught myself the game.”  Right.  I’m sure there was never a time when someone had to put up with your rookie shenanigans and rules questions.  I for one may very well take the time to sign up for a few of these events, if for no other reason than to get in a quick game and have the chance to teach the hobby to a few newcomers.  Hell, if they buy and paint a Baneblade, I might even take a loss!  Good for the newbies entering the hobby.  Not that I don’t enjoy a well earned win today, but those first few were exciting to be sure.  Maybe give some advice on modeling, painting or play.  None of us learned this hobby in a vacuum; why not help along the much needed nex gen?  Finally, many of my friends in the hobby now have their own young families.  I would think that they will be encouraging and patient in teaching their own kids the hobby if they become interested.
After all this being said, GDubs re-entry into the organized play scene may not be what it first appears.  But it would be consistent with other efforts we have seen to bring a next generation into the hobby, and I for one think this is something that is missing in the current organized play scene.  It will not be any type of competition for the plethora of competitive venues that exist, but could very well help both Gamesworkshop and the hobby in general grow.
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Would you play in a game of Tank Shock from what you have seen and heard?
  • Chris. K Cook

    “There is no realistic entry point for new hobbyists into the current competitive gaming scene. ”

    And of course this is somehow GW’s fault that certain players won’t lower them self to anything les than 1850 points…

    • xxvaderxx

      Actually it is, as creators of the system it is THEIR job to set up the Competitive format. You dont See FFG or PP or Wizzards of the coast wash their hands off it.

      • Chris. K Cook

        You’ve missed my point. GW has never said “This is the size game you must play.” It’s been the same players who blame “GW’s high entry point cost” for scaring away new players that do that.

        • xxvaderxx

          No you missed mine, yes that is correct GW has never said “this is the competitive format” THAT is why it is their fault, all the other companies i mentioned, whom also happen to sell successful competitive games have done so.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I actually think a set build total for 40k doesn’t really work. What would be better is a chart of build totals like Gates of Antares has. Which means regardless of what you do, there is always a points total that you can move up to as you collect models.

          • James Regan

            I’m pretty sure they used to encourage standard sized 1500 point games, while the competitive scene decided to go higher (GW’s own tournaments were always 1500 for 40k, 2000 for fantasy). It’s not exactly their fault they said ‘this is the competitive format’ and everyone whent ‘nah, we want more gunz, add another 20%’

          • xxvaderxx

            Encouraging is not the same as Stand-arising. Stand-arising is all about removing options.

          • James Regan

            true, but removing options is bad, and the original issue is that people say ‘competitive play has a high entry cost and that’s GW’s fault’ when actually it is partially TO/players fault- yes GW set the prices, but around 15-20% of the cost is just so tournament players get to use more toys (and because balance was tested at 1500, if at all, fit more power in their power lists).

          • Muninwing

            you’ve actually missed two details here…

            – GW did go through a period of encouraging larger armies. giving bonuses for most ranks or 10 across in WHF is one example of many.

            remember that around when GW got out of the GT game was around when they ran the ‘Ard Boyz tournaments — which were 2500 point games.

            and introducing Apocalypse, then porting apoc ideas (superheavies and flyers most notably) into standard 40k begs for higher points to be functional.

            – there’s been a bit of a regime change since then. or at least a focus change. that’s why the tank shock thing is so important… it’s the first time in a long time that GW has done anything like acknowledge any of their many mistakes.

          • James Regan

            sorry, basing my observations on the UK- they never truly got out of the tournament scene here, with their last 40k tournament being in 2015 and being 1500 points. I know the American scene is different, but in general the throne of skulls (GW’s yearly tournament) hasn’t changed its format since I started playing, apart from removing fantasy when they nuked it.
            Also I don’t think the fantasy horde advantage was meant to encourage larger armies but larger blocks in armies that could already field high model counts- 2pt skaven slaves, 2&3pt goblins don’t need a big army to have units of 4.
            finally, importing apocalypse into standard 40k had the advantage that you’d cripple your army in order to take any of the overpowered units- but it was fun if you wanted entire army vs a single titan.

          • Chris. K Cook

            You have a point, but they used to suggest different sizes with approx playing times .

            The sorts of folks I’m refering to just ignored them and the rest of us were smart enough to realise you can play at any size.

        • Malthrak

          Yes…it’s the fault of the players…who basically were just following GW’s tournament format that was in place for over a decade before GW decided to wash their hands of any community interaction…that they carried on said format when GW stepped away.

          • Chris. K Cook

            I’m not talking tournaments. I’m talking friendly games I know a guy who got into wfb early last year (poor bugger) and when I asked if he wanted to play a game sometime he said, “But I don’t have enough stuff yet.” So I askjed how many points he had expecting to hear something like just a box or two coming to 400 points or so and was going to offer to play a game of Border Patrol with him Or some Regiments of Renown/Skirmish if he had less painted and assembled. His response? 1,000 points, the spuds that got him into the game said that he needed 1500 or 1850 or some stupidity to play the game.

            This attitude has nothing to do with GW or the tourney scene its the players there driving away new players.

          • Malthrak

            Oh, that’s weird then, I’ve never encountered people that wouldn’t go down to a smaller size for a one-off friendly with a new guy, but the convention of a “typical” game or “expected” army size being 1500-200pts is solidly from GW.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            its actually very common here. People hate playing small games. Every tourney I do they beg to go higher!

        • Mach13

          And it would be super easy for them to offer some guides. Just come up with names for standard sizes. 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, whatever. Pick a few sizes, name them, and complaint over.

          • Chris. K Cook

            You are not wrong and they did to a point 400 point games were Border patrol, but they had different formats.

      • Chris. K Cook

        And the M:tG and WM/H communities are soooo healthy social interaction wise?

    • happy_inquisitor

      All the GW stores around here have had a balance of model / paint / play at modest points levels for a while now. What seems to be happening here is that GW are trying to encourage and support independent stores into a similar pattern that they believe encourages newcomers into the game.

      ITC, ETC and other big tournament formats are really not for the youngsters and while there is a strong emphasis on 2+ day events with drinking and late night socializing in between it never will be. GW seem content to let the just-for-adult tournaments go their own way and make up their own rules (as they increasingly are) while they try to work on growing the hobby by bringing in new players.

      • Chris. K Cook

        Which is good, I however know people who when they got into the game were told that 1000 points wasn’t enough for a ‘proper game’. even for casual games.

        • Christopher Saldaña

          Yeah that’s crazy, 500-1000 point games are really fun.

    • Malthrak

      1500-2000pt games were the norm pushed by GW since 1998. That was the paradigm that drove their business model for multiple editions. Just like you didn’t *have* to play WHFB at 2000-2500pts, but every GW run event for 15 years was 2000-2500pts. Surprise, when that happens, that’s what people stick with.

      That GW just cut and ran out on community interaction and events because they needed to cut every possible expense to inflate a profit percentage for a shareholder report isn’t the fault of the players, nor is it the fault of the players when they continue that paradigm in light of the fact that GW hasn’t offered any alternative for years.

      • Chris. K Cook

        I remember Bat Reps being different sizes. Also 1500 in 96 is a different barrel of Jokero than it is now.

        • Malthrak

          It absolutely is, but GW never made an effort to address that even when they still ran events, they even often went up higher to 1750 for their last GT’s and 2500pts (e.g. ‘Ard Boyz).

    • Christopher Saldaña

      I agree, it’s really strange to me that so many people get upset when you suggest to hold events at lower point levels than 1850, I haven’t played long enough to know how 1850 became the standard, but I do know that I prefer playing closer to 1500 or 1250 for a “normal” sized game. Not only does the game time shorten noticeably, and becomes an easier and cheaper size to build, but I think it’s the sweet spot for being able to take some over powered combos, while having weaknesses against a more balanced list. At 1850 there is no downside to spamming expensive and powerful units and combos along with a balanced supporting army. If you just make a big balanced list with nothing too fancy you get destroyed.

      What I’m saying is, I think the closer you get to 2000 points, the more it becomes a game of buying the best stuff and making the best combos. The closer you get to 1000 points it becomes a balancing game of powerful and good priced units and a better game of strategy.

      • Chris. K Cook

        It used to be 1750 but folks had trouble fitting the cool stuff in so it went up to 1850 because we couldn’t play at 2000 because that brought in the dreaded’double force org’ (no longer an issue in 7th or even in 6th) because “OMG someone might run 4 + tanks!” which speaking as an IG player I found adorable, we could run 18 tanks in one force org, not counting our Multilaser armed transports.

        Its just an artefact of this.

        • Christopher Saldaña

          Heh, and now Space Marines can take 14 transports for free.

          • Chris. K Cook

            The reason for not letting double force orgin 6th. “Someone may bring 4 -6 Helldrakes.

            *looks at the 9 Vendettas I can run in one force org*

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Yeah the big issue though is there is no downscaling. 1850 now gets you way more than 1850 ten years ago, as the codexes continually make units cheaper and cheaper!

          No one ever accounted for that.

  • sjap98

    Nice positive article!

  • TweetleBeetle

    Pretty well written article, actually. Of course, the loud masses will hate that you didn’t spew all over GW the entire way through.

    With the Start Collecting boxes, board games, and now this, it seems GW is getting back to doing what good companies do: grow the community. From there they can springboard into more stuff for the vets (though they have already started with increasingly intricate 40k codices, and the push of Horus Heresy stuff).

    • ZeeLobby

      I’d be totally fine with this approach if they offered real depth in these introductory offerings. I do have hope the Silver Tower game might finally make people interested in the world of AoS.

      • SundaySilence

        I aleady like AoS and am intrigued by the Silver Towers game. I am perplexed however because the last time I even heard a Silver Tower mentioned was when I played Epic all those years ago. I thought they were a 40k universe thing.

        • Aezeal

          While Warhammer and 40K universes might not be the same I’m pretty convinced the realm of chaos borders on all GW universes and so is the same for both.

          • SundaySilence

            I guess so. Thinking back; there was nothing that made them distinctly 40k; no guns or anything techy.

    • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

      Here’s hoping 🙂

  • ZeeLobby

    In the end, the setting of army size is a delicate dance between both company and consumer. GW has done little to promote small scale scenarios or games, and has often promoted large mass conflicts. It’s not always done through text, but instead through unit cost, formations/detachments and images used for materials. GW setting a specific targeted army size WOULD help, but would also hurt. Players would assume the GW actually did something to determine this point (like other companies) and they’d be wrong, as at this point it would just be a number picked out of a hat, as they haven’t assessed balance/power in years.

    In the end we as a community could do it for them, but the same people pining away for formations and detachments and how they “officially” make fluffy forces would be the same people who’d hate “official” interference in how their fluffy game is played. Competitive people already do it, and there’s no incentive for them to drop to “introductory” point levels to invite new players.

    • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

      Very well put Zee.

  • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

    So at risk of all the attacks that may come from this, I will say my piece. I will preface this by saying, I have been playing since 1998, and went as far back as the very first Rogue Trader once I learned what 40K was all about. I also played casually (Fantasy, Necromunda, etc.,) I have been the President and VP of a 40 man gaming club, TO, and Mentor (The best part) and won my share of tourneys to which I can say the best and only award I ever sought out was Best Sportsman (Always my favorite to see awarded). To say the least, I have poured more money into this hobby then I should ever admit to. But I love it…..mostly.
    So with all that said (because some of you won’t listen without a resume of this hobby, and still won’t after), I want to reply to a lot of what I read on this site as well as many others regarding our hobby. First, if you take anything I have to say as combative and demeaning, well, you have misread my words and intentions here. Secondly, I know I can’t change the internet, and everyone has complaints from pricing, to players etc., and no one has all the answers. With that last bit, here goes.
    No one has all the answers….period. Whether you are a competitive gamer in this hobby, or just a casual (horrible label), you don’t have all the answers, nor will you (rules included). The old adage of roll the dice when disagreeing on the rules was put there for a reason….to keep the fun ‘rolling’. Since the days of Rogue Trader, Chapter Approved, Citadel Journal, etc., there has always been the following cardinal rules that ‘always’ seem to be glossed over in today’s 40K generation (if you are a veteran you should be ashamed). Check with your opponent, agree, and when you can’t, roll dice and keep in the spirit of the game…having fun. Now I know, I know, well that is not competitive gaming or any other competitive outlet. While I am inclined to agree with the ‘definition’, those who reply with that’s not what competitive gaming is, are the ones that keep our hobby stagnant with new potentials in a video game, give me my victory yesterday, mentality that is today’s youth, primarily in 40k (again if you are a veteran you should be ashamed). WAAC people and those who can’t play with someone because they don’t have a large number of points, models not painted etc., are a cancer. If that is not you, then I am not talking about you. It is interesting to watch the ‘newbies’ spout all of their knowledge on all theses sites about rules, how things should be done, and blame GW for this or TOs for that, but never stop to realize that in most cases those things are out of their control. Instead, it’s, I can’t win without said model because it’s pay to win etc., or that army is too cheesy because he has too many Marines on the table and he could have bought said model for the cost of all those Marines. The sheer amount of whining is astounding, instead of complementing someone on their tactical genius and army selection even if they can only afford 500 points (some of the best and most fun I have ever had playing).
    Most of the games I have played through the years, all revolved around just all out Annihilation over actual objectives etc., except for extra victory points or controlling a portion of the board by a set number of turns. These were the games that truly showed what you were made of, when that lone guardsman refuses to run and is able to be that guerilla warfare pain in your side. If you say it isn’t possible, you haven’t played a real game (in my opinion). Look, everyone has that winner’s bone inside, and no one really wants to lose, but when you blame a company or try to use another companies way of doing something as the status quo for how all things should be done, you are way off the mark. Take for instance the players who won’t play against someone who’s army isn’t painted or WYSIWIG. Is it that hard to make a quick note on paper of what unit has what or in this day and age of smart phones and tablets take a quick picture of your opponents army list? Or better yet, just “play the game and see how well you do”. I realize that cheating has gotten out of hand in a lot of cases, most guys are playing to the turns, and stat army lists on the internet (like a MTG card deck list) instead of making their own armies and learning from their losses and wins, but you know something is really wrong in our community when you are standing in a store with your wife and son whom you play with on occasion because they have other interests 😉 and your son who isn’t that into it looks at you and says “Why is that guy being mean to the other guy when he is just trying to play the game? Me – What do you mean Son? Son – That one guy is just rolling dice and smiling and trying to have fun, but the other guy just keeps going back to his phone and arguing”…..Well if my 14 yr old who barely plays gets it from 2 minutes in the store and looking across the room, everyone here should understand or should have dealt with this. Whether you live here on BOLS which I am relatively knew to posting on here, or watch FRITZ on youtube or the myriad of other supposed experts, it always comes down to complaining (which yes in a way I am doing here).
    What really got me this time however, was the amount of prefacing with the immediate insults of someone else’s post before debating the topic. Seriously guys, someone is not an idiot just because they disagree with you or you disagree with them. It’s simple…they interpreted the rules (self taught?) or were taught the way they play. This has been going on since the beginning in all games, including Chess! It still goes on today in every game out there (even in Trouble or Parcheesi). Is it really GW’s fault? Yes and No….it says specifically in every rule book, that not every situation can be covered. It is also encouraged however for you and your opponent to make it up as you go forming a ‘narrative’. Can it work in a Tourney? Yes it can. Is this laziness on their part? Who cares? If they didn’t put out things with enough speed people would complain, let alone do it because it’s too fast. Do army’s need updates? Sure they do, but what is stopping you from using an older Codex? Before you spout it’s a new edition etc., guess what? It doesn’t matter what addition it is if your opponent is ok with a ‘legal list’ and not something you made up. The argument that old codex-es don’t fit is complete nonsense. They do fit, and I play most games anyway these days with just a few squads and no power units and still have fun. Old Armageddon Salamanders list anyone? So what if the guy has three knights, did every story in 40K end with a happy ending? No, and it isn’t supposed to. “But in competitive play, without the big armies there’s no real game there”…no, some players just learned what they can use as a crutch and others may feel like they have no choice if they want to be able to win , but when a player sits down an all Necron warrior army he’s had since the 90’s or early 2000’s that makes your giant war machines into swiss cheese….it’s cheese. SMH
    So ask yourself these questions (even in competitive play)……

    -Is my opponent truly having fun?
    -Am I being challenged enough?
    -Is this going to be a memorable battle for me in a positive way?
    -Is it worth it to WAAC against someone I know is newer player and can beat easily, or can I play/win this game and make it seem close so he has fun too?
    -Do you have the skill to make it a close game even though you think you will win? (that’s a real challenge, especially in Tourney play)
    -Is this Tournament so important as to lose potential friends to play with down the road, or to be known as “That Guy”

    If you made it this far and disagree with all I said and think I am out of touch etc., well, you are entitled to your opinion. But the take away is this….you control this hobby in your own world with your wallet, your circle of friends, but most importantly how you play the game. By control I mean simply, you have a choice as to who, how, when, and why you buy or are playing. If it is to WAAC, well you are as the acronym sounds. If not, and you are there for the spirit of table top war gaming, then you will definitely gather more bees (players) with that honey (your sportsmanship) than the latter.

    Wounded Badger,

    • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

      Apologize for my typos and auto corrects 😛