Has Games Workshop Spoiled Us?

Pimpcron pondering why we wargamers are the way we are.

Well, hi there kids! It’s “America’s Favorite 40k Blogger Named Pimpcron Who Posts On Fridays On BoLS”, Pimpcron here. I kind of cheated, it was a pretty short list of contestants for that title. But I learned way back in my pre-teen years, that even if you’re just beating yourself, you’re still winning.

I Have A Confession To Make

So for the last year, I’ve been developing and play testing my own skirmish game. I’m almost ready to release it to the public like a barrel of bubonic rats. It will be free rules and you use your own models, so the barrier to entry couldn’t possibly be any lower. It’s a skirmish game with RPG-lite elements to it and there’s a very simple template for creating your own stats and rules for whatever models you bring to the table. And the backstory makes sense why you might be fighting my custom Thundercats warband versus my Star Trek officers with my Native Americans and Smurfs watching. I know it sounds crazy but I have a blast with making my own warbands.

Totally not kidding… LOOK!

Anyway, I’ve slowly been adding people to the list of play testers in my local area. We were playing a 2 vs 2 playtest of my game at a friend’s house and I asked why my one friend Justin didn’t want to try it. (He reads my articles so I’m waiting for another call from him when he sees this.) He said that if he gets into a game, he wants to buy something. And being that my rules are free and I’m not selling miniatures, there’s nothing to buy. The idea really struck me at first. Why wouldn’t you want to just play a free game with no strings attached?

Are We Spoiled Consumers?

I started thinking about what he said, and he has a point. After so many years of “old” GW’s consumer abuse, we’ve grown to like having to buy stuff when we don’t have to. I mean, to play Age of Sigmar, I literally didn’t have to buy a thing due to the rules being free, warscrolls being free, and warscrollbuilder.com for the points. But guess what? I prefer to hold a book in my hands versus printed pages or a tablet with a pdf. So I ended up buying all of the Alliance books, and the General’s Handbook.

“Why did I buy books I could have printed for free?

Well, it’s because …. I have a problem, don’t I?”

I think everyone would agree that buying stuff is fun when it’s something you want to buy. For instance, purchasing house insurance is not exactly fun. Wasting money on a motorized, velvet-trimmed, monogrammed army transport with your chapter’s name bedazzled is totally fun!

There’s also the idea that if we like something, we want to support it financially. I get that side too, because you want to show that company that you like what they do, and want to keep them alive long enough to make more of it.

“Old School” Wargamers Were Cheapskates

I’m talking about the forefathers of all of us. The pioneers who settled this hobby and used sticks for miniatures, filed down teeth for dice, and dirt for greenstuff. They were some cheap mofos.

So you see, that larger rock to the south of the bridge is a DeffDread.

The group of pebbles to the north are my Hormagaunts.

It’s funny, because I played wargames back when I was a child and didn’t even know what wargames were. I was completely unaware that there was such a thing as wargaming, but I bought green army men, spray painted them different factions colors, and printed out D&D papercraft buildings for terrain. I made a whole game with points, and different wargear (machine gun, bazooka, grenade) and everything. So I was an old-school gamer and never knew it. That mentality of getting your hands dirty, making your own rules and forging your own path has always stuck with me. I have a great time searching for new models on 3rd party sites whenever inspiration strikes me for a new Warband. But a lot of people don’t seem to prefer that sort of freedom.

I remember having to spend a whopping $30 for all of the supplies to make my army man game. It bothered me because I was super cheap. What I call Old-School Wargamers are happy playing fringe games that aren’t Mantic, Wyrd, or GW. They aren’t used to spending money constantly with new models being released and new editions being put out. But now, after many years of playing Warhammer, I constantly feel the urge to buy something. That really bothers me, given where I started in this hobby. I balked at $30 for a whole game, and now I don’t bat an eye at spending $50 for five models.

All of this contemplating has me questioning how other people see wargaming compared to how I see it.

So here is where I ask you some questions, answer below!:

1: Do you feel that wargames need a printed rulebook to seem more official?

2: Do you want to be told which factions are “official factions” or do you like to make your own?

3: What is the first thing that will turn you off from a wargame? (Other than not liking the models)

Pimpcron signature 3

2017 Shorehammer Button for BoLS
  • GnomesForge

    Some of us just like books over screens.

    Your game looks very cool.

  • David Graves

    1. I like printed rulebooks, not because they are more official but because they are easier to refer to for me. I find it’s way easier to dip in and out of compared to digital rules.

    2. I am not averse to creating warbands but one of the main things that attracts me to a wargame is the fluff. Strong fluff generally works best when the rules reflect it, the result is that I tend to go for games with established characters and factions.

    3. Obnoxious developers. When I see a developer treat the players with contempt or arrogance it will usually result in me abandoning it fairly quickly.

    • Discoqing

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Muninwing

      yeah… i’d love to see a reasoning for the world where the Enterprise crew is off fighting smurfs. that’s an epic story, or a terrible fanfiction.

      even if it was just something simple like the old Palladium game Rifts, where dimensional tears let in all sorts of things, at least there’s something.

      or, maybe some worldbuilding that makes it all make sense, where these things are manifestations of some other ideas or ideals, and where there are some sort of storylines that keep it all together. like, this isn’t necessarily the *real* smurfs from the TV show, but as smurfs they are embodiments of this concept, and as such fit into the narrative *here*

  • I’m not a big fan of ‘I invented this’ games. Dunno exactly why. Maybe because not everyone has access to it (due to being a local and unknown thing) or… ah, I just dunno, feels even more nerdy than usual. I know people enjoying inventing and playing their own games, I don’t.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      Where do you think big commercial games come from? People invent them, you know.

      • Yea. And then they get open and widely published in some form. However, that doesn’t change my feeling on it.

        • Grieux

          Brilliant 🙂

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          40k started as one guy’s homebrew game called Laserburn, badly copied on a Roneo machine and sold mail order.

      • J Mad

        There is also the quality/crudeness from most of these.

        If it is extremely well done, looks profession then yeah i’ll look at it. But sadly most home made games are not like that.

    • Muninwing

      i think that many of those kinds of games are lacking in certain quality.

      then again, AoS when released wasn’t much better, and the fluff was actually worse, than most of the the self-made games i’ve seen…

  • Jesse Sinclair

    1.) I don’t need a printed book, but I’m FAR less likely to look at a clearly Microsoft Word export to PDF looking document. I want to see something that looks professional before I take it seriously.

    2.) I prefer official factions. I really love the story for games, and I need to feel invested in them for it to be worth the time and money to build a force.

    3.) I have two “instant lose interest” buttons: I don’t think the models look interesting and characterful, or I don’t think the story is interesting and characterful.

    Infinity os a really well made game, but i find the models to be very uninspiring and lacking character. So I can’t get into it. Age of Sigmar is the opposite. Love the models, but I find the story and workd suuuuper boring and one dimensional.

    • Muninwing

      “take it seriously” i think is the key word.

      so many of these kinds of things are vanity projects, fun exercises that are so much in one person’s way of thinking that they don’t necessarily translate out. or they are so derivative and unoriginal that they are painful to look at.

      but Warmachine started as someone’s D&D campaign, and managed to become enough of an established world with its own overused characters and it own history. Honestly, much of AoS reads the same way, like it started as someone’s D&D setting and got forced into its role… though their setting is far more derivative, with surprisingly little original additions where there could be massive detailing.

      i remember waiting in line at a con, talking 40k with some other like-minded geeks, when one got on the topic of his homebrew codex idea… it was basically a reason to resurrect squats, though as tech-scavengers who could repurpose anyone else’s mechanical tech as their own. it’d be cool if that wasn’t already part of Ork lore, if his balance ideas weren’t so out of whack, and if it had any more to it than that. and i’ve heard a hundred homebrew ideas that were as bad or worse.

      it’s related to my feelings on fanfiction. i know that there are some good writers who pour volume into fanfic. who even make their own worlds instead of tacking onto someone else’s. it is an interesting exercise, and people who write often get started writing about their favorite characters, so there’s a certain amount of permissability there. but so much of it is amateur and unrefined, and so much of the unrefined work is also low quality for a number of other reasons (immature addressing of themes, unintelligible writing, plot holes, “wouldn’t this be cool if…” events at the cost of reality, etc.

      for some product — and with writing i’m grudgingly in here too — i’m not convinced of its quality until it has gone through a more official process.

      but if it’s fun enough, it shouldn’t be a big deal. and if it’s all just for fun, it doesn’t need to be taken so seriously.

    • UnpluggedBeta

      On that last point, I completely get where you’re coming from about a story for a game being an instant lose interest. I think a lot of old ip’s run the risk of turning their otherwise beloved setting into one of those. AoS is the clearest example I suppose.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    1. Necessary? No Convenient? yes
    2. If it exists in the fluff to one degree or another, I’ll play with or against it.
    3. Bland/ridiculously complicated rules. Which is why I don’t play Flames of War/KoW, but I do play Tanks/AoS.

    • Nostok

      What is it about the KoW rules you find bland or ridiculous? I’ve never played FoW but have played and enjoyed Tanks simplicity. I play KoW irregularly but I quite like it apart from some elements of the charging and I am wondering if it is the same for you?

      • Heinz Fiction

        KoW rules might look bland at first when you come from WHFB. However I’d say they are almost perfect for the rank & file fantasy battles they aim to simulate.

        • euansmith

          I like how they have an actual set of USRs that, so far, they have pretty much stuck to. I also like that the spells stress effect over cause, so the players can assign any colour to them they want.

          • Heinz Fiction

            They latter is a design paradigm that is also reflected in the army lists. They are intentionally vague in unit descriptions so they fit a broader range of models.

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        Low unit differentiation, because apart from arbitrary statline differences, a Horde is a Horde, generic unit upgrade options, by which I mean having a single master list of magic items that, while versatile, don’t do anything to reinforce a Faction’s identity, and very coarse damage resolution, as unit stats aren’t affected by damage, but only go from fine to bricked to dead. I do like that I can play big blocks of models without having to track each one’s movement, health, or attacks, but it gets disappointing when you can shrug off everything in one turn only to lose a whole flank to a bunch of lucky rolls by your opponent.

        Artillery is both ridiculously potent and ridiculously complicated in FoW. What takes a minute of die-rolling in 40k takes 5 minutes of navigating charts in FoW; of course, unlike 40k, whatever gets hit by that attack dies easily in FoW, vehicle or infantry. What’s awful is that it’s all too easy to optimize for that, but even then, it’s a long process to pull off.

        • Nostok

          Thanks for the feedback on my question. I understand the KoW points you make. I quite like the way you don’t have to remove models etc. and the multi-basing and so probably value that over the damage stat changes. But what you mention is an interesting point that would change the game but I am not sure if having to finish a unit and target priority accounts for this in abstraction. I believe because I don’t play very often I haven’t noticed the lack of differences with unit and faction identity.

  • Karru

    1. It will depend completely on the “game” itself. If the game is complex that requires 40+ page rulebook, then yes, a printed book is a must. Having to go back and forth in a 40+ page rulebook, especially when you are starting out is massively bad for me. It makes the learning hard and cumbersome. Other than that, Age of Sigmar and the GHB are good examples on how you can make a digital rulebook. I don’t own any of the physical books, but I do own the GHB through the app. Since the only rules I need are the 4 pages and those in Matched Play, there really isn’t that much hassle.

    2. In a way, yes. A good structure for the game is something that is a must in my opinion. One should have a good core fluff for their game. The other alternative would be of course to go the way of your typical Pen & Paper RPG where you are only given the rules and maybe some basic guidelines and then you go from there. Basically a setting like “Gothic Sci-fi” and that’s it. From there, people can make their own “factions” that fit the bill. The problem otherwise would quickly be that the difference between themes would be too much. A merry band Medieval Knights in steampunk looking armour facing against an army of chainsword wielding murder clowns, while something to behold, might cause some… problems when it comes to holding up the narrative.

    3. Too simple or too complex. A good example of this is Age of Sigmar and Infinity. Age of Sigmar, while still having just about enough rules in it to make even 7th edition 40k rulebook to sweat, is too simplified to my tastes. The game was made in to MTG when it comes to army composition and how they interact with the enemy army. You opponent’s army has very little effect on your army on a basic level and it will boil down to mostly luck and some skill to win the day. This makes for a very boring game for me, because while I might be interested on testing out different fun themes and lists, my opponent’s might be more interested in just playing the game normally. This means they have their “optimised” list against my “for fun” list. The end result is me being beaten to the ground because my list wasn’t optimised as well.

    Infinity on the other hand is just way too complex for me. There is so many rules to keep track of and the basis requirements for the game are insane. You need a huge amount of terrain in order to play it properly, it isn’t even funny. Then you have the strange naming scheme going on. Overall, the game is a massive drag to play in my opinion. You invest more on the terrain than you do on the models.

    A good example of a “perfect” game is 5th edition 40k for me. If you look at the Core Rules, you see that the rules are very simple, yet complex. They were very nice to learn and it always felt fun to play. After a handful of games, I had pretty much memorised the entire rulebook.

  • Arthfael

    I like rules that feel like they function smoothly. But, are we spoiled? Does the sun rise in the east and set in the west (on Terra)? Complaining about the lack of updates for sisters is not being spoiled. But I cringe every time I had someone ask for a plastic thunderhawk. Or complain we still don’t have Imperator class titans.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I like the sound of your game. I’ll play it. Cavemen vs Blake’s Seven baddies.

    • Tshiva keln

      Just don’t play with the goodies. Avon has a special rule where if he is the last man standing the game ends, you roll a few more dice but don’t know what they do, and you can’t determine who wins. Can get frustrating.😉

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        As long as every game is set in a quarry in Essex it’ll be fine ☺

    • cudgel

      Thanks !
      You just reminded me that I have to finish watching Blake, THANK YOU SO MUCH, I HAVE SO MUCH FREE TIME.

      I can not tell if I am being sarcastic.

    • Thanks Knight!

  • Scatter 667

    1. I think a printed rule book is easier to handle and a lot quicker than a pdf or something. For me it doesn’t have to look fancy, but good. And it has to be well organized and indexed, since i want to play the game and not struggle with finding the rules. I play shadowrun and you just have tons of books and rules all over the place and that takes away from actually playing, similar to 7th.
    2. I think it depends on the people you play with. some just stick to the rules and play whats in the books. Nothing wrong with that. But others want to experiment, try new things and want to be creative. Those two approaches sometimes collide and good rules should allow for both ways and interaction between the two approaches to playing games in general.
    3.For me its the freedom of how to play the game. to much restrictions is just not fun. hell, in rl there are a lot of people that tell you how you should do stuff. i don’t want that in my free time! The background is huge as well. I like fantasy books and movies, but i don’t like to play fantasy battles, they just don’t feel like fun. don’t know why. Same goes for WW2, for me its just still to close to be fun!

    I want to make an additional point here about the spoiled consumer. I sometimes have the feeling that in wh40k people always want the new and shiny stuff and sometime frown upon old models and armies. I have an old CSM army and returned to the hobby after 10+ years. Some seem to look down and think its just old stuff! i admit it is, but its an army and a game we want to play, models are only one part of the game. Once i got even asked what tanks i was running and from which company they where since they were so small and a bad stand in for rhinos. Turned out i have 4 MK1 Rhino/Predators, but people just don’t know about the history of their game and they also don’t seem to care, but just look for new stuff! The rise of the primaris seems to show that again, where some want to get rid of their trusty minimarines cause they are no longer the #1 heros of the galaxy.

    The last thing is terrain and stuff. people seem to buy everything pre-made, either from gw or other comapies and don’t build stuff themselves that much anymore. And here again they frown about scratch builds, which i somehow don’t like. It was a big part of the hobby with all the stuff in white dwarf and i think its still a big part. Its also time consuming and therefore valueable. Terrain is key, but some buy a few pieces and play on nearly empty tables because the stuff is so expensive. And than they wonder why the games are so boring, since no cover and maneuvering is involved. just strange…

  • Bakvrad

    First of all: books are always better (except for lord of the rings, the movies were more thrilling +waitingforthenerdrage+)
    I don’t regret having bought all those codices that get invalidated now. I knew this would happen when I bought them
    Secondly: we always buy things we actually don’t need but that are nice to have, when they are there. I have so many models assembled and painted that I never used in a game (but the thread I could use them is real 😀 )
    But yeah there is a urge. It’s an arms race after all. Bigger better more. I feel it too. That’s why I said: no minis this year (only limited editions). And I tell you, it’s hard. I need my plastic fix… but I painted more.

    • My dad did the same thing…You should see his buy list for when the year is up…….and that is BEFORE the new edition drops.

    • cudgel

      I did not like the lotr movies very much, I found them bland and boring. They cut out a lot of interesting elements to add running…..I never even finished watching the third movie…

  • MarcoT

    2: Make your own has the reek of zero balance, so I prefer pre-fab.
    3: It needs to have something unique. And a creative wound mechanic doesn’t cut it.

  • Lyca Atteneder

    1. To stick to the wording of the question: Yes, a printed rulebook makes it look more official (to me at least). Not that I would need that to play it though.

    2. I think it kinda convenient if there are certain factions in the fluff you can choose from. BUT if you have the option to create your own (possibly with some rules to make them feel more personal and unique) it would be quite awesome.

    3. That’s actually a tricky one for me. But I guess it’s a mixture of setting, overall fluff, size, mechanics and of course models. I can live pretty good with it, if say one or maybe two of the mentioned points do not really appeal to me (except for models… I have to like them). i.e. I really enjoy AoS even though the fluff might not be very interesting at the moment.

  • David

    As an admech I like having 5 rulebooks getting them all on the train along with the army is the first strength check on the way to a gt

    • ILikeToColourRed

      its what mechadendrites were made for ^_^

  • orionburn

    1) No, but the option to purchase one is nice. I’m a tactile kind of guy so flipping through a book has more meaning to me than using a tablet. More and more we’ll see that gap get wider due to the younger gamers out there growing up in a world that is much more digital than an 80s kid like myself.

    2) I tend to be a very structured guy, but I like a system where you do have official factions but allows you to create your own. For example coming up with your own chapter/lore but using the rules for an already existing Space Marine chapter like Salamanders, Dark Angels, etc. My only issue with “non official” factions is that fear that somebody is going to cheat the system somehow, such as cherry picking the best rules from other factions. Even if the game rules clearly state you can’t there’s always that fear in the back of my mind.

    3) I will say GW has spoiled me as there was some mech type game on Kickstarter a while back but it just used paper placards to represent the “models”. Game looked really interesting, but without models I lost interest in it. I think games like SW:A are great in that the rules are somewhat deep but not difficult to grasp, you can use existing models, or you can but into the game with a pretty low price point.

  • Heinz Fiction

    I prefer a printed rulebook if it is available.

    Other than that I don’t feel the need to buy something. Actually I’m quite happy whenever I can use my existing models in a new game (thats why I bought the Shadow War Armageddon rulebook).

    Official factions or not depends a bit on the type of game I’m playing. Some come with a fixed setting and background, aome are more of a toolbox to build your own universe. I’m fine with both.

    Apart from boring models and fluff (I’m looking at you Sigmar), the major turnoff for me are unnecessarily detailed and complicated rules. Don’t create a rule just because you can. Always ask yourself if it really serves a purpose worth the time needed to learn and apply it.

  • gordonshumway

    1) To seem more official? I suppose yes. But I am of the mind that a nice little booklet with the core rules (mostly for reference) would do in that regard. If units/models have rules, publishing them digitally is preferable in order to facilitate and encourage updating them with greater ease, so that balance problems don’t persist indefinitely. It shows the creators are more committed to maintaining the game in my opinion.

    2) I guess this kind of connects to 1 in that being told which factions are “official” shows that the devs are committed to the game, enough to create an interesting story and characters to populate their tiny world with. Also clearly defined “factions”…in a small and neat matrix…usually indicate an attempt at game balance. As games grow and add more factions they usually suffer from irreparable bloat (40k), or irreparable without blowing up the game every 3-4 years. But, surprise, that’s a fun way to make money, especially when you sell models. However, as long as these rules for statting out models or factions (as you vaguely describe) are balanced and thoroughly play-tested, the make-your-own-faction thing can be fun. I just don’t want to be following the rules and be blindsided by my opponent bending/breaking them. That leads to NPE…which leads to…

    3) Since you say “other than” I will skip commenting on models, though this is huge. The single other biggest turn off for me is a perceived or actual lack of balance in a game. Perceived because others won’t want to play the game, and you can’t play wargames alone (or it just isn’t fun). Actual because it is boring to be playing a game that 50% of the players are abusing unabashedly.

    Additionally a cheesy or unfocused setting (see 2) will turn me off. For instance I love Malifaux, even though at the outset it is kind of set up to fail. Steampunk western horror fantasy scifi seems like an awful premise, but they kill it with not only great (and reasonably balanced) rules, but very strong and flavorful lore. And as of 2E really nice models. Conversely there is a game like KoW, which has absolutely no flavor of its own and rules-wise exists as a sort of stand in for WFB. Could not be less interested. The models are also serviceable but bland. It has no heart.

    Lastly let me say that I think what you need is to take a good, hard look at the question “Am I releasing a game or a game system?” The distinction for me is that you can have a good game system (think many RPGs), with modular, easy-to-customize rules that allow a player to tell their own story. OR, you can have a game-game, one that is a creative act, your own brainchild that brings people into your story. It gives them just enough tools to make it their own, but in the end you are guiding the way, both for game balance purposes and story/faction ones. In my humble opinion, wargames rarely work as the former, and almost always need to be the latter to survive. Take from that what you will.

    ***Bonus: I wish you would write more articles like this. I am not a fan of your attempts at humor, but I think you have a keen critical mind when put to other purposes. Hope we will see more about your game, maybe a dev blog type thing, on here in the future. Lord knows BoLS needs more actual content and less regurgitated PR crap.

  • Daniel

    1. Yes.
    2. Only official factions. I even do not like conversions.
    3. Cartoonish minis/silly elements.

    • Just in case you’re wondering, Thundercats, Smurfs, and Starfleet officers aren’t part of the official backstory, unless you make your own warband and put them in it. I have, and I love them! But the 8 official factions are very serious. This game is as silly or serious as you want it to be.

  • euansmith

    1: Until the release of proper VR, I’ll prefer a physical item to a digital one (I have numerous copies of “Brutality” printed out as someone keeps updating it 🙁 ).

    2: I really like games like Dragon Rampant, where you are given a selection of basic units (like Heavy Cavalry or Belligerent Infantry), that you are free to write your own fluff for. The same with Frostgrave, where your “Infantryman” can be any appropriately equipped mini. Of course, Brutality is another game like this.

    3: “400 counters”; any game that has loads of bits to track conditions.

    • lol. I do feel sorry about constant updates. I’ve been talking with my accountant to reimburse you for the paper and ink. Unfortunately, he says that my income from this game is hovering around zero. 😀

  • 1) i prefer an actual book. It doesn’t have to be a $100 300 page hardback. But I prefer a book.

    2) i prefer official factions.

    3) the main thing other than if the models look bad that turn me off from a game is its setting. Ex: world war 2 games… not my thing at all no matter how good the rules are.

    The next thing that I look at is style of game. Games that are more storytelling ventures appeal to me more than games that are about espn endorsements and world championship belts. Ex: warmachine is a game i don’t pay attention to because the community around it tends to be hyper competitive which is a style of play I donj’t like.

  • Damistar

    I think the preference for company produced games is mostly to do with the players. They want an anonymous third party to settle rules disputes so they don’t have to make arguments personal with their friends. It’s easier on a friendship to be able to say “Those idiots at GW don’t know how to write a balanced game” than to say “Bob, did you even think this rule through?”.

    • My system gives you balanced building blocks to build your models’ stats how you like. Balance was paramount to me and what has taken a year to get right. But that being said, you and your opponent could bring the same models to the table, and have different stats for them. You just use the resources, you don’t have to actually homebrew your own rules for this. So if it isn’t balanced, you can blame the Pimpcron. 😛

  • LordKrungharr

    I want the Thundercats! I like ‘official’ printed pages or cards, would be awesome if they came with the models. That said, I don’t want the rules attached to my models like Xwing or Hercoclix. Cool models are paramount, but while I loved the models for Critter Commandos the rules were such trash I couldn’t bring myself to play it (and nobody else wanted to try either).

    • Right now, there are 8 official factions in the game, but tons of space to make your own. And i realize that I neglected to mention that Star Trek, Thundercats, and Smurfs aren’t any of those official factions. Though, they could fit into a couple of them.

  • Muninwing

    i have the money, and this is what i spend it on. being a hobby, it’s a place to invest your luxury spending and gain pleasure from it.

    so i like buying the books. and some other stuff.

    my Deathwing have the FW shoulderpads. my Iron Hands i’m putting together now all have IH shoulders and the FW upgrades (they’re a clan/company that was massacred by Necrons and lost much of their more modern equipment, so they have a mix of armor marks and heavy post-war bionic conversions).

    my present to myself when i finish my current degree will be a FW vehicle.

    because i can.

    even when i had less, i still really liked collecting all the books. because i could.

  • dreamwarder

    First turn off: crappy fluff. AOS I’m looking at you. Primaris marines, you’re a BAD sign.

    • One man’s garbage is another’s treasure.

  • Vepr

    As I have gotten older money is not the problem anymore with games it is the time investment. We are spoiled but we are spoiled with choices these days. It is a good thing to have so many good games out there but if my friends are not playing it I am a lot less likely to dip my toe in. I have seen so many games come and go that if I see a longevity issues I back off. (VOR… Chronopia…Void) Sniffle 🙁 Anyways the first thing I look at with a game is how the developers respond to their fan base. Arrogance or a lack of a sense of humor are red flags for me.

    • HOW DARE YOU PEASANT!? This is very serious business you simpleton! … I mean, it’s all good fam. 😀

  • Basti Schreyer

    It’s great to see Pimpcron back with a more serious article.

    As for the questions:

    1. I don’t think a physical book is needed per se but I do like the rules being displayed in a way that confers a certain look and feel for the game. Having a custom layout and design indicates production value and a genuine investment in the game. Plain text is much less appealing be it physical or digital.

    I will say though that a friend and I decidet to try Battlefleet Gothic (basically for free since rules and print out ships are available online – I guess I’m somewhat oldschool too) and having the rules as PDF and printed on loose sheets was quite the hassle.

    The small ‘rules only’ rulebooks you get in the 40k starter set are the best compromise between functionality and cost. Having to lugg around an IA book for just the fourty-odd pages of rules in the back is obnoxious.

    2. I do like the idea of making my own faction or subfaction for a game if it is represented in the fluff. The idea of bringing an army to the battlefield that you previously read about in the fluff is great. It always means that the player will enjoy fielding ‘his’ army.
    But there begin the problems. Creating your own rules takes time, especially if you want your units to be balanced against the preexisting ones.
    Most people if they invest the time to play want to enjoy themselves. Somebody’s homebrew army can easily be overpowered or do someting that you think twists the base rules too much.
    So most players decide not to waste their time loosing against someones op army. It feels like the other guy was cheating.
    Unfortunately this lack of trust in the other guy to make his own creation fair is a big hurdle. Basically you need to convince people to accept the possibility of a totally lopsided game. That is verry difficult when the other person is just looking for a pickup game.
    If you know what you are getting into homebrew rules can be a lot of fun to try out.

    3. I see somebody anticipated the most obvious answer and wanted to make us think a little harder.
    So here are the things turning me off in wargames.
    Beyond bland models, a bland and uninteresting setting makes me not care for a game. (Of course that is a matter of taste. I for one don’t care much for the Star Wars spaceship game but the WW1 version it was more or less based on appeals much more to me)
    A tight and fair ruleset is another big thing. After all what is the point in a game that is no fun to play. (That of course is rather subjective, too).

  • Nosebleed

    Great Questions. I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

    Q1: Do you feel that wargames need a printed rulebook to seem more official?
    A: Yes, but more because of providing options to plays who want to own hardcopy rulebooks. Companies release free e-rulebooks, but people still buy hardcopy ones because it plays on the inner collector mindset of geeks.

    Q2: Do you want to be told which factions are “official factions” or do you like to make your own?
    A: I’d love to be told which are “official factions”. Gives me a base to work with on creating my own.

    Q3: What is the first thing that will turn you off from a wargame? (Other than not liking the models)
    A: Rules based around uncontrolled randomization. I prefer a tactical game where I am the one who decide the fate of my men, not my dices.

  • eMtoN

    1. I prefer a well produced printed book. Saves me from having to print and bind it myself.

    2. Official factions – with solid options for customization. The hope is that when creating those factions someone actually thought about balance…

    3. Lack of additional content and/or an unbelievable back story. I read a lot of books. So before starting a game I’m looking at what novels are available. If the story line is garbage or non existent then I won’t try the game. I’m not talking about writing style – that’s hit or miss and often author specific. The 40k story line seems really thought out which is why I started playing.

    A counter example is Maelstrom’s Edge. I participated in the kickstarter and got the initial box set. However after reading a couple books and learning the back story I couldn’t find any motivation for playing the game. If the whole universe is going to die and there is nothing the participants can do about it then there’s nothing to fight for in my mind. That game sits boxed up on my shelf.

    Point is: give me a reason to play beyond just rolling some dice. If the reason is good enough I’ll forgive a lot of issues. However if the reason is crap then it doesn’t matter if it’s the best game on the planet.

  • Deacon Ix

    also by virtue “America’s Least Favorite 40k Blogger Named Pimpcron Who Posts On Fridays On BoLS” /jk 🙂 <3

    On the subject of paying for stuff – when I first started as a school kid with no money paying for anything was a luxury – card cutout of an ork dread from second was a Carnifex, text books where hills, everything was as cheap as possible.
    Now I earn some moneys I'm happy to spend on stuff I enjoy even to teh point of getting limited editions (I do feel like a bit idiot for getting them tho).
    There is probably a case of 'If I have invested money into it I feel more invested' in a lot of instances.

    • Cool! I won two categories! 😀

  • Joey Bittner

    1. If there’s no other official tools, or merch, than yeah, Most likely.

    2. As long as I can fit them into an official faction, I like making my own.

    3. GW levels of complicated narrative in non GW games. I’m having enough trouble trying to get 40k straight, I don’t need warmachine or hordes to make my life even more miserable.

    But regardless, I’d love to see this game and how it plays when you’re done with it.

    • Thanks! I’m excited to release it. It’s been my life-long dream to publish my own game.

  • cudgel

    I think, we as a society, have been absorbing ads for so long we don’t understand how to be frugal.

  • cudgel

    I think that you should make some official factions and then just add the whole “a crazy rift can open and who knows what will pop out.”

    Keeps both groups happy, and you get to develop your own world (Double fun !).

    • So far I have 8 official factions, but the fluff supports unlimited numbers more. Without going into too much detail. 😀 So it is much like you just described.

  • Danbob

    Paper books have one, huge advantage for me, that I’ve seen digital rules try to replicate, but never do it well enough for me to swap my dead trees for a tablet permanently, and that’s being able to leave your finger on one page and flick to another to look something up or compare…

  • J Mad

    “And being that my rules are free and I’m not selling miniatures,
    there’s nothing to buy. The idea really struck me at first. Why wouldn’t
    you want to just play a free game with no strings attached?”

    Well its not b.c it is free. It b.c future gaming even in a free game will cost. If he enjoys it then he will want ot buy the coolest models for coolness sake and make rules for them. it would consume him.

    You see this in ever new player willing to spend some extra money. We all had that guy/friend at the local buy army after army, or xpac after xpac etc…

    Your game is free to start, with the potential to cost 1000’s

  • Jennifer Burdoo

    I’ve been experimenting with Donald Featherstone’s historical rules – he basically invented modern wargaming back in the ’60s but felt that a good set of rules ought to fit on a postcard. And they do – all you need is the basics of movement, shooting, close combat and morale, and there are only three types of units – infantry, cavalry and artillery. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Of course, you can delve deeper to make things more realistic, account for things like terrain, national specialties, weather and so on, but there’s nothing wrong with just setting up some green army men – or khaki, grey, red, blue, etc – and tossing dice.

    When it comes to official factions I like enough options to make “do-it-yourself” units – Osprey’s The Men Who Would Be Kings, for example, has five basic unit types that can have minor changes to the player’s taste. You want Gurkhas? Declare that your Regular Infantry are Fierce. Are your militia green? Make them Irregular Infantry, Poor Shots and Unenthusiastic. Done.

    I look forward to seeing Pimpcron’s rules and if they can be used for historical skirmishes.

  • GiftoftheMagi

    1.) Overall I prefer print over electronic. No need for power, easier to reference and mark, and you can make notes in the margins.

    2.) Both. Stories sell games. Just the way it is. Having some “official” factions or forces as (at least) examples not only help first time players get into it faster, but could also start their experiments into their own creations later. However the idea that you could create your own force according to your own likes and wants IS a nice feature.

    3.) Multiple “must buys” to get started. Not listening to your customer base. Treating your own canon with contempt. Inflexible rule sets.