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40K Op-Ed: Should GW Take Over Competitive Play?

3 Minute Read
Feb 22 2018

GW can set down a competitive play structure globally, taking over organized play. Should they?

I’m sure you’re familiar with the one hundred and one regional flavors of 40K. No matter where you go for tourneys from your local store to the biggest events in the world – each will have it’s own flavor, rules, and local differences.


But now I want you to take a step back and think of these games:

  • X-Wing
  • Magic the Gathering
  • Everything else from FFG
  • D&D
  • Pathfinder

These games all have strictly controlled organized play structures with player metrics that are reported and tracked by the manufacturer.  It gives the manufacturer effectively complete control of the play, and allows for things like:

  • Unified apples to apples player stats.
  • Consistancy of rules and missions.
  • Firm control of player behavior via agreements required for entry.
  • Unified prize support.
  • Brand recognition and trust of the manufacturer.

These are things that cannot be matched by any third party single event or league. In certain parts of the world large scale sets of play leagues for 40K have formed, while in other areas large single 40K events with very distinct rules of play have established strong traditions. This type of diversity is not normally seen in the games where there is strong manufacturer controlled organized play – yet players seem enthusiastic and happy in those company controlled structures.

So my question for you is:


Should GW step in and take over organized play for their own games once and for all?

This would not mean an end to the diversity of events out there.  It would mean that events would be simply hosting GW sanctioned events – rather than their own inventions. If events wanted to keep their really unique offerings, those would fall outside the corporate structure and play in those events wouldn’t count towards the company controlled league stats.

I think it’s a tough choice.

On the one hand I would love to see a grand unified global league that players across the globe could compete in.  Imagine a global 40K league with the top few players from around the world competing the the finals – say in Warhammer World for example.  Imagine a GW website for tracking player stats globally with awesome drill-down stats.  It’s very heady stuff.

On the other hand – the community has built up a truly awesome and diverse set of local and regional events with the sweat and blood of tournament organizers and wildly supportive and dedicated attendees.  A global GW run league would lessen that diversity and lead to a pervasive sameness of events during each season. Inevitably some events would choose to host the GW league events and their unique voices would grow silent.

~Which would you choose – and why?



Author: Larry Vela
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