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Op-ed: The Most Important Thing About 40K to Fix is…

5 Minute Read
Apr 10 2018
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40K is a great if flawed game, what would you fix given a chance?

8th Edition 40K is a fantastic game. It provides more enjoyment to more people than pretty much any other tabletop game. It is not without flaws. Because people, myself included like to focus on what we’d like to improve, rather than whats already good, these flaws tend to get discussed a lot. 40K is, however, a game that is always trying to grow and improve, a game seeking to fix its flaws. So let’s look a couple of the major flaws in the game as it stands and try to figure out what would be the most important one to fix.

Soup For Days

Maybe… maybe we made too much soup? 

As 8th ages, armies seem to be becoming more and more soupy. A soup army refers that an army that is built using several factions or sub-factions, rather than focusing on one in particular. Chaos and Imperial soup lists are widespread these days, drawing from several Codecs to make powerful lists. Eldar soup lists/Yannri lists also exist but are less common. Soup lists tend to be very powerful, and the fact that not all factions can make soup lists compounds the issue. However given the design philosophy of 8th this issue may be more of a “feature not a bug” situation, with people only really bothered by it because it differs from how things were done in the past.

Spam

Is Spam really all that bad? 

Everyone’s favorite whipping boy is 8th edition is spam. Spam is the “tactic” of taking multiples of the same, often powerful, unit in your army. These are the 7 Flyrant or 10 Shield-Captain lists.  The basic premise is that if I can take unit A and unit B freely, and unit A is better than B, why would I ever take unit B? The answer to a spammer is you wouldn’t; you’d take more of unit A. Now to be fair to 8th, spam is not a problem new to this edition, and has plagued 40K for decades. 8th’s Detachment structure has helped to make it worse, but 8th has also tried to address the issue head-on in some cases, such as T’au Commander, Astra Militarum Command Squad, etc. so the powers that be do seem aware of the issue.

Detachments

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WHY ARE YOU A THING!

8th Edition radically changed how armies are built with the introduction of detachments. While detachments offer some structure to building a list it is so free from that players can in effect take just about whatever units they wish. This freedom of list building has helped lead to both soup lists and exacerbated the spam issue. The Supreme Command detachment, in particular, gets a lot of flak for being often abused.  I could say more about detachments, but Adam just wrote an excellent article on them, so check that out for more.

Simplistic Vehicles

Why yes, I can fire all my guns out of my antenna. 

This particular issue is more a matter of taste than clear-cut. 8th edition did a lot to simplify how vehicles worked in the game. It changed their stat-line to be identical to all other units and removed fire arcs and facings. While this without a doubt made the game easier to pick up, it also cost the game concerning realism and tactical depth. Vehicles stopped feelings different and special and started feeling a lot like over-sized infantry. A good number of players feel that 8th went too simplistic on vehicles and that it dumbs down the game. They would like a return to at least slightly more in-depth rules for them. While people may contest this point, it is for some at least a huge issue with the edition.

Too Many Named Characters

How can I be at every battle all across the galaxy? The Warp! 

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40K used to be a game about player created heroes leading armies across the galaxy. In past editions, HQ choices tended to be nameless characters that could be heavily customized to create something special. While there where named characters, famous heroes, in the game they were fairly few and it was rare to see them on the tabletop. In some cases, you even had to ask permission to use them. While 8th edition did not start the trend of moving to the game to feature more and more named characters it has pushed it more that way.

Back in my day…

More and more we see lists dominated by unique named characters, like the Primarchs, or Yvraine, and these heroes dominate games. In fact, some armies don’t work without a named hero leading them. At the same time, we’ve seen customization options for generic characters dwindling, with some generic heroes, like a Captain in Gravis Armour, having no customization options at all. Overall 40K both on the tabletop and in the fluff is rapidly narrowing from a story of a galaxy at war to the stories of a few major players in a Galaxy that is at war – as you find in some major wargames from other manufacturers.

What Would You Fix?

I want to state again that 40K gets so much right. No other game has ever come even close to doing as much for so many people as 40K has. And the fact is that 40K will never please everyone; it can’t. I’ve mentioned above a few of if not the biggest, at least the most talked about, flaws in 8th edition. I’ve tried to keep it to issues with the edition as a whole, not limited to competitive play; so no mention of slow play or cheating. Again, some of these issues are only issues to some people and not to others.

So here are my questions to you dear readers. If you had control of GW for a day and could fix ONE and only one problem, what would it be? How would you fix it? Let us know down in the comments.

Did we miss any major issues? Let us know down in the comments! 

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