Games Workshop just hinted at Matched Play rules for players bringing their own terrain. Wait what?!
As events start appearing and the meta begins to take form, we are already seeing signs of another possible shift in the meta even before this new one settles. I know we were all just getting nice and snug with what we know of the current meta but it seems that Games Workshop will not let sit on our laurels. I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t expect something like this and figured that they would just start churning books out for their new Crusade System for narrative games. Instead, Games Workshop has already announced the next supplement for Matched Play and it involves terrain. In that case let’s explore what that could entail.
Back in the mists of time, when we still had the world that was and Games Workshop actually had a hand in putting on competitive events, bringing your own terrain was not unheard of. Especially in Fantasy, Games Workshop would have you bring terrain to their event and players would take turns placing their terrain. In some years these terrain pieces would actually be objectives for certain missions so that they had a dual purpose in the game. Due to the fact that players place the terrain, you had some “interesting” tables. In most Fantasy Battles games you had all the terrain along the edges with a big open field in the middle or lots of forests with even more forests that sprung up during the game, pesky Wood Elves. Like I mentioned, the 40K side of things weren’t really like that except when we were asked to bring something like wrecked vehicles to use as objectives. Today you don’t really see players bringing their own terrain as most tournaments are at a store or large venue. The events almost always have their own terrain to set up so there really isn’t an issue with where the terrain is placed.
Speaking of placing terrain, as I mentioned, players do not usually place their own terrain. There is one large event, Adepticon, that does allow player placed terrain, and I am wondering if this will be a feature in the upcoming book. Now I am not a fan of player placed terrain for a number of reasons. It takes time away, from the actual game, it can be really gamey, although what isn’t, and I feel it takes some of the skill necessary to play the game among other things. For some reason though, I can see Games Workshop having players place their own terrain. They already mentioned that the terrain that players bring should be in theme with their army. In addition, Games Workshop mentioned that there would be added benefits to bringing your own terrain to a Matched Play event. This actually has me worried as I am wondering what these added benefits could be and if they have been properly tested, or tested at all. I can imagine that there will be an unforseen combo that will be revealed once the book is in the wild. Hopefully it isn’t too bad but that may not even matter if no one uses the book.
Now don’t get wrong, I can see some merit to the book. Doing something like bringing your own terrain is a great way to help people just starting out with Matched Play. If there is a small group or store that doesn’t seem to have enough terrain it is an easy way to have enough for however many people show up. I can also see this as somewhat of a palette cleanser for those that are maybe a bit burned out on the normal format for Matched Play. The fact that there will be missions unique to this format should spice things up for those players and hopefully spark some creative force to maybe make some terrain pieces to go with their army. I can easily see this being the case and a store running something like this every once in a while as it could bring together both narrative and competitive players. With all that said, I don’t think you’ll be seeing any of the major tournaments or even large tournaments in general, doing this. The logistics alone in trying to manage all those players all bringing terrain with it’s own unique rules, can get pretty difficult. I can see tournament organizers just keeping it simple and not allowing this. Although, you could always run a small side event using this rule pack. Once we get the book in our hands we can make a better decision. Right now, for myself, I would gladly use it in a RTT or as a side event in a larger one.
~Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think, and how you think this new book will be received, in the comments section below.