Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pro's and Con's of the Pro's

Hey everyone. I thought I would write this article over something I am noticing more and more. As I continues to play new games, with the same people... I begin to realize that there is a change in players after they have played many a game and read the rule book several times. This is and interesting sight to see, and can often lead to at times great... but other times frustrating moments. It comes mostly from the idea that some of the newer gamers of the 40k universe will often times find ways to avoid the style of play that some of the older chaps on the battlefield may look at. This is not a harp on the new players, nor anyone... just something I have noticed.

Now, I guess I should clarify that I am not referring to the players who have just walked in the door and picked up their army. In this article, I am referring to those who have been playing for a year or two. I know many of the people I play with (Including Ishamael and U.H.) have been playing since 5th began. They know the rules better than I do, but there is an explanation as to why. I have been playing since 2nd, and I'll tell you right now; if you had been playing as long, and through as many editions as I have, you might get some of the older rules mixed up with the new ones like I do. This especially happens with the new 5th edition rules. Anyone who playerd in 4th or prior to that realizes that the overhaul the game received between 4th and 5th was much more drastic than the other revamps. My examples being the use of true line of sight, Running, and the eradication of Target Priority. These are all major changes to the core rules that alter the game completely, and I still have think about when playing.

It also doesn't help that I still have yet to been able to round up a 5th edition rule book to call my own, but I won't use that as an excuse.

But anyways to the point. After play testing a unique mission today with Ishamael, we found ourselves having multiple discussions over rules quarries. The recent rules debate found all over the community regarding Doom has most likely fueled some of these thoughts... I think. Anyways, the two that stuck in my head were over the Chaos Dreadnought and Pivoting in multiple circumstances.

Anyone who has looked at the current rules set under Dreadnoughts can probably see the large change as apposed to what it used to be. Instead of 180 degrees of vision, it's a 45 degree arc from the guns, causing them to be much less crazy than usual. So as the battle started, the first turn resulted in one of his dreads rolling that darned 1. His response to this was to move units as he normally would, and then pivot his dread to avoid any and all units from being in it's fire. Now, I can't say this is bad sportsmanship at all (especially since we dice rolled for this and he lost [which was very gracious of him]) as it is "fair" and "allowed" by the current rules set. Since the Chaos Marines codex is still floating in the rules of 4th... it falls into one of those pits of old codex rules in a new game rules. To me this was... well annoying. Again this is not a harp on him, nor anyone who would do that, but rather a way to get this type of thing out to the community.

I am a firm believer that the new rules have altered the workability of Chaos Dreadnought to the point that it is no long the crazy unit it once was, changing the balance of the unit. The Crazed rule was balanced as it had a plus side and a down side... with the new rules, one can exploit the down side enough to where it is nothing but good outcomes, and to me this is a bit of a bugger. I am not sure if this is GW's intention, but it has happened... and I am not fully sure what to think. As a player from edition's past, this seems strange to me that they would let something like this happen.

The other rule I found interestingly annoying is the simple fact that Pivoting does not constitute moving. This means a tank beginning it's turn on the edge of a crater, may in fact pivot off of the crater and move away without a single dangerous terrain test. Again, completely legitimate under the new rules section, but at the same time... what?! I guess it all comes down to what people get from reading the rules. On the one hand, it says "moving through difficult terrain for vehicles is dangers" vs. "pivoting does not count towards moving" (bear in mind these are not direct from the BRRB, and so I am paraphrasing). But hang on... didn't you see the tank move? Does the rule mean it moved in the sense of physically moving or game play terms over moving? I could see an argument on either side for this... but it all sums up with this thought.

"Players who recently began playing the game wouldn't think twice about this. They would simply roll the dice, and hope not to get a 1. Players who have played for a while and try to master the rules will find ways to avoid the down sides or exploit the cracks in the rules." I guess to me, the idea of the spirit of the game should come before the exploitation of vague rules. I always try to take rules quarries with a grain of salt, as I am often times wrong about some rules... like I said, after 3 editions, the rules can get mixed up a bit. I'll be the first to admit I'm wrong when I am (see the Adepticon FAQ over Machine Spirit and Smoke Launchers for a prime example of me mistaking old rules).

In the end I suppose this article is to help players get an understanding of what the game really is. I am not wanting people to think this is a "you should all just play the way I do and like it" post. Not at all. This post is simply to bring about the views of an older player who has seen some interesting,and at times frustrating tactics. I know I occasionally play like this too (example: http://ritesofbattle.blogspot.com/2010/01/do-transport-hustle.html ) In the end, we all play to win, so go out and play. Just remember that sometimes the rules can be slippery, especially when old rules run into new ones.


  1. Personally I think that introducing new codexes every now and again is a good thing. It keeps things from growing dull and stale (and do make GW more money). But honestly, as long as 40k has been around how many people do you think would still be playing if it had never changed? It would have stagnated long before now.

    Admittedly some people don't always see the changes in the rules for the best, but I think that in general the newer set of rules is more streamlined than the previous set.

    This means that some armies' rules do get left by the wayside a little bit, but this just means everyone has too adapt and that can keep things fresh and make you think in new ways. Besides, until you are necrons or dark eldar you don't get to complain about being left behind (and at least they still have an actual codex rather than a PDF, although i can only whine about that for like another month).

  2. The point wasn't that I didn't like the changes to the rules. It was more or less a view on how newer rules can sometimes cause problems for rules that... conflict isn't the right word, but are changed by the global rules changes. The Chaos dreadnought is the big example, but also look at something like the doom argument. Granted this is a hole that has been pointed out as a result of a new unit, but you get the idea.

    Here's another speculation from the Doom debate... but not really about Doom. If GW rules the the unit is in fact where the transport is even if they are in a transport... how would Dark Eldar Slave Snares work into this? The wargear states "any unit it flies over" and if they rule the unit counts as being where the transport is... does it work? It technically doesn't target any unit either... and therefor would get around the same loop hole that Doom does.

  3. Yeah conflict from older codexes to newer rule sets happens and is annoying, but it isn't really possible to update every army at the same time a new edition comes out, so we just have to deal with it for now.

    Also the Doom problem just needs to get FAQ'd real quick as its more or less a hole where there aren't and rules or precedents. That was straight up GW's fault and they need to get on it.

  4. I wish Tyranids had transports so that I could spam slave snares against them.

    I can be a rulesmonger if I really feel like it, I'm sure, and if the guy across from me is being a butt then I'm pulling out the stops. For the most part though I like to play to have a good time, laugh a bit, and enjoy the game.

    Quick note on the Dread thing, though... I'm not overly familiar with the Frenzy rule, but Dread's can take a free pivot in the shooting phase (to make up for the lack of an arc)... even if you pivoted so that you "couldn't see" a friendly unit in the movement phase, couldn't (and shouldn't) you pivot to be able to fire as normal on the roll of a 1 (or whatever it is)?