Thursday, March 29, 2012
The "Assigned Seats" of 40k
Ok, so everyone went through some schooling in their time, otherwise I don't know how they'd even begin to try to decipher the rules that GW puts out on occasion :D. So chances are on your way up the academic ladder, at some point or another, you came into contact with the system of assigned seats.
So to explain, Assigned Seats mean that someone of authority (usually a teacher or professor) dictate where people sit in a given space. Whether there is a reason to it, just alphabetical order, or what have you, they tell you exactly where you will be sitting for what could be your entire time within that course. Now, most people are not a fan of this system. They'd rather have the freedom to sit where they want. But lets look a little further.
Even when given the choice to sit where ever they wish to determine the assigned seats, people will still harp about the system. The idea that it limits the freedoms of people and what not. But take away the assigned seats, and people will still do the same thing. They will walk in, and sit down just where they had the day before, and the day before that. It's routine. While very soothing and comforting to follow, it means that people will limit themselves subconsciously.
Oddly enough, when I attend my Grad classes, I tend to move all over the place. I sit in a different chair from the day before the try to mix things up. I fell like it helps make the rooms less monotonous, and keeps my interest up. I do get teased for doing it occasionally, but that's something I'm pretty alright with.
So how does this all apply to 40k? Well let's take away the academic surroundings and apply it to 40k. If we replace the Teachers with GW, the students with players, and classrooms with the game of 40k itself, we can start to make a fair analogy. If GW tells you how to play the game, or limits your options to such that you can only play one or two ways (the limitations set forth by assigned seats), we'd all probably get a little miffed and maybe even stop playing.
But really, they don't do that too much. Of course some options are less useful as editions move forward leaving some codexes in need of an update (see codex Eldar and codex Tau). However, even in these cases, GW never really tells us you have no option but to do thus. That's something we do all by ourselves.
In my opinion, players of 40k are less and less likely to try new things these days. To a point people will find something they like and stick to it. Now there is absolutely 100% nothing wrong with doing what you like. But we start playing the same things over and over again with little or no change brought about. This is where we players start assigning ourselves seats.
So what am I getting at? Here's an example. In the good old Space Marine codex, the trick Combat Squads is a very free-form rule. It allows us to break up the squad into two 5 man units, but at no point does it ever say how. However, almost every time I see it used, it's a Sergeant/Special +3 in one, and a Heavy +4 in the other. I was talking with Heretic, and just speculating, Why don't people put the sarg, special and Heavy all in one unit? Do this with something like 4 squads.
For instance, in that case, you could have a 4 5 man units near the back field, all with a lascannon, plasma gun, and whatever you'd like the sarg to have. Then you'd have 20 bolter toting marines, all of which you could place in or around each other. Now, usually those bolter toting bodies don't do much, because the special and or heavy weapon's usually dictate what you're shooting at, but in this case, you are free to lay on the 20 bolter shots out there into just about any infantry target heading your way.
Make it Count" where I tried to utilize every point I could in an army. The above example kinda follows suit with that principle.
But overall, I feel like most everyone falls into a rut now and again, playing the same thing over and over again. it could be out of pure and absolute joy in what you run, and if that's the case, more power to you. But maybe it's out of lack of money to buy new things. Not all of us have the luxury of starting a new army when we get bored of our old ones. But if you look through your codexes, I'm sure many of us could find a unit that we never really got around to playing, or a list altering tactic that we'd never really tried (Looking at that Armada List Heretic).
All in all, GW has put out a game with a fantastic number of options that I feel many of which are almost never tried. I personally am having a hugely fun time not only playing a new army, but trying as many units from it as possible. It makes each game I play unique, and gives me a great sense of how some units work, don't work, and how they stand up compared to the internet's perception of them. Maybe this is just how I like to play because it's how I learned to long, long ago. But there is something to be said for breaking the mold every once in a while, and just trying something crazy and seeing how you make it work.
Who knows, you might just have a blast and fall in love with the game all over again, or find a unit that you never knew you loved that no one else really gives the time of day. I certainly know I have found a few of those.