Sunday, November 17, 2013

Building a 'better' Imperium

by: Chambers

Not A Review




   In case you have been under a rock and your browser has been stuck on this site for weeks, the Inquisition codex has dropped.  However before I get too deep into a wall a text a couple administrative points for the flys on the wall:
   1. I hate Games Workshop
   2. Chaos sucks, no one loves me

Tastes Like Baby


   Right so now that this is out of the way, I love this codex! While there are rule ambiguities and FAQ problems right out of the gate, this is a GW product.  It amuses that every time a codex is released people seem to be caught off guard at the lack of clear and tight rules. So why am I happy with new digital offering?  Well I am glad that you asked Mom, you see it is full of back story and pretty pictures.

   This is also the first supplement that is not a full codex in it's own right.  While this has left more than a few people disappointed this is not an ally only supplement.  I am excited by what this could mean for the future of mini-codexies that was all the buzz when 6th first dropped.  I going to assume that everyone has read the paragraph on the Inq ally matrix, in essence what GW has done is create a new force org detachment for the Inquisition that allows them to butt their way into any Imperial force.

   So why am I happy that the lackeys of the corpse god have gotten yet more love from GW?  Remember those loosely written rules? Take a Imp Guard list as your primary and Daemons as Allies of Convince then you (Imp Guard) invite your BBF the inquisition over for a play date.   Toss in a few illegal drugs and an alter to charlie sheen and voila you get a radical inquisition force.  An army composed of lost souls lead by a power hungry madman wielding a demonic blade that isn't a genetically engendered super warrior.  Add in the hoards of lesser demons that the master uses to maintain control and inspire blind loyalty  and you have the makings a a great thematic army.

Seems Legit

   Will this smash face against the powerhouses of Tau and Eldar?  No, but really that is not the point.  Hence the "thematic" part of thematic army.  I am also aware that this all might go away in a puff of FAQ smoke till it does I will enjoy building and playing my mass hordes of the lost and dammed.  Now if you will pardon me I am off to build some more tormented and twisted minions for my growing force.

Nothing Can Go Wrong Here


38 comments:

  1. My daemonhosts invited their friends over...

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  2. I'm eyeing up Malifaux Guild models ATM. There's some great figs that would make for a really great witch hunter force.

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  3. Chambers you always crack me up.

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    Replies
    1. One aims to please, I figure now that Farmpunk isn't posting as much someone needs to step up and be the circus monkey.

      Delete
  4. The iBooks Store feedback is pretty negative. They're saying that this is nothing but a copy/paste of the inquisitors from the Grey Knight Codex, with 3 new artifacts.

    I assume there's some FOC-breaking extra rules to go with it, but this seems to be a particularly lazy/desperate cash-grab on the part of GW.

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    1. 90% copy-paste; 10% game breaking BS. I don't know why I expected it to be anything else.

      Delete
    2. The Eisenhorn 'leak' tease was particularly underhanded. The book evidently has fluff on him (likely a copy/paste reprint from some White Dwarf article from the 54mm =][= days), but no rules.

      If they'd actually delivered Eisenhorn & Ravenor rules, I'd have bought the damn thing and called it brilliant. But... You know... That would require some actual work on GW's part.

      Delete
    3. Really this sort of content would have been in a White Dwarf for the first 20 years of GW. Its really not worth paying money for.

      Luckily the codex is currently available for 'free preview' on Scribd. Get it while it lasts...

      Delete
  5. This supplement is awesome for imperial players competitively and hobby wise. As you stated it also provides many avenues to play around with heretical scenarios.

    I believe the move by GW continues to enforce their 'play for fun' mentality. On the competitive field this could have meta shattering effects. Which could be seen as a slight tweek to help balance the eldar, tau meta.

    Who cares what ibook feedback says. Most people who leave feedback are just complainers anyways. If you want more tools to add to your game its worth it. I like the options. If I want to spend to build something like chambers stated then awesome. I already have most of what's in the suppliment anyways. :-)

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    1. While I don't disagree that Imperial armies needed a boost, they went in the opposite direction. What I had hopped the Inquisition codex would do, would be to provide a way to break up the Deathstars like screamerstar and seerstar, Not just bring back 50 man guard blobs and give them their own ridiculously efficient gun tank(psybolt chimeras). While simultaneously throwing the force org chart out the window.

      It would have been better if inquisitors brought some counter magic to the game, to rein in the power of units that can cast multiple blessings. Top that off with a needed errata to the serpent shield to make it sensible, and the game would be in a much better place.

      Delete
  6. The supplement does help against those builds. Not to neuter them but to slow their affectiveness. They can now battle brother with space wolves which have the best anti psyker in the game.

    But I'm not sure how a supplement would affect the waveserpent. :-)

    Psybolt chimeras still die horribly.

    But I feel GW is doing what they have been pushing for. The 'play for fun' mentality.

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  7. I feel that if you are looking for a complete reboot of the inquisition or if you are looking the next power army you will be disappointed in this codex. If however you look at it as more like a $25 supplement to the game ala "Eye of Terror" this is a good book and a very exciting first step that I fervently hope that GW continues on with.
    Are there game breaking/ meta changing combos that can come from this book? Maybe, I will leave the theory hammer to Spag as that is his thing. I am just happy to have a the opportunity to recreate some of the forces from the fluff. If I win with my very mortal daemon worshiping lunatics all the better.

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  8. This allows for so much the more I read it.

    Want 3 twin linked meltaguns and 3 multi meltas? You got it. Want a str10 ap1 large blast 36" range for 80 points? You got it. Want 3 plasma guns and 3 plasma cannons twin linked? No problem. Want a 35 point lascannon/heavy flamer/multi melta? Yep. Want 12 storm bolter dudes for 84 points? All here. You can build almost anything. You want storm troopers? You can make em.... better! With options.

    So its cool for those who like different.

    Not so much for whiners........ @#&^!@#$

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    Replies
    1. Not everybody that disagrees with you is a whiner. It's not fair to deflect all criticism with such blanket statements. The game's got issues, even Torrent of Fire's numbers show this.

      More options is not always a good thing when it comes to game design. Options increase complexity, and increases the difficulty in adequately play testing. Making it much more likely that game breaking combos make their way into the game. 2nd edition had loads of options, but they had to throw that whole thing in the garbage because it wasn't a fair or balanced game.

      I don't want to play games that are all about chasing the meta, and only running the latest and greatest. I'll play CCG's for that. The cost and effort in that regards is at least manageable. It's not whining; it's a preference.

      Delete
    2. 2nd ed was just all over the place, it had accumulated a lot of anachronistic ideas from its origins as a pseudo RPG. Modifiable armour saves for example. What a mad system!
      They had to throw it out because it stank. 3rd was an attempt to make the game a lot cleaner and more fun to play. Balance is something you aim towards, it's not something you can actually hit.

      For me I think mismatches are the price we pay for new systems and toys to play with and against. Thinking my way around the Wave Serpents was probably my favourite challenge of the year. My new and improved Dark Eldar list (now with craftworld friends) is really powerful and has lots of tools to dismantle serpent spam.

      It's true I had to buy more models (cost maybe £30) but so what? Do people want a game where you never have to buy any more models? There's something kind of weird in the argument "I'm sick of buying new models so I'm going to buy into a whole new game system". I think a lot of these people are just bored and want something new to play.

      After all, if you really can't justify buying more toy dolls then just agree some kind of restrictions with your opponent. A polite "hey can you not bring 6+ wave serpents?" is often all it takes. Yes he might ask you not to bring the 30 THSS terminators in return but so what?

      Delete
    3. I don’t think the problem is people not wanting to buy more models. Hell, I’m glad to buy new X-Wing stuff every week; even in the full knowledge that the game might not keep my interest for longer than 3-4 months.

      But when a decently competitive (and fully painted) force costs $70-90 total in pre-painted models, with no additional rules to buy, a lot of objections fall away. Hell, I can buy multiples of every ship in the X-Wing range for less than an unpainted, unassembled, 40K Marine army.

      But think about it. To compete competitively in 40K these days, you’re buying at least half an army every 3-4 months. That gets upwards of $2K a year real fast at full prices. Plus you have to assemble/paint the models, or have someone else do it for you.

      So that adds up to a HUGE cash/time commitment. Even if you love the game still, you end up looking around at other alternatives and asking yourself if 40K is still worth it. Especially if, like me, you would spend longer assembling and painting your updates than that new army combo would remain competitive before the next update comes out.

      Hell, even Flames isn’t worth it these days; and I like that game. But looking at $12.50 unassembled Battlefront blister packs next to $15.00 fully painted ready-to-play X-Wing ships (that come with cards/counters), it gets real hard to not go for the latter.

      Delete
    4. I think there's this massive mentality issue with 40k gamers.

      We drop large sums of cash and (more importantly) spend HUNDREDS of hours of our lives investing time and energy into our armies which we love and think are cool. Then we throw it all out of the window in an effort to push a style of hard competition which means we can't actually play the models we love the most because it would be an automatic handicap.

      If you are throwing out half of your army each time a new codex drops and buying/painting a horde of new figs every few months, then it's not surprising that you'll feel completely burned out before long. But I'd say if that's the case then you're going about the hobby the wrong way.
      The 40k universe was deliberately designed to give players loads of excuses for narrative. The "ideal" way to do it, IMO, is to sit down with a full roster of both player's collections, then devise a scenario that fits the models, then build lists that work in the context of the scenario. Some ideas:
      Secure the communications complex,
      Sabotage the vehicle pool,
      Raid the reliquary.

      It's still a game, you're still playing to out-think your opponent and ultimately to win, but you don't need to be rebuilding your collection all the time AND it's a lot more fun to boot. Some of the best games I've played have been from the Forgeworld books. There's one where the Alpha Legion lure Azreal from the Dark Angels into a city fight then try to assassinate him, appearing out of sewer entrances. It was fought, mostly, with weak cultists and standard tactical squads, but it was a really balanced scenario. The game came down to Azrael and the Alpha Legion commander locked in a duel to the death. It was great and I still remember it better than a lot of the other games I've played in the mean time.
      The thing is, they hardly re-invented the wheel. Aside from fixed armies they make use of a few 4th edition special rules but their entire missions tend to fit on a single page, at most two, and most of that is army lists and a guide to table layout.

      If we'd all learn to make better use of the models we already have we could all save ourselves a ton of stress, time AND money!

      Delete
    5. I completely agree that 40K is NOT a competitive game anymore. It's best played casually with low competitive expectations and a narrative approach. That's how it's designed. Trying to make it work for competitive purposes is like putting lipstick on a pig.

      Unfortunately, I like playing competitively. So I quit. I tried the more casual approach at the end of 5th and it bored the piss out of me. It's just not who I am.

      Delete
    6. @korona,

      You have it completly right in my opinion. Great job in explaining your thoughts of 40k.

      @Sandwyrm,

      It is completely possible to play a competitive game of 40k with balance. At a tournament maybe not. But locally absolutely. When I play locally I bring 2 lists. Hardcore tournament style and fun but tough. Ehat isbwrong with setting boundaries like korona stated? This is designed to have fun. I play and help 3 different kinds of players.

      Competitive
      Beginning
      Casual

      I change my game to my opponent so we all have fun or get what we want out of it. Its fun for all of us. Where did you miss the boat? If someone wants to beat face and try and crush you then your choice is to meet them with equal desire or not play with them again. It's a simple premise to me.

      And with release schedules the way they are... all armies are viable.

      Delete
    7. I don't see it as a choice between competitive and scenario play at all. It's a false dychotomy.
      In the historical wargames world scenario play is the norm. I don't think 40k has to be so different. No-one would say that one of the old hex games like Squad Leader isn't competitive just because it's got a narrative and you're told what units you can bring.

      The main problems for adopting this more commonly is twofold: Firstly it's not suited to pickup games with Joe Random at the game store. You need to know your opponent and their list before you can devise a scenario. Secondly it takes a lot of work to make a scenario that's fun and balanced. It's much easier in both cases to just turn up and put down generic lists on a generic table and fight it out for random objectives.

      If you like it that's fine but it seems mad to me that people often seemed pretty burned out on this way of playing. If you're willing to put in so much money and effort into collecting and upgrading your army why not spend an hour or so to think up a really fun scenario?

      Delete
    8. @Spag

      I’ve never personally seen you change up your lists in the way that you describe, but that’s cool if you are doing that now. I did that myself for a while in 5th. Though my deliberately downplayed Blood Angels got the most cheese accusations thrown at them.

      I don’t think that you can really say all armies are viable in 6th at a competitive level. As CaulynDarr has noted, the same allies that bring Orks or Nids up to ‘Ok’ will take good books like Eldar or Tau up to ‘GREAT!”.

      Delete
    9. @Korona

      I agree. It’s just that the random, easy, pickup game at the local store was my preference. There are folks who love teamplay and narrative stuff. They love all the extra work that entails, and that's cool. But I’m just not one of them.

      Delete
    10. Yeah it's a lot like D&D, you need an established group before this kind of thing is really practical. I'm interested to know though; do you dislike the narrative games because of the extra hassle or a dislike of the concept itself?
      For example, if you got to play a scenario on a rocky desert board with cool terrain where your Tallarns could play like actual desert raiders would that have appealed?

      Delete
    11. For me, gaming is about a friendly mano-au-mano contest. As well as a lot of self-improvement and analysis. To the degree that a game such as say... Flames... is able to incorporate a balanced fluff-ish scenario to keep everything from being a 'Standard Battle' all the time, I'm all for it. Asymmetric scenarios (that are balanced) are my favorite sort.

      But I don't have any raging need to recreate stories from fluff, or historical scenarios that can’t really ever be balanced competitively. I do love a nicely modeled table/terrain, and well painted armies. But the idea of “Let’s throw down some forces that look like [Fluff-X] and see what happens!” doesn’t really ever appeal to me.

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    12. Yeah, there's a definite distinction between missions that reference fluff, kind of for its own sake, and scenario driven play that's competitive/balanced but has a narrative to engineer more entertaining tactical decisions.

      There are those guys who love their WW2 history and get a kick out of re-creating battles with 100% correct unit markings and rosters. They don't really care if the game ends up being dry and boring, it was the history that they love (40k has its analogues of these too).

      On the other hand I can totally get why people love to play scenarios like the Omaha beach missions. There's a kind of "drama of war" that you get from such an epic scenario. I think, for me at least, the fluff isn't a means to an end in and of itself, but I am looking for narrative from my games. At least narrative in the sense of getting the "oh man I can't believe XYZ happenedl!" type feeling when I play.

      I feel like a mission that's engineered to produce more of these types of moments is going to be inherently more rewarding. I guess it's the difference between playing a scripted mission in an RTS game, and just booting up skirmish mode. In skirmish mode you're reliant on the core game mechanics to create moments of drama whereas in a mission the scripting focuses the gameplay and steers the action towards rewarding moments. Also you have a unique challenge to think around, rather than going over the same tired motions each time.

      That's the way my thinking is going anyway. It's good to see where people disagree before I try and force it on people!

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  9. @Caulynn

    This wasnt a blanket statment to those who disagree. Maybe just a few.

    And in my humble opinion options are great for everyone who want to play.

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    1. It sure sounded like a blanket statement to me.

      Options are good if they're useful and don't overwhelm the user. Otherwise they just confuse people and are worse than having no options at all.

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    2. So looks like you would rather everyone play chess or checkers. Every game has options. Every battle top game I have seen has options. Three versions of Flames of war...? How many tanks are there on that online tank game? Etc.

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    3. Every game has options, but it comes down to how those options are presented to the player.

      In World of Tanks, for instance, there are butt-loads of different vehicles. But they're all stat variations on a set of basic models. You don't have to remember the rules for a King Tiger to play against it. The computer handles all the complicated interactions for you. That’s why the games only take 5-15 minutes, despite the complexity of what’s going on inside the PC.

      Move. Aim. Shoot. What the player actually does in that game is very simple and easy to understand.

      Plus you can always look up any tank’s stats on the research trees. Your ability to do that isn’t dependent on buying a book for each faction. All you have to hunt down is tips like weak spots. Or, if you’re like me, which tanks pay for themselves in a game, and which ones are money-sinks. So that you can avoid them.

      In 40K though, the rules are spread out amongst 14 different factions, each with their own primary rulebook and 2-3 supplements. Each full of special rules.

      Since there’s no computer keeping track of every possible game interaction, you have to (barring piracy) spend around $1000 to buy each book and supplement in a full upgrade cycle. Then you have to somehow keep all of the different rules straight in your head for any potential matchup you might get. Which is straight up impossible. That’s why there’s so many player mistakes/arguments in 40K, even before you take GW’s sloppy rules writing into account.

      Because the game is really designed to be played between a small group of basement friends with maybe 3-4 factions total between them. That’s a much more manageable scope.

      Compare that to MTG or XWing, where all the rules you need are on the cards your opponent is holding. Wondering what that Thorn Thallid does? Or what the Chewbacca crew upgrade does? Just ask to see the card. Simple. The fun in those games comes from the combos you can put together, not the headache of remembering everything. :)

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    4. That's where you consistantly continue to be wrong. 40k to you and me isn't 40k to others. We might have similar feelings and desires to others but our ideas are not exactly the same as others. Therefore we can only have our opinions of how it works for others.

      We have had this discussion and I will bring it up again. In my opinion, The game isn't competitive to you because of the type of player you are. As you explained above you have to know everything about every unit in every codex, or faction, etc. You tend to attempt to formulate every possible scenario, action, reaction, etc. When I've watched you play the more data and time you have the better you where. The problem is that 40k has changed. There are too many variables and not enough time to coordinate all the possible scenarios in the time frame of a tournament setting. All you really need to know is the main rulebook. I don't need to know every detail. I Look at the army, if there is something unknown, I ask at the beginning of the game and play accordingly. Its simple for me to do, but not for someone who has to be so detail oriented that they can't roll with the punches.

      I dont know about you but my computer (brain) is good enough to deciminate information in a quick manner. But my wonderlic score is incrediblely high. I'm not a highly intelligent person like I would consider Caulyn or Sandwyrm or Farmpunk, but I potentially process information faster under pressure better than most people and am mostly correct in my decision making process.

      (I equate this to the type of learners we are. Some people who are highly intelligent cant process information in a time crunched environment where there are variable stimuli. Look up the wonderlic for details on this.)

      So like that other website where everyone has lost their minds imho. Their is no 'true balance' of any game except checkers. people should stop blaming others for their inability to sustain success in competition. The true measurement of a great performer is consitancy. Either you want to win or you don't. There is nothing wrong with being casual vs competitive but everyone plays a game to win. All games are competitive. I never took it easy on you because that was and is not what you would want. But I can play with a 15 year old, make sure he wins, and teach him at the same time. I can play 250 points short from my opponent and still have fun. Any game is as balanced as we make it. And all games are about some type combo or group of combinations.


      Delete
    5. I understand that 40K isn’t the same game to everyone Spag. I’ve written about that plenty of times.

      And actually, we haven’t had that discussion before. Though I do believe you are mostly right about the type of player I am.

      On the other hand, I believe that your game winning talents are social in nature. You don’t care about the details of the game because you play the person. You’re in tune with the mood/thinking/weaknesses of your opponent, and know intuitively how to act in order to push their buttons. Your whole play style is to put your opponent under as much stress as possible, and then wait for an opening.

      Nothing wrong with that. But I don’t have a talent for reading people like you do. Any more than you have a talent for ripping apart a game system and understanding on a technical level how it’s put together. We each play to our strengths. I can’t be you, and you can’t be me.

      As for balance… Yes, true balance in an asymmetrical miniatures wargame is impossible. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get close. Flames (in early/mid war) is at least 10x more balanced than 40K, and X-Wing is probably about as perfectly balanced as a such a game can get. So there are companies who do a massively better job at balancing their games than GW does. It’s not like I’m expecting GW to do something others haven’t managed to do already.

      Just because something is hard to do, that doesn’t mean that you hand a developer a free pass to be sloppy. Else bridges would never get built, computers/software would never work, etc. We pay game companies to build games for us because it’s hard work. Work that most of us can’t do ourselves.

      It's not our job to fix their game and make it fair. It's GW's job. No amount of goodwill and happy-talk will fix the problems produced by GW's laziness/greed/apathy.

      Delete
    6. I think the truth is that GW considers the rules to be just fine. They suit the casual style of play that GW staff seem to advocate. If you want to play competitive 40k you'll need to fix the rules for that kind of game because it doesn't seem like GW want to.

      Delete
    7. Yep. To GW, excellence is an inefficiency. From their standpoint, why spend more on rules development than you have to?

      Which is the same reason Star Wars went to shit (Lucas was mad at Kasdin for making Empire "too good"), and only every other Trek movie is even watchable. The fanboys buy no matter what. Or... at least they used to. :)

      Delete
  10. Also:

    If you lose at chequers you played it wrong -
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12296-checkers-solved-after-years-of-number-crunching.html#.UpQOxuI3KN8

    and

    Chess isn't balanced -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-move_advantage_in_chess

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just don't understand why people accept balance issues from the most Premium of the Premium gaming companies. Play for Fun makes no sense. Why play if there is no competition? Why roll dice then if it is going to have broken balance? Just play with them like GI Joes and role play then.

    Of course you play for fun. And to use the chess analogy, what if chess was point-buy and you could swap out rooks for queens, but only if you play black? Would anyone still play? No, because it wouldn't be fun.

    I painted more than played in 2nd edition because of the silly useless units they'd trick you into buying. GW was on the right track for a few iterations. But they just got so very greedy even I started to feel angry.

    I sold my unused Tau army and now have X-Wing. All of it, in multiples. I'm having fun doing repaints too. Looking to sell more so I can play even more games. There are so many options out there!

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    Replies
    1. Then go play them. Sell your stuff, cool.

      People who play now dont always care about balance issues.

      If you dont like it play xwing, cause its 290% more balanced. I guess ill have to learn that game now and see who I can beat....

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    2. Well of course anyone who's still playing 40K is going to be less concerned about balance than those that have left. Duh! I'd even go so far to say that some of those left in the game even enjoy the imbalances.

      You really should try some X-Wing Spag. I'd be interested to see whether you like it, or whether you run away after a few games. ;)

      Delete
    3. I have played it twice with caulyn and like it with the little sampling. But I need to learn it more.

      Delete

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