Monday, July 11, 2011

Poll: How Complex Should 40K Be?

by SandWyrm

I thought I'd pose this question to our readers: How complex should the next edition of 40K be?

Right now I can usually get a competitive 2000 point game done in about 2 hours. Or 3 - 3.5 if it's a casual game and we're talking/joking while playing. Usually, when I head down to the FLGS, we set up at 6 and are out of there at 9:30 or so.

With the rumors currently circulating about 6th, it seems like that the time it takes to play at 2K might jump up to 2.5 - 3 hours for a competitive game. Which would really kill the tourney scene. Whereas Farmpunk and I are sort of hoping that we'll see the complexity of 40K drop to the point that you could get a competitive game done in 1.5 hours or less. My ideal would be something about half-way between the Warpath Beta and 5th Edition 40K. Even just streamlining wound allocation would easily shave at least 20 minutes off of most of my games. It's the biggest time sink in the rules.

What do you think? The poll is at the top right.


  1. the corollary question is this : how many little men do players want to see on the table? that number will indicate not only how complex the rules should be (the more elements, the simpler the rules need to be), but also what size of game people really want to see unfold on the table.

    obviously model companies want us to play larger games so that we will buy more toys, and will cook up whatever rules they think might facilitate that.

    the game designers themselves have made it clear for years that this is a game designed for fun, storyline driven games. treating it as a competitive system is just silly.

  2. And GW has also made it clear in both words and deeds, that they are committed to large games. Ergo, they SHOULD be simplifying it in order to allow for more models to be fielded.

    I don't get the constant digs at 40K not being a "competitive" game. D&D can't possibly be played competitively, as the game's nature just doesn't allow it. But 40K has 2 players who play against each other to win. That's all you need.

  3. I believe 1.5 hours is less taxing physically and mentally on players. I have played 4 round games in tournies that left me exhausted from all the standing. Cutting 30 minutes off would be incredibly positive in my opinion.

  4. I completely agree.

    I like Warpath, but it's a little too simplified. Somewhere between the two would be great. I'm really not looking forward to 6th if the rumours are true.

  5. What isn't being factored is that complexity does not necessarily mean the game will take longer. I say that on oen basis - that you haven't taken into account of how easy it is for models to die!?

    I mean, Apocalypse should be a real nightmare considering that you are playing massive games with tons of models - but it is all brought into perspective through a clever deployment scheme that ensures opposing armies literally start on top of one another, and that many weapons have rules which mean you are at times sweeping entire units into a dead pile at a time.

    I don't feel like the rules need ot be any more, nor any less complex overall, because that would be washing too big a brush over things. I think that some areas can benefit from simplicity, because there is no need to overcomplicate something that doesn't need it, whilst other areas could do with a little more complexity in order to help give that "realistic" impression...

  6. Steve said it best with the comment "you may as well play competitive Roulette".

    I hear myself saying time and time again that not everyone is a tournament player. I pretty much hate tournaments myself.

    I could just as easily do a write up about how 40k should be more complicated to further produce narratives and epic storylines... but then you'd come back and say "no, it'd take too long to run a tournament". Well, I don't care. I want a fun game. It's a big reason of why I'm loving Necromunda so much... way more in depth than 40k, but on a much, much smaller scale so that the game runs smoothly.

    I'm really liking the rumors that I've been seeing for 6th. There's really nothing there that will slow down the game stupid amounts if you're trying to power through it. Barring the to-hit chart which is a very broad overview, and if implemented at all would be simplified to the extreme (it's a +/- system written out fully, no wonder it looks complicated).

    You're right in saying that wound allocation is the slowest (and one of the worst) rules in 40k, but it's a broken system that even the game designers acknowledge. There are plenty of ways to fix it, one just needs to be decided on.

  7. Good question. Honestly I don't care about the tournament aspect anymore.

    40k as a tournament system is inherently flawed, but I won't elaborate on that point, unless someone really wants to hear it. It's a "bit" OT after all.

    What I like to see is a core system that is simple but tactical challenging, speeds up play at least a bit and doesn't offers a plethora of loopholes or mechanics that surely aren't in the designers interest and violating the background like a 300pound girl wearing a Bikini swimsuit or Sailor Moon costume.

    I'm not sure if I would call a faster version of the 5th Edition a tournament-proof system, but I agree with the notion that cutting time helps a bit when it comes to tournament play. If I can cut down the time from 2 to 1.5 hours, I can run 4 games instead of 3 in a 6h time frame. Sure, you still need to add some times for breaks and other stuff, but 4 games means that a small store or club can set up a 16 players tournament and end up with a single undefeated player at the end of the day.

    The beer&bretzel gamer wins too, since he a) gets fewer problems with his government at home (girlfriend/wife) and b) can either play more games on a Gaming sunday with friends, incl. some beer and BBQ, or up the points for some truly epic large battles.

  8. make it simple enough that you dont have to come out with a new faq every 3 months. thats what im tired of. i used to play mage knight, and the BIGGEST ISSUE was new faqs every two weeks. "you cant do that." "i cant, why not?" "new faq" i mean seriously. a game like risk is great because its basically flawless. SIMPLIFY THE SHIT OUT OF IT. and let us have some more fun.

  9. I don't have time to play. If the games were shorter by .5 hours, I'd still not have time to travel, unpack, play, pack, and travel home. Therefore, if I'm gonna dream, I'm gonna dream big...

    I'd like more detail. I may just try to convince my kids that 40k is still on first edition and never let them see any book except Rogue Trader. So what if it takes a whole afternoon. I can finish the day confident in knowing exactly what type of death each individual mini met.

    Seriously though, the game is meant to be fun. There will never be a version that pleases everybody. I like detail, but I don't play competitively. Maybe we need a scaling system where the more points you use the less rules you employ? Under 1000 points the detailed rules are used. Over 1000 points they get a little simpler. Over 2000 points and you're playing WarPath...

  10. @Karnstein

    Well said. Even putting aside the whole tournament scene, I'd love to be able to walk into a store or basement and get a casual 2K game set up, played, and torn down in 2.5 - 3 hours tops. As it is, we just barely get 5 turns in before we have to pack up because the store is closing.

    Currently, all of the new books are balanced at 2K. So if the game times get longer, we'l be forced to come down to 1500 or less where the experience is much less satisfying.

  11. @Uberdark

    I think that Space Hulk is a better example than Risk. Hmmnnn... Maybe I need to pull that game out and start bringing it to the store. :)

    In any case, even a system as simplified as Warpath is going to see either FAQs or frequent rules updates before it reaches maturity. How many updates has Warmachine MKII seen?

  12. I would like to see both. More narrative rules for casual play and streamlined rules for tournament play. I think GW's core rules provide a solid starting point for this to be the case and I think learning both wouldn't be that hard. With that you give units choices for weapons in the streamlined version and bring back wargear for a narrative version. Then even codecies don't have to change much.

    My problem though going just streamlined is you kill the gaming/hobby aspect and turn it into win/loss atmosphere where its about winning and losing not playing the game. I would argue that any game where fun is the goal that time doesn't matter except where maybe you need to get home to the wife or something. When time matters most is when you're worried about getting the win or playing the next game because you're losing. That is fine for tournament play but I don't think that is what 40K is about so I would say there needs to be variable rule sets based on environment.

    Think about it have you ever played Risk, Axis and Allies or Monopoly. I have played games where they've taken all weekend and sometimes we made rules just so the game kept going simply because playing the game was fun and winning was secondary. I find the same to be true about 40K if enjoyment is the goal complex rules are the way to go. If winning is the goal then streamlined rules are the way to go.

    I am not saying a tournament or that style of play isn't fun but the end goal is winning. I understand the arguement as well about the store closing or trying to get a game in after work and not being out all night again I think a set of quickplay rules could accomplish just that. My concern would be making the game the same as most of the other miniature games out there. Driven by the quick game and not the narrative. That is what makes GW so vastly different than PP and other companies out there that don't have near the depth behind the game.

  13. I don't think that simplifying the game mechanics always leads to streamlining the game/hobby aspect.

    I mean what are the points that make ed5 somewhat cumbersome, w.o even digging into topics like overall balance between the codices themselves or stuff like ed5 being a mech-edition?

    For me I would say:

    1. The system doesn't scale well with smaller point values and there is a distinctive lack of love from GW when it comes to small scale fast 40k battles.

    2. There are some rules like the shitty wound allocation that bloat up the amount of dice groups I have to throw, eats time and not to mention that the effects of wound allocation shenanigans are a violation of fluff and logic.

    3. Some dice rolls are just redundant or could be aggregated into a single roll.

    We had that discussion in a German 40k forum just recently, spawned by the large amount of ed6 rumors. I mean just for shooting I need to roll an amount of dice equal to the shots I have, then pick all the hits and roll to wound, then my opponent makes his saves. Why not cut that down to 2 rolls using each a matrix similar to the cc-matrix. The first roll is made by the attacker and uses a matrix that squares his BS with the targets type/movement. Then we combine wound+armor into another roll, using a similar matrix that compares the power of the attack (a value derived from S+AP)with the def-ability (derived from T+Saves) and let the defender roll. We are not loosing anything in terms of fluff, but cut down the amount of dice drastically.

    So there are ways to keep 40k a different system, that isn't just a PP rip-off, while still cutting down the amount of dice rolled.

    I'm an ex-P&P RPG player and systems that used a lot of dice w/o stuff really happening always irked me. If I want to tell a story I don't want to spend a large amount of the gaming time rolling tons of dice until the gang of goblins is dead. Same goes for a TTG. Rolling too many redundant dice checks takes away time I could have spend to move my forces around on the board, trying to outwit my opponent. Or if I play a "historical" scenario, that means I won't get enough time to reenact the whole battle, since me and my buddy have to quit thanks to RL-related time restrictions. And not everybody is lucky enough to own a gaming cellar and a understanding wive&girlfriend. Just try to leave your miniatures sitting on the dinner table you requisitioned for your "The siege of the imperial palace" battle. ^^

  14. Actually, I don't think the game is balanced at 2k pts very well at all. Look at 'competitive' lists and netlists. The heavy spam - excuse me, 'redundancy' - is essentially the result of poor balance and poor diversity within a codex, and at 2k pts or more, certain codices can amplify their inherent benefits better than others. If it was simply about efficient units, then smaller point values would actually have spammier armies, as armies used only their most efficient units. The opposite is true in 40K - at higher point values, armies are much more spammy, not less.

    But that's another topic. 40K's failings as a competitive system aren't really about its complexity or lack thereof, and more about poor balance and rules that do not interact well with a competitive environment. There are more complex games that work fine competitively. There are less complex games that don't. I would be okay with it being more complex myself, as long as the complexity is in the right areas. For instance, more complexity in terms of record-keeping is a no - I'm not really interested in writing down damage like I would in an RPG. More complexity in terms of scenarios and victory conditions is a yes, and frankly should be at the top of everyone's list if they actually want this to be a competitive game.

    Mostly, though, I'd just settle for a game with better balance at multiple point levels and more appropriate rules for common events, such as anything involving a tank.


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