Wednesday, July 25, 2012
40k Competitive Exodus, or is it all in my head?
"Warmachine is a better competitive game than 40k."
I am sure we have all heard this before from those other guys in the store with the weird rounded bases and chicken leg dreadnoughts. It's always something that has loomed in the back of my mind and something that has manifested itself a couple times in the last few years. I have been to various GT's where Privateer Press has had events and seen how different and PP tournament is than a 40k event. With the dawn of 6th edition upon us now, and the first few major event primers being posted it is more clear to me now that those weirdos on the other side of the room may be right.
Details after the break!
So what the hell am I talking about?
6th edition, to me, seems to be mimicking a lot of the way that WarmaHordes (WM/H) plays. They have added a new emphasis on the movement phase and within that made it to where each person moves individuality but within the unit. Sort of like activation from WM/H but with a few more restrictions how you can shoot. Both games now greatly reward intelligent strategic movement, while sloppy movement will ultimately lead to defeat. I am glad that 6th went this route. To me, this is where 75% of the skill in 40k comes from. Putting your people in the right positions to capitalize on your opponents mistakes. Unfortunately for 40k, WM/H does this better. The entirety of the WM/H game, army books, supplements, and play style is about a micro managed movement phase while 40k is a bunch of FAQ'd codex's that try to adapt to their new rules and supplements that have no bearing on competitive play outside of Forgeworld. (I'm looking at you, Planet Strike, Apoc, City Battles, Kill Team, Planetary Empires....) And, while moving is super strategic, shooting and assault are still very blunt instruments. Wound allocation for shooting makes this a little smarter, most of the time, but firing my entire squad at the same unit seems silly. The application and penalties for multi-assaulting have made it clear what the intention of GW is. 1 unit can kill 1 unit per turn. I thought this was supposed to the cinematic version of 40k!??!!?
Overall, I am pretty happy with 6th being the narrative developing, cinematic masterpiece, hero developing system that it is. I am sure I will have a lot of fun playing massive battles in my garage with my friends while we BBQ and drink some brewski's. Unfortunately for me, I do not think I will be attending a 40k tournament for a long time. The one thing I am pretty sure of at this point, 40k is not a tournament game anymore and that's fine with me. I love the fluff, I love the game and while my collection may be thinning, I will still be collecting and painting stuff, because there is only 1 blood god in all of the realms of the gaming universes and he will always need blood!! Will future releases and codex updates change my stance on this? Who knows?! Current rumors are saying that the Chaos Space Marine codex is full of even more random tables and unpredictable shenanigans, and if that is the future of 40k then maybe I won't be back to tournaments. There is only so much effort one can but into polishing the turd that competitive 6th edition is lining up to be. I find myself more inclined to jump on the rounded-base-band-wagon and fully engorge myself in WM/H competitive play.
So what makes WM/H better for competitive play?
1. Privateer Press! They fully support the idea of competitive play. With missions that are designed for game balance and army books all balanced to each other! PP embraces the idea of tournaments and has a lot of support in place to ensure this part of the community thrives. This is the direct opposite of GW's stance. GW is moving away from tournaments and tournament play and that to me is a huge deal. Why do I want to play a game that doesn't want me to play it the way that I want? 5th edition saw competitive 40k swimming strongly against the current, but 6th might be catalyst that pulls these events under unless these events adapt.
Also, they have active forums in which rules questions get answered. OMG ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS!?!?! They handle rules issues 1000% better than GW.
2. Rules. WM/H rules are better written than 40k rules. End of story.
2.a. Balance. These rules are sound and the armies are balanced well versus each other.
3. Events. WM/H games are played with a game clock, and each different event has it's own missions published in advance. Steamroller mission's seems to be tested and balanced for a level playing field. These events are fully supported by Privateer Press and have cool little trophies for them. Tournament support and recognition? No way!?!?!?
Overall it was a hard decision for me, (not so hard for Dok) to leave the 40k competitive scene behind. We had some good times, kicked a lot of ass and won quite a few prizes. I am sure that the Warmachine / Hordes community will welcome the dominating duo to their ranks.
My Conquest should be here today, so Khador will be my weapon of choice for the time being.
Wish me luck, I'll be with those weirdos on the other side of the store...