Friday, December 13, 2013

Game Standards for Typical 40k

I think there is a divide in thought between the two main perceived groups of 40k players. In one camp, there seems to be the uber-casual players who do whatever they like and in the other there seems to be the hyper-competitive tournament scene players.

While I don't doubt that these are indeed two groups of people, I think there is a third group that many, if not most, gamers fall into and this is what I will call "typical" players. A typical player probably plays in a few tournaments or events here and there, might play at someone's house/garage/basement on occasion, but the bulk of their games are pick-up games in their local 40k community (whatever that may be).

Obviously, at a tournament or event, there are certain special rules and conditions placed on the players for whatever format is being used. But since, in my assessment, the bulk of a typical gamer's games will be pick-up ones, what is the baseline rules and conditions for those?

I would say that in my opinion, the majority of these pick-up games are standard missions out of the book, using the current edition's rules, and using units/books that are widely regarded as standard. These standards are usually pretty well aligned with the tournament scene for their area. I know that around here, we frequently will default to the way that Adepticon runs things. It isn't so much that it is important to have the absolute best rulings, or refuse to give up the right to decide for yourself, but it is important to have base-line components in the game already laid out for both players. It is this common ground that makes for a more enjoyable game. I don't know about you, but it feels off-putting to show up to a game in a place you aren't a regular to and then get into a conflict because of a local "house rule" or some other oddity that you weren't aware of because it is taken for granted by the usual players.

The point of me writing this is to try to illustrate a slightly different angle to some of the insanity that has been rocking the 40k blogosphere lately due to GW's release schedule. I think that what is at the heart of much of this chaos is that what was once "typical" 40k is much less concrete than it used to be. Obviously, tournaments can do what they like, as can players. But having standards that are widely accepted would be wonderful. And if people want to depart from those standards, at least both players are making a journey from the same starting position.

That is all.


  1. I think that is exactly right, people are up in arms because no one knows what typical means anymore. Previously something like Escalation (spearhead, planetstrike, cod) were clearly defined as non-typical expansions. Forgeworld has been in question for a long time because it has been in this gray area of "approved for 40k" but not in the main book. As such some places accept it, some don't. Stronghold assault in an even worse position because it has some meaningful erratas for the main book but has also been clearly been defined for a Escalation/Apoc environment for some of its parts.

    1. Yeah, you used to be able to just know what a normal game would look like and now its kind of blurry. Escalation and Stronghold Assault really muck up the waters. We play in interesting times.

  2. Good point. Having a common ground to work from is really important to paying in a social game. Do we now need to turn up with enough models and lists to cater for each game variant? Please GW tell us what the basic game is now!

    1. I won't lie, I have started carting around many more models than I used to because I have no idea what kind of game I will find myself in at the FLGS anymore.
      I would love if GW did some serious refining of this massive game they have created, but it doesn't look hopeful. I think that, more likely, we will see third party rulings and standards put into place that will have the opportunity to become the norm. Remember the INAT from 5th? This was not GW's work and yet it was used as a standard for many places because it allowed gamers to have their expectations met in the majority of games they played. I don't think we are that far off from something similar occurring in 6th edition.
      Me personally? I don't really care one way or the other. I will adapt and overcome whatever the community decides to go with, I just want to have a decent idea of what I am getting myself into ahead of time.