Thursday, January 17, 2013

Play the Game

Farseer Fail, reporting from the webway once more!

I was recently invited to join the Warrior Lodge segment of the Independent Characters’ podcast. Alongside JR and Ken we discussed – among other things – flyers and their effect on the game, pro and con.

Since the advent of 6th edition, I’ve been nonplussed by what I’ve seen of both the public (internet) reaction to the new rules and the support of those rules in the tournament community. Practically everywhere you look, particularly at tournaments, fortifications are disallowed or represented only by the Aegis Defense Line, while flyers are becoming more prevalent across the board. Similarly, most TOs won’t allow Allies lists, for whatever reason.

This is stupid.

Why is it stupid? For a variety of reasons. To allow one new facet of the game (Flyers) and disallow others (Fortifications, Allies), you are essentially playing 5th edition + Flyers.


At the tail end of 5th edition, models were introduced that were flyers in everything but name, but on a standard 40K table (non-Apocalypse, non-Forgeworld) they were downgraded to fast skimmers, and that was fine, because not every army had them, or had ways to deal with them effectively otherwise.

Now it has become clear that every subsequent codex release in 6th edition will contain flyers, and not one flyer but at least two models, usually a fighter-interceptor type flyer and a bomber/support type flyer.  And everyone who has access to them has been lining up to purchase them. 

Those who do not have access to flyers grimace and bellyache, knowing that they don’t have a lot to work with against the perceived threat of air dominance and their lamentations fill the Interwebz! 

Has it occurred to no one that the rules for 6th edition were developed as a suite, rather than a dim sum assemblage of rules modules to be picked through and the less tasty bits discarded, based on personal prejudice? Three fortifications were provided in the 6th edition rulebook, and each one of them allows options that will help deal with the flyer threat, yet no one embraces Fortifications beyond the odd Aegis line in friendly games. 

In a similar vein, Allies also allow the player to augment their main force, perhaps with a detachment that will enable the player to better deal with air power or fortifications more handily. 


Oh, the whining! At first I was sympathetic to the complaint that Fortifications were going to be problematic for event organizers; they go to all the trouble of providing that terrain and setting it up, then along comes some douche with a Fortress of Redemption.  What if the Fortress doesn’t fit? What if the players move the terrain around on the table and screw it up for whomever is placed there next round? What if I put on my big-boy pants and thought about it? Try this on for size:

  •  During placement, Player 1 must place Fortification first during deployment.

o   If the player must move a piece of terrain to do so, he gives that terrain piece to Player 2.
o   The location of each piece of terrain on the table is marked by a piece of masking tape (duh).
o   During Player 2’s turn, that player may place that terrain anywhere on the table (within the rules), or remove it from the table completely.
o   At end of game, players return displaced terrain as close as possible to their original locations.

Problem solved. Next?

From what I’ve seen, TOs apply as much time and thought to fine-tuning the terrain placement of their tables as they do to checking to see if their shoes are tied. Nothing against them; who has time to micromanage twenty or thirty tables? Just accept that when players replace the terrain pieces, they may be UPWARDS OF SEVERAL CENTIMETERS off from their original positions. Call the National Guard! 


Allies are perhaps the most-warmly embraced new rule amongst casual players, so I don’t why allowing Allies lists in tournaments is so problematic. Allies are part of the game, and they were meant to flatten the power curve that everyone has been griping about for the past TEN YEARS by allowing you to shore up a particular army or list’s weaknesses.   

An Analogy

Think about it this way: you and I will play a friendly game. I will play Tau and you will play hmmm let’s say CSM. Since my Tau codex is 4th edition, I will play it using 4th edition rules, meaning that whenever I want to shoot at a unit that is not the CLOSEST unit, I will have to take Target Priority tests. Remember those? I will use all 4th edition rules, so I will not benefit from Overwatch, nor will I be able to regroup if a unit is below 50% strength (without the bonding knife upgrade, at least), among many other things.

You, on the other hand, have a shiny new 6th edition codex. You will use all 6th edition rules wherever they apply. You WILL get Overwatch, you WILL get Precision Strike, and you MAY regroup even when you’ve taken 75% casualties.

Does this sound fair to you? Does it make any sense at all?

I’m not saying everyone MUST play flyers, MUST use fortifications and SHOULD combine with Allies.
But if you are playing the game in such a way that you are excluding some rules and options because they are new or seem unfair given your accumulated experience in a different version of the game, you are not playing Warhammer 40K 6th edition, and should not try to play that version of the game, nor force your hybridized version of the game on others.  

Allies, Flyers and Fortifications are integrated with the rules and benefit the game. Man up. Or girl up. Whatever. Grow a pair of mammalian protruberances and play the game of Sixth Edition.

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