Friday, February 11, 2011

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

One of the most interesting things to common out of the early sightings of the new O&G book is that there are only eight magic items….yes, that’s right eight! The comment has also been that they appear quite expensive.

Now this is interesting….no, trust me it is.

The biggest balance problems to come up in the game over the past 2-3 years relate to Army Book magic items…..Dark Elves – Ring of Hotek/Pendant, Daemons – Siren Song, Vampires – Drakenhof Banner, Skaven – Storm Banner, Lizards – Slaan’s silly power (okay, this is the exception because they are not items) etc. You get the picture.

GW gives us a big list of magic items in each book and within two weeks we’ve broken them. As you mum used to say “That’s why you can’t have nice things!!”

Now I might be giving GW too much credit here but perhaps they’ve recognised this. The problems come when the myriad of possibilities for combining a zillion items are tested. Things that were never playtested emerge and are very quickly on the net. Suddenly the game is broken. And this is repeated with each new book.

So limiting the number of unique items limits these possibilities and means that the things they tested are the way the army plays on the table.

Is it limiting for players? Yes and no. Yes, creativity is limited when designing things. However if one thing shines out then suddenly it becomes the norm and before you know it the top six tables at the UKGT have Bloodthirsters facing their own board edge at deployment.

I’m interested to see whether this is the new norm. If it is perhaps we’ll see a lot more internal balance in the game.


  1. While I appreciate the idea - and to some extent I agree with it (that O&G should be more balanced, better thoought out, less 'Broken'), from an O&G player's perspective.... Why can't we have any of the nice things - why can't I have a broken nasty tricksy army? Why do I have every army neutered by GWs sudden decision to be more balanced? (Personal bugbear)

  2. I'm not sure they'll change their habits so quickly. I wonder if they've simply moved the game breaking enhancements somewhere else...

  3. I dearly hope you're right. As you say, with so many choices this produces the distilled army list everyone plays, so you get your bloodthirster problem. It would be very exciting if this is the attitude GW is taking, and hopefully an end to the army book arms race. One lives in hope.

  4. I really hope there's something here for OnG players. They got somewhat of a raw deal in 7th, such as when GW upped the price of cav, then lowered it after their book.. If the backlash is big enough they may relent on the magic items and go back to the old ways. Either that or they could say that orcs are primitive and don't have many of their own items.. who knows.
    All I want to see is a book that can compete with the likes of Skaven, Daemons,Dark Elves, Lizardmen etc The more books we have on level pegging the better imo.
    And siren song isn't a magic item either ;p

  5. As long as Dwarfs keep their nice expansive list of Runic items im ok with the changes, but agree that certain army books have gone overboard.