Monday, April 21, 2014

The Importance of Background

It takes me about a year to finish an army from start to finish. Some armies are never finished because I keep adding to them.

In order to keep me inspired, I need a rich background that I can create about the army I am making. It helps if the background can come in multiple forms. Visual images, movies and background books are all good sources of inspiration. For example

 The Good

 The Bad

I like a game background that is rich and varies but still allows me the space to create my own part of it. I prefer to make up my own characters rather than be straight jacketed into using predefined characters. My most enjoyable phase of playing 40K was when several of us created our own sector and set up planets to have our battles on. We named our characters and created our own part of the history. I prefer the open ended backgrounds of the Games Workshop, Judge Dredd or Battle Tech universes to the locked down universes of Warmachine or Malifaux.

I also like universes that progress. I don't understand why GW can't progress their timeline especially the 40K, universe. What's so wrong with going into the 42nd millennium? The Judge Dredd universe has undergone massive upheavals during the evolution of the stories. None of those events would affect the games. Warmahordes even have a mechanism where you can use different versions of the casters representing their development as they progress.

When introducing new events and especially new races to the game the designers need to be very careful. Warzone introduced a new supplement and made the huge mistake that the capabilities and points were not compatible with the existing game.

Privateer Press got this right when they introduced Hordes and ensured they were compatible with the existing Warmachine forces

I understand that some people don't like or care about the background and to them the game is everything. I think these people are missing out on a rich dimension of the hobby. To me if you don't enjoy the background, you might as well be playing chess.


  1. I do not enjoy the background very much at all for 40k or fantasy. If its a history game I am right into it. But what I do like is snippets of background and more importantly the freedom (modeling wise) to make whatever I want work with the rules. I also like the aesthetic a lot.

    But I find the lore behind most sci fi and fantasy games/stories to be very lack luster and generally very over the top.

    So its nothing like playing chess in my opinion, its just playing a game that has choices that suit your style of play and you can use whatever you wish to represent that chosen play style.

    Its all personal preference but its not the game or the lore, sometimes it can be a big mix of reasons some one plays.

    1. Hi Jayden. I agree with you both. 40K, has just got too big (lore and machines), and unfortunately Fantasy seems to be going the same way, however the core story in Fantasy remains basically the same. I think the (profit driven) introduction of Monstrous cavalry into a rule-set written for blocks of infantry has damaged the story line, and reinventing the fluff to introduce and sell models is killing the game (and the lore) for me.Where did the Demigrif knights suddenly spring from?
      I am personally drifting back to WW2, which is based on history:

    2. I agree, history is where the fun is at for me too. Im slowly increasing my historic games whilst attempting to bring others into the system.

      But yes I agree. Its far more prevalent in 40k than fantasy, but after a few years of playing fantasy im sure i'll notice it more there too.

      Thanks for the link i'll have a read through.