Monday, June 5, 2017

Wargaming Stockholm Syndrome

Over the last six to seven months I have listened to a large number of 40k podcasts. This was inspired by the release of Traitor Legions in December 2016 where the true heroes of 40k were reintroduced to the game.

I played around with my army, made up some lists and even played a couple of games. But most of all I listened to podcasts and watched what was supposedly the pinnacle of the tournament game, the Las Vegas Open, on Twitch.

What I saw through that period was the greatest case of "Stockholm Syndrome" that I have ever witnessed. Throughout the period I heard over and over again that this was the best time ever to be a Warhammer 40k player. Apparently the models were great (yep some were, others - I'm looking at you Magnus - were a car crash), Games Workshop was great (better than the Kirby years, true but not a high target), engagement was great (see previous Kirby comment) and the game was great (due to the accelerated release schedule).

Go on any podcast - Long War, Frontline Gaming, Independent Characters, Forge the Narrative - and they had all drunk the Koolaid, this was a golden time for 40k.

Except it wasn't. The rules were bloated and slow. When Turn 4 becomes a foreign country then you know something is wrong. The requirement to bring sometimes up to seven books for your list isn't a sign of complexity it's a sign of failure. Army building was a joke that destroyed 30 years of fluff. Yet these were the Golden Years.

Suddenly two months ago this all changed. As one the 40k media looked behind the curtain and the veil fell. Suddenly all the problems with the game were stark.

I am convinced that this version of 40k will be the best since 3rd/4th. The flaws in the current edition were there for anyone to see but they were ignored. Welcome to the new world.



  1. Having played my first game of 8th edition yesterday I can saw that I fully agree with you. My world eaters played the way they were supposed to, the rules made sense once we played a couple of turns and it was awesome fun.

    I haven't enjoyed 40K that much since the Eye of Terror campaign & very happy that I didn't sell off my finished army when I sold off all my WIP & unpainted stuff over the past few years to fund all my other systems.

    1. Although it looks promising at first glance, Its still going to have its fair share of problems. Some things don't make sense like vehicles charging and fighting in combat.
      I keep being amused by all the people saying its like 2nd/3rd/pick your edition and remembering the good old days.
      Its pretty clear to the WHFB community that this edition is heavily influenced by WHFB 8th, and only selectivley takes some parts from AoS (the ones that did not fail terribly on day one).
      GW is still trying to push there agenda of casual no points in so far as they have introduced a simplified points system.
      When will they learn their target market is not 12 year olds, its the 18-35 bracket

    2. I suspect that the only resemblance to 3rd Edition is that it is a totally new game. GW have removed the bloat that stifled the game to a crawl by all accounts. That must be a good thing.

      Will it be fun to play? I hope so. The last two years have seen me focus on KoW where Alessio has created a ruleset that focuses purely on strategy and tactics. It is far less about combos and completely decided by player skill (and the luck mechanism inherent in any dice game). I am now used to a game where the rules are so clear that it is rare that an experienced player will need to refer to the rulebook during a game for clarification.

      My hope is that the new 40k designers have followed a similar track.