Servitob tried to steal my thunder, but I shall carry on regardless of his efforts to deprive me of quality posting material. I don’t think anyone can really argue that Games Workshop is the largest and most well-known miniatures gaming company globally. Most of us grew up playing their games before we branched out into the busy niche hobby we call our own. Yet despite this bid for global domination there is a facet of their hobby that continues to provide me with more than a modicum of amusement. Servitob touched on this this morning when posting about the Blood Angels, I am not going to be pigeon-holing my acerbic comments to just a single release though.
The easiest way to sum up this phenomena is the “My Dad can beat up your Dad” axiom.
I don’t know whether this is down to the main demographic that GWs games are aimed for, there are many others whirlpools out there in Internet land where you can read about the trend for marketing Space Marinehammer 40,000 at an ever youthful target market, thereby increasing the possibility of immaturity within the hobby. Be that as it may, you cannot normally strike up a conversation with someone regarding Warhammer ( the one with Elves or the one with Space Elves) without eventually someone piping up with ” Well my unit X (Dad) can beat up your unit X (Dad)”… and this will go back and forth in a never-ending death spiral of paternal combat as comparisons go back and forth like a game of Top Trumps.
I am in no way suggesting that this is present only in the product of the beast of Nottingham, I am sure these conversations do occur with their competitors, however, I tend to find communities for other games to be more mature, perhaps that is due to the fact that we grow up with GW and then move on to other games as we find ourselves distanced from the core group the erstwhile Sherrif is trying to appeal to. I know that we can get very attached to our forces and we want them to be good and come out on top in the hypothetical scraps we enact upon our dining tables. Yet I believe there is another reason for the heated fratricidal debates and this is where Servitobs observations come in… the humble Codex or Army Book.
In every other game I play the forces for the games are all released together, in the rulebook, perhaps being personified as the Robin Hood to our dastardly money-grabbing Sherrif. GW release a rulebook every few years for which we fork over some hard-earned green and then wait eagerly (in no way do we wait patiently) for an updated army book, thus in an infinite feedback loop of rules/army book recycling that continually parts us from our lovely money that our wives would rather see spent on gifts for themselves. No other games system that I see in mainstream production goes with this approach. I imagine the only reason that the northern behemoth gets away with it is due to their size as a company.
Then we also have the fact that each book ends up written by a single chap, often with help from others but there is one name that stands out as the main author of the book, they will also almost inevitably be connected in some way to that army. Rather than having a development team look at the whole thing and work together, they lock a chap who loves his army into the development “closet” and months later out he comes with a fanboy style uberforce ready to decimate all that stand before it. While this may be a very whimsical look at how they do things it may not be far from the truth. Each army book does tend to be written by someone who harks on about how good they are, possibly not the best person to trust with delivering a balanced final product. There is also GWs much maligned playtesting procedure or apparent lack of one, here at 6 Inch Move we readily believe that each army is tested against Space Marines, one of the Horde armies and maybe the Tau, job done, go home, release book to market.
Judging by the quality of armies picked in White Dwarf battle reports Games Workshop’s own staff might not be best placed to deliver what little testing is done. Thus each new book is released to the cries of Internet doom-mongers decrying the dairy based nature of this heinous abomination, how it will break the game and deliver up the spawn of beelzebub himself upon the gaming tables of the nation. As of yet I have not heard of anyone spontaneously combusting due to the brokeness of an army, no, not even Daemons players!
However, once this all calms down the next release is on the horizon and the nerdrage starts again. I know that if GW were to release their armies in the same format as other companies we’d be paying £100 for the core rulebook I believe that at the least they really need to have more than one guy put his name to the Codex rules writing. Although the maxim “too many cooks spoil the broth” I think a few more people lending their talents would be better than the current “lone pillock cocks up an army book” that we have right now. I too will be looking forward to seeing what happens when Servitob fires up his Edward Cullen marines, I might even get him some paint effects that sparkle when they catch the sun. My only hope is that GW try to reign in the creep. Other people manage to crank out balanced and enjoyable products and while I do still enjoy my forays into either Hammer universe, there is still vast room for improvement compared to the competition.