Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The More Things Change....

The more they stay the same?

Recently there has either been announcements or rumors about new rules editions for various table top games. Warhammer Fantasy Battle is moving on to 9th Edition. 40K is rumored to be coming out with 7th Edition this year. Infinity is coming out with 3rd Edition (I didn't even know they were on second...). Firestorm Armada came out with 2nd Edition last year. So did Malifaux.

Do these new editions really change the game all that much? I can't speak about Infinity because I really don't much much about the game or FSA because I haven't played it in ages, but I can speak about the others, to some extent.

WFB 9th edition. The only new thing I've really heard is that they're moving the story line ahead, which is a great idea. I love how Privateer Press does this with Warmachine/Hordes. Every new rule book that they release moves the story line along. I'm still waiting to see what the hell is going to happen with Karchev! Other then that, what will really change?

40K and 7th Ed, or 6.5, or 6.1 or whatever the hell people are going to call it is odd. It's been 2 years since 6th Ed came out. GW did go a bit overboard with the additional rules and supplements and what not so I can see the need to try to reel all that back in with a new edition. I will be honestly shocked if they move ahead the story line, because it's been stagnant for years upon years.

Malifaux 2nd Ed was advertised as being a streamlining of the rules set. While it did this it also changed things around quite a bit in my opinion. The whole list building mechanic that was added to the game kind of took away from the charm Malifaux had in 1st edition. Everyone knew what each character did but now in 2nd you can build out your characters differently. Considering Malifaux is a character driven game it just took that charm away because now my Perdita could be totally different from your Perdita.

Now looking at WFB and 40K, my opinion is GW's new editions just rearrange thing around. No matter what they do you will still be rolling on the same table for ballistic still, weapon skill, strength against toughness etc.... The same system that's been used for almost 20 years, and I think it's really starting to show its age.

I believe that other systems out there are much better than the old GW roll on a table system. Warmachine/Hordes has you roll 2 dice (or more if you boost, weapon master etc...) and you add a score to it and compare it to a score an opponent has. Malifaux is very similar but you use cards instead of dice. Dreadball and Deadzone only has you roll against your own ability scores, so you don't even need to know your opponents ability scores to play the game.

The other issue with new editions is how they impact supplemental books, such as codices, army books, stuff like Planetstrike, etc... We all know GW is not on their game with keeping all of their armies up to date. Malifaux took months to get all of their masters and crews updated to 2nd edition. Companies need to keep this in mind when they decide to move on to a new rules edition.

So the point I'm trying to make is, do new rules editions fundamentally change the game or is it just lipstick on a pig? Is it change just for change sake? Is it a way just to make more money?

I find it to be a case by case basis and I know first hand how an edition change can just turn someone off from a game. GW edition changes fall under the lipstick on a pig and more money categories. Malifaux seemed to be change just for change sake.

This just makes we wonder how long will games like Warmachine/Hordes, Deadzone and Dreadball will go before a new edition. And when they do, just don't do it for the sake of change or for a quick buck.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if the TTMG companies are simply competing with each other rather than seriously hope to make their games better. Lets not kid ourselves and understand the fact that whatever they are doing, its to sell their bread and butter: miniatures.

    Some companies make an effort to make their systems better (Wyrd / Mantic)
    Some are quite blatant that they don't really care (PP / GW)

    Wyrd probably sees PP as their rivals and their move to real plastics and an overhauled ruleset reflects on that.

    GW is still a confused company and like Blizzard and their games, take a step backwards whenever they make 2 steps forwards.

    If the rumor mills be true, 40K will slowly became as niche as WHFB if they decide to push for high model count games. The only true reason (I feel) that 40K is more popular then WHFB is not because of only it genre but because you need a lot less models to play a "full game".

    Once you need at least 100 models on average to play a full sized game, you alienate a good portion of your potential (and existing) customer base.