Wednesday, 8 September 2010

When 40K Went Bad

For me, this is where 40K went wrong. It was a sad day indeed.

So what went wrong here and why?

It's simple - the Space Marine army list printed in this issue of the Dwarf. This is the tipping point where 40K went from being a great big goodie bag of sci-fi skirmish "stuff" where you were expected to run scenario play with a Gamesmaster and off into the boring, dull realms of equal pointed, "fair", "1500 point super-armies", line 'em up on opposite sides of a table and have at it. Exactly the sort of crap that had blighted the Ancient wargaming world pretty much ever since the early 1970s. All the early promise in Rogue Trader was immediately extinguished and it became about shit like "balance" and "optimising" and "tournaments". The game had gone from being the bastard child of Laserburn to a clone of WRG Ancients or something. Disappointing. Very disappointing.

It was now a competitive game and much the worse for it.

It's interesting that RT was launched in WD93 and this issue is WD105 so the original state of play was only around for 13 months - but it seemed a very long thirteen months in which it had single-handedly shifted the scene of Brit Gaming from fantasy (which was the only thing people played) over to a sort of sci-fi, which had previously been regarded as a red-headed stepchild.

So for me this issue marks the change in the GW hobby that did start to leave me behind. If it wasn't for the emergence of the Epic scale side of things and the fact that WD was still publishing (admittedly not very good) WFRP stuff I'm fairly certain that all of my GW stuff would have donated to younger cousins and forgotten about. It was a real sea change for my hobby.

That said, it did have some nice beakie illustrations by our blogging friend Mr. Nicholson.

(I love the cheeky amused-looking Ork bottom right here. He reminds of a boxer bitch my family once owned who had suffered a broken jaw when run over as a puppy so ended up with a similar protruding tusk.)

(Note Rogue Trader era autogun carried by leftmost Marine. From the days when random generation could leave a Space Marine squad toting autoguns, lasguns or even Eldar shuriken catapults!)


  1. Now I want to play Original Rogue Trader. ORT anyone?

  2. I'm keeping my eye on this thread

    15mm Rogue Trader with Laserburn Imperial Marines. It's giving me the fizz.

  3. It's interesting that the latest edition of WFB there is a real suggestion that people play gamesmastered scenarios. Reading that led me to dig out Rogue Trader. Jervis Johnson appears to be pushing the line that WFB game should be about building an enjoyable fantasy narrative, not winning a game of statistics. It appears that he agrees with you that the rise of competitive tournament play has been a major wrong turn. Even though he's making these arguments in White Dwarf, I'm not sure anyone much will pay attention, but...

  4. Nice Russ Nicholson illo's.I had never seen any of them before. Thanks for posting.

    I read you on the SCI-Fi Warhammer! I stopped being interested in White Dwarf pretty soon after
    Games Workshop started using it as a in-house advertisement supplement.

  5. Necromunda seems to me to be the best vehicle for RPG scenario-esque 40K. In fact, with GW not even offering durable and repaintable minis any more thanks to failcast suggests that it is game over for deriving any value from their future offerings. In many ways, Necromunda was the last hurrah for RT games master stuff. It seems that in the grim darkness of the far future there is only eBay.