Monday, 21 April 2014

Fixing GW Games

Sitting back and looking at my new Astra Militarum Codex - which was the most boring codex I have ever read by the way. But I will have a review of that in about 24 hours. - and I was thinking about how GW does their games. Obviously for anyone who looks at my blog I do love 40k and Fantasy, but I do see the huge flaws the games have. Everyone will have many different reasons for it, but in my opinion it can be easily fixed. 

Irrelevant picture, but decorative. 

Keeping everything leveled. 

Now I dont mean make a Guardian the same as a Space Marine etc. One of the best selling points of 40k is that its full of options and choices. Most games do not offer the amount of units, races and weapons 40k does. But what needs to happen is the points pricing for units needs to be the same. 

For example if the weapon skill stat was priced at 5 points per stat for all models in the game and likewise 15 points for ballistic skill no matter the troop and so on, then we would start off with balanced stat lined troops. Orks will still be Orks, but they would be cheaper due to their stat line over a Space Marine. This is already the case, but with this system its fairly cheaper. 

GW does not do this. Its pretty clear they make a unit and estimate its point value and go from there. This creates horrible situations like the Penal Legion and Rough Riders. Heck even Ogryns. 

But it doesn't end with the stat line, each weapon should be priced per 6" of range for example, along with points per strength value and AP. This would make Close Combat weapons cheaper as they dont need to pay range tax, but Close Combat weapon troops had to pay points for the stats their user has to make better use of them. 

Things like Monstrous Creatures and Vehicles will have a base cost and then pay for their stats and abilities or armour and movement and so on. 

Then each special rule should have a points cost to go along with it. Feel no Pain for example could be 20 points a model. But this causes another problem, why should a guardsmen pay the same points for Feel No Pain as a Space marine?

This can be fixed by instead of paying for special rules with a points value, each special rule can use a percentage of value. So A rule such as feel no pain could be 15 percent of the models value. So if a marine after its stats were made, may be 100 points, so feel no pain would be 15 points if a marine squad were to have this. But a Guardsmen who came out as 20 points, would cost 3 points for Feel No Pain. 

This isnt a perfect system, but in my opinion would certainly go a very long way to making the game very balanced. Things that are double the stat line of a Guardsmen would be double the cost. Once you add weapons and special rules the costs change rapidly, but its not a wild guess, its more of a fair pricing system that would create a better balance between codices. This goes for everything, from vehicles to monstrous creatures. 

Of course this would make things such as codex creep hard for GW to make use of for sales, but from a player perspective it would be great. 

As for the new codex, I shall post about it tomorrow. But yea its very bland from many perspectives. Still good, but bland. I ordered the new commissar (got it half price for various reasons) so ill paint that up and review it at the same time as I look into the Astra Militarum Codex. 

*Note: all examples or just examples. Just to try illustrate what I mean. 


  1. I assume that you mean GW should not have a system to determine the points and not the players who would design the units using some formula. I think there are probably to many variables for a fixed equation to work but I think what GW should be doing is not having the points costs fixed in stone for so long. They should probably be updating the points values for all the armies in annual adjustment review.

    1. Well I think a formula would work personally, Even if the formula changes between editions. Thats way there is less likely to be any mass reconsideration each time a new codex is done.

      The percentage system for special rules (which are the biggest variables) would help reduce their effect on game balance and improve over all design.

      But you are right, system or not, there should be constant adjustments to make the gaming system more enjoyable. Which they arent doing now.

  2. All of this assumes that points balance the game. They don't.

    The problem is that the value of something is highly dependent on the combinations that its taken in. A meltagun in an army without any other anti-tank is extremely useful, while a meltagun in an army full of anti-tank isn't. Markerlights in an army full of kroot and firewarriors aren't that useful, while markerlights in an army with riptides and broadsides are very, very useful. A land raider in an army without terminators isn't going to be as useful as a land raider in an army with some THSS termies.

    In order to create the "right" points level, you'd need to be able to understand its points based on every possible combination it could be taken in from armies (allies) to units, to upgrades.

    But if that wasn't absurd enough, in the end, all you'd get is the average points cost. Half of the combinations would still make the upgrade overpriced, and the other half overpowered.

    The only way points could even possibly balance is if you had the points cost be contingent. A land raider costs 150 points, unless you have 3-6 more lascannons in your army, in which case it's -15 points, unless you have at least one model in terminator armor in your army, which makes it +50 points, and another +25 points if you have an HQ model in terminator armor, unless you have... etc. etc. etc.

    But since both the idea of understanding what a points cost should be and the correct way of applying them are both absurd, there's no real purpose to talking about points costs balancing anything.

    1. Thats where I disagree.

      Have you ever played a game such as Endless Space or Master of Orion 2? In those games you can make custom races with a set amount of points. Each ability has a cost that will add to your points or take away points. Each race paid the same points for those abilities. This creates a system where all races have paid the same for their gear etc (if they have the same gear that is). However, this doesnt mean everything is viable. It would be pointless to take traits that counter each others effect. So you simply would use less of them/avoid them.

      In 40k, if you lack anti tank besides melta, you shouldnt pay more for it. The Melta gun still has the same effect. It becomes more useful to you if you have no other gun, but that then comes into play style during the game. If you chose to have fire warriors and kroot, then obviously you wouldn't purchase as many marker lights. But those troops points would be balanced due to the points system, so they would still have a fighting chance as long as during the list building and game the player did it well.

      If the system used points as a balance system then its up to the player to take units that compliment each other. If there is a sucky unit, that unit wouldnt cost anywhere near how much a good unit is. But if they have the same gun, those guns should cost the same (as they have the same effect) but the user would be cheaper or more expensive given the profile.

      You stumped me on allies, but in order to create balance they would need to be changed anyway.

      I do agree points isnt the only factor, but as I said in the post it would go a long way to fixing many of the problems we have.

      If all the points are balanced, it then falls on the players to play their units to their advantage rather than search for the cheapest buff handing unit from another codex, as that cheap buff handing unit would cost a very similar points cost as another unit that has similar effects. Currently, in GW's system, there are units that do less, for more points. (they are generally not taken) and units that do more for less.

      I might do a game tomorrow with a points system in place like mentioned above and see how different the game is, and if it feels a bit more balanced. obviously one game wont show much but it will be interesting to see.

  3. Yes, MoO had race traits, but that was a tiny amount of customization. Plus, don't tell me that some weren't stronger traits than others.

    And the absurdity of balancing points is even worse than I said. For example, how useful is a meltagun if your opponent brings a mech list? How useful is it if your opponent brings only a horde of infantry? You need to take into account not only how useful something is when taken into account with other things you brought, but also with all the combinations your opponent could bring. And on the mission and table set-up (weapons with "ignores cover" will be less useful on boards with less terrain or more LOS-blocking terrain).

    And even then, once again, you merely get an average usefulness that you're basing your points cost off of.

    And if you're relying on players to behave in a certain way to make points cost balance things better... well, that's what 40k already does.

    1. Well, as I said it wouldn't be perfect. But that comes down to list building and strategy. And its better than the current system. Its up to strategy to try make the best off equal gear pointed gear.

      Of course you cant balance the game so melta guns will always be effective. They are only gonna kill vehicles or powerful creatures. thats a part of the game.

      But what shouldnt be part of a game is when you have an imperial heavy weapons team that can hardly move and shoot and (usually) has BS 3 as an upgrade to a standard squad, but the eldar get a moving, extra tough, lance anti tank weapon for the same price. Same range, but all those buffs and guess what? Same price. To me this shouldnt be a thing. The human ones are less effective so they should be cheap and readily available. But the eldar one is elite and more useful so should cost more.

      This currently isnt the case and its something that really bugs me about the game.