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IcedCrow
03-07-2013, 15:23
Came across this today regarding the "Most Important Rule" - which per the rulebook states that the most important rule is that you should houserule if you feel it will help your game as none of the rules are written as strict "you must do this or else".

What launched this was a comment on what rules you would change on BOLS where a poster stated:


I would do away with the "most important rule". Its ruining the hobby.

The most important rule per the rulebook:


"The most important rule then is that the rules aren't all that important! So long as both players agree, you can treat them as sacrosanct or mere guidelines - the choice is entirely yours."

Now over the years I have not played a RAW game of warhammer since I quit tournaments about five years ago. Quite honestly the game in its RAW form was not fun for me for both Hammer and 40k. I have since moved to narrative campaigns where we can put a few house rules in place, and without fail every year I take some hell from some competitive types that feel that this is playing wrong and teaching people wrong and should be stamped out.

So there is always conflict regarding this "most important rule" in our communities with some embracing it and others hating it like the plague.

I feel in tournaments that the rules need to be adhered to as closely as possible but I feel that there are other events and games where you don't need to do this as strict (which brings up the next argument...that being should all games be considered competitive level all the time, which is another debate that comes up yearly with some people feeling all games should be played at the competitive level and others not so much).

Discuss

Bubble Ghost
03-07-2013, 15:27
The Most Important "Rule" is just a reminder of a self-evident truth anyway.

Freak Ona Leash
03-07-2013, 15:29
It's a game played with your friends. House rule it if you want. I see 40k as akin to RPG gaming with my friends: if a rule ain't broke, don't fix it. But if something doesn't make sense, why not house rule it? We are a competitive lot at many things, including sports and video games (and burping :shifty: ) but 40k isn't one of those things. If I want to play a serious and reasonably well-balance strategy game with a 40k theme, I will just log onto DOW II and get stomped into the ground by Chaos and Eldar players who have several hundred hours logged :p

Excessus
03-07-2013, 15:30
Discuss
Why do people use this word at the end of their posts? Don't they feel confident enough that their post will entice people enough to start discussing anyway, so they feel the need to state the obvious at the end of their post...and thereby diminishing it? Is it a command? Beacause it feels like a command, and I don't like being commanded by random people on the internet...and I sure as hell don't follow those commands...

Scaryscarymushroom
03-07-2013, 15:37
The Most Important "Rule" is just a reminder of a self-evident truth anyway.


"The most important rule then is that the rules aren't all that important! So long as both players agree, you can treat them as sacrosanct or mere guidelines - the choice is entirely yours."

Amen to that!

Even if a game has really watertight rules, I'd still take this attitude to the gaming table. I will bend/break the rules of any game if I think it makes it more fun.

That said, anyone is entitled to the opinion that "the most important rule" is ruining the hobby - all it tells you is that the person with that opinion cares more about the rules and thinks other people should too. This guy's probably just ******** that his gaming group doesn't share his values.

People are all different - realizing their differences, coming to grips with an alternate perspective, and accepting others' point of view is the true test beneath "the most important rule."

IcedCrow
03-07-2013, 15:51
Why do people use this word at the end of their posts? Don't they feel confident enough that their post will entice people enough to start discussing anyway, so they feel the need to state the obvious at the end of their post...and thereby diminishing it? Is it a command? Beacause it feels like a command, and I don't like being commanded by random people on the internet...and I sure as hell don't follow those commands...

I really didn't put that much thought into using "discuss" because it's one of those things that accompanies discussion threads. My apologies for using a word that inflames you so. There is no command authority in using that word nor have I ever ever once read that in any of the hundreds of posts that I have read over time that used it.

Mister Hat
03-07-2013, 15:53
People are all different - realizing their differences, coming to grips with an alternate perspective, and accepting others' point of view is the true test beneath "the most important rule."

This. No discussion needed.

Gossipmeng
03-07-2013, 15:59
As long as you and your opponent agree on something.... that's what goes.

Want your landeraiders to have FnP? Sure if your opponent agrees. Nuclear bomb kills D6 of your opponents units/vehicles per turn at the start of their movement phase? Why not?

Some people like to play with ridiculous rules - I prefer to play with what are considered the "standard rules" (nothing out of the ordinary), but I couldn't care less what the people are doing at the table next to mine.

Charistoph
03-07-2013, 16:05
Amen to that!

Even if a game has really watertight rules, I'd still take this attitude to the gaming table. I will bend/break the rules of any game if I think it makes it more fun.

That said, anyone is entitled to the opinion that "the most important rule" is ruining the hobby - all it tells you is that the person with that opinion cares more about the rules and thinks other people should too. This guy's probably just ******** that his gaming group doesn't share his values.

People are all different - realizing their differences, coming to grips with an alternate perspective, and accepting others' point of view is the true test beneath "the most important rule."

Agreed. Did you know that Monopoly has the most House Rules ever written for a game? And the basic game hasn't changed much since when it was first introduced.

My LGS takes this to heart. We have a tournament 2 of every 3 months that are nothing but House Ruled FOC. 3 Elites, 3 Heavy Support, Team-ups, etc, could be the required FOC for that tournament. They are also small points so that people with slot-heavy armies, but are at a low build point, can join. They are fun and always looked forward to, especially as you cannot rely on old stand-by 'net lists to get you through.

Edit: I don't see how this ruins your ability to collect, build, and paint your models or create a story about them. It may make the GAME challenging, but not the hobby.

Scaryscarymushroom
03-07-2013, 16:24
My LGS takes this to heart. We have a tournament 2 of every 3 months that are nothing but House Ruled FOC. 3 Elites, 3 Heavy Support, Team-ups, etc, could be the required FOC for that tournament. They are also small points so that people with slot-heavy armies, but are at a low build point, can join. They are fun and always looked forward to, especially as you cannot rely on old stand-by 'net lists to get you through.

I really like this idea. (It kinda reminds me of all the mission types and custom FOCs in the 3rd and 4th edition rulebooks.)

Telemachus
03-07-2013, 16:30
There's a time and a place to be pedantic, and to me, when it comes to 40k that time and place is in tournaments.
To try and take the 'Most important rule' away, would be a complete and utter waste of time, it would be ignored amongst a group of gamers who played each other regularly and were comfortable enough to know that they didn't have to have a see who can pee the highest competition every time they played. And, if new players thought that the rules had to be slavishly adhered to, there's always the possibility that it could put them off the game.

Chem-Dog
03-07-2013, 16:33
Why do people use this word at the end of their posts?

Because they are equal parts bad spellers and ancient field event enthusiasts? :shifty:?

Not really had a huge problem with the rule to be honest (I see it as more of a guideline).

There have been precisely two occasions where I've had an issue with another player's take on the rules in person. The first was an arbitrary ban on SC's in what was supposed to be an Apoc game being GM'd by one guy - basically on the strength of the fact he didn't have time to read up all the characters and ensure his storyline wasn't broken by some special storming in and doing what isn't otherwise possible (admittedly an attitude issue rather than a pure rules one, but as he was writing the necessary rules a **No Exceptions** clause would have been easy enough and not penalised the handful of players who wanted to run SC dependant forces)

The other time was a league a player had organised where the rules seemed to horrendously favour his chosen army and penalise others in such a way as to make them almost unusable. But the restrictions there prompted the development of my renegade army, so even that wasn't all bad.

Sir Didymus
03-07-2013, 16:37
I've never been to a tournament that didn't have some sort of house rules, be it; fixed terrain tables, some sort of comp or awarding points for fluff quizzes etc.

-

I fully support house rules, 40K as a game isn't very good (at being a futuristic fantasy battle simulation with challenging tactics), its been designed to give modellers a chance to showcase their models and a reason to expand their collections - which results in fighter jets having dog fights within an area the size of a football field - and this it does pretty well. Changing the rules to suit your playstyle, provide new challenges only expands upon the gaming experience and stimulates creative thinking and social skills, as not only do you have to come up with ideas to modify the game, but you also have to achieve a consensus with your fellow gamers.

Besides; you always have the right to refuse a game, so why anyone could take offense to anyone playing differently is beyond my understanding :)

Starchild
03-07-2013, 16:41
Why do people use this word at the end of their posts? Don't they feel confident enough that their post will entice people enough to start discussing anyway, so they feel the need to state the obvious at the end of their post...and thereby diminishing it? Is it a command? Beacause it feels like a command, and I don't like being commanded by random people on the internet...and I sure as hell don't follow those commands...

It's a quote from a popular television talk show, where the host brings up a topic, introduces the guests, and then she says "discuss" to get the debate started.

GlenMorray
03-07-2013, 16:41
Why do people use this word at the end of their posts? Don't they feel confident enough that their post will entice people enough to start discussing anyway, so they feel the need to state the obvious at the end of their post...and thereby diminishing it? Is it a command? Beacause it feels like a command, and I don't like being commanded by random people on the internet...and I sure as hell don't follow those commands...

Haha oh man classic! That's the largest over-reaction on the internet I think I've ever read!

I think it's quite a nice thread as well so I will "Discuss"

I think it's great to bend the rules, me and me bessie often do away with rules that don't seem realistic, like taking casualties from the front when you've been hit by a blast template, and if a blast scatters and the firer can't see a target it doesn't get hit...
...Man I could see people in wars wishing that was a realistic worldy rule!

Ozendorph
03-07-2013, 17:00
Obviously house rules are very common among friends and gaming clubs. I don't think I've ever come across a club that strictly adhered to the rulebooks in all things. Of course there may be squabbles over certain details, but that's why God invented headbutting.

House rules - most commonly in the form of custom missions - can be used successfully in tournaments/organized play, so long all participants are made aware of the changes well in advance. In the past when I ran events, I would always put out a rule sheet alongside the event flyers, listing missions, FOC requirements, and all that good stuff. Worked fine, as anyone registering has implicitly consented to play by the rules as stated.

Where house rules are generally unwelcome and RAW is king, in my experience, is in the realm of "pick up games" with loose acquaintances or strangers. Without any familiarity or agreed to rule-interpretations, and without any organizer or judge to turn to, the written word is the only arbiter of what is right or wrong. If the book fails you (and it will) hopefully you can d6 it and get on with your lives. It is at these times you may find yourself wishing the authors had spent more time playtesting and less waxing poetically about the forging of narratives.

I'm fortunate (I suppose) that I don't find myself playing pickup games these days. I've got a large, established group of friends that play regularly. My heart, however, goes out to those that travel, have recently relocated, or only have time to run over to the local shop every few weeks for a game with whoever happens to be standing there holding a figure case.

IcedCrow
03-07-2013, 17:11
I agree. For pickup games you need a common ground.

I am also grateful I do not play pickup games.

Lord Inquisitor
03-07-2013, 17:27
What poppycock. I've even used the "most important rule" in tournaments.

Scammel
03-07-2013, 17:30
I will give my VC opponents casting bonuses if they perform Van Hel's Dance before every casting attempt. The interpretation is up to them but it needs to be suitably impressive.

Excessus
03-07-2013, 17:52
Haha oh man classic! That's the largest over-reaction on the internet I think I've ever read!
Welcome to the internet, you must be new here...

Sephillion
03-07-2013, 18:32
Even when I play with strangers, we « house rule » things : for instance, we do not always place terrain exactly per the rules, we sometimes allow one or two points above the mark (i.e. 1251 in a 1200 pts game), we do not roll for mysterious forests, sometimes we decide what kind of game to play, etc. I guess we can call that “house rules” of sorts.

Essentially, the “most important rule” is not ruining the game, since if you want to play “extreme RAW”, you’re free to, while if me and my buddies house rule that covers give 4+ or something else and we’re having fun that way, it doesn’t affect you in any way, since I wouldn’t expect other players to abide by my house rules, unless we agree to beforehand.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that “the most important rule” is helping many players enjoy the game. It’s essentially a reminder that the most important part of the game is not to follow the rules, it’s to have fun. Players who like to adhere strictly to the rules can do so and are welcome to, to say that playing the game in a particular way ruins the hobby is pedantic.

Lord Damocles
03-07-2013, 18:37
If people don't like the most important rule, it's just as well that the rules tell you that you should feel free to ignore it, then!

Ssilmath
03-07-2013, 18:43
It's not a houserule to not use mysterious terrain, it is explicitly stated in the book that it is acceptable (Even encouraged) to discuss terrain before the game and decide on how it is to be utilized. This is an example of how people have a misconception of the rules (Often caused by the internet repeating it until it seems like truth) and getting angry at Games Workshop. From a book design viewpoint, it might have been better to relocate the mysterious terrain rules to a different part of the book and avoid the confusion entirely. But no, it isn't house ruling at all to decide not to use mysterious terrain.

Devonian Commando
03-07-2013, 19:56
Sometimes RAW suck. Rules lawyers wrecking exciting games suck. I think 40k was written to be played RAI rather than RAW. However, if you're going to be competitive and charge people money to enter competitions where prizes are at stake then RAW is a must to referee these situations.
So I guess keep fluffy games for friends and local gaming groups and rules lawyering for tournament play which is what happens naturally in my experience. You'll always get your idiots though......

TheMav80
03-07-2013, 21:08
I would wager that, whoever wrote that, is coming at it from the idea that it is an excuse Games Workshop uses to put out poorly written rules.

Some people don't like games unless they have tight rules. I have a very good friend that doesn't like playing any game (minis, RPG, board game, card game, party game, whatever) without a clear cut set of rules to abide by.

yabbadabba
03-07-2013, 21:28
No.

Bill posters will be prosecuted.

Tupinamba
03-07-2013, 21:29
For pick-up and tournament play, there must be as universal a common ground as you can get. However, that´s something very different to RAW interpretation and it always staggers me how RAW seems to be the prevalent mindset in Warhammer, as it´s in no way how rules are interpreted in real life by lawyers and judges.

There are a lot of unclear rules in warhammer and interpreting them in a systematic way and according to common sense, the intentions of the writers and the preferences of the players, preventing rules abuses and increasing the immersion is how I expect the rules to be approached.

I also find it sad how selective the same RAW predominance is, discarding several parts of the rules books that are very important to gameplay and balance, like the different missions and terrains in WHFB, the use of which would make a lot of the so-called subpar units and builds more competitive and overall force more diversity and balance in list building.

Bubble Ghost
03-07-2013, 21:31
It's possibly worth mentioning that the person who posted the comment on BOLS claims he was being sarcastic.

Ozendorph
03-07-2013, 21:52
I find the resulting conversation more interesting than the original comment.

Discuss. (;))

ihavetoomuchminis
03-07-2013, 21:55
The only thing i don't like about house rules, in my experience, is that they tend to unbalance the game.....in favour of those who are suggesting the house-rule.

Starchild
03-07-2013, 21:56
I will give my VC opponents casting bonuses if they perform Van Hel's Dance before every casting attempt. The interpretation is up to them but it needs to be suitably impressive.

Frequent visits to goth & industrial dance clubs would be a good place to start. :skull:


The only thing i don't like about house rules, in my experience, is that they tend to unbalance the game.....in favour of those who are suggesting the house-rule.

It can go either way-- to further unbalance the game, or rebalance the game. In reality though the whole concept of balance is flawed anyway. Real war is never "balanced".

Anyone bored with 40k should try fielding half as many points as the opponent, and see how much it changes one's perspective. In these situations grit and determination are more valuable than bickering over rules interpretations to fit one's definition of "balance".

Losing Command
03-07-2013, 22:24
Soooo a trouney player wants to have a rule removed that tells you to ignore or adjust any rules you don't like ...

:wtf:

colonel kane trine
03-07-2013, 22:46
I dont mind the rule to be honest i always talk to my opponent briefly before we play regardless if its my long term opponents or a totally new player.
its a game between 2 people treat it as such i guess

Sir Didymus
03-07-2013, 23:01
The only thing i don't like about house rules, in my experience, is that they tend to unbalance the game.....in favour of those who are suggesting the house-rule.

The point of house rules per se is not just to balance the game, but to tailor the game to suit your taste.. The good thing is that it requires both participants to agree upon the rules, as noone can be forced to play.

Not that house rules are always successful. I've played quite a few games, where the rules didn't work as intended - not that the games themselves were any less enjoyable - just that a few things hadn't been thought through, which just goes to show that good games design requires some testing. Instead you learn a lesson, and take it into account when you set up for the next game.

The most inspiring GW read I've had in recent times, was with the release of 8th ed. fantasy, which included a description of a huuuuge siege, where the designers had developed special characters with special rules, new and unique units and just went all out in the attempt to have a great game.

Lothlanathorian
03-07-2013, 23:50
I've only read the OP and this is my initial thought:

If he thinks 'The Most Important Rule' is ruining the game, then he and his opponent should agree to ignore that 'Rule', thereby utilizing the 'Rule' and vindicating its existence. Mind. Blown.

big squig
04-07-2013, 01:35
You could always use the most important rule to ignore or change the most important rule. Then again, if you use the most important rule to ignore the most important rule, then you wouldn't be able to keep using the most important rule to ignore the most important rule.

Shibboleth
04-07-2013, 07:50
This. No discussion needed.
You will Discuss,
or you will Die!

Ruination Drinker
04-07-2013, 07:51
The first rule is invalid! Why? Because this is a NO FUN ZONE!

Tarax
04-07-2013, 08:10
They stated the 'Most important rule' just because they know they can't write good rules. If they did, we wouldn't need to have houserules.

BTW, with houserules I mean rules outside the rulebook that you have made to make some ruling of discrepancy clearer for you to play with; not rules that influence any pre-game issues, like FOC, terrain, etc. Eg you can decide that the terrain is placed before rolling for sides and no mysterious terrain is used, but not that Melta-weapons are full-range, or Combat Speed is 9".

To me the 'Most important rule' is 'Have Fun', next to 'If you come to a situation that is not clear, roll a dice'.

tneva82
04-07-2013, 08:29
Every game is going to have house rules ;) You can't cover taste of everybody but it's also not going to be on/off. There's always going to be people who will like say 90% of rules but hate the 10%. Guess what? If they have people around who also hate same points they are going to change it.

You don't even need the "most important rule" in rulebook because it is already given! GW just went out of their way to point out the obvious. Duh. Whether rule is mentioned in the rulebook or not it already exists. It exists in every single miniature/board/card game. Computer games are bit trickier though you could say lots of single player ones have those too(lots of modding going around). Making house rules is just harder there but not impossible.

Ruination Drinker
04-07-2013, 08:35
They stated the 'Most important rule' just because they know they can't write good rules. If they did, we wouldn't need to have houserules.

BTW, with houserules I mean rules outside the rulebook that you have made to make some ruling of discrepancy clearer for you to play with; not rules that influence any pre-game issues, like FOC, terrain, etc. Eg you can decide that the terrain is placed before rolling for sides and no mysterious terrain is used, but not that Melta-weapons are full-range, or Combat Speed is 9".

To me the 'Most important rule' is 'Have Fun', next to 'If you come to a situation that is not clear, roll a dice'.

This sums it all up, pretty much.

If you're spending money on the models, painting them all, then travelling all around town (or farther) for a game that you aren't having fun at, the joke is on you.

GW's 1st rule is a CYA cop out.

tneva82
04-07-2013, 08:39
GW's 1st rule is a CYA cop out.

Well it's cop out shared by every miniature, board and card game in the world...It's impossible to have such a game without that rule in place by default. Nobody can possibly hope to remove it from rules regardless of what they do.

Frankly why GW bothered to even put the most obvious rule in the rulebook in the rulebook in the first place. Waste of space really since that rule is automatic to begin with.

Chem-Dog
04-07-2013, 10:33
@ Yabbadabba

Bill is innocent, he will be acquitted!

yabbadabba
04-07-2013, 21:46
The only thing i don't like about house rules, in my experience, is that they tend to unbalance the game.....in favour of those who are suggesting the house-rule. That tends to be down to a lack of experience. being good at making house rules requires most people to leanr by practice and that means getting it wrong sometimes.


Frankly why GW bothered to even put the most obvious rule in the rulebook in the rulebook in the first place. Waste of space really since that rule is automatic to begin with. Well, if Warseer and BoLS are to go by, it's because many have forgotten. But its probably because their products are aimed at a generation who haven't actually experienced that rule in such a way before.

Lord Inquisitor
05-07-2013, 03:51
@ Yabbadabba

Bill is innocent, he will be acquitted!

Ha ha ha... Nice.

Hendarion
05-07-2013, 09:12
"So long as both players agree"

I don't see any problem here. If not both agree, the rule doesn't apply. If both agree, they can do whatever they want anyway.


They stated the 'Most important rule' just because they know they can't write good rules. If they did, we wouldn't need to have houserules.
Wrong. You can never satisfy everyone. There will always be people who want to play xyz differently. And if you create the "most important rule" or not, they will do it anyway.

tneva82
05-07-2013, 09:35
"So long as both players agree"

I don't see any problem here. If not both agree, the rule doesn't apply. If both agree, they can do whatever they want anyway.

Yeah. Do people realize that even something as simple as playing game strictly by the rulebook requires mutual agreement :D

You could even say you can't PLAY the game without the most important rule. By playing the game you are de facto already utilizing it!

theunwantedbeing
05-07-2013, 09:38
If it's the reason the rules writers leave in glaring errors and ambiguities and then don't bother FAQing them....yes, it is ruining the hobby.

If not, no.

Luigi
05-07-2013, 09:53
You will Discuss,
or you will Die!
It's almost 5 in the morning here.
and i can't stop laughing really loud.
you, sir, made my early morning.
(and woke up my girlfriend)

Spider-pope
05-07-2013, 09:56
If it's the reason the rules writers leave in glaring errors and ambiguities and then don't bother FAQing them....yes, it is ruining the hobby.

If not, no.

Well it clearly isn't.

No ruleset can possibly cover every situation that can arise, the most important rule is there for those situations, to avoid the game being bogged down into a debate over what to do. To suggest that it is somehow ruining the game is ridiculous.

Hendarion
05-07-2013, 10:31
No ruleset can possibly cover every situation that can arise
Chess can ;)

ChaplainCharlie
05-07-2013, 10:37
I thought the most important rule was "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you"?
That one might still work quite well with wargaming. Especially considering being a good sport, rules lawyering and WAAC. :P

Tarax
05-07-2013, 10:49
Wrong. You can never satisfy everyone. There will always be people who want to play xyz differently. And if you create the "most important rule" or not, they will do it anyway.

Maybe you understood me wrong. What I meant was that GW makes so many complex rules, but don't consider how they interact, that it leave too many questions. And this is just the rulebook, don't even think about any rules from the codexes.

tneva82
05-07-2013, 11:06
Maybe you understood me wrong. What I meant was that GW makes so many complex rules, but don't consider how they interact, that it leave too many questions. And this is just the rulebook, don't even think about any rules from the codexes.

Well that isn't exclutivity to GW games. There's loooots of rule questions in warmachine forums as well for example ;)

Anyway rule wasn't put in rulebook because of those because the rule exists by default. As I already said: You can't play the game even with strictly by the rulebook without utilizing that rule in a first place! You either follow that rule or you don't play at all.

Haravikk
05-07-2013, 12:00
The most important rule is have fun; sticking strictly to the rules can put you in game-ruining situations where a game is ruined early on. For example, if your opponent's Warlord is about to take a dive off a table edge in turn 1 because a supremely lucky blast forced a Morale check that they shouldn't be able to fail, but did anyway; in such cases I prefer to find a compromise, for example they were forced to go to ground instead, as at least that way the game is tipping to one side's favour right from the start.
I think it's also important to give people some leeway if they forget a rule, or an active effect from a psychic power or whatever. Unless it requires re-doing a round of combat or something; even experienced players will forget half their rules in the heat of battle.

I also like my house rule that if anyone takes an unreasonable number of flyers in a game gets the big rulebook dropped on their hand… but thankfully I haven't had to enforce that rule thus far :)

aim
05-07-2013, 12:12
Welcome to the internet, you must be new here...

I dunno, I've been on the internet quite a while, and that is a pretty large over reaction, even for the internet.

ChaplainCharlie
05-07-2013, 12:22
Eh...

I kinda disagree about ruling stuff like the Warlord example, because if he did fail it, then he could fail it and hence that's ok. However stuff that give advantages based not on luck or skill, but human error, may need a bit of tweaking. For example forgetting to move a pair of Crisis suits back into cover or forgetting to cast Fortune, but being allowed to do so at the end of the turn anyway. Or just not doggedly abiding to for example reducing all Banshees to I 1, because a single Banshee had to move through difficult terrain during its charge. And then of course being generous with the +/- 0.5" range ambiguity. If less than half an inch is all that stands between you and victory then in most cases you don't really deserve that win. At least to me, winning on such small margins (unless it was a super evenly fought game) leaves me feeling worse than just losing honorably.

But the main point is to enjoy ourselves! Maybe tournaments should rebrand themselves as "Mass-gaming events" where the point is Not to just Win, but to play lots of different armies and opponents, enjoy the beautifully painted and concerted armies and in general just getting the most out of your 40k investment.

Aluinn
05-07-2013, 12:57
As I've said before I think this attitude (i.e. "house-rule or even change rules on the fly as much as you want; the rules as presented are just guidelines, really") is a vestige of both tabletop roleplaying and old-school historical wargaming, which were the main sources of inspiration for fantasy wargaming, as one might imagine, and the very first edition of WHFB. GW has never really gotten over it, but I agree that they really, really need to.

The problem is that tabletop roleplaying is collaborative. There may be some friendly rivalry re. whose character is the most badass (though this greatly depends on the attitude of the players, the game, the setting, and the GM's approach, and sometimes is totally absent), but in all cases for the most part it's a cooperative effort to tell a story. Again, depending on players and GM, it may be kind of a dumb story about how some designated "adventurers" (read: murderhobos) wander around killing designated "evil" things for treasure, or something worthy of inspiring a fantasy/sci-fi novel, or anything inbetween, but it's still about a story even when at its most gamey, and regardless is never truly competitive.

Likewise, old-school historical wargaming was about simulationism and historical accuracy first, and was generally engaged in exclusively by grognard history buffs who were so dedicated to these principles that they would in fact cause themselves to lose a battle if something in a printed set of rules that would have allowed them to win produced results that weren't historically accurate or just didn't make sense in a simulation. So, competition, though it was there just as it can be there in RPGs, never trumped other considerations core to the purpose of the endeavor.

Now, I am fond of the idea that 40K should be "cinematic" and a game/series of games/campaign should create a "narrative" (however much those terms have been worn out by GW), but one never expects a player to deliberately throw a game because "that's what would probably happen in the fluff". In other words, yes, there being stories behind the plastic men and women is actually important to me and I'm the kind of guy who names his characters and comes up with homebrew fluff (even if no one else cares), and though I will play in tourneys I don't consider myself a "tournament player", but even someone like me has to admit that, at the end of the day, 40K is competitive. Not only that, but competition comes before narrative, for the most part, as in the example above. If narrative really came first we'd be running games with a GM and the winner would be determined by what was appropriate for the story we had in mind, and that just isn't the case or the way that anyone I've ever known plays the game. This extends even to campaigns, where everyone is still trying to win, even if they care about the story told via the games being cool, and will develop and embellish it based on what happens in them.

So once we admit that the game is neither guided by an uninterested third party, nor a simulation (well, obviously; it's sci-fantasy set in the year 40,000), nor cooperative at heart, rules that are written in stone become much more important. You can't have players changing the rules on the fly because there's no way to ensure or even functionally encourage objectivity in that, and no way for the player to trust that whoever comes up with a rules change might not have ulterior motives even if they may be subconscious. Even house-ruling is a dodgy prospect and often results from the majority of players in Local Gaming Store X not being able to be arsed to figure out how to counter something (or, in extreme cases, pretty much the same deal on an international scale, cf ETC oddities and army bias in Fantasy). Once our minds are set on winning a fundamentally competitive game, we need strict guidelines, as in all competitive sports as well as traditional games that are likewise fundamentally competitive e.g. Chess or Go. Otherwise we aren't free to be truly competitive. We're taking a step back into the days of childhood where we'd argue incessantly and inconclusively with our friends about whether our lasers could get through their forcefield because there were no rules to playing make-believe space pirates with toy guns.

I think I am a reasonable person, but even I don't trust myself to tweak the rules for my own armies. I might think something is underpowered and most of the community might agree, but I can't be sure that the way I fix it will be based entirely on my best objective judgment of what is most balanced. In other words, I'm human, therefore biased. And if I can't trust myself in this way, my opponents sure as heck cannot, whether they're friends or someone I just met for a pickup game.

(As a disclaimer, the "have fun" aspect of the Most Important Rule is fine with me, but is stating the obvious: It's a game; yeah I'm playing it to have fun. But the "rules are flexible" part, no, that needs to go; it's outdated and no longer suits the sort of games that 40K and FB are, which, as I've said before, is more like Magic: the Gathering than Dungeons an Dragons, and look at how rules are treated in those cases. GW is telling you to take an approach that suits collaborative storytelling in a rather cutthroat competitive game, by general game standards.)

tneva82
05-07-2013, 13:02
But the "rules are flexible" part, no, that needs to go; it's outdated and no longer suits the sort of games that 40K and FB are, which, as I've said before, is more like Magic: the Gathering than Dungeons an Dragons, and look at how rules are treated in those cases. GW is telling you to take an approach that suits collaborative storytelling in a rather cutthroat competitive game, by general game standards.)

The rule exists also in magic the gathering. It exists in warmachine. Hordes. Legends of old west. Rackham, Hell dorado, flames of war. You name a board game, same rule exists.

So why there's problem with GW specifically bothering to mention it? Okay so it takes bit of space from the rulebook but gee. Would you really be happier if there would be picture in place? Rule would still be in place!

Aluinn
05-07-2013, 13:19
The rule exists also in magic the gathering. It exists in warmachine. Hordes. Legends of old west. Rackham, Hell dorado, flames of war. You name a board game, same rule exists.

So why there's problem with GW specifically bothering to mention it? Okay so it takes bit of space from the rulebook but gee. Would you really be happier if there would be picture in place? Rule would still be in place!

No, it doesn't exist in M:tG, functionally. The Comprehensive Rules are THE RULES. You aren't encouraged to mess around with them to suit your own tastes; if you're playing a normal game, those are the rules you use, and if you can't figure something out, you solve that by consulting those rules more carefully, because they actually do cover everything and are constantly updated.

I suppose Wizards might tell people they're free to come up with their own game modes and whatnot, but that really isn't the same thing. If GW said: "Hey you can design your own missions, too" at the beginning of the missions section of the BRB, that would be comparable, but would be very different than what GW actually says. The analogy would be Wizards saying "hey if you think you should be able to play two Lands per turn or switch around the order of the phases, go ahead, as long as it's agreed upon!". Well, if they say that, no one plays that way barring perhaps very young children, and in that case it's probably because they don't know the actual rules yet. There is a good reason for this: It simply doesn't work when you don't follow the rules. The balance is all messed up, types of decks that should be viable aren't anymore, etc. If you let people draw extra cards, for example, that fundamentally changes almost everything about the game.

I don't know what Wizards says explicitly in their "Welcome to the World of Magic!" or whatever intro pamphlet thing, in the Year of Our Lord 2013, because I am "old", but I read the published comprehensive rules for the game and stick to them like every other Magic player I have ever known has done and still does, in tournaments and out, from the most casual game to the most hardcore competitive game; the only difference is the level of enforcement re. people making mistakes and the presence of (certified, I might add) judges. Even oddball formats like Highlander have hard-and-fast rules to them.

But beyond this your logic is flawed: If my argument about the "rules aren't really strict rules" rule being out of place is good, it is probably also good for those other games you mentioned, IF they're the same sort of game as 40K as I described it, which I think is accurate. If not, not. Simply bringing up the same problem in other games only points out that it might be a widespread problem.

If you don't think it's a problem, you have to tell me why not, not cite examples of its existence elsewhere.

Lothlanathorian
05-07-2013, 13:25
Chess can ;)

Checkers, Connect 4 and pretty much every card game, as well ;) I think the most important rule should be changed to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stu...er, Silly) :p

IcedCrow
05-07-2013, 15:43
It also comes down to your attitude.

If you are there to compete like its chess, then you're going to want no cooperative elements in the game because you aren't there to cooperate. You are there to win. Or try.

If you are there to tell a story like an RPG does, then moving things around is not a big deal because while you are still playing to win (i've never met anyone purposely trying to lose), its not the single most important objective of the game.

Charistoph
05-07-2013, 18:20
I still don't see how any of this affects the collection, building, and painting of miniatures.

It affects the GAME we choose to play with those miniatures, but not the HOBBY associated with them.

But maybe my definitions are are little tighter on those things.

Surgency
05-07-2013, 19:07
No, it doesn't exist in M:tG, functionally. The Comprehensive Rules are THE RULES. You aren't encouraged to mess around with them to suit your own tastes; if you're playing a normal game, those are the rules you use, and if you can't figure something out, you solve that by consulting those rules more carefully, because they actually do cover everything and are constantly updated.

That's not entirely accurate. New M:tG formats have been introduced several times because of people tweaking the rules. Vintage, Pauper, Modern, and Commander all came about because a small group of players tweaked the rules and created a house rule that Wizards decided was pretty cool and introduced into their core rules

Spider-pope
05-07-2013, 19:43
Chess can ;)

Actually Chess doesn't. It requires house rules to cover Perpetual Check. However i shall revise my original statement: Most games with complex rules will inevitably have a situation arise that is not covered by said rules.

You happy now pedants?

*mumble-groan-mumble*

Wishing
06-07-2013, 00:20
No, it doesn't exist in M:tG, functionally. The Comprehensive Rules are THE RULES. You aren't encouraged to mess around with them to suit your own tastes; if you're playing a normal game, those are the rules you use, and if you can't figure something out, you solve that by consulting those rules more carefully, because they actually do cover everything and are constantly updated.
<snip>
It simply doesn't work when you don't follow the rules. The balance is all messed up, types of decks that should be viable aren't anymore, etc. If you let people draw extra cards, for example, that fundamentally changes almost everything about the game.

I agree with this actually. It is implicit in all games that there is no game police - you can play the game any way you want. But it is also implicit in lots of games that, assuming that the printed core rules are carefully balanced and fine-tuned, if you start changing those core rules just for fun, you most likely will ruin the game for yourself by taking a well-written game and reducing it to mush.

And that's exactly why 40k has the most important rule written in the rulebook: In order to signal that 40k is not a carefully fine-tuned game, but that you can change most anything about it and it won't crumble, because it was never a finely balanced and intricate clockwork in the first place. The game is a sandbox rather than a crystal castle.

Tarax
06-07-2013, 08:06
Actually Chess doesn't. It requires house rules to cover Perpetual Check.

But that houserule is often on 'after how many moves do you call it a draw'.


However i shall revise my original statement: Most games with complex rules will inevitably have a situation arise that is not covered by said rules.

That's why the second most important rule is: If a situation is not covered by the rules, roll a dice, on 1-3 it's option A, on 4-6 it's option B.

Still, the most important rule is: Have fun!

Funny how we use the word 'rule', when GW starts speaking of 'guidelines'. :rolleyes:

Brother Asmodeus
06-07-2013, 11:38
It should be a game about war, not a war about a game.

That's a poster I used to have in my GW store for many, many years...

Flame Boy
06-07-2013, 18:03
A group of my friends used to play the house rule that we took armour saves before rolling to wound, as we thought it was daft that armour protected you from a wound you just recieved, preventing the wound from ever happening in the first place.(Bah! Time-travelling shenanigans!) I suppose in hindsight, rolling to wound before armour saves prevent situations where you are rolling armour saves for attacks that couldn't possibly wound you due to their strength being too low or something.

Aluinn
06-07-2013, 19:40
I agree with this actually. It is implicit in all games that there is no game police - you can play the game any way you want. But it is also implicit in lots of games that, assuming that the printed core rules are carefully balanced and fine-tuned, if you start changing those core rules just for fun, you most likely will ruin the game for yourself by taking a well-written game and reducing it to mush.

And that's exactly why 40k has the most important rule written in the rulebook: In order to signal that 40k is not a carefully fine-tuned game, but that you can change most anything about it and it won't crumble, because it was never a finely balanced and intricate clockwork in the first place. The game is a sandbox rather than a crystal castle.

Well I think GW vacillates on this matter a lot. They do always write that part of "the most important rule" (again, the "above all, have fun" part is fine with me), but in terms of the design of the game, well, it is clearly meant to be balanced. There is after all a point system that they attempt to fine-tune to a pretty high degree, otherwise nothing would cost e.g. 13 points per model. If it wasn't fine-tuned they'd likely just go 5, 10, 15, etc. Why 13 and not 12 or 14? That's some pretty granular stuff thar.

Furthermore there have been periods, including much of 4th (and arguably most everything from the initial release of 3rd until the release of Ward's 5th Ed. Codex: Space Marines, with the exception of 3.5 Codex: Chaos Space Marines), when things were deliberately simplified and many codexes were made more similar to one another (cf introduction of universal special rules as an attempt at standardization, though they work a bit differently now given the sheer quantity, and rarity of some) in an apparent attempt to make the game easier to balance to a finer degree. Late-4th Ed. Codex: Dark Angels is probably the ultimate example of this, though preceding books were similar for the most part.

Apocalypse seems to have been introduced in order to appease people who just wanted wacky crazy fun and didn't care much about fine balance.

However GW seems to have buckled to the negative reaction to books like the previous Codex: Dark Angels and swung around in the opposite direction, apparently giving Mat Ward (and other writers, though he ran with it a bit further) license to write some truly crazy stuff that was plainly not balanced but, to certain players' tastes, was entertaining and fluffy. There was concurrently an apparent attempt to make the background a little less grimdark and more about "heroics", with an emphasis on special characters doing larger-than-life stuff even by 40K standards. This characterized 5th. But as we saw in 5th, the way the average player played didn't really fit this very well and there was a TON of frustration, to understate it, surrounding a lot of the rules written during this time.

I think right now it's very hard to tell what their policy is. I guess they're trying for something midway between those extremes. The 6th BRB puts a lot of emphasis on "cinematic" and "narrative" elements but that's always a big part of the game. The question is whether players (well, most players) will, in actual practice, place this in a position of higher priority than competition, which IME they don't.

So what I'm saying in the end is that even if GW isn't trying to build a game as "tight" as M:tG, they've shown signs of moving towards that before, and when they moved drastically away from it the results were not especially positive. So, perhaps they should try to build a game like that, even if they are not at the moment. It certainly can be done within roughly the current system--as previously mentioned it's highly granular and able to tweaked to a very fine degree. I think all that's needed is the will and a great deal more coordination between the various rules developers, plus a better errata system and a willingness to use it more liberally e.g. to adjust the points costs of things that prove to be too good or bad competitively.

EDIT: Keep in mind that I think fluff and narrative are still very important to most players--it's just that I pretty much never see them sacrifice competition on the altar of fluff or narrative. I've never seen a Marine player in a pickup game who had gotten down to a low number of models but still had a fair chance to win go: "Well, at this point I think, based on my Chapter's fluff, they'd call for Thunderhawk extraction and leave the battlefield to avoid unnecessary casualties, so I concede." That would be an example of truly prioritizing narrative/"cinematic feel"/background over competition and it's just not the way people roll, for the most part. First, people try to win. Second, they try to make the game fit their view of the background. (Barring people who approach at as a "pure game" in which case the latter probably never becomes a consideration.)

So the challenge, if GW wants to create a game that is, if not as fine-tuned as M:tG (which is by no means perfect and occasionally suffers from entire formats being messed up because a certain deck build is overpowered or something--though Wizards will bust out the ban hammer eventually), at least approaches that, is to do so without making everything bland, because I do approve of their high degree of consideration for background and for making gameplay "feel right".

Wishing
07-07-2013, 00:00
Well I think GW vacillates on this matter a lot. They do always write that part of "the most important rule" (again, the "above all, have fun" part is fine with me), but in terms of the design of the game, well, it is clearly meant to be balanced. There is after all a point system that they attempt to fine-tune to a pretty high degree, otherwise nothing would cost e.g. 13 points per model. If it wasn't fine-tuned they'd likely just go 5, 10, 15, etc. Why 13 and not 12 or 14? That's some pretty granular stuff thar.

I do think that GW intend to make their game balanced as much as they are able. But I also think they are aware that the balance they create is entirely based on subjective opinions and guesswork, and therefore any stuff that their fans come up with is just as likely to be balanced as the stuff they come up with themselves. Hence why they encourage the fans to change or add their own rules.

The points cost issue is an extremely tricky one I feel. I think that there are very good reasons that one thing costs 14 points and another costs 16 points - but overall game balance isn't one of them. For overall game balance, you don't really need much granularity. A land raider should cost more points than a rhino, but whether it costs 149 points more or 153 points more is *completely irrelevant* for game balance purposes. The purpose of the granularity is to allow a high amount of tweaking and customisation within armies, and to make army building a fun mini-game in itself - "if I buy this wargear item, I might have to drop that plasma gun from my squad, is it worth it?" Playing around with tweaking army lists through small details is fun. If you dropped the granularity, like Warmachine did a few years ago, it makes army building much simpler and easier, but I don't think GW wants that - they want it to take time and be fiddly, because it's meant to be part of the fun of the game.

That's my interpretation anyway. Balance in the game is achieved through how the rules are written, not through whether an item costs 35 points or 36 points.