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View Full Version : Old WD good, old CODEX poor...?



tu33y
03-07-2014, 10:11
recently on holiday I found a shop selling old WD's (from the supposed Golden Ages of the very very late 90's and early to mid 2000s) and old Codex books from I think 3rd edition 40K for 2. I of course blew 20 of my holiday money on an armful and was able to get a bit of a bulk discount and while reading them I came to a bit of a revelation.

Older Codex books are rubbish compared with modern ones (although I think myself the quality peaked mid 5th to early 6th) with really poor fluff, unsophisticated armies and in particular themed armies and a limited choice on offer. BUT the older WD's were indeed pretty good. the way the staff made specific things for projects like the Rok Of Ages, a huge ork meteor with engines the Orks had, used to launch the 40k campaign tiles expansion. It was inspiring to see little projects you could bang out yourself, like the objective marker workshop. It made me, within hours of being back off holiday, make some supply cannisters from the accessories sprue id had lying around for ages.

That's the point of WD- to inspire, to share, to give us clever ideas on what to do with bitz.

so that's my point really- sophistication of the major publications really has moved on. But WD really is a wasted opportunity

Verm1s
03-07-2014, 10:25
What do you mean by 'unsophisticated armies'?

duffybear1988
03-07-2014, 11:54
3rd/4th edition gave us more options and lists than now if you don't count all this allies/unbound mush.

Chaos had iron warriors, black legion, night lords, world eaters, thousand sons, word bearers, alpha legion, death guard, emperor's children, lost and the damned and basic chaos marines. Most of this featured in WD to begin with and then we hit the awesomeness of 3.5 chaos codex and we had cookies.

Eldar had alaitoc, ulthwe, ulthwe strikeforce, biel tan, iyanden, saim hann and basic eldar.

Imperial Guard had the catachan codex, armoured company, cadians and then later on they gained doctrines, with more doctrines being added through WD.

Space Marines had blood angels, dark angels, black templars and space wolves, plus a whole bunch of extra chapters in WD such as relictors. Then with EoT we gained space wolves 13th company, and a system to create your own chapters in 4th edition.

Orks had speed freakz, ferals and basic orks.

Tyranids had biomorphs to theme their armies.

Then we had Necrons, Witch Hunters, Daemon Hunters, Dark Eldar, Tau who all still had codices.

There were also WD lists and add ons like the kroot mercs and deathwatch.

Back then the balance of content between the codices and White Dwarf was different and better. Yes you didn't get as much info in the army books but at the same time you got monthly stories, fluff and options added in for a relatively cheap price all round if you subscribed to WD. As for fluff being better now, I don't really see any big difference. Considering that we now have blood missiles and blood talons and blood ammunition I think it's actually probably worse now.


With all that being said, have you seen the new Ork codex? That has to be the worst design I have ever seen.

Kakapo42
03-07-2014, 12:17
I think I have to disagree on the codexes. All of my favourite ones of all time are from the late 90s early 2000s era.

Yes the army lists could be a bit limited (with a few exceptions *COUGH3.5ChaoscodexCOUGH*), but I feel like a lot of them were small but fully formed. Take the 3rd edition Tau codex for example, still to this day my favourite Warhammer 40,000 codex. Its army list was perhaps a bit spartan in some places, but I feel as though it has everything it really needs. Its got some line infantry (Firewarriors), a transport for them (Devilfish), light scouts (Pathfinders), sneaky stealthy specialists (Stealth Teams), a big fighting vehicle with some heavy firepower (Hammerhead), some heavy weapon units (Broadsides), a cool iconic centrepiece unit (Crisis Teams), an Auxiliary unit or two to show the melting pot nature of the Tau Empire and a few other things. Yes, a light scouting vehicle or some sort of indirect long-range support might be nice, but the essentials are there. I feel like it has a nice elegant simplicity to it.

On a related note I sometimes wonder if there might be a little bit too many options in some places nowdays. Looking through those older books it feels to me like choices and decisions about everything, right down to faction choice, really mattered, as opposed to now where everything sometimes feels a bit homogeneous.

But that's not the big thing I like about those older books. Its the other bits that really seal the deal for me. The hobby sections were great, and the ones I've seen had helpful instructions on how to paint basic units as opposed to just the colour listing given in later ones. I also really like the background sections in them, and find a lot of it much more interesting than the newer background in a lot of cases. I definitely miss the little short stories the older books had in them. That older background really inspired my imagination much more than the more modern background does.

Even then though, I think my favourite thing about those older books is the artwork, feel and overall atmosphere they had. Much like the models from that time, I feel like those older books have a certain spark or magic about them that I don't feel in the newer ones. A short while ago I had a flick through the Bretonnian army book, because I was curious about what it was like. There's a picture in it of some Grail Knights and Questing Knights riding through the country side, and the background's been blurred to give a sense of speed. The closing page has a big photo of a lone knight battling a dragon up in the mountains, with a caption explaining who he is and what he's doing there. The first part of the background section is styled like the common depictions of medieval tapestries. Its fantastic. I only had one flick through of it and it took all my strength not to start up a Bretonnian army then and there. Then when I got home and read through my copy of the 6th edition Wood Elf army book to see how it compared I looked over all the characterful little art bits, and the background, and fell in love with the Wood Elves all over again. The old Witchhunters codex was the first and only 40k book to ever get me genuinely interested about the Imperium, and after reading through it I saw all the artwork in the old 4th edition rulebook in a completely new light. In contrast when I flicked through the 8th edition Dark Elf book a short while after its release my reaction was 'ho hum'.

This is all very subjective though. I imagine that more than a small part of it is from nostalgia, and I imagine hobbyists starting out now will have similar feelings about the modern books compared to the 13th edition digi-faxes in the future. But even so I think anything that has that sort of effect, that captures peoples' imaginations that much can't be that bad.

Also, I was always under the impression that the supposed Golden Age was the mid-to-late 80s and very early 90s. Not that I agree mind, I definitely think GW's high-point was the early-to-mid 2000s, but around 1986 or so to 1992ish seems to be what's popularly considered the golden age for GW. Guess it really is all a matter of perspective. :p

tu33y
03-07-2014, 12:17
old codexs to me seem very clunky... it seems each armies flavour was still undefined. orks were orky, but not the orks we know with shootas and specialist weapons, they used bolters... maybe unsophisticated was the wrong word... naive? the old army designs seemed more nave than today?

duffybear1988
03-07-2014, 12:52
I don't feel they were clunky, no more than now anyway. Do you mean how you had the codex and then the supplement and had to flip between the two?

Which ones have you read? The very early 3rd edition ones needed some work but mid way through they certainly improved them.

I'm not really sure what you mean when you say undefined. Marines were still chapters and units did different things, Guardsmen were still in platoons and had tanks, Tyranids had big monsters and tore you to pieces in combat, Tau had tech on their side, Necrons were undying death machines who wanted to kill everything. Dark Eldar were drugged up and terror causing, Eldar were fast and deadly. Orks had ramshackle vehicles and mobs of boyz. Chaos had it's legions and it's hordes of traitors and mutants and they could all summon daemons. Witch Hunters had faith on their side and flamers and bigass chainswords to back that up. Daemon Hunters had all their anti daemon tricks.

To be honest not much of the basic framework has really changed since those days. A few stats and rules have been modified but what the armies did back then they still do now.

It could be argued that certain armies have gone backwards and are now less defined than they were back then. I certainly feel that about Witch Hunters, who have had 2 very poor codices and have lost all the flavour they once had.

As Kakapo42 says - there may be too many options nowadays.

BFalcon
03-07-2014, 12:56
old codexs to me seem very clunky... it seems each armies flavour was still undefined. orks were orky, but not the orks we know with shootas and specialist weapons, they used bolters... maybe unsophisticated was the wrong word... naive? the old army designs seemed more nave than today?

I think "undeveloped" or "undefined" might be better...

Compared to 1st edition 40k (RT), they're much more defined though - I think you're still seeing them growing into the races they later had. I think you'd want to aim around 3rd or 4th edition for the fluff to have settled down into the races we now know.

Bear in mind that the earlier Codices were also produced when GW was still fairly small, so were often underdeveloped ideas put into a book - but expectations were lower then, given the lower prices too.

BFalcon
03-07-2014, 12:59
I don't feel they were clunky, no more than now anyway. Do you mean how you had the codex and then the supplement and had to flip between the two?

Which ones have you read? The very early 3rd edition ones needed some work but mid way through they certainly improved them.

I'm not really sure what you mean when you say undefined. Marines were still chapters and units did different things, Guardsmen were still in platoons and had tanks, Tyranids had big monsters and tore you to pieces in combat, Tau had tech on their side, Necrons were undying death machines who wanted to kill everything. Dark Eldar were drugged up and terror causing, Eldar were fast and deadly. Orks had ramshackle vehicles and mobs of boyz. Chaos had it's legions and it's hordes of traitors and mutants and they could all summon daemons. Witch Hunters had faith on their side and flamers and bigass chainswords to back that up. Daemon Hunters had all their anti daemon tricks.

To be honest not much of the basic framework has really changed since those days. A few stats and rules have been modified but what the armies did back then they still do now.

It could be argued that certain armies have gone backwards and are now less defined than they were back then. I certainly feel that about Witch Hunters, who have had 2 very poor codices and have lost all the flavour they once had.

As Kakapo42 says - there may be too many options nowadays.

Mind you, even in RT, the Imperial Army (not guard back then) were pretty much the same, the eldar and marines the same, tau and necrons didn't exist (the latter only making an appearance in Space Crusade as a "chaos Android", btw) and the orks were "kinda there".

The most modern codices certainly feel "bland" for sure.

IJW
03-07-2014, 13:25
The early 3rd edition codices were pretty much pamphlets. Look at 2nd edition or later 3rd edition ones for vastly better stuff.

ObiWayneKenobi
03-07-2014, 14:01
I liked the 3rd edition codexes; light and slim, with enough to get by. There are books and the like for fluff.

You mentioned Orks - keep in mind the 2nd edition Orks were basically totally different than 3rd edition, likely due to not being fleshed out yet and originally being basically space pirates who salvaged anything and everything they could get their hands on. That's why they used bolters and the like, when Gorkamorka came out the Orks got retconned basically into being intelligent fungi (I believe the 2nd edition Orks were still humanoids) and got their own weapons, which is what they've kept ever since.

Agrimax
03-07-2014, 14:15
The early 3rd edition codices were pretty much pamphlets.

Largely, it should be said, out of neccessity - the major mechanics changes from 2nd to 3rd pretty much invalidated everything existing in a way the progression of versions since never has, so they didn't have the same luxury of time to update things.

Edit: I should add, this is from a GW perspective rather than a gamers perspective- version changes since still royally screwed over some armies in certain cases... In general updating armies in sequence is still a method I generally don't much like.

Luciano
03-07-2014, 14:16
I liked the 3rd edition codexes; light and slim, with enough to get by. There are books and the like for fluff.

You mentioned Orks - keep in mind the 2nd edition Orks were basically totally different than 3rd edition, likely due to not being fleshed out yet and originally being basically space pirates who salvaged anything and everything they could get their hands on. That's why they used bolters and the like, when Gorkamorka came out the Orks got retconned basically into being intelligent fungi (I believe the 2nd edition Orks were still humanoids) and got their own weapons, which is what they've kept ever since.

I beg to differ.
Taking the Orks as an example, I own the three books (codex was not yet used) published in the Rogue Trader era and they are full of fluff, troops, characters and options (even too many in my own opinion). The various clans were well described, each with its own army list, special weapons and characters.
I think they were more fleshed out than now, not less. Maybe I'm getting old and nostalgic but I find the modern codexes very bland (and I don't want to start talking about the Chaos Codex).

Luciano

ObiWayneKenobi
03-07-2014, 14:24
Oh I'm not denying the flavor, just the 2nd edition Orks were basically completely different than 3rd and beyond; they're barely the same race IMO.

A.T.
03-07-2014, 14:33
Older Codex books are rubbish compared with modern ones (although I think myself the quality peaked mid 5th to early 6th) with really poor fluff, unsophisticated armies and in particular themed armies and a limited choice on offer.(Obligatory sisters of battle post)

If you are interested in the sisters or the ecclesiarchy then the 2nd edition sisters of battle book is well worth watching out for. Every sororitas dex since 2nd has recycled an increasingly thinned down version of the original material which is a shame as the age of apostasy (and the millennia of political conflict leading up to it) is arguably the most interesting part of the 40k background.


The gulf in WD quality is huge though. A month or so back I pulled one out to demonstrate the change to a new player (WD UK 136). It had everything - detailed and easy to follow battle report, a full codex (freebooters), scratchbuilding guides (with cut-out templates), painting guides, a short story, money off vouchers, a question and answer section for rules queries, banners, hereditary/faction schemes, just lots and lots of hobby stuff in general.

Luciano
03-07-2014, 14:37
Oh I'm not denying the flavor, just the 2nd edition Orks were basically completely different than 3rd and beyond; they're barely the same race IMO.

That's true, and that's why I stopped playing 40K. The armies I like lost their flavour, it's like growing up eating roasted chickens and grilled steaks and being later offered the choice of a diet of Spam only (and at a higher cost).

But, as I said, maybe it's only old age and nostalgia (and what are you doing on my lawn? Get off! :D ).

Itsacon
03-07-2014, 14:40
3rd edition (and to a lesser extend 4th) was horrible codex-wise, aside from the rules (which was pretty much all they had)

But 2nd edition codici are absolute gold mines both in fluff and in rules.

Typo
03-07-2014, 16:29
The 3rd Ed codices were thin and dull compared to the 2nd ed ones. But they also saw a price from from 15 (at the time for a 2nd ed book) down to 8 (Imperial Guard) for a main codex and 4-5 (Catchans) for a supplement.

The 2nd Ed codices were some of my favourite of all time - Angels of Death, Space Wolves, Eldar. When I first started collecting, they were 9 for something with similar page count to today's books, but no colour except for the front/back inside covers and some Eavy Metal pages in between. Then they went to 12, and finally 15 before they started bringing out the fluff-light 3rd ed books (I hated these, and I've not played 40k since... only started picking up the odd codex again recently).

Commissar Vaughn
03-07-2014, 21:19
What do you mean by 'unsophisticated armies'?

I cant help wondering if it means "not as many Special Rules"...

:shifty:

Hellebore
03-07-2014, 23:21
The majority of the oldest armies are still using background published in 2nd ed, often quoted word for word. the eldar codex is basically 2nd ed plus new, more poorly thought out stuff.

GW has however started making space marine chapters so different to sell them that they encroach on the thematic territory of other army playstyles.

That an ork used a bolter in 2ned ed didn't make the army bland or unsophisticated, it still worked very differently from all the others. Even the IG didn't function the same way, despite both relying on hordes of troops.

Current armies rely on strong thematic images to differentiate them, but that can come at the cost of a shoehorn. 2nd ed armies worked more naturally because they were designed as armies for the background, not as sales vehicles. They weren't required to have increasingly minute differences added to them to justify their existence. They simply had what worked.

Current armies look more interesting simply because they are busier. But more choice isn't necessarily better (http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice)

Hellebore

Niffenator
04-07-2014, 01:55
Definitely agree that White Dwarf used to be better, I think the first one I ever got was #283, at the start of the Eye of Terror campaign. My main army at the time was Chaos and I remember the article about converting mutants inspired me to go and convert a bunch of cannon fodder for my army. WD #311 inspired me to start collecting Dark Eldar. I don't really find White Dwarf to be as inspiring as it used to be to be honest.

On a side note I liked the collector's guides that GW used to sell - they had a catalogue of all the minis and individual bits for the army, plus a few showcase armies and Golden Demon entries, but that was back when they used to sell individual bits as opposed to how they now only sell complete minis.

paddyalexander
04-07-2014, 10:18
The early 3rd edition slim codexes were not only affordable but contained things like painting guides, conversion ideas, terrain guides and extra scenarios. I'd argue that many of these books contained more useful information than their later thicker but much more expensive editions.

Itsacon
04-07-2014, 10:33
Yeah, the painting tips (even if only listing the colours used in a model) are something sorely lacking from the current codici.

ObiWayneKenobi
04-07-2014, 21:06
Yeah, the painting tips (even if only listing the colours used in a model) are something sorely lacking from the current codici.

Worse, they pulled them out in order to charge extra for them. Removing it was bad enough, but to turn around and charge $10 or so for it on top of the already overpriced codex?

Tau_player001
05-07-2014, 23:57
Yeah definitly. The new codex are much better. Copy paste most stuff, update units points to make them cheaper, add a few units, and move on into the next codex.

The codex from third and fourth were the best. If you want fluff you can look for it elsewhere, there you would get what is needed to play and a little intro about the units, that way the codex were slim and cheap. The game peaked at that age for that very reason. And about the armies... dude, if you didn't played it, just don't speak about it. Reading a few codexes but not playtesting them with the rules from 4th make you sound like an ignorant with the mouth too big, no offense intended.

In the first pages you got some of the examples were customization was MUCH bigger on that era. And it was truth. Hell i loved playing nids at that time because of that.

Abaraxas
06-07-2014, 00:36
Well, give me the RT and 2nd edition books any day.

The Lost and the Damned and Slaves To Darkness plus the 3 Ork equivalents alone...I guess this is where I dredge up my loathing of the modern look and background for Orks (and love of the old ones) :chrome:

Nazguire
06-07-2014, 02:08
I still think the 3.5 edition Chaos Codex was the best Codex ever written. Options, painting guides, conversion guides, broad overview of background with some interesting details at the same time. The special characters weren't over powered monsters and you could legally tailor your army pretty much any way your imagination could desire.

=Angel=
06-07-2014, 02:42
I still think the 3.5 edition Chaos Codex was the best Codex ever written. Options, painting guides, conversion guides, broad overview of background with some interesting details at the same time. The special characters weren't over powered monsters and you could legally tailor your army pretty much any way your imagination could desire.

Even the thin 3rd ed codexes had a great system where UNITS had weapons options and CHARACTERS had access to the armoury.
In both systems your squadleaders and officers get a limited range of upgrades, but in the army building phase while your squads were checking their assigned gear your characters were striding into hallowed vaults beneath marbled statues of their forebearers and accepting hallowed wargear from steely eyed quartermasters.

Not only was there a wider range of equipment that your basic sarge could take, it also reduced duplication of information in the unit entries.
Towards the end of 3rd they were also rectifying the 1 major flaw in a shared armoury: pricing. A powerweapon was worth more to a Chapter master than it was to a sarge, especially in 3rd where 'hidden powerfist ' was not a thing so they began discounts to squadleaders.

Abaraxas
06-07-2014, 04:12
3rd-onwards are still very restricted when it comes to the weapons and armouries from the RT and 2nd ed books though.

shelfunit.
06-07-2014, 06:33
Well, give me the RT and 2nd edition books any day.

The Lost and the Damned and Slaves To Darkness plus the 3 Ork equivalents alone...I guess this is where I dredge up my loathing of the modern look and background for Orks (and love of the old ones) :chrome:

Indeed - they make todays offerings look like the scribblings of a hyperactive 5 year old.

Abaraxas
06-07-2014, 09:33
Indeed - they make todays offerings look like the scribblings of a hyperactive 5 year old.

Sadly, this is true, and not an exaggeration :(

Late
06-07-2014, 11:46
Well, give me the RT and 2nd edition books any day.

The Lost and the Damned and Slaves To Darkness plus the 3 Ork equivalents alone...I guess this is where I dredge up my loathing of the modern look and background for Orks (and love of the old ones) :chrome:

You took the words right out of my mouth.

frozenwastes
06-07-2014, 13:12
It's actually kind of funny that pre-3rd edition orks were less serious, but more appropriate to an adult appreciation of humour and their post-3rd edition take is all super grim and serious and ends up being more juvenile in a "this needs to be super bad ass to appeal to 14 year old boys" sort of way.

Orks - bright colours, heavy black lining, don't take yourself seriously. They had it right the first time.

196389

There are by 92acclude on the waaagh forum.

f2k
06-07-2014, 13:39
It's actually kind of funny that pre-3rd edition orks were less serious, but more appropriate to an adult appreciation of humour and their post-3rd edition take is all super grim and serious and ends up being more juvenile in a "this needs to be super bad ass to appeal to 14 year old boys" sort of way.

Orks - bright colours, heavy black lining, don't take yourself seriously. They had it right the first time.

196389

There are by 92acclude on the waaagh forum.

Agree completely.

As far as I'm concerned, the Orks have never really been themselves since getting gutted in third edition. What attracted me to them was the dark humour and that seemed to have gone completely.


EDIT:

This actually goes for much of 40K these days. It tries so hard that it's become almost a parody of itself. Instead of a dark universe, filled with shades of grey and hints of British humour, we now have grim-dark-with-skulls.

Hellebore
07-07-2014, 00:15
Perhaps it was too similar to 2000AD/Judge Dredd etc from which it unashamedly drew inspiration? Perhaps they tried to move it away from all the things that gave it that British humour because it would come off as a clone.

I don't know. Unfortunately I was introduced into 40k through 2nd ed and that sort of shaped my image of 40k quite heavily. Which is probably true of everyone that comes into it in whichever edition they did.

For me, the most evocative image of 40k was summed up by the frontis piece that has been there since RT. The classic 'to be a man in such times is to be one among billions' and 'whatever happens you will not be missed'.

Modern 40k, with is indestructible marine superheroes of invincibility makes a mockery of that description and yet has the temerity to keep using that piece of text...

Hellebore

Abaraxas
07-07-2014, 00:47
It's actually kind of funny that pre-3rd edition orks were less serious, but more appropriate to an adult appreciation of humour and their post-3rd edition take is all super grim and serious and ends up being more juvenile in a "this needs to be super bad ass to appeal to 14 year old boys" sort of way.

Orks - bright colours, heavy black lining, don't take yourself seriously. They had it right the first time.

196389

There are by 92acclude on the waaagh forum.

Right on, I have to chip in with my power armour nobz
196468

Hellebore
07-07-2014, 00:57
Wow those are nice. The Nostalgia is strong with this one.

Hellebore

ObiWayneKenobi
07-07-2014, 02:43
I agree with that; the new 40k is teenage fantasy nonsense to appeal to kids: The almighty Imperium with its heroic, invincible Space Marines bravely defending humanity against all sorts of baddies. And skulls everywhere, and grimdark.

frozenwastes
07-07-2014, 08:03
One of the things I still might try to track down is one of each miniature produced for the 2nd edition Genestealer Cult list. The 2nd edition Tyranid Codex was just amazing and genestealer cults were just one of those things that never translated well into subsequent editions. Tyranid Tim from US mail order did an okay job of recreating it with his PDF list, but it never felt right on the table full of twice the number of miniatures and a growing number of fully mechanized armies (these are the rhino rush blood angel days). It was a true skirmish game army, not a mechanized company.

I'd use them in In The Emperor's Name rather than any edition of 40k.

lordreaven448
08-07-2014, 07:07
For me, I just got my hands on a 4th edition Tyranid Codex and I couldn't stop smiling and bio-morphing my gribbles. I played a game of 4th the other day and got stomped....Yet I felt it wasn't my army that beat me, or my opponents army....But tactics. I lost and enjoyed it beyond measure.

BigbyWolf
14-07-2014, 17:48
Best Codex I've ever read was an old Eldar one, not sure which edition, came out after the first boxed set they did (with the snap-fit monopose Blood Angels, Goffs and Gretchin). Huge book, tons of background, wide choice for army selection, even had a separate list for Harlequins so you could do a pure army for them or mix them with the main army. Also, had rules for Exodite Dragon Knights. Far, far better than any codex I've seen recently.

frozenwastes
14-07-2014, 19:49
That would be the second edition Eldar codex. And it still is as awesome as ever.

Inquisitor Kallus
14-07-2014, 20:18
That would be the second edition Eldar codex. And it still is as awesome as ever.

And crazily strong. Love the MG art in it and the cover

MiyamatoMusashi
14-07-2014, 20:26
MG did some of the best art GW ever produced. That Eldar Avatar... wow. Just wow.

hellharlequin
14-07-2014, 21:32
MG did some of the best art GW ever produced. That Eldar Avatar... wow. Just wow.

or his mephiston or nagash or lord Kroak

MT Bucket
14-07-2014, 22:07
The best WD were those that WERE the Codex - back in the early 100's you got all your army lists and rules updates from WD (as Chapter Approved was quickly oop). Space Marines, Harlequins, Dreadnoughts, Eldar, Tyranids, Imperial Guard (changed from Imperial Army), Squats, Imperial Robots, Genestealer cults, Chaos Renegade warbands, vehicle rules etc. with the new models that same month and some paint schemes. Sure, it felt a bit disjointed and usually ended up with pages cut out to make a proper army list, but what the hell.

All for 2.50 per month and had loads of content (even for non-GW games products!) that kept you coming back to re-read things (unless, like me, you'd butchered them for practical reasons).

Great days indeed, very sadly missed.

WD RIP

BFalcon
15-07-2014, 12:28
The best WD were those that WERE the Codex - back in the early 100's you got all your army lists and rules updates from WD (as Chapter Approved was quickly oop). Space Marines, Harlequins, Dreadnoughts, Eldar, Tyranids, Imperial Guard (changed from Imperial Army), Squats, Imperial Robots, Genestealer cults, Chaos Renegade warbands, vehicle rules etc. with the new models that same month and some paint schemes. Sure, it felt a bit disjointed and usually ended up with pages cut out to make a proper army list, but what the hell.

All for 2.50 per month and had loads of content (even for non-GW games products!) that kept you coming back to re-read things (unless, like me, you'd butchered them for practical reasons).

Great days indeed, very sadly missed.

WD RIP

I remember those days well - my poor, poor WD collection donated many pages to Dark Future (Day at the Races, especially), Blood Bowl and a few others to the point where I was glad when a friend gave me his collection later on and I was able to actually read them properly again. :)

Those robot rules were excellent - for those who don't know, you had to write a (or use a pre-written) program (if this, then that, basically which translated as either "move", "fire at nearest target", "fire at specific target" (I think - for anti-armour robots, so they could only fire at vehicles) and "Charge!" for hand-to-hand robots. Pretty simple stuff, it allowed you to follow the flow-chart easily in a game and took all the decision making out of the process, which is what a robot cohort should be like - the player should get no input as to the robot's actions (although I could see a case being made for a AdMech to issue an override at the start of the robot's turn to make them do other things instead, for example where a robot was pursuing a grot unit off the board, the AdMech could tell it to move back into the battle again (and such an override would be a sensible thing in RL too for any military "AI" to keep them where they were supposed to be.

BFalcon
15-07-2014, 13:08
I've been snarking on Warseer too much lately, trying to rein myself in, but this... This is low-hanging fruit. :p

Why? If you take a robot, you get a cheaper unit, but don't get to order it around like another unit - if you want freedom of choice, you chose a dreadnaught...

Was a good system.

MusingWarboss
15-07-2014, 15:04
Why? If you take a robot, you get a cheaper unit, but don't get to order it around like another unit - if you want freedom of choice, you chose a dreadnaught...

Was a good system.

I'm having a guess that Verm1s is having a dig at GWs current propensity to D6 Chart everything, thus taking choice away from the player as it ultimately ends up as one of six possible results (or however many D6's that chart needs).

The robot rules do sound interesting though and makes complete sense. It'd be like having the Terminator on the battlefield. Once you've issued the program to kill Sarah Connor that's just what it'd do and wouldn't stop until it has done. Your idea of having the option to interrupt the program is also good for obvious reasons.

I do like the idea of having to pre-program robots, though having never used that system I'm not sure how it works out in a tabletop setting, obviously in a computer game you could do that and forget about it as it would just follow the programme but in a tabletop setting, surely you're just electing to kill a particular unit and then doing all the necessary moving and attacking anyway, so does it really differ from the freedom of choice to do that yourself and pretending the robots are programmed?

Interesting concept.

MiyamatoMusashi
15-07-2014, 17:55
I do like the idea of having to pre-program robots, though having never used that system I'm not sure how it works out in a tabletop setting

Like almost everything else in Rogue Trader: great idea, horrible execution. Following a program in under a millisecond is easy for a robot to do. Doing the same thing for a human while trying to play a mass battle game, it's just clumsy. Better off just assume the "AI" is smart enough to behave however the player wants it to.

Bomb-bots were hilarious, though. "If target in range... EXPLODE!"

MusingWarboss
15-07-2014, 18:19
Like almost everything else in Rogue Trader: great idea, horrible execution. Following a program in under a millisecond is easy for a robot to do. Doing the same thing for a human while trying to play a mass battle game, it's just clumsy. Better off just assume the "AI" is smart enough to behave however the player wants it to.

Bomb-bots were hilarious, though. "If target in range... EXPLODE!"

Like I say, it's a good concept and quite intriguing but it does seem as though in a TT setting to work correctly you'd need a third party, like a GM, to take control of the robots you have and you as the player have no control over them at all, except setting the original program or somehow managing to override them with a new program. I'd also like the option of the enemy being about to reprogram them too. :D

Because otherwise, if you're moving them about anyway it just seem like the whole programming thing is fluff and flavour that adds exactly nothing to the game because you'd still be in active control over them. I'd love to see this done well though. I could well imagine this being done via a deck of playing cards with random instructions on or even the GW now standard for everything, a D66 chart of programs. That way you could both control (i.e. move them) but simultaneously have no real control over them at all. They would just have to do whatever turned up.

EDIT: Just dig up the WD with these rules in. Wow, they're pretty much a game in themselves, there's no hope in hell of getting through that lot without fuss. MiyamatoMusashi you're right, horrible execution - far too over complicated, not even complicated in a good way, just rather procrastination and faffing for little reason. The program flowcharts are cool though but still, I think there would be better ways to do this.

Brings back the skirmish levels of RT though. You'd never get anywhere with that level of micro-management in a mass battle game like GW wants these days.

frozenwastes
15-07-2014, 19:58
And crazily strong. Love the MG art in it and the cover

It was indeed quite strong. Hero hunting definitely was a thing in 2nd. Someone could take a tricked out aspect warrior character and you needed a way to deal with it. For my marines, it was lascannons, melta weapons and unit leaders with those conversion fields that blinded people. People often wouldn't bother paying thew few points for the eye protection and it's funny watching a 300+ point character flail around blind. For my tyranids it was monsters that ate character. Usually genestealers. That game did genestealers right. Oh, an inquisitor would usually get the best anti-character psychic powers and you could attach those to any imperial army.

The_Real_Chris
15-07-2014, 23:36
The robot rules were best implemented in Epic 1st edition (Space Marine). You gave an objective (feature, grid ref, enemy unit), the formation moved there in the most direct way (including going through the wrong terrain, though would go around impassable) and then went onto whatever order you gave for rest of game (basically stand and shoot or charge anyone that comes within range).

Kahadras
15-07-2014, 23:44
The robot rules were best implemented in Epic 1st edition (Space Marine). You gave an objective (feature, grid ref, enemy unit), the formation moved there in the most direct way (including going through the wrong terrain, though would go around impassable) and then went onto whatever order you gave for rest of game (basically stand and shoot or charge anyone that comes within range).

IIRC they had 4 lines you had to program.....

Enemy out of sight
Enemy out of weapon range
Enemy within weapon range
Enemy within charge range

You had to decide between First fire, Advance or Charge orders for them to react to the different situations.

Harwammer
16-07-2014, 10:07
This actually goes for much of 40K these days. It tries so hard that it's become almost a parody of itself. Instead of a dark universe, filled with shades of grey and hints of British humour, we now have grim-dark-with-skulls.

I think in this regard 40k has become a victim of it's own success. RT drew from a wide range of cultural/literary reference points at the time. For the current generation of staff that grew up in a world where GW was quite a big thing so the main reference point the 5th+ ed staff had growing up was actually 2nd/3rd ed 40k!

edit: this isn't really intended as a criticism, in the early days of 40k it seemed anything, no matter how innappropriate, would be roped in to the setting. Now 40k is a little more cohesive, but it does mean there has been a reduction in parody.

f2k
16-07-2014, 11:56
I think in this regard 40k has become a victim of it's own success. RT drew from a wide range of cultural/literary reference points at the time. For the current generation of staff that grew up in a world where GW was quite a big thing so the main reference point the 5th+ ed staff had growing up was actually 2nd/3rd ed 40k!

edit: this isn't really intended as a criticism, in the early days of 40k it seemed anything, no matter how innappropriate, would be roped in to the setting. Now 40k is a little more cohesive, but it does mean there has been a reduction in parody.

Good point about the reference. However, that's no excuse...

The first thing I'm typically asked to do when getting into a new job is to review their coding-standards. Then to review whatever internal systems I might be working on. I don't get to make my own version of things; I have to follow established procedures.

In the same way, anyone who wants to work with Games Workshop fluff should be required to review and understand the fluff that went before them. And yes, that goes for any author hoping to publish for Black Library too. That way we might actually have a somewhat consistent universe rather than the mess we see now.

It might not be possible to keep it all "as it was" - after all, the eighties dystopian sci-fi settings that it's build on is not entirely relevant these days - but at least it would help to keep any movement within the fluff consistent.

BFalcon
16-07-2014, 13:02
Yeah, the execution of the robot rules was very clunky (it WAS a WD article though - their rules tended to be unrefined and clunky but were often screened and refined before making it into the books later on - the 1st edition Space Marine /AdTitanicus rules in WD were collected into the Codex Titanicus and we saw the same thing there.

I always saw the processing power of the robots as being used for identifying threats, types of terrain and threats and discounting those threats it wasn't equipped to deal with. I'm only going on memory though, my WD are still boxed up in the spare room, so the details were probably as painful as GW's trial rules tend to be. The concept was good though and a welcome change from the "robots are intelligent enough for the player to treat normally" which is always a cop-out to me... the difference between a robot and a dreadnaught came with the more literal robots being cheaper and more effective, provided they didn't fall foul of their own programming.

As for the override, a simple "move back towards this point" and "shut down until further notice" should be the only overrides possible (the latter for use as an infiltrated unit and in the event that the robot is damaged to the point where it can't tell the difference between friend and foe - safer to shut it down).

And I haven't played in a long while - so I wasn't aware of the random d6 tables brought in - although it doesn't surprise me.

BFalcon
16-07-2014, 13:12
Good point about the reference. However, that's no excuse...

The first thing I'm typically asked to do when getting into a new job is to review their coding-standards. Then to review whatever internal systems I might be working on. I don't get to make my own version of things; I have to follow established procedures.

In the same way, anyone who wants to work with Games Workshop fluff should be required to review and understand the fluff that went before them. And yes, that goes for any author hoping to publish for Black Library too. That way we might actually have a somewhat consistent universe rather than the mess we see now.

It might not be possible to keep it all "as it was" - after all, the eighties dystopian sci-fi settings that it's build on is not entirely relevant these days - but at least it would help to keep any movement within the fluff consistent.

The system that the Star Wars books had was a good one - every book went through George Lucas before it was approved, with a requirement to notify other authors of (approved) key events and changes, so if you killed a character off and Lucas agreed (and nobody else suddenly came forward, presumably, and said that they needed that character alive) then all the other authors would know not to use that character. Similarly, it stops (at least in theory) an author going off and describing a weapon or technology (or anything else) in a way that isn't "right" by the setting. The Battletech novels is an example of what goes wrong when that central control isn't used (fusion reactors blowing up, nicknamed "Stackpoling" after Michael Stackpole, the author who was, by far, the worst culprit for that, when they were supposed to just die when ruptured).

If GW were to employ someone purely to keep the lore constant (except where essential for new products - sadly a requirement from time to time - eg the Genestealers suddenly becoming part of the Tyranids) then they'd have much less of a problem keeping things constant across the lore.

My "favourite" (ie most hated) of the inconsistencies was the original Deathwing background being native american in feel, compete with the feather icons and the white death masks in the novel before going to their deaths against the Genestealers and then being replaced by *another* knights in clunky armour... like we didn't already have those. I know it was a long time ago, but it still rankles.

MiyamatoMusashi
16-07-2014, 14:50
The system that the Star Wars books had was a good one ... it stops (at least in theory) an author going off and describing a weapon or technology (or anything else) in a way that isn't "right" by the setting.

Two words: Sun Crusher.

(Third word: urrrrrrghWTFthatsjuststupid).


If GW were to employ someone purely to keep the lore constant

That's Lawrie Whatsisname nowadays, isn't it - for the BL stuff at least? But yes, they could have made more of an effort to do that in the past; sadly they just didn't. And, as the recent Necron Codex shows, they're more than just happy to scrap existing fluff and start again if they feel like it, and I don't suppose Lawrie/BL have much say over the studio in that respect.

BFalcon
21-07-2014, 12:22
Two words: Sun Crusher.

(Third word: urrrrrrghWTFthatsjuststupid).



That's Lawrie Whatsisname nowadays, isn't it - for the BL stuff at least? But yes, they could have made more of an effort to do that in the past; sadly they just didn't. And, as the recent Necron Codex shows, they're more than just happy to scrap existing fluff and start again if they feel like it, and I don't suppose Lawrie/BL have much say over the studio in that respect.

Meh - the Sun Crusher was more than a little WTF? I'll agree, but it's been a while since I read those books...

As for the Lore Keeper having a say over the studio, he damned well should have the power of veto or his job's pretty much much useless, since everyone will just do their own thing and ignore them.

Athelassan
22-07-2014, 12:04
While it would help to keep the background consistent, it would depend very much on the person appointed whether it help to protect the background's integrity, or the way it was received by fans. Imagine if Ward were appointed Grand Background Poobah, and the destruction he could wreak (and the destruction he'd be perceived to have wrought even if he hadn't).

lbecks
29-07-2014, 11:14
They should bring back the painting guides in the codexes/army books. I bought the first Tau codex and they cover a lot of fluff and hobby aside from rules for such a small book.

Night Bearer
06-08-2014, 18:44
You mentioned Orks - keep in mind the 2nd edition Orks were basically totally different than 3rd edition, likely due to not being fleshed out yet and originally being basically space pirates who salvaged anything and everything they could get their hands on. That's why they used bolters and the like, when Gorkamorka came out the Orks got retconned basically into being intelligent fungi (I believe the 2nd edition Orks were still humanoids) and got their own weapons, which is what they've kept ever since.

lolwhut? 3rd is what gutted the Orks - removal of the clans, of Orky "cultur", all for what - calling their guns "shootas" instead of "boltas"? The 2nd edition codex condensed the RT-era background but still retained the majority of it. 3rd culled not only most of the background, but a lot of the weapons as well - Orky artillery got reduced to three basic straightforward weapon types (kannon, mortar, energy cannon), with none of the previous versions' special artillery that's finally come back in the new book.


It's actually kind of funny that pre-3rd edition orks were less serious, but more appropriate to an adult appreciation of humour and their post-3rd edition take is all super grim and serious and ends up being more juvenile in a "this needs to be super bad ass to appeal to 14 year old boys" sort of way.

Orks - bright colours, heavy black lining, don't take yourself seriously. They had it right the first time.

196389

There are by 92acclude on the waaagh forum.

This so much. So much.

BFalcon
06-08-2014, 19:07
lolwhut? 3rd is what gutted the Orks - removal of the clans, of Orky "cultur", all for what - calling their guns "shootas" instead of "boltas"? The 2nd edition codex condensed the RT-era background but still retained the majority of it. 3rd culled not only most of the background, but a lot of the weapons as well - Orky artillery got reduced to three basic straightforward weapon types (kannon, mortar, energy cannon), with none of the previous versions' special artillery that's finally come back in the new book.



This so much. So much.

I still remember that sidebar story about the disabled dreadnought pilot farting the blues to pass the time (couldn't do anything more upbeat - his nose had been blown off or crushed, as I recall it mentioning) and he eventually gets fed up with the clanging and pokes his head out the hatch to get it blown off by the marine sergeant that had been throwing rocks at the dread to get him to do just that. That was typical of the early humour of the the setting in general, but the orcs specifically - that and the "needs more nails!" trope that used to run through it.

I do miss the humour in GW products - one reason I loved Blood Bowl so much - it was almost a parody of Warhammer. I really think that GW should have a parody strip in WD again - something to show that they're NOT taking themselves too seriously again and don't mind poking fun once in a while.

The_Real_Chris
06-08-2014, 21:52
The Orc fluff and imagery changed. Personally I am of an era where this man - Paul Bonner http://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Forests-Art-Paul-Bonner/dp/1845767055 - defined space orcs. But I can see the new aesthetic value as well (more savage animals). Growing from fungus though has never grown on me...

198102

aprilmanha
15-08-2014, 10:01
I think this statement about old codex poor needs to be updated now that the new codex just came out for orks and has proven to also be poor...

Kirth
19-08-2014, 22:56
I miss the hobby sections of 5th edition army books. I want to own them all again. I loved flipping through my DoW army book and looking at the miniatures. I skim these sections now in the new books.

Itsacon
20-08-2014, 06:01
Yeah, for that reason alone I'm glad I bought all the 4th/5th edition ABs (and 2nd edition Codici) when my local GW was selling them off in the bargain bin for 5 bucks a piece.

Not to mention that the background and stories in those books are close to BL books in entertainment value.

duffybear1988
20-08-2014, 12:21
I think this statement about old codex poor needs to be updated now that the new codex just came out for orks and has proven to also be poor...

Add the Space Wolves to that list as well.

Commissar_42
21-08-2014, 18:00
I thought the old White Dwarves were brilliant when I was younger, now looking back...eh. I don't think White Dwarves of any era have been worthwhile.

The new codexes are slick though.

aprilmanha
29-08-2014, 22:03
I thought the old White Dwarves were brilliant when I was younger, now looking back...eh. I don't think White Dwarves of any era have been worthwhile.

The new codexes are slick though.

I think the WD was golden when they were doing real hobby articles, you know the ones that were doing things like "Make ruins out of the packing materials that came with your box of models!" that focused more on teaching the kids reading them how to think, rather then just spewing rubbish like "You want to make awesome scenery like ours? Just buy it in the GWS for 35.99!"

Athelassan
29-08-2014, 22:57
I think the WD was golden when they were doing real hobby articles, you know the ones that were doing things like "Make ruins out of the packing materials that came with your box of models!" that focused more on teaching the kids reading them how to think, rather then just spewing rubbish like "You want to make awesome scenery like ours? Just buy it in the GWS for 35.99!"

Come on, it'll be 36. GW aren't losing that extra penny if they can help it.

If I remember rightly, and I might well not (anyone with one of those old WDs want to check?) I don't think GW have really gone in for the 0.99 "trick", at least not since the early 90s or so.

aprilmanha
29-08-2014, 23:04
WD 140 (not my oldest but the closest old one to hand) was 1.95 so they were into it then it seems. No idea what year that makes it though!

BFalcon
30-08-2014, 10:50
WD 140 (not my oldest but the closest old one to hand) was 1.95 so they were into it then it seems. No idea what year that makes it though!

WD pricing might be different though - I think magazines attract VAT and go through various distributors before reaching the newsagents they were sold in - so they might have bowed to pressure from those other bodies on pricing...

That and those products sold in newsagents are often priced at below the nearest pound not just to make them appear cheaper, but to attract more donations to the charities (how many people actually accept the 5p back and how many (like me) drop it in the charity tin/pot instead?) at the request of the newsagents themselves. since 1p in that 5p is tax anyhow and probably around 1p or 2p more is profit that gets taken up by the newsagents and distributors, that 5p drop in cover price is probably not that big a deal for GW to accept anyhow.

The other products, however, I can't remember them changing - I'm pretty sure that the epic stuff was around 3.95 back in the 90s, but that might just have been the independent store that we shopped at in Plymouth...

MarcoSkoll
30-08-2014, 23:25
The early 3rd edition codices were pretty much pamphlets. Look at 2nd edition or later 3rd edition ones for vastly better stuff.
Oh yeah, the 3rd edition Space Marine codex was almost wafer thin.

That said, I still look back with a certain fondness for some of the short fluff pieces - things like the report from an Inquisitor who was shocked at just how brutally excessive the Astartes were.
I also remember the assault on an Ork fortress; you can't have a good story with a Dreadnought without it arriving just in the nick of time, preferably via drop-pod, through a cloud of smoke or, as in this case, by demolishing an intervening wall.

paddyalexander
31-08-2014, 10:09
lolwhut? 3rd is what gutted the Orks - removal of the clans, of Orky "cultur", all for what - calling their guns "shootas" instead of "boltas"?

In 3rd ed the design philosophy with the first wave of army books was for them to be affordable, basically they were mostly less than 10 each. So the content was lean. Basic fluff and core rules for the army. The idea was the background and alternate army lists and options would be released in white dwarf or another cheep expansion book and possibly a little later made free on the website (while that lasted).

The ork codex was a great example of this. The book contains a core list with each entry having a short flavorful fluff blurb. All of the clans got rules in white dwarf including several updates, there was a separate feral orks list that included the return of the Weird boys and a very popular Speed Freaks list in the Armageddon expansion.

I still say these thin codecs contained more useful info than the current bloated books. They had painting guides, tips on conversions and building terrain and the ork codex even had two of the designers talking about their differing approaches to collecting and playing their armies.

I used the conversion tip in the book to make most of the big shootas in my army and I still paint flesh when batch painting according to one of the guides in that book.

aprilmanha
31-08-2014, 17:40
In 3rd ed the design philosophy with the first wave of army books was for them to be affordable, basically they were mostly less than 10 each. Snip...

I reviewed my opinions actually and have decided that the old codex's were not bad either, they were just condensed. They actually have more good content then Codex's do today, which is saying a-lot when you are comparing a 40 page 8 codex, to a 108 page 30 codex...