So, with all of the hubbub about new editions, I got to thinking about 2nd edition. The rule set that introduced me to the 40k universe, and of course, the Eldar. When I look at the cover art for the 100 pg 2nd edition Codex: Eldar, I still feel the same excited tingle I felt when a friend in high school first showed me a Space Marine terminator.
Look at the colors! I mean, have you ever seen a Swooping Hawk so heroically displayed? And when's the last time a Pheonix Lord was given a color plate? It all just looks so damned exciting!
|Look at him. Completely unaware of the god-awful movie being made in his name...|
Let me explain... You know how shooting works, right? You take your BS, compare it to a chart, and roll dice against a target number (modified by range and wargear in 2nd Ed.) to see how many shots hit... Right? Not for the Warp Spiders! No! They roll a D6 for every model caught in the flame template. If it equals or exceeds INI, it's auto death! If a 6 is rolled. DEATH! If you make your armor save??? DEEEAAATTHH!!!
Not really... But even if you make your armor save, you are pinned (and incidentally, are auto hit by any other death spinners that might be aimed at you...)
|I thought you'd be taller...|
The rules once conveyed a narrative (what some derisively refer to as "fluff") that "tournament friendly" rules never will. They were unbalanced. The 5th edition rules, too, are unbalanced. But in such a way that leaves some amount of, if not entertainment, then wonder, left on the sideline.
I am aware that nostalgia has a disproportionately powerful effect on reality, and I don't think that the rules themselves were better then than they are now. The Codices ought to be updated. The rules rewritten to be more playable. More clearly stated. More fun. And I think it's good that things have gone they way they have; in the direction of tournament play versus the play for fun's sake that had birthed the game industry. It's good because it shows us how the rules we use define not only how we play the game, but in what manner.
Tournament play gets ugly. How utterly in defiance of fun is it to have a single viable way to play one's army, lest they fall prey to the thrashing of a lifetime. And more importantly, it sours the milk of the industry. I'm not trying to marginalize competitive players. If you are having fun with the game, that's a win for everyone. But I am suggesting that competitive play shouldn't be the primary concern of a set of rules.
That's not to say I don't want balance. I'm not in favor of super armies, with super rules, and second class "hobby armies" whose players never knew they were signing up to play an army that simply wasn't designed to ever win a game. I am in favor of a set of rules that panders to the heart of the player. Rules that aren't sufficient to get you through a tournament, but which are an exemplar of exciting play. Rules that reflect a desire to please the gamer in the deepest, most satisfying way.
|If only they could shoot as well as a Space Marine, this might be true.|
Any step towards making our game to suit our passion, not the other way around, is one in the right direction.