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Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Plague Zombie Dilemma and other debates

Hey there Chaos fans, hope you are all doing well! Old man Chaos is back for a quick update. Now, I normally don't wade into the controversies surrounding 40K on the web. I love modelling, the fluff, the excitement of waiting for new codecies and models, and naturally playing a good game of 40K with friends. I enjoy the hobby, and I think my blog reflects my enjoyment, as I look to share that with others. I've said before, if something on my blog makes players and enthusiasts smile, or inspire them to do a modelling project, that's all I can ask for.

Just added these for fun...

Unfortunately, there's some rough aspects to our hobby. If you were to look on say Bell of Lost Souls, or DakkaDakka, you'll see a ton of griping about several issues. Now, there's a difference between some honest concerns and out and out whining. I'd like to take a look at just a few of these:

First, the recent Plague Zombie controversy. There has been a lot of arguments over how many zombies can be fielded in a unit- the wording is "slightly unclear"- is buying more zombies an "option"? As I read it, I felt that you could buy more zombies, but that they couldn't have guns or buy marks or anything like that. However, others felt that buying more zombies was an option, and therefore couldn't be done based on that reading of the rules. While I could see their point, it seemed pretty obvious that 10 zombies was not a zombie horde- if GW was really limiting it to 10 per squad, no one would bother to take them, and surely that was not GW's intent.

And it certainly wasn't. GW issued an FAQ this weekend, clarifying the issue by stating that you can purchase more zombies but no other options. Nurgle fans rejoiced- so many of us Death Guard players have wanted to use our Plague Zombies again in regular games, and now we can, free and clear (I have like 70+ zombie models myself, and I plan on making more now). But, there could be no time for rejoicing, as the haters started complaining that zombies were "overpowered", and now GW made them unfair. Now, having played a game with the zombies last week, I can tell you that they are certainly killable. With a +6 save, there's a great chance that they won't get Feel No Pain from shooting. Yes, they are a pain in close combat, but since 6th is more shooting anyways, that should be OK. In other words, the Plague Zombies can be tough, but they can be dealt with. In my last game, the Grey Knights killed a whole 30-zombie squad, and they broke squad coherency of another squad at a critical moment. Yes, Virginia, the Plague Zombies are quite re-killable. So why the complaints? It just brings people down needlessly.

The second controversy lately is the whole Allies issue. Frankly, I love the idea of Allies. The idea that I can now use my Death Guard and Nurgle Daemons is great. I can also use my Forgeworld Traitor Guardsmen with the Plague Marines too. I think that Eldar and Dark Eldar grudgingly teaming up is fun, even though I will never buy any Eldar myself. I think it is great that a Space Marine player can now use Imperial Guard, or Sisters of Battle, or even Grey Knights as Allies.

However, some players are using Allies simply to make killer lists. Bell of Lost Souls recently ran an article suggesting the strength of allying Grey Knights with Necron air units. Now, I find it hard to believe that Grey Knights would EVER ally with Necrons. A corrupt Inquisitor? Sure. An Imperial Guard force that has been fooled, or corrupted? Yes. But Grey Knights? Yes, the Codex suggests that there might (might) be some connection in terms of tech that they have shared- but really, this sounds like a stretch. It just stinks of putting these two together simply to win and not because of the armies stories or even a campaign plot. It is a list built to win and that's it. I can't imagine seeing both forces on the same side on the table, either fluff wise or even just the look of the army. It just feels... wrong.

Unless... the person does a good job of MAKING their forces look like a cohesive whole. There's few things worse than facing an army that looks like a bunch of random colors on the same models (unless your a Noise Marine player). I've seen people pay Space Marines in messy colors at random- no coherency, as if a child painted them with crayons. My Death Guard and Traitor Guard share certain characteristics that make it clear, beyond all doubt, that they are on the same force, both in terms of colors and modeling techniques (conversions, etc.). Now, if the GK/Necron player took the time to make these guys go together somehow, then I could accept it. Otherwise, you're just throwing random models together. Even Tyranids should be allowed to Ally, IF the player shows that their ally has been taken over by the Genestealers (would be awesome to see). In other words, IF you are going to do WEIRD alliances, then take the time to make it look good, rather than just a WAAC list.

Which brings me to controversy three- Tournaments and Win At All Costs (WAAC). I have played tournies before. I've had wins and losses. I've played fun, jovial opponents, tough but fair opponents, fluff-minded opponents. I faced one guy that rolled and picked up his dice so damn fast that I swear to this day that he cheated. I had another guy actually STEAL my templates (and had the nerve to claim they were his). Once, I played against a new player at a store, when one of the regs came in to give the guy pointers- and ended up playing the game FOR him (even rolling the guy's dice). Ugh.

I enjoy the game. I have had times where I've been totally relaxed, and I've had times of being waaaaayyy too serious. That's OK, as it happens to us all. We all like to win, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, the worst thing that can happen is that we become so obsessed with Tournaments and WAAC that it kills our enjoyment. Warhammer 40K is more than just about winning. It's about creating your own army (modeling, painting, etc); its also about cool story-lines, epic confrontations, Apoclyptic warfare, campaigns, and much more. If we focus too much on WAAC, then we lose sight of the other parts of the hobby which are so much more important than winning.

That's why here at Chaos Corner I have never posted an army list. I have never sought to discuss all the ways to win with whatever flavor of the month army. I have had articles about painting, terrain making, battle reports, Black Library book reviews and speculating on future releases. You will never see me write a blog posting about making a "killer list". When I play, I like to try new combos: will I play my next game with Zombies? Or will I try 7 man Plague Marine squads? A Lord and a Sorcerer or a Lord and a Daemon Prince? Should I go all cultists? Man heavy or more mechanized? Should I buy that new Heldrake? The possibilities are wide and varied, and I want to try them all- not just build one "killer list" and that's it. That's not the type of player I am.

This has been a longer blog than I thought, but that's OK- I needed to get this off my chest so that I can then take a breath and get back to the hobby that I love so much. I know not everyone will agree with me, and that's OK too. Feel free to leave posts at the bottom if you'd like, agree or disagree. For my own part, I will continue to post the same kinds of posts that I have been (hobby articles, book and movie reviews), plus maybe a few surprises. I would love to get a campaign going with my friends again (after the holidays, perhaps) and bring you updates on that. I may also try my hand at writing some short stories based on 40K and posting them here.

At any rate, I hope you'll continue to check out Chaos Corner for some fun stuff. Until next time...

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