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khimaera

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WH40K - Mid Hive Crisis RPG

 

As an citizen living in the Under- and/or Mid-Hive of an gigantic Hive City you and your friends struggle and try to survive the grim and gritty everyday life in the Imperium.

Beware the Inquisition!

 

Some careers: Scum Fixer, Clean Servitor, Mail-Servitor, Servitor Mechanic, Gambler, Once I've seen an Astartes Pretender (can climb the cereers to Now-I-have-really-seen-One-Career), Hot-Dog-and-Rat Seller, Hive Mutant and Much More)

 

The "Astartes Pretender" class made me laugh. Love it.

 

Instantly had to think about a guy dressed in a huge and bulky self-made power armour made of whatever he could find, shouting "For the chapter" and fighting for the emperor in the gutters of the underhive. A little bit like Kick-Ass ;D

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The tabletop 40k is also waning in popularity (and in quality too IMHO) so for one I could understand FFG's lack of interest in continuing the 40kRPG line.

 

I don't really agree with the quality thing. Failcast is failcast, and the web supplements are kind of crap. But other than that, the current edition cycle of stuff is pretty great.

 

What I suspect GW has discovered, is that there's a pain threshold when it comes to gaming expenses. You can't just keep on increasing prices indefinitely, and renewing the model lines (with lots of scaling creep), especially not when disposable income isn't increasing. At some point, playing the game becomes something only the idle rich can afford. And I guess that point has just about been reached.

 

The rules, a pair of codexes, rulers, etc. = $250

Dark Vengeance starter armies = $100

Game board = $290

Minimalist scenery = $250

Paints & stuff = $100

 

Even if you DYI most stuff, you're still looking at about a $500 barrier of entry just to get to the point of having not a whole lot worth playing with. That's pretty steep.

 

I recently expanded on my Tyranid army. That's an army I already had and have been collecting since waaay back in the day when it started life as a 'Stealer cult. Price? Oh just about $350. What I got was basically just a little bit more strategic flexibility.

 

It's not at all surprising to me they're in trouble. They're just too expensive for most people. I mean, if I had any children I wouldn't be able to stray current with GWs stuff. And I'm pretty sure I'd tell my child "F no, you can't play 40K!" if I had one.

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IT does seem odd that GW doesn't want to help their franchise grow on the RPG market, but when you play the tabletop games you get used to them doing nonsensical stuff.

 

Well, let's keep in mind that this is a question that is several years old - ever since Games Workshop closed down Black Industries and hung out Dark Heresy to dry. If FFG hadn't negotiated licensed continuation, the whole line would have ended right there. That probably speaks volumes.

 

I fear I have to agree regarding GW's grasp on the business side. I don't know how much of this is influenced by investor pressure, but there have been so many missed chances over the past years ... :/

 

 

This is exactly what I was going to say. If they were interested in the RPG market they wouldn't have closed BI in 2007, and FFG wouldn't be the ones with the license now. GW has a long history of not admitting it has made poor business decisions, and instead continuing to find ways to force its changes on its fanbase, or shut down anyone that makes improvements they didn't think of.

I actually think the latest iteration of 40k bucks this trend, but they nurtured the wrong mentality in the fanbase for so long that going back to their roots is alienating for most of the current players.

Edited by Cail

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I actually think the latest iteration of 40k bucks this trend, but they nurtured the wrong mentality in the fanbase for so long that going back to their roots is alienating for most of the current players.

 

Hell no. They actually turned their abysmal business politics up to 11 and now busy wreaking havoc amongst the fanbase. Just one example: our 40k TT gaming club had 25 members roughly a year ago; now it has 6. And oddly enough, the players who left TT jumped into the RPG and now it isn't rare to find 4-5 40k RPG groups playing in the club in the same time  :)

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The mentality thing certainly doesn't help, yes.

 

On the rules front, there has been a ton of discussion regarding "what's legal", chiefly in regards to Forge World books whose rules were written by a different studio and whose models are even more pricy than GW's. What a lot of people don't seem to grasp is that GW doesn't care about "legal" and the core rulebook of the current edition specifically points out it's up to the players, presenting the Codices as the default, but at the same time keeping the door open for anything they want to add, from Forge World to GW supplements to homebrewed stuff. The only thing that matters is that all participants agree on whatever rules they end up using.

 

This "hands off" approach ties in directly with how the company handles the setting itself, and how it communicates this attitude. What most people think of when they hear "canon" for 40k does not exist - similar to the mechanics itself, GW seems satisfied with presenting their version of the setting and then letting others, including writers of officially licensed commercial products, add, remove or re-interpret various details with only a minimum of restrictions. Again the real problem lies with the players, many of whom seem unaware of this policy and are stuck in the false belief that 40k is a uniformly consistent setting - an issue proliferated by the Lexicanum wiki and the reputation it has within the community.

 

Even Black Library authors themselves have (kind of) criticised the lack of clear communication from GW regarding this topic:

 

"The IP works fine. The flaw is in the way canon is communicated, because it so rarely gets a mention. The flaw is in how people try to apply other licenses' attitudes to canon, then blame 40K for not making sense. Well, no, of course not. That's like assuming a tree is a banana tree, then saying it's wrong for having apples in its branches. The tree's fine. The expectation is what was wrong. The guy who sold the tree who never made it clear what kind of tree it was surely takes some of the blame, too."

- Aaron Dembski-Bowden

 

And, honestly? It's frustrating. Because 40k is not just something limited to some guys' basement or living room table anymore, or even some local club. The internet has brought the fandom together in chatrooms and forums, and the amount of licensed fiction has expanded to a level where people are accustomed more to the writings in some Black Library novel than the Codex fluff. This leads to a lack of common ground between people, and it's tiring to at least "negotiate the consensus" that everyone is right - what GW had intended - when people are stuck in the mindset that X needs to be the way because it says so in their favourite book.

 

I know because I've been stuck on the other side of the fence myself, and had a sort of "crisis of faith" at various licensed products dismantling the vision of 40k I was accustomed to. Until I actually set out to hunt for quotes and statements from the people actually writing the stuff, rather than the "established wisdom" of the community.

 

It has been said that Games Workshop sees itself primarily as a miniature producing company, treating the creation and sale of rulesets and the management of the IP as small subsidiaries of their business. The points above would certainly strengthen this perception. Technically, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this, but GW has failed to clearly communicate its intentions to its players, leading to the aforementioned issues that now make for countless unnecessary and unproductive debates amongst the fans rather than treating the game like its creators do.

 

Also, I know this will see me tarred and feathered, but I swear the intense focus on Space Marine hurts the potential of the game as well. Both in terms of narration as well as the boring "Blue on Blue" match-ups that seem to make up the majority of TT battles.

 

And let's not even discuss the price hikes. I think we can all agree on the effect that this decision will have.  :rolleyes:

 

/rant

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With the direction GW are going financially, I doubt there'll be much 40k to worry about in a couple years. Well, actually, more likely we'll have brand new Hasbro owned 40k to deal with. I mean, they already have the most well-known and successful RPG and TCG franchises, why not branch into wargaming?

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I actually think the latest iteration of 40k bucks this trend, but they nurtured the wrong mentality in the fanbase for so long that going back to their roots is alienating for most of the current players.

 

Hell no. They actually turned their abysmal business politics up to 11 and now busy wreaking havoc amongst the fanbase. Just one example: our 40k TT gaming club had 25 members roughly a year ago; now it has 6. And oddly enough, the players who left TT jumped into the RPG and now it isn't rare to find 4-5 40k RPG groups playing in the club in the same time  :)

 

I meant mechanically speaking, not from a business standpoint. They've tried to move away from the competative game that 40k was never meant to be. The codex release schedule has also been excellent with this edition, and they are (mostly) balanced (most of the powerful codices are from 5th ED now, and the majority of the complaints I here are about the new ones being universally under-powered, which should balance out eventually).

40k is one of the least tactical games they've released.

I fully agree the company seems on the point of collapse.

Also, Lynata. I like (nay, love) that you quoted my favourite RPG author making a personal reply to you, kudos. Completely agree about the focus on space marines too. The thing I think is sad is that I remember the game being much more varied in its focus as a child/young adult when I started playing (1993 *gasp*). They used to really care about the fluff and rules matching up a lot more too, or at least it seemed that way.

Edited by Cail
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Do we play the same 40k? Tau and Eldar (both 6e codexes) are far and away the best codexes in the game, to the point that they dominate the game these days. Meanwhile the new Tyranid codex somehow manages to be worse than the 5th ed one (how they achieved this I will never understand).

Edited by Tom Cruise

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Do we play the same 40k? Tau and Eldar (both 6e codexes) are far and away the best codexes in the game, to the point that they dominate the game these days. Meanwhile the new Tyranid codex somehow manages to be worse than the 5th ed one (how they achieved this I will never understand).

 

I dunno, I play Tau and I found I had to completely re-write/re-model/re-buy my list from the last two editions. The loss of the STR10 on the broadsides was a huge blow to me. Its certainly powerful but I think a lot of that comes from peoples new found over reliance on flyers and the Tau having great AA support. If your group allows FW then the 7 riptide list is obscene, granted.

I would argue 5E imperial guard is the strongest. It has a good choice of redundant scoring units (in the sense you can lose loads and still have the ability to take objectives) combined with massive amounts of cheap artillery (I play against a guy, prior to moving to Shanghai, who always fields 3 basilisks, and they are not to be under estimated) and one of the best flyers with the vendetta.

One thing I will concede though is that the new codices do not favour 'flavourful' armies. It's very hard to make an effective mono-god list with every chaos God, for example, and this does make me think that they are punishing people for representing the IP on the table top (although there are always people who will care more about having an effective army that a themed one) so perhaps I should partially withdraw my comment.

Edited by Cail

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Eh, it's more a matter of certain codices just being badly written. It's difficult to run flavourful chaos armies because the CSM codex is pretty lacking in a lot of ways. Meanwhile my all-battlesuit Farsight Enclaves force is very tabletop viable. It's much the same as it's always been in that regard, really.

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Thats a little different though, you have a specific codex suppliment written to allow you to make that army. You would not be able to field it using the Tau Empire codex alone with farsight as a commander.

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What I suspect GW has discovered, is that there's a pain threshold when it comes to gaming expenses. You can't just keep on increasing prices indefinitely, and renewing the model lines (with lots of scaling creep), especially not when disposable income isn't increasing. At some point, playing the game becomes something only the idle rich can afford. And I guess that point has just about been reached.

 

It's not at all surprising to me they're in trouble. They're just too expensive for most people. I mean, if I had any children I wouldn't be able to stray current with GWs stuff. And I'm pretty sure I'd tell my child "F no, you can't play 40K!" if I had one.

 

 

 

And let's not even discuss the price hikes. I think we can all agree on the effect that this decision will have.  :rolleyes:

 

Eeeeyup. A friend of mine visited England back in the '90s, and attended an event at a GW store where Jervis Johnson was speaking. Someone asked him why GW raises their prices so aggressively (even then!); Johnson replied that, as a designer, he has no input on prices, but since GW's sales have increased after every price increase, they have no incentive not to hike prices. Well, they have officially passed that 'tipping point'. With a minimum entry fee of several hundred dollars, how are non-1%ers supposed to become players?

 

And GW no longer supports any potential 'gateway' games. The dismal relaunch of White Dwarf prompted me to dig out some of my old issues to remind myself why I used to like this magazine. It's kind of startling to see how many games GW used to support over and above the 'big two'. Warhammer Quest, Space Hulk, Necromunda, Mordheim, etc. I never had any interest in WH's Old World, until I got hooked on Mordheim. I'm sure more than a few new players got lured into the tabletop games because of these smaller-scale supplementary games. Unfortunately the disasterous failure of the ill-conceived, expensive-to-produce Dreadfleet my have driven a stake through any chance of new 'peripheral' games, even though they are something GW urgently needs...

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I meant mechanically speaking, not from a business standpoint. They've tried to move away from the competative game that 40k was never meant to be. The codex release schedule has also been excellent with this edition, and they are (mostly) balanced (most of the powerful codices are from 5th ED now, and the majority of the complaints I here are about the new ones being universally under-powered, which should balance out eventually).

40k is one of the least tactical games they've released.

 

"Technically speaking" the current edition is a mess. Assault is super-crapsastic, shooting is super-awesome, vehicles are almost useless and the codices are horribly balanced. The only redemption of 6th edition are those small glimmers of hope that things could be different (like the very well-written Tau and SM codex and some of the rules in the BRB), but even those are far from perfect (some aspects of the Tau/SM codex are sharply out of balance, and overall the BRB has more silly/terrible rules than good ones). 

 

But for one, some of the new stuff is quite exhilarating if you are in the 40k RPGs too. Like, I would just love to see the Riptide in an RPG (Deathwatch or Only War) supplement!

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What I suspect GW has discovered, is that there's a pain threshold when it comes to gaming expenses. You can't just keep on increasing prices indefinitely, and renewing the model lines (with lots of scaling creep), especially not when disposable income isn't increasing. At some point, playing the game becomes something only the idle rich can afford. And I guess that point has just about been reached.

 

It's not at all surprising to me they're in trouble. They're just too expensive for most people. I mean, if I had any children I wouldn't be able to stray current with GWs stuff. And I'm pretty sure I'd tell my child "F no, you can't play 40K!" if I had one.

 

 

 

And let's not even discuss the price hikes. I think we can all agree on the effect that this decision will have.  :rolleyes:

 

Eeeeyup. A friend of mine visited England back in the '90s, and attended an event at a GW store where Jervis Johnson was speaking. Someone asked him why GW raises their prices so aggressively (even then!); Johnson replied that, as a designer, he has no input on prices, but since GW's sales have increased after every price increase, they have no incentive not to hike prices. Well, they have officially passed that 'tipping point'. With a minimum entry fee of several hundred dollars, how are non-1%ers supposed to become players?

 

And GW no longer supports any potential 'gateway' games. The dismal relaunch of White Dwarf prompted me to dig out some of my old issues to remind myself why I used to like this magazine. It's kind of startling to see how many games GW used to support over and above the 'big two'. Warhammer Quest, Space Hulk, Necromunda, Mordheim, etc. I never had any interest in WH's Old World, until I got hooked on Mordheim. I'm sure more than a few new players got lured into the tabletop games because of these smaller-scale supplementary games. Unfortunately the disasterous failure of the ill-conceived, expensive-to-produce Dreadfleet my have driven a stake through any chance of new 'peripheral' games, even though they are something GW urgently needs...

 

The interesting thing is that a large portion of the people drifting away from them are moving to games similar to those they no longer support (Dreadball, Infinity, malefaux etc) basically small skirmish level games with a low buy in cost. Even Warmahordes works well at very low point games.

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I'm sure the lack of GW alternatives to 40K/WFB doesn't help them retain customers. I think I can pretty safely say that the people I play GW games with would have drifted on to other things, and perhaps never drifted back, if we didn't also play things like EpicArmageddon, GorkaMorka, BloodBowl, BattleFleetGothic, Necromunda, SpaceHulk, Mordheim and... up until FFG's Descent took over, WarhammerQuest. SpaceCrusade and DreadFleet are basically the only GW games we don't play, and that's primarily because we only have one copy of each of those games between us (6 people can't really play with just one set of those).

 

Even Descent we probably wouldn't have checked out, if it we hadn't lost a few minis that GW didn't let us replace. Though let me hurry to add that both editions of it are amazing, and absolutely worth a look if you're into that sort of thing.

 

The thing is - at least for us - it's very easy to keep customers loyal when you have strong and consistent art direction, and a breadth of quality games that all use pretty much the same minis. There's an incentive to stay with that company's games, simply because the minis and terrain is interchangeable to a reasonable degree. But nobody very human, I think, will keep playing 40K battles every other week all their lives. There really needs to be that breadth of games to change things up - and the consistency and overlap of products to keep persuading people to return to the games they have, or at least not start looking at another company's games.

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Yeah, one of the big things with starting Infinity for me and my friends was the argument 'if we don't like the game, we can always just use the mini's for necromunda'

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The dismal relaunch of White Dwarf prompted me to dig out some of my old issues to remind myself why I used to like this magazine. It's kind of startling to see how many games GW used to support over and above the 'big two'. Warhammer Quest, Space Hulk, Necromunda, Mordheim, etc. I never had any interest in WH's Old World, until I got hooked on Mordheim. I'm sure more than a few new players got lured into the tabletop games because of these smaller-scale supplementary games.

 

Ouphh, yeah. For me it almost feels like I missed a sort of "golden era" by about 10-20 years. I acquired a bunch of old White Dwarf issues just for the fluff inside, and the difference to the modern version is startling. Not just because of the other games. They actually used to give out hobby advice - like, real hobby advice, how you can improvise and make stuff yourself by recycling stuff you have at home. Today, at best you get tips on what you can do with stuff you buy from Citadel.

 

The thing is - at least for us - it's very easy to keep customers loyal when you have strong and consistent art direction, and a breadth of quality games that all use pretty much the same minis.

 

Though I have to say that I find the consistency starting to suffer. Of course much of this is my subjective impression of how so many different designers and writers all add their own ideas to the list of official material, watering down the original vision, but there also seems to be a perceived need to put out new units and miniatures for people to buy - and many of the newer minis just don't look or feel particularly "fitting"...

This also applies to various redesigns of older miniatures, by the way.

 

The interesting thing is that a large portion of the people drifting away from them are moving to games similar to those they no longer support (Dreadball, Infinity, malefaux etc) basically small skirmish level games with a low buy in cost. Even Warmahordes works well at very low point games.

 

Huh. I was looking at Battletech, myself.

 

It's a real shame. I still feel Necromunda was an amazing idea, even though I only have theoretical experience (thanks to the rulebook being freely available as a PDF on the official website). Same for Inquisitor, which seems to have influenced Dark Heresy on some level (various talents even have the exact same name).

 

For some time there was a rumour that GW might release a new Inquisition-based skirmish game, but I suppose that was just a load of hot air, like 90% of the rumours. To be honest, at this point I kind of expect GW to be "stuck" in their mindset, and unable to change/adapt. But I also believe that these things are outside the influence of the actual creators.

 

It may just be a case of a franchise/company growing "too big" and in turn becoming too removed from the hobby but ever closer to a corporate attitude, with creative processes being bogged down or even twisted by monetary concerns. Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies out there to which a development like this might apply.

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Heh, yeah. Except for the actual game, pretty much everything about the 2e era was pretty great. GW made a serious and impressive effort to engage their players creatively and get them creating. For example, the first Thunderhawk I remember seeing was scratch built from a juice carton and various odds and ends, and came with a How-To for replicating it.

One of the ways GW continues to amaze me today, is that they obviously have more talent than ever that does stuff like this, but they're not blasting it all over the YouTubes.

The hobby is at least 90% Getting Your Creative Nerd On, but it seems like the company has become afraid that their customers actually go ahead and do that.

Also, Necromunda is brilliant. You should definitely find yourself a game or twenty. The campaign play is immensely satisfying, and the barrier of entry is about as low as it gets.

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You missed out. Necromunda was HUGE for a good 3 or 4 years. One of the most successful sub-games. It got a brief re-release about 9 years ago but it wasn't well supported at all (its likely this version of the rulebook you have, though there is very little difference between the editions)

I don't think the re-release had the rules from outlanders or the citadel journals though (rules for scavvy gangs, redeptionist cults, spyres, ash nomads, pit gangs etc). Try to download a copy of these if you don't have them, they really add a lot to the game.

Theres also an old white dwarf suppliment mission called 'hive of the living dead'. Truly great stuff and a perfect example of the kind of content we havn't seen in white dwarf for years.

Edited by Cail
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Well, If GW continues to flounder we can always hope they will be bought out by FFG! In all cases, The Warhammer 40k IP is probably still too valuable to just "go away". GW's anti-fan bias is pretty well known in the community and has been for many years. Logically, from a corporate standpoint, if the prices have exceeded the "pain threshold" mentioned earlier, than the company may well choose to lower prices to preserve market share remaining.

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Eh. Not too fond of what FFG did with some aspects of the setting...

 

As long as GW remains alive, at least there will be someone who still publishes fluff and rules following the original vision of 40k. Even though GW itself seems to suffer from a slight shift in narrative focus from gritty towards fantastic (yes, there can be such a thing as "too epic"), it is a far cry from what I see in most licensed material.

 

The setting has already been diluted by 20 years of a hundred writers all publishing their own ideas with little connection to one another. It won't get better if you take the most consistent factor out of the equation. For people like me it would actually get worse, because right now you can at least cherrypick your preferred interpretation.

 

[edit] In retrospect, this post almost reads like "it can only get worse"?  :unsure:

Edited by Lynata

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yeah, no offence to the FFG guys, but GW remains my first choice and FFG wouldn't be my second.

I agree entirely on the epic'itude spiral thing. It started getting a little out of hand around the time Dark Angels got robes, and it's become more and more pronounced ever since. But... I remain strongly coloured by 1e sensibilities. I miss stuff like madboyz, and marines just looking like they're checking a scanner and not in the last second of their thousand-year hand to hand combat against 40,000 daemons with daemons on top.

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FFG wouldn't be able to put forward enough money in the bidding war if GW did go under, really. I'd expect Hasbro to move in for the kill, then they'd have near-total domination of the nerdy traditional games industry. DnD, MtG and Warhammer would be a pretty potent set of properties to hold at once.

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Personally with the advent of 3d printers I kind of hope the company does fold. I think the fan base is enough that, so long as there was one complete edition of the rules (with all codices up to date etc) and... someone producing miniatures whether its an independent company or people printing them themselves the game has a big enough fan base to continue on its own momentum. I would personally LOVE to have a stable edition of the game. I have much less time to play than I used to (and no opponents or stores to buy anything from in China) and re-learning the rules/having to re-buy an army to make it effective with the latest codex is infuriating. The last Tau dex was a huge example of this, I left with my first reading going "wow, they've really penned it so you HAVE to buy either a hammerhead or the new riptide in order to deal with heavy armour then..."

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3d printers at the quality needed to compete with citadel miniatures aren't really viable for personal use. And it'd cost more to print an army than to cast one. People overstate the impact 3D printers have at this point.

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