Should Wargames Be This Complex? – Editorial

By |2017-01-13T09:00:01+00:00January 13th, 2017|Categories: Editorial, Warhammer 40k|


Fact: It’s easy to be hard; but it’s hard to be easy. Anyone can do things the hard way, it takes little thought, but it’s woefully inefficient.

But to do the same thing efficiently and with little effort takes a lot of foresight and planning. To me, 40k has become a game that’s been built up over the course of 30 years. Sure a lot things have come and gone but at the end of the day in order to maintain it’s legacy components, Codex’s, it’s had to maintain an ever evolving and expanding list of universal special rules.


Even with all this we’re left with a chainsword having the same impact as a bolt pistol or a rusty blade. We don’t just roll dice we roll dice and compare them against a table. Infantry gets armor saves while armored vehicles get no armor save. Giant Mechanized robots have toughness values and armor saves while other giant mechanized robots have armor values and might explode. Shooting a giant bike is harder than a jump infantry unit. The list goes on and on, and quite frankly it’s unnecessary, convoluted, and bewildering.

New people don’t want to deal with the mess of rules and there are plenty of vets who are just as turned off by it.

Memorize, Memorize, Memorize

I’m terrible at memorization and quite frankly I don’t have the time. I use the hell out of index cards to get all the special rules I need in order. It takes awhile to compile a list of everything I need just to run my Death Company. Relentless, Rapid Fire, Feel No Pain, Jump Infantry, Power Weapons, Rage, Pile-in, Jump Pack, Furious Charge, specialist weapons, Concussive, etc. One turn I’m strength 5 the next I’m 4, sometimes I get to smash your face and your jump packs, sometimes I don’t. New people don’t want to deal with the mess of rules and there are plenty of vets who are just as turned off by it.


Dear Mr. You’re Dumb, complexity makes this game great! We don’t have the statistics to prove definitively whether more people want their rules complex or not, but I’d wager you’re the vocal minority. What I do know is this, people happily spend a LOT of money to make their lives easier. Automatic Transmissions, Jiffy Lube, Power Tools, Calculators, the list goes on and on. The majority of people don’t like complexity we just want to have fun.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

There has to be a better way to get the same probabilities and modifiers. Putting all the rules on one page, like Age of Sigmar, is a great start. Using non-standard dice for a more fluid probability range is another. Do gargantuan creatures really need a special set of rules from monstrous creatures? You could just embed those special attacks into the weapons themselves.


So what do you guys think? Is complexity the best way to play with our toy soldiers? Leave it in the comments below.

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About the Author:

Sailor, Solider, Pilot, Photojournalist, Paratrooper, Technician, and Jack of Most of Trades. I consider myself a Blood Angel player, playing Death Company heavy armies. Recently, I've decided all my Blood Angels will fall to the Black Rage.