Friday, 3 October 2008

Facing Redundancy (for mini's)

by Suneokun

No, this isn't an article about the sad state of the global financial market... but a review of a issue that Games Workshop just can't seem to button down - balance!

This seems to be a perpetual persistent problem for GW.  I am hard pressed to think of a GW codex which doesn't have a cadre of beautiful, interesting and highly redundant units that are never ever ever used by anyone.

It seems odd.

After all, you would think it's just a case of putting the new codex design in front of enough devious people (and we all know the GW pricing department has plenty of them!) and seeing what lists they come up with.  You would suppose that this would quickly highlight the 'uber-units' and the 'under-units' and allow the designers to adjust stats, setup or points accordingly.

A case in point is the new Sternguard Space Marine unit.  Great idea, very 'Deathwatch Kill Team' in style, the ammo type are awesome, but judging how everyone is going for them - maybe just a little too tasty.  Now this makes perfect sense if you want to sell more models to collectors with a full set of Smurfs, cha-ching, but it continues to distort the armies.

Some models that never make it to the table for Imperial Guard are Sentinels, Armoured Fists, Techpriest Enginseers, Sanctioned Psykers, and Heavy Weapon Platoons.  The situation with the Guard gets even more serious if you choose some Doctrines, since many units just aren't worth buying back.  Additionally there is a selection of Doctrines that never see the light of day, probably rightly so - but why are they in there?

For example, if you 'personalise' your army with doctrines, you immediately lose any 'interesting units', am I going to really waste a whole doctrine on buying back a few techpriests, some psykers or priests - no.  The irony is that exercising doctrines is a painful process.

But the rot doesn't just lie with the creaky old IG codex, other codexes are littered with casualties of a lack of playtesting (or list-testing by that canny GW marketing department). 

Now it's human nature to seek the best advantage you possibly can with any list.  It's part of the fun of the game to tweak up your listing and develop both your fluffy and your razor armies.  It's just a little sad that so many noble units and highly attractive models are outplayed by their own forces.

For me personally, I'll keep playing fluffy - I like my Sentinels too much.