A lot of tournaments seem to be shying away from implementing the current GW draft FAQs, but are there really any good arguments against doing so?
Let’s take a look at the various points of contention and the arguments that are used against making immediate use of the FAQs.
1. Because they’re not official yet.
Aren’t they? Why not? Certainly they do say that it is the “draft FAQ,” but Forge World has had “experimental” rules for some units for several years running now- obviously these things don’t mean the same to the Citadel teams as they do us because they certainly aren’t treated as though they were temporary or test versions. They aren’t posted to the same place as the other GW FAQs, certainly, but it should be pointed out that there are currently two properly “official” versions of the GW FAQs posted right now- so the fact that there is a third version somewhere else with additional info should hardly be surprising.
The argument for the illegitimacy of the draft FAQs relies entirely on the word “draft” in their title- and while that certainly can be taken as some kind of indicator, I don’t think it should be an overriding one. There is every reason to think that they will all be integrated with the standing FAQs just as they are.
Moreover, it’s pretty clear that GW has put them up specifically so that people could test them out and give opinions on them. Now, plenty of stuff in there is clearly either perfectly fine or obviously bad for the game, but there’s also things that lie somewhere in the middle; how are we to evaluate those things if, as a community, we are rejecting their use until they are 100% set in stone? Would not the time to implement them be now, when there is still some possibility that they can be amended or that sufficient commentary and evidence can support a case that they are problematic? Argument is one thing, but having actual results to back up an argument is wholly another.
2. Because they might change.
So what? Anything could change, at any time. GW could release a new codex or official update to their “normal” FAQs tomorrow. Frontline could update the ITC FAQs in a heartbeat if they so wished. Tournaments can change their rules and strictures at essentially any time they please. All of these things are well within the realm of possibility- indeed, have happened in the past at relevant times. So what’s the all the brouhaha about? The world didn’t end. It’s hard to argue that they even had a significant negative effect on anything.
GW posts their updates to the draft FAQs at regular intervals at a known time. It might be inconvenient to see a FAQ pop up the Wednesday before a tournament, but you know it’s a possibility and it’s something you can plan around- if the TO wants, it is a simple matter to disregard that one part of the FAQ just to ensure that everyone has more than a full week of warning on everything. Nine or ten days should be more than enough to be ready for any tweaks to the rules- and nothing we’ve seen yet has wholly invalidated army builds or radically resculpted the game, bad decisions regarding Drop Pod doors and ruin walls aside.
3. Because some factions haven’t been updated yet.
Again- so what? Some codices haven’t been updated yet, either, but we keep on playing the game anyways. Some supplements and Imperial Armor (I’m sorry, Armour) haven’t been updated for quite a while past “yet” and they are still allowed. The way that stuff is released for 40K means that there will always be some stuff that is not kept completely current as compared to other stuff- it’s the nature of GW’s release system and schedule, and it’s by most interpretations an acceptable compromise on how do handle things.
It’s not like the factions and books that haven’t gotten an FAQ yet aren’t functional or interpretable; they simple aren’t as well-updated as the others. In most cases, this is no real disadvantage at all because the ITC and other entities have covered the major gaps already- the GW FAQs are, more often than not, simply retreading old ground when it comes to major codex issues. Nor is it even particularly “unfair” to the books that haven’t gotten updated, since the FAQs are as likely to make something weaker as they are to make it stronger. In short, incompleteness of the FAQs means nothing more than the fact that ITC has yet to answer questions regarding things like the Doom of Mymeara- which is to say nothing at all.
4. Because there’s some parts of them we don’t like (and we are hoping they will get fixed.)
While this is certainly understandable- there’s plenty to dislike in these FAQs, as no doubt everyone is aware- it shouldn’t be what holds us back from using them. We already well know which parts of it ITC intends to ignore- Drop Pods, ruins, Stomp, and multi-level blasts. There are other parts that are contentious also, but they aren’t going to become any less so if we stubbornly sit by and refuse to try them out in actual play. Instead, it will only make people more entrenched in their individual ways of playing things and cause more problems with “well that’s how WE always did it” once tournaments finally get around to implementing the FAQs in full.
Maybe GW will fix or change things, but if the Roused to War rule for Dreadnoughts is any indication, if they are going to do so they will do so immediately rather than waiting for the entirety of the FAQ to be released. And this makes sense- since all it takes is a few minutes in Photoshop or Gimp to do a bit of typing and then a few more seconds waiting for Facebook’s uploader to work, why bother to do a slow-and-steady job of it? We’re living in the digital age, there is no reason that we should deny ourselves the benefits of that.
5. Because they’re not easily accessible.
This is, as I see it, the only legitimate complaint about things. It’s true, if you don’t know where to look and don’t keep up with 40K news on a consistent basis, it’s easy to get blindsided by these FAQs because no mention of them is made on the main GW site and they aren’t specifically archived anywhere. (Though, to be fair, the reverse is true as well- the Facebook page makes no mentions of the “normal” FAQs at all.) At the same time, however, finding them is almost trivially easy for anyone with the most basic knowledge of how to use the internet- a search on Google, Facebook itself, or any of a dozen Warhammer 40K news sites will bring up the whole list of images and/or links directly to them. Anyone who can’t manage to do at least that will similarly be incapable of finding the ITC FAQ as well as the current GW ones as well, so I think we can safely put that case aside and work from the assumption that most players are going to be more competent than that.
If tournaments simply make mention of the draft FAQs alongside the ITC FAQ and other relevant information for players that they include in their mission packet, I doubt it will be an issue- even the handful of “I will never ever use Facebook because arglebargle mwaaaaaaaaaaaaa” people can easily just download some images from the web and get everything they need.
In conclusion, I don’t really see any strong reason not to begin using the new FAQs now, rather than waiting for some nebulous future date when they might eventually be finished. If the current pace is any indication, it could easily be months until that happens, and delaying until then for such half-hearted reasons feels like a very weak choice to me; better to start things off now and get them over and done with.