A Troublesome Time

How should players with only one army deal with the current state of 40k if that one army performs poorly on the battlefield? I’ve been asking myself this question in one form or another over the past few months

Here’s the thing. Most 40k players can accept losing every now and again. In fact, many 40k players can accept losing a little more than they win. But when that ratio becomes too weighted in one direction, the hobby starts to lose some of its appeal.

And it’s understandable. Frequently losing games is not fun. In fact, it can be quite disheartening. It’s yet more troublesome if you play in one particular gaming group or another and tend to play the same few people. Going into a game knowing that the chances of anything interesting or competitive happening are very slim isn’t a good way to play.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. There is certainly one very impractical solution: collect a new army, a competitive army. That would certainly solve things. But, for most players, this isn’t a particularly useful piece of advice. Most players simply do not have the time to build and paint a 2,000-point army in any practical time frame.

Before I go any further, I do want to mention Games Workshop. It is, I would argue, perfectly reasonable to criticise GW’s handling of the 9th edition meta up to this point. Simply put, I think that the fact that a handful of factions struggle to compete in any meaningful sense this far into the edition is a serious failure on GW’s part.

Let me be clear. I think that much of the 40k’s community’s criticism of GW is overblown or inappropriate. But, in this case, I think that it is entirely warranted. 9th edition has rendered a handful of factions almost entirely uncompetitive, and players who run only these factions are well within their rights to be at least somewhat unhappy.

And, as I mentioned above, considered that we’re roughly 18 months into the latest edition of the game, GW really should have addressed this problem.

But we are where we are.

It’s a tricky thing when your hobby becomes significantly less fun because of the actions, or lack thereof, of the game’s designers, but I think that there are probably a couple of ways to make things at least a little better when your faction isn’t going to be updated for a good while.

While it’s not a great solution, I think that being quite selective when it comes to getting games can be quite useful. For example, as a T’au player, I know I’m going to have much more fun against, say, an Aeldari list or an Astra Militarum list than a Drukhari list or an Admech list.

Hell, that’s probably true for most factions, but you know what I mean.

I would really prefer not to refuse a game based on my opponent’s faction — after all, it’s not his fault that the Admech have two or three phenomenal builds right now — but in many cases it won’t be a particularly fun game.

Let me add a caveat here. Generally speaking, I would really rather not take this action. It’s simply not the done thing to accept or reject an offer of a game of 40k based on faction. However, there are some circumstances in which it would be acceptable. For example, if your Tyranids keep getting blown off the board by so-and-so opponent with so-and-so faction, it’s probably better for both players if you stop playing that match up for a little while.

What else can players do? Again, I don’t think that this is much of a solution, but looking to other aspects of the hobby might be a sensible way to go for a little while.

If, for example, a 40k player spends 75 percent of his time playing games and 25 percent of his time building and painting, he might get more meaning and more satisfaction from the hobby if he spent half of his time on one aspect of the hobby and half of his time on the other.

I’m a strong believer in the idea that our focus determines our reality — points for anyone who gets that reference — and changing the way that we look at the game, changing what we focus on, can have positive effects.

Is this something that a 40k player should have to do? Absolutely not. But, for some players, it might be a better way to spend your time in the hobby over the coming few months.

I don’t know how GW should address this problem. When 8th edition was released, each faction received an index that brought it up to speed for the new edition. While these index books didn’t necessarily bring the factions to a broadly similar level, they nonetheless did enough.

I make this point to illustrate the fact that GW does have the capability to release rules for every faction at once. Would these rules be perfect? Certainly not. But there are a handful of factions that really need a helping hand, and it’s well within GW’s capacity to do so. GW simply choose not to.

Let me make something clear at this point. I am usually very positive when it comes to GW. Generally speaking, I like to look on the bright side. But for this issue, I think that GW has not done enough to support the handful of factions that do not perform well in the 9th edition meta.

GW does a lot right, but in this instance I think we should highlight the issues that GW seemingly has little interest in fixing.

In time, this problem will be fixed, but until then, playing with factions designed for a previous edition will continue to be quite troublesome.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Rhys Jenkins

Software developer, T'au player.

2 Responses to “A Troublesome Time”

  1. Bjorn October 11, 2021 12:54 pm #

    It’s too late now, but the Indexes were probably one of the smartest things GW has ever done to help bring in a new Edition. I say this as a new player with 9th, that has gone back to collect earlier editions to fill in my historical knowledge of the game itself. Best case scenario would be free pdf Indexes with purchasable hardcopies releasing alongside a core rulebook. But alas, it’s GW…

    • Reecius October 12, 2021 5:04 pm #

      Yeah, I’d like to see more digital support as well.

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