The story of how two warp-wandering warriors were inspired to return to a hobby they’d loved and long forgotten after a fateful trip to Gamesday.
Justicar GiantKiller delivers the… story of how this happened.
It’s Friday night. July 29th. Like any good gamer, I’m at home. Gaming. Then the phone rings. I begrudgingly pause and answer without looking to see who’s calling.
“Are you wearing pants?” The question strikes me as a poor substitute for “hello”, but I immediately recognize the voice as Szafraniec’s. “I’m coming over, we’re going to Gamesday tomorrow.”
“The 40k convention?” I sputter, after a quick pants-check assures me I’m decent enough to entertain guests.
“Yeah, I got the tickets a while ago.” His excitement is audible.
“We don’t even play that game anymore” I protest, on my way to the fridge to check my soon-to-be plundered beer supplies.
“You don’t even play that game anymore.” He replies.
“Right, hence the complete lack of any constructive feedback on the last twenty-seven Dark Eldar lists you emailed me.”
“The model’s a skaven this year!” He replies undaunted. He knows full well that even though I’m a 40k player through and through, and I’ve never so much as thrown a die in a game of fantasy, I have a deep-rooted love for the Skaven. It started as an “Advanced Heroquest” obsession in my youth.
“I don’t play fantasy.”
“…And they’re having a Q&A session with Mythic”.
Mythic’s MMO Warhammer: Age of Reckoning was a much more recent obsession of mine. I was convinced. Several hours, one flat tire, too little sleep, many bad directions, and a wrong turn or two later, we were at Gamesday.
They say you never forget your first Gamesday. Actually, nobody says that, but it was nevertheless impressive. We wandered the floor. We foraged for meltaguns after camping for seats at the “make-a-model” station. We took some terrible camera-phone pictures of some amazing armies. We completely avoided the giant line at the Forgeworld table. We screamed at the top of our lungs in support of some awe-inspiring costumes and banners. We playtested and ultimately preordered the Space Marine game (and we got free T-shirts!). We marveled at the giant space hulk table. We sat in on a remarkably awkward question-and-answer session with Mythic in which angry players accused underfunded developers of abandoning a dying game (and we got more free T-shirts!).
But above all, being rules lawyers, we struck up conversations with random people about rules. We’d ask about the rules disputes that came up in their recent games. We’d ask if they kept up with the FAQs. We’d ask ask if any of the recent rulings surprised them. (of course, being out of the game for more than a year and a half, I was hearing about many of these rulings for the first time). We were blown away by how friendly everyone was and how willing people were to discuss what can sometimes be a touchy subject – rules interpretation. We were thrilled with the general level of rules knowledge possessed by most players (even the ones who identified themselves as “casual” players). As the day went on, several subjects in particular stood out.
First, everyone seemed thrilled that deff rollas could hit vehicles, even the non-ork players.
“Q. Can you use the deff rolla when Ramming vehicles or does it only work when Tank Shocking non-vehicle units? (p55)
A. The death rolla does indeed inflict D6 S10 hits against vehicles, as Ramming is just a type of Tank Shock” Codex: Orks FAQ p.3 (July 2011)
In fact the only player who didn’t seem to like the ruling was a long-time ork player who suggested that now he felt compelled to pack all of his ork lists full of deff rollas or risk them being called “fluff” lists. We resisted the temptation to argue that the whole thing was moot since there’s no such thing as a competitive ork list.
We also heard a number of varying opinions on the merit of GW’s ruling that wings count as hull and the practical impacts it had on the valkyrie/vendetta.
“Q: Are a vehicle’s wings considered to be part of its hull? (p60)
A: Yes.” BGB FAQ p.4 (July 2011)
Most guard players hated it. Most non-guard players found it fair. One real-life pilot remarked “like hell they are”. As an aside, we note that the faq does not say the tail counts as hull.
We found ourselves debating at length the merits of FAQ’ing for balance with more than one player.
But by far, the number one rule that came up in conversation about rules disputes was from the latest update to the 5th ed. BGB FAQ:
“Q: When two special rules or effects contradict each other how is this resolved? (p2)
A: Roll off using ‘The Most Important Rule!’.” BGB FAQ p.1 (July 2011)
What fresh hell is this? When I first heard about the ruling I had to pull the FAQ up on my phone to believe it. It’s bad enough that this pap is in the BGB, but it’s in the FAQ now, too? This is how GW would have us resolve the conflicts in interpreting their rules? For shame. We’ve said it before and We’ll say it again, when one player is interpreting the rules correctly and the other isn’t, a 50/50 shot at playing the correct way is simply unacceptable.
Players’ opinions of the ruling were mixed. Some players were fine with the “roll off” rule, saying that it was basically how they’d settled rules disputes all along. Many indicated that they ignored the roll off rule entirely and continued to play by their local club or store’s ruling, or went with the decision of their favorite rules forum guru (though none mentioned us as their favorite rules forum gurus *single tear*). Some were outraged, sharing our vitriol for the prospect of having to “play it wrong” 50% of the time. Love it or hate it, players were taking note of the ruling (possibly because it appears in bright pink?), and it burned brightly in the night like our own personalized bat signal.
We knew, then and there, that The Rules Lawyers were needed once more. We were inspired, if not by the game itself, then by the quality of the people who play it. There can be no doubt it’s the players who make this game what it is. From the absolutely breathtaking armies on display, to the awesome people we talked to all over the convention hall, inspiration was all around us at Gamesday. We resolved to dive into the army projects we’d been kicking around and putting off for the past year and a half and breathe life back into this long-neglected site. And so The Rules Lawyers return from the warp. We bring with us our “obsessively competitive” style of play and a firmly-rooted belief that getting to play by the rules because you know the rules and can argue your point competently and convincingly is infinitely better than playing by the rules 50% of the time because the die came up in your favor.
With that in mind, here’s what you can expect from us in the near future:
1. Rulings you can use. Whether you agree with our holdings or not, we’ll bring you rules discussions that will hopefully give you the tools to discuss the issue persuasively wherever you play.
2. The Rules Lawyers as gamers. We’ll be posting army lists, project blogs, and battle reports that will show you what we’re all about. We won’t be talking trash about other peoples’ lists and bragging about our tourney win/loss records. There’s plenty of that crap out there. Now, other peoples’ rules interpretations, that’s another story…
3. Updates to our existing discussions. Many of the issues we’ve discussed in the past have been resolved or at least addressed by FAQ updates. We’ll make notes on the articles and talk about what’s left for debate.
As before, we will endeavor to respond to as many questions and comments as possible! Hope we can help!