Our Mission / About Us.
Warhammer 40,000 is an amazing game. The models are fantastic, the storyline is rich and detailed, and the rules make for a fun game that’s easy to learn but difficult to master. The biggest problem is, its rules were not written with competitive play in mind. The game features hundreds of pages of rules spread across the rulebook and the various codices, all of which are rife with ambiguities, inconsistencies, conflicts, and imprecise language.
Games Workshop’s stance has long been one of figure it out for yourself or make something up, seeing competitive play as bad for the hobby in general. This is plainly evidenced by GW’s infrequently updated FAQs and their “just roll a dice” rule. Unfortunately, GW’s ultimate solution to resolving rules disputes just isn’t good enough when it comes to competitive play:
“Many players simply like to roll-off and let the dice decide who is right, allowing them to get straight back to blasting each other to pieces” BGB p. 2.
Competitive play requires hard and fast rules. And 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. It is imperative that the correct player be able to convince the judge, tournament organizer, or opponent that his interpretation is, in fact, the correct one, so that a random or incorrect ruling does not carry the day. Accordingly, a competitive player must be familiar with the rules and must be capable of making a competent, cogent, rules-based argument to back up his or her position.
But sometimes just knowing the language of the rules isn’t enough. Frequently a player must be able to successfully and persuasively interpret the language of the rules to resolve conflicts or ambiguities. But how are we supposed to interpret the rules? Just rolling a dice to decide who’s right certainly isn’t going to cut it. Are there rules that govern the interpretation of rules? GW’s rulebook is of little help in that department:
“The most important rule then is that the rules aren’t all that important!” BGB p.2
We beg to differ. So we decided to look instead to people who interpret laws day-in and day-out: the United States Supreme Court. After all, the rules of the 40k universe are the laws of this fictional game world. By reviewing US Supreme Court opinions dealing with the interpretation of laws, we were able to come up with a set of Canons of Rules Interpretation – rules for interpreting rules – based on the Supreme Court’s own rules for interpreting statutes. Each canon is listed along with cites to one or more cases whose language helped us to forge the rule, and brief excerpts of the Supreme Court’s language itself. As Supreme Court Justices come and go, and the political leanings of the court shift over time, we have attempted to draw upon cases from a wide range of time frames, so that no particular Supreme Court or Supreme Court Justice would have an overbearing influence on our rules as a whole.
And thus TheRulesLawyers.com was born. On this site GiantKiller and Szafraniec, the self-appointed Justicars of the Ordo Aequitas, will examine, analyze, and resolve 40k rules disputes in light of the Supreme Court’s rules of statutory construction. Our mission is to give players tools to interpret the rules of 40k and help them craft persuasive arguments backing their correct interpretation of the rules.