Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Rise of Bolt Action? GW's Souring Taste

GW's Souring Taste

First, let me say this, GW is a big company and a big company's job is to make money especially when it has as many stock holders as GW has. In this pursuit, once stocks were starting to turn downward due to slacking sales two years ago, GW began the current product blitz that we have been living with ever since. They throw products at us and hope some of them stick and that we will buy them: new codices, supplements, books, models, lords of war, formations, etc. The faucet was opened full bore and the flow hasn't stopped yet.

So many new codices and formations have arrived and in such a short time that it has become a crazy soup we had to swim through to try and remember and to understand all the new rules/models/formations. Of course this appeals to some 40K players and I am happy for them. Then again, there is the others that just gave up trying to keep up.

With so many new models, including Forge World, being released - often with ever increasing price tags, that the game looks almost unrecognizable at times. Don't get me wrong, GW does sell fantastic models, top-notch in the industry today, but $400 for a new Tau super suit? Prices of normal models aren't getting any cheaper either.

Then there is Age of Sigmar. I was stoked for when it at first came out and bought a starter box. Then the AoS model blitz began and the sticker shock hit! Again, the models are AMAZING but five models for the price of a Terminator box? I'm left wondering how in the world any of those newbie wargamers that bought into the starter box would stick with a game that costs about 10 bucks per model? That is insanity.

While I still want to play 40K, (I love my Khorne, Space Wolves and Guard), I have serious doubts as to the future of the game if it continues on this current course. To a layman like me it appears that GW is flooding it's players with too much - too much of everything. When that happens things will eventually hit a critical mass and the whole system will come crashing down. I think I have hit my personal critical mass. GW is starting to taste sour, I have no more desire to be taunted into throwing buckets of money into the newest formation/super model of the month. Nope. No more, I feel dirty and used. Critical mass achieved.

What Can GW Do Differently

Well for starters, if GW would just slow down their crazy release schedule that would make a world of difference. If we saw a new codex every three months I think that would be a great pace for the game. And please, limit those nonsense formations! Back them down, make them fewer, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Rules wise GW could probably do with a much needed rulesbook diet, slim down those rules to a quicker, streamlined format and throw out the clunkier rules that slow down the game. Throwing less dice during the game is a good start. And what about getting rid of that rule where you have to remove the models closest to the shooting unit? It is much more efficient to just pluck out a model instead having to determine which is closest and such.

Oh and the prices. Heh. I understand GW has top quality models and part of the price goes into the making of the model but come on! We all know $10 per model is not realistic. I think as hobby people we will buy those expensive models we want (and we do) but give us time to buy them before throwing at us the very next week even more things we can't live without. We don't want to have to mortgage our houses to hobby with you GW, don't make us feel dirty and used like some crazy crack fiend being led down the path or ruin by a drug pusher.

The Rise of Bolt Action

Don't know if anybody else has noticed in their area or on the interwebs, but it seems to me that Bolt Action is a rising force in the wargaming scene. I think this is because of several factors:

  • 40K-like rules. Makes it very easy for 40K players to pick up the game mechanics and this is significant because a fair majority of wargamers are familiar with the 40K system.
  • Easy on the wallet. A rulebook, an army book, order dice and a 1000 point army will cost you maybe $225.
  • Fewer rules. The game is more streamlined than 40K and cuts down on rule confusion.
  • Uses points. From what I understand Bolt Action is the only historical wargame using points to ensure balanced games - or competitive games if that is what you like. Bolt Action lends itself easily to tournament play.
  • Huge model selection - Not only are the models much cheaper but they have a vast selection to chose from.
  • A shared game turn - Unlike 40K's rigid 'your turn, my turn' mechanic, Bolt Action turns consist of both players randomly activating units with order dice all in the same shared turn. IMHO, this is a more challenging and modern way to play a wargame.
  • No gotcha units/formations of the month - You aren't going to be seeing any super models/formations because there weren't any in WWII. Want to see a nazi super robot with a freak'n laser beam on it's head? Nope. Not going to happen.
  • Established interwebs community - Bolt Action has been around for about 3-4 years now and it has an established community you can jump right into. Of course it isn't huge like the 40K community but enough is there to keep you informed and entertained.
  • It's history - This points mileage might vary for some, but for those that enjoy history, especially WWII, you are in for a treat - Bolt Action will look and feel amazing on the wargaming table.
I'm sure I missed some good points but that is off the top of my head.

Check out this excellent guide if you are interested: Guide to Bolt Action for 40K Players.

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  1. Meh. I look at it this way, they can throw out everything they want but I only buy what I need to. New codex? Yep, buying that! New models/units/whatever to build and paint? Eh, if I feel I need them but I'm not compelled to purchase them either. 40K Does not cost me any more today than it did when I started playing 9 years ago. I admit though that I'm not their target compulsive buyer demographic either. Still, new doesn't mean it has to be bought and owned just by virtue of being new.

    Likewise, I feel the same with the codex/formation overload. I only deal with what pertains to me, period. I don't care if they put out 100 new armies tomorrow, I'm only dealing with the ones I play. I don't have to know how every single army in the game functions. I don't have the time, money or inclination to bother. When I face an army for the first time then I will learn the good old fashioned way, through experience.

    Yes, GW is tossing a lot out there at once and we know it's not all going to stick. At some point the pace will slow down and GW will go through the process of removing the useless clutter and polishing what remains. That's how I see what they are doing now instead of a critical mass that will at some point implode.