The first tournament I got invited to for 7th edition was truly hilarious. Within days of the edition releasing, the tourney rules were listed with all these changes to the Psyker phase. After NEVER playing it, this guy figured he HAD to fix it. The sky, was indeed, falling after reading the rules. Well, hell, when you play it out, it's really not as broken as was thought. Those daemon spawning armies usually lose, even after summoning an extra 1,000pts of daemons. Against any decent player, your psykers are being blown away and you see diminishing returns very quickly, against a bone-head, you will win decisively.
I still see local tourney stuff with limits on the psykers and while I don’t agree with them, they are certainly representative of a feeling in the community. But, as always, I have a few thoughts on why the rules are like they are, why there are unbound armies and 'why' a few other things too. :)
The framework (or... make some damn mission cards)I think that GW is actually heading down a path toward making the game work for everyone, casual and competitive. Now, before you click away in fury and disgust, hear me out. I think they have tried to create a rules framework that will, in time, be able to appeal to everyone. They have tried to create a system that works for a much broader range of play style than before. Even damage allocation is a lot more forgiving (and some say wonky-broken) and LoS has changed so that I have eyes in my hands now... That will get fixed, I think :) But they are trying.
We have all heard the rumours that there will be a tourney style rule set coming from GW soon. Why would they want to cut out a customer base (The tourney guys) that buy a lot of models and spends a lot of money on the hobby? GW may make a lot of mistakes, but even they aren't that stupid (are they?). They have also, steadfastly maintained that they are NOT a tourney/competitive rules company and they only embrace casual/friendly/narrative/shake hands gaming styles. (Notice how EVERY freakin battle report has the obligatory 'shake-hands' picture?) They like narrative gaming, and guys playing out the fluff in grand style. That is their way, but I think they are not as dull-witted as a lot of people think.
Well, the rules are designed for the narrative players, and screw the competitive guys, right? Not so fast, hombre! Did you also notice something else in this edition? There are a lot of VERY simple changes to the system that will allow tournament style play to go smoother too. There are things that can be pulled out of the game without breaking the rules, as in some other editions.
Look at the missions themselves, the new card based mission are IMHO, awesomesauce. The cards, however, are a bit wonky (They look more like a slapdash last minute addition to the boxes). But what happens when the big T.O.s start making their own card decks for their tournaments? You can completely change the flavour of the game by just making new cards. What is going to happen when BAO/Adepticon/FoB etc all come out with mission cards that are going to define the scope of the game that they want to see? They won't even have to ban any particular thing, they just make sure the mission cards reflect the things they want to see. Rather than banning unbound armies, they just make missions that an unbound army cannot do well at. Easy-peasy lemon-squeazy. Want to fix the daemon psyker "issue", make cards that make sure they cannot win the day.
Hell, GW is doing that exact thing with the Ork codex, or the supplement. There are 6 or so different cards coming that reflect orky battle mission requirements. And does anyone honestly not see some supplements coming down the road that will have new mission cards in them? What a perfect way for them to capture "the narrative feel" of a campaign without a whole raft of new rules! I see a ton of new cards coming to hobby store near you.
Oh, and during all of this, GW will be happily selling you tailored mission cards for your particular factions and making money as well. We all see unbound armies as a way to sell models, but tell me you're not even a little bit happy to see that mechanic so you can play a list you have always wanted to try??? If you say no, you're a dirty stinkin liar :)
So, is this framework idea bullshit? I don't know. Is seventh just a way to separate the hobby from it's money like all the haters claim, I don't think so. Will 7th put casual gaming and competitive gaming on a more even keel? Let me also say, that if GW does make a tourney style rules supplement, I bet it will suck, big-time. They just don't have the chops for it, I don't think they have the kind of people there that can do it. But I have confidence in the big names in the tourney scene to fix it right up. (Come on Reece, get to it!!!)
I think GW is trying to fix the tournament play scene in 40k, without having to come out say they are trying to help the tournament scene. They can't stay true to their "narrative gaming" statement and help out the tourney guys, but they can damn sure write a very open set of rules that allows people to "play their own style". In this way, they make the tournament guys happy, and the fluff guys are happy too. It's a win-win for GW, even though they cannot come out and claim it, because the interwebs crowd would jump all over them that!! After all, we must hate GW, right?
I think we will begin to see a lot of changes to the game in just the mission card format coming soon. Not rules changes mind you, but play style changes, and the folks creating the tourneys will have a field day tweaking and balancing their mission cards to make their tourneys better. I think it's just that easy. Along with all the other stuff they have to do for tourneys... But that's another article titled "It's easy to put on a 256 player tournament"... LOL