A New Game System with 40K Models

We have a major dilemma here: the 40K models, and much of the 40K (older) lore, are quite enticing and beloved by many. However, the game system is awful:
- terrible balance
- balance 'updates' exist to encourage meta-chasing. Oh, units XYZ aren't selling well? Let's drop points by 20% and/or throw on special rules.
- janky mechanics which become unintuitive, uninteractive, not fun
- games take too long
- customization is GONE. You can't even elect to have squad sizes that don't fit in multiples of 5, let alone take interesting wargear options, and create trade-offs and customization as a result.
- ... I'm sure many of you will point out other major grievances with modern 40k

So what would a potential solution look like? This is what I want to discuss and brainstorm.

An idea I had was to bring back customization heavily and use it as a self-balancing factor across entire armies. Let the players define their units, based on some pre-defined tables and parameters. Examples and explanations coming up.

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  1. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    My vision is for people to customize their squads and self-assign values of movement, weapon skill, toughness, save, etc, and pay the requisite points for them, from a common template available to all army factions and units.
    Wargear would also need commonalities such as 'bolter equivalent', 'lascannon equivalent', 'chainsword equivalent', etc.

    For example, at the low end, let's say that 3" movement, toughness 3, strength 3, weapon skill 4, save 6+ infantry with lasgun-equivalent and 1 melee attack costs 5 points. This is a *template infantry datasheet*.

    Now let's say we want to build something that we might call a "Space Marine". We would use standardized charts to build such a unit, and pay for the quantities we want with points. For example:

    Movement Upgrade Costs: +5 points per inch up to 8", +10 points per inch if greater than that
    Weapon Skill Upgrade Costs: 3+ = 10pts; 2+ = 30pts
    Toughness Upgrade Costs: T4 = 10pts; T5 = 20pts; T6 = 40pts; T7 = 50pts; T8 = 80pts
    Armor Save Upgrade Costs: 5+ = 5pts; 4+ = 15pts; 3+ = 20pts; 2+ = 50pts

    So we could create our "Space Marine" as being a baseline infantry with: movement to 6" (buy 3 inches), weapon skill to 3+, toughness to 4+, and armor save to 3+. This Space Marine would cost 5 (base infantry cost) + 3*5 + 10 + 10 + 20 = 60 points per model.
    Then we could upgrade its gun using an armory table.

    Whoa, see what we just did? A Space Marine is actually an elite warrior that costs 60 points, relative to a Guardmen or Cultist who costs 5 points. And guess what? If you want an extra durable Space Marine, who might be slower, and maybe you might call him an "Imperial Fist", you can make it. And you can have that flavor. Or if you want a squad of elite duelists hitting on 2+ with 2+ armor, have at it! Make your dudes how you see fit.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      Similarly, I might design a "Captain in Terminator Armor" to be something like 5" movement, T7, 2+ save, a 2+ weapon skill, and his base cost might start at something like 5 + 2*5 + 30 + 40 + 50 = 135 points.
      And my opponent might make their own "Chaos Terminator Lord" to be faster, less tough, but buy up different wargear.
      Or I can make an 'Eldar Jump Pack Dude' pay for 16" of movement with only a 5+ save but incredible melee wargear.

      Don't get hung up on the numbers. What's important is to consider: with these common traits between ALL factions, the game has a hope of being balanced. Perhaps more importantly for many hobbyists, there is incredible depth and customization available *without ever having to buy a new model*. Your imagination is really the limit.
      Even if wargear is bought from a template, players can name their weapons just like their units as they see fit. Hell, this is the advantage of starting with all the existing 40k lore, we have plenty of ideas already.

      Gameplay-wise, having a software to let people easily print out some quick "Unit Cards" (perhaps from the army building app) would allow your opponents to quickly assess what's in your army.

      I would love to hear feedback for this type of concept and if anybody would be interested. I reckon something reasonable could be whipped up in a few days with simple playtesting rules.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        The base game is not built on unlimited probability and/or a consistent field of play. Game knowledge as well doesn't factor as much as it should either because RNG from dice can mean someone whose never heard of 40k can hypothetically luck their way to tournament champion.

        It's also built around making profit from selling toy soldiers first from GWs perspective, their aim is not a good game it's to sell miniatures and they consistently state this every year in their shareholder briefs. Finally player experience is massively subjective and players will rarely, if ever, admit their approaches and/or tactical choices can be, and often are, flawed.

        Comparatively chess is largely a "solved" game (though far from entirely) as the number of options is vast and game knowledge can take you a long long way, the game is also significantly more controlled and players have no choice but to either accept poor decisions and learn from them or remain bad. Each match (barring variations) are also mirror matches with each piece and battlefield the same between either player.

        This leaves two real choices to balance 40k - make it more restrictive along the lines of chess (at which point your just playing chess with extra steps) or make 40k more of a narrative framework with an arbitrator to keep things ticking along - like it was originally intended to be. Note that neither option requires you to do a massive overhaul of the game, it's rules and unit stats and abilities because trying to do so is largely a waste of time. So many other factors come into play you'd be better off investing said energy into practically anything else. If you do insist on doing it then tbh you're probably on the right track of just removing everything to a set of core rules and coming up with an accurate formula to apply to get costs right. Beyond that it's really down to your personal preference of what flavour of 40k your going for.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      A hyper flexible system like this would be even harder to balance than just making factions, and would remove any sort of faction identity without the player making a very deliberate effort to conserve it.
      You might be able to make an /awg/ like that, but it's never going to be like 40k.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        I would disagree, current 40K tries to balance something like 1000 datasheets all with different stats and abilities. Here we're looking at balancing a handful of essential stats, and a few dozen weapon profiles.

        >would remove any sort of faction identity without the player making a very deliberate effort to conserve it.

        But see this is why we have existing 40K lore. This isn't meant to be a standalone system, but just a different way to play 40K within the setting.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          >current 40K tries to balance something
          Doubt.
          >Here we're looking at balancing a handful of essential stats
          Each of those stats is a whole dimension though. Your options are multiplicative, and highly interdependent.

          • 1 week ago
            Anonymous

            >Each of those stats is a whole dimension though. Your options are multiplicative, and highly interdependent.

            This is a very interesting point. Think about the alternative of what GW is doing currently: rather than trying to balance the fundamental components of the game, they are putting out into the wild a sample of ~1000 datasheets (each containing the essential features, move, weapon skill, toughness, save, weapon profile, etc) and then estimating their worth.

            Frankly they are doing a poor job. A regular marine with a bolter ("intercessor") costs 16 points per model. A jump pack marine with a chainsword who does mortal wounds on the charge ("jump pack intercessor") also costs 16 ppm. What are odds of that? Do we think that makes sense? And don't even start looking at inter-faction comparisons of what costs around 16 ppm.

            At least if you try actually assigning values to the fundamental characteristics, you will quickly learn what seems more valuable, and can adjust from there, in real-time, without the awful incentive of trying to sell new shit.

            • 1 week ago
              Anonymous

              How badly GW is doing is irrelevant. Balancing a dozen set armies with a dozen set unit types each would already be a nightmare. Actual 40k lists are far more complex than that.
              But what you're doing is trying to balance every POTENTIAL unit. Not just the ones that actually exist and in known combinations with other units, but every possibility all at once. It's orders of magnitude more complex.

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                it's not really that hard. gw just discovered long ago that keeping things unbalanced (and moving the target around) sells models better than making everything fair.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      >So we could create our "Space Marine" as being a baseline infantry with: movement to 6" (buy 3 inches), weapon skill to 3+, toughness to 4+, and armor save to 3+. This Space Marine would cost 5 (base infantry cost) + 3*5 + 10 + 10 + 20 = 60 points per model.
      >Then we could upgrade its gun using an armory table.
      >Whoa, see what we just did? A Space Marine is actually an elite warrior that costs 60 points, relative to a Guardmen or Cultist who costs 5 points. And guess what? If you want an extra durable Space Marine, who might be slower, and maybe you might call him an "Imperial Fist", you can make it. And you can have that flavor. Or if you want a squad of elite duelists hitting on 2+ with 2+ armor, have at it! Make your dudes how you see fit.
      In your system the marines would be terrible.

    • 7 days ago
      Anonymous

      I found this while ago, pretty similar what you were thinking there. This is for 2nd edition.

    • 7 days ago
      Anonymous

      One Page Rules has an army list creator that allows you to make units however you like and the points are calculated for you based on the stats and special rules you give them.
      Sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

  2. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Similarly, I might design a "Captain in Terminator Armor" to be something like 5" movement, T7, 2+ save, a 2+ weapon skill, and his base cost might start at something like 5 + 2*5 + 30 + 40 + 50 = 135 points.
    And my opponent might make their own "Chaos Terminator Lord" to be faster, less tough, but buy up different wargear.
    Or I can make an 'Eldar Jump Pack Dude' pay for 16" of movement with only a 5+ save but incredible melee wargear.

    Don't get hung up on the numbers. What's important is to consider: with these common traits between ALL factions, the game has a hope of being balanced. Perhaps more importantly for many hobbyists, there is incredible depth and customization available *without ever having to buy a new model*. Your imagination is really the limit.
    Even if wargear is bought from a template, players can name their weapons just like their units as they see fit. Hell, this is the advantage of starting with all the existing 40k lore, we have plenty of ideas already.

    Gameplay-wise, having a software to let people easily print out some quick "Unit Cards" (perhaps from the army building app) would allow your opponents to quickly assess what's in your army.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      My vision is for people to customize their squads and self-assign values of movement, weapon skill, toughness, save, etc, and pay the requisite points for them, from a common template available to all army factions and units.
      Wargear would also need commonalities such as 'bolter equivalent', 'lascannon equivalent', 'chainsword equivalent', etc.

      For example, at the low end, let's say that 3" movement, toughness 3, strength 3, weapon skill 4, save 6+ infantry with lasgun-equivalent and 1 melee attack costs 5 points. This is a *template infantry datasheet*.

      Now let's say we want to build something that we might call a "Space Marine". We would use standardized charts to build such a unit, and pay for the quantities we want with points. For example:

      Movement Upgrade Costs: +5 points per inch up to 8", +10 points per inch if greater than that
      Weapon Skill Upgrade Costs: 3+ = 10pts; 2+ = 30pts
      Toughness Upgrade Costs: T4 = 10pts; T5 = 20pts; T6 = 40pts; T7 = 50pts; T8 = 80pts
      Armor Save Upgrade Costs: 5+ = 5pts; 4+ = 15pts; 3+ = 20pts; 2+ = 50pts

      So we could create our "Space Marine" as being a baseline infantry with: movement to 6" (buy 3 inches), weapon skill to 3+, toughness to 4+, and armor save to 3+. This Space Marine would cost 5 (base infantry cost) + 3*5 + 10 + 10 + 20 = 60 points per model.
      Then we could upgrade its gun using an armory table.

      Whoa, see what we just did? A Space Marine is actually an elite warrior that costs 60 points, relative to a Guardmen or Cultist who costs 5 points. And guess what? If you want an extra durable Space Marine, who might be slower, and maybe you might call him an "Imperial Fist", you can make it. And you can have that flavor. Or if you want a squad of elite duelists hitting on 2+ with 2+ armor, have at it! Make your dudes how you see fit.

      In theory I like it, but in practice it is ridiculously difficult to balance as GW found with the creature creator in WHFB 2e and later with the vehicle design rules, to the point where you have to rely on your opponent not being a WAAC homosexual, at which point you might aswell just house rule it based off an existing model and run it by your opponent to see if they're ok with it.

  3. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Shut up nerd just play a different edition

  4. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Sorry I know you were looking for feedback but I'm real short on time and wanted to ask if you have looked into existing alternative rules etc like one page, ect?

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      See [...]
      Or just play old editions. Or OPR. Or Xenos Rampant. Or any of the others.

      I'm aware. The lack of depth and customization is a real miss in my eyes. I get how it undoes a lot of the bullshit in 40k though. But I can't imagine myself theorycrafting and re-balancing my forces every week for different battles and scenarios etc.

      • 1 week ago
        Anonymous

        >The lack of depth and customization is a real miss in my eyes
        Lack of customization? Have you read 3rd ed?
        Crack open the 3.5e Guard or CSM codex and shit your pants at the amount of customization you can do.

        • 1 week ago
          Anonymous

          That's fair, and I'm sure a lot of ideas should be borrowed from there. But you still can't design your own squads and units. And there's still the issue of per-faction and per-unit balance. Hence why I believe it's better to do on a per-characteristic basis.

          • 1 week ago
            Anonymous

            >But you still can't design your own squads and units
            ...yes you can lol.
            Again, have you read 3rd ed? There are ltierally rules in chapter approved to make your own vehicles ranging from small speeders up to massive super heavy walkers and tanks.
            You can customize chracters out the ass, for example in CSM they only have i think 3 HQ options and you just customize the ever loving shit outta them however you want, some thing goes for chosen, chosen in 3rd ed are pretty much a squad of characters you can customize however you want.

            Guard are insanly customizable in 3rd ed, its been a while since i cracked open the chapter approved but iirc you can also have rules for making your own chapters with their own special rules as well.
            3rd ed was 100% the most customizable 40k has ever been.

            • 1 week ago
              Anonymous

              I'm pretty sure you can't create variations in the ways described with custom movement and toughness and saves etc.
              Now you may argue that this isn't necessary, which is a fair point. But my point is that having universal characteristics gives this level of customization that players want while also allowing for incredible balance.

              Another point is that whatever the modern solution is, for better or worse it has to be under the guise of something new, or it starts being really disjointed. What, people are going to play 3rd and have some third party constantly update and tune the points and balance rules? I guarantee 3rd has an incredible number of balance issues, despite how we may have enjoyed it.

              A fresh universal start seems the best solution to me, though it can draw heavy inspiration from what worked elsewhere.

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                >create variations in the ways described with custom movement and toughness and saves etc.
                NTA and not all that familiar with the chaos codex, but the Tyranids 3e codex allowed you to do just that

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                >I'm pretty sure you can't create variations in the ways described with custom movement and toughness and saves etc.
                for vehicles you can. 100% you can, there are full blown rules for how to do this in the Chapter approved for 3rd ed.

                >Another point is that whatever the modern solution is, for better or worse it has to be under the guise of something new, or it starts being really disjointed.
                why, and no it does not even something new is going ot be disjointed. If you just picked up3rd and slapped some new name on it its still going ot be disjointed.

                >What, people are going to play 3rd and have some third party constantly update and tune the points and balance rules?
                y-yes...yes anon, this is a thing, there is an active 3rd ed community that has rules and update and balance things.
                >I guarantee 3rd has an incredible number of balance issues
                Anon every edition has, the problem is, is that modern gamers want clear cut and desicive rules the problem is they dont understand the spirit and core concept of 40k from older editions.
                40k is not, and never will be a "Board game" with balanced rules the game has always been a wargame, that gives you a framework of rules and you have to self balance around it. Thats the entire point and older editions enforce this. the idea is that you are playing out battles, not a board game.

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                I'm pretty sure you can't create variations in the ways described with custom movement and toughness and saves etc.
                Now you may argue that this isn't necessary, which is a fair point. But my point is that having universal characteristics gives this level of customization that players want while also allowing for incredible balance.

                Another point is that whatever the modern solution is, for better or worse it has to be under the guise of something new, or it starts being really disjointed. What, people are going to play 3rd and have some third party constantly update and tune the points and balance rules? I guarantee 3rd has an incredible number of balance issues, despite how we may have enjoyed it.

                A fresh universal start seems the best solution to me, though it can draw heavy inspiration from what worked elsewhere.

                If anything going back to a older edition is less disjointed then trying to make an entire new system because the old system is fully fleshed out, everything in there, and ready to go in a fully working state, its a matter of adding in things rather then building entire new systems around it.
                Before you keep trying this, i HIGHLY suggest you go and read through the 3rd ed content. You will very quickly see that it is going to have basically everything you have been talking about here.

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                >I guarantee 3rd has an incredible number of balance issues, despite how we may have enjoyed it.
                It does, all editions do, which is why the game was not meant to be played competitively and is supposed to be played by people you trust not to be homosexuals.

              • 1 week ago
                Anonymous

                >It does, all editions do, which is why the game was not meant to be played competitively and is supposed to be played by people you trust not to be homosexuals.
                THANK YOU!
                JFC this is the biggest plague on modern 40k and fantasy. These are WARGAMES, not BOARD GAMES.
                Board games have ridged designed rules because they work in a vacuum, there are set pieces, turns, orders, moves, and rules you can do and not do.
                Wargames are meant to be representation of battles, they are meant to be much more fluid and free form. The rules are guidelines and a base setting that you work off of, they encourage you to make your own rules. Hell one of the entire points is to play the losing side in some of these battles.

  5. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    See

    [...]

    Or just play old editions. Or OPR. Or Xenos Rampant. Or any of the others.

    • 1 week ago
      Anonymous

      The /fourk/ thread has been active for a while now, it's exactly what you want. Just go there.

      I wouldn't recommend that, its run by a guy pushing his own narrow view with his orbiters, they tried to make it seem like community project but in the end they caved and created closed group with those who agreed with this one ass.

  6. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    The /fourk/ thread has been active for a while now, it's exactly what you want. Just go there.

  7. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Bro has never touched a vegana

  8. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >We have a major dilemma here: the 40K models, and much of the 40K (older) lore, are quite enticing and beloved by many
    If it was 40k wouldn't be niche.

  9. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    >So what would a potential solution look like?
    Play 3rd. Thats the answer, its really that simple, play 3rd.

  10. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    just play the older edition you enjoy or play a real game for adults, you self-obsessed manchild

  11. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    Chill out paypig and play an /awg/ like Xenos Rampant

  12. 1 week ago
    Anonymous

    I'm not going to spend time selling it, but xenos rampant is a really good 40k replacement.

    even if not that, just do a little research on what's out there before you waste time writing your own. people have been doing the whole "40k sucks, let's write replacement rules" dance continuously since at least the late 90s. there are somewhere on the order of hundreds of groups that have done exactly what you're setting out to do.

  13. 7 days ago
    Anonymous

    Check out Grimdark Future by One Page Rules. Seems to be gaining momentum.

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