Friday, November 12, 2010

Internal Codex Balance - Possible? Upcoming Article Series & Competition

Ok, so I was appropriately called out in another thread -

Kevin Nash said:

I challenge anyone to take a codex, like CSM for example and make all of their troop choices equally competitive in any meta-game simultaneously. They aren't allowed to be the same unit with different fluff either. They must be distinct. I posit it's impossible to do that. What you'll wind up with is a good unit, a couple specialty units that probably aren't as good all around or good in a specific role (please see scout marines) and you'll end up with some units that are just weaker. To buff one will weaken the other.

G Red then said:

Now Mike, not a temptation but rather a challenge: (I thought the language I used was a bit too confrontational to be viewed as tempting. Looks like I need a better editor too.) Design a game engine, or at least the outline of one. Don't need to do an entire game. I would be curious to see how a power gamer would built such a thing. No boundaries except: Plays in ~2 hours, uses 40-50 miniatures (28mm-32mm on 30mm bases, the current standard, but you can go old school w/ 25mm bases), and measured in inches. (not cm). Type of dice used, etc. are all up to you. Present it in a multi-part blog post. You'll get alot of response from the commentariat. Look at how many have commented here. We all know that GW is not going to change.

So, first off - I'm not going to be posting a brand new game system in a multi-part blog post at this time.  That's not to say I, like many gamers, don't have ideas about what a good one would be ... but that's a bit of an ambitious start point if we're trying to prove that you can build internal codex balance on an all-units basis without simply homogenizing different models with more or less identical rules.

So, there are a couple of key things here, and we'll see them pan out.

First - You can't take any single unit in a vacuum, nor can you take a FOC in a vacuum - take Chaos Space Marines; there are some things you could change about the way the cult marines worked, but they wouldn't necessarily make them all cross-competitive and still different unless the designer considered the impact of the REST of the FOC on them at a certain points level or levels.

So keep that in mind as we go through things - but here's what we're going to do.
I'm going to post a "re-tool" of a codex - Chaos Space Marines.  I may post it in a series of articles, FOC by FOC, or the entire thing all at once.  Suffice to say, I want your input and feedback, but I want it in the realm of building up lists, and vassal or playtesting them ... as well as "knee-jerk" reactions.  Understand that I won't be doing this off the cuff - that I've playtested what I'll post, via vassal and with actual opponents.

The goal here is NOT to create a homebrew ruleset of 40k for people to run about and play with, or to play with at the NOVA, or anything of the sort, but to provide an illustrative example (and series of discussable topics) for players to see that you can indeed balance units against each other in a dex, make every unit a worthy and fully competitive selection in certain builds, and in the process create a codex approach that de-emphasizes dividing lines between players who want to be able to field a variety of units they find cool, and players that currently spam the "good" units while eschewing the "bad" ones in any given codex.

I'll be posting the first post up in this series later today, for feedback and input.  Chances are it will be a full re-written dex, FIRST CUT - for input and alteration from you the readership.  It will also likely be accompanied by sample army lists identifying the ability to field competitive lists with a wide variety of units, both spamming various competing units within each FOC, and mix-matching them.

I'll be balancing this at the 1,500 - 2,000 point levels; both because it's fairly common in the US scene, and because it's what we play with most often around here.

Should be a bit of a change of pace as well ... but here's the little carrot on a stick.  I'll be working a competition for free NOVA Open 2011 weekend badges into this; no deets yet, we'll work those out as the series becomes more concrete.

 - Mike


  1. Chomping at the bit to see this. :)

  2. Yeah, I agree with Neil, this should be fun. Especially since I tinker with the rules for 40k all the time!


  3. Sounds awesome Mike. I look forward to seeing it.