Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Fluffing - 40k style

Completely irrelevant, I just love this pic, old school!
Before I get stuck in can I just say...I love 40k and I love GW for creating the grim dark. I will neverstop loving them for that.

No matter what happens in the future of geekery, for me, I will always be grateful as a kid and as an adult...

I'll never walk away from it..just needed a little break...because, really, I've hammered myself into needing that break over and above any external (read GW) factor..

Which leads nicely into Atreides... who suggested a few things in the comments here, with regard to my current 40k break/attitude...

You are right. You know I enjoy the fluff. You are also right that I have NEVER tried to incorporate the fluff into my gaming.

There has always, to my mind, never been a convincing way of merging the fluff into the game.
Sure, the outnumbered and valiant space marines can take on the cold darkness of the hive mind to save a planet and its population from exterminatus...but at the end of the day thats just SM vs Nids...deployment? Mission?

So in that way...the game holds up on a fluff stance. It does gel, you and your opponent can create a little story as you go along, with the wacky results of a game creating a little 'fluff banter' - e.g. the one remaining WOlf Scout scrambling over the burning debris of the hydra, not dying to any amount of fire and cutting his way through a veteran sqaud of guardsmen...

All of that though, it's just a little geekery on the side of the game.
A cheeky side salad.

To me, I've never had the need for a campaign style game, with the outcome of the previous game impacting this one, and this one the next..all to take over a world or system etc..
Does it work? I can see how a series of games with direct game impacts, linked together could have a certain coolness about them, but that'd really only boil down to a few games.

Building the fluff into the army?
So here we are then approaching 'fluffy' lists. I can't do it.
Becuase of the expectations I have of the game and the expectations of those around me.
I expect to win.
Or try my best to.
As do most of my opponents.
I'm just naturally competitive..
The fluffiest army I have is my Iyanden/Wraithwall Eldar army..which I do love..but don't think I would EVER play now as my game has moved into the 'competitive' realm of 40K.

So how do you build in the fluff to the army whilst still maintaining the competitive nature of it?

Do you go down the Bully route and your own route of building your army around a theme, but the unit choices around tabletop play..

Who cares when you are Coteaz-spamming when its counts-as from a galaxy far, far away?

I think that'll be incredibly cool and I think that a massive kick will be gotten from seeing it on the table..

You mention Infinity/Malifaux and that I seem to enjoy the story side..
I have not read the fluff for the second Malifaux book, nor have I even the slightest clue about what is happening in the world of Infinity...it's just some typically humans in the future/colonies shit as far as I know..

But the games, especially Infinity, just play so CINEMATICALLY!

The game tells the story itself and I get a big thrill from it, despite having no love at all for the key players...my models.
This is always something I am critical of in a film...if you cannot warm to the characters, then who gives a fuck when they die or are in peril, whatever.
I don't care enough in 40k.
I love my models and my armies, but if you kill one of them, its not as if I give a fuck!
Typically, and this may be the way I build armies, when one unit dies or is drastically reduced to ineffectiveness...I have 2/3 other units that do the same thing!

So my overall effectiveness is not drastically impaired.

In the smaller games, the skirmish games, when my boys go down, it is a HUGE thing, as there is only so much redundancy in an army..each model is different and you grow to love the little dudes for what they do..

Your opponents also truly fear some of them...all the Malifaux boys really hate Sammael Hopkins from The Guild...so he ALWAYS has to be in the crew when I play with them..

The skirmish size just naturally leads to a more 'involved' player... you get excited when your sniper takes out that key player in the enemy force, and shake in your boots when you realise you have revealed your snipers position and he is in the crosshairs of a Cateran Sniper with a T2...

Whilst also not having the epic scale of 40k...
You need both in your life!
So what am I saying here? I agree with Atreides...you are right that I am not a FAACer, but have never felt that this was a negative part of my gaming experience.
Perhaps 40k isn't a story-telling medium, but it keeps me hooked through the fluff in the Black Library..this keeps the galaxy full of a rich and compelling story...alot of the time, this means that I am happy playing a way without a fluffy thought in my mind.

How do I, a typically competitive (Atreides labelled me a min/maxer in his comments! Boo!) gamer, bring 'spice' to my gaming through fluff?


  1. One word:

    Necromunda. Greatest skirmish game ever. And you can use your 40K models! It's competitive yet it still allows you the player to be more emotionally (I guess?) invested in the individual characters/models. I'm starting up Necro again now that NOVA is over b/c I just want a break from competitive 40k for a bit.

  2. Agree with Roland 100%. Necromunda is awesome

  3. Go roleplay Ven!

    I know what you mean.

    Deathwing - all customised, yet optimised.

    New army - customised yet optimised.

    I can't do fluff, I like the 40K fluff, but prefer my own take most of the time anyway. I call it "justifying".

    I do agree with you its hard to include the two for me as well. But I think that has to do with my whole proffesional gamer routes, for me a game is there to be won, a book is there to be read. There is no crossing the two over.

    I had over a year (thats right, 365 full days) for world of warcraft play time. I made thousands of pounds from it, yet if you ask me why thrall didn't like the dude that ran stormwind (I struggle to remember those names as it is), fucked if I could tell you. I world firsted instances, but for half the bosses I wouldn't even be able to describe what they even looked at because I was too busy healing ... For me its next to impossible to combine both a story and game together.

    However ... my next project.

    Lets just say while I am making an optimised army, I am making other units to run "fluff" side of things for apoc games or when playing against random ass players at the store. My count as becomes even more count as then as I have to run it as a completely different codex ;D

  4. i like that Bully, customised yet optimised. pretty much what i do as well.

    Necromunda is my favourite game of all time also. i dont like the updated ruleset as much though, so i am pleased i have all the original books. i cannot wait to get my own gaming table (soon, yay!) so i can start to play it again.

  5. @Bully - dude, a lot of what you just commented...I have not a clue as to what you are saying brother!
    PC Gaming..not me bitch.
    Unless it's Diablo.
    HOWEVER...I get what you are saying!

    @Necromunda lovers - I guess it keeps me GW faithful! I'll grab the rules and investigate...

    Can I get any info on it any where? other than GW website? A Necromunda blog? I know Roland there are some bits on 3++?

  6. I LOVED necromunda back in the day.

    In honesty I think some of the GW "mini" games are unreal - especially since it was crappy 2nd end or maybe early 3rd.

    Space Hulk (the original and the new) are pretty fun to play, I loved hero quest back in the day, same with blood bowl and even gorka morka was fun for a bit. Never played mordeheim but its meant to be quite good?

    Inquisitor with the right people is down right fun, though with muppets is a bit pants.

  7. Yeah Mordheim is good fun although if you are going to play it you need to keep the same group playing regularly together otherwise anyone trying to join midway through just gets stomped lol.

  8. I used to really enjoy Necromunda and have lost count of how many leagues I organised and played. It was a good game and based off of the 2nd ed 40k rules, which weren't at all bad for small scale skirmish games but were too detailed for the larger battles to GW wanted us all too play.

    However I recently went back to Necromunda all excited like and started telling people it was going to be awesome. I enjoyed the first game as a nostalgic trip but after that it started to wear thin pretty quickly. There are games out there that just do it way better now.

    It was interesting to see the reaction of those gamers in my group who never played Necromunda, to a man they all said it was rubbish. I was a little saddened by this because I don't think its rubbish but they do have a broader point when they say other game systems do it better now. Infinity being one of them, I hear tell of somebody doing a 40k mod for Stargrunts II as well, which is one of the best rule systems you're likely to come across.

    The biggest nail in the coffin for Necromunda though from everyone who I tried introducing it too was that in effect its a dead game. Lots of GW diehards are trying to cling onto it for dear life as a way of clinging onto their own personal GW hobby and that's fine, but ultimately unless the GW change their mind over specialist games its a doomed endeavour.

    I think you're right about the cinematic quality of Infinity. One of my friends recently commented that it 'feels like playing a game of chess that then bursts into the best John Woo fight scenes evr imagined', I'm so nicking that off of him as a way of describing Infinity :P a game of Infinity creates a narrative on the board, you see it played out. 40k and WFB don't do that. They're number crunching and compared to the background its a very pale imitation.

    Like Bully said I'd try some of the FFG RPGs if I were you. I recently tried some of the FFGs 40k RPGs in particular Rogue Trader with some very experienced players and a GM with some 25 years experience of GM'ing and it was brilliant and I enjoyed it massively. THe second group were playing Deathwatch and were all ex-40k fluffy players and the GM really knew her stuff!!! Again fantastically in keeping with the Universe and totally cool. I'm not an RPG fan but it felt more like a 40k than well... erm... 40k. If you can perhaps you should give it a go.

  9. @ Ven: gimme a few hours to get back from work and I'll post up some links for you to get the low down on Necromunda. Most of the source materials (main rule book, some of the additional gang rules) can be found and downloaded for free off of GW's website.

    @ FrontLine: I've always enjoyed Necromunda mainly because games are quick, exciting, and fun and you really can delve into developing your characters/Gang. Can it be tedious? Eh sort of, especially when you have to do all the experience, trait increase, and injury rolls at the end of the game, but personally I find that the best part as it drives your individual gang's story forward. As for the general rules, I find them simpler and more streamlined than regular 40K in some areas, but in others....yeah they're definitely more complex (yay for sustained fire!)

    I also like Necro b/c it allows you to really model your Gang as you choose, and you don't have to follow the standard Gang look. For example, I guy I played with had a Goliath gang and used their rules, but all his models were Orks and he played them as an Ork Gang (he even renamed the weapons...so a "pointy stick" was a sword for example, or a "Dakka Gun" was a Heavy Stubber). Myself, I'm rebuilding my Orlock Gang and using Elysian models I'm converting to make them the squad from the movie "Aliens".

    I'm curious now about Infinity the Game though...gonna look into it more.

  10. Cheers Roland...I'll be investigating myself later..
    No, that's not a euphamism...just poorly worded!

  11. i think Necromunda was a fantastic game mainly because it was so infinitely customisable. the 2nd ed 40k rules are just the right level of complexity that they are easy to alter if something doesn't work, without having knock on effects on the rest of the game.

    for example, the idea that your models can JUMP, not fall, but jump downwards the equivalent of 1 metre and die from it, is absurd, so we altered the distances to be more in line with what we imagined. if you jumped up to two metres you suffered no ill effects, any further than that and you took increasingly strong hits (from S1 to S10 for massive jumps). if you were knocked off or fell for another reason you took damage accordingly whatever the distance.

    what i am saying is, Necromunda is a great game that has solid rules, is in the 40k setting, and tells a great story both during and between games, without forcing you to deliberately link those games.

  12. @Roland, I loved Necromunda campaigns although they rapidly became unbalanced and there were very quickly whipping boys and top dogs developed from the start. I also think the mechanics of Necromunda by todays standards are actually quite clunky and ironically not as detailed at the same time as other games. Its just dated that's all, but what do you expect from a product that's 17 years old? I too loved the converting aspect of the gangs but you can do that with other games too you know... I'd urge you to at least download the free Infinity rules and see what you think of them if you're interested.