Remember the good old days of 40k? I am sorry if you missed them. The Athlone GT of 2009. The 2011 Dominion Day series of tournaments in the Michelin Athletic Club organized by Jonny Fischer (now bringing his expertise as one the finest tournament organizers in the hemisphere to the ETC). Vestiges of the MAC’s infamous “farmyard cull” lunch still linger as sentimental polyps in the colons of many satisfied gamers. Or how about the circa eighty player Warpcon in 2011? Good times. What happened GW? How did you fuck things up so badly? Two things have driven players like me away from 40k: the train-wreck of rules that is 6th edition and the absurd pricing of GW miniatures.
Having shelved my 40k minis a year ago whole new vistas have opened. In Hinduism the term Maya refers to the error or risk of construing your subjective experience of the world as the world itself, reality. The true nature of reality remains hidden behind this veil of subjectivity. It can only be transcended through tremendous spiritual effort. And so it is with those gamers still clinging to 6th edition. Wracked by cognitive dissonance, they labor to maintain an illusion that is becoming so distorted and confused that the effort to maintain the GW vision requires a greater exertion than would be needed to pierce the veil of Maya itself. Why work so hard at maintaining the GW Umwelt?
People have spent a serious amount of cash on GW models. From this perspective its impossible to start a new system and, besides, a couple hundred euro will top up a collection with the latest flyer/knight/fortress or whatever. We can empathize with this view. My massive collection of Orks and Grey Knights are not on ebay; they’re just collecting dust. The problem is that 6th edition not only requires you to top up with over-priced models (increasingly poorly executed), but it also requires you to play a shitty game. Even if you are able to source non-GW models for your needs you are merely mitigating the symptoms.
2. Space Marines (er..I can use this term, right?)
For many, it’s the fluff that is compelling. If you’re one of these then I salute you. So strong is your love of the immersive, dystopian universe created by Rick Priestley that you are willing to play a poor rules set with over-priced models. I must admit, this position is much more defensible than any of the apologia I’ve read for 6th edition as a rules set. If it’s the fluff that meets your needs then enjoy. There’s a truism here: all wargamers are potential 40k players but many 40k players are not wargamers. Wargamers enjoy thinking about tactics and strategy; they are problem servers, analytical thinkers with broad horizons. Wargamers were the first to flee 6th edition. If fluff is what keeps you beholden to GW then you are similar to a rivet-counting historical gamer: myopic but satisfied.
3. No other options
So you’re unsatisfied with 6th edition and have to eat ramen noodles to afford flyers? You lurk on the Warlord Games forum. You enjoy your weekly night of playing with toy soldiers and are afraid you’ll lose it if you jump systems. Not to worry. Others have taken the leap and our hands are extended to you. This goes for any gaming community anywhere in the world right now. If there is or was a 40k player pool in your area then half of them are now playing something else. They’ll help you.
Are there any other reasons why someone would choose to suffer under the yoke that is 6th edition 40k? Other than raw fanboism, no. This article is not a polemic in intent. Rather it is an attempt to begin a discussion that confronts a reality: GW has made a mess of 40k. Give it a rest until they fix it. Play Infinity, Bolt Action, Malifaux, or Flames of War for the price of one Knight. Play Warmachine for a little bit more. Partake in internet fora where rules authors are regular contributors. In the words of a famous min/max tournament player: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”