Extra Punctuation: Hating Warhammer 40k and Space Marine

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The respective settings of D&D and Warhammer 40K actually have a lot more in common than you might think. For that matter there's an underlying factor that many, probably the majority really, of RPG settings have that unites them: They are generally set after an apocalypse.

No really, think about it for a moment - what kind of weapon does your paladin most want to find, a brand new sword forged last week, or a mystical artifact blade from a dead civilization? Everywhere you turn, you find ancient ruins of advanced nations that reached heights the "modern" world can't even hope to aspire to, before tragedy struck and they were brought low; in your common fantasy RPG, "ancient" equals "better". What was old was grand and expansive, impossibly potent and world-shattering, and in these lesser days you merely sift through the wreckage of history to achieve a fraction of what the ancients accomplished.

40K is just that same concept transplanted into the very far future of a mirror of our galaxy instead of the "undetermined time period" of some alternate universe, applying the notion that "ancient is better" that most people just implicitly expect from fantasy to futuristic technology. It's the dark ages with plasma cannons, psychic warriors, cults that revere the machine without necessarily understanding it. A universe where faster than light travel is achieved by opening a portal through hell, with daemons scrabbling at the seams of reality and the whispers of dark gods promising power to those foolish enough to seek it. The "good guys" are a galaxy spanning feudal empire of theists who preach unquestioning obedience and a closed mind, even as their leaders revel in decadent and probably heretical pursuits. The closest analog to our present day mindset comes from a race of aliens the more established forces in the galaxy consider to be painfully naive.

40K is a cautionary tale and a bloody fascinating setting with depths that aren't readily apparent if you're only looking at the wargame or the superficial impressions people are happy to spread about online. Settings like Gears of War are stupid macho bullshit action romps with no substance at all beyond being a stupid macho bullshit action romp - Space Marine and the Warhammer 40,000 setting itself only look like one of those, and if you're 14 (chronologically or mentally), that superficial impression of the universe based on how it contains power-armored giants with chainsaw swords is enough for you to like it.

Those of you out there who feel you have to deride the setting based on its appeal to the 14-year old demographic (perhaps in an effort to prove that you are certainly not a mental 14 year old, no sirree!) are only doing yourselves and everyone else who listens to you a disservice, and also missing the point, just like Yahtzee did in this article. There's no rule that says you have to like the 40K setting but for once I'd love to see somebody who doesn't like it (and then writes an article explaining why) who clearly knows what the hell they're talking about.

So far, I've only ever seen people attack a straw man stand-in for the setting though.

Zagzag:

Lord_Gremlin:
Hm, I don't think Yahtzee is really familiar with W40K universe. I would agree that game somewhat assumes that player is familiar with the setting and already knows in details who are Ultramarines, what's a Weirdboy etc.
Thing is, it's a good W40K game. Now, it's all depends on your angle on W40K, but it's good at what it does.
Also, it has Ultramarines. The most boring, dull, emotionless Space Marines of all. I was actually surprised just how much emotion they show in game.

Enjoyed this game a lot and still enjoying it now. Multiplayer is fun, let's you play as Chaos.
Ultimately how good this game is is determined by your love W40K and your opinion on Ultrasmurfs.. I mean, Ultramarines.
Honestly, they should have used Space Wolves... Or maybe Chaos marines, something less bland than Ultrasmurfs.

I really detest the way that it is ALWAYS Ultramarines, who, as you say, having literally written the rulebook as far as Space Marines go are therefore the most boring of all of them. If any other chapter was used, or even emperor forbid they MADE UP THEIR OWN, like the half of the tabletop players who don't play marines or another chater with its own book, then they could have introduced something interesting about the chapter. Even the marines in Dawn of War have more personality than Ultramarines, and that's an RTS game, where I would expect jsut about 0 characterisation or interesting characters.

All true. Unfortunately there is a reason for all that Ultra-Smurf fanboyism:

http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Matt_Ward

Seriously for those who are unaware, give it a read. It can give you a good understanding where the hatred comes from.

it does seem that Space Marine misrepresents the Warhammer 40k series according to some

I wouldn't know, but the game looks like it'd be worth a try when game releases slow down that's for sure

In general, I share this opinion. 40k as a game is kind of shit, the setting as depicted in 40k the game is kind of shit. Heck, the setting doesn't even match up with the rules at all, as anyone who has ever finished a game and contemplated the number of space marines who died in it should have worked this out. But then again, it's a wargame, it focuses unreasonably on one particular type of scenario which actually isn't very common in the grand scheme of things.

The other main source of setting information is the black library, or 'being paid to write poor quality self-insertion fan fiction' as I like to call it.

However, there is another side to it. You just have to dig.

Illustrative example: Games Workshop did briefly release a narrative wargame called Inquisitor, which is all about nuanced, interesting characters and the wider dynamics of what might be called society in 40k, and in which showing up with a single space marine model is the equivallent of pissing in everyone else's cereal. I wouldn't call it an RPG because it lacks the structure and emphasis on balance, it's something very difficult to quantify, probably best described as a sandbox for telling collaborative stories. The setting information is also brilliant, especially considering that most of it is submitted by fans. Unfortunately, much of it is quite hard to get hold of nowadays, but it's still awesome.

A lot of 40k players (although I just play specialist games now, so I'm not one) aren't remotely interested in Space Marines or the 'FOR THE EMPRAH!' vibe they centre around. They bring in the majority of the sales and attract new people to the hobby, so you'd have to be pretty self-hating to dismiss them altogether, but a sizeable proportion of the player community and, I would presume, the conceptual department of the game has no love for them at all.

Katatori-kun:
40K is juvenile, and it's juvenile in that particular style of trying to pretend it's adult. It tries so hard to be GRIMDARK that it trips all over itself and looks like a clown.

40k was invented in the 80s by a bunch of British geeks who clearly took their aesthetic directly from heavy metal album covers. 80s 40k (or Rogue Trader as it was originally called) didn't take itself seriously at all and had much more of a comic book feel to it. However, it looks ridiculously dated now and didn't appeal to the increasingly adult sensibilities of the people who had thought it up, so over time it has become more 'serious' while attempting to preserve the atmosphere. The result is what you see.

And yet, it's still popular.

Katatori-kun:

NickCaligo42:
The rulebooks are 90% fluff, 5% actual game rules, and 5% images of miniatures to give you painting ideas.

This perfectly encompasses everything that is wrong with 40K. It has an extensive backstory, which is so ridiculous and un-compelling that even the fans refer to it as "fluff". Reams and reams of text have been written that even the people who like it for whatever reason admit by the term they use to describe it that it completely unimportant to the actual game.

What is important in 40K? Finding an excuse for your [insert color here] marines to point and shout at your opponent's [insert color here] spikey marines. Then you roll some dice, and whoever wrote the better army list wins.

Translation: "40k is completely over my head." Your shallow and poorly substantiated arguments are failing to impress me and suggest you're bitter about something. Either you tried the game and lost, or your friends play it and you feel left out, or you know some poor sap with asperger's syndrome who won't shut up about it and makes its target demographic look bad. I'm going to guess you aren't a big fan of sci-fi or mythology, either.

rda_Highlander:
Some suggest that there is satire in WH40K's universe. Erm... where? At what time can we see that this is supposed to be satire? is there any reflection of real world events? Any eye-opening scene? A satire needs to have some kind of lesson. In WH40K the lesson I see is "totalitarian blood-hungry regime is the best possible way to keep humanity safe and secure".

The satire is in 1st and 2nd edition.

cefm:
Gears of War had about zero back-story (not even in the pathetically thin user's guide). But it never pretended to. It was just stupid big muscle-dudes with no helmets shooting bad stuff from behind cover.

What bugs me about WH40K is that it PRETENDS to have a back-story but doesn't really. There's just no real explanation of motivations, economy, politics, etc. And from the extremely limited story that is there, these other levels of detail are rendered impossible. It's just WE KILL THEM, and THEY KILL US. That's it.

That's patently untrue.

The Imperium is...not actually a contiguous unit. Basically, it's a shambling feudal empire united by religion, crappy travel and crappy mail. It's Europe, circa 1200, but in space. At the local level, planets work as any planet does, with a WIDE range of governments from republics to facist dictatorships. However, every once and a while, an Imperial starship shows up (and remember, in WH40K, space travel is long, hard and uncertain, so there can be CENTURIES of time beween one ship showing up and another) and asks for a tithe.

Said tithe is usually a load of troops, guns, food, gold, whatever. It is shunted to wherever the Imperium needs it. Some worlds are more directly controlled than others - such as Hive Worlds, where the population is huge enough that the Imperium needs more direct oversight.

So, you end up with "sectors" and "sub-sectors" of interconnected planets, each one supporting and trading with one another, with their tithes being shipped off to whatever warzone the Imperium is fighting in.

The term "There is only war" is less that there is constant war fighting all the time always, but more a fact that every single bit of society is employed in some way toward fighting. At least, that's the plan...obviously, it's a faulty system. There's plenty of peaceful trading, criminal pleasures and so on that. Heck, there are whole planets that haven't seen invasion or war in centuries - or even millenium.

Plus, there are countless human planets that have slipped "Between the cracks". A planet is self sufficient, so if warp storms cut the planet off from the Imperium, it can run it's own damn way.

If you want a really GREAT example of how Warhammer 40,000 turns from juviline insanity to a really well constructed baroque fantasy? Check out Rogue Trader, the RPG.

It's awesome.

Katatori-kun:
In 40K your bald, screaming SPESS MEHRENS shoot. Then they run up to hit the bad guys with their swords.

Of course.
In the game and a lot of the background material they do exactly that.
And it's what they are good at. When a normal guardsman would be shot to
pieces, they can do what has to be done.

And it all depends on the legion/chapter of the marine (and if he is chaos or loyal).
Some are mindless killers, some prefer ambushes, some are specialized on fast attacks
and some use effective tactics and support troops (Ultramarines: Ultramar Auxilia) or other methods of attack (Dark Angels: They use bikes with teleporter beacons to call in heavy support once they have located the enemy).

In the Horus Heresy books that take place 10000 years before the normal 40k setting
Space Marines are much more than just walking tanks.
But that might be because of the medium. A 400 or so pages long book needs interesting
heroes (and even there a lot of the main charakters are "normal" humans).

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Ciaphas_Cain#.TotpqmFYHHc <- And that is the best thing
to ever have anything to do with the 40k franchise. Fun to read and great storys.

The tabletop game is very expensive and while I can appreciate a nicely painted
model, I stick with the novels, audio dramas, comics and video games.

40k is more than SPEESSS MEEHREEENS ^^

I played WH40K till i went to Uni (then I realised that food was more useful). Personally I liked the bit where you actually played the game with friends but getting the army ready was tedious. It was nice the first few times to figure out how you wanted your army painted but after that it was repetitive. I think that ultrasmurfs are especially uninteresting, at least give us the half vampire blood angels, the psychotic space wolves or the Dark angels, or better yet the inquisition so we can have psychic powers. After all no one expects the Imperial Inquisition. Personally I say they should scap the RPG thing and do WH40K Total War, I would so buy that if done right

So far what I have noticed is this. My friends who like WH40k Like the new game. Those who don't play WH40k think it's a big sack of turds covered in sick. Neither side can be remotely convinced by the other. So they may as well call it Marmite 40k.

Katatori-kun:

NickCaligo42:
The rulebooks are 90% fluff, 5% actual game rules, and 5% images of miniatures to give you painting ideas.

This perfectly encompasses everything that is wrong with 40K. It has an extensive backstory, which is so ridiculous and un-compelling that even the fans refer to it as "fluff". Reams and reams of text have been written that even the people who like it for whatever reason admit by the term they use to describe it that it completely unimportant to the actual game.

What is important in 40K? Finding an excuse for your [insert color here] marines to point and shout at your opponent's [insert color here] spikey marines. Then you roll some dice, and whoever wrote the better army list wins.

Do you understand what the term fluff means in nerd circles even in the slightest? Because I'm not getting that impression.

rda_Highlander:

rayen020:

A marine, as a military term, is a type of soldier who specializes ship to ship combat and amphibious or trans-terrain warfare. The US Marines are naval infantry, and in many countries marine (in the military sense) translates almost exactly to that. The term space is applied to the front to note that they are a space going marine, also seen in spaceship, space shuttle, space capsule. They are Marines in that they work both on ships and land and can battle equally effectively on either of them.

Although I agree with what you say, it still isn't nearly their definition. All I've seen of them is standing in the field/trees/mud and shooting from heavy weaponry/ripping with swords/bashing with charisma. The Guards are more suited to be called "space marines" as far as I can tell. The marines themselves are more of a paratrooper kind. Oh, right! Space Troopers! That's what I'd call them. Although there are already certain Starship Troopers, but that's beyond the case.

Space Marines do lots of boarding action too, I think that's what he was getting at. They even have power armor that's best for boarding action (Tactical Dreadnought/Terminator armor)

evilthecat:

Katatori-kun:
40K is juvenile, and it's juvenile in that particular style of trying to pretend it's adult. It tries so hard to be GRIMDARK that it trips all over itself and looks like a clown.

40k was invented in the 80s by a bunch of British geeks who clearly took their aesthetic directly from heavy metal album covers. 80s 40k (or Rogue Trader as it was originally called) didn't take itself seriously at all and had much more of a comic book feel to it. However, it looks ridiculously dated now and didn't appeal to the increasingly adult sensibilities of the people who had thought it up, so over time it has become more 'serious' while attempting to preserve the atmosphere. The result is what you see.

I agree to a point, but I'm not sure the sensibilities of the people involved have become any more adult. I think its more a case of them realizing that insecure, nerdy kids don't feel comfortable not taking themselves seriously and will buy more product when you play it straight. So out went the thinly-veiled references to Obi-wan Kenobi and the drawings of SPESS MEHRINES busting punks with mohawks for writing graffiti on random city walls and the grav tanks made from up-ended shampoo bottles with bits, bobbins, and guns glued on, and in went massive injections of GRIMDARK and brooding. And pointing. And shouting. And being bald (unless you're an ork or an Eldar, and then for some reason you have to have an enormous topknot). And you can't make your hover tanks from shampoo bottles any more, because GW offers a shiny plastic kit for $50US and your opponent would get mighty cross if they thought you didn't take the game seriously enough to buy the correct models.

This was posted in the facebook section by someone else, and seeing as a portion of the article was about how people who go to war don't enjoy the entire setting. I thought it best being posted here so it doesn't get pushed too far down the shitty facebook section never to be seen again.

Patrick Courtemanche
As a soldier with two tours in Afghanistan, the last one being combat, and a familiarity with the 40k universe I have to disagree with Mr. Croshaw. What he sees as big and dumb I recognize as a cautionary tale in the same vein as many other dark sci-fi stories. 40k is very much about the dangers of the 'perpetual war' taken to it's extremes. The human government is a fascist theocracy, the average person is slave labor to feed the war machine, humanity is mired in ignorance and even their greatest minds do not understand much of the technology they use, and their greatest protectors are religious fanatics. How much of this is due to necessity for survival, as there are no shortage of genocidal enemies in 40k, and how much is it abuse of power? There in lies the grey area of debate, similar to the one that is currently ongoing about 'Freedom vs. Security'. I see 40k and spend time reading or playing games in that world in part as a reminder of how good we actually have it here and now, and how bad it could get if we let it spin out of control and lose sight of what we are trying to defend. I felt much the same way as I looked at the blasted war torn wasteland of Kandahar Afghanistan and reminded myself of how lucky we are in the West. We should use stories like 40k to promote discussion and thought about our own situation, not dismiss it as a juvenile waste.

Yatzhee, you magnificent troll, you've won yet again. The only good thing to ever come out of 40K is the inspiration for the Zerg. Which are basically a militarized version of the Thing. Which is just a shoggoth in sneak mode. So that's my four degrees of Lovecraft.

The entire franchise of Warhammer revolves around sucking its player base dry of money. The actual game pieces are expensive as hell to purchase and are incredible time consuming to paint/assemble. Then on top of it, they churn out tons of books, an MMO (they actually just started the beta for a second MMO), a CG film, a soundtrack and god knows how many video games.

lord.jeff:
I have to agree the 40K universe is completely retarded, this coming from someone who enjoyed playing the tabletop game.

Yea.
That's always been a big draw for me. And the more retarded it got, the more I enjoy it: like political rhetoric - damn those goofy idiots give me a chuckle. The recent armies of anime aliens, space zombies, and robotic space zombies are absurdly delicious.

And I don't know what he's talking about, my friends and I have come up with really bizarre stories for our campaigns. In fact, I see little difference between 40K and D&D except one doesn't require you to sculpt & paint stuff...but you can.
The only thing that's bothered me about 40k is that the people who run it are running it into the ground. Their recent cash grabbing schemes are almost as transparent as those practiced by the video game industry of late.

As for the new game, I tried the demo and wasn't too impressed. I'm still going to rent it but I'm not really expecting much.

Also, what's this about Yhatzee sticking a childs face in his what now?

Sixcess:
What people seem to forget is that 40K originates from the same British punk sci-fi mentality that gave us Judge Dredd - it's intentionally ridiculously over the top because it's meant to be satire, and taking it at face value as a love letter to militarism and fascism is to completely miss the point.

Of course, part of the problem is that more and more these days the background is taken at face value, by writers and players alike. That can be done well (e.g. Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series) or very very badly indeed (e.g. every Space Marine fanwank power fantasy that spews out of Matt Ward's pen...)

But the original background was tongue-in-cheek, to say the least. Just to give one example - Orks are basically soccer hooligans with green skin and big gunz... and buggies. Red buggies of course, 'cos as everyone knows, red wunz go fasta.

Give this guy a medal for hitting the nail on the head.

Princess Rose:

Okay, this confused me. How are his views wrong?

Actually it's not so much wrong as just..ignorant, that is a far better word.

Other posters here have rebutted some of his points, such as the glorification of war vs horrors of war or that sm are meant to be unemotional.

The parts where he just says he doesnt like it, bashing one hobby then praising another, is not something that is "wrong" and is why "ignorant" is better, indeed on the tg thread one of the posters took yahtzees paragraph and replaced 40k with d'n'd and it fitted perfectly:

"You can do that with any activity.

Dungeons and dragons always seemed to me like some massively overdesigned elaboration of make believe with an incredibly generic setting. Which existed primarily to remove all the money from your bank account and replace it with rule books, side stories, and other such nonsense. But you could do anything! For days on end! That's what we like! It's all the fun of a playing pretend without having to be associated with five-year-olds!"

I'm sure as a d'n'd fan you'd have a few words to say about such a description :P
By saying yahtzees scant opinions are yours, you agree to share such a reductionist point of view and the thing about reductionist views is that they ain't "wrong" but they fail to see the larger picture, so 40k fans can rightfully say yahtzee is "wrong" in his depiction of the 40k verse and how he interprets it.

But as you say you've chatted to 40k players before, I imagine the arguments you would have if you bothered to write a tl dr about it (you don't, that's why you would rather link ppl to yahtzees article) would likely be more accurate then yahtzees.

bird of hermes:
Space Marines do lots of boarding action too, I think that's what he was getting at. They even have power armor that's best for boarding action (Tactical Dreadnought/Terminator armor)

They also make landing craft assaults from space.

Trust people to forget the original meaning of the word marine.

Katatori-kun:
..and in went massive injections of GRIMDARK and brooding. And pointing. And shouting. And being bald (unless you're an ork or an Eldar, and then for some reason you have to have an enormous topknot).

I'm not sure I really understand.

If you mean the gothic aesthetic (both in terms of visual design and the generally gloomy vibe that this is the last days of the human race). Those were always there, in fact the main thing we can credit 40k for is the idea of introducing 'dark' gothic elements into (mainstream - let's clarify here) science fiction. If you mean that everyone is angry and shouts a lot, I'm not entirely sure that's true to the extent that there wasn't a great focus on individual characters back in rogue trader, so for all we knew they were even angrier and shoutier.

What seems to have happened as far as I can see is that the aesthetic has aimed towards a more 'realistic' vibe, which it's actually pulled back from recently quite hard (the new models and painting style is a lot more cartoony than when I used to play, probably as the general player base has become younger.)

Yes, there is some cognitive dissonance about 80s-metal-style skulls combined with a pseudo-'realistic' military aesthetic, but I dunno.. it's just part of 40k's thing, I guess.

Katatori-kun:
And you can't make your hover tanks from shampoo bottles any more, because GW offers a shiny plastic kit for $50US and your opponent would get mighty cross if they thought you didn't take the game seriously enough to buy the correct models.

Do you like the idea of playing in a tournament or in store with a bunch of kids?

Thought not.

Knock yourself out with the shampoo bottles. ;)

It is silly but that was the point, look at the old source books it's just old fashioned English humour. But eh I can see why he dislikes it, I don't really like modern 40k either.

The entire 40K universe started as 'fantasy in space' with dollops of satire. Over the years, newer writers have taken it more and more seriously to the point that such monumental stupidity is taken super seriously. Its a problem being exacerbated by more and more writers getting their hands on the universe and not quite understanding it.

[quote="remnant_phoenix" post="6.316240.12856438"]I've always found Warhammer (Fantasy and 40K) to be a little...underwhelming.

It's basically a "darker" DnD setting where any faction is justified in going into all-out war with any other faction. It's a setting where the lore is meant to serve the game mechanics. And while that's not inherently a bad thing, there are those of us who enjoy the story side of things more. For people in that camp, it is preferable when the mechanics are made to serve the story progression, or better yet, the story and the mechanics develop symbiotically.

[quote]

I think you're forgetting the dozens of books wriiten in the 40k universe. Sure, most are simple bloodfests, but there are a few gems. Try reading "The Last Chrurch". It'll surprise you.
Although I have an Eldar army, I don't tend to game mich. i'm much more into the background, the lore of the whole setting. It makes a nice break to the cleanliness of Star Trek/Wars.

This is what happens when you start out with a product designed for adults wanting to play around like kids and over the years it mutates into a product designed for kids who want to be all grown up and serious.

Da Orky Man:
Try reading "The Last Church". It'll surprise you.

That's a good one.

This brings me to a point about 40K I want to make. I've always found their short stories to be the best, even more so when they forget about the setting at large and write short sci-fi stories set in the 40K universe but that are free to do something a bit different, show us something about the place away from the battlefield, especially the early ones. That's why I felt 40K had so much potential early on, it was an very loosely defined setting with wide ranging possibilities that could have been filled with interesting little scifi shorts, but instead we got what we have now.

Also it is unfortunate that the 13 year old fanboy version of 40K is what persists in a lot of peoples minds rather than the more intelligent interpretations of the older fans.

In fact this guy explains the previous sentence a lot better:

Gildan Bladeborn:

40K is a cautionary tale and a bloody fascinating setting with depths that aren't readily apparent if you're only looking at the wargame or the superficial impressions people are happy to spread about online. Settings like Gears of War are stupid macho bullshit action romps with no substance at all beyond being a stupid macho bullshit action romp - Space Marine and the Warhammer 40,000 setting itself only look like one of those, and if you're 14 (chronologically or mentally), that superficial impression of the universe based on how it contains power-armored giants with chainsaw swords is enough for you to like it.

Those of you out there who feel you have to deride the setting based on its appeal to the 14-year old demographic (perhaps in an effort to prove that you are certainly not a mental 14 year old, no sirree!) are only doing yourselves and everyone else who listens to you a disservice, and also missing the point, just like Yahtzee did in this article. There's no rule that says you have to like the 40K setting but for once I'd love to see somebody who doesn't like it (and then writes an article explaining why) who clearly knows what the hell they're talking about.

So far, I've only ever seen people attack a straw man stand-in for the setting though.

cefm:

It's all just unrealistic bull that only the most juvenile middle-schooler would find engaging.

Seriously? Do you only play games that have a 90% congruence to reality or something? I actually rather enjoy the biblical parallels implicit in the Horus Heresy, the sheer glorious bombast of all of it, and the Eldar... Love them pointy-ears =)

My knowledge about the 40k verse consists pretty much of the TV Tropes High Octane Nightmare Fuel page, this game's demo and bits I found floating around the net - but even I have to seriously question his judgement here.

Warhammer 40k is funny because everything is extreme. It's like cartoon slapstick under the thin disguise of a realistic setting. Everything is centered around violence, everything is up to eleven, and that it takes itself so super-serious is only adding to the narm.
It's like Batman. The dark mysterious Badass Normal who dresses like a frikkin bat (including cape, silly looking cowl and a skintight bodysuit), solves all problems by punching stuff until information, blood or coins come out, and his real superpower is money/gadgets that can do tons of stuff other people need a bath in chemicals and radiations for.

Didn't Yahtzee at one say himself he finds it adorable how Batman expects others to take himself serious? This is exactly the same thing for me. It's goofy narm. Not my main dish, but fun entertainment from time to time. It's not like Gears that isn't extreme enough to pass as narm, but still expects to be taken serious.

If he wants games for comparison, I'd say Mad World and Painkiller. Tho I can't exactly say the Space Marine game conveyed the extremeness and magnitude and size of the original setting.

(the actual gameplay grew repetitive quickly tho, even in the demo)

rda_Highlander:

rayen020:

A marine, as a military term, is a type of soldier who specializes ship to ship combat and amphibious or trans-terrain warfare. The US Marines are naval infantry, and in many countries marine (in the military sense) translates almost exactly to that. The term space is applied to the front to note that they are a space going marine, also seen in spaceship, space shuttle, space capsule. They are Marines in that they work both on ships and land and can battle equally effectively on either of them.

Although I agree with what you say, it still isn't nearly their definition. All I've seen of them is standing in the field/trees/mud and shooting from heavy weaponry/ripping with swords/bashing with charisma. The Guards are more suited to be called "space marines" as far as I can tell. The marines themselves are more of a paratrooper kind. Oh, right! Space Troopers! That's what I'd call them. Although there are already certain Starship Troopers, but that's beyond the case.

yeah and that is kinda of a problem with the image of the game and universe. If you actually go into the lore you find out space marines have there own space faring ships that, per definition, specialize in boarding and captures and establishing beachheads for planetary invasions. There are two spinoff games made by the same company called battlefleet gothic, thats about space ship combat, and epic 40K which instead of squad level decisions you're making company level decisions, and in those games the "marine" part of space marines becomes alot more apparent.

rda_Highlander:

Arontala:

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

No, I know precisely what it means. Maybe I didn't pick the right words. At what time do we see that it is a satire? Just because some of you want to believe it is? Or there was some interview where developers said this? I mean, I could say that Tetris is a satire on modern society, and even give some insight, but it would still be my opinion and not the fact.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Warhammer 40k is a satire of imperialism. The Imperium faces a constant struggle for the preservation of its realm of a million worlds. The Imperium's stretched armies lose worlds every day and most of their victories are so costly that more lives would've been saved by not bothering to fight. The bureaucracy that runs the Imperium is so bloated that pleas for aid won't get a response for centuries and whole planets slip into anarchy by merely being forgotten. Slowly abut surely, the whole empire is collapsing under its own weight. If the Imperium would just let itself shrink to only a few hundred worlds its great armies could
protect every world nearly effortlessly and its militaristic fascism would be unnecessary. More specifically it's a satire of the old British Empire and the self-defeating American military industrial complex.

Warhammer 40k is a satire of warfare. Pretty much every side fights with absolute certainty that they're in the right when, in reality, no one is fully in the right. The Imperium of Man is a fascist state so concerned with protecting itself that it sacrifices its own humanity (literally, in the case of the Space Marines, who are effectively a separate species.) The Eldar are willing to destroy an entire star system to save one Eldar life. The Tau are space communists who fail to realize that a society is the sum of its component individuals. The Orks just want to fight because it's really fun (which is, sadly, the best reason for going to war out of any of the races.) Even the Chaos Space Marines have a want for freedom that puts them in the moral grey area. The Tyranids and the Necrons are far too alien for anyone to fully grasp their true motivations. The point is that each side that cares for morality sees their conflicts as battles between the righteous and the vile while the reality is that no one is righteous and no one is vile.

Warhammer 40k is a satire of religion as this poster explains:

Naeras:

From what I understand the Emperor was basically a magic superpowered space Jesus who wanted to protect humanity and teach them the value of science and truth. Then he gets betrayed by his closest, pretty much dies, and then gets worshipped as a god by the masses as a corrupt mashup of the medieval catholic church, communism and fascism runs the machinery: exactly the way he didn't want stuff to end up.
It's basically a Bible satire as far as I'm concerned. A Bible satire with chainswords, jetpacks and orcs.

Cynical Brit actually liked that piece of crap... No idea why, the concept had been both overdone and overcooked. (Judging that particular game only, not the other games in the Wh40k universe).

Iron Lightning:

Ask and ye shall receive.

Thanks for an in-depth analisys, though what I meant was, is there any proof from its creators as to its satirical nature. But someone said that it was in first two editions, so I guess it counts.

It seems to me like Yahtzee has completely missed the point of 40K.

At first glance 40K might seem a bit shallow and juvenile with it's "there is only war!", yet if you read into the lore a bit more, you will find out that it's actually quite a deep story. 40K does not depict war as we know it, it's not about land, religion, resources or any of that, it all comes down to one giant struggle for the survival of mankind.

Everyone pays the price of survival by contributing their lives to the Imperium and the war-effort. Wether it's being enlisted as a guardsmen, working in factories to supply the tools to wage war or perhaps being chosen to become a Space Marine, who give up their humanity in order to become basically nothing more than a machine who's only job is to wage war against the enemies of the Imperium of Man.

40K does not glorify war, in fact, it more or less poses the question of "how far would humanity go in order to survive?"

I'm a big reader of the books the games workshop releases and the stories are anything but childish.

Gaunts Ghosts books are my favourite because they tell a human story in a universe of superhuman death machines and unrelenting aliens.

I usualy don't like humans in any form of media as I am one and they are very predictable but throw them in a unfamiliar setting and bam interesting 3 dimensional characters who go through development!...woosh! gritty combat that seems like an episode of Sharpe from the future...shazam! a mature narrative.

Believe me I love the figures and enjoy painting them until I got two brothers and a sister and now they aren't safe here. The expanded universe allows me to still expess my passion for the universe even in my (supposedly) more mature 18th year of living.

Frankster:
The parts where he just says he doesnt like it, bashing one hobby then praising another, is not something that is "wrong" and is why "ignorant" is better, indeed on the tg thread one of the posters took yahtzees paragraph and replaced 40k with d'n'd and it fitted perfectly:

I would fault that about one thing - the beauty of D&D is (unless the players choose otherwise) the lack of a setting. You can take D&D and run a game set in Tolkeinverse 107, or you can run a game in 1400s France, or in 1800s England, or Ancient Greece, or in your favorite fantasy novel, or in the future - I ran a Mass Effect game using D&D rules that was quite successful.

The actual "setting" for D&D is generic - absolutely so. And it's quite sucky too. Even some of the more "interesting" settings are pretty generic - which is why I usually like to play in something a little more original. Which I can do in D&D without trouble - it's designed to be played that way. 40K is not designed to be played that way.

As to the bank-account bit, 4E certainly tries that (as did 3.5 to a slightly lesser extent) which is why I switched to Pathfinder, which is Free to Play using the PRD on the publisher's website. Or you can buy a very small number of books (compared to 4E) and have the ease of a real book to look things up in rather than an online database. But I digress...

To actually play 40K, you need to invest hundreds of dollars in an army. I've seen friends drop ridiculous amounts of money on a very small number of miniatures. To play D&D, you need a piece of paper and an internet connection (to the PRD or an SRD of your choice). So while you CAN drop huge sums (and I've spent a fair amount on D&D myself) you don't have to the way you do with 40K (or indeed any true war-gaming system).

So while you could certainly plug D&D info into Yahtzee's words, you would be incorrect (or only partly correct) about every point.

Frankster:
But as you say you've chatted to 40k players before, I imagine the arguments you would have if you bothered to write a tl dr about it (you don't, that's why you would rather link ppl to yahtzees article) would likely be more accurate then yahtzees.

Actually, my biggest complaint about 40K is that it stifles creativity.

Hear me out.

I've been brow-beaten into participating in a few Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader games with my 40K friends. Always, I sat down to create a character, and my first thought was "I want to play one of those Space Elves - that sounds cool, like Crest of the Stars".

The GM said "NO! Are you insane?!" And I was like "... why would wanting to be a space elf be insane?" Because, apparently, everyone would want to kill me.

My only option was to be an "Inquisitor" - someone who goes around killing people who don't worship the Emperor. I could be any class I wanted, but I had to be human, and I had to hate everyone who didn't love the Emperor.

So I said, okay, if that's the way you want to be, I want to be the happiest, most optimistic person in the universe. My character is a do-gooder. A paladin with a soft-spot for the down-trodden. And can I have pink armor please?

I spent that whole game talking about how wonderful it was to be alive and help people, while the rest of the party Grim-Darked at me. And I chopped up monsters with a Chain Sword.

And I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND. Even my attempts to take the piss out of the game didn't get me anywhere. I was still playing out the same exact stereotypical storyline. It literally didn't matter how outlandish I was - the universe was going to plug away as pointlessly and dully no matter what I did.

Rogue Trader sounded better... and I talked my GM into letting me play a space elf. It still didn't help. The captain occasionally used me to frighten the natives, but aside from that it might as well have been the same game, but with the word Emperor replaced by Profit Factor.

I think it's because the Game and the Campaign Setting are intrinsically linked. You can't take your Warhammer 40K minis and decide you're going to run a Mass Effect game (with Orks as Krogan perhaps?). The rules do not allow for that.

40K could exist as just a rules set - like Chess, in Yahtzee's example - and it would be largely unaffected. It would still be a great game for the people who like that sort of thing.

One of the reasons I like D&D is because it is just a set of rules that you can apply to anything. In fact, D&D is specifically designed to be used in different settings - or one you make up yourself.

So, I can love D&D and hate Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Dark Sun, etc - and that's okay, because D&D understands that such a possibility exists. I can use the rules to play a Xena: Warrior Princess game, if that's what floats my boat. Or make up my own world.

40K says you WILL USE OUR SETTING and crams it down my throat. And I can't stand that.

Because, really, it IS a masculine power fantasy. There's nothing wrong with that - except that I have no interest in masculine power fantasies.

Anyway... yeah, that really was tl:dr wasn't it? ^^;; See, this is why it's easier to link to Yahtzee ranting about the bad writing. It isn't so much that the writing itself that's the problem, it's that you can't escape it the way you can with, say, the awful Forgotten Realms stuff. I hate FR too, but I never have to deal with it because D&D lets me ignore FR entirely if I want to.

SilverUchiha:
Cool. FYI, wasn't knocking that Warhammer didn't have story or anything. I was just saying I agreed with his point about D&D and that's it.

Yes, I got that. And, just to be clear, I didn't mean the same Warhammer the article was about. Not exactly. I meant this Warhammer.

SilverUchiha:
As for your thoughts on promoting combat-oriented play, it really depends on what version and what books you look at. If you do 3.5 and have a library of digital copies of all a lot of the books, it feels more like a story-telling roleplay experience. If you have 4.0 at all, then it is going to feel more combat oriented. Which is why I have not bothered trying to learn 4.0 yet aside from just not caring enough.

I'm playing 3.5 now and I know the potential for great storytelling is there. Perhaps even "combat-oriented play" is not the right phrase... "Rules-oriented" maybe?

Because for me the D&D rules get in the way of immersion. My character is not a "wizard 3/cleric 3/true necromancer 6," he's a human being. Then there's choosing feats, managing class feats, calculating abilities, memorising spells... All that complexity may be welcome when I want to create a character that's mechanically effective, but unwelcome when I want to make them... well, a character.

In Warhammer FRP, on the other hand, what you are on the character sheet is exactly what you are in the world. Your mercenary captain, for instance, is not a 6th level warrior, he's just that - a mercenary captain. And he may not have the ability to cleave his enemy in two once a day, but he can hit them real hard any time he wants. Of course, I am not entirely objective about the system, because it's the first one I've ever played. And I do realise D&D is more flexible thanks to not being tied to a specific setting.

Wow, I just took this waaay off topic, I better end it now.

You know what Warhammer 40K is? It's the product of a generation that has never known any kind of real conflict or struggle.

The Vietnam War was still going on a decade before Warhammer was made. As well, the Falklands War ended a year before and the Northern Irish Troubles were going on at the time.

Yeah, Yahtzee's completely ignorant about what he's talking about.

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