Extra Punctuation: Hating Warhammer 40k and Space Marine

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The day the make a game about the Catachan instead of these retarded space marines is the day I'll play a 40k videogame. Until that day I will continue to play Warhammer 40k Final Liberation! Seriously there was nothing more awesome than commanding an army full of Rambo's!

Also I loved D&D and Vampire the Masquerade growing up, does this make me a contradiction?!

ACman:
I has always bothered me that the 40k universe is essentially a massive fascist theocracy where any sort of departure from the dogma of the state is eliminated with extreme prejudice.

There's no one to side with. Space Marines are battle-crazed fanatics. Chaos is hell. Orks are well... orks. Tyranids are insectoid monsters. Eldar would exterminate mankind without a second thought if they could. Tau are space communists. Imperial Guard are part of the aforementioned fascist theocratic space empire. Cultists are either alien or chaos mad. Necrons are space-undead-robot-gods or some shit.

I always thought the emperor should be more like a space-pope. Then there could be multiple human kingdoms/federations/confederacies/compacts.

But no, any difference will be purged by a bunch of insane fanatical jihadist. Bah.

You ARE aware that the Emperor is Incapacitated and on life support right? He can't really do much.

Princess Rose:

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

Hear me out.

SNIP

That reads pretty much as "I don't like the setting, not really my cup of tea", as well as "my friends don't like playing the same sort of escapist fantasies as me (and are possibly shit GMs as well)" and that's fair enough, but it's not really what Yahtzee was saying, he's looking at the setting through the eyes of the 13 year old fanboy and assuming that's all there is to it (and IMO quite rightly calling space marine the game a middle of the road borefest).

Lord_Gremlin:
Also, it has Ultramarines.

Never played 40K in my life and all I know about the setting has been gleaned from my boyfriend.

But the name "Ultramarine" makes me crack up every time. The guys at Games Workshop MUST have been taking the piss when they came up with that.

Then again, I reckon they were also taking the piss when they came up with the not-really-dead-Emperor as a psychic lighthouse. (My boyfriend may have given me a slightly bizarre rundown of the setting.)

sharpe95th:
Why are any of your surprised the skinny nerdy man who loves fantasy, wears a stupid hat, and has a pretentious beard doesn't like military fiction?

I refer to the psychic Emperor above and question whether that counts as "military fiction". "Saving Private Ryan" is military fiction. 40K is something else entirely!

I was pretty happy with this article, because so far, any time I mentioned to someone who knew what 40K was that it takes itself way too fucking seriously for something with such a dumb setting for me to enjoy, I get bitched at.

Yahtzee ....40k fans aren't the fans you want to mess with....

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.

What I couldn't ever understand is why those huge imaginary table-top army clashes were ever considered possible or even desireable. Since the invention of the rifle it's been bad form to mass troops and advance in large numbers. It's just too easy to put too much explosive power in a targeted area for the opponent to survive. So it's all about small unit tactics and staying out of sight and behind cover. The only reason human waves worked a little in North Korea was that they were HUMAN so tactical nukes weren't used. No such problem with Orks.

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

No backstory... well try looking for the HORUS HERESY Novels among many many other novels that flesh out the entire 40k universe. Also the rulebook for the table top game actually has a very large section dedicated to the backstory and each individual codex tells you about the particular army you have chosen, famous battles, victories and the story of the heroes, like Commissar Yarrick and Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt. The backstory is there and has been for a long time.

Metalix Knightmare:

ACman:
I has always bothered me that the 40k universe is essentially a massive fascist theocracy where any sort of departure from the dogma of the state is eliminated with extreme prejudice.

There's no one to side with. Space Marines are battle-crazed fanatics. Chaos is hell. Orks are well... orks. Tyranids are insectoid monsters. Eldar would exterminate mankind without a second thought if they could. Tau are space communists. Imperial Guard are part of the aforementioned fascist theocratic space empire. Cultists are either alien or chaos mad. Necrons are space-undead-robot-gods or some shit.

I always thought the emperor should be more like a space-pope. Then there could be multiple human kingdoms/federations/confederacies/compacts.

But no, any difference will be purged by a bunch of insane fanatical jihadist. Bah.

You ARE aware that the Emperor is Incapacitated and on life support right? He can't really do much.

And has been for the past 10,000 Years since he killed Horus and received a mortal wound himself... Thank you Golden Throne, also Imperial Guard are awesome to play, normal guys fighting for an extremely large facist empire against aliens and what is, as you said, hell. And you know who the real winner is? Tzeentch the Lord of change, whenever something changes state, living to dead, gas to liquid, etc. Tzeentch gains more power, so no matter what everyone is fuelling the fire of Chaos inadvertantly :)

I agree. D&D and Battletech is much better than 40k.

Proof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN8yyepOysA

scumofsociety:

Princess Rose:

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

Hear me out.

SNIP

That reads pretty much as "I don't like the setting, not really my cup of tea", as well as "my friends don't like playing the same sort of escapist fantasies as me" and that's fair enough, but it's not really what Yahtzee was saying, he's looking at the setting through the eyes of the 13 year old fanboy and assuming that's all there is to it (and IMO quite rightly calling space marine the game a middle of the road borefest).

Yeah yahtzee is being a one man hatedom, and that's just boring and dumb. Rose was being a great deal more rational about her dislike of it.

I was going to ask rose if the setting didn't already take the piss out of it, but I realized it's an insane idea but it kind of takes itself seriously almost like a reverse satire. Kind of like Duke Nukem save it's more only serious to the characters and the players were ever meant to take it seriously so it's more of a standard satire really.

But as you said, and I have to agree that it is a masculine power fantasy but that lead my mind to this unlikely question.

"What exactly would a feminine power fantasy look like?"

Now I'm all curious and and it's slightly nagging at my mind.

Benjamin Yahtzee Crawshaw, I am ashamed.

40k is jolly good fun :D

Princess Rose:

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".

You mean the Eldar?

From this I'm gonna take a stab at guessing you aren't too familiar with the setting then, in my experience that can be something of a hurdle for any game setting.

Trust me when I say that my first DnD session was nightmarish because no-one bothered to bring me up to speed about the setting so I had to just make it up as I go along and hope for the best (that and my party's love for stabbing me in the back made my first Paladin's career a very short one).

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.

From the sounds of it you just happened to be dealing with people who liked the setting when you personally just wanted to fuck around, I'd say this was more a case of you trying to break the setting for giggles only to be faced with players who weren't gonna let you do that (think of it as being like dealing with a player in a zombie apocolypse RPG who wants to play as a guy wearing a meat poncho with a fetish for being eaten alive, sure, it could result in some very funny and original situations but it's probably gonna get annoying for other players who are trying to play to the spirit of the setting).

In other words, what exactly were you expecting to happen?

That they'd drop the entire setting just because you felt like being Captain Cheery?

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.

That's because the rules for 40k weren't really designed to be generic, they were designed for the game in question (this is like trying to say that a family car must be inherantly better than a Formula One car because it has a wider variety of day-to-day uses)).

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.

Here you're comparing rules to settings, I'm sure that on more than one occasion someone out there has used DnD rules to run a Warhammer 40k campaign (and I'm sure that many a chuckle was had by all involved).

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

Considering how the tabletop version of the game can be played with absolutely no reference or understanding of the setting I wouldn't actually say that it's that much of a problem, as for the RPG version, it is a case of if you don't like that sort of setting then you're sort of screwed going in.

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

I would disagree with you calling it a masculine power fantasy for the same reason I wouldn't call Duke Nukem or Serious Sam masculine power fantasies or how Judge Dredd isn't secretly promoting Facism.

When something is that over the top you have to be able to just step back, laugh at it and just enjoy the oppertunity to be able to get away with being an absolute royal bastard for giggles.

And no matter what the problem is you can be certain that it will be solved by throwing wave upon wave of men at it.

Isn't that right, men?

Princess Rose:

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.

Imagining this scene happening made me laugh, yeah I can see why your group might not have been open to your character concept...

Well cheers for the d'n'd tidbit, I dabbled in it briefly but ain't familiar with it and honestly thought d'n'd= the fantasy world that comes with the game rather then it being a set of rules. How come no one i know does this cool rp stuff set in different settings? :\

Anyways, I see where you're coming from in what you said, as an rper who felt limited by the constraints imposed by the 40k setting.
You really did give 40k a chance it seems, and it seriously isn't your cup of tea.

But when put on paper, your reasons for disliking 40k are more personally relevant and much more understandable then what yahtzee wrote, which is why it's a shame you have to link the article to represent your view on 40k rather then that nice tl dr you wrote ^^

Btw just to clarify though: while i did dabble in tabletop when i was younger (bought 1 model a week with my pocket money <3), i stayed in touch with the 40k verse via the books and videogames. So always been a big fan of the universe for my own personal reasons (not the ones you might think either! ^^) but not so much of the tabletop ruleset.
Just to explain that whilst i don't care too much about tabletop (indeed only thing that bothered me about yahtzee's 40k tabletop bashing was how it was an easy way to get a free bash at 40k, bitching about the tabletop prices is kinda a low blow u have to admit xD), the actual 40k universe is made of win for those with the right frame of mind for it.

MetalMagpie:

Lord_Gremlin:
Also, it has Ultramarines.

Never played 40K in my life and all I know about the setting has been gleaned from my boyfriend.

But the name "Ultramarine" makes me crack up every time. The guys at Games Workshop MUST have been taking the piss when they came up with that.

Then again, I reckon they were also taking the piss when they came up with the not-really-dead-Emperor as a psychic lighthouse. (My boyfriend may have given me a slightly bizarre rundown of the setting.)

sharpe95th:
Why are any of your surprised the skinny nerdy man who loves fantasy, wears a stupid hat, and has a pretentious beard doesn't like military fiction?

I refer to the psychic Emperor above and question whether that counts as "military fiction". "Saving Private Ryan" is military fiction. 40K is something else entirely!

Yeah when I heard ultramarines at starting SM I thought " Really? All of the others largely sound like knightly orders(which quite frankly they kind of ARE) and this one is basically could have just as easily been rendered as AWESOMESAUCEmarines wtf GW?

I've always disagreed with a lot of Yahtzee's ideas about gaming as a whole and this is no different. I'd love to sit down and have a dialogue with him though to see if I could change some of his views which imo are from an illogical origin.

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.

No, his comments still apply to the rest of 40k he probably hasn't read since he doesn't need to. I mean did you read the fluff on say Chaos? Whatever you do you can't stop Chaos, if you kill someone you're supporting Khorne, if you take pleasure you're supporting Slaanesh etc. even if you don't intend to, no one has any emotion and no possible victory is on the horizon, no possible way anyone whose relate able would be able to stop it. On top of this the endless back story of basically all the non-human armies about how they're superior to humans makes you even wonder how the Imperium got to the way it did, like how Orks are Fungi, Necrons just go away, Tyranids are never ending etc.

It's so Over the top and so bleak it's hilarious, it's like someone saw how cool Darth Vader was and so made Darth Maul, then someone saw how cool he was and created a new Darth who has 3 light saber blades in one light saber. Not to mention how invincible the Space Marines are made out to be (which sort baffles everyone when Chaos Marines aren't treated the same).

Lord_Gremlin:

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.

*sigh* this reminds me of my shameful past as a 40k geek. Ultramarines are fine, there's nothing wrong with them and they're certainly not anymore boring then other chapters, if anything more interesting. People only hate them because "Waaaaaah y do mah tyranid get beat by nu spac marne unt! spce mrnes stupid" then "waaaah why do spce mrns get nu codx wen min dont get no chnge " then Space Marine fans go all "y do da ultramarines get everything we want attention on us too u know" as to fit in to that crowd as everyone knows if something is mainstream it's bad. It annoys me how strong that sentiment among the 40k community is.

Lord_Gremlin:

Enjoyed this game a lot and still enjoying it now. Multiplayer is fun, let's you play as Chaos.

And? They don't play any different at all to the Space Marines so I assume you just hate Space Marines just because they're Space Marines, if anything I'm apalled at the lack of variety it has. To begin with it only has two modes which is bad. To go on, tactical is the standard CoD player affair, heavy is the standard well heavy gunner affair and the only new one is the assault marines. They could've had Terminator armor, scout armor, hell even freakin' Dreadnoughts, and they could've not even called it "Space Marine" and call it "Warhammer 40,000 Battles" and have a wide variety of races to choose from along with gameplay styles.

Lord_Gremlin:

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.

Most chapters already play like the Ultramarines anyway and have the same attitudes, Space Wolves wouldn't be much different.

Thedek:

I was going to ask rose if the setting didn't already take the piss out of it, but I realized it's an insane idea but it kind of takes itself seriously almost like a reverse satire. Kind of like Duke Nukem save it's more only serious to the characters and the players were ever meant to take it seriously so it's more of a standard satire really.

But as you said, and I have to agree that it is a masculine power fantasy but that lead my mind to this unlikely question.

"What exactly would a feminine power fantasy look like?"

Now I'm all curious and and it's slightly nagging at my mind.

Well, again with that it really depends on the individuals interpretation of the setting, there is really no one right way to take 40K, other than the taglines for the wargame I don't see any reason to play it as a total GRIMDARK crapsack universe, it's perfectly possible to play it sensibly with characters that have sane motivations and whatnot. Admittedly given the subject matter of the likes of DH they probably aren't going to stay sane for long but I get the feeling that its the 14 year old fanboy take on 40K that powers its way into everyones conscious that makes everyone go for the grimdark. Look into the background and you'll find there's plenty of non Grimdark going on, not everywhere is a steaming shitpile full of downtrodden serfs, that's just what sells to the 14 year old wargamers so that's what gets promoted most. The Imperium is an empire of a million worlds, a million possibilities. Think of the diversity we have on this 1 world, now multiply that by 1,000,000...got to be some variety out there eh?

In answer to the feminine power fantasy...dunno, I could tell you what my "feminine power fantasies" look like but this really isn't that sort of forum.

scumofsociety:

Thedek:

I was going to ask rose if the setting didn't already take the piss out of it, but I realized it's an insane idea but it kind of takes itself seriously almost like a reverse satire. Kind of like Duke Nukem save it's more only serious to the characters and the players were ever meant to take it seriously so it's more of a standard satire really.

But as you said, and I have to agree that it is a masculine power fantasy but that lead my mind to this unlikely question.

"What exactly would a feminine power fantasy look like?"

Now I'm all curious and and it's slightly nagging at my mind.

Well, again with that it really depends on the individuals interpretation of the setting, there is really no one right way to take 40K, other than the taglines for the wargame I don't see any reason to play it as a total GRIMDARK crapsack universe, it's perfectly possible to play it sensibly with characters that have sane motivations and whatnot. Admittedly given the subject matter of the likes of DH they probably aren't going to stay sane for long but I get the feeling that its the 14 year old fanboy take on 40K that powers its way into everyones conscious that makes everyone go for the grimdark. Look into the background and you'll find there's plenty of non Grimdark going on, not everywhere is a steaming shitpile full of downtrodden serfs, that's just what sells to the 14 year old wargamers so that's what gets promoted most. The Imperium is an empire of a million worlds, a million possibilities. Think of the diversity we have on this 1 world, now multiply that by 1,000,000...got to be some variety out there eh?

In answer to the feminine power fantasy...dunno, I could tell you what my "feminine power fantasies" look like but this really isn't that sort of forum.

Just saying(I don't know you personally) But when I say feminine power fantasy I mean it from women, and if you are female, and how you talk I can't help but think, massive femdom which is indeed for another forum. For some messed up reason I still want to hear it. I just mean this is the first time I heard of the idea when I put it up myself.

sorry Yahtzee, you lost me like a paragraph in, which is a first

as for your opinion of 40k, *shrugs* you keep right on not liking it, and i'm a keep right on murdering Orks and Chaos under The Black Templar's banner

See, Warhammer 40k could actually be a really fascinating setting if they actually made something of the fact that no race has anything redemptive about it. But of course, everyone goes on about how noble the Space Marines are and starts gibbering crap like "Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic." There's no sense of irony in getting excited about playing with a bunch of super soldiers who serve a fascist empire ruled by a pseudo theocracy.

And as someone else said, the setting lacks politics, economics and social background. What little it does give is basically to justify the fact that everyone is constantly at war with everyone else. The problem with that is that it's hard to feel anything is really at stake. If I play Neverwinter Nights, I can go around and see where people live, where they work etc - basically, I can see just how their lives will be destroyed if the bad guys get their way. But in Warhammer 40k, you frequently have to ask 'why do we care'? Oh, we're saving millions of lives on one planet. For all we know, those people live in slave camps and subsist on rice and nuts. They might actually prefer death.

I think he's nailed it with this article: 40k is what you get when you basically create a universe that exists entirely to have an excuse to fight wars. As soon as you look up and ask anyone 'why are we fighting' they start parroting that line about there only being war.

The problem with the 40K backstory is that we tend to shift our view to the Space Marines instead of the Imperium as a whole.

It would be a lot more engaging if our characters had a bit more at stake, and had a proper range of emotional conflict and interesting interaction to make them matter. It's the reason I usually avoided the Ultramarines books, but gravitated to Ciaphas Cain (Showing one desperate, lonely man digging his way out of hole after hole) or the Horus Heresy (The war between Cains and Abels, and the reasons why men like Fulgrim and Magnus turned while Sanguinis and Leman Russ remained loyal.)

It's just that none of the interesting stuff exists outside of the books. All other media is ULTRAMARINES MACRAGGE WAHRGARBLE!!!! that really doesn't give the depth to the universe as it should.

Shamanic Rhythm:
See, Warhammer 40k could actually be a really fascinating setting if they actually made something of the fact that no race has anything redemptive about it. But of course, everyone goes on about how noble the Space Marines are and starts gibbering crap like "Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic." There's no sense of irony in getting excited about playing with a bunch of super soldiers who serve a fascist empire ruled by a pseudo theocracy.

And as someone else said, the setting lacks politics, economics and social background. What little it does give is basically to justify the fact that everyone is constantly at war with everyone else. The problem with that is that it's hard to feel anything is really at stake. If I play Neverwinter Nights, I can go around and see where people live, where they work etc - basically, I can see just how their lives will be destroyed if the bad guys get their way. But in Warhammer 40k, you frequently have to ask 'why do we care'? Oh, we're saving millions of lives on one planet. For all we know, those people live in slave camps and subsist on rice and nuts. They might actually prefer death.

I think he's nailed it with this article: 40k is what you get when you basically create a universe that exists entirely to have an excuse to fight wars. As soon as you look up and ask anyone 'why are we fighting' they start parroting that line about there only being war.

Very good questions I wondered the exact same until a friend lent me Dan Abnett's The Lost omnibus, it gives some good insight into politics, economics and social backgrounds. Not to mention what they all have on the line should Chaos win.

Already bought a few more after this one, I really must recommend it.

Meh, it tickles my fancy, so i'll pick it up.

I have very little knowledge of the 40K universe, but it's a dark sci fi setting and i LOVE dark sci fi settings.

It also tickles me that in the year 40,000 C.E. we're apparently still using the most basic of projectile weaponry as standard issue.

I am not gonna bother reading all the other comments because I can assume everything written. So I will just throw my two cents here cause I feel I ought to.

First I love the Grim, Warhammer 40K universe and one of the major reasons is due to its depressing dark world meshed with a medieval fantasy. Where elves (Eldar) are not these silly attractive perfect beings. In fact, they are a bunch of ancient arseholes who lost their great empire (then again I am getting lots of that with most fantasy). Also they are not afraid to be gory with factions such as chaos. I addition, you try think of a unique appealing race or faction on top of your head and I bet you Warhammer original or 40k already offers a similar concept.

Secondly I love Yahtzees opinions on games and mechanics. Especially the article pieces. And I very much agree on his opinion on Space Marine. Too right you are, the fact the game is loved is mostly due to loyalist. Its almost a fast pace gears of war with a Warhammer mod slapped on it. Oh and lets not get started with the boring characters and story. I never brought the game, only played the demo and watched others play the full release.

However, dissing the Warhammer Universe because its grim and doesn't make your inner child feel pleased meanwhile you literally compare the concept of warhammer with painting figurines like a child would... bad form. But we all have our own tastes and I respect your opinion. Nevertheless if Warhammer gave you a sense of depression then congratulate the fantasy world for doing its job right lol

The trouble with space marines is they are so humourless and dull. That doesn't seem to be a problem with recent shooters, but I just find it boring. At least the orks look like they are having fun.

nothingspringstomind:
we're apparently still using the most basic of projectile weaponry as standard issue.

(Notice: this applies to basic troop weapons only). Orks use slug throwers, Marines use gyroguns, Guard use laser guns, Tau use plasma, Eldar use railguns, Necrons use gauss guns, Chaos uses magic.
So... you're an Ork then?

As for the Ultramarines themselves they're the bog standard for Marines, and the mascots for the franchise. It would have been far, far more interesting to play as Black Templars or Salamanders, the attitudes of which are quite different from the boys in blue, but they're not the mascots.

evilthecat:
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.

Rogue trader was all about individual characters. You rolled for the wargear of each model in your army, meaning effectively you had an army of random characters. Every since 2nd edition, the bulk of your force became faceless drones (because that means you have to buy more faceless drones, so you have to spend more money.)

But I was mainly talking about the aesthetic. What we meant by "gothic" was different back then. John Blanche was one of the big artists back then IIRC. And his work was gothic, but it also had a satirical element. We has enormously large towers and temples and such, but they were so ridiculously monumental that they defied reason- their sheer scope defeated the very purpose of their existence. There was this sense of a bureaucracy gone mad that wouldn't have been out of place in Terry Gilliam's Brazil. And while there were still game boxes decorated with piles of SPESS MEHRINES randomly blasting their guns out of frame, there were still absurd touches that made it clear there was something tongue-in-cheek about it all, like the marine on top of the pile wielding an ork's severed head like a club.

Now Blanche is still with the company, but a lot of the younger players hate his work. He still gets to put in his absurd pictures (especially in Dread Fleet it seems, their latest release) but his work has become a minor influence. Now most of the artwork we see in 40K is serious marines shouting and pointing and shooting (while bald).

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.)

But while there have been plenty of ridiculous releases in recent memory, I'm not convinced that they're intentionally going for a more cartoony style, especially after taking into account the mostly excellent Dark Eldar re-release. I think they just have such a heavy release schedule that they are willing to green-light sub-par designs because they just can't afford to let artists have the time to get them right.

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's not exactly that I want to make a tank out of a shampoo bottle, it's the spiritual shift in the game. In the early days it was all about expressing your creativity and improvised models were common. A lot of their releases were just whatever wacky models the designers could think of. Now that everything is planned to appeal to the tournament set (while squeezing as much money out of players as possible) the whole game has become rather stale. People used to make all kinds of house rules, scenarios, home-brewed army lists and special characters not to break the game (though there was always at least a little of that), but to try out their new ideas. Nowadays I hear people on major forums about the game saying things like, "anyone who makes a house rule is a cheater who just isn't good enough to win playing the real rules," and getting significant agreement from the crowd. In that kind of atmosphere, it's difficult to find people who want to play in the same spirit I do. So between the terrible models, the insane pricing, and the win-at-all-costs player atmosphere, I've pretty much given up on the game.

Abandon4093:
I think you need to read a bit more about the universe before you slate it. You're approaching their ideals and logic from your own. Which doesn't make sense because their world/universe has never been like ours.

isn't really fair. [/quote]

The Warhammer 40k universe isn't actually taking place in the same universe as the original Wahammer, it's actually our own, 38,000 years (give or take) in the future.

Katatori-kun:
/snip

You have to know how horribly, horribly unwieldy that is, you "might" make that work for a small scale skirmish game like warmachines/horde, but you can't honestly make me thing individually war gear per model is really fessable in say a imperial guard army. 1500pts-2500pts you do realize just how many models that is right.

And house rules fuck my club uses house rules just because they only play where the ass hats where Boring tourney rules only is your problem, not something wrong with the game it's self.

If Yahtzee cares so much about storyline, maybe he should start writing reviews of books rather than video games. I read a page and a half of criticism of the story, and a paragraph describing the game.

As someone who works in a shop that sells 40K stuff, I can safely say that it's not only the space marines themselves but also the people who buy them are enormous emotionless husk-people, but while space marines are equipped with armour, guns and chainswords, these people are equipped with sweaty t-shirts, neckbeards and B.O.

First: Space Marines are meant to be emotionless. They are created to be killing machines, not to question authority, to follow orders and to die in battle. They have emotion bred out of them. What happened the last time emotion for in the way of a Space Marine? Oh, nothing really, just the Horus Heresy.

Second: The 40k Universe does have a shit load of back story. If you could be bothered to read, you would know that. The first 4 books of the Heresy are amazing. "Galaxy in Flames" is one of the best books I've ever read.

Third: Leave the Ultramarines alone. They are Space Marines! Everyone calls them vanilla marines or stock marines or complains they have no special thing about them. I've been playing Ultramarines for about 10yrs now, Ive made most of the chapter, and ive played Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Space Wolves. None of them have had the same feel. Frankly, they are all Heretics for not following the Codex Astartes and should be hunted down in my opinion. Ultramarines are Space Marines incarnate. They are what they should be. Pure, no taint in the geneseed.

EDIT: and they are called Ultramarines because, GASP!!, they are painted Ultra Marine Blue. Its an actual colour not something GW made up, they are the base blue marine paint scheme. Its no different to Black Templars being the base black scheme and Blood Angels being the base blood red scheme.

I'm a PC gamer but I could never get into Warhammer 40K. I play strategy games but Warhammer was always boring to me. The story especially. I don't understand what's so appealing about that universe. It's humans against orcs and then what? It's shallow but it's trying so hard to be something epic.

Katatori-kun:
It's not exactly that I want to make a tank out of a shampoo bottle, it's the spiritual shift in the game. In the early days it was all about expressing your creativity and improvised models were common.

Just last June for a hobby store tourney (not an official GW tourney) I spray painted one of my Gundam model kits silver, hot glued it to an old CD, put a Grey Knight between it's legs, posed the gundam the same way as the grey knight, and called it a Dreadknight.
The other tourney players LOVED it. Well, the majority of them did, there were a few smug-faced assholes who delighted in telling me I couldn't get away with it at an actual GW tourney, but that's as far as it went. People may act tough on the internet but IRL even if they don't really approve they'll not go so far as to start name-calling.

Katatori-kun:
Rogue trader was all about individual characters. You rolled for the wargear of each model in your army, meaning effectively you had an army of random characters.

Random characters isn't the same thing though..

Katatori-kun:
I'm not convinced that they're intentionally going for a more cartoony style, especially after taking into account the mostly excellent Dark Eldar re-release.

A fair point, I don't necessarily disagree. Although I do think even the new Dark Eldar models have a different thing going for them.

The models seem.. busier.. for want of a better word, and while I do think the DE range is now looking awesome compared to the malformed shit they had before, I don't think it's necessarily a good trend in general.

Katatori-kun:
So between the terrible models, the insane pricing, and the win-at-all-costs player atmosphere, I've pretty much given up on the game.

Try the specialist games.

It's the only reason I bother with the company any more.

Of the games set in the 40k universe..

Battlefleet Gothic in particular is a phenomenally good game which keeps getting better now that it's in the hands of the specialist games community who keep producing new material. It's about giant spaceship-cathedrals shooting each other in space, so it even manages to be suitably campy.

Necromunda is extremely cheap to start up (you don't even need to buy scenery really, it's easy to improvise).

Inquisitor is just.. Inquisitor. It is absolutely insane, and I love it.

I haven't played Epic since I was tiny, it's probably the closest specialist games get to being 40k, both in terms of price and gameplay. Still, anyone playing it nowadays is going to be doing so for the right reasons, and it has giant skyscraper-sized robot fights.

And although it's not 40k, special mention to Blood Bowl. It is literally the best game Games Workshop ever made. They could make a special version of 40k where the box contains a full sized space marine who will hunt down and beat up all the people who were nasty to you in school and it would not come up to the knees of Blood Bowl.

What defines these games is generally a small but phenomenal community of players, a relatively small opening price tag (all the rules are free) and a much stronger spirit of fun. Heck, Inquisitor doesn't even have a points system.. I'm not kidding, you just throw a bunch of stuff together and see what happens.

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