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"Least Favorite Rules - Warhammer 40,000!" Topic

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22 Aug 2019 12:10 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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22 Aug 2019 12:11 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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by Editor in Chief Bill

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by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Least Favorite Rules: Warhammer 40,000!" to "Least Favorite Rules - Warhammer 40,000!"Removed from Ultramodern Warfare (2009-present) boardRemoved from 18th Century Product Reviews board

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian22 Aug 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

You were asked – TMP link

Maybe they're popular, maybe they've even gotten stellar reviews, maybe the whole gaming world just loves them, but they still just leave you cold in fact, you'd "rather play anything but game Y." (By the way, this question is about tabletop miniatures rules, not board games. Heck, we'll make an extension into RPGs, but that's about it.)

So, what rules do you secretly (or openly) despise?

In the final round of voting:

23% said "Warhammer 40,000"
20% said "Flames of War"
17% said "Empire (Napoleonic)"

lkmjbc322 Aug 2019 1:17 p.m. PST

The top two are the top selling rules ever in the industry!

Joe Collins

whill422 Aug 2019 2:07 p.m. PST

I wonder if they would still be the top two rule sets if each edition were treated independently and not aggregated.

khanscom22 Aug 2019 5:40 p.m. PST

Played one game of 40K-- discovered that I couldn't rush half of my squad across a narrow alley (about 12 feet in game scale) while the remaining fire team covered them; never played that again.

Never played FoW.

I respect Empire for the concepts and research, but have only played a single game of version 1 or 2; I did buy Empire (IV) and the Campaign System.

Zephyr122 Aug 2019 9:14 p.m. PST

--23% said "Warhammer 40,000"--

Which edition…?

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Aug 2019 9:56 p.m. PST

As there is only one valid edition, a DISLIKE for the ruleset does not really need to be dissembled for different editions.

If you LIKE them, however, different editions may make sense. I used to play it a lot, but they lost me somewhere during the 5th edition, mainly to poorly designed army books.

Toaster22 Aug 2019 10:48 p.m. PST

Well of course the most popular rulesets are also the most unpopular, because so many more people have encountered them. You can have the most dire set of rules out but if they only sold 100 copies that limits the number of people who can hate them.


Wayniac23 Aug 2019 5:06 a.m. PST

I come from a 40k background. The issues are many, so I can see this. Between the blatant lack of any care to balance to the focus on "competitive" play that rewards spamming units and basically doing nothing like the force is represented, and the current edition's Magic-esque focus on stacking combos and listbuilding.. yeah, I can see why.

I just started up Flames of War though so RIP xD

PK Guy Brent23 Aug 2019 5:24 a.m. PST

Polls like this bother me. "Despise"? I find that the best way to know if a question or statement is "questionable" is to replace the subject with a person's name or race/sex.

I don't really see that polls voting on least liked or "despised" things do much good. Inherently they are focused on the negative and tearing down someone's work.

Just remember – somebody put a lot of work and effort into those rules when they created them.

Polls identifying "most liked" or "best" are at least positive. If you don't see the other rules on that list….well, then you know they aren't "liked".

Just my 2 cents worth.

Personal logo Zeelow Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 6:44 a.m. PST

Change/modify what you don't like.

Col Piron23 Aug 2019 7:54 a.m. PST

I wonder if they would still be the top two rule sets if each edition were treated independently and not aggregated.

Yes especially between FOW V3 & V4 .

Clays Russians23 Aug 2019 9:14 a.m. PST

Col Piron
In line with that question I have this to say,
Empire II ,,, 👍🏼
Empire III And up … 😡

John Tyson Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 3:16 p.m. PST

I can understand "Flames of War" not doing well. These rules left me cold for my WW2 gaming. I went to "Panzer Grenadier" and much prefer these rules for my WW2 gaming.

von Schwartz23 Aug 2019 5:48 p.m. PST

Never played the other two but the Empires Napoleonics sucks out loud. If yer not French or British you might as well phone it in, you're gonna lose.

von Schwartz25 Aug 2019 6:12 p.m. PST

Well, I played the rules a number of times and studied them extensively. They put in waaay too many perks for the French and, to a lesser extent, the Brits. I mean just how many classes of guard troop can you have? Young Guard, Middle Guard, Old Guard? How about the rule that only the French can use Grand batteries, or that the French hussars are classed as "Battle Cavalry" and no one elses is? There were more as I remember but I lost my set of rules and since I despised them never replaced them.

SCOTT BOWDEN25 Aug 2019 6:59 p.m. PST

von Schwartz, what kind of nonsense are you talking about? Your statements about the EMPIRE rules are false.

Froglidite25 Aug 2019 7:54 p.m. PST

A reply to "von Schwartz". I have just checked my copy of Empire V rules to verify your comments. 1) ALL armies can form Grand Batteries with at least 32 pieces of ordinance excluding regimental and battalion guns. 2) Only 3 French hussar regiments are Battle Cavalry. All British/KGL cavalry are Battle Cavalry, as well as ALL Russian and Austrian hussar regiments, to name a few. 3) In regards to the YG, MG, OG troop types, for starters, let us not forget the Russians, the large contingent of Guard infantry and cavalry regiments as well as a nice collection of Grenadier regiments as well.

cypherkk17 Jul 2020 8:22 p.m. PST

I enjoyed empire, my favorite napoleonic rules I've played. I enjoyed 1st, 2and, 5th, edition of 40k. And, it's been my primary game set played over the years with a few sporadic alternatives. Flames was good but I did prefer other ww2 but they never became popular.

Most of the problems in 40k stem from players, not the game. Being popular tends to draw certain groups. And any popular game will get those ultra competitive and that tends to cause min maxers.

I find warmachine was worse than these 3, mostly the way the rules mechanics were designed to make the best part of the game (power attacks) less efficient than normal attacks. At 43 was a pretty bad game(with great models). I'm thinking at-43 was the worst game I've played, I want to say others but nothing comes to mind.

Nine pound round18 Jul 2020 9:00 a.m. PST

I first played Empire III in the mid-80s, probably just after it came out. Previously, I had played "Sound of the Guns" and "Fire and Steel." While good, the difference between them and "Empire" was stark. I never looked back. Here are some reasons why:

1) Scale: in those days it was budget, today it's time, but the ability to field battalions of 9-18 figures saved a lot on figures. If you want to game larger units than a division, while retaining battalions, cavalry regiments, and batteries as basic units, this was an enormous advantage. The grand-tactical is the level most historians focus on, so it's naturally the level people tend to want to play.

2) Dynamics: most of the other rules did a good job of capturing small unit dynamics- do you fire canister or round shot – but did not pay much attention to the way that larger units maneuvered or operated. Empire did: skirmishing and grand batteries (especially firing in bombardment mode) influenced the action, and divisions commanders could do a lot to influence the cyclic resolution of tactical combat. The idea of moving at the grand-tactical level until you got into musket range captured some of the feeling of Napoleonic maneuver.

3) Simulation: Empire wasn't designed to be balanced: it was designed to replicate historical results. So yes, it's true, you do get advantages for being British or French, but those aren't enough to save you if you screw up (as I found playing Napoleon at Rivoli).

Like every system, it was optimized to deliver a result (in this case, simulation), and so it had drawbacks: you had to know the details of the rules, and understand how to apply the mechanics. A good rules lawyer could tie you up in knots. It limits your choices sometimes, because it is designed to- but I still find it to be an interesting and highly entertaining experience to play, even if it is time-consuming and at times legalistic.

Murvihill18 Jul 2020 10:24 a.m. PST

I never liked any of the warhammer series because I want the 'table bowed with lead' and when you roll three or even four times to kill a figure the game becomes ponderous.
I thought Empire was OK but because my figures were 1:20 I only played casually.
Flames of War is a game not an attempt to simulate war but fun enough, but they followed the Citadel business model and when I buy a set of rules I want it to cover everything, not just a snippet of the war.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa19 Jul 2020 10:49 a.m. PST

The basic problem with 40K is that at its core its a very 80's rule set and probably outdated by the end of that decade! Basically its a Sherman and while GW may have done to the rules set what the Israeli's did to the Sherman over the years, its still going to be creaky. And that's not been helped by the aforementioned issues of game balance. There's also an argument that 40K never fully made the jump from its mass battle fantasy game-roots to a small scale squad-based firefight game.

Can't comment on FOW though the logarithmic ground scale is enough to put me off.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2020 5:29 a.m. PST

> logarithmic ground scale

I once had the Pegasus bridge on the table in 15mm – found out that opposing squads on both sides are out of range for small arms fire :-)

Well, just call in the heavy artillery that stands right behind you on both sides…

Der Krieg Geist23 Jul 2020 11:07 p.m. PST

Sounds a similar stupid that shows up in 40K where I had a pistol armed officer standing next to the drive sprocket of a Baneblade IG tank, who could not shoot past the front mudflap of the said same tank. LOL
But not to worry of course because enemy troops on foot could close the gap from out of range to hand to hand without ever getting shot at.
Every time I type anything about 40K out, then go back and read it,I am continuously amazed how incredibly stupid it is as a wargame.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 8:34 a.m. PST

I think my complaint against Empire (version 5 IIRC it was about 15 years ago) was some rules didn't seem realistic. Good dice gave me three rounds of Bombardment, I destroy 80% of a unit and at the end of the turn I'm told that the unit doesn't take a moral check but carries on as normal…….

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 8:39 a.m. PST

Warhammer just another "Rick Priestley" set that gives you an excuse to roll buckets of dice.

Never played Flames of War so can't comment on the rules, some of the official figures were very poor sculpts. Last time I said that I got 75+ Stifles from the Fanboys….

Russ Lockwood27 Jul 2020 2:26 p.m. PST

In defense of Empire…and specifically version II that we played extensively, although we may have played III when that came out.

Much depends on the scenario. In a one-on-one game, much does not matter -- set up the historical action and game away. It's a complex game that uses flow charts to move you through mechanics. It's very much oriented on the battalion as your unit of manipulation, although there are certainly mechanics for regimental moves and even wave attacks.

That said, if every player has their own corp, the game will never get to a conclusion in a Friday night 3-4 hour session, and when two corps lock (telescoping time mechanic), the rest of the group can essentially leave the table for the next hour to hour and a half while the two corps battle it out.

In full disclosure, I wrote Snappy Nappy rules specifically because of years and years of sitting around with nothing to do in Empire -- I wanted everyone to game, not wait. But when your basic SN unit is a brigade, you don't get the battalion nuances.

The other Empire mechanic that drove me to distraction was the 'move something without firing' ends the entire maneuver element's turn. I'm not entirely sure what that's supposed to represent, but to me, it was a fiddly annoyance.

Now, with those caveats in mind, if you create a scenario where all players are fully activated and playing on turn 1, you can get some really intense Empire games that often mimic history. A Raab scenario where the Meyer Farm changed hands four times from melees comes immediately to mind -- OK, mostly because the French officer in charge didn't survive his last successful capture of the farm and we tore out a paper meeples figure with x's out eyes and skewered it atop a building. :) But the point is, you can get those battalion-level ebbs and flows of combat.

That's when the Empire system, complex as it is and requiring a long Saturday afternoon of gaming time, really shines.

Wolfhag31 Jul 2020 9:58 p.m. PST


Last time I said that I got 75+ Stifles from the Fanboys

You are my hero. That just goes to prove the truth hurts.


JanissaryAga03 Aug 2020 5:42 p.m. PST

Warhammer 40k introduced me to the wargaming hobby but I've long since given up on it. The community obsession with list building and stacking up bonuses, combined with the totally uneven army lists, makes it extremely frustrating if you aren't a hardcore player. The Games Workshop insistence on absurd pricing certainly doesn't help--50$ for a unit of 5 or 6 miniatures is just not worthwhile.

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