Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Necrons Are Back!

Wow, six months.  I knew it had been a while, but man that was a stretch.  It was a busy summer that slid right into a busy fall.  Kids, cub scouts, camping, vacations, home repairs, they all add up.  The next thing you know it’s down to the hobby or blogging about the hobby, so blogging time got the shaft.  Things have slowed down the last month or so, but I hadn’t found the gumption to get back on the horse.
I’ve spent the time since my last post chipping away at weird war two projects, Incursion and Dust Tactics.  I also spent time building up my zombie force for All Things Zombie.  But what you might ask finally got me to break the silence and get back on the site?  The Necrons are back baby!

A cynic might say that they obviously never went anywhere, but without an update since 2001, it’s fair to say that my interest in them fell away.  It was rumored for the past several months and finally announced last Friday that the Necrons from Warhammer 40K are going to get a new codex and a serious update to the model line.  Stored away down in the basement I’ve got around a hundred painted 3rd Edition Necron models that haven’t seen the light of day since probably 2007 or so.  I can’t recall why I stopped playing them exactly, but it probably had a lot to do with my AT-43 obsession at the time.
I haven’t played a game of 40K in over a year and truth be told, I’ve played less than ten games total of 5th Edition 40K.  Is a codex and model update really enough to get me excited again?  Yes, it is, but it’s complicated.  I like games based on a number of factors, but the most important are the minis, the rules, the background and the general gaming culture.  When you take the actions of Games Workshop the company and separate them from the game itself, I think it can take some of the emotion out of a volatile subject and paint a clearer picture.
40K strengths:
-          A very deep and engaging universe.  Yes it’s grim, dark and full of skulls, but that’s not always a bad thing.
-          Quality production plastic models.  I buy models from all sorts of companies and sources.  Again, taking out the emotional issues, GW puts out the best multipart plastic figure and vehicle kits on the market.  Yes, new companies like Mantic are catching up fast, but GW has a great head start.
-          Availability.  Face it you can always find a game of 40K at least once a week in just about any game store around.  With most of the other games I like, it’s really, really hard to find players.  There’s a game store a mile from my house where I can always find a 40K player, but if I want to play Dust, or heaven forbid a board game, I’m driving an hour down to Colorado Springs or forty five minutes up into Denver.
40K weaknesses:
-          Clunky rules.  Once I started to play other games I found out just how much baggage 40K carries around, from outdated concepts like IGOYGO to vaguely worded and contradictory rules.
-          Expensive Minis.  The flip side to great kits is that they’re pricey.  I’m not one to jump on the “GW is price gouging” bandwagon.  My perspective is about my perceived value and for the last several years, the price of 40K models doesn’t seem to equal the amount of fun I would get from them.

It’s also helpful to know what actually drove me out of 40K.  It was codex Tyranids.  Flash back to January 2010.  My interest in 40K was waning and 5th edition just wasn’t doing it for me.  Then came codex Tyranids.  The old bugs had been another favorite of mine for years and I had a full army painted and stored away.  I knew there would be new kits to by, that’s the nature of the beast.  But then you find out that the kits you need, the ones that the book was designed for aren’t going to be made.   Seriously?  They didn’t put out a kit for the spore pod?  No Tervigon kit?  
It took some shine off the project, but I plugged away at upgrading my army and learning the new codex.  Now here’s problem two, GW publishes the codex with vague and frankly contradictory language for some of the most engaging units.  How could they not see this would cause problems?
The last straw for me was the ludicrous FAQ that came out later that year.  What few cool rules that gave Tyranids a fun strategy were reversed in some very odd ways.  Now I’m not a super competitive player, but it became clear that Tyranids was now an army where you had to study up, take maximum advantage of every tool in the box and pick up the proverbial slack in every part of the force.  You had to try out some units, play a bunch of games, tweak the list and then repeat.  Or you had to go online to a whole slew of blogs and forums and pick eveyone’s brain for a good list.  I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the time or energy for that kind of gaming.  If I can’t bring a reasonable sample of units in a codex and have an average chance of winning or losing a game, my interest fades.   So after six months or so, the Tyranids went back in the box.  It’s a shame too as I have an almost fully WYSIWYG and painted army now just sitting out the rest of 5th, hoping that something good will come along for the rumored 6th edition.
Now flash forward a year and a half to this summer when Necron rumors start to crank into high gear.  I don’t play 40K anymore, but I still keep tabs once a week or so just to see what’s coming down the line.  The leaks sound promising and now I’m interested.  Then the leaked pictures come out and that sealed the deal.  Those sweet looking kits may be expensive, but they defiantly caught my eye.

Am I signing myself up to get burned again?  Probably I am, but even if the new codex is total crap and I stop playing again, but even if I do, I have just as much fun building and painting models as I do with playing them, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that this isn’t a repeat of Tyranids.  One way or another I’ll know by Saturday when the local shop gets the pre-orders in.

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