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Discussion Starter #1
So in some recent threads there were comparing to Magic: The Gathering to 40K. As a former Magic player myself, I thought I'd write a little explanation of how Magic tournaments work and the how and why some cards are banned/restricted.


I should also mention, I stopped playing Magic about 10 years ago, was because I started playing 40K :eek:k:
Wizards of the Coast make Magic cards in various sets. There’s the main set (ex: 10th edition, 11th edition, etc) which gets updated every few years or so. Then there are the expansions and a new one comes out about every 3 or 4 months. Each set has approximately 150 to 300 and the expansions also often add new rules too in the form of 'card mechanics.' Kind of like special rules or unique abilities for certain cards.


Within each set, only about 15 to 20 are really any good. This is an actual complaint among some Magic players. Wizards explains this as intentional – like something of a 'noob trap.'


Anyway, tournaments are the corner stone of Wizard's business model. In order to sell more cards, Wizards organizes at least two different tournament types. Back in my day, these were Type I and Type II (now called Vintage and Standard) along with a few others.


Type II or Standard is the primary tournament format. In Standard, only the newest expansions plus the main set are used. This is to level the playing field between the older and newer players (see Type I below). So when a new expansion comes out, about a month later the oldest expansion is “rotated out” and the new one is “rotated in.” So basically, players have to buy new cards every 3 or 4 months to stay competitive.


In Type I or Vintage, just about any and all cards are legal except for a few rare cases. However, some of the most powerful cards are also really old and no longer in print. So newer players can't get them. The few cards that are banned are the “ante” cards which actually let you literally steal cards from the other player or are just plan stupid, like physically throwing the card. There are also some cards that are just /way/ to powerful, like “I win first turn” powerful so are usually restricted to one per deck.


What if GW ran 40K more like Wizards runs Magic?


Well, my first guess (and this is only a guess) would be that there would only be about 4 to 6 armies, not 16. But there would be a lot more units and unit variety. In the back of the BRB, would be some simplified codexes listing a very generic HQ, Troop choice and about 1 or 2 for each heavy support, fast attack, and elites. For example, these might be your Space Marine Commander, Tactical Squad, a Rhino, Devastator Squad, Assault Squad, and Veterans. It would be very limited.


But instead of codexes, each year an “expansion” or “supplement” would come out. Within it would be about 10 bran new units for each army, along with new models, and some new rules too.


While there would be really well run tournaments with solid rules, only the units (and models) from the main rule book and the two newest expansions would be legal as all the old ones “rotated out”. That model you bought and love 5 years ago? Can't use it. Oh, and conversions (which would be considered 'proxies') are illegal too. Gotta sell more models. The units from the main rule book are always legal, but with them only, you'd be out-gunned by the “shinier” options from the expansions.
 

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The primary difference between competitive level M:TG and 40k is the direct involvement of the company.

While the sheer scope of options in M:TG is much larger than 40k, the open nature of the game if you are just playing outside the competitive environment is pretty much the same. There are tons of "game breaking" options, but also there are wonderful variations and plenty of "fluffy" or "thematic" options that are basically absent in the competitive environment.

For the two competitive environments to "be the same" (ie an "official" tournament environment) Games Workshop would have to take a very active role in rules balance and constructing a tournament set of rules (bans, restrictions, etc). This is where the often misunderstood statement the company has made about being a "models" company and not a "game" company comes from.

40K (and WFB) are both decent miniatures rules sets (not the best) that have been created as a framework for people to buy and play with Games Workshop miniatures. Their whole company is designed around the creation and support of the miniatures and the resources that are given to the creation and playtesting of the game are limited because of it. The team they have is sufficient for the production and creation of a playable set of rules and supplements that provide a framework for people to play many different styles of games.

What they do not have (or want to do it seems) is put together the rules writing and playtesting team that would change the company's focus to a "games" company where a sleek and balanced set of competitive rules is the first priority and the models are built to support those rules. They also seem unwilling to do what WoTC has done with M:TG which is to put together a team whose whole purpose is monitor and support the competitive environment regardless of what broken units the production team does with the cards and sets. The other thing this team for WoTC does is provide prize support and other incentives for shops to run tournaments.

GW used to do this, but they have made a conscious decision to remove themselves from the competitive scene, and from creating one-shot or limited scope games...this is what they mean when they talk about being a "model" company and not a "game" company.

The competitive WFB scene recognized this many years ago and this is why there are numerous comp systems and most tournaments are run with some sort of rules packs and limitations (how many tournies use Storm of Magic). I am not sure why the 40k scene has taken quite as long to move this direction, but with the new expansions it seems they finally are going to take the reins and do it themselves.
 

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I disagree with your analogy of "40k Magic" with no conversions allowed, no armies that aren't in the rulebook and so on, which sounds like you're trying to describe it in the worst possible light.

A more accurate picture of what "MTG 40k" might look like would be that every time we changed an edition, then there would be a basic selection of the building blocks for an army included in the rulebook, so with your example then Marines might have Captains, Tac Squads, Terminators, and so on and so forth. Every army would have their own section in the rulebook, so every army has a "core" of tried and tested units that are fully balanced, if not the most exciting shiny thing in the world.

A few months after this new edition was released, then there would be a "themed release" supplement which includes many new units for every single army all based around an idea or theme, such as cityfight or jungle battles etc. Many of the new units in this supplement wouldn't be specific to the idea, so things like Contemptors or something could be added to the existing selection of rules in the rulebook. However there would also be a lot of models that directly tied to the theme like "Urban Clearance Squads" or "Hive City Militia" or "Siege Squigs" which were specifically designed around the concept of cityfighting and so on.

There would be roughly six or nine of these supplements, so by the time the next edition rolled around, every army would be equally up to date, have the same number of options and units, and would hopefully be balanced with each other.

Then you get a new edition, and you can still use all your old units casually in this new edition as well. However official tournaments would only allow units from the most recent edition as well as any supplements from that edition.

I think that presents a better idea of what 40k would look like if it tried to follow the MTG setup as closely as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
…What they do not have (or want to do it seems) is put together the rules writing and playtesting team that would change the company's focus to a "games" company where a sleek and balanced set of competitive rules is the first priority and the models are built to support those rules. They also seem unwilling to do what WoTC has done with M:TG which is to put together a team whose whole purpose is monitor and support the competitive environment regardless of what broken units the production team does with the cards and sets. The other thing this team for WoTC does is provide prize support and other incentives for shops to run tournaments.

GW used to do this, but they have made a conscious decision to remove themselves from the competitive scene, and from creating one-shot or limited scope games...this is what they mean when they talk about being a "model" company and not a "game" company...
Yes exactly. Part of my purpose was to explain why Wizards does this. I don't know why GW doesn't. But to me it looks like it's not part of their business model.

I disagree with your analogy of "40k Magic" with no conversions allowed, no armies that aren't in the rulebook and so on, which sounds like you're trying to describe it in the worst possible light...

It was just my guess. I actually have no idea ;)
 

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I disagree entirely ... 40k people shower on a regular basis in my area .... same can NOT be said for MTG. Just sayin ....
At my FLGS at lest 95% of people regular shower. The 5% that don't, are divided in what they play. Now I will say when they host really Big Magic Tournaments (200+ in a few cases), It reaks in there... buut most of those people aren't shop regulars.
 
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