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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone else think that if alien armies had as much divergence and originality that the space marine legions and chapters do they'd be a lot more popular?

I mean what makes me want to play marines is choosing a specific chapter with some info on them and then forming my own little backstory for them and there's 100s of chapters to choose from. Aliens though like eldar, necrons, dark elves etc have "some" different scheme and uniqueness but you can count them on one hand and the ability associate with them is a bit different. For Eldar you can do different craftworlds, but there's no many, that's due to lore, for necrons there's some dynasties but necrons are still struggling to come to terms with them. For tau there's some different paint schemes, but there's very little character behind the different schemes, likewise with Tyranids, it's the same for Orks, you have 5 or 6 big tribes that everyone seems to come under in some shape or form and that influences how your army is made.

Space Marines just seem a lot more open interpretation and deviation than the alien races, maybe that's just me though. I keep seeing different chapters and want to do them (Angels Penitent being the most recent) but I have a marine force already and it would be pointless, however if I had that same feeling for an alien force, I'd jump on it.
 

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Don't know if I totally agree with you. Maybe on the eldar and tau parts. I think it's more to do with GW handing more space marine variantions on a silver platter (fluff and rules wise). While you have to work a bit harder to create a new alien faction.

On the other hand you have
- Endless variations of Ork Waaaaagh's;
- No limit on the amount of craftworlds you can create;
- Unlimited Necron tomb world option;
- Unlimited number of Hive (splinter) fleets
- DE are a bit more limited (in my opinion)

In terms of "official" rules you are right, GW could do more to help alien players out; although I do hope/expect that the supplements will help in this. (Tau and eldar being the first aliens benefitting from this :))
 

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Most of the better players in my club play alien races as the have some of the most powerful builds, Yes the various forces of the Imperium have a good following but thats more because the dearth of interchangeable kits and readily available through ebay marine stuff plus the grey knights power lists with a smattering of guard thrown in.
On any given club day there are plenty of Necrons and Tau knocking around with a few dark Eldar and their effeminate kin and even a few Orks, The only army that's not often seen is Tyranids but with a new book on the horizon I am confident that the few players will dust off theirs.
 

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Don't know if I totally agree with you. Maybe on the eldar and tau parts. I think it's more to do with GW handing more space marine variantions on a silver platter (fluff and rules wise). While you have to work a bit harder to create a new alien faction.
The thing with space marines is that you can do almost any army theme and easily link it to existing lore, which is much easier to translate to another hobbyist. If i do a half robot army i can say they are IH descendants, or i do an army riding giant lizards - they are white scars gene seed from a crazy death world. There's so much to choose from in SM fluff you can link your army back to something fluffy in a couple of steps, and there's rules to support it too.

With the other races it's more difficult because there is less out there, their fluff is not as well known, and there isn't as much flexibility in their rules. Too many people in the hobby are willing to shout 'NOT FLUFFY' at the strange and unusual, or even minor deviations on what they are used to seeing.


I'm probably guilty of that from time to time as well. Whenever i have an idea for a themed army i usually spend ages looking through fluff, models and rules only to decide that it would be far easier if it was a SM army.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I agree with everything you said Varakir, space marines are very flexible and open to translation based on the amount of fluff they have. I wish the alien forces were equally as open and flexible.

With Marines there's stages you can go through to construct your chapter or build on existing chapters, you start at what the geneseed is from, that gives you a general feel for what the chapter CAN act like, then you can choose the way it decides to act on this via the way it forms it's forces, you can choose your colour scheme in a variety of ways as long as you try and form some sort of relationship to it's progenitor.

That's just basics but you can do a lot more, with Tau etc all you get is "What world are they from, what colour scheme is it" there's very simple character behind those worlds, there's some tag lines like "Fire warriors from this world are especially visious" or something..but that's not character that a minor trait.

Eldar are a step up but even then they lack the umph behind them..you got a dead craftworld, a craftworld that relies on dead people, a craftworld that enjoys speed, a craftworld that isolationist, a craftworld that still fights around the eye, then you have some characters that just highlight that but offer nothing else, and all the eldar forces come from those craftworld. I thought not many craftworlds survived the fall, apparently several have died in other codices and there's many more floating about, it feels constrained in this way though since the lore goes against there being many craftworlds.

Orks vary, but then when it comes to Orks they still fall into that similar pattern, this one likes speed, this one likes lots of guns, this one is stealthy and in the end they are orks, there's not meant to be cohesion to them so they kind of don't apply to my point.

They are on the right line with Commander Farsight, that's the first branch off from the traditional Tau, but in most cases once you've seen one tau or eldar force you've seen them all.

If they just added more divergent stories to the different worlds/craftworlds and add additional things that mark them out differently as opposed to different colour schemes, like the way space wolves are noticable because they have wolf pelts etc, blood angels have tear drops and body styled armour, salamanders have scaled cloaks, Ultramarines have a roman look etc etc, if they did something like that to the alien races and their different sub worlds then that would be great.
 

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It's a good point being made, I just don't think you're trying hard enough. Maybe?

Space marines are one of the oldest races around, GW does put a lot of effort into them and they have a very well developed backstory. Xenos on the other hand tend towards a blank slate, this can actually provide you with more possibillities than you would otherwise have with space marines. Thinking about it, it's likely down to the fact that much of the SM lore was laid down before the explosion of novels that has come out of GW over the last decade or so. It came from more game orientated publications like codexes and rulebooks, little snippets here and there with the lore from black library just adding icing to the cake. Xenos on the other hand simply haven't been developed quite so much, and I suspect you could put most of that down to market forces; what sells gets the most effort put into it.

There are however things that the space marines can't do. SM have the two moral extremes covered pretty well, they're either very good or very evil but there doesn't tend to be much in the way of a grey area with them. Sure the Blood Angel's geenseed can leave them feeling a little off-colour from time to time, and the Dark Angels always have some ulterior motive going on, but they are firmly allied to the Imperium. Allternatively you've got those that have slipped from the light and follow a more chaotic way of life. They don't however cope very well with any other point inbetween, the greyer areas of morality, the best example I can come up with are the Red Corsairs, and those are on the slippery slope to chaos worship.

Xenos on the other hand, you can apply so many more motivations to the grand arc of the story behind your army. Orks are a perfect example of a clean slate, it is so easy to take the theme for an army anywhere. Go for a full on space pirate theme (eye patches and all) or get some fantasy orc savages in the mix and go for a stone age neandethal army fighting in space theme, even some hint that your army may have come from some failed experiment by an inquisitor and a techpriest wherin they were imprinted with a 'genetic memory' of historical eras from terra (WW2, american civil war or Nepoleonic era warfare for example) or the abillity to recreate imperial technology "perfectly" (for an ork that is).

Other races, Dark Eldar for example, what would a Kabal that took a particular interest in torturing Tyranids or Tau look like? Say a particular Archon found he took greater pleasure in torturing one race over another, would they taunt the Tau's love of technology by using less technology themselves - making the raiders look ramshackle and home-build. Would a Tyranid focused DE force look more like the predators (from Aliens v Predator lore) than anything else in GW lore?

The way I would come up with a Xenos army (or any army for that matter) is to start with an idea like that and then build a list that suits. It can be a bit too easy to slip into elements of power gaming or old habits of relying on existing lore but my point is with a little thought and imagination, and maybe a bit more than avarage modelling/painting abillity it can actually be easier to get where you want to be with Xenos than space marines, and you can end up with something pretty unique.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh of course I understand that, I have loads of ideas like that but as neilbatte said, space marines have the interchangeable kits about, like space wolves, black templars, dark angels, blood angels.

There's very little if anything like this for other armies which means you have to sacrifice a great deal of money to take your ideas for example tyranid hunting dark eldar just for the little components to add that fluff and originality to your legion. There's very little basic variations to go with is what I'm trying to get at. I understand taking an idea and making it happen but I have to say it's a lot harder to do that with a xenos force than it is space marines. I could come up with multiple variations of space marine chapters (Scythes of the Emperor using HH Death Guard bits for example?) that wouldn't leave me out of pocket because I'd be able to use every bit of the additional set in some shape or form.

P.S That Dark Eldar / Tyranid thing is a badass idea btw
 

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it does not have to do with the "age" of the army, King Gary, it has to do with GWs writing team being gaga over their poster boys with the 6 loyalist Codex's (C:SM C:SW C:BA C:DA C:GK C:BT) a book upon traitor SMs (C:CSM) and an unenhanced human book (C:IG) so that is 8 armies all built with Humans as the core ideal. compared to the Xeno races which are C:Eldar C:Dark Eldar C:Orks C:Tyranids C:Necrons C:Tau. Note that over half of the Codex's in existance ARE Imperium, and the number of SM codex's alone matches the number of clearly Xeno races.
 

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it does not have to do with the "age" of the army, King Gary, it has to do with GWs writing team being gaga over their poster boys with the 6 loyalist Codex's (C:SM C:SW C:BA C:DA C:GK C:BT) a book upon traitor SMs (C:CSM) and an unenhanced human book (C:IG) so that is 8 armies all built with Humans as the core ideal. compared to the Xeno races which are C:Eldar C:Dark Eldar C:Orks C:Tyranids C:Necrons C:Tau. Note that over half of the Codex's in existance ARE Imperium, and the number of SM codex's alone matches the number of clearly Xeno races.
Yeah, I agree that that is the current balance as it has been since at least 3rd ed. But clearly the reason for that is market forces. Also the fact that a recent survey showed that 99.99% of GW's customers are humans, and when looking to take on a role in a story people are more than likely to go for what they can identify with at some base level. For most people it's harder to identify with an alien than it is a (genetically enhanced) super human. With GW you get your classic comic book set-up of ultra good and ultra bad (but essentially human) but unlike your classic comic books you also get a relatively speaking wide variety of complete allternatives. Could the Xenos' lore be more developed? Sure. But it's a whole lot harder to do than developing human based races and the finacial returns possibly aren't there quite yet.

Oh of course I understand that, I have loads of ideas like that but as neilbatte said, space marines have the interchangeable kits about, like space wolves, black templars, dark angels, blood angels.

There's very little if anything like this for other armies which means you have to sacrifice a great deal of money to take your ideas for example tyranid hunting dark eldar just for the little components to add that fluff and originality to your legion. There's very little basic variations to go with is what I'm trying to get at. I understand taking an idea and making it happen but I have to say it's a lot harder to do that with a xenos force than it is space marines. I could come up with multiple variations of space marine chapters (Scythes of the Emperor using HH Death Guard bits for example?) that wouldn't leave me out of pocket because I'd be able to use every bit of the additional set in some shape or form.

P.S That Dark Eldar / Tyranid thing is a badass idea btw
You're talking to someone that just dropped over £40 on enough Forge World boarding shields for a single space marine tactical squad. Nice space marine armies aren't cheap either lol.

I guess i'm just trying to say that xenos races require a bit more effort, in all aspects of the hobby. From gaming and tactics through to painting and modelling. The old system of being able to order individual parts was awesome, if a little expensive too, but i'm sure it's still possible to get what you're after. I'd love to start a project that used Warhammer fatasy kits in a 40k army, litteraly zombie tau or something (how would you be able to tell? they're allready all so grey looking!)
 

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To hell with what GW gives you in terms of fluff. Make up a race. Figure out what types of stats would bes suit your army. Then choose that race, and Counts As the whole damn thing.

My primary army are Thousand Sons, but I play them in that moral middleground such as Pre-Heresy; they never wanted Chaos, but the Imperium abandoned them for the flaw that the Emperor bred into them. Lots of robed sorcerer marines, etc etc. But still an Astartes race.

However, after that I just mix and match. I decided for my next army, I wanted Adeptus Mechanicus. So I said to myself, how would that work? I wanted to focus on super advanced tech and fairly advanced cybernetics and robotics. So.. what does that go with?

Advanced super tech? Tau weaponry. Battlesuits become advanced Legio Cybernetica. Riptides turn into Knight walkers.

More advanced tech and cybernetics? Necrons. I have the first of my 'Nightscythes' built out of an Ork Bommer (which looks like an IG style vehicle). I have a Techmarine with a Warscythe zooming around on a CCB. Warriors have the perfect feel for Skittari (Firewarriors did too, but I decided to go with more big robots with the Farsight rules).

Any race could technically be done this way. A friend of mine is dying to put Squats on the board. They synch up pretty well with Iron Hands rules. Maybe you wanted to run a race of Cthulu'ish giant squads... That might be a little more tricky, but I'm sure we could link up some Nids to them.

Especially with Allies, you should be able to make your own amazing race by using exactly the squads you want from two factions to make some new race with the stats you want.
 

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It's a good point being made, I just don't think you're trying hard enough. Maybe?

Space marines are one of the oldest races around, GW does put a lot of effort into them and they have a very well developed backstory. Xenos on the other hand tend towards a blank slate, this can actually provide you with more possibillities than you would otherwise have with space marines.
Don't get me wrong, i agree that you have a lot more scope with xenos and if you put a lot of effort in you'll get a great final result - but one of the points i was trying to make is it's a lot harder to get your vision across with xenos. The execution of modelling, painting and fluff really needs to be spot on with xenos to get the same effect as an SM army.

If i want to make a highly mobile, desert themed army I just use BA or RG as my primogenitor, paint them a sandy colour and call them the desert rats or something equally stupid. Just from the name and mentioning the parent chapter i can convey a massive amount about the army.

If i wanted to do that with Tau i need to do a hell of a lot of modelling work to get my idea across without an accompanying A4 page of fan fiction.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yeah, I agree that that is the current balance as it has been since at least 3rd ed. But clearly the reason for that is market forces. Also the fact that a recent survey showed that 99.99% of GW's customers are humans, and when looking to take on a role in a story people are more than likely to go for what they can identify with at some base level. For most people it's harder to identify with an alien than it is a (genetically enhanced) super human. With GW you get your classic comic book set-up of ultra good and ultra bad (but essentially human) but unlike your classic comic books you also get a relatively speaking wide variety of complete allternatives. Could the Xenos' lore be more developed? Sure. But it's a whole lot harder to do than developing human based races and the finacial returns possibly aren't there quite yet.



You're talking to someone that just dropped over £40 on enough Forge World boarding shields for a single space marine tactical squad. Nice space marine armies aren't cheap either lol.

I guess i'm just trying to say that xenos races require a bit more effort, in all aspects of the hobby. From gaming and tactics through to painting and modelling. The old system of being able to order individual parts was awesome, if a little expensive too, but i'm sure it's still possible to get what you're after. I'd love to start a project that used Warhammer fatasy kits in a 40k army, litteraly zombie tau or something (how would you be able to tell? they're allready all so grey looking!)
Aye I know, I'm just saying in general that's the problem with xenos armies, they ain't popular because they are not diverse enough because if you want a unique individual looking army you really got to splash the cash to get the theme over and the general gaming base won't do that, thus you'll get the odd competitive army that's made up purely to crush people but won't look especially unique.

If I really put my mind to it and kept the interest I guess I could come up with a unique looking xenos army but in general this is simply not a viable option for most gamers and this contributes to the reasons why xenos armies are not as popular to the overwhelming amount of power armoured armies.

I'm about to drop £80 on 3 lots of Forgeworld Mk II marines at gamesday for my HH army :p
 

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Well... this might be cheating... but I am using Space Marines to add fluff to my Necrons... bare with me

The way I see it, Marines can get corrupted by Chaos... so why can't they be corrupted by other things? Like for instance Necrons? Take a chapter like Iron Hands (that pretty much warships the Machine God), and read really far into the fact that the Void Dragon was probably a C'tan, making Machine Spirits an off shoot of Necron technology, and how Ferrus Manus had Necrodermis hands, fill in with a little fluff hogwash of my own about a crafty Harbinger of Transmogrification and we have the Necron Machine Cult. Or Marines that Warship the Necrons has gods.

And now I have my very own Half Marine Half Necrons. Well okay they are still a work in progress...
 

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I think one of the biggest problems with the home brew xenos races, is that there is no rules support to back them up.

If I were to play space marines, there are Ultramrines, Raven Guard, Imperial Fists, White Scars, Iron Hands, Salamanders, Black Templears, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and Grey Knights to choose from, all with their own rules (and gear, in some cases).

Now, if I wanted to play Eldar, there are different crafworlds, but no real divergent rules for units. The same goes for dark eldar, orks, tau, nids, and necrons. Aside from some minor force org shifting using special characters (like a Warboss) or unlock characters (like a haemonculus) there is little variation to army design.

So if I want to make a renegade Tau mercenary force (WIP), there isn't much to differentiate them from a cadre from Tau itself. The lack of real differences makes me more likely to buy SM and customize to taste.
 

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Anyone else think that if alien armies had as much divergence and originality that the space marine legions and chapters do
Are you high? Urien Rakarth lets out more original farts than any Spess Muhreen related anything I've ever seen.

Aliens are less popular because they don't get as many model kits, generally gets rushed rules, and they won't be babied by GW with special codices all the time like SM players do.
 

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Has anyone entertained the thought that despite all of the short comings that are so obvious to you guys, maybe it's just that the larger GW buying community doesn't actually like the aliens ?

Space Marines and their ilk have a huge appeal that goes far beyond any rubbish about their rules or support or any of that. How many new buyers of armies would even have the slightest notion of those things ?

Space Marines are popular as the are easily identifiable as human and the good guys, new players can relate to them far better than any of the other offerings.
 

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Has anyone entertained the thought that despite all of the short comings that are so obvious to you guys, maybe it's just that the larger GW buying community doesn't actually like the aliens ?

Space Marines and their ilk have a huge appeal that goes far beyond any rubbish about their rules or support or any of that. How many new buyers of armies would even have the slightest notion of those things ?

Space Marines are popular as the are easily identifiable as human and the good guys, new players can relate to them far better than any of the other offerings.
I can see your points. Space Marines are human (sort of, if you discount the insane amount of genetic modification and implantation needed to make a one) and the good guys (again, sort of. Depends on the chapter). But the question then becomes what is the appeal to gamers?

If the appeal is "human", then why not make a go of pushing the Imperium as a whole, with emphasis on IG since they are the backbone of almost all human military operations.

If the option is "the good guys", then then they could push Eldar & Tau, who are usually described as good aliens in the fluff.

IMHO, GW has always pushed space marines way harder than any other army, which is why we have what we have today where the majority of players use (or at least own) space marines. If they wanted to, they could put a fraction of that creativity/time/effort into fluffing up/pushing the xenos races and I think we would see way more variety and many more xenos players.
 

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Spacemarines are easily identifiable as a GW poster child though so why wouldn't they push them for all there worth. Gaurd are easily identifiable as human but so are many other companies sci fi models so maybe they become a bit samey.
I still disagree that the alien races are not well represented though the web is full of people bitching about how great or OP the necron flying circus is or the Tau battlesuit cadre, or DE venom spam and I've seen some awesome armies using different books to represent other races that have only tiny mentions in the books There was a hrud/ ghoul star denizen list on here somewhere a while back.
There is more scope for imaginative armies in the alien race books as the fluff is more sketchy, How many marines in a company or a chapter at full strength ,how many aspect warriors in a aspect lodge I bet most can answer 1 of these questions the other just comes down to personal choice.
You don't even need masses of conversions just imaginative basing and a great paint scheme maybe a few trophies to make a good back story.
 

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The original question was weather or not they would be more popular if they were better represented. I think that if GW took the time to better represent them, with both fluff and rules they would be much more popular.

I am not arguing that with a little creativity you can make almost anything into an original army that counts as XYZ, because you can. What I am saying is that I can't take that army to a tournament, or take it to my FLGS to play without endless questions. And if I went go out on a limb and make my own rules, then I need to get everyone's permission to even put them on the table. I don't feel like putting that much effort into an army that will rarely see table time. And from what I've seen on the table, most gamers in my area aren't willing to do it either.

So, if GW were willing to expand the xenos races like they do marines, I believe there would be far more xenos players.
 

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I'm one of the few in my area who will play aliens only. Won't touch marines or ig, not even Chaos.

There was a time when I had a full army of each and every xenos race (in a few cases I had several armies worth) and I was happy with that. Once or twice I attempted to build a marine army, lost all interest halfway through (often sooner) and sold the lot.

The one advantage I believe marines have is from a modelling standpoint. They are ridiculously easy to assemble and convert, simplistic to paint and not hard to learn to game with.

I thought it was just me, but most xenos armies just don't seem quite as "user friendly."
 
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