Tuesday, May 1

A great podcast episode

I listen to a good deal of Podcasts, they are great for my short drive to work.  Usually though, I turn them off when I get into the office and don't listen to it again until I'm back in the car.  Yesterday was different, I had been hearing good things about a podcast called "The Codex Project."  Since my regular podcast (11th Company) hadn't put up a new episode I decided to give this new one a listen, and the topic of the day?  Broken Codex design!

In this Episode Jeff (A former store owner and games designer, iirc) and Jim (a former GW employee and game designer, iirc)  just into the hornets nest that is GW game design.  Their main area of focus: Codex creep.

For those of you who don't know what codex creep is let me explain.  Codex creep is when the newest codex is more powerful than all the codices previous to it (or a large majority of them).

In the past few editions there was a debate about the existence or nonexistence of codex creep.  Some people would call it a myth and say it doesn't exist and others would swear by it.  Not until recently has there been flat out evidence of it with the GK codex, not to mention the SW and IG.  Sure not every codex goes right to the top once it is issued, but for the most part the better codices are those that are newer.

The analysis of GW game design goes much further when they point out the cost for a GK strike squad member vs that of a regular tactical marine, I believe that they ended up with a total cost of 43 points per model!  That would mean a GK is almost 200% underpriced for his abilities.  They do admit that you can't point something out that way or nobody would play the army, but surely 20 points is too cheap.

The guys go on about how GW codex design is what is really hurting the hobby.  It isn't competitive players, it isn't 5th edition, it isn't even Goatboy (though I disagree with that last one, lol).  They state that 5th edition isn't an inherently bad system, but the codices are what break the whole thing.

Their suggestion?  EXCELLENCE! GW takes the excellence approach in many facets of their company, from model design to Forgeworld and Black library... I doubt that people can say that those areas are not excellent in design and final product.  But when it comes to rules design (particularly with a codex) the company puts on the lazy hat (it feels).  For example, why not use the public as play testers to let you know things like "Psychotroke have no business in the book."  Also, why not have Black Library authors write the background fluff in the codex so we don't have Matt Ward making up his horrible Driago fluff.  Dan Abnett writing background fluff for IG codex anyone???

All in all this is a great podcast, they give credit to GW where it is deserved and they are critical where they fail.

It really hit home for me when they said what I have been perching for a while:  saying "were a model company," doesn't excuse bad rules writing.  Creating a high and tight ruleset is something that will drive sales.  Codex creep might be good for the short term bottom line it is really bad for the company's long term growth potential because once you piss gamers off they usually don't come back.

All in all give this episode a listen.  LINK TO THE EPISODE
-note: They really get into it at about 1 hour in...

What do you think of GW codex design philosophy? 



  1. I would buy the argument about rules design being inherently 'lazy' at GW..except for the fact that 8th Edition Fantasy Army books do not seem to be suffering from this. In fact, virtually everyone that plays would agree that the latest Army books are all relatively close in the 'power index' and more importantly (to me at least) present multiple builds to play.

    These are basically the exact same people that do the 40k codexes and it's obviously the same company. Now, 7th Edition was another story mainly due to Ward's Daemons of Chaos book which was extremely hard to play against. Was it unbeatable?..no..I beat them many more times than they beat me but it did skew the whole tournament scene. Luckily 8th Edition BRB was able to change the system enough to even the field again.

    This leads me to the following possibilities:

    A. Either Ward is a really bad rulebook writer and needs to go, which I know lot of the internet faithful believe.


    B. 5th Edition 40K BRB rules are seriously flawed and the current rules allow for some armies to take advantage of them.

    So, maybe what we're going to see is a new rulebook that changes up army org, adds in enough randomness to even things out and changes the core rules enough to once again even the field.

    Just my thoughts

  2. I really think ward is just that bad... It is almost like he is the spoiled son from Harry Potter, he is a F-up and everyone knows it but since he is who he is nobody gets in the way. Maybe 6th edition will fix it all... Who knows.