The Ballbusch Experience: Competitive Games

A few years back there was a huge push in the 40k player base to create a ‘competitive game’ out of 5th Edition.  As we all know this effort came to grief thanks in no small part of Games Workshop itself.  The question of competitive wargames lingers.  Before we go one, I’d like to define what I mean by competitive.  All players want to win, and all players strive to win.  However, for a game to be truly competitive both sides must have an equal change to win.  A sporting event is competitive because both sides have the same number of players and the same goal.  There is no way to win without knowledge of the players.  Likewise, chess.  In a vacuum white and black have the same chance at victory.



Ours is an age that bend towards collaboration rather than competition.  ‘There is no ‘I’ in team’; ‘everyone is a winner’, that sort of thing.  One the other hand, there is a distinct push to make competitions out of the most ridiculous and unsuitable pastimes.  So-called e-sports are popular and remarkably lucrative.  Collectable card games have enjoyed popularity as tournament games for decades, and misguided souls have attempted the same with wargames on several occasions.

The first and most salient point is that war is simply not fair.  The heart of even the most basic tactics is to lure your opponent into the most unfair situation possible.  The standard set-up for any wargame is reminiscent of a chessboard: two forces roughly equal in size and/or capacities facing off over an expanse of more-or-less open ground.  While balanced, this situation represents a complete failure of leadership.  The result of such and encounter is predictable: heavy casualties and an inclusive result, which is sadly a common outcome on the wargames table.

Any competent officer transported to the wargames table would attempt to maintain contact with the enemy while awaiting reinforcements, a chance to redeploy, or orders to withdraw.  This does not present a very interesting game.  Yet, there are plenty of rules where an even points match can result in one said being ‘tabled’.  However, I submit the following:  any rules set that allows for the realistic possibility that one side will suffer defeat in detail during the classic ‘pitched battle’ scenario is fundamentally unbalanced.

The counter argument is, of course, tactics.  But this does not hold up to examination.  The scenario has set up a slugging match.  If both sides are fundamentally equal (as assumed by the points match) and neither side has any particular advantage in ground then neither should suffer disproportionate attrition.  Luck plays a part, but that undermines the idea player skill.  With all else being equal the game should naturally drift toward stalemate.  Skill is the theoretical X factor that makes the game winnable.  However, this requires creating fundamental instability in the game which works to destroy balance.

Consider the conditions on the wargames table: cramped and crowded.  The player may attempt to form a schwerpunkt somewhere on the table, but that is often very hard to do and tends to be more often an elite unit or ‘deathstar’ than an actual task force.  Also, in an equal game the opposing force has the same level of threat as the play’s own force.  Therefore, any effective concentration of force necessitates critically weakening another sector.  Again, driving towards stalemate.  The way around this, from a design prospective, is army books and special rules.  Everything is not made equal, and a cleaver player can design a force to overawe an opponent with less knowledge of system or without the foresight to select the best army out of those available.

So, in order to create a winnable wargame the game must be made unfair.  This eliminates any hope of competition on the table.  At best the contest is one of list building skill.  At worst it is one of luck and gamesmanship.  Either way it has cease to be a proper wargame.  Military considerations are forgotten and the setting is simply trappings for game mechanics.  Much like a video or card game.

Magic: The Gathering can be made competitive because all cards are not created equal, but all players have access to all cards (in theory).  So, deck building is a critical skill.  Also, it is clearly a card game.  There is no pretense of simulating wizardly duels.  Likewise chess or checkers are not battlegames, and any real life events they might portray are abstracted beyond recognition.



As rules become simpler there is more room for competitive play.  Something like Warhammer, even the much-praised 5th Edition 40k, groaning under the weight of dozens of books and hundreds of pages of rules really is not suitable.  Also, most wargamers like complexity and detail.  All impulses drive games away from competitive play even while many gamers still seek fair tournaments.

Some games are at least semi-suitable.  Horde of the Things is a good example.  Everyone has access to the same ‘army list’ the rules are simple and both sides have a simple goal.  Similarly you can have a relatively fair and balanced DBA game.  All armies are not created equal, but there is a certain amount of rock, paper, scissors to the play.  All armies are the same size and victory goes to the first player to eliminate 25% of the opposing force.  Add to that core rules that run all of six pages and you have a game that’s easy to play, easy to score, and–so long as no one plays any of the bottom-of-the-barrel armies–fairly balanced.

However, wargames work best with scenarios.  More than that, they work best with a referee.  Fog of war is a major part of battle.  You never know the exact disposition of the enemy, he numbers and intentions have to be deduced from his behavior.  A not necessarily balanced makes the play more simulation and less game.  A gamemaster who hides things for the players and adds friction creates a far deeper appreciation for tactics.

That said, I acknowledge that I approach wargaming from something of an RPG prospective.  I try to put myself in the commander’s place, use the right tactics, etc.  But that is the intellectual soil from which wargames bloomed.  Admittedly, modern wargames are far removed from the offices of the Prussian General Staff, but they remain evolved thought experiments.

Can we have a competitive wargame?  I say no because the spirit of fair play and competition run counter to all considerations of warfare.  This does not mean that wargames should not be conducted in the manner of gentlemanly sport.  They must be.  But rather that a certain amount of co-operation is necessary between the players even as both strive for victory.

This does not mean that by extension we cannot have a competitive miniatures game.  However, such a game would have to be largely divorced from any pretense of tactical simulation.  In that case the setting and ‘realistic’ outcomes are meaningless in the face of gameplay and balanced game mechanics.  As mentioned before, Magic follows this model, as to some extent does 4th Edition D&D.

One underlying problem is list building.  Even with point values it is almost impossible to ensure that all things are equal.  So, in time it will be found that this is better than that.  Which leads to a game becoming ‘solved’.  Being ‘competitive’ means that players will select the optimal army.  Which leads to the question of why the options are available in the first place.

From an intellectual standpoint I am not convinced that a truly competitive wargame would require nothing but mirror matches.  Yet, I cannot think of a realistic approach that would ensure A army would always have a 50% change of winning against B army.  Which leads us back to the same problem: in order to be competitive both sides must always have an equal chance of winning.  That way player skill (in other words, the competition) is the only variable.  The next question is do any of us even want to play that game?  Much of the charm of wargaming would be lost for little or no gain.

Using current rules you could design a reasonably competitive tournament if not a competitive game.  If the organizer designed all armies played and playtested the scenario(s) used until there was reasonable certainty that either side was equally likely to win.  But again that is a largely preprogramed game with little of the creativity wargamers enjoy.

  • Thuloid

    I think there might actually be two ways of getting to competitive. One is, as you say, that any army A always has near 50% chance of victory against any other army B. This might be ideal, but there is another possibility.

    If Army A has a distinct advantage against B, but B is good against C and C is effective against A, that’s a form of balance–mild rock, paper, scissors between whole armies. It’s less desirable than true balance, but as long as the advantages aren’t overwhelming (B still has a decent chance to score a draw or minor victory against A), it’s a reasonable proxy within a tournament setting. In this case, a quick way to evaluate a game’s balance would be to assess list diversity within a “mature” tournament setting (not still adjusting to recent changes). Slight changes in scenario rules can have enormous effects on this score.

    In general, bad periods in “competitive” 40k (that would be most of its history) have been marked by truly dismal list diversity, given the enormous possible range of the game. Certain factions don’t see tournament tables at all, and others only in very limited, optimized configurations. Likewise, better periods in games tend to be marked by more diversity, in both number of overall entries and finishes of players. Because of rules simplicity and fundamental similarity among unit templates, Kings of War is seeing pretty high list diversity right now, though a few favorites do stand out (and likely always will).

    • Cedric Ballbusch

      I that there are two factors at work. Systemic Balance and Competitiveness.

      If there are nine armies in a game and each is at and advantage against four and a disadvantage against four the result is a balanced system, assuming that all armies are played with even frequency. However, individual games would still be played at a handicap, which I argue would make the game relatively non-competitive. Of course, if the advantage/disadvantage match-ups were well known organizers could ensure an even number of good and bad match ups for each player. But, then we have a new level of complexity.

      • Thuloid

        Depends on the size of the handicap. Strictly speaking, every game of chess is at a handicap, which is why things aren’t decided by a single match. Very large mismatches make competitiveness difficult. But who’s to say that the basic unit for evaluating competitiveness is the single match, rather than the whole tournament? Am I playing this battle, or am I playing this weekend-long event? Note that playing to win in a tournament often means introducing factors into decisions for an individual game that, strictly speaking, have nothing to do with that game–if I’m in 4th place going into a final round, I may want to play in a more risky fashion going for the big win, hoping to vault into 1st.

        But then, as you note, we’re not really playing a wargame competitively, because our standard for victory is the tournament, not the battle, and the tournament doesn’t even pretend to simulate anything.

        In any event, for something as complex as a tabletop wargame, balance and competitiveness are best understood a posteriori. That’s why I brought up list and army diversity–if these are measuring out well, then players are learning from experience that a wide variety of possible entries have solid chances at victory. But this takes time to evaluate, and the powers that be need to be prepared to adjust based on this feedback.

        I don’t think it’s impossible–it’s just always a work in progress.

        • Cedric Ballbusch

          You’ve hit on something. A competitive wargame (within our current understanding of the wargame) is a practical impossibility. It does not follow that a competitive wargames tournament is impossible.

          If every player played every other player twice and on the second match swapped armies with his opponent. The result would certainly indicate the best players present. If the armies brought by those players were relatively heterogeneous then we could conclude that the game itself was relatively balanced and healthy.

          I am sure a great mind than myself could come up with a less time intensive way to organize an event with similar results.

          • Thuloid

            Another (rather strange) factor is that player skill may not be wholly independent of army. First, because list construction is a type of skill. Second, even in a relatively well-balanced game, a player constructs to his own tastes and tendencies.

            In general I agree that switching armies is great (and a lot of fun), but in some cases all it proves is that one of the players has a highly idiosyncratic approach that others find difficult to duplicate. Presumably experience with many different kinds of armies could mitigate that gap, but then “skill” as measured in such a tournament is really a proxy for “knows every kind of list imaginable.” If I wanted to win such a tournament, I’d do two things–1)study and practice with as many standard builds as I could manage, and 2)favor eccentricity in my own build.

          • Cedric Ballbusch

            I see your point. I suppose overexposure to GW games has made me paranoid that a player could construct an unbeatable army the required little-or-no actual skill to play (of course, the building is its own skill).

            But I see that trading off favors the generalist at the expense of players with great depth of knowledge.

            Any attempt to redress inequalities in the system appear doom to simply create new inequalities all their own.

          • Thuloid

            It seems to me GW games have been almost uniquely bad on that score. I don’t believe such an army is possible in Kings of War, for example. It certainly isn’t in SAGA, with its minimalist list-building.

            GW likes a)stacking special rules until units become nigh-unkillable, and b)rewarding players for stacking all their points in unkillable units.

          • Cedric Ballbusch

            GW suffers from a failure of worldbuilding.

            Wonder weapons and innovative tactics generally only work once. Then everyone adapts and either adopts the new method or develops a counter measure. If Imperial super heavy tanks are a fact of the battlefield every squad will have some sort of man-portable weapon capable of knocking one out. If Chaos Knights with a 1+ save are an issue, every army will have something that can deal with them.

            GW tends to design armies on a theme and in a vacuum. Which makes it way to easy to run into an opponent for which you simple have no response.

          • Thuloid

            Whaa? You don’t think it makes sense for warfare to remain static for 10,000 years?

            I suppose that’s why the Imperium has to be so large. One side or another can grind through a practically infinite number of planets without anything substantially changing.

            In fact, that feels like the whole point of 40k- history has ground to a halt. It coming to an actual end would be merciful, but never quite happens. Instead, we’ve got a kind of Zeno’s paradox of the apocalypse. You know, that almost makes sense, since Zeno was an Eleatic–no movement, no change, just the One. A nice way of saying that time is an illusion.

          • Cedric Ballbusch

            The Katha Upanishad also says that cause and effect is meaningless (if not illusory) before the Self.

            40k takes the call to eternity and subverts it in to a stagnate nightmare. But for modern man, driven by the promise of progress and conceiving of himself as a unique individual, a state of eternal oneness with everything is somewhat unsettling concept. In some way the setting plays to that.

            For me it is not so much the 40k is static (as little sense as that makes) it is that with the power balance the way it is one side should win. I don’t know if it is still true, but for a long time Tyranids had no way of coping with armor, which beg the question of why Tyranids were not wiped out in short order.

            I understand that that is for flavor, you don’t want your not-Alien Aliens to have bazookas. But, they should have some way to blow up a Rhino.

          • Thuloid

            I think Carnifexes were theoretically for that, once upon a time (though maybe not in the edition(s) you have in mind). But if you can’t get one in the vicinity of a tank…

          • The Warlock

            I’d say you’re right on that with the Fex, though the amount of high strength, high output gunz these days seem to just chew through wounds, saves and the like all too quickly.

          • Thuloid

            Yup. Once upon a time, a game of 40k gave you at best a handful of high S, good AP shots per turn. Firepower in that game is overwhelming now–standard 40k is almost what Apocalypse used to be. Whole thing probably needs to be blown up and redesigned in one piece from scratch.

          • Cedric Ballbusch

            I am not yet so far gone down the path of madness that I am going to claim that 2nd Edition was the one true way. But, a great many of ‘modern’ 40k’s issues can be traced back to the fact that the game and its armies very conceived for second and third edition when armies were, at most, several dozen figures and getting more than three or four vehicles almost impossible for anyone but the Imperial Guard (who were the ‘tank’ army anyway)

          • Thuloid

            Right. Compare the Riptide or a wraithknight to anything on the table in those days. 1 vs. an army might be a fair fight.

            Pretty much everything that is any good now is stuff that didn’t exist back then.

          • The Warlock

            At first I thought ‘hang on, that can’t be right’ but it actually is. Eldar guardians are pretty decent, but the deep fried Camembert is in new models, or existing models given new weapons. If the jetbike scatter laser became an S3 AP6 Assault 4 weapon, would it be appropriately costed for the platform?

            Even stompas and baneblades are mediocre compared to the newer superheavies. Either 40k needs an AoS style hard-reboot (and to hell with the rage) or a scaling down and scaling back of weapons, units and unit availability.

          • Thuloid

            I just checked some top lists from a prominent US 40k GT in September. That scene is hurting bad, but a few large tournaments continue to draw.

            Anyhow, it’s all newer stuff in the lists. Most traditional thing in the Eldar list I saw was a whole mess of Warp Spiders. Necrons had…well, only things that come from the last couple Necron books. Basic troops don’t exist unless they qualify you for some weird formation. So a very minor tax.

            It’s about the most broken game I’ve ever seen.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Good article. Although I agree that a balanced points based game is impossible, GW don’t even try which is hurting the game.

    I would be interested to play a tournament where all armies were the same, it would be a cool thing to try.

    • Cedric Ballbusch

      I’ve seen ‘swap’ tournaments where each player brings two armies and each player is allowed to select one of his own, or one of his opponent’s armies (works with DBA since an army fits in a shoebox).

      A point system creates an illusion of balance by assigning value. If you’ve create one you have to try to make it work. If you don’t have a point system, that’s fine too. No one thinks a battalion of Spanish militia are going to stand up to the French Imperial Guard, plan your games accordingly.

  • Kelly

    If both armies are “equal”, then the trick is seeing who plays up their strengths as best as possible, while compensating / concealing / minimizing their weaknesses as best as possible. And at the same time, exploiting their opponent’s weaknesses to maximum effect, while minimizing the effectiveness of their strengths.

    Can a miniatures game ever truly be 100% “balanced”? Absolutely not. But just because a goal is impossible, that doesn’t mean every game designer should just not bother trying. A game that is MOSTLY “balanced”, and “fair”, is going to be more fun (and less disheartening) to play than one that is not.

    It’s like this: I would rather watch a good soccer match between two evenly matched and motivated teams, rather than a match between a pro team vs my 8 year old kid’s soccer team. In the case of the latter, the end result would be a forgone conclusion, and the game itself an embarrassment to watch.

    • Cedric Ballbusch

      Well, that’s the whole errr point of a point system. In theory if Space Marines are three times better than Orks than Space Marines cost three times more than Orks. So, things should come out. Easier said than done and I think we all know why it doesn’t work (too complex). But, I agree the game ought to be fair and balance at least on the surface.

      A lot of game designers, not just GW seem to have forgotten that at least in theory 100 points of X must be just as good as 100 points of Y. Yeah, it won’t happen, but you need to try.

  • You don’t disappoint Cedric, I’ve read heaps of articles over the years about the possibility of competitive wargaming, and this is the first time I’ve seen someone point out that competitive means balanced, and balance means a drift toward stalemate. I certainly never realised that before.

    I think people often assume that a game where the armies are balanced would mean that with player skill removed, either side could win. But it actually means that with player skill removed, neither side will win. It’s a crucial difference.

    I submit to the court that the best evidence we have that a balanced competitive wargame might be off the cards is that there hasn’t been one yet, and not for lack of trying. Induction, baby.
    Of course that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, miniatures wargaming as we know it is only what, a hundred and fifty years old, if that? But I think it’s pretty unlikely. And I’ve never seen a suggestion as to how it could be achieved (including Thuloid’s) that looks like any fun at all.

    • Thuloid

      My suggestion works for tournaments, which are either a thing a person is into or they aren’t. They have next to nothing to do with the RPG-influenced kind of gaming Cedric prefers, and that tends to capture our imaginations the best.

      But as I noted to Cedric, tournaments are very artificial, and almost by definition not really a wargame (since what matters is total tournament score, not a general accomplishing his battlefield objectives in an engagement).

      • Maybe the reason this is such an issue for people is that many people like tournaments and RPG-style wargames, and they don’t want to accept that the two might be mutually exclusive.

        • Thuloid

          Could well be. Then again, there’s such a thing as tournament RPG play. It’s insane, but it’s been around for a long time.

          • Sometimes I think it would be more helpful to think of wargames and RPGs as just one big thing, in a bunch of different iterations, or with family resemblances. A competitive RPG has more in common with a competitive wargame than it does someone’s homebrew RP-heavy game. And my garage games of warhammer with my friends in high school, where we didn’t even use points values and made strategic decisions in character, e.g. I’m playing Dwarfs and a Dwarf general would hold the line… well, they were much more like the afore-mentioned homebrew RPG than they were like a 40k tournament match. All of what we call RPGs and wargames are games where you ostensibly adopt a role, but how much this is abstracted and how much it is invested in varies more along the lines of the player’s preference than it does the sort of game played.

            But for some reason people have decided to divide them up into “wargame” and “RPG” as though the salient feature by which they should be differentiated is whether you are adopting the role of a general or of an individual warrior – how “zoomed in” the action is, in other words. Which is kind of a strange line to divide along I think.

          • Thuloid

            Well, it makes sense given that this is exactly the origin of RPGs–zoomed in wargame. D&D comes about because of the question, “How did Hero X leading Regiment Y get to be a hero in the first place?”

            So I’d think there’s plenty of room for various gradations and variants.

            For a recent game, take Frostgrave. Very simple rules, works as a skirmish game but is meant to have more RPG-like elements. Mantic keeps filling in their line with steps between full on wargame and dungeon crawler. Gorkamorka, Necromunda and Mordheim worked best when just a little RPG-ish.

    • Cedric Ballbusch

      Thank you for the praise.

      The exact history of wargames is a little vague. Model soldiers were use to display drills and possibly for tactical exercises back sometime into the 1700’s. After the Napoleonic Wars these evolved into full staff excises, which HG Wells converted into a more accessible game for the rest of us. The games have come a long way since then, but even the most modern rules are still haunted by the shades of long departed Prussian Brigadiers, which makes it such an unsuitable pass-time for competitive sport.

      As an interesting aside, the operational wargames of Operation Barbarossa predicted the offensive stalling once winter set in and the Soviets slowly regaining strategic initiative in 1942.

      We can have a competitive miniatures game, but there is a lot of heritage to shake off. And d owe even want to lose it?

      • sandwyrm

        Send me an email.

    • sandwyrm

      Balance has many facets, and you’re ignoring some of them.

      If your game does nothing to encourage players to move their forces around, each game will naturally devolve into a fairly static battle where initial deployment and proper concentration of fire are the chief determinants of victory. In this case, perfectly costed units would lead to very marginal successes. While imperfect costing will have much more detrimental effects to balance/fairness.

      On the other hand, if you add incentives to movement, you add more interest and choices to the game. Suddenly instead of simply picking the most efficient application of firepower, you have to worry about being able to spot the enemy, cover modifiers to hit, protecting objectives, movement-blocking units, initiative order, etc.

      This then adds to the number of decisions that you must make during a game. The more decisions that you have to make, the more mistakes or turns of luck may happen. Thus the possible margins of victory will widen, the effects of imperfect balance will lessen, and players will have to learn actual tactics to win. Because the game provides opportunities for those tactics to make a difference.

      Or put more bluntly, 40K is too simplistic in its play to provide a balanced competitive experience, even if the factions were perfectly costed. If you want balanced factions with a compelling play experience, there has to be more to the game than just standing and shooting.

      Early to mid 5th Edition was only compelling because mechanized lists were able to move around effectively, and objectives were added that gave you a reason to move. The gameplay failure of 6th was that movement was de-emphasized, while certain rules like wound allocation were changed in ways that made some units durable enough to either remain where they were deployed all game long, or survive a march directly across the field into melee no matter what shot at them.

      This resulted in fewer decisions, and therefore fewer opportunities for players to make mistakes. Thus skill was discounted, and the problems with the balancing of the codices were amplified.

      So to get a balanced, enjoyable game that requires skill, you balance the lists, but provide more variety/complexity in the gameplay and the missions. So that skill becomes the main determining factor.

      • Thuloid

        Oh God, early 6th. I didn’t play much after I realized what it was–the tables looked like some idiot’s idea of a sci-fi WW1 simulation. You buy a wall to stand behind, I buy a wall to stand behind, now let’s shoot.

    • sandwyrm

      I submit that the reason we haven’t seen a better balanced competitive miniature wargame *yet* is because anyone smart enough to make one (who isn’t a company owner) can make much better money in the Video Game business (or elsewhere). Larger market and all that.

      Take, for instance, the math professor who claimed to have achieved perfect costing for the X-Wing miniatures game. FFG discussed hiring him, but his academic salary was something like 3x the top pay that FFG could offer. Yet he wouldn’t work on contract (too busy), or release his work only to FFG, because… well he’s an academic and sticks to their standards about freely releasing information.

      Even in Video Games, the pay for designers is usually far below that of artists and programmers, while they’re typically recruited from the game testers who don’t have college degrees at all. Think of the best video games/companies out there, and you’ll probably find the design duties being mainly done by a top artist or programmer who are also a founder of that company. John Carmack comes to mind as just one example. Peter Molynuex would be another.

      • Cedric Ballbusch

        That is a possibility.

        Any ‘balanced’ system is going to require at a minimum a mathematical system to predict the likely outcome of encounters between two units. You could then play with point costs until you reach a state of balance between X points of A and X points of B. You would then have to adjust for synergy, terrain, etc.

        That’s a lot of ask from game designers who might well not even be being paid.

        • sandwyrm

          Yes it would require a system logical and consistent enough (in both table setup and actual gameplay) to be broken down into a series of steps for each possible interaction (and any special rules that apply to them), and then have those be weighted globally and quantified per-unit. Some of those could be quantified mathematically (attack/defense), while others would have to be a best guess based on testing.

          While perfect balance may be impossible, that doesn’t mean that a disciplined approach couldn’t do a 10-20x better job than GW does.

  • The Warlock

    5th 40k may have been more competitive, but it looked like an exercise in who could cram more vehicles into their list as either GK, IG, SW or BA.

    Granted I never played 5th, but there was much gnashing of teeth before 6th dropped. The clusterfuck 7th is now is just….insane with regards to how many extra bits of paper can improve an army in addition to the amount of, well, everything from free stuff in formations to mini titans with no 0-1 limits.

    I feel like Malifaux comes close to balanced if only due to careful playtesting (which gets most of it right, but not always) and that different models are good/bad at different schemes and strategies. If Hunting Party is in the scheme pool, taking a summoner isn’t the best idea as summoning more minions feeds the opposition VP. On the other hand, slow models can’t do well in scheme marker heavy schemes.

    • Thuloid

      Seems to me, in retrospect, that 5th 40k was competitive in the worst way possible–in a kind of chronological way, in which whoever was ruling the roost always had to adjust to a new super-power coming to the table next event. I suppose keeping the power creep constant and rolling is one approach, though a bank-breaking one.

      • Cedric Ballbusch

        Horrible for marketing, but for ‘balance’ the basic structure of all armies needs to

        be set out at the beginning of a game’s lifecycle. Adding new things is too likely to create powercreep.

        • Thuloid

          Fantasy flight really hit this problem hard several years into X-Wing. First number of waves had decent balance (probably all planned together from the start), the few out of balance ships were fixed with little upgrades, and then things kind of went sideways. Too many turrets, for one. It’s taken them a bit to right things, and by now I’m out of the loop.

    • Cedric Ballbusch

      I do wonder if the suppose glory days of 5th were not due in part to the fact that they were the glory days of the very popular Imperium armies. If rather than the Grey Knights, Orks had been the ultimate army of 5th would people have praised it as much as they did?

      • Thuloid

        People sure didn’t seem to like the more recent reign of Tau and Eldar.