This is my response to Gav Thorpe, primary author of the current Chaos Codex. Thrope was man enough to pen the following words about the CSM ‘dex on his blog.
I’ve nerd-raged on this topic many times before, so it was only fitting that I address him directly this time.
Disclaimer: The following is based on my opinions.
Oh Gav. All those words and you still dodge most of the specific complaints leveled against the book.
You can dance around the issues all day long but we can see right through you. I respect you as a person bringing this forward as a topic, but I can’t respect your arguments, few as they are.
A good codex does not need to be 300+ pages or over several volumes. The fluff and art of books are well established. White Dwarf, novels, and supplements like the Index Astartes can contain all the extra detail you want. What players want is a good set of rules, a flexible set of rules, rules that match the fluff.
It seems like you didn’t try to make an encompassing codex, it seems like you and Alessio followed a brief from management and produced a streamlined book with no restrictions. Well it is streamlined, but you left out most of the fun, and most of what makes for an interesting army list.
I like that the cult troops each have their own entry: it is clean and they have specific special rules that make sense. Except for plague marines they are overpriced but they are decent entries. But… where are the cult terminators, bikers, raptors, havocs? I bet you know the icon system is awful, but you won’t explain it, defend it, or apologize for it. Like so many other points you gloss over it in a wall of words.
Where are the veteran skills? Where are the special rules and options for basic CSM troops? Where are the god-specific vehicle upgrades? Where are the actual daemons? Where are the cultists? They’re gone. It wouldn’t have taken another 200 pages to add those missing parts. You say it would take 8 pages to cover each legion, and yet it took about one page in the old book.
Daemons, mutants, and cultists? Yes please. You say it can’t be done? The Lost and the Damned codex did it just fine, it was a but clunky but it did the job and was never overpowered. It should have been included as a variant in the main book, I see your point about multiple ‘dexes being cumbersome but I don’t see how adding some other options takes a minimum of 32 pages. That’s just false. I’m working on my own version of LATD, the latest is at https://chaosgerbil.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/codex-latd-1_85.pdf
Haine’s book was too hard to navigate, but in cleaning it up you threw the mutated baby out with the bathwater. The old book worked. It was faithful to the fluff and provided for a diversity of armies. You say you are concerned broken combos but your book still has them, so you didn’t solve that problem… it just means that to get the most effective list you have to take a hodgepodge of units from different legions. That’s clumsy. If you are really concerned about overpowered units or abilities there are ways to restrict them, for example having Lash or Slaanesh special characters only available to a pure Slaanesh force. Was that too difficult?
I tried to build a Tzeentch list today, only to find that any time I tried to make it fluffy it crippled its effectiveness. 9 man squad? Can’t take a second meltagun. A 40 point icon on one model just isn’t cost effective, so that has to go. Ok, I can add some Tzeentch Daemons, I mean no I can’t since they’re gone. Tzeentch Sorceror? Taking a Mark and Bolt Of Change costs 55 points. For what? +1 to my invulnerable save and a good but not great shooting attack. Mark of Slaanesh + Lash costs less than half that, and for way more effective options. I don’t think a good codex makes you sacrifice your theme to get a competitive list.
Here’s two more absurd examples. How about a super killy Khorne Lord with a Daemon Weapon? 1/3 of the time he does no damage in assaults and hurts himself. Great! Chaos Spawn. 40 points for a model I can’t control, with no save, with a maximum unit size of 3. Wow.
You can say “play whatever combos you want” but that just doesn’t work in practice. There are no GW published alliance rules (barring Inquisition-specific ones) and most players do not want to use homebrew systems.
We’ll probably never see legion codexes and if we do they will be years apart from each other (knowing GW’s glacial release schedule) and so probably inconsistent or unbalanced.
Dude, you dropped the ball. Please just admit it, or actually counter these points and the points made by the other critics. Obviously you are an intelligent and creative guy, but this book just failed. Let’s see some intellectual honesty. Continuing with the ice cream analogy, you’re shitting in our mouth and calling it a sundae.
Thanks for your time.