As my ongoing assignment I am looking at how Web 2.0 has helped in the creation of on-line communities for those who would not otherwise have been able to socialise with people about a shared interest without this form of communication.
I have written a post about the back-story and lore of the Wahammer 40,000(40K) universe, so now it is time to discuss the game itself.
The game is played on a 6′ by 4′ table, usually covered in felt or other material, with battlefield debris set up on it. This can be anything from a forest to a river or a ruin, all made to scale, in which the units you use interact. These battlefields can be purchased from Games Workshop as seen below, but are mostly home made.
The models are all made by Games Workshop, who are also the game designers. They write rules for each of the models represented in their catalogue. Each of these models are supplied as plastic or metal miniatures in 28mm “Heroic” scale. These miniatures are then assembled, painted and based for use in your army.
There is a core Rulebook, which explains the different game mechanics, such as movement and shooting. All measurements are done in inches. These rules also explain how the models interact with their environment such as movement through terrain, hiding behind cover from incoming fire etc.
The rulebook also explains the use of each models Statistics Profile. Each model has differing skills that represent how good or bad they are at achieving certain battlefield tasks. Each of these statistics takes the form of a number from 1 to 10 with 1 being very bad at something, and 10 being very good. Depending on these numbers, you work out how statistically likely it is for the model to achieve this task and roll a 6 sided dice(d6) to determine the outcome.
For example a Strength 4 weapon causes a hit on a Toughness 4 model. We look up the chart and see that there is a 4,5 or a 6 required on a d6 to achieve a success. We call this a 4+. We then roll the dice and apply the result. In this case a roll of a 1,2 or 3 would be a failure; while a 4+ would be a success. Higher Strength weapons are more likely to hurt lower Toughness models, so a Strength 10 weapon, hitting a Toughness 4 Model, would require a 2,3,4,5 or 6 to be successful, with only a 1 being a failure. We call this a 2+.
The strategy involved in the game is the movement of your models, while keeping them survivable, to initiate attacks where you are statistically likely to do more damage to your opponent by stacking the odds in your favour. Therefore, I would look for a situation where I was throwing a lot of dice at my opponent, maximising the likelihood of damage, while reducing the risk of any return fire.
The Core Rules explain the basic game mechanics, it is in each of the Codices that we find the details for each of the differing armies and races that are represented in the 40K universe. Each army has its own set of rules, referred to as a Codex. in this Codex, we find the Statistics Profile for each model or unit, along with a points cost for fielding this unit is a game, and any special rules that either work in addition to the main rulebook or instead of them.
The reasoning for the points cost of a model or unit is so that we can cost out how many points each army we field is worth. When playing the game we come to an arrangement with our opponent as to what size force we would like to fight with. We then purchase as many or as few units from the specific Codex that we are using up to, or equal to, that points cost. This makes for a balanced game, with each unit being priced as to their combat effectiveness in the game.
For example, a Space Marine; a genetically enhanced super soldier with devastating weaponry and encased in impregnable armour, is weighted to cost slightly more than three Ork Boyz who have little to no armour and very basic weaponry. The advantage comes to the Orks where the Marine will eventually be brought down by superior numbers, provided they can stay alive long enough to make that count.
All in all these rules become very straight forward after playing through the game a few times, however there will always be small issues where the game mechanics are not as clear as they might be, or when different Codices affect how these mechanics work. For these reasons there is a necessity for the players to discuss how these discrepancies should best be played out, until such time as we get an official ruling from Games Workshop in their regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions and Errata.