Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's ok, Little Timmy, the House Rules won't bite.

Ok guys, it’s story time with Big Jim!

Why the heck are gamers so unimaginative nowadays?

So I am over at my friends house last night to get another playtest for my Soul Reapers dex in; my buddy had recently found out that a co-worker plays 40k and invited him to swing by. He had been warned that we are completely casual and have an extreme habit of using house rules and homebrew lists.

This poor guy shows up about halfway through our second game, and the first thing he does is to throw a fit about my buds converted 1/35 scale WWII Stuart tanks that he uses as Leman Russ tanks. His, those models are illegal rant, because they aren’t official GW models was honestly rather amusing to me. My buddy just calmly explained why he had used them and paid the rant little mind.

Then he noticed that my bud was using a Baneblade; he proceeded to ask how many points our armies were? The look on his face when I said “2000 points” was Priceless! The Apocalypse units breaking the game at low points levels rant actually made me laugh out loud. I feel a little bad about it, but in my defense his rant was really ridiculous.

At this point knowing that were both using homebrew-tweaked lists, we decided to take a break from the game to sit down and talk about our goals for gaming. We came to find out that he has no desire to participate in tournaments, but has only played at his local GW hobbycenter. This was a large part of his problem, as it tends to force you to play within the realm of ‘Officialdom’. After about an hour of good conversation, we got back to playing.

He seemed to enjoy the rest of the evening, reading through our notebook of House Rules and my Soul Reapers notes. He has a Chaos army himself and really seemed to like what I am trying to accomplish. He said that he’d bring his army next week, and I look forward to it.

In the end I think it was a good night, and it is always fun to release a mind from the GW Matrix.

We as gamers need to remember this is our hobby and that the rules and armylists are guidelines especially when you have no desire to play in tournaments. Now this isn’t a bash on tournament players, it’s just a reminder that when not participating in one, use your imagination.

So next time you are gaming with your closest friends try thinking outside of the box, or throw the box away completely and let the fun of anarchy rule the tabletop.

Cheers till next time,
Big Jim


  1. Nice post. The GW Matrix one there has to be one of the best quotes in 40k Blogville! It's very true though, GW stores whilst offering an opportunity to game do turn people into Official Automatons. House rules are part of the great story telling element of the games and I think it's a shame that GW don't do more to explore that side of things in stores. I wrote a piece on my blog about the Space Wolves Codex and how it seems a lot more fluff orientated so hopefully even GW are starting to see that! :D

  2. I have to agree with you Jim, it is our hobby and house rules are especially fun for fleshing out games and if you aren't in a big tourney or in a FLGS full of BRB beaters, then it can add a lot to the fun of the game and can't possibley do any harm to have house rules ... that' what my man-cave is for!

  3. Thanks Dude, I agree with your thoughts on the SW codex. Hopefully it's a good sign of things to come!

    The Matrix was running last night in the background of game night, so the reference had to be made. I'm glad you liked it! ;-)

    I've almost got the Manager of the local GW talked into helping me playtest the Soul Reapers Mini-dex. It's been a tough journey, but I think that me being an ex-blackshirt helps!


  4. OST, I completely agree and my man-cave is flourishing!

  5. Lol. Yeah I've had a few guys ranting that the rule says "x" and so I explain that my friend and are are playing to the "spirit of the rule/game" which doesnt satisfy him even after I point out that its a rule on page 3. :D

    Im glad you guys had the chance to sit down and chat to him so he understands where your coming from and I always love to see conversions and such!

    Im also intrigued as to your "house rule book" maybe you can give us a glimpse at it as i always like to see how other hobbists play and love house rules that add in a bit more fun!

  6. I couldn't agree more with this article. House rules add a new, interesting element in a game that would otherwise quickly grow stagnant.

    The thing is, House rules seem to intimidate some players, with a lot of people in my local gaming group refusing to play them, because they havn't been given 'officialdom' by GW, even going as far as to refusing to play forgeworld stuff a lot of the time.

    This is quite annoying as, like you, i'm working on a mini-dex at the moment (fluffy Soul Drinkers) and i'm finding it difficult to find a good range of armies to playtest against.

  7. Khorneguy, I guess I'm luck that I have three guys I have been gaming with for twenty years. If you need someone to bounce ideas off of, send me an email through my profile.

    DJ, we have all sorts of house rules, from minor tweaks to some outright rules changes or additions.

    Two of my favorites are the suppression and defensive fire rules we've added. They give the rules a more realistic feel, without having to bring back something that can be abused like 'Overwatch'.

    I'll get the notebook and do a write-up of these two rules tonight.

    Big Jim

  8. Couldn't agree more... Mine & my wifes games of 40k have go so many houserules, it's barely recognisable any more.
    We've also had a similar situation to yours as well. Similar outome too.

    It does seem so many people are concerned with being 'official' and 'right' that they forget its a g

  9. Thanks for the comment! Yeah there are not many games that escape the House Rule cannon in my group.

    This partly comes from having 2 gamers that have written a couple of historical minis games in the group.