Apparently the interwebz has decided that 40K is an unbalanced game on the heels of the Las Vegas Open. I know this comes as a surprise to many of you. I mean what could so unbalance this game? Allies? Nah. Lords of War? Can’t be that. Tau? Pfft. Not those Xenos. Eldar? Pointy eared freaks couldn’t be the cause. I just can’t see the root of the issue!
Seriously though, 40K’s balance has gone through various levels. When the moons have aligned just right the game has come close to being well-balanced but it’s in a constant state of flux. The game can be pretty close to balanced and then a new codex drops that shakes everything up. This is nothing new. I’m not saying it should be this way but this has been the case since the beginning of time.
There will always be players leveraging as much cheese as they can into a list. We’re humans, we’re competitive by nature. Could 40K stand to be more balanced? Certainly. Sixth edition makes it really easy to exploit the game. However, is the problem the game itself or how people choose to play it? To put it another way, is it the game or the environment and what players are expecting out of it?
We as players choose how and where we play our games. We can’t control the balance of 40K but we can control our environment. If you show up at a venue like the Las Vegas Open then you’re stepping into a really competitive environment and the opponents you face will by nature be competitive players, albeit various degrees of competitive. The expectations of attending an event like this are very different from playing your buddy in your basement. I’m not knocking the LVO, just using it as a good recent example for this discussion.
My point is that if the game is so unbalanced then why put yourself into an environment that’s only going to see that unbalance exploited to its fullest? I’m not just talking about large 40K tournaments. The same can be said of some gaming stores. In addition, why put yourself in that position and then be surprised to see the ugliness of 40K rear its head? If I walk into a bear’s den then I fully expect to get mauled and if I don’t then I would be surprised, not the other way around.
If a balanced game of 40K is what you’re after then it’s within your power to find like-minded players. Where I play 40K is generally pretty casual and fully of hobbyists. There are a few really competitive players but I generally choose to not play those people because that’s within my ability, fixing 40K is not. There’s a game store in the next state that some of us have traveled to for tournaments in the past. I went there twice and had a terrible experience both times. I have not been back since and will not go back because I did not enjoy the environment. It’s not within my power to change the environment there, it’s not my local gaming store, but it’s well within my capacity to remove myself from it.
Consequences are a direct result of our choices. Is it that 40K is so completely imbalanced that it’s not fun or that players are always willing to find that imbalance and use it to their gain that’s the issue? Honestly, it does not matter because you get out of the game what you put into it. If you fail to make the choices you can to make the game more enjoyable than you can only blame yourself.