A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Friday, March 20, 2015

[Operation Game Collection] Rogue Trader Warhammer 40K Update and 2nd Edition

  Catching up with my collection was somewhat inspired by this picture from Facebook:

(Many pictures can be clicked for ultra larger if that's your thing.)

  Would you look at what a 2nd edition Warhammer 40K army was comprised of?  While a little hero heavy this is clearly a force that is easily bought and painted in a reasonable enough timeframe to get a new player active into the game instead of bored, broke, and just throwing it all up on Ebay.  Not even getting into the increasing price per model of modern 40K.

  It was a GOOD TIME AND A GOOD GAME.  I called 2nd ed 40K at that point The Game I Love and I meant it!

  Thoughts of these days are what get me buying dumb things to this day:

 I have actually completed three of these games.  Fire Warrior I haven't because once Chaos shows up the game gets too frustrating to continue.  But if you want to see most of my computer hobby games gone electronic heat:  http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2012/11/game-collection-hobby-games-gone.html

My Space Hulk collection is STRONG.  I think I am merely missing 1st ed SH and expansions now.  Also depending on what you think of 3rd ed's minor rerelease and a novella.  

  But for those who may have missed it, my previous Rogue Trader collection posts:

  Now let's swiftly catch up on my Rogue Trader collection!

 I got this bad boy at around half the price it normally goes for, giving me the first real expansion book to Warhammer 40K.  It has an absolutely AWESOME campaign I am dying to remix for 2nd edition and run someday.  

Squats!  Hordes of lovely inexpensive lead Squats!  

And the Vehicle Manual!  This book is more a preview of what the vehicle system in 2nd edition would be, albeit much clunkier.  Though putting a clear plastic overlay over a silhouette of your target and aiming for a location does have some fun appeal to it.  Honestly Epic did it better and you didn't need the overlay.  

  This is honestly why I am happy to own Rogue Trader but am unsure if I want to PLAY Rogue Trader.  It is a mishmash of rules and tweaks from 1987 to 1993 that never really mesh well or make a whole lot of sense.  Things change for no reason and the developers seem to be trying to adapt to what the audience wants to do, with much of it still kept to issues of White Dwarf.  It is a little like Original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons.  And like that game there are MANY MANY things that weren't taken out in the first expansion that probably should have.

  (And as we will see, the follow up actually isn't as bad as people think it is provided one used all the rules.  Which I doubt anyone actually DID.)

 The dual format Siege book!  Do you like to fight complex battles for fortified bases?  You will love this book!  And Floor Plans 1 is one of two tile sets I need to run the campaign from Astronomican.

And the backs of them both.

  This means I need the Dungeon Rooms set and Waagh! The Orks to finish my Rogue Trader collection though I am already rules complete as Waagh has no actual RULES in it and the tile box can easily be just printed from the Internet though I want my own physical copy anyhow.

  Then because I HAVE A PROBLEM, I can work on getting the issues of White Dwarf with rules that weren't reprinted in the books and the RT era 40K universe board games.  I already have Tyranid Attack, Space Crusade, and Advanced Space Crusade in some form, plus the remake of the Horus Heresy game.  Luckily I am cheap and easily distracted so I keep bouncing around and don't go too nuts.  

  (I am currently in a looooooong process of populating my Advanced Space Crusade and Tyranid Attack game with good and complete models.)

  So let's finally get to 2nd edition 40K!

 In the 90s GW made most of their games in a certain format:  50-60 bucks for the core game box with the rules (above shown as the Rulebook, Codex Imperialis, Wargear, and a couple small booklets for getting started with a simple army list, tutorial campaign to use with the included models, and lots of cardstock scenery like the walls you see in this post:  http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2013/03/warhammer-40k-rogue-trader-styled_21.html ), and then an all but ESSENTIAL expansion box for 35-40 in mid 1990s US dollars.  Dark Millenium is that book.

 They helpfully split up the rules into three books.  The main book is actually the RULES to play the game in a handy and mostly portable self contained volume.  The Wargear book is weaponry rules, and the Codex is something that was more or less a "Get you by" book until the Codex volumes came out.  However Squats never got one.

  The problem with this set up is you really couldn't buy the books separately meaning if you didn't want the selection of models in the box you did not own your own copy of the rules!  This lead to a lot of people not actually properly knowing how to play the damned game!  And given the core rulebook being shy of 100 pages, and then the supplemental book being another 40 or so it made things difficult.  And don't forget knowing your army Codex rules...

Given the new 115 dollar! plastic Bloodthirster kit that just came out, showing some Khornate demons in the Codex Imperialis seemed like a good example of how things were done.  A thing I never honestly liked and still don't.  Half the rules for a unit in a Codex being in one section, and the points and other bits in another!  Outside of the earlier small size 3rd edition books this has always been a thing which makes looking rules up during play slow and annoying.  Plus it makes the books larger and unwieldly.

 Dark Millenium added tons of extra cardboard bits plus the Psychic rules that replaced the shorter version from the main box.  Honestly I think this slows the game down.  So many games of 40K got slowed to a crawl as we barely accomplished anything at the end of each main turn of play.

 And very quickly over the 1993-1998 timeframe 2nd edition existed Codexes came out, giving us ten books and two more White Dwarf only armies.  (Legion of the Damned and a limited Necrons list.)  To be fair the Assassins book is mostly a mini booklet covering four uber powered characters however.

 It might be hard to see, but the price tag on the Eldar codex shows what these softback booklets that were mostly black and white cost back in the day.  Twenty Dollars.  So much better than these enormous 50 dollar hardbacks for 6-7th edition right?

 A printed copy and actual included cardboard showing the quick reference rules to the game.  I really want to find a reason to play 2nd ed again and make my own more comprehensive reference card like what I did for Battleforce:  http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2010/01/ive-been-workin-on-imac-all-my-free.html

Dice, some of which are custom to the game!  Gobs and gobs of dual sided tokens!  Tons of templates!  Note that we have THREE sizes of flame templates.  I have the modern translucent flame and small blast template on top of their cardboard originals to show you that sometimes you can even use your new ones to make your old game better!  I gotta say I love my counter tray too.  Makes life much easier.  Also see how I have a marker to show how much further out the Heavy Flamer template goes.  And we cannot forget the Foot of Gork/Mork!  Sadly I don't have all the parts to the Thudd Gun template which is a bunch of 1" templates you connected with paper fasteners.  Yes, you roll a D12 to move them around.

 And the Turn card EVERYONE should have used when playing, right next to the Mission cards.  And then we have the Wargear cards!  Warp cards!  Power cards!  Vehicle Wargear cards!  Strategy cards!

  Looking back?  WE SHOULD HAVE USED MOST OF THESE ALWAYS.  I'll get into that at the end of the post.

 And Vehicle cards!  Most of them required photocopying your Codex or hoping White Dwarf printed them in lovely color like the Whirlwind above.  These cards had a lot of flavor and were a BIG improvement over the Vehicle Manual rules.  

 The article in White Dwarf made things like using the new Gorkamorka Ork vehicles in 2nd edition.  Sadly this was the days before the Internet meaning if you didn't get the issue you weren't going to be using these things.  And not everything got reprinted, especially in the 2nd ed days.  On the right is a ton of printouts I got from a UK site that was devoted to keeping 2nd edition alive with expanded army lists and rules for later era 40K units to be used.

 These little mini brochures also showed how GW cared about bringing in new blood and getting them PLAYING.  NEVER FORGET THE SQUATS NEVER FORGIVE FAT BLOKE.

 With some rubber bands and a bag for all your D6s and RPG dice for vehicle hits, the DM box can fit a ton of stuff making it an excellent travel box.

Mine shows how much it was used and loved.  I played a HELL of a lot of 2nd edition.

  But looking back?  WE PLAYED IT WRONG ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  While we had fun which is the most important thing, had we used all the rules many of the flaws might not have been quite so bad.  Just like the popular online consensus of why 1st and 2nd edition AD&D are not the utter disasters they think it is.

  There were just too many rules for everyone to keep track of and getting FAQs and the like were very tricky.  If you hadn't gotten the right issue of White Dwarf you would have never known to rip up The Virus Outbreak Strategy card.  You might not have known that most Wargear cards had LIMITS.  Didn't read the rulebook?  You might have missed that armor penetration was reduced at long range!  

  Characters too tough?  Well if you used Missions and Turn Limits characters were seriously nerfed as they simply weren't going to accomplish a ton in 4 turns of play.

  But now?  I want to start a journey of rediscovery.  Where I reread ALL of 2nd edition's rules and talk about them and maybe even play a few games and only then decide what needs to be fixed.

  If I do this expect me to talk a bit more about the generally accepted flaws of 2nd edition.

(And be out of more money as I get a hold of the remaining three army codexes and the Battles supplement book.)

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