What Games Workshop can learn from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (hint: FIX BROKEN RULES!)
The more I involve myself in roller derby, the more I realize that 40K and derby aren’t all that different.
For one, each has an overall metagame. And regional metagames. Bouts in Alberta WILL look very different from those in Quebec, for example. Strategies and playstyles differ from league to league, and team to team. For example, RDRDA’s Nightshades, for example are a team of amazing blockers who can control the pace of the game, whereas Med Hat’s Gas City Rollers are a team of fast as hell jammers.
And in roller derby, just like 40K, people who want to win are constantly trying to break the game.
Take, for instance, the “no start”. It’s the derby equivalent of the slow play stall tactic douches use during tournaments, or leafblower lists.
Yes, that was 2 minutes of standing around. The jam went on without the jammers getting whistled on (which happens with the last gal in the pack crosses the pivot line – a whole 30 feet from where the jammers start.
How does this relate to anything GW? I mean other than the obvious bootie-short wearing, of course.
Well, the WFTDA rules make slow playing legal, because the rules don’t explicitly say that these girls can’t stand around for 2 minutes. Same goes for the crappy stuff that’s ok in the 40K ruleset (core and codexes put together).
I’ve been playing Warhammer 40K since 2003. I came into the game during 3rd Edition (with trial assault rules). That’s almost 8 years. 40K is currently in it’s 5th edition.So, rounding up (given that GW is hinting at 6th Ed. 40K next year) and that Rogue Trader (or perhaps ROUGE Trader) launched in 1987, it would mean that GW released a new edition every 4 years.
WFTDA (the Women’s Flat track Derby Association) has been writing rules since 2006. The current rule set of the WFTDA rules (which is the VAST majority of flat track roller derby bouts are played with) is according to WFTDA, “the fifth full revision of the WFTDA rules since the organization developed the first shared rules for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby in 2005.” Quick math, that’s a full revision every year and a bit.
These derby no-starts have come to a head and as such, WFTDA is forced to review their ruleset and amend it for the sake of the game.
Are there broken elements of the 40K? Absolutely.
Is GW willing to fix it? Sure – in 4 years and a bit. But also in fixing they’ll create a whole new slew of problems.
This is why the ETC can get away with making their stupid silly rules and why tournament organizers like myself have to resort to making up players’ packs which have a page and a half (or more!) dedicated to writing what goes and what doesn’t go in trying to make this game actually fun.
I’m not asking for a perfect game in either derby or 40K.
I’m asking for a RESPONSIVE game – iterations are better than editions.
If WFTDA leaves the hole open for no-start jams, audiences will stop watching derby. Games Workshop might delude themselves into believing they manufacture and sell models, but the fact of the matter is that if their game sucks, nobody will buy the models.