[Epic] Hello all from an ex-lurker

From: Eric Larsen <nimhbus_at_...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 23:20:08 -0800

Hello all,

First off, I would like to say that I have been a long-time lu=
rker (2 years!) and would like to start becoming contributor!

Second, I re=
ally appreciate the ideas that ALL of you present in this email group.... I=
t has always been difficult to find information on Epic outside of my play =
group, and gosh-dern it, it's really nice to know that there are actually o=
ther people who play the game!

Sorry, but this WILL BE a bit too long.... =
but I'm trying to kind of play "catch-up" so please bear with me!

t a super quick bit about myself to give everyone a framework:

I've been w=
atching people play Epic for about 6 years, playing for 4 and have been sem=
i-actively collecting/painting for 2. Some of the other players in my group=
 (about 6 of us) consider me a "bean counter" as I tend to stress play/poin=
t balance a bit too much (I guess), and I have never been that great of a m=
iniatures painter. I have been semi-active in a variety of games ever sinc=
e high-school (9 years ago) and enjoy kicking Epic green-skin butt.... when=
 they aren't stomping on my face repeatedly (I think I'm 1 for 4)... eck...=

My general feelings on Epic -
GOOD: Cool minis, great background, easy t=
o play, spiffy art, weird stuff happening is the norm! (and a pretty cool e=
mail group to boot)
BAD: Inconsistent (sometime incoherent) rules, quirky p=
lay system, units that range from cheez to useless, incorrect or unreasonab=
le pt. values, expensive components, lack of "new product" support, and (wo=
rst of all) created by an abusive and monopolizing company

all of this is=
 IMHO of course...

With all of that being said, I w=
ould like to voice a couple of opinions to add to others for the Net Epic b=
eing proposed... I intend to send shorter synopsis on each topic as they be=
come presented by Peter, but I just wanted to give everyone a bit of my ove=
rall impressions on the game...

AAAANNNNND the rambling begins!

Part 1 -=
 Unit usefulness (I'll do different emails for each topic... I'm not that c=

Has anybody ever looked at the way that GW comes up with their "uni=
t cost" numbers and went hmmm?

* Some things just seem way too expensive=
 for their usefulness... (900 pt. Warlords, ANY points for Hellbores).
* S=
ome things seem just too cheap? (Drop pods, Mad Boys, FREE!?)
* Some units =
have "over-riding" weird rules that seem to send play balance out the windo=
w. (Ball rounds + void shields in ANY strength = no void shields, One war=
p missile + 1 SHV with shields = 1 dead SHV)
* Some units/items just don'=
t seem worth it... (Eldar titan missile wing, Slasher Gargants in a Gargant=
* And, some units are simply better than others for the same point co=
st (Marine bikes, Space Wolf bikes... Landraider, Leman Russ... hmmmm...)

It disturbs me, because all of these factors tend to make players look to f=
ielding only those units which are considered "good", and in a point based =
system there really should be no "good" units, only trade-offs in the diffe=
rent factors that comprise the unit (cost, speed, CAF, guns, breakpoint, ab=
ilities, etc.). It also tends to have a detrimental effect on creating a "c=
ustomizable" army - for instance..

EXAMPLE, I want to create a very fast a=
nd mobile Marine army, so I decide to not take any vehicles slower than spe=
ed 25 realizing that I will most likely be sacrificing fire-power to meet t=
his goal. I want my troops to go in fast, so I choose Thunderhawks and dro=
p pods for their insertion capability to deliver all of my troops - net res=
ult, a 6,000 point game, I have 8-10+ T-hawks and 2 Drop pod special cards =
(along with the troops and few other bits)... Can you smell the cheddar? M=
y original intentions were reasonable, I just wanted fast stuff - but becau=
se T-hawks and the pods are considered "to cheap for their own good" my opp=
onent is upset (and in some cases, rightly so)... If you look at my army an=
d say "you should take more variety of units to offset the cheese" - what y=
ou are basically saying is that I take "worse" units that don't match my go=
als to balance my "artificially better" ones... what is the point of that? =
 Would my opponent still be upset if T-Hawks cost 200 pts apiece? I don't t=
hink so!! If my opponent has the argument that I am "taking too many unit=
s of a certain unit type" what he or she is really saying is that "there is=
 an accepted army composition list that I should follow", in which case the=
re is simply no reason for points.

The funny thing about ALL of this is t=
hat GW is really loosing out... Want to sell termite blisters? How about h=
ell-hounds, capitol imperialis, hop-splat guns, squig catapults, leman russ=
es? Make them more useful or cheaper in the game!

Anybody besides mysel=
f think that they (GW staff) simply look at the model, determine it's "mini=
ature coolness/co$t" level and assign a point cost on the spot? (Hmm... tha=
t one looks neat, let's give it gobs more weapons at the same cost as that =
thing we made last year)... This is just not right! Why even have point va=
lues if the point values aren't based on anything realistic?

The worst f=
actor that I have run into is the weird tendency for people to always "do w=
hat is printed by GW (officially only, of course! and in such a cheap magaz=
ine as well!)"- in no other game have I found such a fanatic following for =
WYSIWYG game play and strict adherence to following unit guidelines as prin=
ted, even if they don't make much sense. This is especially puzzling in th=
at the Epic game as printed has unit stats that are dirt simple to modify (=
no DS II pun intended). Everyone think unit X sucks so much? Add +2 CAF, =
and suddenly it's a contender.... Leman Russ cannons just don't cut it? W=
hat if the main gun had a -3 save. instead of -2? Just by adding 5 to 10 s=
tinking centimeters to a vehicle's move and some people will think it's won=
drous (hmmm... Moles move at a max speed of 25cm now huh... maybe I'll just=
 have to paint those dang things! Great Unclean one has a 10cm move?! - tha=
t's lightning quick!). Do you think any items will "screw up" play balance=
? Does +10cm on charge really mean "win" or "lose" the game? BZZZT! Wrong=

I for one consider Epic a GAME, not a painting hobby - and in any=
 fun to play game there must be some sort of balance! You don't achieve th=
at balance by constantly introducing new units with their "own special rule=
s" or by basing a unit's point effectiveness on the "coolness" (or co$t) of=
 the miniature.

My motto: The more miniatures that are useful in the game =
= the more miniatures that will be USED in the game!

More later... (must=
 remember to breathe, must remember to breathe....)
Eric Larsen
A thought: "Being in the best of health is simply findi=
ng the slowest possible way to die...."
Received on Thu Jan 30 1997 - 07:20:08 UTC

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