What are the Pro’s and Con’s of house rules?

You, gentle readers, may not know that this blog was set up by the Mighty Straw (TM) partly to record and refine a set of house rules built on Warhammer 40k. BATTLEMALLET! “In the cheery brightness of the recent past there is only hugs…and beer.” Between our gaming group we have many years of 40k experience, some much more fluff based and some with a preference for picking stuff that wins (I’m looking at you Chris). After being reintroduced to the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game we realised that the core rules of 40k are perhaps stuck in a bit of a rut. Like the Mechanicum, GW seems to believe that change and invention are bad for 40k. As a group we got together and chatted about various things we could do to make our most loved, but also much frustrating, game even better.

Now I’ve no doubt that we’ll go into details about our changes as time goes on but for now I wanted to ask you a question, you might have figured it out already, it’s the title. Of course on a positive note it means we can adapt the game more to our liking. Importantly changing the turn sequence from an I-go-you-go system to something more interactive, perhaps giving morale more impact on the game, or making Deep Strike more of an option for assault based units. Now while this all seems like great fun (who knows it may end up so different from 40k, we’ll have to invent a new set of dice…d13’s anyone?), it could indeed have some serious consequences.

The first that comes to mind is how does everyone know they’re playing house rules. What if you get so used to assaulting out of Deep Strike that you go to a local club and dump your Bloodletters right next to those Devastators without thinking, not to mention any kind of tournament scene. By changing the rules you’re effectively changing the game so what you’re actually playing is 40k v.2.1.6. Now I know that there are still groups around playing 2nd edition and such but it doesn’t exactly make it easy for your Necrons to play his Squats now does it?

The next issue is balance. I know that some of you may say that 40k isn’t a balanced game in the first place but that’s not the point. We have to make sure we’re changing the game for the better, otherwise what’s the point? If we put our thumb on the already unbalanced scales there’s every chance we could tip too far the other way. If assault’s too powerful no-one will shoot, if movement’s too fast no-one will assault, if morale’s too powerful everyone will be gone before I can open my third beer. Can you see the importance of my dilemma!

This is just the tip of the beginning when it comes to our issues. I’m sure we’ll come across many more as we develop BATTLEMALLET and we’ll be sure to let you know what they are. Have you had any experience with house rules? What were your issues with them? Let us know in the comments.

Until next time gentle readers.


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