A lot of people have been wringing their hands about the new edition of 40K, with such rules as Unbound and Tactical Objectives getting a lot of discussion. People are concerned about the potential for abuse with Unbound, or about Tactical Objectives maybe not being 100% perfect for them. There seems to be a fear of messing with the rules, of modifying them in order to get the result the players desire. And frankly, that’s just plain silly.
Would it be nice if the rules came with better balance and explanation? Of course! But that doesn’t stop people from modifying the rules to suit their own group, or even just the two people playing a particular game. “House rules” used to be a big deal, but for some reason have fallen largely by the wayside. I think a large part of that is people forgot a very important point over the years:
It’s your game. Do with it what you want.
I picked Rogue Trader for the header because it suits this discussion well. People have also taken to comparing 7th edition to Rogue Trader just because of the Unbound rules. They forget some very important points with Rogue Trader.
See, Rogue Trader was seriously free-form. There weren’t that many guidelines as to what you could do. The reason was that you could just make up your own rules for particular situations, including making armies. The rulebook even came with a set of rules on how to make your own units. And there was no specific aesthetic or anything, you could make a model out of practically anything with a bit of work, including the (in?)famous “Deodorant Tank.”
People kept that idea flowing through 2nd and 3rd edition and somewhat into 4th, with the Internet bringing us a wide range of ideas, including homebrew codices (sometimes updating old army lists to newer editions of the game), new units, characters, rules… a plethora of ideas for additions to the game!
Even Games Workshop kept this spirit up, to some extent. While they weren’t house rules, Chapter Approved introduced a number of new rules to the game, including many trial rules. And among the numerous articles that flowed through that column and found their way into collected paperbacks was the Vehicle Design Rules, a set of rules that let you build any kind of vehicle you wanted, with points costs assigned to each option.
But somewhere along the line, players stopped coming up with their own ideas. Creativity was stifled. Everything had to be official, nothing new or interesting or challenging to the status quo.
This is a load of bollocks. If you want to add new rules, do so. If you want to modify the current rules, feel free. Make up new units, or even armies? Have at it! If you game with the same people most of the time, chances are very good you’ll be able to get them to agree to try out some of your ideas, or even come up with some of their own, and you might find your club adopting new ideas into their games.
One of the aims I have with this website is to bring back some of that spirit of new additions or tweaks to the game, stuff to try for people to enjoy themselves. Between Kaptin Gavrin’s Web Site, The Realm of Inisfail, and The Old Sage, there were several new ideas presented for Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Mordheim, Battlefleet Gothic, Warmaster, Inquisitor, and other Games Workshop games. I don’t just want to reignite that spirit on this website. I want to reignite it in gamers across the world.
I said it already, but it’s worth repeating, over and over:
This is your game. Do what you want with it. Have fun, go wild, make it your own.