Let’s talk about something a little different this week.
I want to take you back to a bookstore basement in 1988. I’ve gone in to look for the latest Fighting Fantasy gamebook, but instead I see issue 104 of a colourful magazine called ‘White Dwarf’. It has articles on Imperial Robots and something called Realm of Chaos. I have no idea what these things are, but I leave with the magazine and RTB01 – a box of Space Marines.
Trigger wibbly time-travel effect, and I’m still playing now, with a collection of miniatures that spans 30 years.
Why am I talking about this? Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that Combat Cards is about to include obscure miniatures from the 1980’s. No-one wants players asking “What’s a Runtbot?”
But we do want Combat Cards to include nods to every edition of Warhammer 40,000, from the ‘anything goes’ era of Rogue Trader, to the streamlined focus of 8th edition.
I’m willing to bet that every player has a certain fondness for whichever edition of 40K was their first, and the armies, campaigns, characters and even painting styles that were around at that time will always remind you of simpler times.
All this is the rambling reason why the vast majority of the card names in Combat Cards are from 40K lore, not just something we’ve made up.
We scoured White Dwarfs, codices, rulebooks, novels, sourcebooks and other esoterica, and gathered as many names as we could find. Why spend all that time? It’s not like the Black Templars Emperor’s Champion ‘Korbinian’ fights any more effectively because he’s from White Dwarf issue 312.
It’s about authenticity.
Look at it this way: You find a card game featuring miniatures from 40K. That’s cool – you love 40K. But is the game going to let down? Is this just going to be ‘Eavy Metal miniatures draped over a generic card game?
Then you spot Death Company Chaplain Daenor, or an Imperial Assassin named Meh’Lindi, or Patriarch Ghosar, and you think, ‘wait, I know that name’. And if that card has a name you recognise, maybe other people recognise all these other cards.
Suddenly you know the developers ‘get it’, that they want this to be as authentic a 40k experience as possible. Of course you might not agree with some of the design decisions made in the game, but at least you don’t have to worry that they’re not treating your beloved 40k with respect.
All this means that we need to make sure Combat Cards includes miniatures from every race and army, and both classic and new releases. After all, every single miniature is someone’s favourite.
We try to make sure we include named, ‘special characters’ but also the ‘core’ miniatures of that faction – the Aspect Warriors, the Tactical Marines and the Ork Boyz.
We’re not just picking the newest or most powerful – we want everyone to be able to build their ultimate 40k miniature collection, whether they’ve just joined the hobby or have been playing forever.
Does that make sense? I realise I’m not talking about tactics or points costs this week, but I think authenticity is just as important as balancing for the long term health of a game.
That said, I’d be interested to hear any feedback on this week’s diary. Do you want more of this kind of ‘soft’ article, or should I focus on the concrete details of game design?