Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Colors of War: Painting for Rules

It's been all the buzz in the Age of Sigmar community lately, rules that require you to paint your models a specific way to benefit from certain rules. Some like them, some are indifferent, and a lot are upset about it. So, why include these requirements and why do I think it's a good idea?

First off, GW has recently released an FAQ on their Firestorm campaign supplement that addresses this rule slightly. They have stated that it is perfectly okay for you to come up with your own color scheme for an army and pick the rules for an existing color scheme to use. What they don't want people to do is to paint their army in one already established color scheme and use the rules from another. This seems perfectly reasonable to me and offers a whole bunch of creative freedom too. So what are the arguments against this? People think it restricts them too much and they want to be able to paint their armies however they want and not have it directly affect their gameplay, which is a fair enough point. However, here are my counter points on why I think this is a good policy by GW.

1. Paint to Play

In AoS, some of the books, mostly older ones, have army battalions that cost points to use. In the Stormcast book for example, in order to use a Celestial Vindicators battalion you must pay the points cost to gain the benefits, and while it's certainly encouraged to paint them to match, it's not 100% required. In other books, like the Kharadron Overlords and Firestorm books, these type of battalions have no points. In fact, in the Kharadron book they aren't even battalions, instead they're just a set of pre-determined rules picked from the Code with a few extra bits added on to represent the various major Skyports. Both in that book, and in Firestorm you are required to paint the models a certain way to get those abilities. That's your points cost. They've even relaxed that recently by saying it's okay to come up with your own scheme. It just has to be a cohesive color scheme essentially. The painting requirement is what makes it "fair" that you get these additional rules at no points cost in Matched Play games.

2. It's Been Done for Years Successfully in Another Game System

What game system may this be? Well, Warhammer 40,000 of course. This is essentially what we already have with the various Space Marine chapters. You can come up with your own successor chapter and say they descended from the Blood Angels and use Blood Angel rules, or paint your army as Blood Angels and use those rules. However, if you painted your models like Ultramarines, with Ultramarine symbols, and decided to use the Blood Angel rules I think most people would call foul outside of some test game situations. This is pretty much accepted in 40k without any complaint because it's well established. AoS is new, and these armies and factions are just being formed, so people aren't as used to them as the Space Marine chapters. By enforcing these rules with certain paint schemes, it's helping validate these new factions. 10 years from now everyone will know how an army from Hammerhal fights compared to an army from Tempest's Eye, but if there was no painting restriction attached to those rules, that connection would lose meaning. It's a learning curve for AoS because it's so new, but it worked fantastically for 40k, and I have no doubt it'll work great in the Mortal Realms as well.

3. It's All Flexible in the End Anyway

Rules like this are all flexible in the end. What do I mean by that? Well, if you're just playing with your friends you can choose to ignore and include as many rules as you want. I don't think many people would care if you wanted to test out a ruleset before painting something or if you both agree to ignore the rule. In a tournament setting it's all up to the TO on how they want to rule it. Many of them will probably rule that painting the correct scheme is not required, so it'll be a non-issue anyway.

At the end of the day it's not a huge deal either way. My personal opinion on armies is paint what makes you passionate. If you love the color scheme and the army the rules attributed to it will probably not be a huge deal. I know when I think about Space Marine chapters I think about their lore and look first and rules second. If rules are the most important thing to you, then play some games with grey plastic before deciding on a color scheme, just know that how well rules play in the game changes as the game evolves, color schemes and lore for the most part don't. You can always just create your own color scheme as well and pick the ruleset you want for it. You're of course free to change up the ruleset every game if you want, but I'm a fan of picking one and sticking with it. It'll make your army more personal and deepen your investment into your army. Just play several games trying out the different rulesets before settling on one if you're unsure. Making sure a ruleset matches how you enjoy to play the game is definitely very important.

I'm sure this will generate a bunch of strong opinions on one side or the other, so let me know how you fall on this in the comments below.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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