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amysrevenge

Crazy question: Do we still need Grand Alliances?

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What you’re describing sounds good but isn’t that just* narrative play?

 

*”just” he says as if this isn’t the pinnacle, the platonic ideal, the supreme glory and final form of this hobby.

Edited by JPjr
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2 minutes ago, JPjr said:

Isn’t that just* narrative play?

 

*”just” he says as if this isn’t the pinnacle, the platonic ideal, the supreme glory and final form of this hobby.

Most gaming outside of competitive tournament is mixed.  In my part of the world gaming outside the realm of event practice leans toward Matched/Narrative.  If you wanted to approximate my KO/Guts scenario it's more like Open/Narrative than Matched/Narrative, and it's more rare to find players with that Open mindset in a public gaming setting.

But the current limits in Matched Play are 100% arbitrary, and needlessly confining.  There's nothing that inherently says "these current arbitrary semi lore-based restrictions are necessary, and those other semi lore-based restrictions are goofy".  If we can find a way to loosen up the arbitrary restrictions a bit, almost everyone wins.

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Any alliance system is going to be arbitrary by nature unless its fully open. 

However I think its better to have it and then work with it rather than have formal fully open alliance systems. You've more chance of achiving balance with limits and when those limits remain because then you've at least got known boundary points and can work within them. If you remove all barriers you can end up with nightmare issues where one armies inherent weakness can be fully overcome by another few models from another force. Suddenly because there's no limit those possible combinations become so many GW has no hope of testing.

 

Also the lore has always been more flexible and open play in free games can be just as free. Before GW made formal ally rules you could just say "hey lets play a game with some allies I'll bring two 1 K forces for the game". Formal systems work with limits and boundaries (even if some of them are rough) because with those limits you curtail the possibilities which makes it more practical for testing and refinement. 

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Oh yeah, I'm not saying "remove GAs and replace them with nothing".  I'm saying "maybe replace the 4 GAs with a dozen or more partially overlapping in-world allegiances that make sense". 

Some of the new allegiances would be very large - the Free City ones might each have 10 or more factions within them.  The Everchosen one could have most (but not all, no Skaven for you mister) of what is currently in Chaos.  The Nagash one could have almost all of death (I'd leave FEC out - without the handcuff of GA: Death, I think the lore of FEC would have them fully independent of Big N).  If one of the big Waaagh!s started up in the lore, they could make an actual allegiance for it that actually includes exactly what forces they describe in it in the lore.

But some of them could be small allegiances.  Have one with just Stormcast and Sylvaneth, to reflect the initial battles in the Realm Wars in Ghyran.  Have one with just Stormcast and whatever Death subfaction Manfred belongs to (I don't keep Death straight in my head very well). 

 

The differences between these and the current ally system is 1) there would be no GA: Order to grab a generic command trait from, you would have your own bespoke ones and 2) you'd be able to use each other's Battleline and exceed 20%/1 in 4 units.

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I think this could be fantastic ways of playing, and alot like many narrative campaigns already do for their local groups. But I do get how having the GW stamp of "its ok to do this, you get these special rules" would encourage more people to do so, there tends to be alot of resistance to doing things outside of the list of things GW themselves have rubber stamped.

Flexible, growing and expanding allegiances that suit evolving fluff of specific sub regions would make for fantastic campaign books.

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I think that the 20% limit is a good thing honestly and I think trying to get rid of it would be a bad move on two fronts:

1) In most cases people get into the game becasue of a single army force that works as a single faction identity in terms of visual design and mechanics and lore. I'm not saying joint forces are not interesting, but that the game works best when individual armies are standing strong rather than "souped" forces where you've got less visual identity of a faction.

2) Balance wise it makes things a nightmare. Either the rules have to go so simplistic that there's little real variation between arimes or you have continual updates to repair broken combos that arise because different armies can now fix their internal weaknesses with an ally. Furthermore even if you make every allied block "work" you might well find that some of the more extreme areas of flavour are lost and that variation is weakened because that's one sure and easy way to prevent min-max problems.

 

 

On a third point I'd say that if you started having lots of overlapping alliance blocks it might seem really complicated for a newbie. Right now even with factions like Order having lots of subgroupings, its really easy to get into and see how the game works. Now in the future could I see Order (as its the biggest) fragmenting - sure it could very well happen. Already blocks like the Dark Aelves can only ally with each other and Stormcast so if they broke out and made their own Grand Alliance block it wouldn't harm many other forces. 

But I can't see anything like that happening until 3.0. Plus there's a risk of angering players who were making use of the current alliance system who are hten denied taking certain allies (eg a Stormcast player used to bringing witch aelves now couldn't). 

Edited by Overread
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GA work great, they give structure, they form a basis for development, most of all they allow people to have a bunch of models and a way to use them.

I dont see an allies system as an improvement, this all seems to fall back to the usual posts about how they dont like X faction being aligend with Y.  This ignores the fact they cant ally unless you take a GA in matched play games.

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32 minutes ago, Overread said:

On a third point I'd say that if you started having lots of overlapping alliance blocks it might seem really complicated for a newbie.

This I think is probably the best argument against my idea. 

My counter would be that you still have the tactic that 90% of players use already, and is the obvious choice for a new player: a normal Battletome faction.  Pretty much nothing would change for a Fyreslayers army - you'd still look to their Pitched Battle Profile for the list of allies, you'd still be beholden to 20%/1 in 4, nothing would change (the only potential change would be that there would be the potential for an outside GA faction in the ally list, where lore-appropriate).

The only complication would be for the person who currently plays GA:Order (or one of the other 3 - you know, that one guy who plays GA: Death?).  There wouldn't be a GA:Order, but there would be a set of Free Cities and etc. to pick from.

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1 hour ago, JPjr said:

What you’re describing sounds good but isn’t that just* narrative play?

 

*”just” he says as if this isn’t the pinnacle, the platonic ideal, the supreme glory and final form of this hobby.

Now you’re talking sense. 

Unlike an earlier poster who suggested Destruction Aelves.  Never! Not even in a straw man hypothetical way. The only Aleves we want in Destruction is in the bellies of the other Destruction factions. 

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Among other things Grand alliances are incredibly useful as a sales tool. You can point to the wall with new players and say “anything in the same grand alliance can be an army,”  which is true. The old system of allies (as opposed to the frankly brilliant keyword method of army construction) was cumbersome, arcane, and irritating.

finally the grand alliances open up the field for mad converters and endlessly delighted narrative gamers without bringing the whole army-construction house down, as it were.

Edited by Nullius

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I think GA work perfectly  for matched play and narrative is a excellent way to break the shackles and explore more combinations outside the confides of matched play. 

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