I've decided to take a break from 40k. I played pretty heavily for about 3 years and had a lot of fun. I've met a lot of really great people, dedicated hobbyists, fun players, and a had a lot of fun.
I used to go to a lot of tournaments, especially GTs, so that I could play against new opponents who would have nicely painted armies and who would play strong armies and put up a good fight. Look at my Mechanicon report for what I'm talking about. That was a well run tournament that had a lot of really great players and great people.
I've not had a lot of luck this year in finding similar experiences. Before I'd face some jerks and cheaters but they were not so numerous as to be really bothersome. Almost as bad was playing against people who would bring unpainted armies and who would not really know the rules so well. That's fine when playing with friends or groups but in a major tournament environment it was just annoying. Time pressure and the pressure of a competitive environment really makes such players more annoying than anything. Not that I'm discouraging new people from playing, but I think it's important to be ready for a major tournament to get the most out of the experience but to also give the best experience possible for other players.
I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go to a major tournament that you are responsible to bring a decently painted army, know the rules, and play fast enough so that a full game can be played. Having games end after 4 turns due to time is not fun for anyone except for the person who won because of it.
I've also been frustrated with the online community of 40k. There are a lot of great and productive bloggers that really inspire me to play, paint, convert, and to think about the game. There are also a lot of very strong personalities that only want to destroy the community and to promote their view of how the game should be played at the expense of all else. I remember what it was like to be a little younger and a lot more brazen but to see grown men harass, bully, disrespect, and otherwise belittle the efforts of others is just a bit too much for me.
At the end of the day I've stopped having fun. I could ignore a lot of my problems if I thought I was going to have fun at a tournament. I have a few large problems with how tournaments are being run these days, though. My larger problem is the change in game size. 2000 points is a large game and a lot of the balance in 40k (and there is a certain amount in the game) goes away at that point level. I really feel that 1500 - 1750 is the sweet spot. 2000 points is also much too big to play in two and a half hours, let alone in less. I understand that 1750 in two and a half hours means that some people are going to be done with their early and have a good amount of time to wait before the next round. I'm okay with that and I've been on that side more times than not and I was glad for the chance to hang out, talk to people, and look at other armies. It gave me time to breathe and to enjoy the day. It's also enough time and at a small enough point level to mean that most people will finish their game and not get short changed turns. 2000 points and with 2 hours just means I'm rushing to finish a game and then rushing to start the next round.
I also don't like how many tournaments are not using Kill Points. I know some people will say they don't balance the game and that their data supports this claim. I don't buy it. Rhinos and Razorbacks and other transports are cheap because there is also a secondary cost associated with them in their KP value. It works. I am not so staunch in this view that I could not be convinced otherwise, as the Mechanicon did by using an interesting Victory Point scheme, but so far everything I have seen has pointed to the need to "punish" mutliple small unit armies. It is more than just MSU, however, it is how missions without any KP objective promote mechanized and that gets boring.
I was getting a little less excited about 40k in general. The NOVA Open was a pretty bad time. My first round opponent was a good guy but Mech Guard versus an Assault army with Dawn of War deployment and Victory Points (which is a bad combination, period) for objectives was a bad matchup. That we only made it four turns before we had to quit was also annoying as by time anything I had made it to Assault the game had ended.
My second round opponent was not at all fun to play against and cheated. He did some things that annoyed me greatly. I managed to deal with it and was about to pull out the win until he was trying to contest objectives on the bottom of the fourth, and last, turn by Tank Shocking with his Vendettas and then became visibly upset when he found out he could not do that. Several minutes later and some of my models magically repositioned later lead to his win and my leaving the tournament. I only ever left a tournament early once before, and that was due to it being advertised as running until 6PM and the last round started at 6PM and I had plans that evening, but this guy was too much for me. I admit that leaving was not the most mature thing for me to do but I was seriously not looking forward to playing two more games where I might get four rounds in before time was called. Mike, the TO, is a good guy but it seems as though he is a little reluctant to take any criticism as being anything more than aberrant.
The game has become something I am less and less excited to play. The modeling opportunities, fluff, and variety of army builds are still exciting and I would still recommend 40k as being a great game. For a variety of reasons, however, the competitive scene is not something I want to participate in.
I am looking at some other games. I have started looking at and painting a lot of my Reaper Warlord figures. It is a fun game and has a very small buy in and great figures. Some other people I like to play with have showed interest so I am going to give that a good try. Uncharted Waters, Flames of War, and Warhammer Fantasy are also games I expect to try in the near future as well. For the immediate future I am going to work on my Ogres and Reaper Warlord figures.
I have also started working on a set of rules to use with my West Wind Vampire Wars figures. They are really nice but so far there is no set of rules I want to use with them. The system I have started playing around with is a mixture of Lord of the Rings, Savage Worlds, Warlord, Starship Troopers, and some other ideas. I will probably be running a Halloween game with it in late October and I will be sure to post any pictures and thoughts from it.
I might give 40k another look come 6th edition. Until then, I am going to play and enjoy other games.
Be seeing you!