Last week I broached the subject of WYSIWYG, and I want to tease it out a bit more. As usual, I’ll harp on SW:A.
**EDIT: Damn, this has become a rant rather than having any recognisable benefit to the reader. I’ll edit this thing at some point. /D
In games like Inquisitor, with models in 54mm scale, it’s relatively easy for a hobbyist to add all the need do-dahs and deedle-dims that make up a well-equipped, or at least an appropriately equipped, character. This isn’t so easy in 28mm. Of all the minis I’ve seen over the years, the new Deathwatch veterans (in plastic) and the original pewter Space Marine scouts are the only minis that have come close to being properly equipped for their role(s).
Grenades, grappling harnesses, things of this ilk are discussed in SW:A, but they, along with extra weapon reloads, have to be scavenged from one’s bitz box, or sculpted on, which is fine, but now GW has so many gubbinz sculpted onto models we barely have room to customise our own minis. Nevertheless, I’ve now forked out a little more than I should have in getting appropriate bitz to make SW:A characters and what I feel to be proper-looking, or at least appropriately inspired, characters for 40k.
An example: Bionics have been done-away-with in 7th Ed., and I surely hope they come back for 8th. Now we have minis with beautifully converted bionics that a character can’t use. The assumption is therefore that the presence of the bionic merely returns normal use to the limb, and the fabricated replacement is just as fragile (in its own way) as flesh. They’re not even mentioned in SW:A.
The purpose of WYSIWYG is to (A) limit the player to using only realistic levels of equipment, (B) make sure that no model is hideously over-equipped (in SW:A, I expected a mega-armoured ork Nob as a special operative, not a painboy!) But WYSIWYG is supposed to go both ways: (C) WYSIWYG allows the player to personalise his miniatures! (Why does Nathan have a meltabomb instead of a krak grenade? “Oh, because he likes to sleep with something warm.” Of course, how foolish of me! *Rolls eyes*) This was a strength of Gorkamorka (although that game allowed for fewer items from the get go), and of several past editions of 40k, Necromunda, Mordheim, and the like. In skirmish games like SW:A, we’re supposed to get invested in our miniatures – else how would they progress and improve? I certainly would want to be upset if my favourite grot, whose miniature is looking down the barrel of a shoota, got his face blown off! “Fer a grot, ‘ee was ‘urty!” (*Down fungus beer here*)
One of the things we lose in SW:A is the ability to personalise our characters, and WYSIWYG becomes not a hobbyist’s issue, but of the rules failing the hobbyist. I want my Inquisitor to have purity seals and get have them mean something, not to be just a flappy piece of paper and some wax stuck someplace. Without having meaning stemming from the rules, all a purity seal is is a scrap of toilet paper with some words on it.
I guess what I’m getting at is not so much that WYSIWYG is either a good or a bad thing, but that we as hobbyists should have the right and have the flexibility in rules to play WYSIWYG! This would require a supplement for SW:A, of course.
This can be modified somewhat. Traditional Necromunda gangs of means can use the same old miniatures, but stand in for Imperial Guard Veterans, or, alternatively, Scavvys could use the Genestealer cult rules. But Scavvys didn’t have any psychological dependence on their gang leader (maybe – I never played Necromunda). BUT IG troops use a Commissar’s LD, don’t they? Maybe the Scavvys in SW:A are more clannish than their traditional comrades – Ratskins too!
WYSIWYG is a concept that, like “beardy,” seems to have vanished from the GW gamers’ lexicon. Beardy is now “overpowered.” It used to mean “overpowered” as well, but that was when GW was more interested in its fan base than its pocketbook. Perhaps WYSIW-GW wants, not necessarily what the player wants any longer.
Should this change? I think you know what my answer would be …
An example: I’m making a “counts-as” Inquisitor for SW:A (and maybe for 40k, we’ll see). He’s wearing gold armour, uses a storm bolter, has a warding stave, a cloak/cape thing, and carries an incinerator along with him. He also has a beard, but that’s hidden behind his gorget. So what does he count as? Well, an Ordo Malleus Inquisitor. Fine. What’s his equipment? Storm bolter or incinerator, or counts-as a combi-flamer in 40k; and maybe a combi-flamer with one bolter reload in SW:A. But, he’s a “count-as” Inquisitor! He’s really a golden-armoured Grey Knight Justicar! AH! So why does he have an incinerator? Because maybe I will want him to use a flame weapon in a game down the line and not his standard storm bolter.
In Inquisitor, one can use a “counts-as” rule as a +1 or +2 point Willpower bonus, for example, to stand in for a purity seal. In SW:A, Purity Seal: Improves the chances of passing bottle tests by “x” (maybe). One would have to add a full-sized compendium in order to properly represent even the most basic kill-team in SW:A.
As I say, I’ll edit this a bit when I’ve had some Scrumpy.