Fantasy vs 40k: My thoughts

Originally, I was a 40k only player.  Like many of us, as time went I started to develop an interest in the square bases.  I started a vampire counts army last year.  I slowly built it up to 2000 points, painting as I went.  I started to become a regular part of my gaming rotation, 40k on Saturdays and fantasy on Sundays.

In early January though, I started to get tired of it.  I had suffered some major loses during a tournament which caused me to sit down and critically think about the list I had with the available models I could field.  Basically, if I wanted to play more competitively, I would pretty much have to shelve about half of my currently painted models.  That wasn’t something I was willing to do, so I shelved the whole army instead.

Now, don’t take that the wrong way, I usually don’t win my games.  I never really keep a record, but it definitely feels like I lose more than I win.  There was a difference between 40k and fantasy though for me.  If I made a mistake or had some really crappy dice in fantasy, I often felt like I was completely out of the game.  No chance to claw my way back.  In 40k, I don’t get that feeling.

Thus bringing us to the point I want to make.  To me, fantasy is a more strategic game than 40k.  I can understand the strategies, and to some extent, try to use them.  40k on the other hand feels like a story to me.  I can get into the characters and the armies being played.  Maybe that is because I know more of the fluff for 40k than fantasy.  So, in the end, I can enjoy a loss in 40k more than I can in fantasy.

That’s the point of this all to me.  Have fun and relax.  Yes, I care about winning.  Yes, I get upset when I lose.  With 40k though, I can still enjoy the cool moments narrative.  I feel like there is a chance to claw my way back into the game.  So ultimately, I get more enjoyment out of a game of 40k than I do fantasy.

It’s not fantasy’s fault.  Its more likely my lack of experiences with the game and the fluff that makes it less enjoyable to me.  Maybe one day I will pull my vampire counts out of the closet.  But not right now.  I got to figure out what I am doing wrong with these Iron Hands.

3 thoughts on “Fantasy vs 40k: My thoughts

  1. I also started as a 40k only player (over a decade ago though), but I never really got into the lore. It was incredibly depressing to me, and as a longtime Tolkien fan, I gravitated much more towards the Fantasy lore. So I ended up becoming a Fantasy only player, until two years ago, going straight from 3rd to 5th edition of 40k.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, Fantasy is much more egalitarian when it comes to the relative power/importance of the various factions. Also, since the world is vastly smaller (just one planet after all), the games felt more meaningful to me, because win or lose, the outcome of a battle would have been felt by the local denizens of the Old World.

    Sure, there are definitely pivotal battles in the 40k universe that you can re-enact, or invent. But let’s face it, the average battle for most races is an insignificant footnote in a galaxy-wide perpetual state of grim dark war!

    Nevertheless, mostly due to the enthusiasm show by Severus, The Lord Primarch, and our other, infinitely less vocal friends, I have come to appreciate the lore of the 40k universe. Yet still, I consider the Eldar and Tau as the only “good guys,” and even they have some pretty spectacular character flaws. But I think that highlights the main thematic difference between the two systems; Utopia vs. Distopia.

    WH Fantasy is filled with romanticized notions of the heroic forces of order batteling against the ruinous powers of destruction. 40k also features Chaos and its allies as the main antagonist, but everyone else strike me more as anti-heroes than true “good guys.” This has its own appeal of course, as it can make the factions feel more realistic.

    In game terms, I believe that the two systems are completely different, and provide very distinct experiences. Granted, over the last few editions, the rules have visibly begun to merge, something that I am not entirely happy about.

    Having played both systems for a while now, I would actually say that games of fantasy can turn around much more easily than in 40k. I attribute this perception of mine to two main factors: 1) the value of the first turn, and 2) terrain.

    Going first in Fantasy is not really a significant advantage, unless you have cannons and your opponent has a ton of large creatures (sorry Severus). There are exceptions of course, but rarely does one end a game thinking that their fate was sealed by the end of turn one.

    In 40k on the other hand, going first is critically important, almost without exception. At the end of the day, 40k is a shooting game, and going first lets you diminish your opponent’s ability to fire back, while yours remains at full strength. It also lets you strike while your opponent is relatively defenseless (no jink, swooping, psychic powers, special abilities activated in player turn etc…).

    Because of this, an opponent that successfully capitalizes on the “first strike” advantage, can often guarantee victory, and really only loses because of one or more mistakes made down the road.

    I find that terrain is a huge factor in 40k, because it is the other player’s best defense against the opponent’s first volley. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that most 40k games (certainly the ones I have played) are won through effective use of terrain.

    In Fantasy meanwhile…terrain is almost irrelevant. Now that it has no impact on movement, it generally exists only to annoy cavalry/chariots, or as simple decoration. Even when players use more than the traditional 3 pieces of terrain (or none), it is hardly game-changing.

    As a result, and also because of other game mechanics, I’ve always found Fantasy to be much more balanced than 40k. But I definitely agree that Fantasy is more strategy oriented. You really do need to think 3-4 moves ahead, whereas 40k is much more forgiving. There are no movement restrictions and it is much easier to cross the board quickly (flyers, vehicles, turbo etc…)

  2. I use to only play 40k as well. But two years ago my brother introduced me to fantasy and i fell in love with the game. I enjoyed losing I enjoyed winning as well which for someone who GNERD Rages a lot i found this very delightful. I loved all the phases in fantasy. Out maneuvering my enemy, out playing him in the magic phase , not losing my whole army in the shooting phase and the melee phase seemed so epic at times. Granted gun line armies I strongly dislike i find that I usually win when i make it across the table. I would reccomend not starting fantasy with an undead army. One wrong move or miscast can litteraly cost you the game. So many times with tomb kings i lost with some one just sniping my Priest and causing my armies to crumble. Although i do understand the fluff behind it, it makes for a very different type of strategy. I seriously lost intrest in 40k with 6th edition. I feel the game its just a shooting gallery and tanks and melee have gun the way of the dinosaurs. I know im not the best general and this was my fault but even still firewarriors glancing my leman russ to death from the rear made me seriosly regret playing tanks. I dont care how many time I shoot a m-16 at an abrhams it isnt going to blow up.I assult dont think assult armies are any where near as fun as before. Playing IG i just annihalted my friends blood angels before he got across the board. It just felt like i was rolling dice instead of playing a game. But i guess to each his own.

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