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Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

I often read comments suggesting that there is no place for realism in a game involving space elves and rips in the universe spewing demons over the far reaches of a fading (?) galactic empire with a leader in a 10,000year coma, psychic powers and aliens that drip acid, and less often I read comments that maintain that greater realism would benefit the game such as in the case of sneaky centurions and vehicle facing, blast templates and realistic line of sight targeting rules, a finer grain of detail moderating unit/terrain interactions, the sense of scale on the tabletop and so on.

So, I thought that we might open a thread in which we discuss what we take to be the role of realism in the game.

For myself, I am a proponent of greater realism for a number of reasons. Here, I will point to the most important in my opinion. Realism helps to align hobbyist expectations both on and off the tabletop. For instance, if the acid that this alien drips does not work like acid works in the real world, then I would have a difficult time understanding what this acid does in the game, and would question why it is called 'acid' at all... However, if the acid works as we all expect it to work, according to real world experience, then our expectations of how this acid works are aligned - intuitively, implicitly - by this common experience, and the game goes much more smoothly, things make more sense (note the use of the word "sense" here) and in all the hobby is better for it.

Meanwhile, abstractions that deny or that contravene this common experience are more difficult to deal with, add exceptions to the game experience that deviate from other experience, and in denying expectations can become tedious and indeed counterproductive. Any apparent benefit gained in the abstraction is lost in the fact that common intuitions about how things should work must be denied, which causes confusion and takes away from the cooperative experience that proceeds with a good game - like a dance - when participant expectations are aligned.

What do you think about the role of realism in the game of 40k?

   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





Acid's actually a good example, because generally there's a differance between what you could call "cinamatic acid" and well.. real life acid. real life acid often tends to be a bit messy. and useally acts fairly slow. back in high school chem our teacher once showed us sulphuric acid in action (he used it on some sugar IIRC) it was notably messy, and took awhile to break it down. in the movies acid often acts fast and just effotlessly makes something vanish.

40k I've always seen as more cinimatic then realistic. in other words it has more in common with "action movie physics" then real physics.

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

BrianDavion wrote:
Acid's actually a good example, because generally there's a differance between what you could call "cinamatic acid" and well.. real life acid. real life acid often tends to be a bit messy. and useally acts fairly slow. back in high school chem our teacher once showed us sulphuric acid in action (he used it on some sugar IIRC) it was notably messy, and took awhile to break it down. in the movies acid often acts fast and just effotlessly makes something vanish.

40k I've always seen as more cinimatic then realistic. in other words it has more in common with "action movie physics" then real physics.


Yes, faster, stronger, but this is simply moar acid and so not contrary to expectations generated from common experience, and rather just these expectations made dramatic, turned up to 11... really powerful acid. This is a good point, because in a way it seems unrealisitc that acid should work this way, so fast and powerfully, but at the same time, without the realism at the root of things, the use of the word 'acid' to describe the effects would not make sense at all.

Maybe we can venture that the role of realism is to serve as a basis from which the sci-fi setting of 40k begins? At what point do we wish that the sci-fi setting of 40k does not diverge from this basis? When it introduces contradictions?

   
Made in fi
Been Around the Block




Realism is not important. What is important is that the setting is consistent and versimilie. So for example if the tyranids can spit superacid, that can melt tanks, then it stands to reason that any unfortunate guardsman getting spit on will also melt. Also, the setting should be versimilie, so each element should be something we can relate to in our world. So axes should be made from metal instead of playdough.
   
Made in gb
Legendary Dogfighter





england

What's funny is that writers understand that realism in a Sci-Fi setting is almost a necessity. Everything follows rules of design and creation. There is no magic button.
But the GW fanbase... Well you can tell they aren't writers
   
Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

 ValentineGames wrote:
What's funny is that writers understand that realism in a Sci-Fi setting is almost a necessity. Everything follows rules of design and creation. There is no magic button.
But the GW fanbase... Well you can tell they aren't writers


Exalted.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




I don't think realism matters.
The game, fundamentally isn't realistic, and the more you think about it the more it breaks.

As I see it you have to have a working game system - and then you have abstraction on abstraction to make things "feel" like they would in the fluff.

These don't necessarily go together. I think for example AoS has a relatively tightly written ruleset that can be fun to play. But I don't find the abstraction *works*. I don't look at an army and think "yeah, if this world was real, this is how these armies would fight". Its just models on a table with stat lines and abilities. Its like viewing the matrix rather than real life.

By contrast while I think WHFB's "rules" became more and more of a trainwreck - I still imagined that if "fantasy battles" were real, and high elves, orcs, vampire counts etc existed then the armies would sort of look and fight like they did. So the abstraction was there even if the game system wasn't great.

Warmachine famously has the same problem. It has at times been a solid *game* - but its never been able to generate as much interest in the fluff as 40k, because its so mechanical. At least imo, armies have rarely felt *like you were there*.

But yeah, because its abstraction on abstraction, questions of "realism" are in the eye of the beholder. Unit facing for example *matters* if your abstraction from *I go then you go* is that unit are essentially "paralysed" for... however long the other player's turn is meant to represent. I don't however have a problem with abstracting that the unit is really moving around in that phase rather than stood like a statue, and so does effectively have 360 degree field of vision and movement. I'm not convinced the former would improve the game, or my imagination of it.
   
Made in fr
Storm Trooper with Maglight




France

To me what is important is mostly that the universe should stricly follow it's in-universe logic. That a mashup universe such as 40k, that merges sci-fi with fantasy, should not be that realistic is to me not that important.

Obviously you will always need to keep in line with basic real world physics for the reader/player to be able to imagine it to themselves, so basic, everyday physics must be there to set up the scenery.

Then the writers are free to distord them as they wish but if they want their universe to remain understandable, the readers to identify to it, they must remain consistent with their own in-universe laws.

40k: Necrons/Imperial Guard
Bolt Action: Germany/ USA
Project Z.
 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

I agree with the "in universe realism". Fantasy settings establish their own world and rules for things and provided they stick to their own rules its fine. The actual physics and science of a setting is often only a backdrop to enable the story of the characters. Even when those elements are cornerstones of the story, its most often the character that we are following.




Heck this is true all over the place. Look at how popular TV series like NCIS are even though they make an utter mess of almost all the sciences in their series*. DNA tests in under a day; two people using a keyboard at once to counter a live-hacking; etc... What isn't important isn't that the DNA test takes as long as it takes in reality, but that if they establish it takes 24 hours in their series then it should stick faithfully to that timeframe unless they introduce additional elements to change it. A new method speeding it up; some oddity that delays it etc....



*(although I believe the autopsies are actually fairly accurate - the actor who plays Ducky even learned enough to give lectures on the subject).

A Blog in Miniature - now featuring reviews of many new Black Library books (latest Novellas) 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





‘Realism’ has no place in 40k, or any game. Else it would not - be - a game.

‘Realistic’, however, - is - something that games designers should aim for. If the players can’t believe the outcomes of the game mechanics, then the game fails. I’d guess this echoes the ‘internally consistent’ argument presented above.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





Granted, 40K is a fictional setting but statements which claim that for this very reason the basic rules should be dumbed down to a laughable degree are just bad excuses for lazy writing.

Experiencing this immediately takes me out of the game as my suspension of disbelief is irrevocably shattered.
   
Made in gb
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





Dorset, England

Can you give an example of the type of abstractions in the current rules that you take umbrage at?

The game's major abstractions, like units taking turns or range having no effect on shooting, have been in the game for a long time. Are we talking about those or the smaller stuff around the edges?
   
Made in us
Pulsating Possessed Chaos Marine




Aside from the basics of scientific principles, such as gravity, I think that realism should be subjective. In your example of the acid, I could get behind it. Except 40k has things that have no real world equivalents. Scrap code that can be broadcast over vox systems is one and Nurgle plagues that rot tanks is another. Sometimes you just gotta go with the crazy.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Kroem wrote:
Can you give an example of the type of abstractions in the current rules that you take umbrage at?

The game's major abstractions, like units taking turns or range having no effect on shooting, have been in the game for a long time. Are we talking about those or the smaller stuff around the edges?


Take a look at older threads on this very forum when 8th 40K started. The list of complains was endless like the Warp itself.
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran






 Kroem wrote:
Can you give an example of the type of abstractions in the current rules that you take umbrage at?

Perhaps, for example:

- A model can fire four boltguns and a missile launcher similtaneously, but not a single boltgun and a pistol.
- If a model flees from battle it just vanishes on the spot...
- Vehicles are equally resilient when taking hits from all sides - even those vehicles which are clearly more vulnerable from a particular direction (eg. the Basilisk)
- Models can gain wargear mid-battle by having a command point spent on them. That wargear then evaporates at the end of the phase/turn.
- What even are command points? Why does a certain number of dudes turning up to the fight generate more 'command'? How can Marines, for example, be commanded to have transhuman physiology? And where does it go when they're not being commanded to have it? How come you can spend command points even when you have no commanders?
- How come a Knight can't punch enemies on the first floor of a ruin, but it can punch enemies which stand no taller than its ankles? How is the latter apparently easier to reach than the former?
   
Made in us
Locked in the Tower of Amareo




Every genre needs internal consistency in order to tell an effective story. 40K does not have this, and so fails utterly.
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




I think that realism and consistency ground the setting so that the story can make sense.

It’s funny to listen when people say that it has no place in 40k and then complain that terminators doing backflips is wrong.
Space marines are kinda getting on my nerves, since it seems like they can be huge men in almost impenetrable Armor.
And then they can also be agile and fast even matching some of the fastest creatures in the universe to some fans and even in some material of the game itself.

Maybe this should go into the other thread :(

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/03/16 05:19:09


 
   
Made in gb
Executing Exarch






Some sort of "realism" and I use the term loosely because its 40k is important to me personally because personally that makes a more immersive experience for me.

I wish I was around when the OG 40k/ rouge trader was a thing where random plants had rules etc. I listened to a interview with priestly not long ago and I liked the design philosophy. The rules of the time was more like an RPG than a wargame.

I think its a great shame that someone's made a decision that "rules are bad" and somehow the players are incapable of learning things like charts & many various mechanics which represent a slightly deeper sense of realism..

https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/772746.page#10378083 - My progress/failblog painting blog thingy

Eldar- 4436 pts


AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "
 
   
Made in us
Revving Ravenwing Biker




Hanoi, Vietnam.

I think it's important not to confuse "realism" with "believability."
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

Alkaline_Hound wrote:
Realism is not important. What is important is that the setting is consistent and versimilie. So for example if the tyranids can spit superacid, that can melt tanks, then it stands to reason that any unfortunate guardsman getting spit on will also melt.
Like if you had a huge super laser cannon on a giant tank that could blast Knights apart with a single shot. Said super laser should be able to splat a measly Ork Warboss in a... oh wait...

   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





 H.B.M.C. wrote:
Alkaline_Hound wrote:
Realism is not important. What is important is that the setting is consistent and versimilie. So for example if the tyranids can spit superacid, that can melt tanks, then it stands to reason that any unfortunate guardsman getting spit on will also melt.
Like if you had a huge super laser cannon on a giant tank that could blast Knights apart with a single shot. Said super laser should be able to splat a measly Ork Warboss in a... oh wait...


in fairness given that said warboss' ability that prevents that is literally described as Divine favour.. I mean... it's not like god's protecting people from certain death isn't a thing in the setting

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

Yes, of course... Gork and Mork are part of the metaphysics of the universe, they make things happen, and faith in the Emperor also seems to make things happen... But, not all walls or ruins are so blessed as to afford expectation denying interferences, are they?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/03/16 10:07:38


   
Made in ao
Veteran Wolf Guard Squad Leader




40K is not a sci-fi setting though.
That said, there is also realism in fluff vs on the tabletop, with the former being tenuous at best, and the latter having the additional burden of requiring a ruleset that's simple and/or intuitive enough to be understandable while simulating "realism" well enough that a game of 40K runs more or less logically.
   
Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

The more realistic, the more intuitive.
Simple - no?

   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut





Apple fox wrote:
I think that realism and consistency ground the setting so that the story can make sense.

It’s funny to listen when people say that it has no place in 40k and then complain that terminators doing backflips is wrong.
Space marines are kinda getting on my nerves, since it seems like they can be huge men in almost impenetrable Armor.
And then they can also be agile and fast even matching some of the fastest creatures in the universe to some fans and even in some material of the game itself.

Maybe this should go into the other thread :(


Terminators are only doing backflips in a certain video game. Yes, it violates their background but it doesn't affect the tabletop game.
Agile marines performing acrobatics? AFAIK they don't do acrobatic shenanigans like the eldar are fond to do but I haven't read all the novels to be sure.
   
Made in nl
Veteran Inquisitorial Tyranid Xenokiller






your mind

Bran Dawri wrote:
40K is not a sci-fi setting though.
That said, there is also realism in fluff vs on the tabletop, with the former being tenuous at best, and the latter having the additional burden of requiring a ruleset that's simple and/or intuitive enough to be understandable while simulating "realism" well enough that a game of 40K runs more or less logically.


Not a sci-fi setting... I am not sure if I can understand.

   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Strg Alt wrote:
Apple fox wrote:
I think that realism and consistency ground the setting so that the story can make sense.

It’s funny to listen when people say that it has no place in 40k and then complain that terminators doing backflips is wrong.
Space marines are kinda getting on my nerves, since it seems like they can be huge men in almost impenetrable Armor.
And then they can also be agile and fast even matching some of the fastest creatures in the universe to some fans and even in some material of the game itself.

Maybe this should go into the other thread :(


Terminators are only doing backflips in a certain video game. Yes, it violates their background but it doesn't affect the tabletop game.
Agile marines performing acrobatics? AFAIK they don't do acrobatic shenanigans like the eldar are fond to do but I haven't read all the novels to be sure.


That was more picking on some of the fans, as well as The Rule of Cool.
Some of the books have gone a little out there as well ;(
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




Science Fiction is a genre that plays with the speculative impact of future scientific developments, technology, etc.. (and related social, economic, psychological, etc.. consequences). E.g "what if robots were sentinent" or "what if we had interstellar travel" or "what if medicine overcame physical aging", etc..


In contrast, most people would classify 40K (Star Wars, etc..) more in a fantasy genre (if with pseudo-technological tropes and in SPAAAACCE) due to the very obvious fantastical element and/or large disinterest (often on purpose) to ground technology (social structures, etc.. ) in even the most speculative scientific assumptions/projections/theories.


And as mentioned, your example above is rather obvious. The perhaps most famous "sci-fi" acid in the Alien movies works precisely because the writers choose to dump realism in favour of being cinematic.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/03/16 11:15:08


 
   
Made in gb
Grim Dark Angels Interrogator-Chaplain





Norwich

All universes have rules and anything in those universes need to have rules, this is in universe realism.

Just because you have a sci fi or fantasy setting does not mean the realism and rules go out the window, to anyone that believes otherwise I must ask you, since magic exists in Lord of The Rings, why does Gandalf not summon a Blackhawk helicopter to take him to Mordor? its "made up" and he has magic, so why cant he just ignore the rules of the universe ?

   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Formosa wrote:
All universes have rules and anything in those universes need to have rules, this is in universe realism.

Just because you have a sci fi or fantasy setting does not mean the realism and rules go out the window, to anyone that believes otherwise I must ask you, since magic exists in Lord of The Rings, why does Gandalf not summon a Blackhawk helicopter to take him to Mordor? its "made up" and he has magic, so why cant he just ignore the rules of the universe ?


But sticking to established in-universe rules isn't the same as sticking to common experience as the original poster demands.

To use the example above, In an Alien movie, I expect acid blood to adhere to the in-universe rules introduced in the universe. I don't expect it to adhere to the rules governing acid in reality. That'd be absurd.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/03/16 11:17:58


 
   
 
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