There is an interesting conversation going on over at the Tactical Command forums at the moment as it has struck something of a nerve with me.
The conversations started with a poster asking whether the EPIC communities lack of interest in adding the units introduced into 40k into the EPIC game system had meant that EPIC had begun to detrimentally lag behind 40k in terms of development.
I think that the question at the bottom of this issue is – what do we want EPIC to be? Given that GW no longer supports the game (and never will) it is up to us as players to decide why we play this game, and the direction we want it to go in.
I think the choice boils down to how you view EPIC – either as a copy of 40k in a smaller scale or as a stand alone game in its own right. Each, of course, has its own issues!
The 40k in 6mm school has problems when the 40k fluff changes to such an extent that previously existing units disappear (new necrons), where EPIC models have existed for years but never existed in 40k (Daemon engines) and where those new models brought into 40k fill the same role and niche as already existing units (Stormtalon – though this is hotly debated!).
The “EPIC alone” is the path that the community has generally stuck to so far, at least when it comes to the established lists such as Space Marines. However, it seems to have led to the creation of variant lists with very weak rationales (such as the inclusion of the new unit…), a certain stagnation of established lists where discussion stalls because of the indissolvability of issues (Warhounds and SM) or the lack of enthusiasm for purely cosmetic changes, and a sense that EPIC is now quite far divorced from the fluff universe of 40k – much as everyone complains that 40k never changes, the simple fact is that the fluff has moved on from the days when EPIC was created!
This isn’t the only issue that the thread raised with me, I do wonder if the focus the community has on the endless configurations of lists, sub-lists etc, has not had a negative impact on the hobby side – so the designing of scenarios, conversion guides, campaign mechanics, special characters etc. Admittedly, I have not produced anything like this, so cannot really criticize others for the same thing, but I hope that will change in the near future.
As EPIC players, we have to ask ourselves some serious questions about the game we all love so much – What do we want from EPIC? Where do we want it to go? How do we get there?