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click to enlarge

Space Marine edition cover

NetEpic may be the best Games Workshop game ever, and perhaps, ironically, because Games Workshop has not created it...

A short history of Space Marine

In the eighties and nineties, GW designed a set of rules for Titan combat in Warhammer 40'000 universe, called Adeptus Titanicus. Titan models were roughly 10cm height and were fighting in city ruins, each model being as tall as a building in that scale.
Later infantry and tanks joined the fray with Space Marine (1st and 2nd editions). Since Titans were towering giants, they dwarfed even the mightiest tank. Infantry models were 6mm height.
Finally the last supplement for this product range was Titan Legions which was only providing minor fixes to the rules and newer, bigger than ever Titan models.

During the course of years, the game became very interesting and colorful, each race (Eldar, Imperial Guard, Chaos...) having its unique units and special abilities. The game was known through different names, either as "Epic" (the scale name) or "Space Marine" (the boxed set containing core rules).

The death of Epic and the birth of NetEpic

Unfortunately, all came to an abrupt end circa 1998. Despite the success of its Epic line, Games Workshop removed the game from its sales catalog in order to revamp it completely. Game designers were not happy with the rules and wanted a more abstract game, relying more heavily on morale and chain of command.
If all the gaming community was agreeing that Space Marine could have been made better, Games Workshop's output for this task - known as Epic 40,000 - was a failure in nearly every aspect they tried to address, ie. worse than the imperfect game it was supposed to replace. Units were all too similar and the rule mechanics were full of abstract concepts such as break point, firepower and impact counters.
Epic 40'000 received little support from its own editor and was a commercial failure. It disappeared within months of its release.

click to enlarge

A sample Eldar Host.

But when Space Marine was removed from Games Workshop's product line, a dedicated group of gamers disagreed and decided to continue supporting their beloved game. They were the NetEpic founders. Using Internet as a community tool, they built their own set of rules, expanding and correcting Space Marine rules to produce a newer version of the rules, clearer than ever before, called NetEpic.

Back to present

Still aware of the commercial potential of 6mm wargaming, known as the "serious gamer scale", Games Workshop struggles to bring a newer version of the game. This time it's called Epic:Armaggedon, but since it's still based on the flawed Epic 40'000 framework it's of little interest to the NetEpic community - except for newer models, of course!

On the other hand, NetEpic is alive and well. The ruleset is evolving through its 5th edition, and every army list always incorporate all models, never leaving any player with unusable models, either old or new. NetEpic dropped long ago the alternate-turn system in favor of the lot smarter unit-activation system, resulting in unmatched tactical depth.

NetEpic is what Space Marine never dared to become - a clever, tactical, elegant and complete 6mm game. Don't worry if you are new to NetEpic. You can join at anytime, you will always be welcomed by a cheering group of players ready to help. Rules are all available online for free and Epic miniatures can easily be found on ebay.

published on 13 Apr 2004


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