Off what a good Miniature tabletop Ruelssystem consists off, is in my opinion an extreme individual point of view, because there are a few thing we need to take in consideration:
1. What is the aim of the rule system? (e.g. simulation of a historical event, role-play campaign, competition)
2. What is the goal of the palyers? (Relaxation, competition)
3. Is the approach balancing or power creep?
4. What about the background (licensed, proprietary, barebones rule system)
5. Fixed profiles or constructed?
6. Random mechanisms, if so which ones and to the same extent (X-sided dice, cards, rock-paper-scissors)
7. Force Building? (Fixed lists e.g. DBA, or even no point system at all like the early AoS)?
And all of this can also be mixed.
A rule system that is just about competition and is too balanced like Guildball can quickly develop into a problem for a company, but also that means like Warmachine / Hordes with the damage power creep, it just doesn’t work in the long run, neither does both Games are competitive.
If we then take games, the oriented ones die like e.g. Necormunda (and the derivatives Mordheim and GorkaMorka) then will have the problem that the new content needs to be added in a persistent and continuous matter, that a huge background is needed and in the end it’ll be massively convoluted. The opposite are beer and pretzel systems which only provide rules sets and maybe have a small token background, such as Gaslands and Gamma Wolves. (great systems though, check them out 😉 )
Then there is a fixed profile, how far can these be optimized? Or are there even completely configurable units, then we are easily lost within formulas calculating point values and the balancing has to be fixed, if necessary…
What mechanisms will be used for calculation evaluation of ingame outcomes? How random are these, what combinations of them are there.
How does the force compilation work etc.
Things like apps, device cards etc. are then rather secondary, though can very much change the feeling of a game nonetheless.
But the result is that there cannot be a perfect system. Because everybody has different expactations towards one and you will need to bring at least two sets of expectations together. Because the ultimate goal is to play with someone else.
I think it makes a lot more sense to define what the goal of the rule system should be and whether that will be met.
If we now accept my approach and apply that towards GW, we of course also have at least two very different perspectives, GW’s business perspective and the perspective of the players / fans
GW’s business perspective is permanent:
Our rule system should sell our miniatures. Does it usually do that? Yes.
So is this a good system?
Does the system implement the background and allow me to play pick-up games against random people in an interesting, engaging and fair manner? Yes and no.
I just have to go with the power creep, update my armies, etc. in order to really be able to play.
So is this at the same time a bad system too?
I would say our generic GW system is neither bad nor good.
It’s just there.
What we make of it and how we experience our hobby is at the end of our decision
Personally, I think:
I do the hobby to relax and have a little more joy in my life.
I don’t want to just get upset as a hobby, I don’t want to die of a heartache, because with foam at my mouth I think what company XY has been doing again is stupid and ruins my hobby.
So what composes a good rule system to me?
One that will bring me and the people I play it with joy.
It can be a hard system, one that allows campaign play and role play, one that allows me to listen to minis, or it always was.
The most important thing for me in the end is, do we all enjoy it?
And when I can answer that question with a yes, it’s a good boy, a good rule system.
But that will also includes interacting with people who one plays the game with. The social interaction part of the game.
And bad experiences can then also define the perception of whether a system is good or bad.
So we arrive at the aspect of game groups, meta, social behavior in the hobby, community management of the local shop, association, club
Although it is important, it has nothing to do with the system and itself, but of course it can and will influence how we perceive a system and who then belongs to a system, what and not.
But in the end the only thing that matters if you enjoy a game or not.