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Codex vs Supplement: What is in a Name.


6th edition kicked off with a bang, and it didn't take long before we were looking at Codex Supplements that alongside each new codex release. So what happened? We all expected to see these supplements, and yet we have not seen a new one for a long time.

Codex Supplements are still coming out, but they seem to  have changed in name and are now called Codex: (add name here). So if GW is changing the naming convention, the question is why?

Well, take a look at what the community has done with recent releases. 6th edition was a move by Games Workshop to include just about everything under the sun that is meant for 40k, to be played in standard games. The word supplement brings up images of a lot of optional rules, and the instant they came out, much of the community was against their use in standard games or tournaments. There is a lot of confusion as to what standard 40k should look like in the eyes of the design teams and the community, as in the past supplements were optional sets of rules; like Planet Strike for example.

By changing the name from supplement to codex, it is clear what is intended for these splash releases. Codex, Inquisition, Imperial Knights, and now Crimson Slaughter, are no different than codex supplements (with the exception of less background). So the future it seems will be much clearer on what these releases are.

So what about the future. The rumors of a new edition, and updates to the rules to include Escalation and Stronghold assault into the main rulebook would also shore up the intent of the game. It seems GW has recognized the huge divisions in the hobby right now, and are looking to help set it straight.

Of course that doesn't change the fact that tournaments can do as they want, or change the rules as they seem fit for competitive play. In fact you can play the game in any way you want. However, I feel that by defining what is intended in the rules, it will help shore up some of the divisions that plague our hobby right now.

Once these are finally resolved, I really do believe that we will get down to business as normal, and get to some of the releases that we have all been waiting for. Black Templar, Legions, and much more.

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58 Comments

  1. Weren't the supplements also listed as "codex: black legion" on the pricing sheets before? I've tried to find your old posts on this subject but I cannot

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    1. No, they're named things like, "Black Legion: A Supplement for Codex: Chaos Space Marines", or something like that, I'm at my PC for once and don't have my iPad in front of them, but I know from the Library on iBooks that they don't sort as "Codex:...", but by their name, such as "Iyanden: A Codex: Eldar Supplement", or whatever...

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  2. The distinction that seems to exist (per how GW has them sorted on the online store) is that the "Codex Supplement" releases still require a parent Codex; e.g. the Sentinels of Terra Codex Supplement still requires Codex: SM in order to use it (likewise the other Codex Supplements require a "parent": Black Legion, Iyanden, and Farsight Conclaves). Codex: Imperial Knights doesn't require a "parent" Codex, so is not a Codex Supplement. (And likewise on the digital front, Codex: Legion of the Damned is not a Codex Supplement either, as it does not require Codex: SM.)

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    1. Agreed, a Codex can stand on it's own where as a Supplement needs the source Codex to work. I don't really see where the confusion is.

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    2. They are ALL supplements...read the back...

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    3. Anurien imperial knights and Legion of the damned are standalone, which makes it a new army basically. But yes the others are supplements as they all suggest in writing and as Alan puts it, they all need a parent codex. That in itself separates any supplement from codex or rulebook imo.

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    4. Odd that Natfka missed the stand-alone document element. Legion of the Damned is not reliant on SM for instance.

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    5. Sorry pain ted missed your comment. Anurien is correct don't they all say this requires the 40K rulebook to be used and is not a stand alone product?

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    6. Codex: Eye of Terror required "parent" codexes.

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    7. All of the Codexes (GW spelling) have a statement saying "This is a Supplement for Warhammer 40,000".

      All the Codexes have ALWAYS said this. Since Day 1. So it becomes funny with all the "no suplements" arguements as that means nothing but the rule book....

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    8. 100% agree. They are completely different things (also note that Crimson Slaughter is Crimson Slaughter: A Chaos Space Marines Codex Supplement). The only difference between Codexes and Codexes (see how that sounds silly?) is that some of the recent ones are used in specific ways as 'mini-dexes' essentially. But, they're still Codexes for all purposes. the Codex Supplements aren't; they're just supplements. So, really it makes absolutely no sense to claim that there is a 'supplement to codex name change' going on. They are completely different. You know, because Codexes and Codex Supplements are different things.

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  3. Codices are supplements. On the back of them it clearly states "this book is a supplement for Warhammer 40,000", that may be paraphrasing. It appears that GW's definitions are that codices are army-focussed with rules and fluff and are normally standalone, not requiring another book to run except the MRB; dataslates are plug-ins to codices, giving you a new unit and ways to use it; and supplements are those that change the way we play and fall into two categories, army and game. Game supplements are Apocalypse, Escalation etc and give a few new units but are focussed on game rules. Army supplements to my knowledge just tweak their parent army in a specific way to match their group's style. That's my way of seeing it

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    1. They do indeed state A Supplement for Warhammer 40,000.

      So it becomes amusing when TOs state "No Supplements in my tournament" as that excludes any and every codex written.

      People can choose to play no Lords of War or no Fortifications if they want. It is becoming harder to justify this though. I fully expect Lords Of War to be in the next rule book.

      Infact I have a vague feeling that the story line might avance so that the Primarchs start coming back...maybe the Emperor finally dies/Receives Apotheosis

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    2. I agree, by advancing the fluff they can then produce more new models and units etc and they can, again, change the contents of whole codices. This means that they don't have to do re sculpts of models and actually come up with a lot more new things that would fit into the fluff without retcon etc

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    3. I agree, by advancing the fluff they can then produce more new models and units etc and they can, again, change the contents of whole codices. This means that they don't have to do re sculpts of models and actually come up with a lot more new things that would fit into the fluff without retcon etc

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    4. As much as i would love to see things advance fluff-wise, it would mean having to rebrand their entire flagship product from 40k to 41k - which i don't see happening.

      The way the fluff is just now its all boiling towards some kind of catastrophic climax where everything could potentially be obliterated as we know it. Wouldn't it be kind of anti-climactic if the story was all forwarded and explained?

      I think some things are best left to the imagination and unexplained...

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  4. I Disagree with this post saying Codexers and supplements are one in the same. TO's can prevent extra rules but you can't prevent a whole army (even if its limited) and that what makes the word "codex" different. I believe these are new armies that will be updated down the line just like our loving original armies... even if it is JUST dataslates that have been created since the first release and will be smashed into the next edition..

    On another note! Does anyone else think that this Codex:Crimson Slaughter will get a Dark angel treatment? this could be the test book before making individual choas army books like how dark angles were released before C:SM

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    1. "I Disagree with this post saying Codexers and supplements are one in the same. TO's can prevent extra rules but you can't prevent a whole army (even if its limited) and that what makes the word "codex" different."

      That's not really true. There are currently TO's who don't allow digital only books, thus banning AS and Inq as well as any supplements that don't have physical books. Tournament organizers can do whatever they want, they're not beholden to anyone besides the people they hope to attract to play.

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    2. Yes they can. You can prevent the whole Army. Or just important models. Has hapend before.

      All GW is doing is trying to sell more stuff.

      Codexes are as is Expansion to the brb.

      Supplements are Expansions to that. Dont forget they also include Missions. Some if wich are very unbalanced.

      There is no point in discussing what is namede what and there for standart (as in always allowed).

      This is game for 2. If you cant find opponents there is no game.

      Brb says agree on things beforehand. Both players for that matter can Veto units or dexes.

      Its more about what is reasonable to play on a standart bases. GW not careing for balance is Bad. For everyone. Some of the stuff they put out would be acceptable in higher point Games. But then its a whole new chees world opening up for double what ever cheesy you have.

      GW started 6th with Flyer rules but no counter in the gamel. Were they could have given out flakk-missiles per FAQ. Its just Bad Gamedesing and not a good sales method. And titans, supplements & dataslate are going the same way. If we all had supplements. Maybe? If its ment for standart play. Why not put it in the Main dex? Its not a matter of nameing books diffrent.

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  5. "...much of the community was against their use in standard games or tournaments"

    Sorry to take this slightly off topic, but this statement (while true in itself) is a little misleading.
    I think you have to recognise the influence that tournaments actually have on "regular" games, they are usually taken to be the same thing but this ignores the trickle down effect where what happens in tournaments feeds into regular games.
    The simplest example of this I can give you is the points level of 1850 that is taken to be standard these days. This has come from tournaments down into regular games and not the other way round as players try out armies for future events. There is nothing particularly wrong about this (IMO), but if you accept it, you also have to accept that tournaments (and tournament players) have a disproportionate influence as the have the loudest voice in the internet, but a smaller proportion of actual players.

    I would argue that if there was no tournament scene, or a smaller one, that there would be not really be much bother at all over the use of supplements vrs. codices. Players would just use whatever they liked, have a laugh and where things would find their own level.

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    1. The only flaw there is that if your statement was true then two other things must be true 1. In all locations and regions the average pick up game is 1850 pts
      2. Everyone bases how they choose to play 40k based on what the internet tells them
      I can say with absolute certainty that neither of those are true. I have lived in a half dozen location around Canada and the USA and never had a local average game of 1850 (usually 1500 or 2000+.
      don't get me wrong. Tournaments do affect how some people play the game but to argue that the whole 40k community beats to the drum of nova or adepticon is ridiculous
      where I live now people (even for pick up games) think your an absurd prick if you refuse to play with forgeworld, and following that supplements, lords of war or what have you
      its all about perception

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    2. 40k players will complain over cheese whether there is a tournament scene or not.



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    3. I would also be careful about the "tourney vs. beer and pretzels" argument because then words like "waac" get thrown around with anti-GW conspiracies and nothing gets accomplished. Balancing aside, where there is a game like ours, there will be people that come to like the thrill of challenging an opponent and bringing their all against them. Abolishing the tournament scene would be more like hitting a rewind button on a movie that's always moving forward anyway.

      Also, the internet would have you believe that EVERYONE runs screamerstar, ovesaspam, and the jetseer council, but that is not so. I have not once had an opponent at my flgs who runs any of those builds. I've seen it used, but by and large people run what they want where I'm at. I know a sisters player who can kick the collective asses of every one of us, for example.

      As a final note, bear in mind that the internet would also make it seem as though the sky is falling on our hobby when, in reality, all of our loudest naysayers are just all together in one place. Even then, the complaints about game imbalance are legitimate (you can have a game balanced for tourney play and narrative gaming), but it's all in the way that the community handles them. If we dedicated as much energy to finding a solution to our problems instead of whining about them (not accusing anyone here, just making a point), we would have solved the issue long ago.

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    4. Matt, while I agree that the community could solve most of the problems fairly easily, the problem is the method of solving problems is overriding the rules in the brb and codex. Making changes to the core rules is just as polarizing as the official rule changes, so what can start as an effort to bring balance can also wind up splitting the community to a number of home brew rule sets, while a still larger portion of players play the rules as they are, which makes playing games harder. If everyone was playing games with small groups of friends at home, it wouldn't really be an issue, but since the game is often played in pickup form at game stores, changing the rules isn't so simple.

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    5. Tournaments and people that play standart Games for game challange fun (as apose to fluff take what you like fun) want balanced / fair Games.

      Tournaments do extra missions and points as a means to give us more balanced Games. Makeing very redicules lists very Bad.

      Its no fun if 1 guy has the ubber unit or the ubber extra rules. That is only fun for 1 Person as long as he makes belive he is Winning due to skill!

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    6. Even fluffy lists aren't balanced, that's a point everyone seems to miss; you can play what you want, but if your opponent choose an overpowered unit/army/list (just because he likes it, probably doesn't even want to) and your army gets steamrolled every time there isn't much fun even in casual games... or you force the opponents to play more softly, forcing him to play not what he would like, it's a lose-lose situation.
      Balance could be imperfect, but should always be a primary objective in game design.

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    7. All good comments, but one problem, Lorm, is how people define "balance". When CSMs don't get something that SMs have, people cry, "It's not balanced!", and when there are a bevy of options for one slot in the FOC, but another is devoid of decent options, and its different from codex to codex, people cry, "It's not balanced!"

      I agree that "balance" in terms of both players having a reasonable chance of winning the game at the same points level, and having a good time while doing so, is important. However, it is very much a matter of perspective and very subjective.

      It's also not GW's primary business focus; that is, they write rules to help sell models, they don't make models to fit the rules that they have written. Unless they fundamentally change their perspective and corporate culture, the complaint that "40K isn't balanced" is probably going to persist for a long time, especially given how many codexes there are and their apparent desire to introduce new armies, units and whatnot via mini-dexes, Dataslates, etc (which, I'm all for, by the way). The "tournament scene" only exacerbates this situation, since one of the objectives of a tournament environment is to try to determine who is "the best" in that environment, but when everyone can bring different tools to the table, and their choice of tool is based on their love of fluff or models for that army (at least initially, if not on-going), then that's where the balance problem becomes magnified. It's hard to say that someone is the better general if they have better tools to work with. In that regard, if it's a balanced game someone is looking for with a tournament environment, there's always chess and bridge, both of which require a lot of experience and smarts to win at.

      My (long) experience is that there are certain people who thrive in a tournament environment, some people who like to play in tournaments because its the best way for them to get in games (hard to get out of the house for a game at all, but in a tournament they can get at least 3 in in one day), and people who don't care for the tournament scene at all because it often becomes very cutthroat, with a few alpha-type players always occupying the top slots. If the game had more balance, you would still see these people at the top of the food chain; perhaps you'd see more variety in what armies and lists they bring, but like Olympic athletes, that brand of player is always looking for even the slightest edge, and that's going to bring more of the same to the table, not less.

      I also think that the tournament types of players are a very vocal minority on the internet. I have lots of friends who never play in tournaments, play several different armies, and usually never bring the same list twice, and while most of them have something that they're not pleased with, in general they are all happy with 40K as it is today...

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    8. Yeah.
      But without a game & balanced rules whats the point in models? People want to play. Not buy!

      GW did a better Job in 5th. The Codex creep ruined it. You got to admit that Balance has been better before, even in 6th?

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    9. No, I hated 5th, and 4th before it. I'm loving 6th. I quit 5th for 15 months waiting for 6th Edition and the new CSM codex to come out, and have been playing more than I ever had in the previous 8.5 years combined since then.

      Also, I know plenty of people who buy the models to build, convert and play, and never, or hardly ever, play the game. It's a miniatures company first, Seb; the rules are just there to get you to buy more models.

      Also, going back to the question of balance again, looking over a lot of your recent comments, I get the impression that you end up having to play against a lot of a Tau, and/or TauDar, and that you're a bit butt-hurt about the experience. I have a friend who's like that, just can't get off the "Tau and Eldar are so OP!" gripewagon. I don't play that many Tau players. I have a good friend who plays straight Eldar, and knows how to play them, but he's only beaten me a couple of times. And I'm undefeated against straight Tau, and I play CSMs, and I don't spam Hedrakes or use DP FlYing Circus or ScreamerStar. Sorry if your meta is so full of TauDar that you can't get away from it. But there's lots of other armies out there to face off against, and what works vs Tau doesn't always work against other things, like Space Marines...

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    1. codices is the plural of codex

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    2. But in terms of 40k, the plural Codexes is more common. GW themselves use it.. those damn hipsters.

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    3. Why even bother with the extra 'e', why not just Codexs?

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    4. Fudge knows. Lets just call them Cods and be done

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    5. I don't play Orks, but I'd imagine them referring to them as: "Da big book o' roolz, and da little books o' roolz, and da puny data tings o' roolz".

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  7. Honestly I kinda saw this coming. Two weeks ago one of the gaming stores where I live switched over to a (no lie) "No Supplements, Dataslates, Escalation, Stronghold Assault or Forgeworld" format. I wouldn't be surprised at all if every release here on out is titled Codex: Whatever.

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  8. This is the kind of crap that muddies waters and gives fuel to changing RAI. . Codex's have always been stand alone. This has always been GW intent when using the word codex to name something. Fact it says supplement to 40k on back means nothing. Fact is says supplement or codex on front is where need to be looking. Saying otherwise is just misconstruing rule for own agenda. You know what the blummin intent was.. grrr. Sorry type on thing really gets my back up.

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  9. I've been lucky I guess. I had a gaming group at school in the 90's, played in the store during college (00-02) a uni gaming group until 05, then worked for GW a couple of years, then didn't play so much for a couple of years, now have a small group of gaming mates again. I was lucky because I saw all the different breeds of gamers and eventually saw that there was just no point in playing anyone who gets that hysterical about where rules come from. My current gaming group are all cool guys, and every game has a little write-up and ongoing story. If rules don't suit us we've been known to ignore them (my friend Iain's chaos champion should have broken from his challenge with my Empire officer but I said that was utter bollocks and that the challenge should go on for example). We have just as much fun.

    If someone won't let you use the rules and model you want, if you can't get to a gentleman's agreement, screw 'em. Find nicer people.

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    1. ^This. So much this!

      Unless you live in Outer Slabovia or Upper Greenland and have very few options as to who you can get games with, you don't have to put up with people who "forbid" you to play the game to have fun. Sometimes it's as simple as a change of environment, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere where there are multiple locations (FLGSs in the USA, mostly, but I know it's different in the UK) where you can find a game. And while you're getting in a game or two, try cultivating a new friend from your opponent, so that if you find it's someone you like to play against, you can arrange future games. The more friends you have, the more options you have in this area...

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  10. Adeptus Sororitas was the last actual codex. Tyranids is so freaking god awful it doesn't count.

    I've got all these expansions, and really they are nice, but I'm looking forward to the knight book.

    If you look at the preview on black library.....it has a full force org chart for the codex doesn't it?

    http://www.blacklibrary.com/Images/Games-Workshop-Digital/2014/march/4th-march-blog/force.jpg

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    1. Actually, Codex: Inquisition and Codex: Legion of the Damned are also legitimate codexes. What throws people is that they're ~different~ from "traditional" codexes that we've all grown up with, in that they employ a different type of FOC to run the army. Codex: Imperial Knights will be the same thing. Will be interesting to see how Codex: Crimson Slaughter is structured, but from what I hear, it's going to be similar to the Black Legion Supplement, in that you can take Possessed as Troops, and have a Possessed HQ, but bigger than the BL Supplement in terms of wargear and artifacts options...

      And Codex: Tyranids is just fine. I know people who bitched and bitched and bitched when the new Tyranids codex came out, and still do, but still haven't lost a game with the new dex. They're just different, and not the "I table you on Turn 3" automatically codex anymore... :-)

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  11. I made this same points in the comments a couple of days ago, and looking here it does make perfect sense that codex means 'stand alone' rules, unlike supplements. This would indicate that Codex: Crimson Slaughter may contain an entire army list, similar to the CSM codex. At least, that's what we should expect, seeing as the Crimson Slaughter book is the same price as a full codex. If this is going to be as big as I optimistically think it might be, then it may be an intriguing sign of things to come: we may see the Chaos Legions (and others) being given the army lists they deserve at last.

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  12. Pick a Codex.

    Any Codex.

    Turn to the back cover.

    Look for the 40,000 logo at the bottom.

    Read the sentence around that logo.

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    1. "You must posses a copy of Warhammer 40,000 in order to use the contents of this book" Not quite the same as saying its a supplement. To supplement something means to add to it, not required to make use of it.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. The problem is when you call it a codex people think its a legal army and while some of them could be, things like the knights just aren't. D weapons and super heavies do NOT belong in 40k. The end. Thats what apocalypse is for. I like apocalypse but sometimes I just want to play 40k and bringing things that are beyond broken makes me not want to. Fantasy has been more balanced yhen 40k for years now and it looks like the gap is widening. I just hope they dont screw that up too

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    1. The problem, and reality, is that WHFB makes a poor showing on the bottom line vs 40K. You might feel that WHFB is "more balanced" (I disagree - I used to play Ogres when 8th Ed came out, and then quickly realized it was "MagicHammer" and I was screwed, so got out), but 40K is by far the bigger cash cow, and within 40K, Space Marines are the revenue champions, which is why they get the "poster boy" treatment. When you have a star player, you make sure he gets the best toys...

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    2. you THINK super heavies have no place in 40k. it seems the people MAKING 40k have a differance of opinion with you

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  15. This reminds me of dictionaries adding the definition for "figuratively" to the word "literally" so that "literally" literally means the opposite of "literally", all because people kept using it incorrectly.

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    1. The first recorded uses of the word literally being used to mean figuratively date back to shortly after Shakespeare, around the time when the first dictionaries were being compiled

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  16. If GW did actual play testing, and involved the community more - this would not happen.

    Its pretty obvious looking at some things that there are huge gaps in their work.

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    1. It's a bit of a shame, that GW simply rebrands controversial expansions as codex to increase acceptance, instead of fixing the issues customers have with the product.

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    2. For the record, I have no issues with the product - at all - and, I have no idea how much play testing they do or don't do, since I don't work there, and don't know anyone who does personally, and they don't publish that sort of information. So to say they don't do actual playtesting is like saying another company doesn't test their product before putting it into full production just because you don't like how it works...

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