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40k Background Cutbacks- An Invisible War

This is a guest article from Lord Eledan, about a serious problem that the Spanish-speaking community is having. He is an administrator over on the 40k Wiki sites.

Background Cutbacks - An Invisible War
The Warhammer 40,000 community has been hit hard, but since the blow has been taken by a relatively small part of it, most of you won’t have heard the news - Spanish and Italian Codexes’ background section has been cut down.

It is obvious that the majority of the fans of 40k speak English as their mother tongue, but Spanish and Italian fans share the same deep love for our hobby. For those amongst them who love its fluffy side, things have taken a turn for the worse in Eighth Edition.

It may seem difficult to walk in their shoes, but try it for just a mile - what would you think if English Codexes had 60 pages less than German Codexes? Those missing 60 pages include a deeper look into the background of your favourite faction, an updated chronology for the new ‘Cicatrix Age’, every single description of the units, and so on. And you only get two options - either you accept your English Codex as it is, or you buy the twice-as-big German one for a 33% higher price (on average).

Do you understand German just as well as English? Would you find it as enjoyable?

This is what is currently happening in the Spanish and Italian communities; our Codexes are half as long, their price tags are just a third lower, and we only get rules and showcased miniatures. Naturally, there were a lot of complaints, but many decided this was not enough. It is this situation, the reaction it engendered, and what it has enabled the Spaniards to offer to other communities, about which this post will speak.

The Hispanicus Crusade
With the release of Codex: Space Marines, Wikihammer 40K (the most visited background wiki in the Spanish community, which is twinned with the English Warhammer 40K Wiki) put an idea forward: “If there are several pages in the Codexes that Games Workshop has decided not to translate to Spanish, why don’t we translate them ourselves, for free?”

This started a true revolution. People got really excited, and voluntaries sprouted up, offering themselves to translate, edit, design… A true fan army was raised, made up of hobbyists willing to give some of their free time to provide quality material in Spanish for everyone, for no economic profit. So began “la Cruzada Hispanicus”, the Hispanicus Crusade.

Work groups were established for each task, the workload was well distributed, and everyone gave what time they could, without pressure. With each new Codex, the process was faster and better.

At the close of 2017, the Hispanicus Crusade had managed to produce translated background supplements and units and wargear cards for five different factions - Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Tyranids, Astra Militarum and Death Guard. At the time of writing, the work on the Blood Angels’ and Dark Angels’ new Codexes is well underway too.

It’s been a true adventure to watch a simple idea grow into what the Hispanicus Crusade is now. To see how the different collaborators have bonded together, how the good mood and the willingness to work have never diminished, how everyone has been welcome into the team, and how this has become a place where, even now, new and exciting ideas are brewing - who knows what the future holds?

What we can offer to other communities

If you’re an English-speaking reader, we understand this problem may seem alien to you, but we’d like to thank you for taking the time to read about our work. We only want everyone to see what can be achieved by a group of people who are so passionate about their hobby, even if it is in another language, that they will even work for free to improve on what a multinational company does not show interest in correcting. We just want to keep enjoying a hobby we’ve grown up with, just like you, in our own mother tongue.

But what’s in it for you? Well, you see, after a few weeks working on designing our translated supplements for the reduced official Codexes, someone suggested to make reference cards with the rules for the units and equipment, so that players could leave their Codex safe at home, sparing themselves accidents, losses, or simply the wear and tear of transport and page-flipping. Something light and easy to consult on. This idea, which started out as a hazy concept, soon became a reality, and the design of these cards is now close to being a completely automated process.

It is perhaps this latest development that may interest you the most, as it is simple to rewrite the cards in English or any other language. With this system, you’d only need to bring a deck of some 15 cards for unit rules and wargear to your games. You can see a translated example below. What do you think of having a complete set available in English?