Why Isn't the INAT FAQ Called the AdeptiCon FAQ?

The first in a series of articles detailing the general history of the INAT FAQ and the implementation of the document at AdeptiCon. The most recent version of the document can be found here.

To really answer this question, you have to know why and how the INAT FAQ originally came to be. Over four years ago, before the INAT was introduced as the FAQ AdeptiCon would use, there used to be a specific ‘AdeptiCon FAQ’, which was produced by some of the head organizers of AdeptiCon. In their efforts to make the AdeptiCon FAQ as comprehensive as possible, they came upon Dakka Dakka and the ‘Dakka FAQ’ project I had been working on there.

Before I was an owner of Dakka Dakka, I was just a forum member who enjoyed visiting the rules discussion forum. Anyone who has ever spent enough time in a 40K rules discussion forum knows that the same rules questions tended to get asked over and over and over again. Every now and then, someone would post: “why doesn’t someone put together a comprehensive list of these questions that keep getting asked and send it in to Games Workshop so they can answer them?” The answer was always: “It’s too much work. I’m not going do it, but I wish someone would!”

I eventually got tired of that mentality and decided that it might as well be me! So I began collecting a list of these commonly asked questions into a ‘Dakka FAQ’ (with no answers included), with the idea that if GW ever wanted a comprehensive list of 40K rules questions to answer, they’d have one.

The problem is, if you read any of GW’s FAQs that contain answers to fan-submitted questions, you quickly realize that it is far too easy for the writer to miss the situational context for the question and end up giving an ‘answer’ that doesn’t actually address the whole point of the question!

Because of this, I was determined to make sure that a writer at GW answering these questions would absolutely know the ramifications of any answer I imagined they would give. So the questions in the ‘Dakka FAQ’ tended to be really, really, really long-winded, often with multiple-choice answer suggestions and additional questions based each multiple-choice possibility. That’s really the problem with just writing a list of questions for 40K rules ambiguities; the rules are often so complex that any answer given then begs several more questions.

The crew making the ‘AdeptiCon FAQ’ found the ‘Dakka FAQ’ online and started trying to put those long-winded questions into their FAQ and answer them. This had the unfortunate effect of making the ‘AdeptiCon FAQ’ really difficult to read because you had to wade through the really complex questions just to find out what the heck was being asked.

The funny thing was, while the AdeptiCon guys were taking the ‘Dakka FAQ’ and using its questions in their FAQ, I had actually started work on a new FAQ project on Dakka. Because while the ‘Dakka FAQ’ was a great compilation of questions, GW still wasn’t answering most of them in their official FAQs, and more and more people started posting: “That list of questions is great and all, but why doesn’t someone actually answer them?” This concept turned into the ‘yakFAQ’, which took all the questions from the ‘Dakka FAQ’ and answered them based on my own personal opinion of the rules. I also took the opportunity to make the wording used in the ‘yakFAQ’ much more clean and concise than the ‘Dakka FAQ’ because I obviously knew the context behind why the questions were being asked (as I was the one asking them).

When I attended AdeptiCon that year, I bumped into some of the head-honchos of the convention (Jeff Chua and Hank Edley) and I brought up the fact that they were taking questions from the ‘Dakka FAQ’ and using them in their ‘AdeptiCon FAQ’. While I was totally fine (and flattered) with them doing that, I mentioned it wasn’t the best solution to use the ‘Dakka FAQ’ questions ‘as-is’ because of how they are written in that hyper-detailed manner. Instead, I suggested that next year they should take the concise versions of the questions from my new ‘yakFAQ’ and just replace my answers with whatever rulings would work for AdeptiCon. Much to my surprise, they suggested that instead of wasting the time converting my FAQ into something else, they felt my FAQ should become the FAQ for AdeptiCon!

While I really wanted to help them out (I love AdeptiCon after all), I really had no interest in putting a bunch of time and effort into creating a FAQ that was only for one (albeit fantastic) event. Because my whole goal with writing the ‘yakFAQ’ was to create a totally fan-made general 40K FAQ that anyone, be it gaming clubs, tournament organizers, etc, could use as a basis for their own FAQ by changing the rulings in the ‘yakFAQ’ to match their own personal needs (or just use the document as-is if they liked my rulings).

But it wasn’t to be an issue, because they were actually thinking along the same lines: have me write a generic ‘independent’ FAQ that could then be used by AdeptiCon (and any other events that liked it too). The final piece of the puzzle was to gather together a collection of people to vote on all the rulings for the document (which initially consisted mainly of AdeptiCon tournament organizers) and with that the Independent National Tournament Warhammer 40,000 FAQ (INAT FAQ for short) was born!

The point never has (and never will be) to create some sort of world domination where every event has to use ‘our’ rulings. The reason the INAT is named the INAT is because I want everyone to know that this isn’t a FAQ created specifically for one event only, but rather something that is worked on and updated on a year-round basis and will work for just about any type of 40K tournament that chooses to use it as a comprehensive set of clarifications for their players and judges.

- Jon 'yakface' Regul, INAT Author


  1. To me the main problems with your FAQ are the following:

    1) Much too long. There are more pages than the rulebook. I read the entire FAQ but I suspect most people don't. There have been repeated requests for a lite version but this has always fell on deaf ears. Many of the answers which appear in your FAQ appear in several places - answers to generic SM queries is a prime example and this is one example where you could easily condense your FAQ. As I said requests to abbreviate this lengthy document fall upon deaf ears. This is my number one main issue with your FAQ.

    2) The FAQ is governed by a ruling body of 9 members. That might sound impressive but this is a small number of people compared to the total player base. The ruling body does not well represent the gamers as a whole and often there are decisions that don't bode well with the majority. A good example was last year's ruling that the Tyranid DoM could affect models embarked in a transport. You received lots of criticism for this across the country and the official FAQ proved you wrong. This was a black eye for your FAQ and is still mentioned in serious discussion to this day. This goes right back to my comment that these types of decisions reflect that feedback from the general public falls upon deaf ears. Typically each year there is this type of decision from your august body - we then see lots of players taking advantage of these bad decisions for a gaming advantage. : (

    I would like to see Adepticon simply use the rules put forth by Games Workshop and disband your FAQ. There was a failed movement to entice other TOs to adopt your FAQ. The truth is the vast majority of TOs choose not to use your FAQ for whatever reason. At one time you received critical acclaim from GW but this appears to no longer be the case.


  2. I'm actually planning on addressing many of the points you've brought up in more detail via further blog posts, but I'll take a quick moment to address them here as well:

    1) First of all, the FAQ covers not only the rulebook but all the codexes as well. In that context, it really isn't that large. If we broke down each codex into separate downloads it would 'seem' smaller but ultimately this would provide less functionality as you wouldn't be able to 'jump around' from section to section via hyperlink.

    The FAQ covers all the grey areas in the game (not covered by GW's FAQs) plus those questions that keep popping up over and over again. The length is determined by needed content. You can't just 'make it smaller' without choosing not to cover stuff that needs to be covered!

    The whole problem that many players have with GW's FAQs is that they do not cover a whole lot of fairly major issues. They're getting better, but they still aren't there. So we cover what needs to be covered and there really isn't a way to magically make it smaller without ignoring stuff that needs to be there.

    As for why questions are duplicated in multiple sections it is specifically so players can print out JUST the section that applies to their codex and know that they're getting all the relevant rulings. Again, this is another big problem with GW FAQs, they print a ruling in one codex FAQ and then players are left to wonder if that ruling is meant to apply in similar situations in other codexes. Early on in the INAT we went with a 'centralized' section of rulings that applied to multiple codexes. We constantly got questions asking where the ruling for a certain codex was because people don't necessarily think to look in the 'centralized' section, they jump right to their codex section and expect the ruling to be found there (and why shouldn't they?).

    Ultimately, the document is targeted at tournament organizers and is expected to be either referenced on a laptop or have one copy of it printed out up at the judges table for reference. It is organized to correspond to the page numbers of the rulebook/codex, which again is why the same question is sometimes covered in more than one place...so you can find the page number of the issue you're looking for and then go right to that spot in the INAT FAQ. This formatting system is again in reference to the issue with GW's FAQs (and other tournament FAQs of the past). In both cases as more and more questions get added to the FAQ it gets harder and harder to find the ruling you're looking for because the questions in these FAQs don't tend to stay in any particular order.

    GW's newer FAQs have started to follow the same format of the INAT FAQ...using page numbers to organize their rulings. Something that was NOT done until we did it first.

    So the FAQ is the length it needs to be for what it is. Again, what good would come by cutting stuff from it that needs to be covered?

    More to come...

  3. 2) The people who make the rulings for the INAT started by necessity as the tournament organizers of Adepticon. Since then we've been slowly branching out and bringing more diversified voices into the mix. The goal never was and never will be exclusivity, but rather to make sure we keep getting the INAT updated. Right now we're able to get everyone together on a conference call and run through the rulings. If we ever grow the number much bigger than that we'll have to come up with different concepts on how to do this. While a forum polling system has been suggested (and would be nice) it is really, really, really difficult to express the wide variety of issues involved with many of these rules questions. So while expanding the ruling council would be nice (and is a goal), the primary goal always has to be to make sure the process that actually gets the FAQ updated remains in place.

    And to be honest, how many people on the ruling council would make 'everyone' happy? 20? 50? 100? Completely public voting? Does anyone honestly think that the more people involved would somehow make the voting 'better'? At the end of the day there will still be rulings that some people disagree with and the more people involved with the voting the more chances you have for voting tom-foolery.

    More to come...

  4. Addressing our Doom of Malan'tai ruling: we went with the RAW. GW came out and ruled against the RAW, which is their absolute right, but this shows you the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' mentality we deal with. If we don't rule with the RAW on that matter then people would blast us for 'making up the rules', but when we DO rule with the RAW and then GW comes out with their FAQ and rules against the RAW (as they often do), somehow our ruling was 'wrong' and its apparently a 'black eye' for us?

    We've never, ever said that our rulings are 'right'. We do the best we can based on the information we have and our own experiences and opinions. When GW publishes their FAQs they always have a curious mix of RAW answers and rulings that go against the RAW. There is literally NO way that anyone making a fan-made FAQ could hope to match GW's rulings because you just don't know what they're going to do!

    And how can it be said that feedback for the INAT falls upon deaf ears? We have reversed several rulings based explicitly on user feedback!

    Our goal is NOT to make rulings to get everyone to play a certain way. Our goal is to fill in ruling gaps where GW doesn't cover them. That's why when GW puts out a FAQ we revise our FAQ to take out any rulings they cover...so our FAQ ultimately only contains rulings not covered by GW.

    You say that we should 'disband' the FAQ, butwhat possible benefit is gained by getting rid of a completely unofficial FAQ that covers grey areas not addressed by GW?

    There never, ever was a 'push' to get people to use the INAT, at least not by us. If you want to use the INAT use it, if you don't want to use it, don't use it! But if a T.O. chooses to bury their head in the sand and pretend that there aren't grey areas not covered by GW's FAQs, they are doing a disservice to their tournament atendees. If you don't like the rulings in the INAT then you should be taking the questions and changing the rulings to fit your opinions and using that document as your tournament FAQ. THAT is the point of the INAT, to be a resource in whatever way is helpful to tournament organizers.

    More to come...

  5. Finally, you comment that GW gave us acclaim at one point but that is no longer the case. You do know that the GW rulebook FAQ that was just released is 70% or more taken directly from the INAT, right?

    Or perhaps you're trying to imply that at one point GW was sort of giving us a 'semi-official' nod, but now they're not anymore? We are not official. We have never been official. We are not trying to tell anyone how to play. We are producing a comprehensive list of grey areas along with our personal opinions on how to rule on those situations, but you or anyone else is free to take the document and change it to fit your needs!

    We will not stop producing the INAT FAQ because I cannot tell you how much positive feedback I get from so many sources, AND the fact that GW is able to pull questions from our FAQ to use in their FAQs has always been another major goal for producing the FAQ.

    The goal is not to make people play a certain way, but to produce a document that can be USED by people.

    If you can't figure out a way to use the document to benefit your events in some way, then I don't know what to tell you!

  6. Another thing - there are too many clarifications that alter basic rules. That's why some people cAll it yakhammer. Anyways it's way too big. Are you implying only TOs should have access to the rules? That is how your response came across.

    I am glad you posted this here in a public forum outside the safety of Dakka Dakka. Ill give you credit for that.


  7. Your stance on the INAT from the first Bolter Beach is exactly how the INAT is intended to be used.

    I have decided to use this forum to host the creation of the 40k FAQ for Bolter Beach. Yuri Devilbiss and I will make all rulings. Note that we will use the INAT FAQ as a reference but it is not considered official for Bolter Beach.

    The INAT FAQ is an excellent piece of work and it would be a waste of a great resource not to use it. Yuri and I do not agree with every ruling so that it is why we are using it as a reference only.

    If you want a shorter version, go ahead and compile one, that is what the document is there for. If you want to add, remove or modify certain rulings - by all means do it. It is a sandbox for TOs to build out of/off of - not definitive all-or-nothing law.

  8. Black Blow Fly's problem seems to be more with people who are using your FAQ, than with the FAQ itself. I don't see this failed movement, i see quit the opposite. People use it, because it is available freely to be used in part or as a whole. Look at the Nova FAQ, which by the way does what you are asking for, creates an INAT lite. It is interesting how you are implying that the general public shares your opinions...

  9. Definitely some of the public shares my opinions on this subject. To what degree I can't say. I am happy to see this discussed on a public forum. Definitely there are good things that can be drawn from this FAQ. It is a well put together document with lots of pictures and diagrams to support the answers. I have no problem using it a reference but would never use it as a bible so to speak. What I've found is that two reasonable playing the game can always come to an amicable conclusion - sometimes this FAQ can help to facilitate these types of situations. 40k will never be like a game of chess with a strict set of well written and easy to understand set of rules. 40k by it's very nature is extremely dynamic to me and this is a big part of my fascination with the game. Everything is subject to change over time. You can never rest upon your laurels and expect to keep winning. This freshness forces us to re evaluate. It's fun. I offered some ideas how to make the FAQ a better document. Simplicity is very important. Rules should be easy to understand. 40k can be a complex game though and personally I don't like to see anything that provides an advantage based upon a nuisance or vaguer of the rules.

    : )


  10. Then you understand the principles behind using the INAT...I am not sure why you are so against it if you are using as it is intended.

    As I have said a million times, at least once directly to you, at AdeptiCon the INAT exists to serve as transparency prior to arriving at our event and to ensure that rules calls across all events are consistent. It is not meant to force individual players to play the game in a way they do not enjoy. It is also meant to be the last resort in resolving disputes - NOT a first-response document. As long as both players agree on how to play their game, the rulings in the INAT FAQ do not need to be invoked. Only in the case of a definitive, unresolvable dispute between two players is the INAT FAQ intended for use.

    FAQs are not a replacement for common sense and good sportsmanship. Players are always expected to calmly attempt to resolve differences in opinion before consulting with a tournament judge (and therefore referencing the INAT FAQ).

    This is the core principle regarding the use of the INAT at AdeptiCon. It acts only as an arbiter when all other avenues of resolution have been exhausted.

    Rulebook > GW FAQ > Table Resolution > Floor Judge > Head Judge > INAT

    For reference, our official conduct policy regarding rules disputes is:

    Rules Disputes: Rules disputes are bound to occur at an event this large and varied in attendance. Players should attempt to resolve all rules disputes between themselves at the table (using the appropriate codex, rulebook, FAQ). If this fails, contact a Floor Judge who will attempt to resolve the dispute using the appropriate game system documents. In some extreme situations, a Floor Judge reserves the right to escalate issues to the Head Rules Judge (if the event has one) – his/her decision is final.