Robin Cruddace is one of the designers for Games Workshop. He's nowhere near as good as Jeremy Vetock or Phil Kelly, he is considered the Bane of Necron and Tyranid players due to his Tyranid and Necron Codexes.
Mostly, his Codices are just boring. They're not particularly well-balanced internally (as Pyrovores will attest), but they aren't guilty of Phil Kelly's monobuild (Aside from 6E Nids). They also aren't very well externally balanced (i.e. against other Codices), but they're nowhere near as bad as Ward's. And his fluff is... well, it really depends on how much of a 'Nids fan you are. In other words, the crunch was crappy bad but still workable with a few good lists, and his fluff can either go from being tolerable, or straight up to Matt Ward levels of pure undisputed bullshit.
Recently, Cruddace has mostly been trapped in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, possibly because Games Workshop realized nobody likes him that much, or maybe because he legitimately likes the other game better and chooses to design for it. This seems fairly unlikely, though, as he's a really, really big treadhead. This probably explains why his Imperial Guard 'dex (read: army with dozens of tanks) was so much better than his 'Nids 'dex (read: army with absolutely zero tanks). It's kind of hilarious how GW keeps giving him the infantry only armies, and how he gave the Daemons vehicles.
Also, for some reason, a lot of people spell his name "Cruddance." It has yet to be determined whether this is a shitty attempt at a pun ("crud" + "dance") or just people being inconsiderate faggots (see: Bretonnia v. Brettonia).
Robin Cruddace is a codex writer for Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and an utter treadhead. This means, of course, that there is one army he is very good at writing, but not too many others, and there is much wailing and misery over the utter hackjobs he's pulled on the Tyranids, the army he was least suited for. It's also possible that he's not really a treadhead either - the guy's an Imperial Guard player, just like Matt Ward is an Ultramarines player, so like Ward it's easy to see he definitely played a bit of favoritism with his own guys. On the other end of the spectrum, it appears he may have been in the camp of believers that Tyranids were overpowered with overpowered MCs, since that's what he nerfed the hardest, and then he took away all their equipment options so they couldn't even be accidental bargains somehow.
He also filled the Tyranid fluff with page after page of losing battles for Tyranids, rather than the enigmatic analysis on their rapid development and adaptability which they were previously known for (their crunch now makes them among the most rigid armies in the game). In fact, he has one story about how well the Tau were able to out-adapt the Tyranids by tricking them into disadvantageous evolutionary paths. The Tau won that battle by beating Tyranids at their own game. In the Tyranids' own codex. (And thus, the Pyrovore was born!) And then the Tau were killed off by Necrons. Also, he removed all the awesome fluff about Inquisitor Kryptmann (aka spehss Alan Grant from Jurassic Park with a hint of Ripley from Alien/s). Fortunately, with the 6th edition Tyranid codex, someone else realized how stupid this was and brought Kryptmann back. If only they could've saved the crunch from Cruddace.
Editors note: /TG/ is pretty damn sure that if Cruddace had the power too, he would Buff imperial guards to the point of being stronger than A certain selection of model Cheeses and turn them into an army of literally nothing but Tanks, while Simultaniously Literally removing Tyranids completely from 40k. lets just hope he never obtains set power.
We don't know what's wrong with Cruddace, but if he writes your army's codex, you better hope he likes your army. One theory is that if it kills his guardsmen, he'll hate you forever (no wonder he despises tyranids as much as the Inquisition despises freedom of speech and opinion.) On that note, the Eldar better hope that Cruddace is never allowed near any of their future codices, but the Dark Eldar have likely already fallen victim to his writing.
No, really, go back and think it through. Now admittedly, sometimes the Tyranids will lose. But a good writer is able to balance a sense of closure with the cosmic horror that there are always more Tyranids out there. When they invaded Macragge they couldn't win because it would kill the Ultramarines forever, and the Ultramarines are pretty damn important to the game. But it was climactic, it was intelligent. It was an epic battle stretching from the dark tunnels of a monastery-fortress to the tundras of the planet surface to the depths of space, both sides fighting tooth-and-nail. It was the entirety of the third biggest group of a theoretically infinite faction, verses the homeworld of one of the most famous and powerful space marine chapters and the heart of one of the most important region in the Imperium. The Tyranids lost the war as a whole, but they destroyed the entire First Company and decimated the rest of the Chapter, and the Ultramarines could only manage to destroy most of them. Pretty hardcore.
In the story Cruddace wrote, meanwhile, the Tyranids, in their own codex, lost a battle of adaptation to a random Tau force nobody knows. Consider that rapid adaptability was the Tyranids' single most important claim to fame. Then afterwards, Cruddace killed off the whole Tau force anyway. With another faction entirely. The saddest part is how easy it would be to fix: either make it a major Tau world (with the implication that, if the Tau lose, the Tau Empire is nommed), or make the Tau solution something so grimdark and apocalyptic (read: super virus) that the Tau realize the only way to stop the Tyranids when they all finally arrive is to sacrifice the entirety of the Tau Empire (and possibly all sentient life in the galaxy). Hey, its worked in other universes.
But no, he made the Tau better than the Tyranids. Apparently the Ultramarines are just chumps... (he was probably making a remark about how well a certain piece of literature from a certain spiritual liege would realistically hold up against an enemy as dynamic as 'Nids).
The ideal was, as he gave it, "you wouldn't be hearing about Tyranid victories".
In any case, we are not kidding: if Crudface doesn't like your army, prepare to get fucked.
That being said, he also made a bunch of the 8th edition Fantasy books, which were, for the most part, pretty good, and seem to be bringing Warhammer Fantasy into *gasp* balance (even if Tomb Kings are still at the arse end of useful). He was also a co-writer for the 7th edition Lizardmen army book, which was considered a strong, but balanced book until 8th edition changes to magic occurred.
There's also a skubtastic argument between Kelly's and Cruddace's fans about the mess of random tables that Codex: Chaos Daemon has become. The book's actually decent overall (unless you relied on Fateweaver to win games for you) and balance wise is in line with the other 6th Edition books. Also, the fluff does a good job in portraying the Chaos Daemons. However, if you even try to suggest that one of the two might be behind the nerf of one unit, you'll find yourself in one of the big shitstorm /tg/ is known for.
He recently wrote the new Space Marine codex, its pretty decent and balanced the Chapters lore pretty well compared to the other previous codices, even if it did leave in a lot of the Ultrmarine wank it was reedited to be more balanced.
It should be noted that "crud" is an often-used euphemism for "crap". Make of this what you will.
Notable Victims of The Cruddace
- Imperial Guard (5th Edition): His first work gave Cruddace the "Treadhead" moniker. Though the internal balancing and fluff are pretty good, the codex really throws a wrench into the metagame; months later, the infamous leaf-blower list will be crafted using this codex flooding tournaments with melta-vets, artillery and various other spams.
- Tyranids (5th and 6th Edition): This is where everything went wrong and how Cruddace became synonymous with nerfing. Granted, the codex churned out some nifty units (Hive Guard come to mind), the balancing at the time was wonky as fuck, deleting the much beloved DISTRACTION CARNIFEX. Also introduces the Pyrovore, arguably the most useless unit in the game. And now, with the new edition, it's getting even worse, with more nerfs meted out than actual buffs. ***SSSSSS Crud-assssss hassss not the neckbeardssss to be writing fohhhhh usssssss he mussssst be taken to the poolssssss***
- Tomb Kings (8th Edition): Largely forgettable compared to his other works; albeit one of his better quality books (which isn't saying much). Noteworthy in that it clears up a lot of contention from the previous book (like making liches actual wizards), fleshes out (no pun intended) their lore and gives the Tomb Kings Sphinxes that they use in battle.
- Sisters of Battle (the 5th Edition White Dwarf-only not-even-Codex): Continuing on the nerfing trend after Matt Ward butchered the Sisters in 5th ed. The team-up of Ward and Cruddace heralded a severe Gav Thorpe-esque reduction and tactical blunting of the previously known Witchunters list - gone are any inquisitorial support, leaving the Sisters outgunned and outclassed. Immolators? Can't take them with troops! HQ? Too expensive to be useful! Decent Elites slots? BWAHAHAHAHA - no.
- The Empire (8th Edition): Again, not very memorable. Adds some gee-whiz new war machines, but most infantry gets a price hike when other armies are getting their points costs lowered.
- Chaos Daemons (6th Edition): playing the nerfer-in-chief yet again, but balanced out (somewhat) by Phil Kelly and his random tables of random. Sadly, the victims are manifold - Juggers have no armour and Tzeentchian psykers and Flamers buff your opponent. It's all not as bad as the internet makes it out to be, especially on 1d4chan, but it is close. Because you can take Screamers and Tzeentch Heralds in the right combo to have a Jetbike unit with a re-rollable 2++, and Warpflame isn't a big deal if you fire your spells on one unit at a time. Just pretend everyone is Necrons! Also, Daemons do have ways to deal with flyers, like a Slaanesh Prince with Lash of Despair and Biomancy. Expensive, but it works, and let's not forget Bloodletters behind a quad gun that can fire at BS5. Oh, and did we mention you have a Monstrous Creature that has nine attacks on the charge, always hit on 3s with hatred, wounds everything on a 2+, ignoring armour and inflicts Instant Death? And can wreck a Land Raider by smashing it with Armourbane (Skarbrand)?
- Space Marines (6th Edition): There seems to be an uncanny pattern of switching back and forth between Cruddace's Treadhead and Nerfer personas; this one uses the former largely because of the army that he himself plays - no really, he plays Howling Griffons! It is however an incredibly stable codex with fluff--although derived from the previous edition--is not terrible. There are some casualties (like the deletion of the Black Templars as their own, separate faction and subsequent amalgamation into the book), but there are some nifty bright spots, specifically the Chapter Tactics. Now you can choose from seven different chapters to play, each with their own unique strategies. Would be seen as a great codex if it wasn't for Heldrakes and Riptides, but technically that's not his fault (c'mon, the non-Space Marine players need some things to even the playing field).
- Due to GeeDubs deciding it would be a grand idea not to tell us who the author is any more, we no longer have a way of determining who else might fall victim to the ominous touch of the Cruddace.
- He's confirmed to have written the 6th Edition Tyranids Codex (aka, the book that nerfed an already fairly low tier army into complete uselessness) thanks to White Dwarf. Much Rage abound. Also makes you wonder why censoring the names of the authors was a good idea considering White Dwarf informed us of who wrote the book.
- We also know he's one of the three guys writing Warhammer 40,000 7th edition, getting second billing after Jervis Johnson.
- While unconfirmed, he's the main suspect behind the 7th Edition Dark Eldar codex given the style of writing and changes to the crunch (farewell Flickerfields and most special characters, including Vect).
- We also know he co-wrote Codex: Deathwatch (7th Edition) with Phil Kelly through an interview. It's a mess, featuring stuff like rules that cannot be used since he forgot to include options for characters to use the rule, as well as forgetting basic equipment (like the Assault Marines Jump Packs), as well as the most boring formations in any rulebook.
- He's also been confirmed as one of the writers behind Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition, once again getting second billing after Jervis Johnson.
And then, Codex: Space Marines
When Cruddace was revealed as the writer of the new Codex: Space Marines, there was much moaning at how badly they were going to be nerfed. In amongst all the complaining about how stupid the Centurions looked, the doomsayers spoke of an age when Vanilla Marines would be amongst the worst Codices in the game.
And then, it was released, and there was much confusion.
Unlike Cruddace's Imperial Guard, or the Eldar and Tau Empire books that had been released recently, it wasn't overpowered against the others. Unlike Cruddace's Tyranids, or the recently produced Chaos Space Marines, it was neither underpowered nor monobuild. There was shock and confusion. For the first time in a long while, there was a Codex that was neither rape nor fail. It was... good.
The Chapter Tactics, whilst having some more powerful than others, were all valid choices that could have decent army lists written for them. The Black Templars took few casualties during the transfer. The fluff (with a few exceptions) was well-written and portrayed every Chapter faithfully (with the obvious exception being Ultra-wank in every non-Ultra Chapter's story). Most of the options in each slot could be taken in a good army list. It was good.
What this indicates regarding Cruddace's writing ability is unknown. There are several views which can be loosely grouped together. The first view is since he has demonstrated bias towards Imperium factions, especially those with tanks (It is very convenient that the Imperial Guard [his favorite army] can now bring a larger allied Space Marine force WITH all their vehicles, and that transports can be taken for free in a certain detachment), this codex is a work of selfish favortism. The second relates, as Space Marines have long been Games Workshop's Creator's Pet/Cash Cow; GW could have been looking over Cruddace's shoulder while he wrote the codex to ensure their pet stayed at the top like they want. The third is a case of Occam's Razor, where Cruddace's talents have been improving over time with practice or he had a flash of brilliance resulting in the codex being better-than-average for him.
As ever, get the facts straight and draw your own conclusions.
Interestingly, on a recent stream on WarhammerTV, it was said that the Almighty Treadhead himself was in charge of the design of 8th edition. This would go a ways of explaining the sudden utility of vehicles in the new edition and their lack of freely giving away first blood.