There's no need to dumb down the game, but there is a need to stop making a new special rule for every single unit to the extent that there's an bunch of exceptions to every single basic rule, or even exceptions to already special rules where one USR trumps another.
- Rule: all units in this situation have a cover save, always.
- This USR makes this unit ignore cover saves. OK, WELL I GUESS NOT QUITE "ALWAYS".
- This new USR makes units with rules that ignore cover saves - no longer ignore cover saves. WAIT WHAT?
- This super mega new, really new USR ignores all other rules, and cover saves do not apply, no matter what any other rules say times infinity more than you can say. Nanananaanaana-naa. OH, CHRIST. REALLY?
WTF, dude. They need to organize this stuff. See more at http://kirbysblog-ic.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-defense-of-modular-rules-by.html
Or better example - what's that rule that is literally explained as "This counts as Fleet and Scout"?? Why not just say "Fleet & Scout" then, why have the special name that I don't recognize until I've played that unit/army/list a bunch of times?
New guy walks up to table with his unpainted group of whosyourdaddys with a not-yet-legal army list and not much clue other than a few days looking at the rulebook and having bought his own army's codex that afternoon.
He's now facing an "equal" points army list that's not ideal or perfect, but at least put together by someone with some clue about how an FOC works. He gets tabled. Again and again and again.
Ok. So Warhammer 40K is a bit of an elitist system to get into, you need to know a lot of intricate stuff to stand a chance. It's unforgiving and not nice to new people. That's not cool. There needs to be some sort of learning curve and - wait, that's impossible, you're pretty much just stuck being at the mercy of whatever person you're playing against. And some people are jerks. Luckily there's also nice people. If you meet the latter, latch on to them and never let them go.
My argument: Any person should be able to read the "special rules" section of the basic rulebook and now have a basic idea of how things work - then get a printout with the army list and special rules for each unit/character in the opposing <Army he's never heard of> and stand a fighting chance at knowing what each unit is capable of and what could possibly happen.
Necron Lordylord with grenades, grenades, heavy cannon, supersafety armour and special rules Resistant to Bullets, Leader +5, Terror +2
2 squads of Skeleton Warriors with Armourpiercing +9 rifles, safety armour and special rule Resurrect 50%.
And so on and so forth.
Ok - new guy has never read the Necron codex or heard of Mr. Lordylord. But he saw the thing in the rulebook about "Resistant to Bullets", knows that a "Leader" can grant +5 to some Leadership roll army-wide, and obviously the Terror rule is something to scare his guys with. That's a good situation. Yes, the example rules are corny and the names are bad - hopefully you're smart enough to realize that they're just examples and I've never even looked at the Necron codex.
Hive Tyrant - Monstrous Creature (more or less self-explanatory), Synapse Creature (what?), Scything Talons (what? why not just say "Rending Talons"?), Psyker, Shadow in the Warp (why not just call it Anti-psyker 12"?), Old Adversary - why not just say "Preferred Enemy 6" friendly units"? And I didn't even get through half the rules yet.
A new guy shouldn't have to stop, ask, borrow a book, flip back and forth and then still get his butt handed to him because he didn't understand the synergy between this or that special rule. Like a whatchamallit Eldar wizard dude in a transport escorting an Avatar with some wizard buff stuff. Rules don't need to have a special name every time.
There's no need to re-invent the wheel every time you write a new codex. Each new codex doesn't need to be better and stronger than the old ones. Hell - why even launch a brand new codex if the old old ones aren't updated yet?
Luckily Necrons are about to drop here in a week or two with - unluckily - some rather insanely overpowered rules. But each of the 4th Ed codexes should be updated before any new races or more likely - Spess Mehrine chapters - are introduced.
While we're at it, CSM chapters need their own codexes. Nurgle, Tzeentch, Khorne and Slaanesh all need their own. Orks need Gorka and Morka codexes.