Monday, July 22, 2019

Warhammer 40K Roundup: Guns and Stuff

  Starting a series on my insights into Warhammer 40k.
  To start with, please understand that to a lot of hardcore Warhammer 40K players my insights will probably seem ridiculously obvious -we've only been playing less than a year and we largely avoid online forums, etc. This is much more of a "newbie learns the obvious" series I am starting, not a "deep delve into forbidden lore" series

Weekend Mania
  Over the weekend we played 4 games, all at 1,500 points-

  • Adeptus Mechanicus vs Space Marines
  • Imperial Guard vs Necrons
  • T'au vs Chaos Space Marines
  • Orks vs. T'au

  My kids and I have been spending our money on the codices for Warhammer 40k and using proxies to play (or borrowing figures from friends).
I, in particular, have been driving the kids nuts: I have been trying this, then that, then the other. Stuff like 'what is the cheapest actual brigade I can get with Imperial Guards?' or 'can I win with just tanks?" or 'what if I just freakin' spam gretchin and boyz?' or 'let's try this faction for the hell of it'.
  This contrasts with Sam and Nick who picked factions (T'au with Thousand Suns as backup & Tyranids with Necrons as backup, repectively)  almost immediately and have been focusing on getting good. Jack likes Chaos Space Marines with Space Marines as backup but gets less opportunity to play.
  But I was trying to test one element at a time - fast attack; units with a high toughness but OK saves vs OK toughness and good saves; etc.

Stuff I Think I Have Learned
  Feel free to correct me.

Looking Cool Doesn't Win- I like the look of Sicarian Ruststalkers; I think their weapons sound cool; their description in the codex is cool.
  I suck at actually playing them.
  I am not sure they are not a cool, useful unit. But they don't fit my style of play, at least. So I play what works for me, not what makes me want to write fanfic.

The Strength of your Guns Matters More Than I First Thought- I remember clearly thinking 'the difference between an S3 gun and an S4 gun can't be that big a deal'.
  Wrong. Oh, I was wrong. So wrong. Downtown Wrongsville. Spending a point per squad to get a boltgun in the hands of a sergeant is so worth it I feel bad about 9 months ago me.
 The reverse is also true - every point of Toughness matters, too.

Volume of Fire Matters- Yes, an S4 gun is certainly better than an S3 gun. But 20 S3 shots is better than 4 S4 shots for the same points. There is an old Cold War quote 'quantity has a quality of its own' and that certainly applies.
  But it also evens out the dice; with a small number of models each with a small number of shots each individual shot counts so if you have a string of bad dice rolls you can lose to the dice. But when you have 90 gretchin shooting? You might as well just use statistics and apply them because the huge volume of dice tends to default to the curve and strips chance out of the equation... mostly.

My Army Experience Matters- Conceptually, I mean. I instinctively want a balance of forces that reflects combined arms: at least with us this seems to help.

My Army Experience Hinders Me- This is a tabletop wargame set post-post-post-post apocalyptic during an apocalypse; there are expendable attrition units that just soak damage.
 My instinct is to treat each model as a valuable asset that is to be preserved.
  It is still tough for me to view gretchin, say, for what they are in game.

Depth of Deployment Isn't Just to Stop Deepstrikes- Yes, massing fire is critical. Yes, engaging in melee is important. But (again, from my army experience) I instinctively deploy 'deep', meaning scattered a bit. The boys complain, often bitterly, they can't deepstrike. But, more importantly to me, it means I am flexible; that squad may not be in rapid fire range, but if my flank starts to collapse it can react. Not being too massed makes it harder to get flanked.

More to come!

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