Monday, March 07, 2011

Come and Get Them


“This is serious. We're Rangers, not some sorry-ass JROTC. We're elite. Let's act like it out there.” – Sgt. Eversmann (Black Hawk Down)

Like most new 40K players, I had no particular battle plan in mind when I built my first army. Needless to say, I also had no idea on army composition, what works best with what… etc. However, after a full year of getting pulverized on the table top (I got my first ever win only after 7 months of playing), I learned a thing or two. One marked improvement was in my army lists.

“At age 7, as is customary in Sparta the boy was taken from his mother and plunged into a world of violence. Manufactured by 300 years of Spartan warrior society to create the finest soldiers the world has ever known. The agoge as it's called, forces the boy to fight, starves him, forces him to steal... and if necessary, to kill.” – Dilios (300)

Of course, Neutral Grounds is no Sparta and I am not/was not 7 when I started, but seven months (and then some) of early “learning” from the veterans made me the player I am now. At that time, I saw how they can get many from so few (ie min max) so I naturally went through that path. My mindset was how many “X’s” can I fit into “Y” points. Long story short, I had an army that was alternatively called “The Light Show” by the sheer amount of lascannon/plasma/missile/assault cannon/bolter shots it can throw at the opponent. However, the focus on guns and guns alone left me with just less than a hundred points for my HQ. Although it is rare that an opponent’s army reaches my lines, but when they do, my army folds like a poker player does with a bad hand.

After years of using token HQs and armies with limited close combat ability, I decided to go the other way. This turn came around at first during the Eye of Terror campaign, when a souped up Space Wolf list was made available (13th Company). From then, I saw the value of what a strong HQ can do and what elite forces provide. Coupled with my affinity for the cinematic or the flair in everything, I slowly went through the elite path. The decision was cemented with the recent codices/codexes providing options to field entire armies made up of elite units.

So, why do I like to play an elite army? Let me talk you through some bits of my warhammer psyche and show you the reasons why.

  1. I will “know my army” better.

“You know, you shouldn't jump around when this nice woman is holding a sharp pair of scissors. If you move she could slip and slice your jugular vein, on accident. There is no way to stitch the jugular. All of your blood will be on the floor in four minutes. I have seen this. I have done this. You don't want this.” - Zohan

“Knowing” my army is two-fold. Since elite armies specialize in only certain aspects of the game, I would know what my army can or can’t do like the back of my hand. Second, hobby wise, I would have fewer figs to assemble and paint, so I would have more time to make the army look better (all things being equal).

  1. Elite units are usually harder to kill.

“I once fought two days with an arrow through my testicle.” – Godfrey of Ibelin (Kingdom of Heaven)

Why you do this? You know I feel no pain.” – Zohan

“Then we will fight in the shade.” – Stelios (300)

I am not bold in real life. I’m not a coward, but neither am I brave. I am just a regular schmoe. So, given the chance to play make believe super humans in the far future, I would take it and go to the extreme. There are few better options in warhammer than having the confidence of being able to take almost everything the opponent’s army can throw at you and still come out of the smoke alive. Of course, in 40K nothing is certain, and there are times when the best protection doesn’t work and your supermen still drop like flies, but more often than not, they shrug off most stuff. This is good for me, and demoralizing for my opponents.

  1. Elite units are better at killing.

“You see, old friend? I brought more soldiers than you did.” – Leonidas (300)

Can your squad take-out an enemy army in close combat? Mine can. Mine did.

  1. Elite armies are harder to use.

“They will ask for terms. We must ask for terms.” – Almaric (Kingdom of Heaven)

I have nothing against it, but I want my gaming life to be better than me just me lining up all my guns and shooting. I have been there, I enjoyed it, but I want something else. Using an elite army, I have to be careful of every deployment, every movement, every target. One mistake, I die. It’s that simple. This is good for me since one reason why I got into miniature gaming is to use that parts of my brain I don’t use in my everyday life. Most games, my options would be limited from the start because of the size of my army. There would be missions where my only option would be to not get killed. Every game is an uphill battle. This is fun for me. It’s make believe anyway. I’d like to think of it as brain calisthenics.

  1. There is always “glory” after every game whatever the outcome.

“The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle is over, that even a god-king can bleed.” – Leonidas (300)

Something special happens in almost every game I play. It’s either a glorious defeat or a glorious victory. We talk about all the saves I made when I shouldn’t have. We talk about all the saves I failed when I should have. We talk about how you thought you can take on my squad with yours and you finding out otherwise. We talk about that little bit that made a whole difference to the game. When all else fails, I can pack my army and put it in my small bag in less than five minutes.

1 comment:

Kyuzo said...

Super like this post! Wahaha! Go tell em Battle Brother! :D