Friday, March 18, 2011

40k for dummies: Commitment, sticking it out for the long haul

So, you've done the research.   You have an uber-cool theme for an army.  Now it's time to see if it works. 

You play a game with a friend/acquaintance using proxies, etc. like were mentioned in Dethtron's Gaming on a Budget article here.

You get creamed. 

It's time to take stock and determine a few things.  As we mentioned in my article, I Lost, Now What?!?, you have some gameplay options, but what about your theme, your brainchild?  Do you let it go?  I find it hard to let go of a really cool theme in my head.  For crying out loud, I play Black Templar themed Space Wolves!  I love the templars, but they just don't match up well against many of the newer armies, so running a templar list using Space Wolf rules goes a long way. 

The idea here is to consider your commitment level.  Are you committed to this theme enough to make it work?  With enough ingenuity, hard work, and practice, you can make almost anything work.  A friend of mine who plays WFB created an Empire army that is themed from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  It is amazing!  And it works. 

Going back to my previous article, you can work on your theme from two standpoints: a gameplay standpoint or a design standpoint. 

The gameplay standpoint is perhaps the easiest one to perform.  Essentially, you keep your theme and army list the same, but just practice with it until you know it in and out.  Practicing with an army is the best way to get better with it.....duh!  Many people think that if something doesn't work then it needs to be replaced.  That simply isn't true.  Sometimes, you just need to wrap your head around how to play with it.  Many models/units look really good on paper, but require a bit of work on the tabletop.  So, from a gameplay standpoint, you need to practice and learn your rules.

Honestly, you should be practicing with any army list you put together without changing it.  At least for 3-5 games.  If you are serious about sticking to a list, you need to try it several times against several opponents.  If you are throwing down one-off lists, you will find it very hard to stick to a list and settle into a groove with your army. 

The design standpoint requires a bit of creativity.  Sometimes it comes easier than others.  If you look at a theme from a design standpoint you basically ask two questions:  Do I need to make changes within the army ruleset I am using now? Do I need to change the ruleset that I am using altogther?  There is a difference between the two.  Let me give you an example of each.

1) A sanguinary guard army.  Let's say that I thought it would be cool to have an entire army of Sanguinary Guard.....hmmm.  But after trying and trying, I can't make them work using the SG rules in the BA codex.  I ask myself, "Do I need to make changes within my army's ruleset?"  So, I decided to use the SG models, but count them as assault squads with jump packs and take 6 units of 10. This is an example of keeping the theme, but using the army's existing ruleset. 

2) A black templar army.  As mentioned above, I love black templars, but I want something that has more options.  I continue to model my army as black templars, but I use the Space Wolf codex ruleset for my army.  Simple fix. 

**Both of these questions yield answers that come in the form of a "Counts-As" army.  Beware that if you do this, you will usually be using models that count as something different.  You need to be clear with your opponents as to what each unit is and you need to make it as close to WYSIWYG as possible.** 

The point to this post is let you know that if you have an idea, don't give up on it!  You have other options for helping the army work out before scrapping the whole idea.  Remember, there is nothing worse than having a dream crushed because the obvious way of doing it doesn't work well.  40k requires too much monetary investment to just throw away models when something doesn't work out quite like we want it.  Players, including me, just need to make sure that they are being intelligent with how they go about the whole process. 

That leads me to my Sanguinary Guard list..... Check back for posts on changes I am making to the list in the next few days.  Thanks for reading.

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