Friday, April 8, 2011

40k for dummies: lists and lists of lists

Howdy folks.  It's been awhile since I wrote out a 40k for dummies article, but something came to mind as I was playing around with my Black Templars.  The BT Codex, being a 4th ed. codex, has a collection of rules that dictate how you play the game from turn to turn.  For instance, take the vow "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds".  In it's ruling, it mentions that BT models with the vow MUST assault the nearest enemy unit if it is able to.  That changes how I play the game, but since it is unique to the army and in turn only some of the models, I sometimes forget to apply the rule. My solution:  make a list. 

Making a list helps to remind you of elements of the game that are easy to forget.  For instance, reminding yourself to check for morale tests to rally or that a certain tank can't fire are common things that might get forgotten along the way.  A good opponent will gladly remind you, but it helps the game move along smoothly if you can do this for yourself. 

When I make a list, I make a generalized template first. It looks something like this.

I. Beginning of game
II. Beginning turn morale
III. Movement
IV. Shooting
V. Assault
VI. Consolidate

Under each heading I put small reminders based upon my army.  For instance, with a Blood Angel army under heading "I. Beginning of game" I would write "Red Thirst" and possibly "combat squad". For my Templars, under assault I would write "nearest enemy" because I always take the AAC vow.

A fleshed out list might look like this:

I. Beginning of Game
- Deployment style: Dawn of War
II. Beginning turn morale
- none
III. Movement
- check for deepstriker/outflankers
IV. Shooting
- roll "Kill'Em All" for every crusader squad shooting
- shoot bolters to prevent assalts into bait units
V. Assault
- reroll to-hit rolls due to AAC
VI. Consolidate


The implications of making a list

Making a list to keep track of your game progress helps you in many ways.  Here are a few that I notice from my games.

1) The game runs more smoothly.  I find that I will move my models, remember a rule and then have to move them back.  This leads to additional time, frustration from my opponent, and general embarassment on my part.  The list helps me to stay in lock step and generally speeds up most of my games.

2) Increased enjoyment for all.  As mentioned above, when I forget steps and have to go back or make impromptu tests that could invalidate my moves or decisions, I can often see my opponents get frustrated.  Let's face it.  A game played by two individuals who understand the game rules and mechanics well is ultimately a better, smoother game, so remembering army specific and situation specific rules makes the game more enjoyable for you AND your opponent. We all know that playing a ticked off opponent makes the experience strained and awkward.

3) Improved decision making.  If you remember and correctly operate under the rules, you tend to learn how to make difficult decisions better.  If you know that your Black Templar crusader squad has to assault a nearby opponent's unit and you don't want to, you begin to play a bit more cannily in the movement phase to prevent that rule from being exploited.

4) You don't cheat! Whether or not you intentionally forget a rule, not applying the rules to the game is cheating.  I don't want a reputation as a cheater if even by simply forgetting a rule or two.  I would much rather win fair and square. 

As you can see, the point of a list is to organize your thoughts.  In a game with a myriad of rules being applied simultaneously, it is often necessary to use notes and lists to remind yourself of which rules are in play at any given time.  Specifically, making a list helps to keep you organized in a step-by-step fashion which ultimately improves your gaming experience. 

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