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Table Top Tactics Pt. III

Submitted By: Date: August 7, 2005, 12:12:04 AM Views: 2124

<div class="heading">Part III</div><br /><div class="body">It's very important to take terrain into consideration when deploying your force. If you have the time and if the situation permits, think about the terrain before you even spend the points to create your army. Fighting in the open? Take all the heavy bolters, auto-cannons, star cannons, scatter lasers, splinter cannons, and devourers you can lay your hands on. Fighting with an enemy who will have the benefit of cover? Hell hounds, vehicles with flamers, frag grenades, and flamer-equipped troop squads will be the order of the day. Difficult ground between you and your objective? Take as many squads in transports as you can. Put your Command HQ and all of your infantry command sections in their own transport and outfit them all with rough terrain mods. Is there an area on the board that's totally sheltered from the enemy? Put your indirect weapons there, where they can lob death out and still be out of line-of-sight of enemy troops.</div><br /><div class="body">If your gaming group is anything like mine, however, there may very well be instances when your first look at a battlefield is when you deploy your forces upon it. You know the drill - carrying a pizza in one hand and your army box in the other, you step into your friend's basement and get your first glimpse of the table you'll be gaming on that night. In these circumstances, taking a look at the table before you deploy is even more critical, as you don't have the ability to tailor your forces to fit the terrain. If you're stuck with what you've got, then using it in the best way possible is just that much more important. Decide what role each of your units will play in your battle plan and position them accordingly to take maximum advantage of the the terrain.</div><br /><div class="body">Finally, tailor your forces to suit your needs. Some armies (such as the Space Marines) have troops that are all-around badasses. They are quite flexible, and can do just as well shooting as they can assaulting, and the ability to put them in a transport gives them good mobility. Other armies (most notably the Imperial Guard and the Eldar) have units that are *much* more specialized. This specialization means that you need to tailor your army to meet the needs dictated by the terrain, the enemy you'll be facing, and the objective. Taking a force that's all leg infantry units is a sure recipe for disaster in a breakout scenario. Taking mobs of grots isn't terribly useful against an Armored Company.</div><br /><div class="body">One more time, it is significant that the other group of people from whom I hear the most complaints about the game are people who never change their army composition (usually because they never play any missions other than "kill the other guy"). Such people tend to have no appreciation for the subtle variations that different troop (and even wargear) choices can have for the mission as a whole, and how those variations change depending on the scenario objectives.</div><br /><div class="body">One thing to consider here, though is the tourney player. The format of tournaments means that you have very little opportunity to tailor your forces to meet your enemy, or to accomplish a different objective. They've helped this somewhat with the adoption of the 1200 pt core with two different 500 pt subgroup army design rules. But still, tournament play is a little bit different beast, and sort of ties your hands more than just a one-off game will.</div><br /><div class="body">Anyway, this is already too long, but it's stuff that bears thinking about. I've heard complaints that 4th Edition 40K is overly simplistic, that the rules are broken, etc. Most of the time, this boils down to people not appreciating the subtlety available in the game. Almost every time I see WH40K being played at a hobby store or a con, I see people playing the classic 2nd Edition "Kill 'em all" scenario with 4th Edition rules. Boring!</div><br /><div class="body">Even something as simple as a Cleanse mission introduces a whole new element of tactical thinking to the mix (do I go first to do damage early, or do I go last to grab table quarters? Do I bring troops that are highly mobile, or troops that are a little slower, but that are harder to kill/break? What kind of capabilities does my enemy have? Is there any terrain I can take advantage of to get a unit into a table quarter and keep it from being molested?). Any mission that *doesn't* include victory points is even *more* apt to make you think tactically, and there are actually quite a few of them. Even if they do include victory points, there's usually such a benefit for accomplishing certain objectives that casualty counts are much less important in the end.</div><br /><div class="body">4th Edition WH40K is an amazing game. Yes, the rules have their problems, but for the most part the armies are pretty well balanced. With just a few tweaks here or there, most of the glaring problems can be fixed. Many armies are *very* good at one thing, but abysmally horrible at another. You just can't design an army that will be really good at every scenario against every opponent in all types of terrain. It just doesn't work that way. </div><br />

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