Sunday, 10 April 2011


I've been largely missing lately. The old story of new job means less time to think about 40k. Part of me wants to sell off the tau after Chaos Day at the end of the month, cunningly organized to occupy me during the royal wedding. Chaos Day is something I have only just started playing in. Last year I turned up having not played 40k in a long time, had been playing flames of war, with brand new tau - still in their chic all black vogue. This year I'm taking the same Tau but their painted - hows that for longevity.

A good friend of mine Simon who I met through my gf Elle, she plays 1k sons, runs Chaos Day more or less. Though our jobs and other lives keep us from playing I know he has a new Dark Eldar army going down which I'm looking forward to playing against. Anyway this post is largely a shameless plug for his blog over at <a href="">A Taste of Venom</a>.

In the mean time let me say that if I don't post before the weekend of the Royal Wedding will be a busy one as I intend to cover Chaos Day somewhat and interview some people about their forces, well the ones who don't play power chum.


Monday, 14 February 2011

Turning Japanese

Everyone loves eastern tactica. When I think about where military strategy comes from I think of China and Japan because of the long tradition. I think there is a lot to learn from Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings. Here is my top three things and how they apply to 40k.

First up is the idea that a commanders main role and skill is in "making a monumental icon from a minuscule figure". This is my first principle. Look into the detail of things and make it work for you. For me in 40k this is two things - first points and second anticipated friction, both of which appear as ideas in earlier posts. I think if you just look at the bigger picture of units and army books you are bound to miss things, things which could win you games.

Second is the idea that you practice all of the things involved and not just the most difficult. If you just focus on complicated ideas like deployment to the detriment of things like target priority your mind will ignore simple solutions and present complex ones - and complex solutions are often fragile. The classic example is people going into autopilot for model spacing and arrangement. You need to place your special weapon and power weapon well and if there are no opposing templates a tight formation is best so why go 2" apart?

Third is the idea of "swordlessness". This means to use what you have and not over specialise into a perfect solution. You need to be familiar with your units and their ability in all capacities to do this, something I covered in my last blog post somewhat. This will win you a lot of games for two reasons - one you will see solutions even when plan A goes wrong and two you won't get mad when your units required for plan A die.

So that is it for today. I've tried to be in keeping with the tradition of eastern strategy and keep it brief but thought provoking. Next time I'll be talking about Marker Lights.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Have you played Knifey Spoony before?

Here is the whole idea in Orc-Pie-Room format. "To eat soup you need a spoon. But all you have is a knife. You want to eat the soup."

First you could get a spoon. Maybe you take a hammer to your knife, by which I mean you get new models for your existing army that spoonify it. Maybe you go out and buy a spoon, by which I mean you go out and buy a spoon and trade it for models.

Second you carry on using the knife until you can get the job done. All the while looking over at the other guys spoon in abject disapproval. Toiling into the wee hours of the morning alone in a darkened room without so much as a picture of a picture of a picture of boobs, from the side, to keep you entertained

I see a lot of people dogmatically buying new spoon-like objects. "Well I could use more mobile firepower in my list to sort out Eldar so three Landspeeders. Better get those bought." Next week "hmm my Speeders are OK but really they need support so what about some Vanguard Vets with anti tank stuffs, that way when I play guard I can simply lay the pwn down. Get those." Now your problem is what is a spoon to Eldar soup is a Knife to Nid soup.

Really this is an article against min-maxing. The more focused your list is the less adaptable it probably is. What you want really is to arrive at the game and have your knife be blunt enough to eat soup with but sharp enough to still be a knife if you push the right way.

I am not suggesting you take a little from all boxes here. Pragmatically I assign primary and other role to all my units. XV88's. Primary role is blowing up tanks. Secondary role is moving up and using they're cheap plasma to melt attacking element face. Another secondary role might be absorbing non-power weapon low strength high attack mobs in close combat. Compare this to a Hammerhead. Primary role is blowing up tanks. Secondary role is providing mobile cover to stuff and being shot at. I know which I prefer.

When your opponent presents a certain kind of soup, no vehicle soup for instance, you just switch to secondary. I mean when was the last time you used your strength 7 Plasma Gun to shoot a rhino? Well sometimes you should be because sometimes that is the best path.

By all means go out and buy cool stuff but don't expect it to solve all your problems - just one or two narrow ones. At the same time if you use the same stuff in the same way your life is going to be dull and repetitive. Get yourself a knife that is just sharp enough and is a serviceable spoon to boot and I promise you will have fun and win more games.