Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Support and You

A recent discussion came up with my normal gaming group about how to properly support units. While it was a new conversation we all soon realized that it was something that we all have thought about before, but never talked in depth about. We all have differing opinions about how to best support key units in our armies, but the over arching theme of supporting each unit is something we all can agree on.

I’m going to talk about a few of the different key support roles and how I think they can be used on the table. Keep in mind that these are just a few examples and how I would use them.

First off there is the ’Distraction’ tactic. This style of support can come in the form of a deep striking unit or a unit jumping out from a hidden deployment (such as from inside a Land Raider or a dreadnought in a Drop Pod). The ways these units support the rest of your force is by drawing your opponent’s attention away from your key units, and they are far more dangerous than your normal troops. Making your opponent deal with these units gives the rest of your army the time they need to get into position to win the game. Hammer units make great ‘distraction’ units, as they are a force that must be dealt with and they are also very hard to kill.  In my Space Wolves army I like to use Thunder Wolf Cavalry for this role because they are hard to kill and I am able to get them into the enemy's face quickly. I deploy them as far forward as possible, and in cover if that is an option. Doing this gives them the ability to strike quickly and be able to survive my opponents first shooting phase if I’m not going first.

The next type is the ‘Covering Fire’ support role. This support role comes in many different forms, from long rage fire support to two units working in tandem to provide each other covering fire. The key to this support role is mobility and range. If you are able to have both it gives your units much more flexibility, but that’s not always an option. Another advantage with covering fire is the ability to take away your opponents cover saves. When you have multiple units that can target the same enemy unit but use different firing lanes to do so, it makes it more difficult to assure a cover save for your opponent. For this role there are a few different units that I use. First is Long Fangs for long range cover fire. I tend to deploy them on opposite sides of the table and equip them with missile launchers, that way they are able to cover a large portion of the board from a safe location. For mobile cover fire I like to keep my Grey hunters close together. By doing this it gives me the ability to either assault with 2 units or rapid fire with one unit and assault with the other.

Another pseudo support role is to have a sacrificial unit that is placed before the enemies to tempt them into making the moves you want. A small unit of troops in a vehicle or a fast moving unit makes a great sacrificial unit, as you can maneuver them quickly into position. Sacrificial units should be cheep in points, the more points this unit costs you the more it hurts when you do sacrifice it.  The idea with sacrificial units is that the enemy will strike them first and wipe them out, leaving their unit stranded, which gives you time to either counter attack or unload mass amounts of fire into them. IG is best known for the latter due to their ability to out shoot almost every other army in the game.

 Each of these different styles forces your opponent to react to you, and that can put the control if the game in your hands.  Games are often won by the player who controls the pace of the game, and forcing your opponent to react to you is one of the best ways to do that. What are some of your favorite support tactics and the units that you find work best?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why all the hate??

Why is it that in one breath we can call ourselves a community, and in the next we trash others that are trying to do the same thing; Better the hobby and game!

I listen to a lot of gaming related podcasts, and I also have gotten more active in the ever growing blogger community. It seems that as of late all anyone wants to do is bitch and complain about how the 'other guy' is doing it wrong or how the have 'jumped the shark'. Constant 'flame wars' run rampant all over the net, from forums to podcasts, and everywhere in between. What's so wrong with either keeping your mouth shut about the other guy or providing them with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism? Trying to belittle others just makes you look like the idiot!

A few days ago BoLS. changed the way the community leaves comments to their posts. Now you have to be a member of Disqus in order to leave a comment. I think this was needed because they get a lot of traffic and also a lot of  trolls who think its cool to hide behind the anonymity of the interwebs.

I just wish people could for one brief second drop their over inflated egos and just focus on what really matters; making the COMMUNITY a better place and making the GAME more enjoyable (no matter how you like to play). Is that really to much to ask?

Friday, March 12, 2010

40k-A game of tactics- Point totals edition

Having great tactics in 40k can mean the difference between a win and a loss, but where does your tactical thinking begin? Being able to play tactically begins with army list creation; the units you choose will ultimately affect your in game tactics. The point values you play have a direct affect on how you build your list and what kind of tactics you will be using during your game.

With the advent of 5th and the codex's being geared towards higher point total games (1850+) this means that players are able to run more 'core' units and/or more 'hammer' units. With more units on the table each tactical mistake means less to determine the outcome of the game; simply because you have more units to fall back on. At 2000 points I have the ability to have up to 6 full troop choices (1110pts for six 10 man units of grey hunters in a rhinos); losing one or two hurts a lot less because I have unit redundancy. Another issue that arises with higher point total games is trying to take objectives when your opponent has a horde of troops smothering each objective. Not only are you able to have more ‘core’ units, but you are able to have more ‘uber’ units like the ‘hammers’ and ‘anvils’ and in a lot of cases, the ability to have redundancy with your uber units. In my opinion having the ability to have all of these tools available to you in one list changes the game from having to make every unit count to throwing mass amounts of units at your opponent and hope something sticks.

At 1500 points you are forced to decide between a 'balanced' list and a hammer list because there just isn't enough room for both. Even if you do manage to add a hammer unit to your force it will be relatively small and will only affect the game for two to three turns. With fewer units on the table, you have less to fall back on when you make tactical errors, thus potentially costing you the game. 5th edition has made troops the only units able to claim objectives and at lower point totals each player has to rely on their troops to not only claim objectives but also to take them from your opponent. This makes the tactics for troops vital to your end goal, winning the game. If you make too many tactical mistakes with your troops and they don't survive, the best you can do is play for a tie!

With that being said, the game of 40k relies on tactics no matter what point totals you play at. The next time you sit down for a game or two with your friends, try and challenge your tactical ability and play a smaller point total game.