Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pimpin' ALL of 40k!

I finally got a play a game.  It's been a year since I played in that tournament (where I was on the top table and ended up finishing 1/1/1) and just wasn't all that happy.  I forgot how much I disliked the looooooooong days of tournaments.  Sometimes, it just ain't worth it.  Y'all know what I'm talking about...

Not really having the time or the motivation or go all the way down to the game shop, I've been woefully missing the dice rolling.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that I'm bored with the painting and building aspect of the hobby.  But these last couple of weeks, I've just run outta steam.  My motivation, between the GW announcements of doom and my own personal stresses, has become harder and harder to come by.

But today, a great thing happened.  See, I got into this hobby so long ago it's almost impossible to remember.  My buddy-in-crime, especially in gaming, was the driving force.  He didn't get me into this stuff; I was the enabler.  But he loved it as much as I did and we played and hobbied together.  But he moved far away just as I moved back home.  That pretty much removed the only person I actually know at the game shop.  But he came back to visit this weekend.  And today he invited me to hang out at the game shop and even play a game, as long as I provided the stuff.  It was so on. 

In any case, the chance to roll dice and actually have a little fun got me thinking.  Most gamers realize that GW has multiple 'expansions' to the 40k system, allowing all kinds of different style of gaming.  But few people ever really think about those options together.  I've had alot of experience with these (it was kinda my job) and I just wanted to remind people.

Listed below is gonna be a showing-off of the different 'versions' of 40k.  In all cases, I definitely suggest checking them out.  Seriously, they're really cool.

Warhammer 40,000- I can't really do a blog about 40k without starting with the most basic version of the game.  This is the rulebook and on page 86 you'll find a nifty way to generate up to nine different missions.  These missions and 'usual' rules allow people to field Company-sized forces and battle it out.  The missions range from your standard 'Line up and kill each other' to 'Capture as many objective points in a fog of war'.  Forces are supposed to be balanced by the Force Organization Chart and the 'symmetrical objectives', meaning both armies share the same rules and are trying to achieve the same objective.  There's more in the book, such as Combat Patrols (elite forces in small-scale combat) and campaign ideas.  This is the source of all knowledge for most tournaments.

Battle Missions-  What if you don't wanna play the typical 'line up and kill each other' missions?  Doesn't your army fight some special way that other armies are terrified of?  Space Marine drop assaults, Chaos defiling everything, Eldar being all spooky and misty...  Where's that in 40K?  Here it is.  This book is little more than a collection of 'race-specific' missions.  It's simple, really.  Two players roll to see who's choosing the mission, and that player chooses one of his own missions, usually meant to challenge the other player more than usual.  After all, would you wanna fight against the Tau in a total ambush?  But the fun is that this adds much more character to the game, as well as the concept of 'assymetrical objectives', meaning each player is trying to achieve victory in different ways.  This book is not about balance, it's about fluff.

Planetstrike-  Invasions, in the 41st milennium, come from the skies.  Aliens fall to earth in spore-pods released from bloated starships; Chaos Warriors descend in firestorms to cripple enemy armies up close; the Imperium stands guard in countless bunkers and bastions against any number of foes invading that world.  This book drastically changes the Force Organization Chart and allows for elite, fast moving, even specialized armies.  Better, these missions are straightfoward- the attackers must assault the defenses and break them as the defenders pour firepower and shove reinforcements in their way.  Planetstrike has two completely different sets of rules and organization for the two sides.  This expansion is 'assymetrical' as well, but more in the rules.  It's still about objectives.  This is definitely one of the coolest expansions for a wargame ever released.  It requires terrain and special tokens, but this is a hobby, right?

Spearhead-  Once the invading forces have fought their way onto the planet, the landscape changes to constant battles.  Thunderous booms echo across the plains as massive formations of tanks form up to stop the enemy advance.  The enemy always respond with their own armor, and soon it becomes a battle of thunder and lightning.  Fast moving, heavy forces engage each other at length and up close.  This is war on an entirely new concept.  The Force Organization Chart can be ignored altogether OR these rules can be incorporated into a standard game by just adding a single 'formation'.  It's about tanks and other vehicles, blasting the battlefield apart trying desperately to annihilate each other as quickly as possible.  Better yet, you don't have to buy anything extra for this!  In fact, it's free on GW's website.  However, because I love you guys, I've included the rules here so you don't have to hunt for them:

Cities of Death-  The planet has been invaded.  The armies have fought running battles across the landscape.  But everyone knows where the battles end up; everyone knows what the true prize of every world is- it's cities.  Either to plunder the collected resources or just to have a population to slaughter, all Imperial planets must expect their cities to be pounded to rubble and overrun with enemies.  This is the true battlefield.  This is where wars are won or lost.  This expansion allows two forces to battle over ruins and buildings, to perform the same door-to-door missions that is cityfighting.  Again, this book requires terrain and special tokens.  But it's always worth it...

Finally comes the end-all-be-all of the 40k Wargame dynasty-
Apocalypse-  The end is near.  The final, climactic battle for control is at hand.  Every single combat element that either side can dedicate to the conflict has been dedicated.  Gone are the company-sized engagements of the rest of the war.  Now, two enemy forces gather mighty armies- some more than a few battalions in size- to finally and totally destroy each other.  Remember when you only had to face that heavily armored tank and that massive battlecannon?  Now face ten of those AND a 2-story tall Titan, bristling with weapons, still surrounded with hundreds of infantry!  It's a battlefield forged in hell, and only those with the gutz to send men to certain death in the hopes of miracles can really enjoy this game.  Apocalypse is not about balance or even competitive play (there's no organization chart at all!), it's about using a bucket to remove casualties each turn and a chance to bring out the most esoteric weapons of war.  This ruleset is spread across four fantastic books and requires tons of space and time, but every gamer loves to throw down their entire collection at least once.  Or twice.  Or every weekend!!!

And that's it for me today.  I felt some inspiration and had to take advantage.  Let me know what you guys think about the different expansions, or just let me know what you think of my rantings. 

Happy Gaming!

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