Friday, October 1, 2010

Missions in Warhammer (A must read guest poster)

Pete Dunn is a veteran player of many years whose list of accomplishments and trophy rack is hard to compete with. He recently restarted his hobby blog Fields of Blood in which he discusses Warhammer in NZ and abroad. I was going to write a blog post addressing missions in 8th ed but Pete beat me to it and did a much better job than I could. Here is where his post came from originally and here is what Pete had to say...

Over the past month one of the hot topics on Warhammer forums has been the so-called "Rage-Quitting" by veteran players. If you believe the posts this is in part because the game now requires less sophisticated tactics, is prone to big spell-itis and has generally been "dumbed down".

Now I don't prescribe to those theories (with the exception that a big spell can hurt you and completely disrupt your battleplan) as I think the game has moved on, evolved, what-have-you.

At Pilgrimage in August, three scenarios were played - Battleline, Meeting Engagement and Battle for the Pass. Post-event you should have heard the gnashing of teeth as various people catalogued how the scenarios neutered their armis. For goodness sake people read the Players Pack. You knew where playing them. Construct your army to deal with them!

Which brings me to the point of this post - The Scenarios.

I was always a nay-sayer re scenarios in 7th Edition. However in 8th Edition I believe that GW have hit a winner. The scenarios are varied and if you play all six of them, internally balanced. What sort of army can win Battleline? An extreme army - be it in terms of magic, points denial or hitting power. What type of army will dominate tournaments where the full gambit of scenarios are played - a balanced army.

Only want ghouls as your Core Infantry? Good luck for "Blood and Glory". Only want to take big blocks in Battleline? Good luck when you meet a bigger dog (read deathstar) and can't deal with it - I'll bet then you wished you had spent 100 points on three cheap throwaway units rather than the "uber-mega-combo of doom" sword on your Lord. Playing "Watchtower" - well you better have something in your list that can claim the tower (20 or less core infantry) or shift the incumbents. Put 1000 points in your Deathstar? Hope you don't roll a "1" in "Meeting Engagement" or it gets separated from your main force in "Dawn Attack".

The scenarios provide a balance that acts as a form of comp over the course of a tournament. Yes you might compete well in "Battleline" but let's see you across the full gambit.

This of course is predicated on the fact that you are playing the scenarios. Already I have seen events where scenarios like "Watchtower" or "Blood & Glory" have their objective reduced to 400-500VPs. This isn't playing scenarios (nor do I believe is it giving the game a fair chance). This is playing "Battleline - with a Twist of Lemon". In a lot of cases I think this is the influence of compromise to appease the Rage-Quitters. These guys don't want to give up their 7th Ed paradigm.

At Skitterleap III this weekend, the scenarios are......the scenarios. If you don't control the Watchtower you don't win the game. If your Fortitude level is breached you don't win the game. Yes there is an opportunity to score points/lose points but the scenario is sacrosanct.

I see the ability to adapt, evolve, amend your battleplan and list as the key in 8th Ed.

The game has moved on from the ability to judge distances and know with near absolute certainty the outcome of particular combat. It is now about risk management, risk mitigation, having a balanced army to cover various scenarios and contingencies.......and especially having a Plan B when shit happens.

To mix historical references - "It's a Brave New World out there, evolve or die".


  1. i defiently support the ideas here, but in regards to the scenarios being 500 vps rather than instant win, we did this after ALOT of play testing, The reason for it in the watch tower scenario was because we kept ending up with death stars of chosen chaos warriors with 4+ ward and an exdtra attack getting deployed in the watch tower, then going.. "what" and the enemy army having absolutely nothign they can do to budge that unit.We felt that a 500 point cap on the tower would force you to consider, will my uber death star unit do more than 500 points of damage if i dont use it to man the tower, and it gives the players who generally would deal with this unit by leading it around/ feeding it those cheap throw away units a work around, ie kill everything else.

  2. But having a uber deathstar will hamper you in other missions... if you play the missions the way they are built means that you will have a balanced list... at least at more balanced list.

  3. oh i see where your coming from, but the uber death star of chaos chosen with a 4+ ward save is actually a near must have for every chaos army, ditto 20 asfing black guard with killing blow. We found that alot of armies that were balanced for all the other games ended up being either A unbeatable in this scenario or B unable to win, but yeh we did actually do alot of play testing first, and this was just the first time out, im sure we'll have more thoughts with more games