Seems pretty simple doesn't it? If you're playing a game
and you want to get good at it, it's a good idea to have
a firm grasp of the rules. You don't have to be able to
quote page numbers or recite rules upside down in a barrel
of water, but it's a good idea to have an understanding
of how the game works.
There are many different wargames, each with their own
mechanics and rules. Some games, 40k being one of them,
use an "I go, then you go" type of turn system.
Others use a different method of determining the order in
which things happen. Confrontation,
for example, uses a combined deck of all player's game cards
to determine when each model is activated during a game
Since the game I play most is Warhammer 40k, I'll be using
it as an example. Some examples will be specific to 40k,
others will be viable to any wargame. This is far from a
comprehensive list, but it's a few things that I think are
of particular importance.
Warhammer 40k is a turn-based
wargame. It uses the classic "I go, then you go"
system, where one player moves and attacks with his entire
army and then the other player does the same. What this
system lacks in realism it makes up for in playability.
Many other games use more complicated systems to determine
turn order, but there comes a point where things can get
too bogged down. Warhammer 40k, for all it's faults, flows
One of the flaws of this kind of turn
based system is also it's greatest asset. Your opponent
gets to take his entire turn, doing exactly as he pleases;
but then you get to do the same. One of the major factors
to consider with this type of system is "Who get's
Going first can seem like a great advantage.
After all, isn't it nice to do unto others BEFORE they get
a chance to do unto you? The ability to neutralize threats
before they can hurt you can be very powerful in a turn
based wargame. However, as I'll explain in a moment, going
first is not the end-all-be-all of a 40k game. Since who
gets to go first is determined by the roll of the dice,
it's a good idea to plan on not going first. Even if you
do win the roll, there may be times where you want to let
your opponent go first.
I have seen many cases
where the game has been won or lost in the deployment phase.
Where you place your models before the game even starts
can influence how the game will flow. In the 5th edition
of 40k, whoever wins the roll for first turn is also the
player who deploys first. This is advantageous in that you
get to deploy your army with full knowledge that you will
be getting the first turn as well. Sounds like a great deal,
right? Well, maybe not.
In 5th edition 40k, there's a rule called
"Seize the Initiative". After both armies are
on the table, the player going second can try and 'steal'
the first turn from the other player. If he can get a six
on a die roll, he can choose to go first. If you've set
up your army aggresively with the expectation of first turn
and the other player 'steals' it, you will very likely be
sitting there with your ass hanging in the breeze, at the
mercy of your opponent.
I generally try to deploy so that I'm
protected from as much enemy fire as I can reasonably manage,
without hampering my ability to maneuver. That generally
means placing units in or behind cover, where they can pop
out and fire if I get first turn, or sit tight in a protected
spot if I don't. If I do deploy something out in the open,
it's usually because the good spots are already taken. In
cases like these, I try to make sure the units in the open
are either tough enough to take some hits, or expendable
enough that losing them won't hurt me too badly.
It's also a good idea to have a battleplan
in mind when deploying your units. This will be covered
in more detail later. But for now just remember that deploying
your army according to some sort of plan will make your
game flow smoother. If you have a plan in mind, you tend
to move and attack with purpose. Just plopping your units
down in a haphazard manner will make it difficult (if not
impossible) to execute a coherent battleplan.
Many players like to
go first to try and get a few lucky shots off on particularly
dangerous targets before they can start laying down the
pain. This sounds like a good plan, but let's face it, most
things on the board will be out of range or line-of-sight
on the first turn if you and your opponent have deployed
smartly. By going second, one of two things will likely
occur. Your opponent may not move very much and wait for
you to come in to range, thereby wasting his first turn.
The other option is for him to move up and try to get into
range and set up to do some damage next turn, which leaves
those units in range for YOUR first turn of shooting. Either
way, going second can be tactically advantageous to you,
as long as you're smart about how you deploy your army.
By waiting to go second, your opponent
also deploys his army before you put a single model on the
table. This gives you a pretty good view of his army, and
you may be able to figure out his battle plan. For example,
if he stacks up all his fast units on one side, he may be
going for a flank attack. By watching how your opponent
sets up his army, you can get decent idea of what he's got
planned, and then deploy your army in position to counter
Going second can also be beneficial
when it comes to mission objectives. In most of the missions
in 5th edition 40k, capturing/contesting objectives is more
important than destroying the enemy. Starting at the end
of turn 5, the game has a chance of ending. The ability
to move in and capture/contest an objective late in the
game, knowing that your opponent may not be able to do anything
about it, can give you a tremendous advantage.
|The Random Element
Most wargames (if not all) use dice to determine the outcome
of many events, 40k is no exception. These little random
number generators can be a blessing or a curse depending
on how lucky you are during any given game. Since there's
no sure way of influencing the "Dice Gods", short
of loaded dice or other methods of cheating, the best way
to mitigate the random element is to minimize it's roll
in your plans.
Dice bring probability into the wargame.
Will my troopers be able to shoot that guy on the hill?
Will they stand their ground, or run like a bunch of sissies?
Roll the dice and find out. Probability is one factor of
the game that can really bite you in the ass, usually at
the worst possible moment. Over time though, dice rolls
tend to average out. If you base your plans on "probable
outcomes", you can't go far wrong.
How do you figure out the probable outcome
of a situation? That's simple. Math. Hey, I said it was
simple, not easy. I'm not going to go into all the statistical
averages of unit X against a variety of opponents. There
are a ton of "Math-hammer" threads on Warseer
that do a far better job than I ever could. Suffice to say,
using math can give you a fairly good idea of the probable
outcome of a given situation.
You can increase your chances of a probable
outcome by rolling lots of dice, because the chances of
crazy things happening are less the more dice you roll.
So all other things being equal, you want to be in the situation
where you’re rolling more dice, because it gives you
a better chance of steady performance.
There are many factors of the game that
do not rely on dice rolls. Things like how you deploy your
troops and where you move them are up to you, not the dice.
Using these to your best advantage can help reduce the effect
the dice have on your games.
Lastly, it's always good to have a backup
plan. Probability has a way of messing with you on occassion.
We've all had times when the "Dice Gods" abandon
|Play the Mission
I can't stress this one
enough. With many wargames, 5th Edition 40k in particular,
many of the missions have certain objectives other than
just killing the enemy. In the Capture and Control
and Seize Ground missions in 40k, the objectives
are all that matter. Killing the enemy is irrelevant to
the conditions of winning the game.
Now, we all get carried away killing
the enemy army. Hell, I've fallen victim to it as well.
I play Orks, it's what they do. There are few things more
gratifying than using a powerklaw to wipe the smile off
that weanie Space Marine's face ... or burying your opponent's
prize unit in so many orks than he can't see ... and his
troops drown in their own blood! ... and you can hardly
breathe 'cuz you're choking on the ashes of your enemy!
*ahem*...sorry. Got carried away for
a second there. But you get my point. You can slaughter
the enemy and still lose if your opponent is smart enough
to capture objectives while feeding you enough of their
army to keep you busy. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Next I'll go over how to analyze the
strengths of your army, as well as that of your opponent.
|Back to Tactics
"Know the enemy, Know yourself"