Friday, October 26, 2007

Thoughts on Army building

I've actually built and painted quite a bit since my last blog post, but I haven't seem to have found the time to take any pictures. However, I hate the thought of a week going by without a post, so I decided to write about something else on my mind.

I've been thinking a lot about the way in which people go about planning their armies. There are countless ways to go about this, I've found two general philosophies pretty common. One is to build a force in small, playable chunks. The other is to write a goal list (for example a 2,000pt tournament list) and build your army to that goal.

I've been trying to build with the second philosophy in mind. Long ago, I wrote a 1,850 (or so) list that was something like this:

HQ - Tzeentch Sorcerer on Disc
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Horror/ Flamer Demons
Troops - Horror/ Flamer Demons
Heavy - Defiler
Heavy - Defiler
Heavy - Lascannon Predator
Fast - Screamers

Every model I was working on would be part of this list. I found ti difficult, however, to write smaller lists with models from the larger list. This became quickly evident when I started playing the escalation league. We started at 300 points, which basically bought me one squad of Thousand sons. this was compounded by the fact that there were a lot of restrictions on what you could buy at various stages of escalation (see the rules here).

Another thing that threw a monkey wrench in the works was the fact that a new codex came out while I was still int he midst of building my army. This meant that my "goal list" was no longer valid.

Plus, with the new codex, there is a lot more freedom with which units I can add to my army.

I decided to adopt a new policy in regards to my army building. Instead of thinking of my army as points, I would just think of it as a series of modeling projects. I then created a new goal list based on the modeling ideas I have banging around in my head. It looks something like this:

HQ - Tzeentch sorcerer on disc
HQ - Renegade Lord in Terminator Army & Lightning Claws(Unmarked/ Undivided)
HQ - Tzeentch Demon Prince
Elite - Chosen of Tzeentch (w/ Meltaguns)
Elite - Chosen of Tzeentch (W/ Flamers)
Elite - Renegade Termiantors
Elite - Chosen of Slaanesh (Power Weapons, Power Claws)
Elite - Possessed of Slaneesh
Elite - Dreadnought (Slaanesh themed)
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Thousand Sons Squad w/ Sorcerer
Troops - Renegade marines (Unmarked/ Undivided)
Troops - Renegade marines (Unmarked/ Undivided)
Troops - Renegade marines of Slaanesh
Troops - Noise marines
Troops - Summoned Demons (Horrors)
Heavy - Defiler (Close combat)
Heavy - Defiler (Reaper/ Havoc)
Heavy - Lascannon Predator
Heavy - Vindicator
Fast - Raptors of Slaanesh
Fast - SPAWN!!! (About a dozen, I figure)

Whew! that should keep me busy for about 10 years. Granted, I could never field all these units in one game (unless it's Apocalypse of course). Still, it's a nice way to keep all the things I want to do organized.

Plus it gives me flexibility. I can field a renegade force with Thousand sons allies, or I can field a renegade force with Slaanesh elements. Or maybe just a dark allegiance of Tzeentch and Slaanesh. We'll see if I work some Khorne or Nurgle in at some point as well.

Is this modeling-based approach to army building practical? I'm not so sure. I know that this is the way that my mind works, so it will make the building of this force, a lot more enjoyable.


xenite said...

Well this probably isn't a testament to this as an efficient system for building an army, but you have described pretty much my system for doing things. I need to be inspired by the modeling project for a unit or model to make it into my army, or collection. This does get influenced by tactical, and army comp decisions from time to time, but generally revolves around what the modeling project involves. This goes back and forth. Presently I have rediscovered my love of the Imperial Guard Mechanized Company, and have been putting work into my Chimera's and other tanks. This has spun off a unit of storm troopers who came to mind to solve a specific tactical problem, but were it not for a degree of inspiration on how to do the models, they would never see the table. Most of the decisions that I make with collecting an army for a game are aesthetic first, and tactical second.

Matt said...

I don't think it is the most efficient way. However, it is a relaxed and enjoyable way to build an army in my opinion.

I am similar to xenite in that I value aesthetic over tactical. We spend so much money on the little guys that it just doesn't make sense to buy things we don't enjoy looking at.

As an aside, what are your opinions on the new 1k son squads? My buddy Kyle fields a tzeentch army and has had minimal success (at 1750). So I was wondering what you thought of them. It seems it is too easy for the enemy to ignore their 4+ save (never shoot them with something that would mean they needed it), and rather just shoot/assault them and have them fall like regular marines. AP3 bolters are of course scary, but not game winning.

What are your thoughts?

Scott said...

It's a long story, but I have yet to use the new codex. I has to do partly with campaign I'm in.

It also has to do with the fact that if I play more than twice a month, that's a lot for me.

So I promise, Matt, that when I finally get a game in with the new codex, I'll write about it.

Still, I suspect that Sons will be really scary against a marine player, but not so against a guard or Nid player.

I also thik that they'll be most affective mixed with other units from the codex.

Also, I'm defiantely more of a painter than a general. Thousand sons look cool and have an awesome backstory. That's reason enough for me to take them.

Matt said...

All good reasons. I think my friends problem is him running his list pure, he needs to mix in some undivided.

I feel like their special abilities are too easily ignored, shoot them with a heavy bolter and they go down just as easily as a regular marine.

One a unit hits them in close combat it gets really bad, lots of points get lost quickly.

I'm looking forward to your write up!