Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Effective Army Building Part THE FIRST!

Tutorial Tuesday

Welcome to the first installment of  Tutorial Tuesday!

Today I want to talk a little about a topic near and dear to the Wargamers heart (or possibly groin...): Army Building.  Simply put, Army building is the idea of taking the various bits and pieces of your collection together to create a cohesive, functional, whole.
Now obviously you (and everyone else) is going to want the best units in their army always. The best armor, the best equipment, the best moral, the best everything at all times, because, of course, if everything is the best in your army, you will always win. Alas, this is not the truth at all.
Think about it. No matter the game you are restricted by 3 things. Money, availability, and cost. Not everyone has the MONEY to buy only the best units. Companies purposely make the most powerful units the most costly, cash wise, because they know people will buy them. It's just good business (unless you're Games Workshop, in which case it's witchcraft and pure, unadultered, hatred for humanity that drives your prices up... or so the internet would have us all believe)... On that same note, not everyone can take only the best units in their army, even if they do have the cash to buy them (lucky bastards... you should donate money to me instead!), because many of the best units in the game are subject to low unit caps, restricting their AVAILABILITY in peoples armies.
Naturally I'd love to take only Veteran Kazaks and Chasseurs in my Ariadna force for infinity, or only Ghost knights in my grey knights army (shut up, I like them... come on, they are led by GHOST ARAGORN FOR FRIKSAKES!!), but I have a limit on those units availability in my army list.
Lastly, the best units in the game are always rather high in COST in regards to points spent on the models, or slots occupied, or whatever. To get the best units, you need to give up on other, necessary evils like medics or support weaponry or other units that can make you're operate as a cohesive whole.
So, as you can see, you can't only take the best units. You need to support them, and this is the subject of my article (took me a while, but I got there eventually).

To build an effective army you need a few essential elements:
  • Effective leadership
  • Strong core elements of troop type infantry (light, medium, and heavy)
  • Proper support for your engaged elements (artillery, counter assault/stop-gap, ancillary support units such as medics, engineers, etc.)

Effective Leadership 

Effective leadership is a very, if not the most, important element of any army. With no battle plan (and a general to put that plan into action) you can never win a game. Now, of course you're army has two generals. The most important is YOU. if you have no idea on what to do, you WILL LOSE. True story.
But you can't let that get to you. I have personally lost more games than i care to remember. In fact, I prefer to lose a game, because that means, not only was I up against someone who knew what they were doing, but they were better at the game than I was, and out played me, taking advantage of mistakes I made, and making few, if any, of their own. And when I say I prefer to lose, I mean I prefer to lose tactically. NO-ONE LIKES TO LOSE TO A CHEATER OR IF THE DICE TURN AGAINST THEM. If you never get a chance to play (Alpha-strike loss) or you can't make a single dice roll to (literally) save your models lives, then the game is a wash, and there is nothing to do about it but troop on, shake hands after and chalk it up to fate.
Your second General is the model/character/unit you use to represent your presence on the field of battle. Whether it is a mighty character, or a lowly line trooper (yay infinity!), you must choose the model with the best abilities (and survival chances!) to make sure your will is done on the field of battle. Personally I subscribe to two different generalship schools: The Scarecrow and the Tactician.

The first (usually utilized in Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, etc) is the school of the SCARECROW. What this means is that your general, while being a useful addition to your army, providing support and fancy abilities, is there to be a pain in your opponents ass, and lend little else to the game. They are there to make a nuisance of them selves, an unavoidable thorn in your opponents big toe, that pisses them off, scares them and makes them react... all to pull your opponents attention away from what the other useful units in your army are doing to win the game. The Proactive Zombie is there to cause as much havok as possible and, most importantly, be totally inconsequential to your armies chances of winning.
The most important part about the Scarecrow general is that you don't need them AT ALL, and they are just there to be a pain in the ass, plain and simple.

The Second type is the Tactician, which is what i use mostly in games of Infinity. This type of general is important to your overall strategy, and obviously, should be guarded jealously. They should have equipment that supports your army as a whole, and skills to match, and most importantly, the ability to survive the game to see your will be done.
One other major aspect of this type of General is the Replacement / Decoy.
The Replacement / Decoy is there just in case. Is the enemy getting too close for comfort? The replacement runs out and makes a getaway... to draw your opponents attention away from the real general. They should have their own body guard, something suitably tough and fancy looking, and most importantly, something that will make your opponent believe that they ARE the general. The second aspect of the Replacement/Decoy, is that they should have some kind of useful ability to supplement your true general... and be able to function if your general does, somehow, become a splash of red on a wall somewhere.  Whether its a lesser form of the true generals ability (I'm looking at you strategos {for you infinity players out there}) or something else to make them a useful member of the team.

You'll notice one other aspect that has become obvious in my writings.... EVERYTHING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED EXPENDABLE AND NOT HINGE UPON THE UNITS SURVIVAL. Because, as in real life, everything dies, and shit happens. So get used to it.

Next week, I'll explore the next part of building an effective Army: Core elements

Until next time,
Keep your dice a rollin.
Bean out~

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