Deathbridge Warhammer

Deathbridge Warhammer

Friday, July 2, 2010

Am I Evil? YES I AM!

Maybe not the most appropriate title for this article, but I was just listening to Metallica, so it was stuck in my head.

How do you choose your army?  Let's assume for a moment that all models in the game are built equal and the game is perfectly balanced.  I'll give you twenty minutes or so to stop laughing, then we can continue.

With 8th edition dropping next weekend, I have been having a lot of conversations about army choice.  People looking to get back into the game.  Guys in the game looking to start a second army, or not liking that their uber-build from 7th ed won't auto-win them games anymore (and it not dawning on them that this is precisely why the edition is changing).  So it got me to thinking: from a purely background perspective, where do I stand for army selection?  Where do I start making the choices that help me select an army?  For me, I know the first decision is good versus evil.

8th ed Fantasy is actually really good at drawing lines in the sand between good and evil (and neutral, in the case of 2 armies).

Now I realize that this is probably one of the most subjective things you can discuss.  Everything in your life experience ultimately fuels this choice.  For example, I've been a Dungeon Master for 20 years now, so I'm very comfortable playing Orcs and Goblins.  Because I've been playing them, as a DM, for a very long time.  However, I know that my preference is to play the hero, the good guy, since it's a role I very rarely get to indulge in.

Also, your local meta-game may or may not influence your army selection.  I face pretty much nothing but Vampires and Daemons out here, so I'm even more inclined to go the route of the good guy, because it tells a better story for me.  Evil versus evil isn't nearly as dramatic.

And of course beyond good and evil, there is the actual background of the army.  Games Workshop nailed it out of the park when they took Orcs from being Tolkien-esque monsters to being drunken soccer-hooligans.  It makes them unique.  It makes them fun!  It's a deviation from the 'standard fantasy'  Though I do think they have dropped the ball in other areas.  I can understand them wanting to make every army a 'grey area' so that there is always a reason to fight any other army out there.  But it would be more dramatic if there were clearly defined 'good guys' and bad guys.  Bretonnia started out that way, then in 6th, the background changed to show that they treat their peasants like slaves.  It sullies there good reputation, for no point other than to show how dark the setting was in 6th and 7th.

It sounds though, like they are moving back to the dynamic.  The epic struggle of good versus evil.  that really appeals to me.  The one thing I don't like about 40k is the dark versus dark mentality.  A story isn't a good story unless you have a hero AND a villain.  Villain versus slightly-less-villain gets old quick.

So take a look around your gaming scene?  Are you dominated by Daemons and the undead, like I am?  Or perhaps the opposite, and the realms of Elves, Dwarves and Men conquer all.  In either case, if you are planning a new army for Fantasy, take that into consideration.  Maybe go against the grain, if for no other reason than to create a better story on the table.  It also helps to spice things up.  You know what's not a fun time?  Playing back to back games on the same day, against different opponents, who are using the same army.   5 guys showing up to a club all with High Elves (it's going to happen when the new starter set comes out).

Break the mould.  Wouldn't you like to be known by your signature army?  "Yeah, that Jim, he's our Skaven guy" is a little more exciting than 'Hey there's Jim.  Him, Steve, Fred, Bob and Marmaduke all play High Elves."  Just food for thought.


Wallshammer said...

I think thoughts like this make for a better club.

People can go out, like some places, and get the best army possible. Get the newest, biggest baddest army and not even care if there are five others in the same club.

Or people can look around and see what's missing. What can they bring to the table that no one else is? What is unique or rarely used?

It's a wide variety that makes a good club. Yeah, I know, it's "the people". But "the people" are the ones making these decisions. Are they going for shiny and new super powered or helping everyone else?

A club with a lot of variety trumps a club with all the same. People keep interested more, more variety of opponents...

Good article!

Green Feevah! said...

Is it just me, or is it really quiet in here?