Friday, October 9, 2009

Fighting the Fluff

I get too emotionally involved in my armies. Not so much on a competitive level but on a fluff level. So much so that it gets in the way of my actual playing of the game.

All the "good commanders" know and respect their men. Ibram Gaunt from the Dan Abnett series of books is a good example. He knows his men by name and does whatever he can to help them out. Creed is another fine example, always leading from the front and right in the thick of things. They all paint these great pictures of stalwart leaders and a hard knot of soldiers that share a brotherhood of mutual respect. On the other hand you have the "bad commanders" you can usually tell who these guys are because the "good commanders" spend most of their off battlefield time calling them out for poor tactics and then conversely being double crossed by them. They go through troops like a chain-sword through butter, feeding them into the meat grinder willy nilly.

Unfortunately this causes an issue for me when the dice start to roll. To "win" (where win = having the most points at the end of the game) at 40k your guys have to "die". You cant expect to throw a group of BS3 T3 +5s out there and have them all come back. Yet every time that my troops take a hit, and this happens often, I cringe a little. I know they are just little plastic men but in the back of my head I can just see myself creating little greenstuff letters to send back to their little plastic families on their little plastic home world of Littleplastica V. But to be an Iggy is to lose men. Thats the way of things. Even if you wrap them in a tank they still run the risk of getting it shot out from under them.

For example: Tim the sanctioned psyker. I have had Tim since I got my first lot of Iggys. Tim was the first model that I painted that I wasn't embarrassed to put on the table. Tim killed my first dreadnought for me ( back in 4th ed when you could bust up a tank with a psychic CC attack). We have been through a lot together and I try to get him out there as much as I can. The bad part is, I don't want Tim to die.

Which leads me to this weeks game. My Iggys have gone rogue and are helping out some Chaos (there was a promise of cookies) against a combined force of Tau and Eldar. Unfortunately Lantz has brought out the Runes of Warding as he is wont to do (3d6 for LD test on psyker powers 12+ is perils of the warp). Both my psykers are down to one wound and game is coming to a close with Tim making a tactical retreat off the board. While I think I could get him out alive the Tau commander is directly in my path and its our turn next.

What should I do? Tactically speaking I should take the shot. Tim's going to be gone next turn anyway so there's no reason to keep him around. Its a capture and control game so kill points aren't so much of a factor and this is all happening right next to the bunker that is holding my flag. I guess I better get out the mop and bucket to clean his cranium off the walls and get ready to pen another tiny greenstuff letter.....


  1. I think the Eldar would much appreciate him offing himself with a little plastic suicide note.


  2. Reminds me of a family of characters in a D&D game I was in. Each time one would be killed his suspiciously similar brother would appear looking for the lost sibling. We got up to five I think.

    But what you say is very familiar to me - I name all my Officers, Sergeants, 2ICs and vehicle drivers. Fortunately I play marines so I can pass off dying as being heroicly wounded.

  3. In the spirit of Chaos you need to take as many down with you as you can. The cookies are tastier when you have company in the afterlife.