Friday, February 15, 2013

How to win at Warhammer: A Warhammer 101 article

Hello true believers!  Crazy Gamer here to help you in an area that everyone cares about- winning!

Everyone wants to win, we all dream of holding a massive trophy of gold; encrusted with diamonds while being flanked on each side by a bevy of beautiful women.  The crowd chants your name!  Oh look!  Nike is calling, they want to offer you a suitcase full of money to pitch their products...

Or, more likely, you'll get a piece of paper and stand up in front of a bunch of geeks.

Anyway... how do you get there?  How do you claw your way to the top of the heap? 

The answer is, like everything else, complicated; especially if you're just starting out.

You may be attempted to be a WAAC player.  Like performance enhancing drugs for athletes the WAAC style offers a quick and easy(ier) way to the top, but just like with athletes the fall from grace is hard and painful. 

About now you may be asking yourself, " What the hell is he talking about?"

Please let me explain!

WAAC is a gaming expression that means Win At All Cost.  This style requires a player to seek out any and all game bending rules and combinations of units to win in spite of the spirit and intention of the games rules.  While this isn't illegal or cheating, players who indulge in this style of play push any and all advantages be they overpowered units, ambiguous rules, loopholes, and any combination of all three. 

My more cutthroat brethren may ask, "What's wrong with that?  Why shouldn't I find every advantage and use it?"

Bernie Madoff
Ponzi Scheme mastermind
WAAC Gamer
To you cutthroat brother I say, once you turn down that dark path, there is no coming back!
Excuse me, let me explain in a slightly less melodramatic manner.
As I've said before, I've been playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 since 1993.  In all that time I've seen countless killer armies come and go.  Today we have Cron Air, but it won't last.  One way or another, whether from rule changes or players adapting, this army will not be the killer list that it is today.  In a few months it will be something else, and then something else, and so on and on. 
This is not only a very expensive way to play the game (each Necron flyer cost almost $50.00 and you need a half dozen or more) it's highly likely that by the time you get them purchased and painted a new killer list will have emerged. 
More damaging for players, especially new players, is that you rely on the gimmick the list is meant to exploit.  Players don't learn true tactics, they learn a gimmick.  When the gimmick goes away, and it will, the player has no real skill to fall back on.  Usually this will see them leave the game in frustration. 
That's sad. 
I understand the competitive culture of gaming.  You want to win, losing to your friends or to some game store top weenie is a bitter pill to swallow.  I get it.  I really do.  But I promise you, if you're patient and apply yourself, you can become a consistently good player. 
But I don't just offer my opinion, though that is the title of my blog... I will help you become this consistent player. 
Tune in to Part 2 where I give you actual skills that you can use to improve your game.
See you then!  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Warhammer fixes: What I would like to see

Crazy Gamer here!

I'm sure by now you know that I'm a big fan of 8th edition Warhammer.  I feel it is a vast improvement over 7th edition which was a control freaks dream, but as far as fun was concerned it was lacking. 

Don't worry haters, I am well aware that my opinion is in the minority which makes me sad but as the saying goes: haters gonna hate, and my blog is hardly going to change your mind.

So instead I will talk about a few things that I would like to see tweaked in Warhammer, after all even I don't think the game is perfect. 

Weapon Rules:

This subject is contentious.  Many gamers look for authentic rules in which weapons mirror their historic counterparts.  I don't suffer from this problem, instead I look for balanced game design in which all options are viable. 

If we look at the current game it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a theoretical physicists) to see that great weapons are the preferred choice wherever they are offered.  This means that the other options aren't as balanced. 

Let us look at the options and see what we can do to make them more attractive.

Halberds- This poor weapon is the red headed step child of the Warhammer game.  Currently the halberd is two handed and offers +1 strength.  This isn't too bad for models with a strength of 4, but currently most models that have the option of this weapon are only strength 3 and bumping that up to strength 4 is not appealing.  I don't blame them. 

This is a halberd:

In the high middle ages this weapon was popular because it combined the blade of an axe with the reach of a spear. 

How about this for halberd rules

+1 strength in the first rank.  Fight in extra ranks for ranks 2nd and 3rd (no strength bonus for them)

This will give units armed with the weapon added flexibility and make halberd a more attractive option.

Some may say, won't this make spears more unattractive?  Possibly.  I'm thinking of tweaking spear rules as well but let's not forget that units with spears can use shields in close combat and halberds can't. 

Extra hand weapon- Currently this option allows you add +1 attack.  However this isn't an attractive option because you can't a shield and you still fight at your basic strength.  Units with a higher strength find this option a little better, but the current rules only allow models in a second rank fight with one attack so the bonus is lost after the first rank making this weapon option the only one that is useless beyond the first rank.

How about this: +1 attack, re-roll missed to hit in close combat.

Great Weapon- +2 strength, always strike last is how it's currently written.  How about +2 strength, always strike last -1 to hit from second rank.  It's a small penalty but will make the choice between all options more of a choice. 

Missile weapons:

Just like their close combat counterparts missile weapons, I feel, could use some tweaks. 

Bow/ Short bow- same

Long Bow-  currently it's 30 inch range and strength 3.  Currently I feel it's too expensive for what you get.  It need to be strength 4 with a 30 inch range.

Crossbow- Strength 4, 30 inch range, move or fire.  With the change to long bows we need to bump this up.  Add armor piercing.

Hand Gun- currently Strength 4, 24 inch range, move or fire, armor piercing.  How about 24 inch range, strength 6, armor piercing, hits on 6 regardless of ballistic skill or modifiers.