Sunday, March 10, 2013

Warhammer 101: Becoming a better general

Today I will give you the first step in becoming a Warhammer grand champion!

1.  Learn to accept losing.  Learn from your mistakes. 

Yeah, I know, that's two things, but they are connected and I wanted each written as a statement of power. 

Let's look at each in depth eh?

Still with me?

Oh good!

Learn to accept losing- Notice how I wrote this?  I'm fully aware that Warhammer is a competitive game.  I'm not here to advocate some hippi 'let's all love each other and like get along and stuff as we sing Kumbaya while drinking liquid dirt from earthenware mugs,' policy.  We all want to win.

That said, sometimes our ego can get in the way of overall success with the hobby, thus we need to learn to accept losing. 

You will lose when you start out and this can make players turn to the dark corners of the Internet for WAAC (win at all costs) army lists.  Don't do this!

Instead- learn from your mistakes. 

An example from the Crazy Gamers past.  Way back in 1994 when I was just starting to play Warhammer Fantasy I ran a High Elf army.  Most of the time I played against my best friend and cousin Tom, but as he grew up and got a job (how dare he!  :) I needed to branch out and find new people to play against.

I went to my local store (some 44 miles away!) to play against a group of gamers out there.  These guys were quite a bit older than me, and for them Warhammer was a diversion from historical games. 

One of the first games that I played was against a Dark Elf army.  I was confident that my High Elves would prevail.  In my mind I had crafted a wonderful army list and had refined my tactics playing against Tom. 

My army was wiped out to a man (er... elf) while my opponent had only lost a handful of models.  For some this brutal beat down would have been the end of their game career.  While my opponent was gracious there were countless spectators that witnessed my whooping.  My pride was crushed.

Was his army unstoppable? 


Did he bend the rules? 


So instead I looked back at the battle.  My main advance had been in the open, and I had miss- handled my light cavalry so his archers could rain death down upon my poor battle line.  That wasn't all; I kept my heavy cavalry too far back to be useful, I didn't concentrate my firepower, etc, etc. 

There were plenty of lessons I could learn, and you can learn from the mistakes that you make on the battlefield if you just have the courage to look for them. 

Try this after each battle:

Ask yourself-

What worked?

What didn't work?

Keep your answers focused on what is controllable.

What does this mean? 

Well, we all have a tendency to overestimate our abilities and assume our losses are the result of unfair rules, armylists, players, game mechanics, and more.

While blaming these things may make you feel better, they won't help you play better.

What you can't control:

Your opponents army
Your opponents armylist
The game rules
The dice

Since you can't control them, don't worry about them.  Instead look at your own list, and your own tactics.

For example:  My Space Marine devastators did not destroy any enemy tanks.  This seems simple, your devastators failed due to bad luck.  Or did they?  Were you using missile launchers to destroy Land Raiders?  If you were then your devastators didn't fail you, you failed them.  At strength 8 a missile launcher cannot destroy a Land Raider outright.  Instead a player needs to roll a 6 on a D6 four times to take out the Land Raider. 

In your next game you need to either choose a different target for your missile launchers or change your weapons. 

Did your assault units not get into combat?   Why not?  Don't blame dice.  Did the troops have jump packs?  Did you have a transport? 

I could go on and on, but between the two game systems there are way too many possible combinations to list out here.

If your unit did what it was supposed to, continue using them that way.  If not, then change how you use them or change the unit. 

I'll go into this in more detail in the future.  Until then; keep on painting!

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