Saturday, 10 September 2016

A game of 40K

It's been a while, but I finally managed to squeeze in a game, around at the dungeon. I wanted to give 40K another try - I have played it a few times and never quite seen the appeal, but with such a huge player base I reckon there must be something there right? I have a small Dark Angels force which was pitted against Matt's Tau. We rolled up a scenario from the battles book, but it turned out to be a straight-forward kill them type thing. I deployed on the right, taking advantage of all the cover provided by the industrial complex, while the Tau came on from the left across broken ground, hopelessly exposed apart from the odd rock formation here and there. In a gunfire battle, where would you rather be - smugly hunkered down behind a concrete wall, or marooned in a field desperately trying to hide behind a blade of grass?


Not suprisingly, the Tau held back making the most of their superior firepower. The space marines bikes were blown off this bridge in turn 1 and consequently will not be appearing in this report, but the terminators proved more resilient, soaking up huge amounts of fire on their way up. 


The marines took cover from Tau firepower, though it turns out this was completely pointless as it did not affect shooting or armor saves. I find this strange - surely it is harder to hit a target hidden behind a rock/wall/barrel than one strolling around in the open? I cannot think of any other game in which cover does not affect shooting. Just one of the little rules idiosyncracies!


The Tau commander was destroyed by a multi-melta, though it did take several shots (as I kept rolling 1's). His troops fought on valiantly, presumably for the greater good.


The terminators proved most effective, soaking up huge amounts of enemy firepower while dispatching two Tau units. If only they could have made it into combat, but the Tau kept running away before they could be pulverised, presumably for the greater good.

I have to admit I am pretty puzzled by the game. It has a huge following, but to me it seems very clunky in comparison to games I have played recently. The turn structure seems archaic, I much prefer games in which play constantly switches from one to another, either alternating like one-page-40K or random like Bolt Action. The lack of reaction to enemy actions seems completely inappropriate for a game of modern/future combat. This is my third game over the past few months and each time I find it hard to like the game, there's just so many little things that seem wrong to me. The models are nice enough, but I need to find another set of rules for them.



The next day, Matt sent me this photo, I had mistakenly left behind the heroes of the hour and his Tau troops delighted in blasting them with their carbine plasma rifles and their stubby photon blasters (I could be slightly off in the nomenclature). Cover them in cotton wool balls, for the greater good!

9 comments:

Mike Reynolds said...

I think you hit the nail on the head – 40k is archaic. GW are masters at 'money for old rope' where rules are concerned and the 40k rules haven't evolved that much in 25 years. After playing other wargames it's like going back to playing checkers/draughts - the basic rules are over-simplified, but the game becomes over-complicated by special rules and a lack of balance across the different armies. I've seen examples online of 40k translated into Warmachine rules and Bolt Action rules to solve the issues - I hope you find something that suits, as it's a great IP with great models.

eriochrome said...

40K is a game totally based on special rules. Every unit and weapon seems to have to break the normal rules in some way. IF GW cared about balance and such it could still be a fun game but GW decided long ago that selling new models was more important. If you want a Man's game in the 40K universe Epic: Armageddon is the game for you. It has everything 40K doesn't but the tiny miniatures just don't look as cool. It is also not in production right now but something is coming back but given that GW will be doing it no reason to believe they will not butcher it in the re release since they think 40K is a good game (it sells well so it must be right)

Old Fogey said...

Thanks for your comments chaps. The minis are the thing for me, having tried 10mm a while back I realised that it was not for me. 25mm or more is what I enjoy, it's all about the painting. If I was to go down the epic style route I would almost certainly go for dropzone commander, but none of my group can be persuaded. I am not tied to 40K in the way so many are.

I actually prefer a platoon level game - a few squads of infantry, backed up by a small number of transport/heavy weapon/special troops. I enjoyed playing Bolt Action games in a semi historical setting (Very British Civil War), would like to capture that kind of game. For that reason I am currently reading through Gates of Antares. It seems very promising so far.

Minijunkie said...

Have you looked at Kill Team?

eriochrome said...

My son is very attracted to Bolt action guys since they look like proper "tank guys" compared to GW but you do not let the 5 year decide these things yet. I doubt kill team will give him what his is looking for as it is based on 40K and many of 40K issues persist in it. I am also looking for a game like you describe and have not really seen it yet.

Jamopower said...

Gates of Antares is a great game. It's more or less what 40k should be. Only the models are bit lacking compared to what GW has on offer. Though I do like the Theme in Antares way more than the 40k "Fantasy in Space".

marjedi said...

You nailed it. The models and the universe is amazing, ut the rules are just not great.

It has bedome a bloated clunky mess, where GW just chuck out so much content, that no one knows what is what any more.

Gates of Antares has no appeal to me. I find the models really poor, and the background really bland.

Old Fogey said...

GoA does appear a bit bland on the surface, though I have not yet read the fluff parts so cannot really comment on that. The models are reasonable, I quite like some of them, but they are nowhere near as polished as GW. I don't find them bland, they are similar - four or five of the six races are human descendants I believe. The aesthetic of each faction is of course a personal thing, I quite prefer hard-fi to space-opera, but I still like some of the GW figures, they are just so nice.

I will probably end up using GW figures and modding GoA to get my own stats for Space Marines, Tau, etc. Or I might just make a direct sub into the system - these Tau are actually Concord, these Eldar are actually Isorian, that kind of thing. The main problem I have with the GoA universe is the similarity of the factions. Four of the six are almost identical. I guess that's not a problem for WW2 gamers so it may well not be an issue, but I do like some faction variety in my games. Mind you, you could say the same for Horus Heresy.

marjedi said...

Agree on HH. It does however have a very gripping narrative, amazing characters and such.

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