Friday, December 16, 2011

Force Protection

It's taken as a given that when you play a game of 40k, during a game you're going to lose a large portion of your army.  Maybe all of it if you lose.  Watching your opponent remove his models from the table is part of what makes the game fun!  The mental image you have of two armies of heroes (or evil bad guys) clashing in a desperate struggle in which only the few survive makes the game feel epic.  Gamers plan battle strategies around their suicide units.  They take it for granted that their elite unit will deep strike into the middle of the enemy lines, "pop a Land Raider", and then die.  I wonder how the troopers would feel if their commanders told them that it's his intention from the get-go that their purpose is to die.

But wars are not single battles.  Real military commanders have to look at the big picture.  They don't want to win the battle but lose the war.  So that means that you fight your hardest, but just as important as winning the game is preserving your army for future battles. 

I wonder how the tournament scene would change if players had to take this into account.  For example, a tournament might consist of multiple rounds.  In each round after the first, a player may only use the models that survived the previous battle (with simple rules for casualty recovery, favoring the winner).  If a given player's army is completely destroyed, well, he's out of luck.

This is one of the reasons I like campaigns--that is, campaigns in which your force goes from one battle to the next, suffering attrition along the way, casualty recovery, reinforcements, etc.  The game takes on a whole new dimension, and you have to think both strategically and tactically at the same time.

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