Saturday, October 23, 2010

Playing with Kids

When I turned up for my weekly 40k game this week everyone had already paired up. Then a younger player, say 12 years old, turned up looking for a game. As a father of two I was happy to give him a game and maybe teach him something in the process. We played a 1000 point game and I had to help him out quite a bit with both rules and tactics, but I could see that he was interested and learning.

I let him take back bad movement decisions even a turn after they were made, when he could see that they had not been the right decision. I also made a few suboptimal moves myself so that he could see what happens to a predator that gets assaulted by terminators. This helped to keep the game competitive! However he also had luck on his side: when I assaulted his tactical squad with my 4 power fisted terminators, he did two wounds and I rolled double 1s before I even got to hit back!

Thinking back to when I was that age, I was playing the Dragon Warriors RPG with my fellow geeks and just starting to get into BattleTech. It would have had a blast to be mentored by a friendly adult gamer. Kids soak up any information you give them and learn so quickly, and can love the hobby every bit as much as we do as adults.

Anyway I wanted to give him some advice on his list and how he could modify it to make it a more cohesive and effective force. I'm going to approach this in two phases: minor tweaks, and buying new models to flesh out the army.

Original List (930 points)
1 Captain - power sword (105) with the Terminators
1 Chaplain (100) with the 5 Tactical Marines
5 Terminators (200)
10 Tactical Marines - flamer, missile launcher, serg with chainsword, plasma pistol (185)
5 Tactical Marines -  serg with chainsword, plasma pistol (105)
Predator - twin-linked lascannon, heavy bolter sponsons, storm bolter (140)
Dreadnought - multi-melta, storm bolter (105)

Hmmm that doesn't even add up to 1000 mate! Also we forgot the plasma pistols during the game, that could have made a difference. The Chaplain was wasted with the small tactical squad as they never even got into combat.

First off I'm going to do what I can without him needing to buy any additional models.

Better List (1000 points)
1 Captain - bolter, relic blade, artificer armour (135) with the 10 Tactical Marines
1 Chaplain (100) with the 10 Tactical Marines
5 Terminators - chainfist, cyclone missile launcher (235)
Dreadnought - multi-melta, heavy flamer (115)
10 Tactical Marines - flamer, missile launcher, serg with chainsword, plasma pistol (185)
5 Tactical Marines - serg with bolter (90)
Predator - twin-linked lascannon, heavy bolter sponsons, storm bolter (140)

OK this is just a few minor changes that will bring your list up to 1000 points, and some advice on using the units together.
  • To make a chainfist, you can just cut off a chainsword and clue it to a terminator's power fist. It means your termi's can take down a land raider!
  • The dread is much better with a heavy flamer. I have seen one in the bits box at our local store.
  • I have seen a great cyclone missile launcher conversion done with the IG sentinel missile launcher. I'm sure you could find enough missiles in the store bits box to do something
Your big tactical squad needs to move and run forward so that it can rapid fire and/or assault. Put the captain and the chaplain in the squad, and put wounds on them as if they fail their save they have multiple wounds to lose. Always keep it in cover from shots that ignore your armour. Use the Termi squad to provide cover for your tacticals above.

Alternatively, join the Captain and Chaplain to the Terminator Squad and keep the tactical squad back in cover, firing missiles and bolter shots at 24". This build puts all your assault eggs in one tough basket.

The small tactical squad should guard an objective or stay out of the way. They should always be in cover, and should go to ground if needed to get a 3+ cover save. They actually did this job OK.
    Now, a new improved list with a few new purchases required. I am not trying to make a kick arse MSU net list here! Just a well balanced army that can hold its own against other friendly lists. He said that he wanted to buy the Devastator box, so I want to include this squad, even though it is not a top tier unit. You have to buy the models that inspire you. And I don't want to get rid of models he is already using.

    Devasator List (1250 points)
    1 Captain - bolter, relic blade, artificer armour (135) with 5 Tactical Marines
    1 Chaplain (100) with 5 Terminators
    5 Terminators - chainfist, cyclone missile launcher (235)
    Dreadnought - multi-melta, heavy flamer (115)
    10 Tactical Marines - flamer, multi-melta, Sergeant with bolter, rhino (205)
    5 Tactical Marines - Sergeant with chainsword, plasma pistol, razorback with twin-linked las-cannon (180)
    6 Devastators - 2 missile launchers, 2 plasma cannons (185)
    Predator - autocannon turret, heavy bolter sponsons, storm bolter (95)

    So there you go, he will need to buy 2 Razorbacks and a Devastator box in order to build the above list - I know he had at least one extra marine. Note that I say 2 Razorbacks because all the bits for the Rhino come in the Razorback box, and they cost the same price!. Its a bit of an outlay, but should make an army that is fun to play with in my opinion.

    With the above list I have designed the Devasator unit to use the weapons that come in the box as best I can. All the weapons can take out light tanks, and all can be used effectively against massed infantry. All the Devastator weapons are overpriced by at least 5 points, the plasma cannons and las-cannons  especially so. This is the best I can do.

    When playing this list, the Devastators should stay in the back field in cover and take out enemy transports. The 10 Tactical Marines can move forward in their Rhino, hopefully to sit near an objective on your side of the table and threaten with the multi-melta anyone who comes close. The Predator, Dreadnought, Razorback and Terminators, against a gunline foe, can all move forward 6" a turn whilst firing. You have enough close combat ability to threaten Tau and Guard.

    This list has an obvious weakness - only one and a half scoring units. At this points level I would usually include 2 Tactical squads in Rhino's, but they really are quite a dull unit. I thought it more prudent to include as many toys as possible for the younger player to learn the game and have fun doing so.


    1. Ignoring the obvious need for MOAR RAZORBAKS!!1 the one thing that comes to mind is to move the Missile Launcher marine from the big squad into the small squad so it can hang back and fire while the big squad runs up the board.

    2. Its fifth edition and tactical marines suck. You can only take a heavy weapon in a ten man squad :(

      Razorbacks are good, but they aren't all that. I must admit I don't have any, but I tend to lean towards the Rhino. I guess thats another article right there - so much to write about in the 40k world.


    Please enter a comment