Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Five Principles Par II, and a sneak peak at Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons

   Nothing to do with the post, but I'm happy that I finally started painting my Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons Scarab Occult Terminators (that's a mouthful).  Here is one with my base colors and some washing done.  Now for clean-up ,highlights, and details.  I'm considering doing a blue glow for the eyes and blade of the weapon, and make the haft bone to go with the book and skull to tie it all in.  Anyway, future posts will cover this more.  Now on to your regularly scheduled program.

To wrap up the Five Principles of Patrolling as they apply to wargaming, we will hit up the final three principles in this post; namely Security, Control, and Common Sense. 

      SECURITY: Now we are onto the actual game. Security. The end all be all, alpha and omega of life in combat. A must always. I always deploy to mutually support and never leave units unprotected on accident. This can be as simple as leaving a dred to back up your devastor squad. Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t sacrifice models, or throw distraction and harassment units at my opponent, but those are always intentional. Sometimes security is found in speed, and I will make sure to move my tanks a little more to make them harder to hit if I think I am about to get charged. It can come in many forms, but basically, unless you are playing that monster hoard rush, where you have a thousand models on the table and can soak up losses while continuing to steam roll forward, always consider how to protect your pieces. Cover, supporting squads, over-lapping fields of fire, whatever just don’t leave them flapping in the wind and wonder why they got smashed before you could do anything about it.
 Security: My back-up in a recent doubles match at Gamer's Hideout                                                           
     CONTROL: Which flows into the next principle; Control. You move your models; they don’t move you (though I am sure some of you hardcore fanatic types out there hear them whisper in your ears at night). Consider what you want and need them to do, and move/shoot them accordingly. Have a plan, even one that changes, and act upon it. I am going to talk more about this with the OODA loop and how to apply a flexible plan a little later. In short for now though understand plans change, and what you need to be looking for is that “correct” decision right now, and how it applies to what you want that desired end state to be. You figure out where you want to go and you keep inching towards it with every move, even the moves backwards (we retrograde, never retreat) are still designed to get you to that goal. You exert control where you can and keep focused on the goal, not the flashy and shiny distractions out there.
              Control:  Lysander pulls the 'Nids off the back oblective at the same time keeps himself from eating mass volleys of low ap fire during the next turn.

   COMMON SENSE: The final and most important Principle of Patrolling and the one so rare and uncommon that the Army had to write it down as a Doctrinal term: Common Sense. I should stop here and say Nuff said!” but I feel compelled to keep going. THINK, THINK, THINK. Don’t run your scouts at some ThunderCav, or some other one-sided craziness, unless it serves as a definite step towards your goal and is a deliberate part of your plan. Even then, rethink the plan and make sure you can’t come up with a better way. Before each move, before each shot, before each assault stop for a second and apply this fundamental. Don’t get caught up in the moment, lose track of the goal, or let your opponent play those crazy Jedi mind tricks they like to try. Before you make a rash decision that may cost you the game, pause and think about what is going on. Apply common-sense; decide the best course and then act. Then rinse and repeat.           
      Well, those are the basics.  The US Army's five principles and how I feel they work with wargaming.  Later on I will introduce some tools that we use to evaluate threats/terrain/capabilities(yours and theirs) and some easy, for lack of better word, checklists that help keep you focused on your goals while playing.  Also coming up I am going to keep my glacially slow painting process going for my Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons going.  Anyway, thanks for reading and as always comments, questions, and critiques are always welcome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Principles of Patrolling and You pt 1

What was my plan again?
     Well to start the flow of this Blog I feel I should start off with a post on some basic principles.  I'm not talking tactics, but rather the mental game or thought process behind your actions.
"The key to strategy... is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."
                                                               — Cavilo, The Vor Game
Now I will not claim to be a master of this game, there are plenty of people who know more about it than me. I have only been playing for two years now, basically since fifth edition, and while in that time I have won or placed top three in almost all of the local tournaments I have played in, I have never played on the larger national tournament scene minus a regional showing at 'ardboyz. I would love to go to the "tournament" scene and play, unfortunately my job is often very restrictive in when and where I can run around the country to. Now while my experience isn't vast, or amounting to what most would call big fish in little pond syndrome, what I do bring to the table is years of actual real life combat experience.

      I know it's just a game, but one of the things that I love about it is that real world dynamics and thinking do actually apply. It's just warfare in a different scale, and once you learn the combo's, rules, powers, etc it's still just that: warfare. I'm not going to go on about tactics vs. strategy, or the many different combo's and techniques that float around the Internet. Hell, I learn most of them by reading others' reports and articles published on the net. What I do that I believe has helped me out is that I apply the principles of patrolling and constantly run through my OODA loop, as just a few examples though there are others too. Planning, Recon, Security, Control, and Common Sense are the five principles of patrolling and they start for me with list design and mission analysis. From there they continue throughout the entire game.

               PLANNING: By Planning I mean deciding upon an army and having a good feel for both its weakness and strengths. Don't delude yourself; no matter how balanced there is always an inherent weakness in a list or aspect of how it plays. I have learned to always wargame in my head the worst case scenario and plan how I would react to it. This has kept me alive in life, and ironically now helps me in playing a game that is rapidly consuming my life. This doesn't mean obsess about the perfect list, play rock paper scissors, or min max your list to death. I try to build effective lists, but ultimately I can't bring myself to play the "best" list if it isn't right for me, no matter what the math or test games tell me about its effectiveness. I have learned though that unconventional lists can do just fine as long as you have an honest understanding of where you are weak and where strong. This all goes into the planning stage.

      RECON: Now as tempting as it might be to break into your opponents house and see what their list is going to be, so you can bring the ultimate rock to his scissors, this is not what I mean by recon. And for the record I am not condoning or suggesting breaking and entering to win a game. Here I am talking about the age old adage of “know thy enemy.” Study the local scene; study other codex’s, read anything and everything you can about other playstyles, etc. The more homework you do, the more effective your mental wargaming exercises will be and minus the ever present hatred of the Dice Gods (who truly and violently hate me as shown by my amazing skills to roll ones when playing my Deathwing), you will be better prepared and more likely to make that “correct” decision and proper application of force during the game. Here too I include a proper breakdown of the missions that you will be playing, and while you don’t have to tailor your lists to the mission, you do have to understand how they may affect how you have to play your lists at time. This is a whole other topic as well, and one in which I will touch on later down the road. Common misconception of the average Grunt is that he is not intelligent. When in actuality the Infantry has a higher average raw intelligence score than any other MOS in the Army. In short your head is a weapon, hone the blade of knowledge or insert some other cliché of your choice, do your homework or don’t cry when you get hit with a surprise on the table top. Ignorance equals death in this game and in life.

      Well there you have a synopsis of the first two Principles of Patrolling.  We will continue with the next installment here shortly.  As always comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Here we go, jumping in

     Well it's time to get started.  I've been playing with the idea of blogging about my growing obsession with Warhammer 40k and specifically as my daughter calls them my "Little Silver Guys" for awhile now, and part of my New Year's resolution is to jump into it.  I'm a competitive wargamer in the sense that I enjoy a game where my opponent brings his best and tries to destroy me, as we fight it out to determine a winner.  To me this is fun, I'm a competitive person by nature, though I am also a huge fan of the fiction/fluff of the world.  That was in fact what got me into playing with my little guys in the first place.  I'm now after playing for the last few years hopelessly and irrevocably hooked.  So I have decided it is time to share my obsession with you, my at this time non-existent readers/fan base. (Is typing to yourself a sign of insanity, or just talking?)

      I'm planning on talking allot about tactics, as well as forcing myself to spend more time painting and building my models and terrain.  I play primarily Blood Angels, Deathwing, and Daemons, though I am flirting more with Xenos, as well as slowly bringing my Daemonhunters back to life, ie finally putting my toes in the water of the Grey Knights (I know, late to the bandwagon).  
  My Sanguinor throwing down with some Sisters in a recent Apoc game at Gamer's Hideout


    I enjoy playing, building, and painting in that order, but I am resolved to become more well rounded in this great and addictive hobby.  You can look forward to posts on terrain building of all sizes (I am currently working on a two-tiered gaming table with a friend), model conversions/painting (currently building Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons), talking tactics (I am a career Army Infantryman in real-life and love applying that knowledge where applicable), and lots and lots and lots of battle reports and pre-tournament list prepping. 

     To get it going I will be participating in a local tournament hosted at my LGS Gamer's Hideout in St. Roberts, Mo on the 21st of January.  We usually play higher point values, but for a change of pace this one will be held at 750pts.  Well, I had been hanging around and talking with some of the regulars when one of them said he wouldn't be playing in the tourney because his Eldar are not competitive and never win.  Now I am a firm believer that while your list does matter, what really determines victory or defeat is the general running it.  To make a long story short, I made a deal with him.  If he played in the tourney we would switch armies.  He could play with anyone of mine and I would play Eldar, and hopefully show him that they can in-fact win.  Before you start laughing at me or offering your condolences for my on-coming defeat, I want to spice it up by mentioning I have never played Eldar before. 

     Well I am by no means a defeatist, and in-fact love challenges.  So I have been studying and practicing, play testing and list building.  And I am going to give my best shot at this, either way though it should be a lot of fun and a nice change for me.  Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.  I have a fairly large selection of models to choose from, and will be posting tentative lists along with corresponding play tests soon.

     Here is the link to the missions we will be playing.  Check it out and let me know what you think, and if you are in the area come check it out, it is always a good time and there are some great guys regularly at the store. 

     Well, thanks for reading what will hopefully be the start of a lot of fun for me and you both, and if nothing else I will at least join the modern age of computers and other fancy doo-hickies.  If you haven't been able to tell yet, I am not exactly computer savvy and there is going to be learning curve attached to this endeavor.  As will always be the case comments and constructive critiques will always be welcome. 
    Well here we go............