Thursday, February 24, 2011

List Building 101 - Know Your Play Style

One of the great things about wargaming, as opposed to Chess, is the ability to tailor your force as you see fit. Over the past thirteen years I have played a number of different games - DBM, Warhammer 40k, Flames of War, Warhammer Fantasy and Field of Glory. Each system allows you to build the army you want within a given series of parameters and fit it to your own style of play.

So how do you go about it?

Well I can only give you my own thoughts but let's see if they make any sense.

Know Your Play Style

Games differ but generally strategy and tactics don't. One thing that I have noticed over the time I've been playing since coming back to wargaming in 1998, is that I prefer an army with ranged capacity backed by counterpunching assault troops. In all genres I've played I have found that I have done best with that type of army.

DBM - Early Samurai
Warhammer 40k - Emperor's Children and Ulthewe
FoW - German Panzer Grenadiers
Fantasy - Wood Elves and Skaven

This doesn't mean that I can only play these armies (I've had success with other builds) but I do know that these types of armies complement the way I like to play. Interestingly Warhammer Fantasy more than most other games allows you to build an army that fits this style pretty much regardless of the race (Ok VC/WoC can't shoot but magic can fill that void).

There are other playstyles e.g. solid combat focus, gunline, avoidance, death of 1000 cuts etc) and it is important to find what suits you. I know people that could no more play a cagey avoidance game than I could pole vault at the Olympics and if they want to be successful they need to learn new tricks or try a new build.

As Dwayne says "Know Your Role.....err Playstyle"

So at the outset of building a list here's the steps I'd go through:

1. Define your Objectives Is it to win games immediately or to learn to play a new style eventually? This guide is aimed primarily at the first option.

2. Identify Your Comfort Zone If you are after immediate success, what style are you most comfortable with? Be honest. Are you a ploddy Dwarf who can't leave home without 4 warmachines or a Lizard that needs clouds of skinks to inflict poisoned hell.

3. Choose Your Weapon Does your chosen race allow you to play your preferred playstyle? If not then you might need to re-think your choice.

5. Dissect the Army Book/Codex Read, read, read. Go through the book and start thinking about units that will allow you to build a list suited to your playstyle.

Next time I'll go through my process in putting together that initial list.

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