Tuesday, July 12, 2011

As Lou says "Take A Walk On The Wild Side"

Recently I have been really enjoying playing games of Fantasy at the 2000 point level. When 8th Edition came out a year ago, like most I endorsed the 2400 point game as the likely prevailing norm.

There are a lot of reasons for that initial view – bigger units, bigger magic, more augments and hexes etc.

Ghetto Ducks Ambush Fluffy Deathstar (Who Couldn't Afford Potion of H5N1 Avian Influenza)

However I have gradually come around to the 2000 point game, especially at tournaments and events. Why? Well there are a few reasons.

The first is that some players are just slow. No matter what you do they dawdle through their games like it is a ramble in a country garden. They get distracted, play things through 10+ times….it seems on super slo-mo – anguish over every decision and every micro-move. Giving them fewer points at least speeds things up a bit….it’s not a linear relationship but every bit helps.

Second reason is that at 2000 points you can’t have all the toys. You don’t have the opportunity to build greater levels of certainty (read protection) into your characters nor can you build deathstars without seriously reducing the overall size of your army.

The third reason is that because of the second reason, things are more decisive. The spell has greater effect, the combat moves away from a grind to surgical strike etc. This does mean that the odd game can be more driven by vagaries of the dice but that in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means to be successful you need to acknowledge the potential for disaster and plan for it.

I think it makes it a more tactical game when you can’t have everything you want in your list as you are continually assessing situations against a background of greater risk. Personally I like that but I know a lot of players prefer greater certainty (and Dwarf players want complete certainty). I guess what I’m saying is that at 2000 points and using the Dwarf example you need to balance the rune of “re-roll misfires” versus 2-3 more Warriors, that second spellbreaker against the rune of “stealing PD and making them DD”, the rune of “re-roll scatter dice” etc.

For my lists there are non-negotiables at 2000 points – BSB, Dispel Scroll, Earthing Rod – that I need to fit in. But there are items I can’t necessarily get – Storm Banner, Warp Condensor, MR item etc – and so I have to make hard choices. Similarly if I only have 20 Plague Monks pushing a Furnace and not 30 then I have to think about whether my Plague Priest can risk a miscast.

In summary I like the uncertainty…….flame away!


  1. Mmhm, I'd get on board even for just the timing reason. I've no problem, I'll do my best to 'bring it' at any point level, but my army is a bit more flexible across the point ranges, I suspect for some armies they feel they emotionally/competitively NEED the points options that 2400 gieves them.

  2. I like big games because I enjoy seeing lots of figures on the table.

    How's that for a scientific rebuttal?

  3. Yep valid point. Big games look really good. However I tend to want to play significantly more than 2400 points if I'm after a "big" game

  4. I agree that 2k points is a great points level to play.

    Take my empire for example. At 2k I have to chose between guns and troops, characters or troops. My awkward "balance" results in 2 W. Priest hatred hordes of halberds with detach chaff + supporting halberd "bus" + flagellants as the core of the army + fast calv and xbow anti chaff, light lvl4 and BSB. As a result Im sacrificing ld9, Pie template artillery, fast "finishing" unit/flame attacks (read arch lector, 2nd mortar + rocket battery, and a unit of flaming ICknights). I'm also running characters with no magic items (well, BSB gets charmed shield/opal amulet and lvl4 gets a dispel scroll). All of which get added at 2400 points. My army doesn't "need" the above (though ldship 9 would be handy...), they are just nice to have. Playing without them = troop movement and careful use of buffs (read: Timewarp FTW!) wins games. With them = why the internetz hate Empire in 8th (unless said storm banner makes an appearance...).

    And yes, faster games make for "better" games unless beer is involved.