Feast of Blades '13

Monday, August 23, 2010

40k Editorial: "Oh how rich we are" (In defense of small pointed games)

No this isnt about price increases or anything of that nature. Im writing this to follow up on a fritz40k blog post about Point scales in 40k.

So what I mean by "oh how rich we are" is the standard scale of points 40k players have been using as of lately. 2000-2500.

Ok now to get the point Ill tell you a story from about a month ago in my old FLGS....

I was sitting in my local store, lounging around waiting for some 40k to be played as was my usual saturday miday ritual if I wanted to play a game. Then as normal one of the regulars walks in. There have been fewer and fewer 40k players around this place regularly so I have played him quite a bit....

Now lets just say I'm pretty sure he doesn't like me all that much. He has beaten me more times than I have beaten him yet I have never lost to him in a tournament. Actually I have caused him to lose tournaments because I would defeat him. Lets also say if we play a casual game he never forgets those defeats and likes to power game me in the jerkiest way possible. On one recent occaision about a month ago I was trying out my new chaos army using a non-competitive list that was pretty fluffy. Instead of a fun nice game he beat me around so bad and mercilessly that I really wanted to sell all my armies and quit 40k that day. Obviously I did'nt do that.

Anyway back to the story....

Now there were a handful of nice newbies to the game in the store that day. I like playing these guys and thier tiny battleforce armies and teach them a bit of the game. The ins and outs of little tricks here and there. So he walks in and I ask him if he would play my extremely new chaos army which he was fine with(now this was long before the game I described above, back when I had a third of the models I have now). I go on further to say how the place should have a small point tournament to help some of the new guys at say 1000 points and then I could try out my newly made army. I was happy about this army I fully funded myself and painted. I put a lot of work into this army. Anyway at this point he seemed horrified as if I shot a puppy or stabbed a baby and immediatly shot me down. I asked him why and he said he refused to play a game below 1500 points and even then 1500 points was a pain for him.

Here is our problem.

I have encountered this attitude among a lot of gamers. No one wants to play below a certain point level. For some it is 1500, for some 1750. My point is what is wrong with mid-small point games?

A lot of gamers have a problem when they can not use a power list with multiple death stars with melta and lascannons in the double digits. This is an addiction to most gamers. Heaven forbid they only have a couple lascannons and a handfull of special weapons.

Now I am a pro 1500 point level person (yeah I am one of those guys). This comes from basicly my Poor mans 40k list (see my post from a couple of days ago). It is not designed as a spamy competitive list. It is designed for mid-point games. I find these games more fun, quicker, and a lot more balanced. At these smaller point levels you can not field RB spam or multiple death stars. Even a couple of these absorbs your list. By forcing you to go back to the basic non-upgraded squad you balance the game to a degree. It opens the game up to more than just SW's and IG. BA RazorSpam a distant memory. Loganwing and Thunderwolf lists get confused looks down here.

Now let me explain it a bit. By allowing a more open game you invite what could be true competition. Any Joe can show up with a leafblower and win a game. But the man, woman, kid, unicorn who shows up with a battleforce and has a an equal chance against any codex is true balance. At small point levels these fun lists can become more viable. With only haveing 2 or 3 lascannons you cant just alpha strike me.

Are there some lists that preform better than others at this level? Of course there are. Yet there are a lot more and the gap between lists is thinner and a non competitive list can have atleast a better shot at winning.

"oh how rich we are". Are we not addicted to the rich life of enough points to field 2 Land Raiders full of TH/SS Terminators as well as Razorspam. That if we lose one lascannon or meltagun, who cares! We still have a dozen left. That if I lose the dice roll to go first I might as well pack up my models and go home. Did we not put hundreds of dollars and hours into our armies? Did we not shed blood sweat and tears for them? Did we not? Do we not want to see them play a fun competitive game all across every aspect of the game? Is not that why we play 40k?

Now what I want you to do is to play a game at 1500 or 1250. Forget spamming anything and take whats fun. Get a friend to do the same. Play a game and then come tell me that you did not have more fun than a 2500 point game getting tabled by Razorwolf. Heck get a group together and play a mini interclub tournament. Say it wasn't fun and a lot more exciting and dramatic.

This is just my oppinion on the subject, I do respect people that like the larger point levels. I am not saying we should leave the high levels in the dust. They can be fun, and have thier place. I do not want to start an arguement either. Yet I can play at your level, now try out my level?

"oh how rich we are"


  1. I think a part of the reason for people sticking to larger point games is the ability to take all the toys from their codex. It's really easy to make a list at 2500 points, since it requires very little thought to fit in everything you want. And it's fun to see a big army on the table for you to command.

    The guy you mentioned sounds like a real loser though.

    I have not played a game below 1500 since learning how to play, but I think I'll give it a go next time!

  2. It does take more skill to play lower point games. Your unit choices matter more. Your loadouts and tactics matter more. Because you have so much less to lose you will tend to pay more attention to the game and since smaller games go faster you can play more overall.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Response ran too long for comments, so I turned it into an entry: http://von-gameover.blogspot.com/2010/08/house-of-paincakes-is-small-beautiful.html

    Short version: Different size games need/test/build different skill sets, and I'm not going to say one is better: I've had good and bad experiences with both and I loathe false binary oppositions.

  5. Also, my HTML is made of fail.

  6. Let's not get into the false dichotomy of fun/winning, they are not mutually exclusive. Player skill > lists, so don't whine about a mech IG army, just play better.

    I prefer big games because they allow people to fit in more fun stuff and 1 bad turn doesn't screw you.

    In smaller games, you have to take the essentials and don't have room for much else. With fewer minis on the board, one set of bad rolling can cripple you, while a 500 point cushion can absorb it and leave you in the running.

    Small games are great for learning the game or just playing quickies, but since you can't field a good chunk of the units in your Codex, it leaves something to be desired compared to larger games. That sweet spot being 1750-2000, 2500 is just too unwieldy.

  7. Playing 2000 plus on a 6-4 table is about the most boring game i can think of. You have no room to maneuver and it just turns into a slug fest.
    1250 games have an elegant quality to them as you have to first pick a balanced force, then maneuver around all that space you have.
    And you can still have your toys. My buddy can still take a Valkyrie and tanks in his 1250 IG.

  8. I believe that samll games can be fun...There shouldn't be a battle over wich is better. However I believe that most armies are ballanced at about 1750 or so....Some armies are incredibly good at low point numbers. Such as IG, DE, Orks etc....while more elite armies like Daemons and/or Marines take a major hit with low point games. So keep in mind that some armies have an advantage in low point games. Same goes for large point games....some armies will have the advantage there as well. This is why for tournies I like 1750....it's almost perfect....almost.. But I do like the idea of a low points tournie every so often...maybe a 'young bloods' tournie. It could be fun for those without the cash to make up larger forces.

  9. Yeah I have a post on 1750 im posting right now as well

  10. Around here in Eruope we usually play at the 1700 points lvl and It's a pretty good number. I wouldn't mind dropping down to 1500 like the UK standard though. I've seen that 1K games can be very entertaining And still feel like a true game instead of the slugfest we usually end up with at 2K +. Specially the weaker armies won't stand against the Shooting might of IG or the Spamms of the newer codex's as well when those hit Critical mass and can just blast stuff on the table when it comes on. Butt I don't think smaller point would ruin the game so you can't take 2 units of thunderwolfes or no 2 trygons that doesn't mean you can't win. And if it does you really need to up your gameplan because obviously it's lacking somewhere.

  11. Totally agree with you on this. I love the 750-1000 point range and being a father trying to introduce 40k to his kids, this range is just easier for them to understand the overall concept and focus on rules and basic tactics.

  12. Honestly I like the 400-1,000 point range. I know a lot of people couldn't stand that low of a battle size (especially dipping into the 400 range, but it lets you try new armies for cheaper if you can't borrow the army in question or don't like substituting). But even down to 500 points I can field Compulsory plus an Elite, Fast, and Heavy as a Tau. And if you can't, you can find substitutions that work (i.e. IG Heavy Weapons Teams make great low point improvs for Heavies. Besides, first battle I played was 1,000 points, but even then it was overwhelming, new players (IMO) should start with Compulsory and maybe one other type of unit (I sure wish I did). And and CJ has some truth to the spammers having the advantage against more "elite" factions - I play Tau and I've play against Trynaids and the win/lose ratio for me is 3 wins to 5 losses and a tie as of recent. Besides, small armies are "cozy," everything pulls it's weight, every choice is important (obviously I'm still working out the tactics, but still, you play to have fun, not to win).