List building agony

My Skitarii boxes have arrived, and now I’m faced with the puzzle of how to build them.

One of the things I like least about 40k as a system is the granularity it allows when it comes to equipping troops. I think squads should be treated the way they are in many historical wargaming systems: the equipment on the models is purely cosmetic, and the squad has set abilities. If being able to customise individual weapon loadouts within a squad was removed, I think the game would instantly become much easier to balance, quite a bit quicker to play, and far, far easier to make lists for. If they have any sense then 8th edition will be the one where they finally get rid of the skirmish-game legacy of Rogue Trader. Or at least streamline it.

Anyway, what I’m having trouble with is the bloody special weapons! Yes, I’ve read all the Reddits, and Bolter + Chainsword and Dakka Dakka threads. Not to mention 1d4chan and some Frontline Gaming competitive blog posts and some Imperator guides. I have a good theoretical grasp of what the weapons are capable of. I just don’t know if they’re worth it.

I guess it would be nice to have an arc rifle in each squad just in case I need to take a potshot at a tank or a Knight. Or a plasma caliver to melt extra marines. But more than one, and I’m really eating into the basic weapons, which are actually really good. Plus, vanguard all have haywire grenades anyway, the magnificent radioactive bastards. And if I leave the special weapons out altogether I can easily port the models over to Heresy games when I need to.

At this stage I’m definitely leaning towards assembling the squads “bare bones” as they say. It’s easy, and clean, and if after a few games it looks like I need the special weapons, I can grab some bodies off eBay maybe. And let’s be honest, the guys I normally play with are all pretty much exclusively Heresy players now. It’s just really hard to shake off my years of experience as an Imperial Guard general. A bunch of rifles with a special weapon or two just feels like the way it’s done, damn it.

In other news, I’ve succesfully stripped the paint off my old 1995 Eversor assassin, and I’m going to update him with a modern 40mm base and a new paintjob: ready for another few years of obliterating enemies of the Imperium/getting shot by a tank as he runs across the battlefield. More on that to come.

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10 thoughts on “List building agony

  1. Von says:

    I’m with you on this one. There are many advantages to adopting Thousand Sons, and one of them is having special weapons which are either crap, have an obnoxious opportunity/hidden cost, or end up wasting the firepower of five damned expensive Inferno rounds for the sake of one potshot at a tank.

    Bring up the Epic 40K approach, that’s what I say. Anti-Personnel and Anti-Tank firepower profiles for each unit, call it a day. Save the customising stuff for HQs.

    • beat ronin says:

      Yeah, that would be great. My thoughts exactly, have your HQ with all the options for that immersive RP element, and then your standard troops er… standardised, for simplicity of play. But this idea of [troop type] with mix and match upgrades is just too fiddly.

      Even just changing it to [troop type], then choosing baisc, anti-tank or anti-heavy infantry flavours would help. Plus, greater modelling freedom and no more petty WYSIWYG arguments. Not that I’ve ever once, in real life, been met with that.

      • Von says:

        I think I’ve met people with those arguments, but only because I see what’s there. It’s the same reason I used to get hung up about punctuation: I know what you MEANT, but I can’t help reading what you SAID. These days I chalk it up to autism and move on.

        I like that approach of basic/anti-tank/anti-infantry. You’d have a list of weapons somewhere in the book which indicated the sort of things you should model for that (like, volkite instead of bolt weapons, or a couple of heavy bolters, for extra antipersonnel, whereas extra anti-tank would involve adding some meltaguns and krak grenades). The idea would be to broadly represent upgrades to range, AP firepower, AT firepower, and maybe the number of shots, by upgrading models as you saw fit – but you’d have to do SOMETHING.

        • beat ronin says:

          Heh heh. You know, whatever the opposite of autism is, I think I have it. It’s a spectrum right? “Normal” is in the middle? I’m almost non-functionally uncaring about getting facts and details right. When I was a kid I used to exaggerate and lie all the time, refused to do maths, and I still think that generally, science and “the truth” are boring. Fictions, folklore and mistaken beliefs are way more fascinating I think. But like you, I’ve grown over time and learned to meet people halfway by at least pretending to be interested in things like “correct” spelling and scientific consensus 😀

          When it comes to WYSIWYG arguments, I just assumed they were one of those things that blowhards on the net claimed they would do, but no-one in real life actually would. I mean, surely you’re either at a serious tournament, in which case WYSIWYG is enforced, or you’re in a friendly game where my “oh yeah, that meltagun is actually a plasma gun” is good enough?

  2. Thor says:

    This is why I magnetize. I can’t say I enjoy magnetizing stuff, but it’s virtually a requirement in 40K. Even if you work out the perfect setup, and then glue everything on, there’s a chance it becomes mediocre (or outright bad) when the rules get updated; be it core rules or codex.

    I’m not sure how feasible it is to magnetize the Skitarii, but it’s worth looking into I’d think.

    • beat ronin says:

      Yeah… I don’t really magnetise on principle usually. One of my principles being I don’t like doing things that seem like a pain in the arse! 😀

      I’m considering magnetising the vehicle weapons, because the Dunecrawler set ups are all so different, with totally different functions. But I doubt I’ll magnetise the basic infantry. I think I’ll just give ’em all the basic rifles and let the chips fall where they may. It works for fire warriors!

  3. The Warlock says:

    WordPress ate my comment D:

    If you’re looking for extra bodies, might I suggest a gander through the Empire/Freeguild range as the archers could stand in for vanguard and flagellants for rangers. As for special/heavy weapons, I go by 2 guidelines:

    -The weapon looks cool to me. Bow wielding orcs are awesome, tactics be damned!
    -The range matches up with the basic gun- this one’s a little loose but I’d give a tank with a 36″ range main gun, heavy bolter hull gun and sponsons as that gives all weapons 36″ to pure, unadulterated murderization.

    Also, did you see the Totes-not-Necromunda reveal?

    • beat ronin says:

      Yes! I saw it yesterday. I’m actually pretty stoked, it’s something I (and a lot of other people no doubt) have been suggesting for years. Necromunda, but with regular 40k dudes instead of the peculiar 2000AD-esque gangs. Ork team sounds good to me 😀

      And yeah, I’m basically choosing the bare-bones set up because it’s simple, it looks cool, I can use it in Heresy games, and while it might not be optimal it probably won’t flat-out cost me a game. Plus it feels good to look at all the pros and cons of the different specials and go “meh, I choose none of the above.”

      With tanks I always give them heavy flamer or melta sponsons if I can. That way I can roll up the table blasting with the main gun and burning with the sponsons, or sit at the back and make people think twice about approaching me. What’s the point of being a tank if you can’t terrify people?

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