New Poll: Playing with armies that are built for you?

The inspiration for this week’s poll comes from a random thought that I had about thematic games.  A problem with our recuring Apoc “campaigns” is how to tie each game together to be more than just a loose grouping of games.  The other issue I have in coming up with a narative is trying to make logical teams out of the armies that are brought to our games.   For instance, in a typical game, we have:

  1. Space Wolves / Blood Angels
  2. Blood Angels
  3. Tyranids (multiple)
  4. Imperial Guard
  5. Orks
  6. Space Marines (vanilla)
  7. Tau

Then there are a couple of us that play multiple armies (all duplicates of those listed above, except one also plays Grey Knights).  The point of the story is that we, like most gaming groups, have a wide variety of armies.  I just have trouble coming up with a thematic reason for all of those different varients to be playing on a single board–much less grouped into two teams.

The obvious answer tends to be that all of the Imperials group together to form one team, but then I have to justify why Tau, Orks, & Nids are partnered up (plus potentially some extra Imperials, to balance things out), which seems more than a little far-fetched.  If the ‘Nidz weren’t involved, I think I might be able to pull something out of my arse, but who is really going to ally with an all-consuming virus incarnate that is the Tyranid swarm?

So the idea struck me: why can’t I design the armies for a thematic game?   My thought was to set up a campaign with logical army choices and thematic progression.  This particular idea involves the investigation of a plant infected by a Genestealer Cult.  Game one would involve mostly IG vs. Space Marines, game two would progress into genestealers/IG vs space marines/GK’s, and game three could just be an all out survival battle against a Tyranid Swarm.

I would, of course, provide all of the models and pre-build the armies.  The added benefit here is that I can throw all sorts of twists and alternate rules in a way that provides balance to the game.  For instance, I can provide one side with less overall points, but also give them special rules (such as orbital bombardments, etc.) to make up for it. 

I have to say that I’m really enamoured with this idea, but am wondering if people would have heartache with it.  I know that folks work really hard on building and painting their armies, so my question is this:  How would you feel if you showed up to a game where all of the armies/models were provided for you in an attempt to make the battle more cinematic?    Answer below…

[poll id=”29″]

5 comments on “New Poll: Playing with armies that are built for you?

  1. Seems like going back to rogue trader days but would be fine.  I do not know if you need to supply all the minis.  You just might want the players to provide lists of their available forces and then you work on building thematic lists where you might have to add some minis if they are lacking.

    Battletech used to have mission books which told you how to set up the battlefield and the exact forces on each side but then again you represented forces with card stock cut outs and could get a them all in reinforcement boxes of all of them for like 20 dollars.

    • Yeah, being able to draw from available models that other people own is a must.  I just don’t own enough of everything to make balanced games of 18-32k per side (or at least I hope I don’t!).  The point I was trying to make in providing the minis was just to indicate that people wouldn’t be required to purchase anything to play.  While you might not own IG models, you won’t have to buy them in order to play them for this game.

      That battletech thing is exactly the sort of scenario driven game I’m trying to recreate.  I think GW used to do it with some of their WHFB expansions as well (I can’t remember their names though–I believe there was one about Dwarves and beer and another based on Brettonia).  I think they had that same sort of model, though they might have been slightly more flexible (ie. build a 1000 point force, that includes at least one unit of archers and a cannon).It’s definitely not a new idea, just new to this format (in our gaming group, at least). 

  2. Could be fun.

    I would prefer you come up with a scenario and ask for participants to fill certain spots, IG vs Nids could instead be at least 3 IG players and the rest supporting Imperial assets like SM’s.  Within the scenario define how each is deployed,

     i.e. IG deploy on table first and get defensive lines ect
    Space Marines will be forced to deep strike and therefore must make their force capable of this
    Witchhunters may deploy 50% the other 50% must be in reserve.
    ect. ect.

    It’s more work, and in some cases players would need to borrow armies or models or proxy things like drop pods.  You could also impose “ideas” on armies, like the IG must be primarily infantry or “defensive” given our group of players isn’t a power gamer bunch at your events, you could trust they would make a decent attempt at what you wanted without needing real oversight or actual rules for composition.

    • Yeah, I think next “season” will be this style of game.  Imposing ideas on an army would probably work, though my concern there would be just availability of models.   If I do the IG vs. Nids lists, and I don’t provide the models, we just don’t have that many gamers that can fill out those lists.  Sure, Dan can, and you can probably borrow the IG from George, but the others?  Perhaps they can borrow Dan’s leftovers, but trying to determine who gets the one available leman russ could prove difficult.  I was thinking that if I just made the lists entirely, I could eliminate that problem.  Blaine suggested that perhaps I make most of the list, and just have people bring say, 500 points to round it out–or maybe I give them a base force and they can choose between two last minute editions (would you rather have hellhounds or rough riders at the end?).  That way people have a little more choice in the matter and don’t feel confined to specific choices.

      I think it would be better balance and game-wise (As well as logistically) if I just made both the armies, though I wonder how people would feel about that–hence the poll.

      Though the poll is broken for some reason; I’ll have to fix that…

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