"When I was a child I played with childish things. Now that I am a man I still play with childish things, just bigger more expensive ones..."

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Themed Armies..... That Work! (Part 1)

Its often seen as a major stumbling block for army collectors:  You can either have an army that works thematically or one thats practical to collect and play.  Declaring your army adheres to a thematic or backstory element is often the opening line a gamer uses before explaining why there army is utterly unplayable or unlikely to ever be finished.

Recent articles in White Dwarf have been highlighting some of the Orc & Goblin race's background in an attempt to rekindle a bit more involvement of the lore in new generals. I'm going to take this a step further and explain how i've managed to intertwine a good backstory with the practical elements of getting an army on the table and then going on to win a game with it:

The first example is my own Orc and Goblin horde.  Admittedly no greenskin general should struggle that much as the whole premise of the race is that they are a mish-mash of tribes who gather for the common cause.  However with a little bit of work, a theme and some real character can be worked in.  The army originated as a predominately night goblin force based around putting as many of the random destructive units on the board as possible.  Night goblins have another advantage too, they are a doddle to paint meaning you can get whole legions of them on the table in next to no time. So far so good but heres where you start to hit the problems. Whilst its true that night goblins do have alot of fun units they are far from a fully rounded force, in addition theres no such thing as a plastic squig, so its going to cost you a small fortune in metal models to build up a decent horde. From a tactical point of view I wanted to get in some of the new savage orcs as well as an aracnarok spider, but how do I theme this into my night goblin army?

"The Great Fungus"looked out over the rocky parapet of the ancient Dwarven mine which the tribe now called home.  In the distance he could see the rolling forest that came right up to the foot of the mountain. A clear disturbance could be seen in the trees, something of great size was slowly moving closer and closer flatterning the undergrowth as it went. The goblin smiled as he took a bite out of a lurid mushroom cap... he was coming. For months now the Night Goblins had been trying to get into the deepest parts of the mine but their attempts had been thwarted by the arachnids that dwelt therein. The situation had seemed impossible but then he had heard rumour of one who might just be the answer.  A mighty shaman of the spider cult, one so in tune with the eight-legged creatures that he and his small band of followers travelled on the very back of one of the largest and most ancient of spider-kind. He had sent his scouts to lure them here, soon they would be upon the mountain and he could extend them his full hospitality, including a rather potent fungus beer that always brought any drinker round to his way of thinking, regardless of their own thoughts.  Suddenly he heard a noise behind him and turned to see one of his trusty captains.
"Boss, the ladz is back, they got news. Seems der's dis tribe a savages trackin da big spida, I fink .... dey wanna EAT it! Eiver way dey'z all eading dis way and dey'll be here by nightfall"  The lowly greenskin smiled "Fink we're gonna need sum more o dat beer...."

So thats nice and easy. I get to keep my existing backstory but I also get to bolster my army with two new plastic kits and some serious killing power. Next time how I bolstered my Nurgle Marine army to include Thousand Sons and a decent number of lesser daemons.

'The Great Fungus' (aka 'The Squig Whisperer')