The last couple of games I have played have seen both players act very aggressively with one to two models right from the first turn onwards while leaving the rest of the army behind. This leads to high casualties on both sides as one player mercilessly pushes their active piece to cause as much damage as possible before it falls over to a lucky ARO, and then the other side responds in kind. A prime example was the game last night against Dave where both our order pools had been cut in half by the end of turn one, and we spent the rest of the game floundering around trying to achieve anything with four orders each!
What could be the reason for this pattern in play? Surely its better to support our troops to avoid them getting hunted down one by one in the opponents active turn? For me itâ€™s a lack of discipline and time pressure. I am normally terrified by the damage a player can inflict on my during their turn, be it horrible hidden deployment troops appearing out of nowhere and killing several of my troops before I can get a lucky smoke grenade off to stop them, or maybe a rampaging link team running across the table and messing me up with a BS15 B5 spitfire (or some such unpleasantness). The result normally manifests as me desperately trying to create an opening and then pushing an infiltrator or drop troop through the gap to damage the opposing order pool as much as possible and thus limit their damage potentialâ€¦..normally resulting in several deaths on my side. Alternatively I get it into my head that 3-4 turns is only just enough time to complete objectives and I need to Rambo up the field and get them all done now now now! In reality two turns is ample time to achieve objectives, and so using turn one as a staging post for turn two should be no problem at all.
This got me thinking that we must be being too rash with our troops, there must be a way to play a tighter game and get the bigger wins. The conclusion that I have reached is that mitigating the enemies active turn is probably the key. Almost all forces are more effective in the active turn, thus if one player can counter the active turn advantage they will preserve their own troops more effectively while still bleeding the enemies strength away. But how is this possible?
Enter the realm of speculationâ€¦â€¦
Total reaction remotes - are actually not that great â€“ they have a mediocre BS, no armour, one wound, no mods to hit. Basically they are easily eliminated by camo attacks or anything within optimal range and high BS/ODD/TO camo/moderate BS and mimetismâ€¦â€¦..basically a lot of our meta!
Cheap templates â€“ guarantee a hit against a target even though they have the active burst advantage. Thus any light to medium infantry donâ€™t want to be trading hits with cheap templates e.g. myrmidons hate attacking Caledonian volunteers since a 6pt volunteer and a 25pt myrmidon are likely to kill one another.
Heavy armour templates â€“ as above but relies on absorbing the active shots and replying with guaranteed damage e.g. ajax holding a choke point using his nano pulser. Need at least ARM4+ for this.
Heavy armour and high BS â€“ as above but relies on absorbing damage until its high BS allows it to win a face to face roll.
Massive penalty to hit â€“ basically needs to be a 9pt swing in BS e.g. myrmidon in open within optimal range vs enemy in open in average rangeâ€¦.assuming both BS12 the myrm would hit on 15s, the enemy on 6sâ€¦â€¦this is just about acceptable. Anything less would be too dicey. To pull this off a model needs cover,+ ODD/ TO camo and a long range gun.
Mines â€“ if people cant come and get the reactive troops due to mine risk they donâ€™t have an active turn advantage. Mines can be countered by high ARM and very cheap troops (preferably with templates) unless they are mono mines.
Suppressing fire on decent troops â€“ can force people to waste a tone of orders getting round it, or give up their active turn advantage. Needs to be a troop that will normally win a face to face roll e.g. in cover, decent BS, mods to hit. E.g. myrmidons with suppressing fire are more likely to win face to face than those throwing smoke (3-4 shots normally needing 9-12 or less vs one shot needing 16 or less)
Link teams â€“ self explanatory, they get proportionally better as the link gets bigger. The reactive player is still at a disadvantage (unless using a shotgun) so the trick is being within optimal range itself but keeping the enemy out, thus maximising the benefit of the reactive burst.
Smoke/flash â€“ these weapons can halt an entire advance, or at the very least force the attacking units into the open and LOF of multiple defending troops (itâ€™s hard to get multiple AROâ€™s if the opponent is patient and willing to attack one model at a time, smoke can change this and force a model to either stop attacking or risk multiple AROâ€™s)
What do we all think? Has anyone else had similar experiences/thoughts? Has anyone else come up with solutions?