Friday, 26 October 2012

I would walk 500 inches: Part I

Ok, as promised I have some actual content this time rather than just generic life updates.

I know, exciting or what?

Now, as the title suggests this article series is going to be looking at footsloggers.

I've been marching all day and boy are my legs Thor...
This topic was inspired by a recent Vassal game with ol' Melons. To cut a long story short, I had my rear end presented to me (in one of those fancy silver serving platters). Now, why this is is really a combination of things. First off, Melons is really very good. Really. He knows his stuff and his list and how to apply it right. Now that I've payed off all my simpering flattery I can move on (consider that my due payed Melons). Secondly, I made some poor choices early on and that very much hampered my ability to get in the game. Details will be brought up when relevent later on don't worry.

As I may have already mentioned, I'm not a fan of transports. You know, those useful little shiny boxes that get you places in one piece (most of the time). Well in honesty I'm not a big fan of vehicles in general, though I do have a soft spot for Dreads and Planes (work it out yourself if you want). Because of this I have been playing footslogging armies throughout the whole of my 40k 'life' and so far, it's not turned out too badly. I have used the transport capacity of a Storm Raven on...2 (?) occasions but I still don't trust it really. I like to have my feet on the ground as Russ intended!

Now, as you'll likely have read, in many places, there is a lot going for transports. They have a lot of uses and despite this cry of 'Vehicles are dead...' echoing round after 6th ed hit they are most certainly not. So, for the purposes of this first article I'm going to look at:
  1. A brief overview of transports and their functions
  2. The general benefits of footslogging
Let's get started:

Transports and their functions

Not technically a transport but I don't care
Now, there are many people, and many bloggers, who could tell you the subtleties of getting the most from your transports, I'm going to go over what I look out for as a footslogger.

Number one, mobility. Mobility is key. In a game mostly dominated by controlling objectives, naturally the most important point is getting to them. Transports are great at, surprise surprise, transporting stuff. Now this is basic stuff but it really is the most important part. On a 4x4 table, using the Dawn of war set up (12") in from each long side even assuming you start right on the border of your deployment zone it will take you 4 turns to even get to the opponent's side. Not counting running as assumably at some point at least you will want to shoot. Transports can do this in 2 (if they go full throttle). Fast ones in 1 turn. Now they won't do this (often) as it will leave them horribly exposed and near your army, what they can do though, is run rings around you. Leave you chasing shadows at parts of the board sometimes in the middle of nowhere.

Blocking is number two. You can't get to the juicy contents of a transport if it's occupants are still inside it, or bunkered up behind it. Again, quite obvious. The points of note are: when a transport is wrecked (loses all its hull points) it basically becomes new cover for your opponent, and because flat out is now done in the shooting phase it can be used to create a 'one way shooting gallery'. This is done by shooting one of your units at the enemy, then flat out-ing a vehicle between them afterwards. Thus they shoot you and you can't shoot them. Devious metal box men....

The benefits of footslogging

It's not all doom and gloom! Though that was but a brief skim through some of the most pressing problems our weary-legged warriors will be facing it does seems a little grim. We don't have any direct responses to these, but we do have some little perks.
Body count. Naturally the first is just volume of little men we'll likely have. Whilst they've spent their points on a shiny box we can use it to put more of a presence on the table. Using an example I have to hand a Grey Knight Rhino is the same as 2 more Grey Knights. Now that's not a great show because the Rhino is very reasonably priced and the Grey Knights are pretty expensive. Looking at something cheaper, it is the same as 8 boltgun acolytes. Looking a little better? Now Guardsmen will get more out of this than Marines, and if your opponent buys chimeras or other such bigger transports you will naturally get more guys. Every little helps right?

Volume of fire. With more guys comes more dakka. Also, when your opponents guys are in vehicles in many cases their fire is reduced to the amount that can poke out the fire points (2 on a rhino for example) while yours isn't. I must note here that there are many situations where this isn't applicable. Any open topped transport is going to ignore this and in fact make things worse (they can all fire from, say, the very tip of the vehicle chassis whilst each of your guys fires from where they're standing so are likely to have some out of range whilst they will all be in range). As you might have guessed, Dark Eldar are pretty much kings of this approach and was one of the reasons for my ignominous fall to Melons. I made the mistake of trying to use a whole village of blocking terrain to hide my squads from some of his Venoms. Naturally, all he had to do was spot one guy from my squad with his Venom to open fire with it and its contents on my whole squad whilst I could only return fire with 1 (perhaps 2 if I moved forward and got lucky).

Or so I thought.

Now, I have gone back over the rulebook in preperation for this blog post (see I do make an effort) and have found something particularly interesting on this point. 'if there are no visible models in the target unit, all remaining Wounds in the pool are lost and the shooting attack ends' (BYB pg 16). Therefore the wounds do not transfer onto anyone who is out of sight at the time. Now this mistake was not enough to count entirely for my reason for losing (as I said many things caused that) but it certainly was something that really punished me and I won't be forgetting it again now (I'm coming for you Melons. 6" a turn)

So, that's it for part I in my series of footslogging articles. It's kind of been a whistle-stop tour and for that I'm sorry but I felt I needed to lay down the foundations for the rest of the articles so thank you for bearing with me. Next time we'll be looking at general deployment tactics and the power of the MIND!

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