Saturday, January 26, 2013

Plotting Against The Plot-less-ness...

Who remembers the original Rogue Trader? Who actually owns a copy of the original Rogue Trader? I recently broke out my copy to show to my friend Pat and I gotta say it's amazing how much Warhammer 40,000 has changed since those early days. Is it for the better? For the worse? Not really either but also a little bit of both. Sound confusing yet?

The original 40k was not a tactical miniatures game in my opinion, not at its heart. While they did eventually come up with specific army lists (the ancient predecessors to today's Codexes) the forces in the actual book were filled with charts with random d100 lists of equipment. Yeah, that's right. You could just roll randomly for EVERYTHING. Weapons, equipment, psychic powers... the whole kit and cabooddle. It added a whole layer to the force creation process. "Man, I only have one roll for grenades. I hope I get the virus bomb! Come oooooon virus bomb!" **rattle, rattle, rattle** "Anti-plant grenades?!?!? Aw man!"

Dig further into the book at you find page after page of alien creatures. Not Eldar and Orks (though they're in there too...); we are talking things like Ambulls and Ptera-squirrels! Just random critters that you could have wandering around the board to spice things up. One of the early issues of White Dwarf even introduced the Ambull miniature and had a scenario idea set in an abandoned Ambull warren. Well, you thought they were abandoned...

Dig still deeper in the book and you'll find pages of random plot lines that you can use to create scenarios, along with a whole set of sub plots to mix things up even more. This is one that still cracks me up but at the same time sounds like a lot of fun.

"Abdul Goldberg stole your ship off you - the poker game was rigged and you're sure he put something in your drink. Your crew are unhappy - having been turfed from their ship together with their possessions. The ship and it's new crew leaves tonight - unless you can steal it back!"

How exactly are you supposed to play that out with Space Marines vs. Eldar I'll be damned if I know but it sure sounds like it would be fun to try!

What exactly does this somewhat random rant have to do with anything?  Some people might like the idea of lining up their guys on one side with mine on the other and lets see who wins.  There's nothing wrong with that but personally I'd rather have some kind of reason or flavor behind the battle. After all, which sounds more interesting?

1) Let's play a meeting engagement between my marines and your orks!

2) A few squads of Crimson Fist marines are stuck behind enemy lines and are trying to fight their way to the enemy's headquarters while Warboss Dakkagrub has sent out troops to gather parts for a stompa that his big mek is trying to repair for the next big push against the Imperial forces.

For me number two is the definite winner even though technically they are identical from a game mechanics point of view.  If adding this kind of flavor isn't something that you normally do give it a try next time you play, and if you already do I'd love to hear about it!  Go ahead and post in the comments the most memorable scenario you've ever played in a miniature game.

Thanks for reading and I looking forward to hearing about your own epic adventures on the table top!  Until next time...

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