It is of great misfortune (or fortune?) that I am on MC today (monday). This gives me time to rest and also allow me to sharpen my other non-work related skills. So here I am preparing a new post for this blog in an attempt to improve my writing abilities.
Inspired by BOLS, I am going to talk about unbalanced list, mainly in warhammer, warhammer 40k and also the Total War series.
Why do I hate unbalanced list? Because it is unrealistic!!! In a real war, due to the scarcity of resources, commanders are often unable to have a perfect order of battle consisting of the most powerful and effective soldiers for the tasks. To illustrate my point, the US invasion force of Iraq do not only consist purely of US Navy seals. The British defending Singapore in WW2 have only a couple of British regiments (18th Div if I remembered correctly) and have to rely on the Indian Army to provide the main source of strength. Unfortunately in games of warhammer/40/TW, not only do people try their best to squeeze in every elite unit available, these units even appeared in multiples in some unbalanced lists.
Let me give some examples of the strange army lists in the gaming world that irritates me to the extreme.
- Empire all knight armies. Well... in a backward agricultural society where trained soldiers are always scarce, having a 2000 points all cavalry army is not really convincing fluffwise no matter how you justify.
- All knights High Elves....well an army consisting only of nobles? well done.
- Beast Army of Khrond Kar (Dark Elves). Seriously, big monsters are designed as linebreakers in dark elf armies much like the war elephants in history. Can you imagine an army of nothing other than elephants. If this is the REAL world, I will simple avoid battle and harrass your supply lines until your large creatures of war collapse one by one.
This is more difficult because the 40k universe is not modelled/inspired by real world armies. GW dictates all the fluff and this provide some justification for unbalanced builds sometimes. One example will be Mr Magnus Calgar deepstriking with a force of terminators. Nevertheless unbalance silly looking builds still exist.
- all monster creatures tyranids. Yes GW mentioned that entire broods ofr MCs were used in battles sometimes. But these are often during the final stages of an invasion AND while the Monstrous Creatres broods are released, they are also accompanies by even large swarms of tiny critters. So if you want to field 8 or 9 monstrous creatures, I will say go ahead but I would like to see about 200 plus gaunts too.
- Army of no 3+ save space marines. This is really a joke. A force of marines with no tacticals and just scouts and termies? Do the US army go to battle with just recruits and special forces?
Total War Games.
This is the part that irk me the most. Due to the nature of a pc game, where every unit is available just at the click of a mouse, players have a tendency to just take the good stuff and there is nothing holding them back in terms of painting or monetary commitments. Let me give an example. In warhammer, I will field a unit of say Tomb King Skeleton Heavy Horsemen simply due to the fact that I have spent ages doing them up and they bring me joy on the tabletop. Similarly Lawrence would want to field his screaming bell because it costed him $90. But in a game like RTW where there are neither emotional attachments with any unit nor real life restriction like minatures cost and painting commitments, players would more than often just choose the best stuff.
- An RTW Roman army of Prateorian Cohorts. Did Caesar gave you guys a day off or something? Or did you guys just got demoted into normal legionaries.
- An ETW army of riflemen. Oh 1850s troops appearing en masse in a 1700s battlefield
- A Carthaginian army consisting of sacred band troops only. I know the temples are rich but I seriously doubt they can pay for an army.
So. Here ends my gripe on unbalanced lists. I know it is a game and I know people wanted to win but REALISM is also a part and parcel of the hobby in the first place. This is a reason why Gamesworkshop designed the "slot" system back in 6th ed so as to remove silly armies consisting nothing other than RBTS. Franky speaking, if fluff and realism is out of the question, I would rather be playing a game of warcraft where I can spam as many units of chimeras as I like.
I am a student of history. I ventured into this hobby because I would like to re-enacted the amazing battles that are fought in the annals of history (or in the case for fantasy and 40k, battles in featured in great works of literature). I want to see armies in formation, displaying the colors and all. Soldiers moving in formations and bringing the fight into the enemies. I want to imagine soldiers shouting their war cries, vicious hand to hand combats, unhorsed cavalry and dead cavalry mounts.
I want to be able to see and imagine all these. It can't be done when the force arrayed on the opposite side of the battle field consist of only 7 models.
Disclaimer: I am perfectly acceptable to face un-balanced lists in a tournament. That is because it is a tournament. While I will try to stick to my balanced armies, I do not insist my opponent to do the same. Kudos