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Thread: Tactics for 40K

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    Tactics for 40K

    Warhammer 40,000 Tactics

    This is a bit of work in progress I will add things to it later, and may refine and add piccies etc, but I am interested to hear if this is the kind of things you guys want to read, if it aint all good I wont waste my time on it. So yeah feedback would be handy, if there is anything you want covered let me know as well and I will see what I can do.

    Well this is my view on tactics that can be applied to Warhammer 40K; although I have the benefit of some “specialist training” there is nothing here that can’t be learnt from the history of warfare of the Principles of War as written by Carl von Clausewitz.

    The field of Battle

    Well there are a few different areas that one can explore with this topic, so the most relevant place to start would be the battlefield itself. Unlike other generals we are not able to manipulate the strategic and operation level of the conflict we simulate with 40K, so choosing the battlefield is not an option, we must deal with what we are given. This generally ensures somewhat of a level playing field (unless the table is wonky), although this will vary from time to time. That said there are things you can look at to assist your deployment plan. Generally for me the table will effect my deployment as much as the mission does, but here are some things to look for in particular: it is known by the acronym, OCOKA – Observation and Fields of Fire, Cover and Concealment, Obstacles, Key Terrain and Avenues of Approach.

    Now most of these headings are fairly straight forward – observation look to see what can be seen from where, we as gamers have an awesome advantage that we stand over the table and can determine the best spots to put our models to be able to use them effectively. One does have to remember though that the enemy is not going to stand still and let you blow the snot out of him, he is going to move, so consider placing units that cover areas the enemy may move into later in the game. This point will also enable you to work out where you units can fire from to effect parts of the enemy without being exposed to the whole enemy force, what I call “enfilade fire from a defilade position”. Looking at the fields of fire will also start to point out engagement areas, points on the battlefield where you will be able to bring the effective firepower of several squads together to destroy the enemy. When I talk about effective firepower I am not meaning one weapon from 4 different squads of tactical marines for example, I am talking about 40 marines being able to apply fire to that point on the board. It is easier than it sounds. When deploying you want the enemy to move forward into these engagement areas and as a key point not realise that they are doing it, until it is too late.

    Cover and concealment, there is a difference between the two, cover I see as the enemy cant shot directly at you (indirect can always target and you cant really avoid that one), where are concealment is obscuring you from the enemy. I understand that in respect to 40k it is probably better explained the other way around, but well old dogs and new tricks!!!! Cover is critical for some units so they don’t meet with a fiery death in the first turn, units that can move and fire should be behind cover as much as you possibly can in deployment. Remember that the enemy only needs to be able to see the hull to shoot you, so in some cases you may only be able to be obscured, this is better than nothing however. Units that can’t move and shoot and need to fire from turn one like devastators, you should look to put them in forests and ruins to give them cover saves…..if this seems like sucking eggs, you might be surprised how many people don’t do it!!! There is a time where you will have to weight up whether you want a cover save or need to be exposed to get a better firing position, that is a bridge you will have to cross when in the situation. This article is far too small to provide that sort of detailed guidance. Also when you deploy lok to see where your units are going to move to, what cover and concealment can they gain along the way as this may effect their position on the battlefield. In other words it may be acceptable to be exposed at the start of the game if you are able to spend the remainder of the game protect from the effective fire of the enemy.

    Obstacles, no secret here, stuff that slows down your advance. I may be blunt here but for some this is the terrain on the table for others it may be the stuff between their ears!!!! That said obstacles provide one key advantage in the game, when assaulted a unit in an obstacle strikes first, always a good thing, but this can be negated by some wargear. Obstacles can be used in concert with the fields of fire and engagement areas to subject the enemy to protracted periods of fire or turn them from their deserved approach to one where you can inflict casualties on them. Overall the cunning use of obstacles can be a force multiplier (effectively adding to your armies resources / points), but the bad use of obstacles can bring you totally unstuck!!!! As they say in the good tactics lessons “it is a double edged sword”, or like having a tactical nuke with a range of 3 miles and a lethal radius of 5 miles!!!

    Ok the final point here for deployment is Avenues of Approach, this is basically how are you going to get from your deployment zone up to the objective, whether it is a defined objective or just to assault the enemy. In looking at this and noting what I have already mentioned in the other paragraphs you can see that what you think is an avenue may end up an engagement area, so you need to consider what the enemy is seeing on his side of the board. Once again you have the option to walk around and look from his side, something that Napoleon would have loved to do at Waterloo!!! There is not too much more I can really add here as the other paragraphs have stolen.

    Ok so now I will move on to some game play tips and tactics.

    Positioning your units. Always consider the location of your units and what can see you and what you can see, and how you will affect your target. Comments like “your army is cheesy you have three lascannons. I mean my tank has a good chance of surviving one lascannon, but three equals a dead tank”, are common from players that cant visualise the board and how it effects their units. Oh and don’t laugh cos that was a comment on another board!!! Here is a picture to illustrate my point.



    Ok in these two pics (i know there is only one I will load the other tomorrow I am having photobucket issues) you can see some hormies going to assault space marines next turn, however the marines are well positioned to shoot at the carni with their lascannon so the pred is moved forward to intercept the hormies. However as I have commonly seen the player has failed to realise that the carni can now hit the side armour. If the Pred was moved back behind the building it would still be able to shoot the hormies without being destroyed by the carni. As demostrated below.




    By finding a position on the battlefield that provides cover from the carnifex the predator is now able to not only use the benefit of its range, but it has formed a single unit engagement area, because the nids cant avoid the predator’s shooting weapons for at least two turns.

    Mutual Support. Mutual support is one of the principles of defence; basically it is where one unit is able to provide support to another and visa versa, this support can be achieved through firepower or assault. This means that no one unit will be caught by the enemy on its own and have to face off against a superior enemy. If elements of an army are forced to face off against large portions of the enemy force you will never be in a position to bring your full combat power to bear and it is like playing against a 1500 point army with only 500 points, always going to be an uphill battle and you will never dictate the play you will always be reactive to the enemy’s moves. Ensuring you have mutual support will enable you to coordinate your attack and bring your full combat power against a decisive point of the battlefield, maybe an objective or one of your engagement areas.

    Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Many 40k players seem to have adopted the tactics from the Cold War, where the Russians and Americans built enough nukes to blow the world up something like 25 times over. The idea of MAD was that if one side launched an attack the other side would do the same and basically mankind would be destroyed, fortunately this prevented anyone from doing anything too silly. In 40k many players have he attitude of “well my oblits died but they got their points back”. Unfortunately this is a very flawed logic, cos if a unit is dead, it is not scoring, it can’t hold an objective and it gives victory points to the enemy. As a general one should look to preserve one’s force as much as possible, it does not matter if the enemy is all dead if you have 1 space marine left, the game will still be a draw. There will be times were you will need to sacrifice a unit, but this should be done to create an overwhelming advantage to your forces. Recently was able to effect this quite dramatically.

    In a city of death mission my opponent was running with elder and part of his army was 10 warp spiders, 10 scorpions and a wraithlord, I decided that I wanted to destroy these units and be in a position to assault the objective after that. However with the speed of the spiders I was not in a position to just go up the guts with hormaguants and carnifexes. Instead I looked to draw out the spiders with rippers, this worked and I was then able to hit the spiders (after they did a sneaky withdraw assault move) with another unit of rippers. This locked the spiders in combat and my opponent decided to join this combat with the scorpions and a wraithlord. As my opponent consistently removes casualties to stop characters of mine from hitting him etc, so I did the same to him stopping the wraithlord from hitting in two rounds of combat, also due to bad positioning the scorpion powerfist also missed tow rounds of combat. After the first turn he was held in combat I threw the remaining rippers in. At the end of his second turn of combat the rippers were all dead; however he was looking down against 2 hive tyrants, 3 carnifexes, 26 termagaunts, and 30 hormagaunts. In my next turn I totally destroyed the scorpions, spiders and wraithlord, the 224 points I had lost was nothing compared to the 600 points of his army, but more importantly he had no chance of claiming his objective and I was now positioned to claim mine.

    So basically from that example you can see that units should not just earn their points back, if you must sacrifice something do it in a way that will earn you more points than you lose, or gives you a better position, otherwise you achieve absolutely nothing.

    The initiative. No this is not some dark chaos worshipping cult. The initiative is not a tangible thing it is a word to describe who has ascendancy at a certain time, who’s acting and who’s reacting, or more simply who’s plan is working. The initiative is as important to 40k as it is to the modern battlefield. By making an opponent change his plan and react to you moves, your are placing him under stress, you are making him second guess and most importantly you are denying them the opportunity to do the same to you.

    There have been many studies conducted on this and one of the main ones that is still taught today is the OODA Loop – Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act. The OODA loop is a continuous process and it is said that the combatant that can complete this cycle the quickest will gain and maintain the initiative. It was developed by USAF fighter pilots in the Korean War. Basically it is the process where you Observe what the enemy is doing through his movements, you Orientate your forces to engage, you then Decide how to engage and then Act.

    I have recently played against an opponent who failed to complete one cycle of the OODA loop and this caused a catastrophic failure of his army. He was using DE with quite a few Dark Lances and raiders and wyches, you get the idea, in a table quarter mission. My nids were well positioned so that not much could be seen in the event I did not go first. He won the roll and went first, achieving very little in shooting, but gaining some position to the flanks. While he was moving I had already worked out what was going to shoot at what and what was going to be assaulting. When my turn came I moved with blistering pace and my opponent lost 27 dark elder warriors (dead or off the board) 2 raiders and a ravager and he had another unit locked in combat. By the end of turn three he conceded the game. At no point apart from taking first turn did he have the initiative and once he reacted to my first turn as I predicted he would it was all over.

    The initiative is critical without it you will be pushing poo up hill, and the hill is very steep and the poo not very solid!!! With the initiative you will be able to destroy the enemy how you want when you want and achieve the mission.

    Ok well there is a fair bit of info here, I am happy to discuss via message or in the forum anything I have raised here or any additional thoughts.

    Last edited by Hilly; October 17th, 2006 at 12:20. Reason: Added pics and fixed some typos
    Army most recently finished (well kinda): Space Wolves
    Last Project completed: Converted Aegis Defence Lascannon
    Next Project: Long Fang Diaorama

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    Back in action! Lord Yossanrion's Avatar
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    Wahey! Another Aussie!

    Anyways, I'll move this to the correct forum. Excellent post though mate.

    *boot*

    ~Yoss
    Anzac Clan!
    Final Fantasy!

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    Member Killer Clown's Avatar
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    Great technical info...love it!

    More please....some weapon specific tactics would be sweet.
    Tanks, heavy weapons, formations.. etc

    *sent an imp bearing rep*
    Coulrophobia - Fear the Clown!

    ANZAC clan Inquisitor =]A[=



    Quote Originally Posted by A mod
    Killer Clown - Please refrain from the dry, mocking, sarcasm you have so wittingly displayed here
    .....flattery is my Achilles' heal.....

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    Cheers for the "extremely" positive response to this. I had a few issues with Photo bucket last night so I was not able to upload all the pics I wanted too, but I will try to take some better ones and put them in next week.

    I will also start a new topic allowing people to vote on what they would like to see next, from a range of 4 topics:

    The Attack
    The Defence
    Army Tactics - Penetration, Envelopment (Single and Double) and Infiltration
    The principles of war

    if it looks like there is a clear winner by Sunday morning Aussie time I will try to have something new up by Monday.

    Once again thanks for the read. And hey cool I have my own thread....my plans for world domination are coming to fruition.....medication time again!!!!
    Army most recently finished (well kinda): Space Wolves
    Last Project completed: Converted Aegis Defence Lascannon
    Next Project: Long Fang Diaorama

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    Gotta be attack....who doesn't love attacking (besides the troops :rolleyes: )
    Coulrophobia - Fear the Clown!

    ANZAC clan Inquisitor =]A[=



    Quote Originally Posted by A mod
    Killer Clown - Please refrain from the dry, mocking, sarcasm you have so wittingly displayed here
    .....flattery is my Achilles' heal.....

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    Son of LO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Clown View Post
    Gotta be attack....who doesn't love attacking (besides the troops :rolleyes: )
    Yeah, agreed. Show us how to take it to the enemy!

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    Master of Those Damn Durable Swords Roland Durendal's Avatar
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    Awesome job. You in the military by the way? Cuz I almost died when I saw you go into Terrain evaluation w/ OACOK. Good stuff.
    If you win games against Nids with flamers (aside from the Inferno Cannon on a Hellhound), you're playing against opponents with stupidity of impressive magnitude.

    ~ Sokhar

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    Yeah I am in the Military, well spotted.

    And dont worry "the attack" is coming, I look to have that one out sometime around the first week of Nov, just depends on work and painting.

    Cheers
    Army most recently finished (well kinda): Space Wolves
    Last Project completed: Converted Aegis Defence Lascannon
    Next Project: Long Fang Diaorama

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    Member Killer Clown's Avatar
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    That's right, get your priorities straight like me:
    Painting....then work!
    Coulrophobia - Fear the Clown!

    ANZAC clan Inquisitor =]A[=



    Quote Originally Posted by A mod
    Killer Clown - Please refrain from the dry, mocking, sarcasm you have so wittingly displayed here
    .....flattery is my Achilles' heal.....

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    Work is where I do the majority of my posting, home is for painting :shifty:
    Army most recently finished (well kinda): Space Wolves
    Last Project completed: Converted Aegis Defence Lascannon
    Next Project: Long Fang Diaorama

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