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One thing that I've continually noticed in my 40k games is a sense of detachment from the mission being played. All out war to destroy your enemy is always very competitive and exciting, but missions for objectives seldom hold the same level of excitement. Sending my army out to capture ammo boxes, quarters (the money kind) and poker chips is a very... lackluster endeavor. I think it's a matter of finding the fluff behind the two conflicting armies, and realizing the kind of objective the two would fight over. Dark Angels trying to capture their fallen brethren, Tyranids wanting to consume a certain type of species for adaptation, any number of enemies trying to take fortified positions to hold against their enemies or from which to shoot down incoming aircraft. I just can't seem to keep the excitement in these sort of games, though, as I always see them as another point towards my win, and why should I care about a poker chip particularly?How do you guys keep the spice of life in your games?
My gaming group's new motto: That army you're using is overpowered because it hurts my guys, codex is broken and needs a rewrite.
Playing Dark Eldar, I simply bought two blisters of slave girls, based 'em, and they are now my objectives. After all, what better way to spend the morning after a successful raid than stripping the skin off of attractive girls...
Err... it seems I've found a snag in my logic: The Dark Eldar have the entirely wrong idea of "good times with girls".
My LGS has been slowly drifting back to the 4th Edition rules. The real problem I find with objective missions is that they're what you play 2/3 of the time. It simply gets boring, so we've been rerunning older missions like Table Quarters and Recon. And lately we've been talking about dropping true LOS...
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
Not sure if they still have them, but on the old GW site, they had Rules of Engagement. I introduced them to my little gaming circle, and the vast majority of our games were played by those rules. They combined well with CoD (Sewer Striking to capture the enemy objective ftw!) to make for extra big fun fun.
But yeah, in a nutshell, the RoE meant you and your opponent both had two objective markers each, and a mission was randomly decided. Missions included stuff like hold one of yours, and one of your enemy's objective marker; kill off an enemy HQ, and hold one of your markers; hold both of your markers; blow up an enemy objective marker whilst still holding one of yours, etc. You needed to be able to adapt your strategy from defensive to offensive, and personally, I found them a lot of fun. Maybe later tonight, I'll look through their new site and see if they kept it.
I agree that quality of markers helps (Yay! I took the... bottle cap?). Building good scenic, themed markers will help dramatically, and they don't take much--the golden rule of scenery is: less is more. If you spend some time hunting through the scenery forums, then raid your bits box(es), I'll bet you'd surprise yourself with what you can come up with. Anything from wreckage to a Chaos artifact to a wounded comrade is fair game. Ammo boxes, data slates, bunkers, explosives... the list goes on and on. Even an auspex (dozens of those on Space Marine sprues) sitting on a spare 40mm base with a little flock will work. Yeah, that's not sexy, but it's much more fun to go after than a poker chip, and just think how little work it would be to make!
I must agree tough, background fluff + evocative scenery/objectives makes a competition into an interactive story.
I actually prefer the good old objective games over annihalation, even if it is captue that penny over there. I absolutely hate the rules for annihalation, this may be partly due to the fact that my armies are guard and marines that always seem to have more units than my opponent. I wish they brought back lovable victory points, when killing a squad of 20 black templars was worth killing a squad of 20 black templars and not just as important as killing those 10 grots who are here in case the orks need to hold some objectives.
Also I never liked fighting over a fallen comrade, "Quick sacrifice these 50 healthy guys to save that wounded soldier." please give me back the penny.
IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
However I want to expand on the "fallen comrade" idea of a marker, my thoughts are similar to yours in that life in the 40K universe is cheap and so why would any army be sacrificing soliders to save just one solider?
It's very simple to get around though, just make the objective an important person rather than a normal soldier. It's super doubtful anyone would be fighting over a wounded guardsman or two, but a Tau Ethereal stranded in the dirt would be a prize for almost anyone, or a Librarian who got lost and dazed after a bad infinity gate would have a lot of secrets worth plundering if you can get him.