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Spiky
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Tabletop Psychological Warfare (Chaos)

Allright, I don't know if this has been done before, but I try to build a Chaos Tabletop Psychological Warfare Thread. What about it.

What is psychological warfare strategy (PW strategy)?

The idea is to impose a stress to the ennemy in order to lead him into traps or to have commit mistakes. Greater the stress, better the effect. This thread will concentrate specificaly on "tabletop" psychological warfare as I don't want to be accused of machiavelic subversion and corruption of the youth (in other words, I don't want to incite you to insult your opponent, even if it could appears as an efficient tactic).

Bluff

The most common PW strategy is to stress your opponent with catch phrases such as "c'mon man, my daemon prince will crush your chaplain... " So the idea is to eighter have him to go for your DP or to stay away from it. It's call bluff. There is many way to "tabletop" bluff. You can paint a squad in order to make it look realy dangerous and use it as a bait. You can field a specific unit acting as a fire magnet and say that your opponent can kill anything but this unit. The idea is to emphasise on something that might be true, but that is not, in order to prevent something else from happening.

Concealment
Excellent for a Khorne or Nurgle army

Another PW strategy is to hide something, to conceal it, from the eye of your opponent. This can be done by painting a powerfull unit as if it was a regular, unthreatening unit (It works, I tried). You can also hide your unit by deploying it in the middle of a massive army. You can use a unit to distract the opponent while your real dangerous unit advance (DP are great for this job). My favorite concealment strategy is to use a unit for something it is not suited to do. For example, using an obliterator in close combat in order to kill a HQ unit (it work's, I did it some times). Another example would be to use chaos bikes to hunt tank. Most player won't see it coming until it's too late.

Unbalanced deployment
Excellent with Word Bearers and Iron Warriors

Third efficient PW strategy is to deploy your army in an artistic way. This may greatly disturb even the most advanced players. Field all you army inside vehicles in order to grant no infantry target. Have half of your army deep strike and build the other half with daemons. Split your army in two condensed formations in order to force your opponent to divide forces. Infiltrate all your troops. Make the situation uneasy for your opponent to understand. Sooner he will feel bad about the situation, sooner you'll own the game.

Moving
Night Lords are bound to use it

In the same way as the unbalanced deployment, most people tend to elaborate their main strategy according to the initial deployment. The stationary army is the easiest to crush as you know exactly what will happen, how it will happen and how to deal with it. Now, introduce the movement factor. Every moving unit is a deviation from the original strategy. More moving units means more disturbing factors. When the movement is globalised, your opponent will find it harder to come up with a solution (the little brain has it's limits). Also, move units that shouldn't move : During the first turn redeploy a havoc squad mounted in a rhino 12" away from it's original position and look at the face of your opponent who was planing to send a guess ordonance exactly at this position. All his calculation were done. All he had to do is to call the distance and fire. Now, he will have to recalculate and the emergency of the situation can lead him mistaken. Redeploy all your army 12" forward (Using rhinos) and wait for him to advance, using heavy bolters and templates weapons to tear down waves after waves of incomming troops, leaving the survivors to the melee squads.

Killing key units
Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors

Some players rely exclusively on some key units to win a game. Usualy, it's eighter HQ or heavy support. Now, the idea is to ignore all other threats and to focus on killing these specific units, knowing that this will break your opponent initial strategy. Fast attack is perfect to accomplish this job. Run a suicidal bike squad through the rank and files of the ennemy and engage his HQ after having fired all your special bikes weapons at it. Send a raptor unit to shoot a dreadnought from behind. Hit hard and swift. Shoot an ordinance template right on top of his most cherished unit. Teleport an obliterator right beside his chaplain and blast it with a melta gun. Kill the unit in the first turn, the second if first is impossible, have him understand that everything is lost. It's like eating the queen on a chess board, advanced players know how to play without, but most players hate when this happen. It introduces the "The game is lost" effect.

Tank Shocking

Tank shocking is usualy harmless, unless equipped with destroyer. But tank shocking also has a great stressing effect. Tank shocking an incoming unit can slow it down, and if you choose the right unit, the one necessary to win the melee, you might as well prevent a whole charge from happening. Tank shocking a heavy weapon squad that need to remain stationary to fire is alway a tickling factor. Rhinos are excellent to create a diversion. And if you're doing it right, your opponent will soon grow impatient and waste a whole shooting phase trying to destroy your rhinos.

KillZone

Killzone strategy, as the name says, consist in declaring (explicitely or not) a specific area of the map as your KillZone. For your opponent, it is supposed to mean that if one of his unit enter this area, it will be destroyed without mercy. As stated before, a Killzone can be declared explicitely ("if you enter this area, you will die !!!") or implicitely by placing units such as Havocs, Defilers, etc. targetting this specific zone. Now, the big question is : why to declare my intentions to my opponent, wouldn't it be a good thing that he makes the mistake of entering my Killzone ? Well, yeah, if your objective is to make him enter the killzone, don't mention it. But you may want to force your opponent to move into a trap. Therefore, the Killzone may be use as a virtual "restricted area" that your opponent will have to avoid to prevent his units from being anihilated. This may give you one or two more rounds of ranged actions. You can force him into a trap. There is a lot of possibility with this strategy. Now, this may seems strange to apply on a regular battlefield, but since we're entering a city fight era (City of Death), this will eventualy proove to be usefull.

Mise en garde

Now, you'll have to understand that most of those aren't basic strategies and you might need some practices to make it efficient. I myself find it somehow hard to concretise the theory, but I've come to great success with some of those strategies (especialy the "killing key units" one).

Comming up next : how to prevent Psychological Warfare. :lol:
 

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The other Kind of Fluff
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MindRaked...you're on the verge of becoming respectable...stop it!!;)

Bluffing:
On a similiar note, the defiler kind of comes with a built-in bluff tactic. I can't tell you how many times a player has over-extended themselves to kill my defiler, merely because it's big and has a battle cannon.

Most players also forget that the defiler has decent (not great) c.c. abilities, and will often throw a unit at it in hopes of getting a cheap kill, only to realize that they have a monstrous creature with a fairly respectable strength- oops!!

Concealment:
Another means of psychological warfare would be to create an army of nothing but the same thing. Boring and run-of-the-mill...right? Still, having an homogenous army both prevents single high-point models from being lost, and more importantly, it reduces your opponent's ability to gauge your army for weaknessess- i.e., weakness, that is, in regards to priority targets. This functions in a rather similiar way to an army that utilizes all high-threat models, but in reverse. Don't give your opponent's any single thing worth taking out. Homogenous troop builds tend to be underestimated until the last minute. Inexperienced players sometimes don't respect, for example 7 infiltrating plague marine squads w/ power fists, because they are both slow and not particularily known for being amazing in c.c.. As well, most players underestimate the strength bonus given by the MoN. They say, "D.G. looks ok, but nothing special." This illusion is one of the perks of playing D.G., because the army isn't often respected by most players, until they see it in action; then, suddenly, all of their guns are shifted down a notch, and there are multiple plague squads reigning down on them.
 

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Librarian from Hell
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You made a thread on this:) Good on you.

I have a thing for "the evil giggle". It starts when placing units during deployment.
When I pick a unit or model from my case, I look my opponent in the eyes, and start to smile wickedly. I then place the model with great care and use only slow motions, to enhance the "importantness" of the model.
He'll be a prime target for the enemy-guns. Or he'll scare them all away. Anyhow this makes my opponent focus on this very model to the verge of carelessness.
 

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I hate Ultramarines
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Alot of people i play focus more on taking out the "bigger" models rather than squads e.g. Daemon Prince. During a game the other day i was playing a Tau army. As my army advanced, they fired every shot at my DP(whatever could see it anyway). They didnt manage to kill it and during the next turn, my berserkers broke into their lines and slaughtered them.

I think a good way to put your opponant off is to keep quiet. Most people at my gaming club tend to shout alot and over exaggerate things. They are so used to playing very loud opponants (who probably give away their strategy by mistake), they won't have a clue what to do against a silent opponant. They'll start thinking you have a plan. This is the point that I usually find the person begins to attack the bigger models.

Anyway, good post. There are some helpful tips there :)
 

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Sometimes even body language can be used to fool your opponent.
I haven't played yet so this thread is VERY interesting for when I get playing (soon I hope)
but
moving around the board using hmm noises and closely examining and measuring by eye lines of attack etc can fool your opponent into thinking you will attack from one direction, then attack from another.
stand quietly in a thoughtful pose could distract players, they will be wondering what you are planning next
 

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I use bikers with a meltabomb for taking out landraiders - VERY effective. Especially with two squads - if you're good you can surroudn the transport to they can't disembark and kill the HQ inside. If the bikers wind up being charged and suffer from tank shock the meltabomb automatically hits. It might not destroy the tank - but it's still a free hit!

Respect the chaos biker. Respect!
 

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I love using the concealment tactic. As long as I don't plan on using the models in tournaments, I love just priming threatening models like terminators black, then painting a Daemon Prince all flashy. It takes a lot of fire away from my terminator unit, which does quite a bit more damage, and puts it on my 120 point Daemon Prince! Just using certain models is great, or leaving them entirely unpainted! Opponents tend to make units which you put a lot of effort into high priority targets, and simply letting them know that he has a Daemon Weapon that gives him twice as many attacks as the normal Lord, or allows no saves is awesome for intimidation!
 

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Spiky
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some of you talked about out-game Psychological Warfare, such as noise and eye contact, but I remind you that this thread is about Tabletop Psychological Warfare. Whatever you do with your body outside of the table is your choice, but the whole point of this thread is limited to the 4 borders of the table.

There is some great addon to this thread up to now.
 

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One of the things I do is use the versitility of black legion against my opponent. One week I show up with 4 vechicles, the next none. Sometimes I'm 100% CC, others times all out shooting. Bring deamons or not, other marked troops or not. I find that I can keep people guessing when they play me. For instance there is a Tzeench player where I game, and when he uses that army, I know 80% of his list before he deploys.

I find that keeping them concerned with what I might or might not have from the get go is usualy a good way to start the PW, before using the main tactics has have already been explained.
 

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One of my projects with my army is writing all my units into a book with variants
ie my leut from my EC 500 pt list actually has two entries at the moment.
a sorcerer leut and a CC specialist. (i''m using a a2 notebook)
by doing this I can adapt my army on the day to whatever I will be battling and have it all ready written up and just put the right model on the table on the day.so I can scale an army from 500 pts to 2000 pts for the battle
this means that my opponents won't know week to week what I will be fielding
the more units you have the better this becomes
at least this is the theory, how it turns out is to be determined from here on in.
 

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LO's unofficial Jester
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Modelling as has been stated before can really help to distract your opponent. One tactic that you can do is model a squad with all ts weapons but in a unusual way, for example model your special wapons as holstered or straped to the back, it can be hard for the opponent to work out exactly what every squad has.

I have an old Space marine Commander model which is actually sitting down, and can be easily underestimated.

The opposite of course is modeling all the minitures in very dynamic poses guns blazing etc which gives the impression they are more threatening than they are.
 

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probably the best tactic like this I can think of is feigning weakness/strength

In my Khorne army, there is only a single power weapon to be had, no power fists, no heavy support choices, no lascannons, nothing heavier then a chainaxe. Looking at it assembled on the table, it looks like my army would crumble and turn into dust at the sight of the first tank or terminator they see. Not so.

Despite not having any real "heavy weapons" the Anti-Tank role in my army is fulfilled entirely by Aspiring Champions with Meltabombs. When you've got 4 or more squads of Berzerkers rushing across the board, at least one of them is bound get near a tank, and when they do, it's probably gone. Added to this Bike mounted melta bomb armed Daemon Prince and Aspiring champ, and there's enough there to wreck any armor that comes my way!

And as for heavily armored foes (termies, loyalists, etc) the combination of furious charge (the normal 'zerkers wound on a 3+ now, the as does so on a 2+ :)) and chainaxes, anything short of hoardes dies in droves to my charge, armor save or not. With their heightened initiative on the charge also helping, it takes a lot for foes who depend on armor to survive one of my assault phases. I've one more then one occasion staggered up a squad of Grey Knights with 4 berzerkers left and wiped them out completely on the charge. It's a powerful thing that nobody expects.

meanwhile, my Bike mounted lord has a dark blade, and people expect him to charge a unit that wouldn't like to fight a power weapon, and react accordingly. Usually, however, he just zips up to armor, where furious charge and all the other fun little benefits sees him getting behind the tank and ripping apart the back armor with his blade.

And now that my friends are adjusting to that, I'm trying to make it work the other way around. :)
 

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I played a nasty one on my opponent a couple of weeks ago. shocked him
and the ref of the match. for the first two rounds I moved my Lord
normal distance, then the moment my deamonettes and bikes went CC he
moved 12 to get behind the enemy unit took out a bunch of models with wind of chaos
then using charge took and and out one of the best models his unit.
one round, not one survivor left of his unit of 10 tau firewarriors.
hehe
 

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yes psycholigical warfare is a big aspect in WH40k. Yesterday I was in a 1500 point battle against a semi-mech tau player. TO make it more intimidating I poised all of my assault marines using those plastic sticks that come in tau drone sets so they looked as if they were bigger and more aggressive.......he sunk so much fire into that squad only my HQ and a powerfist sergeant made it into CC but left my 3 lascannon tactical squads and a dreadnought to completly annihilate his broadsides and suits.
 

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Very nice, thanks for the tips. Now I just need to find someone that doesn't know my army inside out... Damn small town gaming groups...

Another fun trick is to convert your entire army to be well posed or give the whole army a nice paint job. it can confuse people that aren't too sure on how to handle your army. (If you play Space marines or CSM, then this doesn't work all too well:rolleyes: ) It's always worth the time it takes when you see your opponent throw his whole army against a 60 point unit of spinegaunts or a unit of possesed, after which your regular marines or other troopers eat their heavy support for breakfast.
 

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LO's unofficial Jester
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This is really bad sportsmanship but if you want to be down right nasty state to your opponent before the game "I am looking foward to this I have spent ages devising a cool new commander/dp/Hive Tyrant etc" While he is concentrating on your "new" model which you haven't really given anything special the rest of your army can advance in relative safty.

Also if you have deepstriking models place them to one side in a conspicious place the opponent will assume you have them in your army.

Oh and then there is the old, "what are the rules for deamonic possession again?"
 

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Spiky
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Berny Mac said:
This is really bad sportsmanship but if you want to be down right nasty state to your opponent before the game "I am looking foward to this I have spent ages devising a cool new commander/dp/Hive Tyrant etc" While he is concentrating on your "new" model which you haven't really given anything special the rest of your army can advance in relative safty.

Also if you have deepstriking models place them to one side in a conspicious place the opponent will assume you have them in your army.

Oh and then there is the old, "what are the rules for deamonic possession again?"
This is not Tabletop PW. This is intimidation, it also works, but it's not the point of the thread.
 
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