So for years I have bemoaned the use of special character is small games of warhammer 40,000. I am reading the ‘fall of damnos’ book at the moment and it maybe softening my views a bit.
The story is that of the 2nd company of the ultramarines (the ones that I am painting) led by Cato sicrius and assisted by tigirius the chief librarian. These 100 marines drop into the centre of a necron tombworld and have to fight from the start to gain a foot hold on the world of Damnos. The imperial citizens of the world look to the marines as saviours, but the marines are more focused on the destruction of the necrons.
This is the second of the ‘spacemarine battle books’ I have read. The other was ‘rynns world’ an ork vs crimson fist book.
Now it’s fair to say that the black librarian books are not the most challenging to read and are not likely to Win the man booker prize, but they are what they are, great books by great authors on a subject that the readers love. the spacemarine battle books are written as the game is played and are fast paced books that flow from skirmish to skirmish. They flesh out the units from the game and the rules, like pinning and cover saves. Each books looks a Famous battle from a particular chapter.
So back to my original point, should we use the unique characters in a small game. I still feel that the answer is no, but this book has some great examples to prove me wrong. In one chapter the captian leads 3 tactical squads into a necron war cell cloaked by a cloak of darkness. It describes what in game turns would be a short game, but is really well paced and is a great piece of writing from nick kyme. This sort of scenario is where a named character in a small game would be great. I this case rather than just a straight game, you could recreate the game. Played as night fight game, with the necrons just using wraiths and a single lord tooled up as the stormbringer.
These unique games can be great fun and are a great use of the characters. I feel this is the point of the spacemarine battle books. To inspire games and to relive the glories of the books. A lot of the younger gamers seem to miss this part of the hobby. It’s not all about the most powerful unit or the best army. It’s not Evan about the winning or the losing it’s about the game. This is wargamming as roleplay or re enactment. I love this style of game and it why I play ultramarines. Well, it one of the many reasons any way. this style of game harks back to the 3rd and 4th editions of the game. I know that the 6th will be more hobby focused. I hope it wrecks the meta game for more of a cinematic feel. The best out come will be a game that can be both, but that’s unlikely. Lots of changes in the rules are about the change of this or the addition of that, we should be asking will it make the game more of wargame and less of Board game focused on what you take. I want to see the game flow, the cinematic moments of a lord vs captian, hordes of orks not covering under a force bubble carried by a mek, I want to the wolves in a feral charge, the angles descending from
Heaven and slamming in to the alien horde, lead not by the lord of death, but by a captian of the lesser orders. Maybe even, a fun grey knight army lead by an unnamed chapter master and with out any henchmen. Or is that asking to much. In the end what I want is for wargamming to be a fun way to spend an afternoon with some friends and then a hearty discussion at the pub. Is that too much too ask?
Anyway it time for me to add the 2nd company and to build on the legend of the heros of Damnos. See you at the wrong end of a bolter!