Monday, 8 October 2012

List Building and Theming

Last weekend saw Mark's idea of a Warhammer World Series realised. I had a blast, which you can already read about. It did, however, highlight a potential aspect of my game that I've never had any proof of before. Playing five games with armies that I didn't design seemed to do wonders for my game. I finished 5th out of 22 players, when my usual goal at tournaments is to simply break even on battle points (ie, score draws on average).

More chariots is better!
 Most of my lists are themed lists. My latest army is a Wood-Elf-themed Orc army. This sort of theming usually carries self-imposed restrictions or in the very least weighting toward less-than-optimum builds. The orcs will have an unusual proportion of arrer boys. My last army, the Celtic Warriors of Chaos, were restricted to vaguely historical choices: chariots, light cavalry, war hounds and frothing infantry. Admittedly, the latter was not a weak build, but perhaps a bit too homogeneous. The orcs remain to be proved either way.

My lists carry a second problem, independent of the one listed above. I think of myself as a builder of concept armies. I enjoy the entire process of conceiving, planning, building, painting and showcasing armies with coherent themes. The army is mostly planned from the beginning. This is not to say that can't change things as I progress, but there is a clear and logical end point. Once I reach the end point I can sit back and enjoy my work. I am often not enthused enough to extend the army- by far the more appealing option is to start again at the beginning with a new army.

Wolfy theme!
You try describing it!
However, I'm hardly the only player that likes to theme my armies. Hoodling's Empire Army oozes wolfy theme and Skabrad's Daemons are very unified in his unique flavour that I struggle to describe. Many of the people I regularly play with are big on theming as well. The difference is that they continue to produce more for the army, to the point that they can field multiple armies. More relevantly, they can adjust their armies based on experience with them. I'm stuck with an army that won't evolve. Which I don't regret. I'm often limited in my choices of what to field, but because the biggest attraction to me is the complete process of building an army from concept to completion, I don't mind.

The other downside to this desire to make new armies is that I end up with many armies that are repetitive to play with. My Law Daemons were finished before the current daemon rules were published, which was before the current edition of the game. They're extremely out-dated and don't play very competitively at all. I'd like to try and sell some of my older armies to fund new ones, both in terms of  money and space. However, very few people want to buy uncompetitive armies that are difficult to expand. The obvious fix is to just paint a few more pieces to make the armies competitive, which I'm willing to do if I have a buyer.

Theming allows you have pirates.
In the mean-time, I'll enjoy painting my new army. In the very least, it's nice to see that my generally mediocre performance at tournaments is at least partially due to the fact that I never update or experiment with my lists. Playing at the World Series has shown me this, and in the future I may try to borrow some other armies from club mates so that I can see new things, but continue to produce my own.

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