Forgive me, fellow readers, for I have sinned. In my mentality and in my resulting actions. I have allowed many things to cloud my mind regarding 40k and have come to confess them to you my fellow gamers.
As you may have guessed over the last few months my interest in wargaming has waned to the point of de facto walking away from the hobby. Part of it I'll blame on the lack of time I had during my student teaching, part I'll put on my discussions of the hobby with my fellow gamers getting repetitive and seeming futile. While I do enjoy the novelty of using my drop pod marines, I've been finding that some of the enjoyment of gaming is absent because of the atmosphere I remember from the Keep. I'm glad there is some fresh blood in the gaming pool, but I'm not sure whether or not I want to start showing up on Saturdays again.
Some of my problem is my drop pod list. It's been a bit of a double edged sword: I enjoy that the army rewards aggression, but in my (admittedly small) sample of games the risk of losing big hasn't been there in most games. Back when I lived in Bloomington I was known as the 'Tau player who won really slowly or lost really fast.' As much as I don't miss getting headaches from tensing up when I played my Tau, I do miss the tension of playing a game where I had to play my best and had no guarantee of doing anything.
I know I've said how much I enjoy the much less worrisome playstyle of my marine army, and it is enjoyable, but nothing ever came for free. In my sometimes skewed, always heretical, view of gaming and life one advantage of my drop pods have become a disadvantage. Almost all of my army deep strikes, but I don't have to worry about deep strike mishaps or dangerous terrain tests. I can go where I want, generally when I want without worrying about the dice destroying a unit. In a tournament that's awesome because I'm able to consistently destroy high value targets without my enemy being able to prevent me from doing so without forcing his army into reserves himself, which most armies are not equipped to deal with. Even when I thought my dice would desert me, I was able to destroy what I needed to twice in the same game. Vulcan makes my army consistent on a level that makes me sure of my gambles paying off because they do most all the time.
Both of these have the effect of changing how the story of the game plays out. Whenever you watch a movie, you expect the protagonist to go through some trials and come out on top, bloodied but triumphant. The fun of the story comes from the drama, the uncertainty of whether or not the hero will prevail. When I was playing my marines I just didn't feel the drama of the game as much as I had wanted to, so the game wasn't as gripping as it could have been and I began to lose interest again.
Then, for once, BOLS was useful and interesting and posted a battle report of some Tau playing against the Imperial Guard. When I saw the post on my blogger feed, I dismissed it as "Tau getting stomped, again, why even watch it?" Then I watched it. Then I thought about it and I realized that it was both good and bad. It was good in its surprise in its result, and that it seemed to keep some tension through out the game. The bad news is the game started out with an incredible amount of luck for the tau, having seized the initiative and taken no damage from the IG's first turn of shooting. I can't say this would be a typical game, both because of the seizing and the really nice rolls of Bushido Red Panda. I don't mean to say that he didn't play well, quite the contrary I think he did.
My problem in taking too much encouragement from seeing this game is that while it does show that tau can outshoot guard, it is still anecdotal evidence, more for a good tale than for deciding how good a chance tau have against guard. Stories can be useful in learning, rabbis have often used parable to instruct their disciples. Let's see what we can take away from this story. If I were playing that game I would have seen the guard army and bemoaned my fate, he did not. I did not understand how his list functioned and dismissed it, he understood and prospered. I did not trust in my skills (such as they are) and had no hope, he trusted himself and played as best he could in a poor matchup. These are the lessons we can learn: Fate doesn't play 40k, know your army, trust yourself and you may prosper.
This weekend I broke out my tau for Godfrey's team tournament and things didn't go as I expected, but that's a story for my next post. I think I'll be going back to them for awhile partly because the hobby bug has bit me and I've been wanting to paint some tau recently. Hopefully I'll be able to find my camera's charging cord and be able to show you some pictures of what I've been up to.
Till then, Ave Imperator.